Jun 24

IZEA Phasing Out Social Spark, Sponsored Tweets and More

It is about time, but IZEA is finally converting and phasing out all other platforms to consolidate to the IZEA Marketplace which simply offers every sponsored opp capability that the other platforms do, all in a single location and more.  With IZEA Marketplace you can pair up with advertisers to do sponsored posts on your YouTube Channel, your Tumblr Blog, Your WordPress or BlogSpot blog or any other blogging platform.  You can also leverage your Instagram, Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram and more.

I did a video showcasing some of the IZEA Marketplace services and how you connect your accounts.

Meanwhile this is good news for those who were using one or a few of the IZEA services, they are going to allow you to cash out any remaining balance without penalty to help people migrate and get over to the new system.  The timeline for their phasing out the older services is as follows:

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If you haven’t yet, make sure you sign up for IZEA Marketplace and start listing/connecting all your social media properties so you can start accepting opps.  The free account lets you make 3 bids per month, but like SponsoredTweets you can pay a small fee and get unlimited bids per month.  Only 1 opp typically pays for the account upgrade, so it is worth it in my opinion, but feel free to test the network and let your properties soak with the free account for a bit first.

I was happy to get all my sponsored opps in the same place having used nearly all of IZEA’s services previously and having to keep track of separate balances in all the other services.  I love that you can easily connect 4 or 5 Twitter accounts in the same profile and build separate advertiser targets for each of them.  I have all 6 of my blog properties listed and have seen some offers for my wife’s cooking blog and social media properties already.

Two things however are a bit odd, how come no Pinterest yet?  I see a lot of advertisers wanting Pinterest integration and there is no Pinterest connection  yet.  The other thing is no referrals from other networks are being honored, which means those hundreds of people I referred to SponsoredTweets and the dozens or so I referred to SocialSpark will not be referrals, so I can’t collect some earnings from them being referred by me.  This totally sucks, and I was getting not much but a little from those referral earnings.

If you haven’t signed up for IZEA Marketplace yet, then give it a whirl and start earning from your online properties or social media accounts, it is a good way to perhaps make a little side money to pay down bills, go to the movies, or just grab something extra for yourself.

Jun 23

Cox Sold Me a Service They Didn’t Offer

Just last week I wrote an article how after 11 years of being with Dish network I decided to switch to Cox because I was having some trouble with Dish Network Dish Anywhere service being unreliable for streaming the Video on Demand and the 2nd TV stream was unstable at best.  Meanwhile I had spoke to Cox and they told me their live streaming over the Internet did not require using your own router wasn’t your actual DVR streaming.  I laid out my situation how I travel back and forth from AZ to CA and needed the ability to watch live TV or my DVR content on the Internet.

The Cox representative told me the advantages of Contour and Cox Live Television over the Internet and that I could watch Live TV from anywhere and that it didn’t stream up from my DVR but was served from their cloud instead.  The did let me know Contour didn’t work except on the home Wi-Fi but I could watch live TV over the Internet from anywhere with the Cox TV App.

I was excited, as I knew the Falling Skies premiere was yesterday and one thing we don’t get to watch in CA is live TV while we are here part time except for the CNN app.  To my dismay I learned after already paying $60 for the installation that their live TV or any sort of TV streaming only works when your mobile device is actually on your home Wi-Fi network.  It defeats the purpose of TV on the go and having that restriction, because this basically negates any benefit from watching TV on a mobile device if you have to be connected to your home Wi-Fi network in order just to watch TV streaming over the network.   If I was on my home Wi-Fi network I would just watch TV on one of the 2 TV’s that have boxes.

This was false advertising, but I did read in fine print it says this clearly if you look at their website for the service which I didn’t do before hand and I just assumed what the sales rep told me was accurate.  Naturally I called to complain after I found out and they offered to transfer me to a service representative who may be able to give me a rebate or discount or something to offset my displeasure, but 30 minutes on hold I had to take another call and abort my mission.

Now, the Cox Guide is faster, their Internet is fantastic but their Live TV through mobile is very limited and only works if your iPad, iPhone or mobile device is actually connected to your home Wi-Fi network.  Not exactly giving you your movies and live TV on the go is it?  It lets you move from one room in your house to watch your content on a tiny screen in another room in your house and that’s about it.

Dish Network with Dish Anywhere should have been better, but the fact that it users your own broadband upstream even with Ethernet or Wi-Fi I couldn’t get it to be stable and the DVR kept locking up once a week, though this was the DVR model before the Hopper so maybe the Hopper would have been more stable.  Maybe I should switch back to Dish?

Jun 18

Looking at The Project: Immersive Fitness

Do you ever feel this way when working out?

“And left, and right, and back, and front, and left, and… and… and blah!”

I think we’ve pretty much all been there at some point in our journey. Not every routine or style works for everyone, and over the years (centuries, actually) nearly everything has been tried and tried again. These days, it seems like every year something new and improved comes about, usually it’s something gimmicky or so in-your-face advertised, that you feel like it would be just a big waste of time and money. There’s always the “results not typical, yours may vary” in the fine print, always the “you gotta be extreme!” attitude that’s pushed onto you – despite the fact that if you were extreme enough already, you likely wouldn’t even be watching the infomercials, etc. in the first place, and of course it’s always celebrity-endorsed (usually by someone you’ve never even heard of before, oddly enough). “The latest, the greatest, the blah-blah-blah-est of them all!!!” Well, folks, please allow me to introduce to you an actually-legit, revolutionary program that’s designed to work for you, rather than just “work”, it’s called “The Project: Immersive Fitness“. Please take a brief moment to watch this short video clip, put together to give you a good idea of the type of immersion experience you’ll be given when participating in this program.

You see, there are so many programs out there, all designed to just “work”, and what I mean by that is that they are designed for you to just keep going and going and going (practically until you fall over in exhaustion or from a muscle spasm/cramp), but at the same time they’re not really tailored to help your body work, or your mind. When the body and the mind work together, you can achieve practically anything you set out to do. This is the primary principle and mechanic of The Project: Immersive Fitness, from Les Mills International, a company founded by Les’ son, Phillip, a spin-off-type extension of the Les Mills World of Fitness gym chain in Auckland, New Zealand (founded in 1968 by Les and his wife, Colleen). In fact, as of the present time, Les Mills International has a total of 14 fitness programs in full operation, 15 including this latest one. From BodyPump to Sh’Bam, they’ve pretty much every angle covered when it comes to fitness.

The Project

Trusting an average celebrity to endorse a fitness program is almost equal to trusting the elderly lady who sits in front of the grocery store that’s 2 blocks from your home, in your little small American town, to endorse erectile dysfunction pills. Sure, she might have some experience with it, and it might work fine for her and her husband’s relationship, but she’s not an expert on it by any means and has no clue whether or not it’ll work for you or anyone else. This program is not quite like the rest, however. Endorsed by the likes of former Olympian and fitness expert, Les Mills and his son, international fitness pioneer and long-time athlete (and Les Mills International CEO) Phillip Mills, this program is designed by one of the best athletes and trainers in the industry, Phillip’s wife: Dr. Jackie Mills (nutritional medicine expert, gymnast, physical education instructor, the list goes on). Program direction is handled by some of the greatest talent in the industry as well. In other words, these people live this program, they breath it, they eat it, they are The Project: Immersive Fitness.

This program is designed to quite literally immerse all participants in the routine, by a combination of visual stimulation and rigorous routine activity, you will feel as though you’re actually in the environments you’re being shown. The workouts are designed to accommodate and compensate for the actual environments being shown to you while you’re active. The great benefits to this, aside from the obvious (getting healthier, increasing fitness, flexibility, etc.), are that it enables anyone throughout the world to experience the opportunity of fitness that they normally may be limited to, due to location on the globe or other factors. Do you live in a tropical climate, having no access to some of the general forestation trails? Live in a desert-type climate, with no access to rivers, streams, etc.? No problem, this program has you covered.

Additionally, this program is fully-partnered with and fully-endorsed by none other than Reebok. World-renown as being the #1 leader in fitness gear, Reebok partnered with Les Mills in 2013, to bring you the latest and greatest in fitness clothing, ensuring that you’re not just getting an epic workout, but that you’ll also have opportunity for the utmost comfort possible, whilst participating in their programs. A brief example of this workout wear is shown in the video at the beginning of this article. Branded both with the Reebok logo and the Les Mills brand name, these articles of workout wear are designed for durability, comfort and reliability in the long-term. In addition to the workout wear, there are partnered opportunities, providing consumers and instructors alike, with events (quarterly events are already in the works) that are co-branded, giving means to try out these great programs, namely the innovative new The Project: Immersive Fitness.

Currently, there are plans laid out for a 2015 US fitness tour (actual dates are yet to be announced), where pop-up-style, purpose-built studios will be going up, allowing folks like you and I to try out this program, and see for ourselves how awesome they are. This is not your typical gimmicky, infomercial-type, “buy our video program and give it a shot” program either. This is a program designed for well-known fitness experts, in many fields, to help you get fitter, stronger and overall healthier, by means of the most fine-tuned fitness program imaginable, “The Project: Immersive Fitness”. It’s about time that something like this has come along, but the question remains… Will you sit idly by and just keep on going about as usual, or will you take the plunge and Immerse yourself in Fitness?

For the latest updates and info, sign up at http://www.lesmills.com/immersivefitness or follow them on Instagram and see all the snapshots and photos for The Project: http://instagram.com/thepr0ject.

The next level of fitness is here. IMMERSIVE FITNESS™ surrounds participants with cinema quality video content projected onto screens of a purpose-built studio.  Exercise moves synchronize perfectly with music and graphics, creating a truly immersive fitness experience. Learn more!

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

Jun 18

Beyond Good and Evil 2 Couldn’t Come Soon Enough!

I was excited to learn there was a little teaser for Beyond Good & Evil 2 at E3, but unfortunately I had seen this trailer before and couldn’t garner much more info like a release date.

I remember playing Beyond Good and Evil so many years ago with Jade and I spent the extra time to take as many photos of the rare animals, insects to get as many credits as possible, it was a fun game and I can’t wait to see if the sequel will be as much fun.

Jun 12

Cox Television Service with Contour Installed

I had been a Dish Network subscriber for 11 years but the time has come for me to try Cox Communications with the latest Contour app and services to see if I could get something better.  See I don’t hate Dish Network but I made the mistake of upgrading to the DVR before the Hopper which only supported 2 live stream records and the Dish Anywhere service just was hanging and my DVR kept locking up weekly.  The frustration and limitations were just leaving my family frustrated because when we travel we wanted to be able to watch our live television service from mobile apps while we were away.

Cox Communications meanwhile had a different approach to live streaming television, you don’t get local channels, but they stream the network stations through their network to the mobile applications or website to watch live video.  This is different than Dish Anywhere which leverages your own receiver/DVR and your own Router/Internet connection to stream live video/DVR content via your own router and ISP connection, my router was always fine and downstream with gaming, Netflix and everything else never had a problem, but live streaming HD content via Wi-Fi was always spotty at best and the signal would constantly stutter, even buying and testing a 75′ CAT-5 Cable hooked from router in a room far away to Dish Receiver didn’t help matters much.

So I had Cox installed last night and can tell you the guide and responsiveness of the system is much faster than the Dish DVR I was running, it reboots much faster, saves content faster and I now have 6 simultaneous records, so I can record 5 shows at the same time and still watch live TV.  The most I ever had to do was record 2 and watch 1 in real time, so this is more than enough.  The Cox service comes with 2 applications Cox TV and Contour for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire and this supports watching live Television over the Internet from anywhere (Cox Live TV App), or in the case of Contour you literally watch anything from your own DVR in the house on your mobile device.

So far initial tests show it is fast, no lag and seems stable but I am in the same home network, the real test is when I travel to CA and try to watch my live Cox content from CA.  So far, I am not disappointed, but I will tell you that the Cox introductory rate for the same package of channels is the same price as my regular Dish Network price and when the intro rate ends Cox is about 50% more per month than Dish Network.  Even the Cox sales rep said they couldn’t compete with Dish Network on price and Dish was the cheapest here.  They also didn’t have something like The Hopper which pre-records entire seasons of local network television shows cutting out the commercials for you.  Though I didn’t have the hopper and don’t watch that many local TV station shows compared to ones on TNT, USA…etc so I wouldn’t miss what I didn’t have in the first place, but if you wanted that feature, then Dish Network is the only one that has it.

So this is my first time with the latest Cox Television services, and I will say that Dish Network was willing to practically bend over backwards to keep me as a customer since I had been with them 11 years.  They offered to upgrade me to The Hopper for free, as well as cut my current bill by 40% for a year.  Still it was time to try something new and different, and I am no stranger to testing and reviewing new products and services.

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