Hiking/Camping/Mountaineering Gear

I just made the biggest non-housing, non-food expenditure I have made inthree years today.  I fully equipped myself with $533 of gear that I can use for hiking, camping, backpacking and mountaineering.  I mention these activities separately because I expect to be doing a lot of traveling soon and will need equipment for both car camping and for climbing mountains.  So what did I get?  I used Amazon.com to get great deals on highly reviewed stuff including:

3 – in – 1 Military – style Sleeping System

NEW CUSCUS 120L 8100ci Internal Frame Backpack Hiking Camp Travel Bag- Gray/Black

Big Agnes Air Core Pad (Long)

Mountain Axe Blue 75 by Omega Pacific

Contact Strap Crampons with ABS by Black Diamond

Eureka Apex 2XT 2-Person 3-Season Tent

Brunton Raptor Foldable Canister Stove with Piezo Ignition

I am excited to try out all of this equipment and hopefully it holds up to the very hard use it’s going to see!

Former Treasury Secretary Paulson Forced BoA to Buy ML

The problem with enormous unchecked government power is that it is often used in a very corrupt way that hurts citizens.  According to his own admission, Former Treasury Secretary actually forced Bank of America to buy Merrill Lynch last year.  He told the CEO of Bank of America that if he didn’t go through with the deal that the government would remove the CEO and the rest of management.  Merrill Lynch has been poorly run for a long time and as both a shareholder and a banking client with Bank of America, I am angry and unhappy at this abuse of government power.

How To Build A Basic Online Reputation

Learning how to build a basic online reputation is vital for professionals and businesses to succeed in todays world. Potential employers and customers will usually research you using search engines and social media tools. The only problem worse than having no online reputation is having a negative one. The Internet is full of people and organizations manipulating your reputation, intentionally or otherwise.

What are some basic tools that non-web designers and SEO professionals can use to seize control of their reputation? Any website that allows you to create a public profile is helpful. Start with creating Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Myapace accounts. Be sure to only use positive images and text. Avoid alcohol, drug, sex references or other controversial topics.

The next step is to create a blog using a free WordPress or Blogger account. If you are creating this only for online reputation purposes, you only need a few long posts related to your industry frequently mentioning your own name. Go to Digg and set up an account (be sure to fill out the profile with your professional information). Submit your new blog to Digg to get a free good link.

Be sure to use unique text on each of these different profiles and blogs so that the search engines don’t filter you for duplicate content. Ask your friends and colleagues to link to your new profiles and site using your full name.

For a full online reputation management campaign, contact a professional. A professional online reputation management firm can tackle difficult campaigns and can greatly boost conventional branding or marketing promotions.

5 Future Mega-Hit Websites

I am always looking around for cool new business ideas and these are the five best website businesses that most people have not yet heard about:

  1. Elance.com.  Ebay-style marketplace for workers.  You can hire accountants, lawyers, programmers, web designers, graphic designers, copywriters, personal assistants, and just about any other online work based projects you can think of.  I actually have spent $2,875 on there myself for my own projects.
  2. Prosper.com.  Offers peer-to-peer lending services.  Do you need a personal or business loan? People will bid to lend you the money at the lowest rate.  Need a place to invest? You can find people with good ideas to loan money to and get a good interest rate.
  3. Chess.com.  I’ve mentioned this site on here before, but it really is a great place to play and offers an awesome set of features and options for chess enthusiasts.  Challenge me (Joelx) to a game!
  4. pwnedoncamera.com.  Funny new site put out by the guys who made Failblog, Lolcatz and other super popular sites.  I spent about 30 minutes my first time browsing!
  5. prayer-helpers.com.  Ok, so maybe this one won’t be a mega-hit website but maybe a couple people will visit it lol.

Has anyone else spotted websites they really loved lately that other people haven’t heard much about yet?

Cougar Mountain Run

Near my house is Cougar Mountain Wildland Park and I had been meaning to get over there and explore a little bit, so yesterday I put on my little backpack with a waterhose and ran over and back. I missed the park entrance (made a wrong turn), but I came upon a different part of the park anyways. The run to the park was 4.3 miles one way, so including the wrong turn I made, it was a 10 mile run altogether. I’m trying to get in shape for some more tough climbs this summer.

Google Chrome: Windows Killer?

Google has announced that it’s browser, Chrome, is going to be launched as an operating system soon.  Microsoft’s core product, it’s Windows operating system, is now under direct attack from Google’s free new offering.  I think with the new HTML 5 standard, Flash, Silverlight, Apps, Gears and all the other great new technologies we are going to see a massive tidal wave completely change the face of computing.  Most work will be done through the internet and Chrome has enough features to allow for offline work when it needs to be done.  It will be interesting to watch the changes that are coming quick.

How To Increase Comments on Your Blog

Many bloggers have asked me how to increase comments on your blog.  People who blog want to know that people are actually reading what they post and sometimes just seeing traffic numbers doesn’t quite cut it.  Human engagement is the best way to understand what your readers are thinking and the comments section is one of the few ways to get it online.  I do a lot of research on how to increase comments on a blog, as well as how to increase traffic and sales overall.  Some of my blog posts receive 0 comments, but some of themhow-to-get-blog-comments receive hundreds of comments.  One post has even received 878 comments over time!  My research also carries me over to read other major bloggers posts and see what tactics have been successful for them.  All of this effort has led me to distill 4 principles for gaining more comments on your blog:

  • Get traffic. It should be quite obvious to you that if no one reads your blog, it is impossible to receive comments.  You can increase traffic through SEO, PPC or by simply telling your social network about your blog.
  • Engage your audience. Simply asking questions of your readers or posting polls is a good way to boost comments on your site.
  • Write on emotional topics.  My most popular blog posts for commenting are ones that elicit feelings from my readers.  Sometimes those feelings are mirth, sometimes anger, sometimes sadness.
  • Make commenting easy. If people have to go through a big registration process just to leave their two cents, you will not receive many comments.
  • Open up personally. People are far more likely to engage if they can see a little bit of who you are as a person rather than just reading monotonous text.

If you liked this blog post on how to gain more comments on your website, please post a comment- it will be awfully embarrassing to have an article on garnering blog comments with no comments! 🙂