Windows 10 Made Me 10X More Productive Overnight. Plus, Microsoft Sway is Microsoft Swank.

Hi folks,

At first, I didn’t know Microsoft Sway was a presentation software. I just started clicking away and came up with some pretty cool stuff. It seemed apparent to me that most content is headed this way, including blogs.

So here’s a little experiment (FYI, it may not be very responsive because it’s embedded).

I put my post into Sway, and a few pictures later, this is what I came up with.

To Blog or Not to Blog

I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t had much time to update my blog. So I’ll tackle the question that has plagued mankind since the dawn of the information ages: should you have a blog or is a static site good enough?

Many who pose and answer this question with one-size-fits-all generic advice, such as “Everyone must blog” or “Blogging is dead,” aren’t offering much help. Let’s examine the arguments more closely:

Blogging is Dead…Or is It?

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A keyboard. This is what you blog with.

Just like literature, the novel, and the PC, blogging is on its way out.

Blogging, The Guardian tells us, is being replaced by social media. Fast Company tells us we’re undergoing a “content revolution.” Guy Kawasaki hasn’t updated his blog in four months. In one interview I saw on YouTube, he claimed that he has relinquished his blog in favor of Google+.

As a dyed-in-the-wool writer, lit nerd, and novel reader — those things which are going extinct, remember — I never really liked blogging as a means of online socializing. In fact, I don’t really care for online “socializing” at all…the real thing is better.

To me, blogging somehow soiled the purity of writing. When I began my blog’s first iteration, I started by insulting blogging as “blathering into the void.”

The Guardian argues that blogging, the blogosphere, and, yea, even the world are better off without all this noise. Blogs have morphed into news media, which are burying the casual blogger beneath oceans of more useful and entertaining content.

By association, I couldn’t help but remember that the The Guardian also argues that the novel is dead (this time for reals).

Whatevs

Such doom-and-gloom proclamations, as Gawker pointed out in its response to the above article, have been going on for a very long time, because literary novels just aren’t popular:

This is pretty clear to most people who aren’t literary writers given that they don’t read literary novels. And it’s also pretty clear to a lot of literary writers, who are spending their days eking out an existence on meager advances, adjunct salaries, and temp jobs, that what they do is marginal. The difference between those people and Will Self, a lot of the time, is that they do not expect that what is important and meaningful for them personally must be important and meaningful for everyone.

Incidentally, Gawker, a blog, is the 156th most popular website in the USA.

So I’m not too likely to believe that either blogs or novels are dead.

As a matter of fact, if you do some searching you’ll find that the internet is littered with the dead:

  • B2B Marketing is Dead
  • Email is Dead
  • Cold Calling is Dead
  • TV is Dead
  • Advertising is Dead
  • Social Media Managers are Dead
  • Social Media is Dead
  • The Internet is Dead

But I digress.

To Blog or Not to Blog

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The death knell of blogging

Amidst all the dead blogs out there, I can’t find the very blog that inspired this post (one of many titled “Blogging is Dead, Long Live Blogging”). Perhaps it’s no longer among the living…

Said blog railed against having your own blog: it’ll just lie buried beneath the sea of other, more popular blogs that crowd the data streams. If you’re a business person, a business, or just a person, what reason is there to have a blog when no one will read it?

Tapping into the search engine market is one of the main reasons businesses have blogs. Self-promotion is one reason writers blog. And writing for fun is yet another reason individuals blog. That’s why I started this blog.

But not everyone wants or needs to have a blog. Since I live and breathe WordPress, writing, and technology, blogging’s a fun hobby when I have the time to actually do it.

Businesses, on the other hand, should remember that blogging isn’t free. It’s a form of marketing that costs money, just like PPC ads or direct mail. Unless you’re willing to put some serious cash or time into blogging for SEM purposes, you won’t see results.

After all, you’re competing against all the other businesses who are blogging their butts off to stay in the search engine limelight. Take a gander at any search engines results page to see exactly how many “dead” blogs you’ll be competing against.

So no: blogging isn’t dead.

It’s just changing shape, like the rest of the publishing world.

Travel Post: Phnom Penh to Kampot

Lately I’ve been so focused on work that I have neglected my travels and my travel blogging. Instead, I have been indulging in my love of technology, science fiction, and future design.

But soon my digital nomad work travels will come to an end, soooo…

On to the Travel Blogging

IMG_20131227_074156Phnom Penh (PP) was great, as far as cities go.

It’s hardly the massive, gridlocked, bustling Bangkok. PP buzzing with motorbikes and tuk tuks hollering at you, food vendors pushing carts full of food down the streets, with odd loudspeaker announcements echoing in Khmer every so often, until around midnight, when some light switch is turned off and the city turns black and silent.

Yet somehow, perhaps due to the Cambodians laid-back attitude, PP retains a much more relaxed feel than any other capital I’ve been to. Though I’ve herd Vientiane is even more “quaint.”

During the day, you find cheap markets, smiley Khmer lounging around their shops, until the slammed rush hour floods past, and if you’re in the touristy areas, you have constant offers of tuk tuks, weed, and hookers…kind of like a less-busy Khao San.

Guest Housing it on St. 172

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View from 3rd floor of White River Hotel on St. 172, Phnom Penh

But that was, of course, because I mostly stuck to the touristy Street 172 and worked from my guest houses. At first investigating the possibility of renting an apartment, I abandoned the idea when I realized they wanted a full three months deposit up front, which deposit, according to a couple grizzled old expats, I would never see again. Why risk such an investment when I could get a guest house for the same price or less?

So I stayed in one guest house, White River I, which was hard to work in, because it had no desk in the room, was filled with partiers and lots of pressure to socialize, buy food, drinks, and weed.

I also volunteered for a day with a program that was looking for a short-term English teacher, and it was there and then that I realized I don’t mix with kids, no matter how smiley and friendly and cute they are.

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Sunrise from my room in Last Home on St 172, Phnom Penh

The next guest house, The Last Home, was much more suited to my working style, and there I sorted out a lot of my short- and long-term goals. A desk, a nice view, and a quiet environment go a long way towards getting work done.

It was in that guest house that I spent Christmas, turned 34, realized some other “trivial” stuff about the path of the digital nomad, my own life path, and I consequently decided to move on to Kampot, a town near the southern coast of Cambodia.

Kampot

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Fields outside Kampot town

I’ve worked here a couple days so far, walked, mingled, and ridden a bike around nearby dirt roads and agricultural fields.

Kampot’s an attractive little town. It has a riverfront, guesthouses a-plenty, nightlife, good food, geckos, really big geckos, exotic bugs, fields extending as far as your bike or motorbike will take you, and, of course, nice, smiley Cambodians.

If I decide to stay in Cambodia, Kampot is definitely a relaxing town to spend time in, meet some nice people, and get some work done.

Dear Writer, Blog

pencil-2269_640I know writers who consider themselves “above” blogging. They enjoy writing flowery poetry, fiction, or “real” writing, whatever that is. I used to agree with them.

Blogging used to seem frivolous and stupid to me. It seemed like such a narcissistic waste of time, at least the way it was being used by most bloggers. Who cares about your breakfast or the coffee rings staining your desk? Nobody cares about the thought you put into naming your cats or the poems you wrote about them when you buried them. But to avoid falling into the same trap, I’ll get to the point.

Blogging is a way for writers to detach themselves from their own words. Many writers become very attached to the words that come out of their minds’ mouths and onto paper, digital or otherwise. The words become holy writ, sacred and unchangeable, until they have sat in a drawer for months and can be looked at for the mental diarrhea they truly are.

For writers who feel self-conscious about their writing or who feel that their every word is precious: start a blog already. Do you have any idea how quickly people will skim over the crap you write?

Actually, if you’ve gotten this far, you get a medal. Most readers don’t read what you write anyways, so use your blog as an exercise in writing.

Hello World: Review of WP Timeline Theme

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Welcome to my new theme!

Timeline is a minimalist WordPress theme available on Themeforest.com. I purchased thetheme without doing my proper research. Namely, if you are going to purchase a theme from Themeforest, read your theme’s comment section before making a purchase. This particular theme has received virtually no responses from its creator when customers ask for support, and, of course, you can’t return a theme if it’s broken.

That being said, I do like this theme and I will stick with it. Its minimal design does not distract from the content, and it feels very clean. The only other theme I would consider using in its place would be Sensei, by Satori Studios. The Timeline theme seems to work most of the time, but the sliders sometimes only partially load in my browser. This may be because my shared hosting provider is throttling my site’s speed after too many of the image-heavy sliders are downloaded.

Either way, Timeline’s a nice clean theme, and the posting pages have worked properly so far, and I do like the timeline feature when it works (see my Photography section).