Mar 29

CCFA Walk Today: Raising Awareness for IBDs

Today I join my wife on the annual CCFA walk which seeks to raise awareness and funding to research cures for IBDs which include Crohns, Ulcerative Colitis and other intestinal diseases.  More people are diagnosed and treated for IBDs than most people thing and according to the CDC website under IDB’s

IBD is one of the five most prevalent gastrointestinal disease burdens in the United States, with an overall health care cost of more than $1.7 billion. This chronic condition is without a medical cure and commonly requires a lifetime of care. Each year in the United States, IBD accounts for more than 700,000 physician visits, 100,000 hospitalizations, and disability in 119,000 patients. Over the long term, up to 75% of patients with Crohn’s disease and 25% of those with ulcerative colitis will require surgery.

I know first hand what it is like living with a partner who has Crohns disease, I am quite familiar with the 3-4 ER visits per year, the hospital stays, the 2-3 doctors appointments per month chasing the various connecting and related symptoms and ailments that are associated with this disease. I watch my wife go through it and struggle with it constantly over the past 17 years and my son who has stomach trouble on and off was tested and has the genetic markers for Crohns but did not confirm a diagnosis, but we are watching it as there is very much a genetic component to this disease.

I myself suffer from IBS and various intolerances to food over the years, but my ailments pale in comparison to actual IBD’s which often come with severe inflammation, secondary infections as a result of the inflammation and far worse symptoms. This is why I do what I can to help support the causes and raise awareness, recently I donated one of the tablets I reviewed to my wife’s raffle to raise funding for CCFA and I continue to help where I can.

So here is the link to our team, and we walk to help raise awareness for IBD’s so that treatment can become better and suffers will require less surgery.
http://online.ccfa.org/site/TR?px=2756909&fr_id=4384&pg=personal

Mar 23

Annoyed at No 1099 From Google

Seriously, I did move and try to update my address in Google AdSense in the W9 section under profile –> Payee Profile Settings, but the new address never took and now my 1099 never arrived. Without that 1099 I have a hard time doing my taxes, and Google with all it’s embracing Internet everything still requires to send you a physical paper copy of your 1099, they can’t just have you login with plus factor (page your phone) to see your 1099 online…seriously?

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The fact that I had to open a support ticket, Google cannot bother to let me talk to someone on the phone, that their email response says to update my payment settings which I did 5x and it still won’t reflect a change of address.

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So I finally updated it again at the Payee Profile (Edit) as well as the W9 and it looks like it finally took this time.

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How is it THE top Technology Company still has to rely on sending a paper copy of a 1099 anyway, why can’t they have an online copy that you can view and print in PDF format? As a way to backup the paper copy sent via snail mail?

So now I will be later than I ever usually am submitting my taxes all because of this delay with getting my 1099 from Google, not 100% Google’s fault as I didn’t address or notice the change of address sooner, but I think they should allow you to print and view your 1099 online without having to have a snail mail copy sent to you anyway for being a large tech company.

Mar 22

MyBlogGuest Penalized and Many Bloggers Along With It

Literally within 24 hours of Google penalizing MyBlogGuest publicly all of my sites that had occasionally published articles from MyBlogGuest have been punished by Google and slapped to PR0 with manual actions taken as Google notified me in Web Master Tools.  Now MyBlogGuest was a resource I leveraged to find articles to help cover content on my site when I went on vacation or didn’t have enough time to write content and helped provide some filler articles.  The service in itself has a good intention, to bring guest bloggers and blogs together, the problem is that the system is rampantly abused by SEO companies and people who are paid to put guest blog posts into the system which have dofollow links to companies that paid them to put the posts and links into the system.

MyBlogGuest does what it can to scan for this, but it obviously is not immune and is being held accountable for what poor quality advertisers have done with the marketplace.

I have been a member of MyBlogGuest for a long time, and never paid to put articles into the system except for an initial review, but I often found articles in the marketplace and used them as filler articles for my site when I had to go on vacation and/or didn’t have time to write many articles that week. My sites were all penalized from hosting and linking to MyBlogGuest in previous posts, 5 of my 7 blogs were dropped to PR0 from PR4 and PR3 in most cases. I don’t think the network in itself should be penalized, do many of the people who publish articles into the network get paid to put blog posts with dofollow links in them, yes, and those links/and those sites should be punished. MyBlogGuest is merely the host of bloggers meeting with each other and offering content. Really the advertisers who buy into the system and put the articles into the marketplace, the target sites that aren’t nofollow from the guest posts should be penalized if there is a penalty to be had.

Still, I also know from the quality and types of articles, there are some good ones, the ones with valid Google Plus author bio tend to be more legit and higher quality than the ones without. But 90% of the advertisers in the system are there only to promote dofollow links for the guest posts, they don’t ever respond to comments on their guest articles, it is published content abandoned and leveraged for the dofollow link in the author bio. The community itself is excellent, the forums are excellent, but the system was abused by companies hiring SEO people to put articles in the system to be picked up by bloggers. This was instead of the olden days when they would fish and just offer to pay bloggers directly to host articles, they still paid for someone to create the articles and put them in the system and fish them to various sites, this is why PageRank requirements exist for articles, nobody would care about PageRank it would be more about traffic.

For MyBlogGuest to continue as a valid service and perhaps recover from Google Penalties, and it can, it needs to switch and focus on audience/visibility and social brand promotion for the guest author, rather than the dofollow link in the article. If the continue to allow dofollow link, then I think enforcement of Google Plus Authorship and some sort of site verification/ownership of the link should be required to further cut back on abusers taking advantage of the marketplace.

Even now, the requests to remove links from former MyBlogGuest articles COME POURING IN and I get them via email and from MyBlogGuest Inbox messages as well.

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What one can do in the meantime would be to nofollow every single link in every post to be sure to prevent penalties, one such plugin is http://wordpress.org/plugins/follow-nofollow-control/ which can nofollow all external links out of your site so you don’t have to go through dozens if not hundreds of older posts to find the external links which may cause you grief.

Mar 17

Replaced Netgear Router with Asus Router

So my Netgear N900 has just simply caused me so much trouble that I have had enough, it would randomly drop all Wi-fi connections about 2x per day and I was forced to reboot the router twice a day or three times a day just to maintain connectivity for all my Wi-fi devices.  I tried updating the firmware, and every other tweak I could find online and it would just work for 4 hours fine, then boom all devices couldn’t connect o Wi-Fi and it would never recover without a reboot.

So I decided to try the ASUS RT-N56U which I have read many great reviews on, though they did have a big security vulnerability exploited and patched in February I was aware of this and still chose to buy the router besides the point as many other router models were also vulnerable and it had already been patched.

The ASUS RT-N56U actually has the most four and five star reviews out of any other router listed on NewEgg and happened to be on sale for less than $90, so this was 1/2 the price of the latest Linksys EA6500 when I bought it so I decided to pick it up and see if it would be more stable than the Netgear N900.

The setup was a breeze, and was even able to be done all over Wi-Fi without requiring you to have an Ethernet cable plugged in to configure it first.  The guide walks you through the setup pretty easily, which involves you hitting the router, establishing it to your Internet, setting up your SSID and 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz wireless bands.  It allows you to quickly set either auto for DNS, or put static DNS entries in which I typically will use Google DNS entries of 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 as my DNS since they tend to be faster than my ISP DNS.  I did use OpenDNS prior but they blacklisted a few email providers that I use, so I had to switch to Google DNS.

So far it has only been a few days, but it is looking pretty good for the ASUS RT-N56U and I will say it is about 40% of the size of the Netgear N900 so it takes up way less room on a shelf.

By the way, if you need to find the latest firmware for the ASUS RT-N56U you can get it here, you won’t find it in the auto-update of the router http://support.asus.com/download.aspx?SLanguage=en-us&m=rt-n56u

List Price: $129.00
Current Price: $87.98
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Mar 15

TOYOTA i-ROAD and the Future of Smart Mobility

I spend my time mostly in two states Arizona and California and there are vast differences in the driving situations.  In Arizona everything is spread out more, there is more space generally and less cars cluttering the road though you wouldn’t think so during rush hour downtown.  But then when I am in the San Diego county area and you are stuck in one hour traffic on the I-5 between LA and San Diego you know that the traffic life here is much worse than anywhere else.  Even more so the limited parking anywhere up and down the 101 mean that only really compact vehicles area an ideal fit for a city area that is already focused on energy efficiency, going green and being eco friendly.

To address the ever frustrating transport and parking problem in crowded cities and regions, Toyota did a demonstration of it’s new i-ROAD EV which is something like I have never seen before.

The i-ROAD is a three wheeled EV that is designed to be extremely ECO friendly while also providing rapid and convenient transport, parking in a crowded urban area.  It has a unique turning and adaptive response system which allows it to hug corners and have exceptional response navigating the roads and makes for being able to parallel park in the smallest of spaces.

Now I love technology and believe the future in vehicles lies in what is being labeled Smart Mobility, these are vehicles that not only will monitor the drivers and be able to adapt to changes in driver health patterns (sleepy, distress, panic) but also cars that detect proximity, health and status of cars around them.  This is already just starting to be mainstream and cars will automatically know the proximity of cars around them and be able to make minor corrections, automatic braking, warning and more.

I personally would never ride a motorcycle, have no interest in them and consider them too dangerous not because you are driving them but because of everything else on the road with you.  The Toyota i-Road however having 3 wheels and the system that it does appears much safer and you don’t have the worry about falling over.  It is definitely lean, small and compact and not designed to travel with passengers.  This is the vehicle for someone who simply needs a quick transport to and from a location and lives in an extremely crowded area.  I see this being a great EV for really urban cities where you never really are going to get to 60mph or higher.  I see so many Hybrids, EV’s and smaller and smaller vehicles coming to California though Arizona still has far more trucks and SUV’s and adoption of this new line of extremely small, efficient vehicles is slower here in the U.S. than in Europe and Japan.

I encourage readers to see and learn more about the Toyota i-Road which has some amazing technology in it, you can also drill down and see some other upcoming and new technology from Toyota and in particular the idea of a vehicle that not only charges at your home, but helps charge your home and offset some power costs was very interesting to me read more here: 

http://www.toyota-global.com/innovation/smart_mobility_society/news_and_events/t_i-road/

What do you think, do you see something like the Toyota i-ROAD coming to the states and becoming mainstream, or will it remain niche for more European and urban cities around the world?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Toyota. The opinions and text are all mine.

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