1db2 2006 · July · Andy White’s Old Blog

Archive for July, 2006

Mind Mapping for all

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

Must tell you about a great free Mind Mapping tool I’ve been trying out. It’s called FreeMind and it rocks.

FreeMind is a program that allows you to produce a Mind Map. OK, so what’s a Mind Map?

Have you ever tried to write an article and just found yourself staring at a blank sheet? Have you ever tried to think through an idea but ended up going round in mental circles? Well if you have, Mind Maps can help.

Instead of writing things down in a linear fashion you start by writng a central theme or idea in the centre of the sheet. Then you start writing related ideas branching out from this. Try and get 6 or 7 of these first level ideas down as quickly as possible. Now start doing the same branching process from these branches so you end up with a kind of tree of ideas.

The idea is that you avoid the log jam of linear thought and free the mind. Try it, you might like it.

If you get into it there are some good books on the subject. I’ve read The Mind Map Book by Tony Buzan which is a great introduction.

Internet Marketing #2: Search Engine Optimisation

Monday, July 24th, 2006

It’s all about getting more of the right people to visit your website. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimizing your site and its content in order to achieve the highest positions in the search engines possible. Achieving this will mean more good quality traffic to your site. This podcast gives an introduction to the main concepts of SEO and the common pitfalls. There are also plenty of hands on hints and tips for maximizing your SEO efforts.

Listen Now:

icon for podpress  #2: Search Engine Optimisation [33:50m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Technology: Feel the fear and do it anyway

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

It’s been really hot here in the UK for quite a while now and I found myself purchasing a cool drink the other morning on the way to the office. I presented my goods and waited for the inevitable request for payment.

The lady froze, a look of utter horror washed over her face. At first I thought there was someone behind me with a gun.

“It’s gone black!”, she cried, “The screen’s gone black!”

“So you can’t take payment,” I said hopefully…

Now the point of this story is that maybe quite a few of us are held to ransom by technology in this way. We expect and hope that our devices will do what they are supposed to do - all the time. But when they don’t - we become paralysed with fear.

Perhaps we need to become a little more familiar with the technology that we commonly use - get to know all it’s ins and outs - it’s little quirks. This will give us a feeling of power of our technology - it’s then less of an issue if it goes wrong - we’ll probably be able to fix it or at least, have an idea what might be wrong. This feels a lot better than blind panic.

I like BirdDogDigital’s podcast entry on this subject - you can find it here.

By the way, you’ll be glad to know that eventually another lady came down to help, we were able to use another till, and I had to pay for my drink :-(

Internet Marketing #1: An introduction to online marketing

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

A series of tips and practical advice on how to get the best from Internet Marketing. Hosted by me, alongside Daniel Rowles and Jeremy Jacobs from Academy Internet, the show gives access to real insider tips and advice from one of the UKs leading Internet Marketing Agencies.

In this first episode of a brand new series, I talk with Daniel and Jeremy to get a feel for just what Internet Marketing is all about. We also talk about some of the topics to be covered in future episodes.

Listen Now:

icon for podpress  #1: An introduction to online marketing [22:29m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Virus and trojan woes - stacking the cards in your favour

Monday, July 17th, 2006

I had a call this afternoon from a lady in distress.

She told me how her PC had been behaving strangely the last couple of days with unfixable “virus found” messages and general slowness. She told me how her son’s PC, on the same network, had also exhibited some “anomolies” recently. She told me of her worry that important files might go missing and how much time she had lost.

Sadly, this is a familiar situation.

Let me give you a couple of things you can do in advance, to lessen the chances of this happening to you. (more…)


What is a podcast - and why should you care?

Monday, July 17th, 2006

One of the most common questions I get asked is “What is a podcast?” or “What is podcasting?” Let me tell you a story… don’t worry, it’ll be short ;-)

In my earlier days I used to belong to an organisation which required us to learn a lot of new stuff very quickly so we could make immediate use of it. The way they used to facilitate this was by means of cassette tapes. We used to get these tapes about once a week - they were crammed full of information straight from the experts on the topics we needed to know about.

Now the great thing about this was that we could listen to these tapes in dead time. What is dead time I hear you ask. It’s that time where you can’t really do anything useful - like driving, waiting in a queue, waiting in a doctors waiting room etc. So, for example, when we were driving, we used to just plug these tapes in, one after the other. In fact we got to the stage where we used to measure distances in terms of tapes rather than miles. The amazing thing was, we learned an incredible amount of useful stuff, very quickly using this technique. Einstein, I feel, was correct when he said that if you study something for just 15 minutes a day, you can become an expert within a year (if, indeed he did say that).

Converting documents to PDF

Saturday, July 15th, 2006

Folks often ask me “How can I convert documents to PDF?”

This is my usual response.

If you don’t want to go out and purchase Adobe Acrobat, the first choice would be to use Open Office (discussed earlier in this blog), which has a built-in PDF converter.
If you don’t want to install Open Office, try Pdf995. Download and install their PDF995 product.

Now it’s free as long as you don’t mind seeing an ad each time you use it. It’s actually 2 files and you need to install both of them. The end result is that a new printer named PDF995 appears in your printer list. When you want to convert any file into a PDF, simply send it to your PDF995 printer instead - simple.