Tag Archive: advice


DKemp Designs Perfect

(Originally posted on LinkedIn by Dorthea Kemp)

I recently read Tom Stevens’ post “I Don’t Care Anymore (Do You)?” which got me thinking, what does it mean to truly not care? Do I care? I mean, I don’t think Tom really doesn’t care about anything. But I believe that he, like so many of us is tired. Bone, brain, deep tired.

We are tired of always being on. We think it is a good thing, but it is exhausting. As if we are at a perpetual cocktail party. Dress or suit perfect, hair styled, teeth white with no food stuck between. All day, every day. We’re not just ready for our close-up Mr. DeMille*, we’re ready for our Selfie.

We’re tired of being body slammed with negative information. News is always telling us somebody died horribly, somewhere is at war, some child is missing or our favorite food is killing us. Now, information is important, but I don’t want to see a 12-car pile up while looking at my best friend’s second-cousin’s wedding pictures. The constant slam of horror during everyday activities generates a roller coaster of hormones that leaves us wrung out emotionally.

So, how to keep light spirited and excited with all the attitude and negative information weight? Here is my 5 step plan;

Unplug Regularly

Don’t be available all the time. Turn off your ringer and use your phone to read while blocking calls. Carve out specific times during the week when you just don’t answer your phone. That includes Facebook feeds, Twitter, texts and any other social media.

Soak your feet, take a nap, hem some pants, or make a plan to leave a dead end job. Just do it without the phone ringing or checking your “feeds”. Allow your brain and emotions time to process and absorb information in a peaceful environment.

Turn Off the Noise

Yep, we all do it. The TV is on for noise, not information or entertainment. If you’re not actively watching, turn off the screens. This controls the flow of passive information raising your stress level unconsciously.

Bask in quiet or talk to your family or neighbors. Actual face to face conversations. Pour a tall cold glass of Coke or iced tea and discuss the length of the grass or the meaning of the universe. Enjoy quiet pauses and smile.

Your brain and mood will love the break. Too much news can lead to depression ** and/or dampen empathy responses. If we are always responding to crises, we become immune.

Take a Class

Learn something new or expand your current skills. Learning a new skill or a trick with an existing skill generates excitement and passion. Doing something faster or better than you have before gives you a Superman boost. You have Mastered something. Yeah! Udemy has free classes and YouTube also has lots of great free tutorials. And don’t overlook Pinterest for DIY projects from headbands to making your own furniture.

Using something on a daily basis that you created or improved with your own hands gives you a really happy feeling. I reclaimed a butcher-block topped dining table to use as a desk and it became my favorite place to hang out.

Cook From Scratch

Make one meal per week using no processed foods. If you have a crock pot, it’s not even that hard. You can make everything from homemade bread to pot roast and vegetables in a crock pot. Frankly, after you find out how easy crock pots make meals, you may need more than one.

Chopping and measuring can be a Zen experience. Don’t obsess, throw everything into the chopper (I use a Ninja) and dump. Or, put on your headphones and rock out like a mini spin class without the sweat.

Put in the liquid, turn on the pot and read a good book. Soon the house will draw your family to the table with the smell of fresh cooked food. No yelling needed.

Play With a Toddler

Nothing refreshes your world view like talking to a 3 year old. They have an innate sense of right and wrong and everything is new and fun. Warning: this can lead to hearing the title song from Frozen a couple dozen times. Just go with it. Don’t schedule a play date or any structured activity, grab some bubbles, chalk, crayons or magnets and go (no screens allowed). The toddler will find something to do. Just follow.

I garden and my daughter doesn’t, but on Mother’s day while outside, my granddaughter picked up my spade and started stirring dirt in one of my pots. No prompting, and she was neat with it. We talked and I explained the plants. A good time was had by all.

These activities may not work for everyone, but try one or two during the week and see if your level of excitement or caring about the world increases. Or maybe you’ll invent something or just de-stress. The brain can be refreshed with any good music, learning, and face to face interactions. These processes all increase positive neural actions and hormones.

Tom’s remedy to withdraw physically sounds great and I hope to try it one day myself. Unfortunately it may not work for everyone who needs to rejuvenate, but anyone can do the 5 things listed above. Any combination of them can be used for a mini vacation to revive your brain cells. And that’s where excitement begins.

* Gloria Swanson, Sunset Boulevard
** Bad News Burnout

socia mediaWhy blog?

Many small business owners and freelancers are confused by the multitude of social media options and how it can increase their reach.  Blogging is one way to increase the reach of any business provided the blog offers useful information presented in an engaging way.

Photos and video are one way of engaging readers, but sought after information consolidated in a non-confusing prose also can be useful to your readers.  Adding your social media contact buttons and website links can encourage readers to visit your sites and begin to recommend you.

In the loud, crowded Internet marketplace, recommendations as an expert in your field are like gold.  Recommendations separate you from fly-by-night shysters who only want to skim quick profits as opposed to building customer relationships that last.

How to get started?  Create a list of topics you are interested in and have experience with.  Write a bunch of random thoughts down.  They don’t need to be complete sentences or written nicely.  Just free form write whatever comes to mind.  Put it away for a day.  Come back and select a topic to expand on, then, do your research.  Look up information related to your topics that will be interesting to others.

Write two or three posts before beginning to publish and review them carefully for typos and grammar before publishing.  Choose free pics or graphics or make your own that relate to the topic.  Then link with social media to complete the circle.  All of the resources gather and increase traffic and traffic is the first step to online business success.

Stop by frequently for further blogging tips and let us know if this inspired you to start a blog.

Smutty WorksResponsive, HTML5, CSS3, mobile-optimized.  If these terms mean nothing to you, you must not be a web designer.  If you are a web designer today is a fantastic day to start logging resources.

If you have not bookmarked the Unstoppable Robot Ninja, go do it now!  Brilliant, easy reading details for getting your sites optimized for responsive design.  Another great resource is Web Designer Wall.  This site provides freebies and great tutorials to get you kick-started in leveling up your designs.  And here is a Smutty approved site; Cats Who Code.  This is a must read for anyone who dreams of being a designer or developer.

And the ultimate must-have for responsive design; a FREE responsive slider.  Many thanks to Smashing Mag for coming through as usual.

Need to create a WordPress site, but don’t know how?  Visit ThemePURE, a great site with low cost templates for WordPress designs.

Once you have your responsive design created, test it out at responsive px.  Make sizing adjustments accordingly and publish!

Network with great people like my Cybermap.  And if you need inspiration on starting a freelance design business, click here.  The story will inspire you to get up and get started now.  If not now, when?

Techsnoop wishes you great design.

AlertAlert! A new virus is out which can circumvent your anti-virus program.  It comes from phishing websites urls and can take over your computer.  If you get a message to update Adobe Flash player and cannot shut it down, you have been infected.  Another symptom is clicking on links on websites and being given a download message instead of going to the link action.  Also, if you cannot open folders on your hard drive, you may be infected.  I was infected visiting a site I have gone to in the past.  It was not infected then, but is now a victim of phishing.  This can happen to anyone.

If you suspect you have this virus, seek help immediately.  It can be cleaned off by going to a system restore point that is known to be clear of the virus.  If you are not setting system restore points and backing up your files on a regular basis, DO IT NOW.

FYI, I have a superior anti-virus program which is updated twice a day.  My computer is scanned every day.  When I scanned my computer, the program did not recognize the virus so it may be a keylogger.  If you are infected, change all of your passwords, uninstall Flash player and Java and reinstall them from the developer sites.  I have taken all of these steps and it was a pain.  But it would have been much worse if I had not had my files backed up and my system restore points.  Have a happy Holiday season and enjoy shopping online safely.

Confused  about back to school supplies?  Check this article rounding up some of the latest trends in electronic school shopping.

In addition to all the items listed, HP Touchpad is selling at remarkable prices (tip; check with Best Buy first) and HTC has the new Flyer out which is also available on the Sprint network.

And remember, just because a student wants it, doesn’t mean it’s the best purchase for their educational needs.  Any questions, please post in comments, I will be happy to answer.

SM starfieldSocial Media.  Two terrifying words in the new world order.  Social media has turned our entire lives into the cliquesque nightmare of high school.  Which site is the coolest, which groups are the most popular, how do I look, what do I wear, where do I hang out?  All of these questions have become an underlying theme in daily ventures onto the internet.  What was once a fun, casual activity has become a me-centered, ego-centric free for all with the resulting fall out.

I love all my “friends” but really, a play by play of toenail clipping is just too much information.  Updates of your life should be significant moments, important events and requests for help or prayers.  Details of each minutiae of everyone’s life becomes information overload on a ginormous scale.  Just as your junk closet becomes so packed that it is impossible to find what you need when you need it, information overload does the same to our brains.

Retrieval of important information becomes increasingly difficult until you find yourself standing at the front door with mismatched shoes wondering where you were heading out to.

Unfortunately, unplugging is not an option in today’s world.  For families separated by distance and businesses trying to access diverse markets, it is necessary to have a social media presence.  The target is to utilize the benefits of social media without reaping the overload.  This involves ruthless shaving of your friend groups or circles and rigid application of privacy settings.  Nothing less will allow you the balanced use of this important tool without the baggage.

Happy surfing.

Well, it had to happen, Sprint is in negotiations to add the Apple iPhone to their line up of products. With the end of AT&Ts lock down of the iPhone, this was a foregone conclusion.  Sprint must keep up with the competition or die as a company.

This will be a boon to those Sprint customers who like Apple products but I don’t see it raising Sprint’s market share by much unless the following issues are addressed.

1. Sprint’s customer service must step up.  Poor support is not what Apple customers are used to or will tolerate.

2. Connection issues.  Verizon has done a better job of making the iPhone perform as a phone than AT&T did, but there are still some fixes needed.  Personally, I would never purchase a phone that did not perform the primary function at peak efficiency.

3. Product overload.  Sprint has a huge portfolio of smartphones now and should begin weeding out some of the lower end models.  Skip the mid range and concentrate on offering basic phones and high end models.  Use sales metrics and customer surveys to see which features are most wanted by Sprint customers.  You have a customer base, utilize it.

 

E-Books are wonderful.  I make this statement as someone who loves books.  I love collecting them, holding them, reading them, displaying them.  Books, books, books, I have loved them my entire life.  They are my first choice for entertainment and relaxation.

When e-books first entered the scene, they were cumbersome to access and read due to the limited format (using a computer and Adobe or other reader).  Even on a laptop, kicking back in bed to read a book was kind of a drag.  I experimented with a few but went back to print.

Then came the e-readers.  Slim, light and portable, they seemed the answer to the e-book issue.  But, at $100 or more for a single function gadget, impractical.  Finally, with the addition of apps for the smartphone and tablets, I have jumped fully on board the e-book revolution.  With reservations.

Wired makes a compelling statement regarding the flaws of e-books.  There must be a way to view all e-book titles in one spot instead of opening 3 or more applications.  Also, there should be a rental option for books one does not intend to keep (like DVDs and on-line movie rentals).  And of course, there is the huge issue of pricing.  No one wants to spend $15 to $30 on an e-book unless it is a highly needed technical manual.

With the use of coupons, it is often cheaper to buy the print version of books.  It does not seem justified to charge $16 for a print book and the same amount for a book that is downloaded with none of the additional costs of the print issue.  Some type of discount must be negotiated between publishers and sellers.

If e-books become more user friendly, with the addressing of these issues, I think they will create a surge in popularity not just of e-books, but reading in general.

As posted here previously, I love my HTC EVO.  This is arguably one of the 5 best phones ever released.  However, I am quite exhausted with the sporadic service from Sprint.

For the past two months or so, many services I use have had a high “fail out” rate. Sometimes they work fine, sometimes they work poorly, and sometimes they didn’t work at all.

I at first thought my phone might be having problems.  But after talking to some other Sprint users, I found there was a high incidence of issues from call dropping to non-working features.  So, I contacted Sprint customer service to see what could be done.  The rep was very nice and had me run some firmware updates on my phone.  She then began to explain that some of the services I was trying to use were only available for 4G.  I then told her I had been using these services on 3G just fine until recently.  She was unable to explain this and referred me to go into a repair center.

Prior to going to the repair center, I did some digging around and found out that Sprint is currently converting some cell towers in the area from 3G to 4G.  The work is causing some connectivity issues and bandwith narrowing.  It should be resolved within the month.

Now, I’m all for updating equipment, especially since it will provide me with a feature I have been paying for nearly a year without having the actual feature.  However, why couldn’t Sprint simply announced the coming changes and apologized in advance for any inconveniences?  A little upfront transparency can go a long way in customer satisfaction.

Instead, like so many companies, Sprint choose the ostrich method.  Stick your head in the sand and hope most people won’t notice the issues.

Come on, Sprint, don’t go back to your previous last place in customer satisfaction.  Your customer policies are what put you behind your competition. After all, your phones and packages are very highly rated.  Make the 4G leap of customer care and put yourself ahead of the pack.

Well, I have not had the privilege yet of personally trying out the new HTC Flyer (TM), but the reviews so far sound good.  At 7″, it is big enough to enjoy, but small enough to toss in a pocket or purse.

But the best part for those of us owing HTC Android phones, is the interface will seem like coming home to a favorite comfy chair.  The screen layout and icons for apps and widgets will make the learning curve satisfyingly short.

16 GB of storage with SD expansion make for flexibility and the optional digital pen input unit adds to functionality.  It also comes with wi-fi and no contract is necessary.

If you have your heart set on a contract tablet, or need 4G capability, Sprint offers the HTC EVO View 4G with 32 GB of storage and SD expansion.  It also accepts the pen or touch input.  You can compare these at http://www.htc.com/us/products/tablets#/?view=1-1&sort=0 .