2010/04/30

Quick Online Tips

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Type and Search in Local Languages with Google Virtual Keyboard

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 10:31 AM PDT

I always wondered how to type and search in Hindi on Google? A new virtual keyboard on Google search allows you to type text and do Google search in your local language.

Google Search in Hindi

To search in Hindi – I go to Google India. All language options come neatly lined up beneath the Google Search box.

google hindi

Click on Hindi and you can reach the Hindi language version of Google

google in hindi

Click on the small keyboard icon on the right side of the search box

google keyboard

Type and Search in Hindi easily.

The Google virtual keyboard is an amazing new feature and is sure to draw a huge international web user community who were just waiting for Google to implement this feature. This the first time I typed in Hindi!

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Original article: Type and Search in Local Languages with Google Virtual Keyboard
Copyright 2010. Quick Online Tips. All Rights Reserved.

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Become an Entrepreneur: Start Your Own Business for Less

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 09:18 AM PDT

Guest post by Curtis Stevens.
Do you want to become an entrepreneur and start your own business? Do you think you have a great new business idea?  It is easier than ever to start a great company that looks and sounds professional for peanuts.  With all the virtual services available today, you do not need many of the things that were traditionally required in years past.

And to top it off, some are even free.  There are countless business owners starting companies with very little money and turning them into a multi-million dollar companies years later.  Here are some tools and services you can use to help start your adventure.

Home Office

Business Identity

First things first.  Before your business can have any sort of existence, you need a company name, logo and identity.   You can have a professional custom logo made for as low as $99 to $149.  Thelogocompany.net has an impressive portfolio and are relatively cheap compared to others for how many different mockups you receive.

Once you have a logo, you will need some business cards printed. Overnightprints.com will do it for as low as $10.

Office Space

If  your business requires a place to conduct your work and meet with clients in a professional atmosphere, the cheapest way is to use what they call executive office suites.  You are renting an individual office or room in a building housing a number of other offices all rented to other business owners.  Many of them have common amenities such as furniture, phone, Internet, kitchen and meeting rooms. Web sites like readyoffices.com should help you find what is available in your area.

Telephone System

Technology has really improved and help advance telecom systems.   Do you want your business to sound like a fortune 500 company with a phone system?  You can with a service they call a virtual pbx or phone system.  You can have your own toll-free number with an auto attendant.  No matter where you are, you can sound professional and stay connected.

Companies like grasshopper.com have plans starting at only $10 a month.  There is also a service called Google Voice that is fairly cool and free.  It allows you to pick a local number that you can have forwarded to as many land lines or cell phones as you want.

Faxing

Buying a fax machine is so 1990 and using a digital or virtual fax service online is so 2010.   You can receive faxes and download or have them emailed to you.  Faxesanywhere.com is a good choice for only $7.95 a month.

Credit Card Merchant Services

Like most businesses, you may need to accept credit cards as one of your payment methods.  If you need this ability, we recommend obtaining a merchant account.  This is a professional way to accept credit cards as well as having the most products to choose from to process your cards.

Such products can be terminals, Internet gateways, wireless terminals, electronic registers, etc.   There are hundreds of processors to choose from including many of your local banks.  MerchantMaverick.com is a great review site that has reviewed almost a hundred different processors and should help you find a solid, reliable processor.

Making it Legal

Many businesses should opt to incorporate their business.  Forming an LLC has become the most popular option in recent years.  It has a lot of benefits over other structure types and is relatively easy to do.  You can use a service like legalzoom.com or do it yourself for free.  You will still have to pay the state fee regardless of how it is done.

To do it yourself, simply go to your Secretary of State’s web site.   Follow their instructions on how to file, fill out the articles of organization form and submit the papers.  If you are a sole operation, it is not necessary to file the Operating Agreement.  This agreement spells out the financial and management rights & responsibilities of the LLC members.  You can file this anytime after you form your LLC, but it is recommend to work out the details before hand with any other partners to avoid any agreement issues.  You can find templates for this file online for very cheap and even free possibly.

Number Crunching the Easy Way

Hiring someone to do your book keeping can be expensive.  You can do it yourself for not very much.  There are several online services that charge very reasonable prices, such as outright.com and freshbooks.com.  Freeshbooks even has a free plan to get you started.

Curtis Stevens is with Gotmerchant.com, a merchant account provider that helps merchants accept credit cards. They also provide ecommerce tips to businesses through their company blog.

Image by Ali Edwards under CC license. You can also submit guest posts and share your business tips.

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Original article: Become an Entrepreneur: Start Your Own Business for Less
Copyright 2010. Quick Online Tips. All Rights Reserved.

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6 Steps to Get Your First Affiliate Sale

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 08:17 AM PDT

Guest post by Forest Vance.
How to get your first Affiliate Sale? With so much conflicting information out there, a different ‘method’ for success around every corner, which one do you pick when you’re getting started with affiliate marketing?

Before you go and spend a few hundred bucks on the next guru product launch, here’s a free, sure-fire method to help you make your first money online – without investing a single dime!

Make money online

1. Sign Up For Clickbank and pick a product to promote

Sign up for ClickBank as an affiliate if you don’t have an account already. It’s free to sign up, and there are a huge number of affiliate programs to pick from. Clickbank is one of the easiest, fastest, and highest paying affiliate networks to start with – although this method would work just as well with many others.

Next, you’re going to go to the Marketplace and find a product to promote!

This needs to be a solid product with an appealing pitch page – would you buy it yourself (or ideally, have you already)?  Also, it helps if you’re interested in the subject. You’re going to have to create some content with this method, so pick a topic you can at least tolerate, and ideally are passionate about.

The last criteria is that the product is actually selling – a gravity of 25 or more is a good indicator. This will tell you that it’s a product that has sold and has a track record of success.

2. Keyword Research

Go to Google’s external keyword tool. Enter your target keyword phrase – the most basic phrase that has to do with your product. For example, if I’m promoting a product that helps you get six pack abs, I would type ’six pack abs’ into the search box.

You’re looking here for search results of 1,000 – 10,000 global monthly search phrases that have to do with your product.  Make a list of all these keyword phrases.

3. Research your Competition

Do a Google search for each target keyword in quotes. Here, you’re looking for under 10,000 optimized results. More than 10,000 optimized results and throw it away.

Also, look at your general competition for each keyword phrase. Are the sites you’re going up against on the first page established sites with thousands of articles? Or are they web 2.0 type of properties that you can take over?

Make a list of all the keywords you’re left with.

4. Build Your Blog With Blogger

Now, you’re going to make a Blogger blog using your ‘#1 keyword’ as the title.

For example, ‘http://sixpackabs.blogspot.com’ would be ideal if the product you’ve picked to promote helps you get six pack abs.

But since that’s probably already taken, we can add: Dashes – ‘http://www.six-pack-abs.com’

Or alternate phrases, like – ‘http://www.sixpackabssecrets.com’ or ‘http://www.sixpackabsworkouts.com’

The important thing is that your target keyword is in the url of your blog somewhere.

Now, write posts around keyword phrases you’ve found. The more you write, the better your results will be. Make it a goal to write one 300-400 word helpful article a day based around the keyword you’ve found.

Insert your product affiliate link into these posts. Link to it when relevant, and you can also do a review post to talk about the positives and negatives of your product. Also, make sure to make your links very visible – this is how you’re going to get paid!!

5. Build Links and Drive Traffic

There are lots of ways to build links and drive traffic to your blog – among them are:

- Blog commenting
- Forum posting
- Article marketing
- Social bookmarking
- Guest posting

These are just a few methods – the idea is that you’re out there getting the word out about your blog and getting people to check it out. You need to be out there leaving at least several of these links every day.

6. Rinse, Repeat, and Get Paid!!

Keep writing content for your blog, keep building links and driving traffic, and you’ll make your first affiliate sale in no time!! If you make a point of creating new content for your blog and building backlinks every day, you’ll see your first affiliate sale in the first few weeks, if not much sooner, and your efforts will compound as you build your business.

So there you have a simple, easy and free system to make your first affiliate sale. Good luck with making some money online!!

Forest Vance is a blogger, internet marketer, entrepreneur, and personal development junkie. Visit his money making blogs blog to find out more about the power of using free blogs to make money online and to get your detailed 30 day plan for generating your very own cash-generating mini blogs. Image credits to newtonfreelibrary under CC. You can also submit guest posts and share your affiliate marketing tips.

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Original article: 6 Steps to Get Your First Affiliate Sale
Copyright 2010. Quick Online Tips. All Rights Reserved.

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About Today: How to Buy a Hat for the Kentucky Derby

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From Jen Hubley, your About Today Editor
This Saturday is Derby Day, which means that I will drag everyone I can find to a local watering hole, plunk giant hats on their heads, and force them to watch horse racing while drinking mint juleps.

Kentucky Derby Hat Buying Guide
If this doesn't sound like a good time to you, you are either a poor sport ... or haven't yet found the right hat. I will give you a hint: The bigger, the better.

How to Make a Mean Mint Julep
I would like to construct a hat with mint juleps on it, perhaps affixed to straws like those beer helmets people wear to baseball games. ONLY SO MUCH MORE ELEGANT.

Kentucky Derby Contenders
There is also a horse race today, although in the confusion of hats and beverages, one could forgive you for forgetting that.

Kentucky Derby Visitor's Guide
Unless, of course, you're lucky enough to be in Louisville today, and then you'll hear more about horses in the next 24 hours than you did during the whole of your life previously. (This goes for horse people as well as for newbies.)

 


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An Oil-Driven Disaster

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THE PROGRESS REPORT
April 30, 2010

by Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Zaid Jilani, and Alex Seitz-Wald


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ENVIRONMENT

An Oil-Driven Disaster

On Tuesday, a sudden explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig, located 40 miles off the shore in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers. The rig is owned by a Switzerland-based company, Transocean Ltd, and leased to British Petroleum (BP). Following the evacuation of 115 other crewmembers, emergency responders immediately began trying to contain the emerging ecological and public health disaster posed by the massive outpouring of nearly 210,000 gallons of crude oil a day from the sea floor. "It may be two or three months before they can stop the discharge," said Michael Sole, head of Florida's Environmental Protection Department. As thousands of gallons of oil rush towards the U.S. coastline, federal officials are scrambling to contain it before the damage devastates entire ecosystems. White House senior adviser David Axelrod told ABC's George Stephanopoulos today that no "additional drilling has been authorized and none will until we find out what happened here and whether there was something unique and preventable here." As workers seek to mitigate the damage caused by the spill, policymakers must note the regulatory failures that helped contribute to the disaster and examine the dangers of offshore drilling while reasserting our intention to transition away from an oil-driven economy.

'WORST ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER IN DECADES': Although BP originally stated that the spill amounted to 42,000 gallons of oil a day, the company later agreed with the U.S. Coast Guard's figure of 210,000 gallons a day. The nonprofit SkyTruth, which specializes in analyzing satellite and aerial data, also warns that the spill may be releasing as much as 850,000 gallons a day. There were also concerns that the hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil surging from the spill would rush towards the "mouth of the Mississippi River, which runs up the middle of the country," and threaten "the wetland areas of the river that are home to hundreds of species of wildlife and near some oyster grounds." "As it is now, it's already looking like this could be the worst oil spill since the Valdez," John Hocevar, oceans campaign director for Greenpeace USA, told MSNBC. "In terms of total quantity of oil released, it seems this will probably fall short of Exxon Valdez. But because of the habitat, the environmental impact will be worse." Yesterday morning, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) declared a state of emergency. President Obama has already promised to deploy "every single resource" to try to contain the environmental disaster, deploying officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior, and Environmental Protection Agency. Meanwhile, the Navy is deploying 66,000 feet of inflatable boom and several skimming systems to Gulfport, MS, to try to contain the incoming oil. As of this morning, the oil spill has reached "the mouth of the Mississippi River" and the coast of Louisiana, threatening to become "America's worst environmental disaster in decades, threatening hundreds of species of fish, birds and other wildlife in one of the world's richest marine environments."

BP'S BAD BEHAVIOR: While the cause of the fire and explosion on Deepwater Horizon is still uncertain, one thing is clear: BP, which was in charge of operating the rig, has a history of fighting tough regulations and safety inspections, misleading federal authorities about the dangers of a potential oil spill, and actively advocating for more relaxed safety standards -- much like Massey Energy Co. repeatedly fought tougher regulation of mines. Following a March 2005 explosion at a BP refinery, the company assembled a blue-ribbon panel to examine the company's safety practices. The commission concluded that "the oil company skimped on spending and failed to take other steps" that would have prevented the explosion, writing that "BP had not learned from a long string of past accidents, had 'a false sense of confidence' about safety, 'did not always ensure that adequate resources were effectively allocated to support or sustain a high level' of safety in the industrial process and rotated refinery chiefs too quickly." "BP gets it, and I get it too," chief executive John Browne said following the commission's report. "I recognize the need for improvement." However, a Wall Street Journal investigation found that BP "was one of several companies that opposed efforts to tighten up safety procedures offshore." These efforts, led by the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS), would have "required lessees and operators to have their safety and environmental management system programs audited at least once every three years by either an independent third party or by qualified personnel designated within the company," replacing the "voluntary approach" adopted in 1994. In a September 2009 letter to the MMS, BP said that it is "not supportive" of additional regulation of the industry and instead supported "voluntary programs" to secure the safety of its sites. New MMS guidelines had not yet been implemented, and the $600 million rig had "passed three federal inspections, the most recent on April 1," suggesting that the federal government needs to take a more robust approach to site inspection. Additionally, BP's oil exploration plan, which "allowed it to avoid filing a more detailed site-specific plan," mapped out a worst-case scenario that a spill would release 162,000 gallons a day -- which pales in comparison to the volume of the current spill. Meanwhile, as a Center for American Progress report notes, BP's Q1 profits rose 133 percent from just a year ago, while consumers were gouged at the pump. Unfortunately, other oil companies have joined BP in opposing tougher regulation. Chevron and Exxon Mobil both also submitted comments in opposition to the new MMS rule. Responding to the disaster, Louisiana shrimpers have filed a lawsuit against BP, Transocean, Cameron International Corp., which "supplied the rig's blow-out prevention equipment," and Halliburton Energy Services Inc., which was responsible for "engaging in cementing operations of the [rig's] well and well cap." The suit alleges that the companies' negligence and are responsible for the massive economic disaster.

THE DANGERS OF 'DRILL BABY DRILL': The disaster at the BP rig underscores the dangers of pursuing the simplistic, oil-driven energy policy proposed by right-wing figures. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin summed up this policy during the 2008 presidential campaign with the slogan "drill baby drill," which ended up being a chant at the 2008 Republican National Convention. Since then, conservatives and the oil industry have joined hands to continue to push oil as the answer to our energy problems. In 2008, Newt Gingrich began American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF), the casino-funded 527 that used the slogan "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less" to promote the false idea that new offshore drilling could lower gas prices. On its website, ASWF is continuing its petition for offshore drilling, and other oil-industry front groups -- American Petroleum Institute, Energy Tomorrow, Institute for Energy Research, Americans for Prosperity, Heritage Foundation, and the Institute for 21st Century Energy -- are still promoting increased drilling and attacking green economy legislation that would reduce our dependence on oil. Meanwhile Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol continues to insist that offshore drilling is "quite safe." When Obama was asked a recent town hall meeting about his move toward approving "significant oil and gas exploration off America's coasts," he claimed that "oil rigs today don't generally cause spills" and said that "even during Katrina, the spills didn't come from the oil rigs." Yet the truth is that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita actually caused 124 offshore spills totaling 743,700 gallons of oil and condensate from platforms, rigs, and pipelines. As J.R. Tolbert of Environment Virginia writes, "Every day that the U.S. Senate fails to pass clean energy and climate legislation, we are putting our environment and economy at risk." CAP has warned repeatedly of the economic dangers to our dependence on oil, and of the need to accelerate our shift to the clean energy economy to create more jobs and preserve the health of our planet from the ravages of climate change.
 

UNDER THE RADAR

HEALTH CARE -- SCHWARZENEGGER BECOMES THE FIRST REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR TO SUPPORT HEALTH CARE REFORM: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), who had previously described national health care reform as "health care to nowhere" infected with "bribes, deals and loopholes," announced Thursday that California will fully comply with the new law. In a news conference at the University of California at Davis Medical Center, Schwarzenegger broke with the host of Republican governors and attorneys general attempting to sue the federal government over the law, saying, "California is not part of this fight, and I'll tell you why. When you don't have health insurance and you go to the hospital, you are forcing other people to pay for your healthcare." While saying the plan is "not without flaws," the governor nonetheless called it "a good law," adding that "it is the time for California to move ahead with it, thoughtfully and responsibly." Schwarzenegger's endorsement makes him the first Republican governor to publicly support health reform, delivering a major victory for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who been trying to make clear how the law is beneficial to the states. In fact, Schwarzenegger attempted a similar reform of California's health care system in 2007. His plan would have required Californians -- even undocumented immigrants -- to purchase health insurance coverage, mandated businesses with 10 or more employees to offer insurance or pay a fee, and expanded public health programs. Schwarzenegger's proposal would also have prohibited insurers from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions and required companies to spend at least 85 percent of their premium proceeds on patient care.
 


THINK FAST

The U.S. economy grew at 3.2 percent annual rate in the first quarter of this year, marking three straight quarters of growth. "Consumer spending growth has remained solid thanks to more hiring and better financial conditions," said Aaron Smith, a senior economist at Moody's Economy.com.

White House senior adviser David Axelrod told ABC News today that President Obama will not allow any new offshore oil drilling "until we find out what happened" in the Gulf of Mexico spill. Axelrod said no new drilling will proceed until "there is an adequate review of what happened here and what is being proposed elsewhere."

Louisiana health officials have ordered air quality testing after a "pungent fuel smell" blanketed "much of coastal Louisiana" and New Orleans. People along Florida's Gulf Coast also noticed an "oily odor" that "leaves a bitter taste in your mouth" permeating the air. Officials say the smell could be from the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and are warning that people may experience "nausea, vomiting or headaches."

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) is calling on top officials from ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, BP, and Shell to testify before a House committee on energy and climate change to address the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and climate change legislation. "From the health of our economy to the health of our environment, it's time for the American public to hear from the oil companies," Markey said.

Major League Baseball's annual All-Star game is scheduled to be played in Phoenix this year. But Arizona's passage of an extreme anti-immigrant law is jeopardizing the state's hosting rights. "I think Major League Baseball, with 40 percent Latino ballplayers at all levels, should make a statement that it will not hold its All-Star Game in a state that discriminates against 40 percent of their people," said Rep. José Serrano (D-NY).

Lawsuits were filed in Phoenix and Tucson yesterday challenging Arizona's new immigration law. "This law sanctions police officers to use racial profiling in dealing with the immigrant community," said National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders chairman Miguel Rivera. A Tucson city patrol officer said the law "would seriously impede law enforcement investigations."

Top Senate Democrats led by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) laid out the contours of a proposed immigration reform bill and invited Republicans to join them in pursuing it. The outline includes enhancing border security, creating a fraud-proof Social Security card, and allowing undocumented immigrants to stay legally after admitting wrongdoing, paying fees and taxes, and passing a criminal background check.

A Center for Responsive Politics review of recently filed lobbying reports indicates that "companies, trade associations, unions and other groups spent nearly $1 billion on lobbying during the first three months of 2010." The $903 million spent in the first quarter "is larger than overall lobbying expenses in three out of four quarters last year, and it represents an 11 percent increase" from the first three months of 2009.

"Federal prosecutors have opened an investigation into trading at Goldman Sachs, raising the possibility of criminal charges against the Wall Street giant." The preliminary investigation by prosecutors for the Southern District of New York comes two weeks after the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil fraud suit against the Wall Street firm.

And finally: U.S. troops in Afghanistan remake Lady Gaga and Beyonce's hit song "Telephone."
 


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BLOG WATCH

Thirty-three retired generals and admirals say climate change poses a threat to national security

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Glenn Beck's "unhinged" theory that Puerto Rican statehood in a Marxist plot to destroy America.

Gallup's new poll showing a majority of Americans support Arizona's new immigration law is "very misleading."

If Republicans are really concerned about community banks, they should support a bank tax.

The mayor of Phoenix vows to sue over his state's immigration law, saying innocent children and seniors are at risk of being arrested.

Media had to donate to anti-choice organization in order to cover Sarah Palin's speech.

The enduring sadness of "both sides do it."

Bad amendments to fear in the Wall Street reform debate.


 

DAILY GRILL

"[The financial reform bill] gives incentives for irresponsibility by, in effect, guaranteeing banks' survival by establishing a $50 billion rescue fund."
-- Conservative commentator Dick Morris, 4/29/10

VERSUS

"[T]he bill makes it clear that the money [from the fund] must be used to liquidate -- not keep alive -- failing firms."
-- PolitiFact.com, 3/25/10
 


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