How To: Customize Your Google Home page

I remember using it with Live Search.  Then Bing happened last year.  And this morning I noticed Google do it.  To emulate is to flatter.  So does Google now.  Google has begun to roll out it’s home page customization and is likely to roll across the world in the next few weeks.

Open your Google Home page and you would notice at the lower left corner the option, ‘Change background image‘.  Click on it and you are taken to the next screen, with options: ‘From my computer, My Picasa Web photos, Public gallery and Editor’s Picks’.  Choose any one of them and your ‘Google Home Page Customize’ is complete.  You would be privy to your own ‘Customized Google Home Page’.

"Google home page"

Google Home page customize options

Click on the image to magnify.

You already have your background pictures, frames and what not. Do you really need it?  I mean do you really need to ‘Customize Google Home Page’? At the end of the day what matters is, does Google deliver what you search for?  Not all that eye candy.  What do you think?  Does customizing your Google home page help? How?

You love Bing because it offers you better pictures?  Does it matter?  How do those pictures help you, on the homepage?

* By the way, this Google Home Page Customization works only on Google.com not on any other country domain, like for example Google.us or Google.uk or Google.ru  🙁

Care to share your thoughts!   Leave a comment, now.

Don’t worry I will not spam you. I promise.  Neither will I share your email id with anyone else.

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Ever Heard of Solar Christmas Lights?

Ever Heard of Solar Christmas Lights?

This year Solar Christmas Lights are going to spread the message through out the world that festivals do contribute to making this world go green.   During the festive season Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs are expected to raise the awareness of people about green and clean energy.  Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs will also increase the focus on Solar power and hopefully technologies that are involved in harnessing the abundant Solar energy will get a boost.

What are LEDs ?

Solar Christmas Lights are made of LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes) that consume much less energy than your traditional tungsten filament or CFL light.  They are more efficient compared to the traditional lights that need color filters.

How do they work?

A light sensor when triggered by sun light, activates the solar cells on a controller board, which in turn charge a  battery.  The energy charged battery powers the Solar Christmas Light LEDs.  A bright Sun produces about 1000 watts of energy for each square meter of the earth.  Solar Christmas lights burn brightly for almost up to fifteen hours after a full charge.

Solar Christmas Tree at Rockfeller Center, New York

Energy Efficient

Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs are energy efficient lights with distinctive look.  They are cost efficient and last longer.  Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs do not burn out but fade out over a period of time.  Besides a single bulb fading out in a string does not affect the other LEDs.  The energy savings made compared to the traditional lights is quite substantial.

Lasts Long

Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs work for almost ten years.  This is almost twice the time of the incandescent bulb.

Safe

Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs are safer too. Since they do not generate much heat they are safer to hang on the Christmas trees.   Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs come in durable and sturdy plastic cases and do not break easily.  Hence they are comparatively safer and are less risky especially when children and pets are around.

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What are wide angle lenses?

What are wide angle lenses?

A wide angle lens gives you a larger view of the foreground.  This is because the focal length of a wide angle lens is shorter than a focal length of a normal lens. Wide angle lens also influences the perspective of the shot. It depends completely on the location relative to the subject.

Let’s presume you are composing the shot of a pup, you are focusing on the pup which is in the foreground, right?  Now the background turns blurry, when you use wide angle lens.  The distance is compressed. See this example here.

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Actually this is a post that I wrote when I came across a project on one of  the freelance sites, that I thought was challenging.  It was  challenging for two reasons.  One, I had to write about a technical aspect – a wide angle lens and two, in one hundred words.  Though I love photography it is limited to just admiring a good picture.  I wrote this post to let know the potential client that I am capable of handling these kind of projects too.  They involve research and I believe the client deserves the best effort.

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Product Description – Jewellery

Beautiful Diamond Engagement Ring

Look into her eyes, hold her elegant finger and slide on this exquisitely crafted diamond ring. A beautiful diamond engagement ring that is sure to draw all the best wishes in the world to your most loved one.  Discreetly opulent, this diamond engagement ring displays the diamond’s unique cut, performed by fingers of a master craftsman.  Ensconced in a ethereal setting, the set of prongs that hold the diamond form an intricate  design.  The unique cut of this beautiful diamond is accentuated by a single row of glittering sidestones on the 18K gold band. You will be appreciated for your excellent taste in choosing this Diamond Engagement Ring! Oh, how she deserves it!

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Increase Your oDesk Rating 5/5

I came across Mike Stratton on oDesk way back in 2009.  He had then posted a project Increase Your ODesk Rating 5/5 –  Fictional Story of Encouragement. The intriguing project title  drew me to it.  Leave alone the ranking and the money, Mike was talking about, it was for a noble cause.  Besides it would help me assess my creative skills.  Mike should like it enough to publish it on his site.

I did not submit my bid immediately.  I had to make sure that I had something to write about in Mike’s own words , “a personal story of encouragement/ empowerment”.  I had to write a fictional story in about 500 words.

When I woke up the next morning, I had the story outline.  When I sat before my keyboard it took me something like sixty minutes to complete it. You can read the story here.

Thank you Mike, for giving me that break.

Please, leave your comment here to let me know what you think about Mike, his initiative and my story.

Thank you.

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3 Tips to bid on Guru’s Best Projects and become a Winning Guru

This is about a feature  “Add to Watch List” on Guru.com, where you go to pick your freelance projects.

You are busy.  You are busy with your content.  You are that busy you don’t even have time to log into your Guru account and check out those projects. And that is pretty bad news. You are busy now. But what about tomorrow, when your current assignment ends?   You will have to find a new project, bid on it and win it to keep you occupied.  It could take an other three days to three weeks and may be beyond.

Don’t despair.  Not all is lost.  Guru has a nifty feature.  “Add to Watch List”Log into your Guru account.  Click on the “Get Work” tab.  Set your search filters of your choice and now you have a list of all those projects that are open.  Neatly tabulated under various headings and they include Employer Statistics too.  IMHO, this is the most important column.  It informs you a great deal about this client.  (Read Employer = Potential Client = Client.)  It informs you if this potential client had paid her bills.  The number of projects she had posted and the kind of rating the providers gave them.

1 – The FIVE STAR rated client is the best.  That means none of our clan had any issues with this client.

2 – How much did this client pay?  A couple of thousands.  Oh.. I like this client more.  She’s been around for some time.  She knows how the system works.   She deserves your complete professional attention.  One you would like to retain for ever and be in her black book.

3 – Does she pay all her bills?  She does. Fantastic.  You ought not miss her projects.

What do you do now?  You are busy with your current project and yet do not want to leave this excellent potential client.

That’s where your Guru’s feature “Add to Watch List” comes in.  You just click on that tab “Add Watch List” and it goes into your “Add Watch List”.

Now you can go to your My Account and there under your “Manage Your Proposals”, reach your  “Watch List”.  Click on it, to go to your “Watch List”.Filter your watch list projectsYou can also set your filters from the drop-down list that provides you four options.  The first one is “Newly Listed”, then “Ending First”, the third is “Project Budget – Highest first” and the fourth is the “lowest first”.  Set your filters here and Guru will deliver all your watch-list projects  neatly tabulated.

At one glance you can now check out the best of the projects, the best paymaster, saving you plenty of time.Guru Add to Watchlist OptionsThere are also other filters that hide all those projects you have applied for, projects that viewed, those that need on-site work and vendors only projects.

Keep working on your projects, make some time go to your “Watch List” and present your bids.  That way you can keep both your hands busy all the time.  What you say?  🙂

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My Favorite Feedback

Carl Shapiro said, “Positive feedback makes the strong grow stronger and the weak grow weaker.”

It is the feedback like this that keeps me going!  This is one of the many positive feedback’s that my client’s at oDesk gave me. You can read them here.

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3 Simple Tips To Win Paying Jobs on oDESK

As a professional freelance writer who is interested in building an online freelance writing career, there were times when I used to quite often visit oDesk.  The frequent visits were to check for openings and apply for almost all the potential jobs.  And then I used to get messages like this:

“Hello Anil,

You have not been selected for the job opening ‘ Ghost Writer‘.
* Reason candidacy was ended: Job Opening Expired
from oDesk.(Emphasis mine).The undeniable underlining hope was that it would take me closer to a successful freelance writing career.  I was yet to learn the tricks of the freelancing trade.  I did not know then that I was wasting my time and effort applying for some of those ‘freelance content writing openings’ that were very clearly saying ‘DO NOT APPLY’.  Surprised?  Don’t be.

The signs were all there.  The thing was I did not know how to read all those signs then.  I do not claim to be any wiser now.  But then I think I am better off from where I began working on oDesk, having spent more than 50 productive oDesk hours (you can check my oDesk history) and made some pretty decent money with freelance writing.  It included, website content writing, product descriptions (more about it in future), press release news, ghost writing for employment related blogs, some Internet research apart from other jobs.

Those little known ways that helped me, didn’t they?  So I would like to share them with you so you too can save some time.  You can invest that time in improving your chances of quickly finding ‘paying jobs’ and make some more money.

The First Tip
I subscribed to “Job alerts” a feature that you will find under your ‘My Profile” tab.  Half the clutter is out.

I get my job alerts into my inbox.  The jobs of my choice walk into my ‘inbox’.The Second Tip
When I visit the job posting on oDesk, the first thing even before I read the job posting is, check to see if the ‘buyer‘ is ‘oDesk Verified” for ‘Payment’

If the buyer is not ‘verified’ then you need to think twice before applying.  Is this buyer really serious about the job?  IMHO, I do not think this buyer is either professional or serious.  Out goes this from the list.The Third Tip
I check the ‘Buyer Facts’.  If this buyer became a member and posted this job the same day, this buyer too is ‘out‘.

The reason?  Well, I think this buyer doesn’t need my attention because, this buyer is not willing to tell me how she is going to pay me and when she is going to pay me, if at all she is going to pay me.So, there you have a buyer, who is not “oDesk payment verified” and the ‘oDesk Buyer Facts’ has nothing to tell you, so what would you do?

You love the gig and want to ‘do’ it.  Go ahead.  Be my guest. You can always give this gig a try and may be you will be introducing a great buyer to all of us here at oDesk.

Bonus:
The bonus is you can avoid all those “Candidacy Ended“, “project was canceled“, “Project expired” messages and unnecessary disappointments that keep crawling into your in box.
* With thanks to Brian Clark, the Copyblogger.
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Ideal dress for your baby

“Children are a handful sometimes, A heart full all the time…”

During the first few weeks the baby‘s skin is soft and tender and is growing. It is rich with the hormones from it’s parents. This may cause some rashes which disappear after some time. These rashes do not cause any harm to the child. However it is advisable to have the opinion of the the gynecologist that delivered the baby or a pediatrician that is attending the baby.

Any cloth made of natural fiber is best. However cotton tops the list. Soft colors are ideal. Strong colors retain heat. So are best avoided.

Babies grow fast. The dress you choose for the baby should be a size large than her. It is ideal that you choose clothes that are easy to change. The neck opening should be large enough to help remove it over the head without any discomfort to the baby. It is better that the dress does not have any buttons for they can come off and cause unnecessary concern.

Baby’s fingers may get caught in the lace which adorn the dress. So it is best to avoid clothes with lace work. Though a lot of fancy dresses are available in the market they are best left alone. The stitching on the cloth should be soft.

Baby’s dress needs to be changed quite often. So make sure there are plenty of them available. Use a disinfectant while washing the baby’s clothes. Some disinfectants may irritate the baby. Look for those signs. Baby crying soon after dress change could be a reason. Dress that you choose for the baby need not require pressing. As long as the baby is comfortable with the dress you need not unnecessarily worry about it.

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