Phones not to buy…

hamster

I never thought I would write a post like this. A year ago, I was just about convinced that There would never be a need for more storage on a phone, especially as things moved more and more to the cloud. Need photo storage? Check. Need some place to put your cat breading videos? Check. (What the hell is cat breading, you ask? Google it. I promise you’ll laugh, and no harm came to any cat involved.)

There are parts of the country where technology has passed by, barely putting a foot down before running off for greener pastures. Places like BF Egypt, Arkansas, where I currently reside. Service is spotty in, well, spots, even if you’re with one of the two carriers that actually has towers in the area. If you want to know where BF Egypt is, Google it. Betcha can’t find it.

You know what else is spotty? Internet.

The very basic, I-eat-cake necessity of the free world, isn’t even found everywhere in the free world.

Sure, you can go to pretty much any major city and find 20, 30, 50, 500 Mbits down, easy. Some cities have 1 Gbit connections, enough speed to download 40 GB in 4minutes flat and make any Mother’s Basement Dweller (or MBD for short) slobber with envy.

BFE? not so much. Oh no. Here, we’re fortunate to have 6 Mbit down, and that’s if we’re lucky. There are even places where you can’t get internet, which means reliance on phone data for surfing the web. Absolutely terrible.

Storage and Hamsters

Which brings me to my next point. Phone storage. It may seem kind of off the beaten path, but the two things: ñetwork speed and phone storage are about as connected as it gets.

If you don’t have much phone storage you have to rely on backing up to some Google or Apple server somewhere in the all-encompassing term we call the cloud. If the speed of the network is slow, and as things such as pictures and videos grow larger, it means it will take up that much more space on the cloud, that much more time to back up, and use that much more data to upload all that stuff to the cloud.

In a place where the fastest internet connection is the equivalent of two pairs of hamsters spinning wheels, the last thing you need is to either use up all your data trying to upload all that stuff because you’re out of phone space, delete your precious photos and videos to make room for more, or try to figure out how to transfer it all to a computer in an easy manner (someone Google how to get pics and videos off an iPhone for me, Kthanks). There is another option.
I haven’t mentioned anything about phones yet.

Phones

If the above situation applies to you, Here’s a list of phones to not get when you’re chomping at the bit for that upgrade or new phone.

  • iPhone (any) less than 128 GB. I’m not really listing the iPhone first for any particular reason. It’s a perfectly good phone. However, Apple is notorious for screwing people over with the base model. 16GB? that’s enough storage to store an update or two. after that, you’re out of storage. A lot of people make the mistake of judging an iPhone by a $100 difference. “Oh, I won’t need that much storage.” What they’re really thinking is, “I don’t want to pay an extra $100. You’re doing it over a 24 – 30 month period, people. It’s four (4) dollars more. If that’s a deal breaker, maybe think about not upgrading. You can’t afford it.

 

  • Any android phone without an SD Card slot. With S7 series, Samsung did itself a favor (and us) and brought back the SD card slot. It supports up to 256GB, which is more than enough for anyone’s pictures and videos, unless you’re taking hours and hours of 4k video. Yes, you can do that on an s7. That being said, here’s a (short)list of phones you might be considering, but shouldn’t.

 

Galaxy S6

Galaxy s6 edge.      

Note 5.

These three phones are not a good option if you’re in the sticks. No sd card slot and only 32 GB. If you’re a light user, you might get away with only 32 GB. If you have kids or play lot of games, you’re probably going to be filling that storage up with apps, photos, and videos, which means the inconvenience of having to plug it into a computer and dragging photos off the phone or hoping all the photos back up in a reasonable amount of time. 1080p video and 4k video can take awhile and a lot of bandwidth.

 

Google Pixel less than 128GB.

Google Pixel XL less than 128 GB. 

These 2 phones also suffer from having to upload everything. Google provides unlimited photo storage at maximum size for these two phones, which is great, except that if you are using a 4g hotspot as internet or a very slow connection, you’re either going to run out of space or run out of data. Do yourself a favor and avoid the lesser GB flavors of these.

 

That’s it. You thought this was going to be a long list, huh? The great thing about most android phones is that the SD card has not disappeared as everyone thought. In fact, it seems to be making a comeback and is especially useful in the low to mid-range phone market.

Even the flagship phone market, with the Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5, V20, the list goes on, has seen a bounce back of the SD card slot.

If you can think of any other phones that don’t have an SD card slot, leave me a comment and let me know and I’ll add it to the list. Until then have a great whatever it is in your time zone. Thanks for reading.

 

 

The fine art of the plan, first!

rafinesques-big-eared-bat-940x

Bats.

That got your attention, didn’t it?  Does the term “blind as a bat” hold any meaning for you? Not that you came here for a history lesson, but it originally meant “to have bad eyesight” because it was thought that bats can’t see. That clearly isn’t what this post is about.

You probably are wondering what bats have to do anything.

Previously I talked a bit about having a plan, and today I’m going to show you a little of it. I am not an expert at planning. I didn’t plan my best friend’s wedding or plan any birthday parties. Hell, I didn’t plan on doing lots of things that I wound up doing.

I am, however, going to plan this out.

I’ve learned over the years that planning makes things happen. I’ve also heard things like, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” or something along those lines. That’s most likely true. Most businesses, I don’t care what it is, have some sort of plan. It can keep you on track, keep you from getting stuck. Kind of like outlining (which, coincidentally, I haven’t done much up either), you already know where the book is going so you don’t have to make it up on the fly and hope it’s good. (Not debating the “pantsing” versus outlining here. They both have merit.)

With a business, you can’t “pants”.  You can’t (or shouldn’t) throw things up and see what sticks. Since I’m treating this as a business, and I want to be successful, I’m going to do some preliminary planning. I may break this into several posts and cover different aspects.

Part 1: Writing

I usually wing it when it comes to writing. This year (all of 2017) I’m trying something a bit different. I’m actually going to give outlining a try, in the hopes that it will speed up my writing process. I wrote a process based on some feedback from some questions I made in a writing group I’m in. Here it is:

  1. Outline as much as Possible.
  2. Write a careful draft. (I always discuss the plot with my wife as I go to keep from having holes, etc.)
  3. Read it out loud, line by line edit.
  4. Give it to my wife for proofreading, minor fixes, etc.
  5. Go through it and fix any issues she finds.
  6. Give to beta readers. Fix anything that comes up.

That basically covers the writing, and in what order I’m going to do things, although I may make changes as I go, specifically in the editing part. Currently, my budget is zero in regards to editing. That will most likely change as I get further into 2017. The list also includes time away from the list also includes time away from it, there will be several weeks between completing the draft and doing the line editing, that will (hopefully) allow me to come back and read(after much coffee) with fresh eyes.

That’s it for the writing. Next time I’ll go over my book release schedule. Feel free to leave me any questions in the comments. Thanks!

 

 

How to Kill Your Success:3rds

 

ohboy

Everyone is probably familiar with the image from the show Quantum Leap. A guy gets caught in some kind of loop where he jumps from person to person, righting wrongs and fixing their love lives, among other things. Great show from the 80s.

In this series of posts, I’ve been covering the things that will kill your success. These are common things that get in the way of whatever it is you want to become or do.

The quantum leap I’m talking about is the get rich quick kind, the hurry up and have success. This is the thing that everyone wants to happen. “Be a success overnight!” “Win the lottery!” “Must have it now!” That kind of thing.

See, most people when they start an endeavor think, “I’m going to write this book, publish it, and it’s going to sell a bazillion copies and I’ll never have to work again.” That actually goes for just about anything people attempt to do. “I’m going to start an xyz business and it’s going to be instantly successful.” If they aren’t saying these things, they are thinking them in some form. And of course, they already set themselves up for failure.

It’s normal to want to be a success at something. In fact, you SHOULD want to be successful at whatever it is you’re doing. That quantum leap, though? Most likely not happen.

Movies show the quantum leap all the time. The hero goes from zero to hero in less than 2 hours. The truth is, that rarely happens. When we hear of some break-out business, or author, or athlete, most likely they have taken the everyday simple steps, DAY IN AND DAY OUT to achieve their success. Sorry for the caps.

Take Andy Weir for example. Most people think he’s an overnight success. That’s not true. Andy had been writing since roughly 2002, and had multiple attempts and getting published. his novel The Martian was free on his website for awhile, and readers were clamoring for an Amazon edition. He put it together and stuck in on Amazon for 99 cents. The rest is history.

The point is, he kept at it. He didn’t just write The Martian. He wrote other things first. He kept writing. He didn’t just write a single novel. He developed a readership over time, and when that readership clamored for an amazon version, he made one. His readers bought it, which catapulted it to success. He didn’t just write it and stick in on amazon and right away become an instant success. The fact that it’s a success has little to do with some kind of flash in the pan success. It has more to do with the fact that he kept doing things over and over.

Stephen King.

Everyone knows how Carrie was turned down umpteen times. He wrote the first chapter and threw it in the trash can. His wife fished it out, read it, and told him he was on to something.

King kept submitting that book over and over and over until someone picked it up. No one saw him do that except maybe his wife. Anyone who doesn’t know that story probably thinks King was a flash in the pan.

There’s hundreds of thousands of examples of people who did tiny little steps, every day, that eventually got the ball rolling so fast down the hill it appeared to be a quantum leap.

If you’re running a business, there’s a lot of things going on behind the scenes that you know about. You may be writing, making covers for your book. Maybe marketing, using facebook ads. Interacting with your readers. Telling people about your book. Either way, it’s the little things, the seemingly small things that take you up or down.

The problem is, everyone’s just waiting for the quantum leap to come along. The people who are successful, aren’t. They know that by making a plan, sticking with it day in and day out, they will eventually achieve their goals. That mentality comes with having the right philosophy, which is something I’ll talk about later. For now, just remember this:

The only way to get where you want to go is by DOING. And THERE IS NO QUANTUM LEAP to success. That is all.

 

How to Kill Your Success, Part 1

 

I feel like a frikkin cheerleader lately.

Seriously. Give me some damn pompoms and I’ll jump up and down and wave my arms about. Give me an A…

The reason I feel this way is that I keep running into people that continually spout the opinion that not only will a very few people succeed at (__fill in the blanks___), but they keep shouting it like someone cares, as if they need to convince someone else of it as well. So I keep jumping up and down, shouting “Hey! iT DOESN’T NEED TO BE THAT WAY!” in the hopes that someone will listen.

There are three major things that will kill your success.

The first thing I’m going to cover is Attitude, because it’s the most ‘visual’ of the things that will kill your success. By visual, I mean that it’s easy to see if someone has a bad attitude.

Negative attitudes plague everyone. Writers specifically tend to suffer from either innotgoodenoughitis, icantmakealivingdoingthisneosis, or better yet, itrieditanditdidntworkformesis. I’ve heard this type of thinking called practical, pragmatic, or realistic. You know what?

It’s none of the above.

What I’m about to say isn’t just aimed at writers. It’s aimed at anyone who has ever tried to do anything that they really wanted to do, but gave up on. Maybe you tried to publish a book and it didn’t sell. Maybe you started a business but didn’t get the sales or customer base you wanted, or there wasn’t enough demand for what you were offering.

Either way, you gave up and put the blame on something else other than your own actions. Your attitude is killing your success. There, I said it. You may not want to hear this. You may think I’m full of kaka(which is partially true. Hey, I am a writer after all). When it comes to this though, you’d be wrong.

Why is attitude so important to success? Because your attitude shows your outlook. If you fail at something, or something didn’t turn out the way you wanted, and you have a positive attitude, you’ll think, “That’s okay. I learned something. I’ll try again.” If you have a negative outlook, you’ll think, “I failed, This doesn’t work, I wrote a good book but nobody wants to buy it,” etc. Instead of taking that failure, analyzing it, learning from it, and doing better next time, you let that failure beat you over the head until you don’t want it anymore.

Worse, you let that attitude infect other people by spouting your opinion wherever you go. You might call yourself a writer. Heck, you may still write, but that diseased attitude is never going to let you win. Ever. And it might drag a few people down with you.

Don’t believe me? ask anyone who has ever owned a business and succeeded. Most of them have failed, and miserably at one point and time. Your focus becomes your reality. If you focus on how big of a failure you were, guess what? you’re just going to fail more. Failing is okay. It’s part of the learning curve of well, everything. It’s normal. The more you do something, over time you will get better at it. If you’re in an industry, you learn more about it. You experiment and find things that work.

Because I can’t approach a problem without providing a solution, here’s a fix: Every day, listen to or read something positive. Get a good book such as Think and Grow Rich, The Slight Edge, or 7 Daily Habits of Highly Effective People. Or any number of other good books.

I can’t guarantee your attitude will change overnight. It probably won’t. But if you listen or read to positive things, a little bit, day in and day out, I promise you it will change. And you will be all the better for it.

You will not always succeed at everything.

But you’re never going to succeed if you don’t fix that attitude.

The Plan, Part 1

1903-wright-flyer-blueprints-free-download1-740x573

In my last post, I talked to myself about a plan I was formulating. Everything needs a plan, and writing about it keeps me honest about it, and about any success, or failures I may have along the way.

Phase 1

The first phase of my plan is simple. Restart my author facebook page and get as many people as I can to like it(and hopefully share it).

Fire up my Twitter account (Hense forth it shall be known as Tweeter) and start using it. I don’t know how many people I have following me currently, so while I’m in goal setting mode I will set the modest 2000 as my goal.

Start an e-mailing list. I’ve never done one of these. My plan for this is to offer a free short story in exchange for an email address. That will allow me to send out new book information, sales, and freebies to people who might be interested. There’s a lot that goes into this and I don’t yet understand all of it, but I’m learning.

This is the end of phase 1. getting those things up and running properly will take some time. I’m giving it two weeks from Monday.

Phase 2

Learn facebook ads. Obviously, I’m not talking about a large budget for this. I’ll keep it low to start after I’ve pestered all my current friends and family to help me spread the word.

Expand my mailing list. my initial goal on this is 500. don’t ask where that number came from. I pulled it from the aether. Or my butt, maybe. either way, it showed up in my head just now and I wrote it down, so that must be it. In phase 2, my plan is to grow it to 2000. That’s the limit of the email program I’m using. hopefully, by that point, it will pay for itself, and I can expand the number of emails I can gather.
So, to recap, and because I like bullet points:
Phase 1

  • Launch my author facebook page (done, needs more content)
  • Get the status of Tweeter, gain at least 2000 followers.
  • Start a mailing list and gain a modest sum of 500. (Seriously, I feel very modest. Typing the word modest makes me feel British, for some reason.)
  • In between phases, relaunch book.

Phase 2

  • Build my email list to 2000.
  • Start testing facebook ads.
  • Finish book 2 in the series.
  • More to come.

I will roll out phase 2 once I can Guage (with a capital G) how phase 1 is doing. Except for the book writing. that will be ongoing.

Re-releasing my first book falls somewhere in between phase 1 and 2. I don’t want to re-launch it until I have the email list and short story up and running. You can be sure that once it is, I’ll be pestering all you people.

Quick, run while you can.

Feet first, again.

foot_prints_in_the-_sand

I am part of a writing group on facebook. A wonderful place where I can get insight on writing, submit pieces for critique if needed. That sort of thing.

Out of curiosity, I made a post inquiring how many people were making a living writing. Needless to say, there weren’t many.  Some were writing copy, one was a ghostwriter. maybe a few were making a substantial amount from writing-related things such as editing(one was making 6 figures at her job and had not yet replaced it with book writing).

I also ran into comments from some people who seemed to think a writer couldn’t make a living as an author. Some seemed to think that unless a writer is selling millions of books, or making seven figures, they aren’t successful.

I took a long break from writing regularly after my father passed away. He was a big part of my endeavor to build a writing career.  He was also my initial editor and reader, and next to my wife was my biggest supporter. He helped me immensely with my first 2 books. When he died, I stopped trying.

It took a long time to get the fire burning again, but the great thing about being human is that we get to start over, to try again. To remake what was broken. (Ok, that last bit was from Lord of the Rings.)

By now you may have some questions. I will try to answer them in no particular order, and one at a time.

I don’t get it. What’s the point?

Well, the point is I’m a glutton for punishment. I Intend to prove them wrong.

How are you going to do that?

I made a plan, which I’ll explain in another blog post. The short of it is, I’m going to write more books, and fast.

This is dumb. You can’t just leave me hanging like that. 

Okay, okay. This isn’t technically a question, you know. I’ll give you the gist, then I’ll detail it in another blog post. First off my plan is to build an audience and prepare for a book launch. I want to re-launch my book, confessor, but only after I establish myself. I need to grow my online presence, set up a web page, and start building a mailing list. I also need to write, write, write.

What makes you think you can make a living writing? What makes you so special?

That’s two questions. didn’t I say one at a time?

Oh yeah.Sorry.

Sure you are. I think I can make a living because I’m an egotistical prick. That was a joke. I think I can make a living writing because I believe that I can. I also don’t like being told no. That just pisses me off. I’m stubborn and hard-headed,  and I refuse to lose. Besides, its a dream of mine. Dreams are good, right?

I guess so. What else are you going to do?

Document. I’m going to document everything.

Why? are you a glutton for punishment? Aren’t you afraid of showing your failures to the world?

Of course. Why wouldn’t I be? I’m doing it because it will be a good incentive not to quit. Sometimes, if you tell a bunch of people what your plans are, they will support you. or at the very least, give you crap if you want to quit. Say things like, “dude, you told the whole world you were going to make a living writing. are you some kind of moron?” or something like that.

I don’t know. Sounds pretty dumb to me.

That’s okay. You’re like all the other people out there telling me what I can and can’t do. I’m jumping in feet first. Again. Also, talking to myself is healthy. I promise.

But answering questions you ask yourself isn’t.

Shut up. Not you. I was talking to myself.

 

 

Sometimes, it’s fine

Over the last couple days I’ve reread my book, Confessor. In preparation for a relaunch and possibly continuing on with some more writing (I still have a sequel or 2 in mind) I wanted to fix errors, perhaps do some rewriting, etc. I’ve been away from the book long enough, several years in fact, to hopefully be objective about what I’d written and be able to see trouble spots, sections I would need to rewrite for clarity, maybe having to rewrite the book completely. 

When I’d finished it way back in 2012, I was relieved. Eccstatic. This was a novel I had poured my heart and soul into. I felt, at the time, that it had good premise, decent flow, and a semi-brilliant ending. Even though I knew better, a small part of me hoped (and prayed) that it would take off like a rocket. Of course that didn’t happen. But as I said, I knew better. A writer makes money on a body of work, not a single novel. 

At any rate, my expectation was that I was going to read it and see a disaster.  The plot would crumble beneath my perfectionist gaze.

Only it didn’t. It’s amazing what a few years can do. Sure, I found some errors. Some words that were missed. A few paragraphs I deleted all together. I added a few words for clarity. 

As a whole, though, it read well. Way better than I expected. Did I catch everything? Probably not. I still read well published author’s books and fine errors of one type or another. We are human, it happens.

However, having been away from this book for so long and coming back to it, I realized that it’s not bad. I didn’t change the story, delete any chapters, rewrite any large sections. I’m still a perfectionist, but for once I didn’t get the insane urge to scrap it and rewrite the whole thing. 

Sometimes, it’s fine, just the way it is.