Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Swag Bucks!

My girlfriend has been getting Swag Bucks for several months now, and I became curious about it. I am always skeptical about these "earn easy money online" things.

After trying it for the past 24 hours, I am beginning to understand the appeal. You can earn Swag Bucks by doing several silly things. Basically, it's their way of getting you to allow them to show you some ads and special offers at no cost to you. You get Swag Bucks for using their toolbar (which is optional), using their search engine, entering Swag Codes, watching a bunch of videos, and other things like that. You even get Swag Bucks when your friends sign up and earn through searching.

I am already at 182. Granted, I've been working at it, but if I did my math correctly, I'd still get roughly 10-15 Swag Bucks doing the very easiest tasks which take two or three minutes in all. A purchase of $5 for your PayPal account (which in turn can be used for anything you want) would take about 60 days to earn enough Swag Bucks to get (700 are needed). This, on top of my Google AdSense earnings, would account for at least $5 per month, but probably more.

My point is, I see Swag Bucks as a worthy program to sign up for. It's not a lot, but it will add up. I view it like having a bunch of money in your bank account and you earn a small amount of interest on that money. It isn't to be taken super seriously, but it isn't worthless either.

I recommend giving it a try. Click the banner below to sign up. That button will also use me as a referal, so I will get some Swag Bucks when you sign up. If you like it, tell your friends about it!

Search & Win

Friday, November 12, 2010

I'm Officially Licensed to Do Business!

I went down to the Commissioner of Revenue's office and got my business license for Damian's Computer Services. Because I only projected a small income between now and the end of December, my business license was free (although I still had to pay $10 to register my name with the county). I'm really excited about this. Combined with my job at the grocery store, I hope to start making a halfway decent income for a change. I will be doing quality computer repair work for very cheap, and I am hoping to be able to make a name for myself around town.

Now to get my business cards ready...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Best Customer Experience Ever!

I had a lady today use Easy Shop, the scan-as-you-shop experience our store offers to shoppers. Randomly, we are required to give audits. The attendant's Easy Shop gun will go off when it wants to audit someone.

I went to give this lady an audit, and she seemed fine at first. I found she didn't scan the eggs, and I told her about this politely by suggesting my gun wasn't seeing the eggs on her order. She insisted she scanned them. As I continued, she asked if I was scanning every item. I told her I only had to scan some of the items out of each bag. She thought that was obsurd.

She got more angry as I went on, and at one point she requested a manager. I didn't hear her clearly, so I politely asked her what she said. She replied "I said I want to speak to a MANAGER!", yelling really loud! I called the manager up, and he came on by. She was dumping all the groceries out of her bags by this point as she was yelling at the top of her lungs about how she was never shopping there again and how she's spent thousands of dollars there in the past.

We discovered that she had apparently done something wrong (mistakenly or intentionally, we don't know) at another store because her Easy Shop status was blue, which is one step from red (where the customer is banned from using Easy Shop). It was the very first time she had ever used it at our store. We don't know why it was blue, but the manager is looking into the matter at this time.

Anyway, that was the craziest customer experience I have ever had. I'd say it was pretty epic!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

4.5 Years Later: My First Google AdSense Check

Last week, I received my very first check from Google Inc. I've been part of their Google AdSense program since February of 2006, and I finally made enough back in July to get paid. I can't say how much I got paid since that would be a violation of the Google AdSense Terms of Service, but it's not anything to brag about when you take into consideration how long it took to meet the threshold.

The YouTube Partner program has dealt a modest amount of help to the revenue I earn each month, but it's hard to come up with videos that will go viral. I have had plenty of hit-and-miss moments, and the videos that have proven to be revenue generators are of a minority. My latest video for example hasn't done anything, even though I've done most everything I can think of to get it to pop up in the YouTube search results:

The experience I have had with YouTube and the Google AdSense program in general has taught me one thing -- no matter how much you think you know about how to get people's attention, you don't yet know enough. At least, that's true in my case. I would love to sit back and watch the professionals do their stuff and see videos go from nowhere to everywhere like magic. There's a method to it, and I haven't yet mastered it.

So, will I have to wait another 4.5 years to get paid again, or will I get this video thing truly figured out before then? I think my biggest problem is I never know who I want to be or what I want to be about when I do videos, and that isn't helping my efforts any. Maybe someone can help guide me in the right direction.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Have A Car

After my '99 Ford Contour was sold for scrap, I was officially out of a car. I had to drive my brother's old Chevy for two months, and that thing was ready to die itself.

Last week, I finally got myself another car. For $2500, I was able to get a '97 Ford Escort LX with 88,857 miles on it. For the short distances that I drive, this car should last me a number of years. My dad played a big role in me getting the car since I had not been able to find anything I could afford that was even halfway decent. The loan I had to get to help pay for the car should help my credit so I can borrow more and get a nicer vehicle down the road.

Needless to say, I'm a pretty happy person right now.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

ProSonic Public Source Code Release

Here's what I wrote on some forums:

AUGUST 17, 2010

Here it is, the entire source code to the ProSonic engine. This by no means is an indication that I have stopped work on this engine forever. However, I also have other interests that need my attention, so I decided to go public with my source code to this project.

You will need the Allegro, Zlib, and HawkNL libraries to compile this code. The DOS version is the exception, where all HawkNL references are ignored.

My goal with this project was always to make the perfect game engine for Sonic games that everyone would want to use to make their very own Sonic game. I am hoping with the release of this code, someone will come along and make this the engine I always envisioned it becoming. I have laid what I feel is a good foundation for beginning something big in terms of a quality Sonic fan game.

There are things that could be improved. The object manager could be tweaked to be more flexible with moving objects. The PROCODE scripting support could be improved to allow more complex routines and arithmetic. The 68000 code support is only good enough to allow a certain number of objects to run in ProSonic, and no VRAM emulation is implemented.

I am granting permission to everyone to use this code in any way they see fit. It would be great to get credit for anything that is used, but I won't try to sue you if you don't, because at the end of the day it's only a video game!

If you plan to use my source code for anything at all, even if it's just a portion of it, I'd love to hear about it. Send me an e-mail about it. My address is ymtx81z ata yahoo dotod com.



You can download the source code here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ke$ha's Drug is My Love

I don't even like Ke$ha, but I have to say that I have had "Your Love is my Drug" in my head now for a while. It's a catchy tune with a great hook. It's very reminiscent of the '80s sounds I have loved my whole life. I see this as a possible trend that is slowly happening. Maybe todays music scene is transforming into something more upbeat like this song is. I sure hope so, because this song by Ke$ha is a real winner in my book.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Failed Hard Disk

I turned on my desktop a few nights ago and decided once and for all, I was going to defragment the hard drive. It had been forever since it was done (possibly as long as a year). Disk Defragmenter likes at least 15% free disk space. I had about 12%. I decided to bite the bullet and clear off a bunch of stuff I really didn't need so it could do a complete and proper defragmentation of the drive. After several hours, I got it where it needed to be. I ran the process and let it go until it was done.

The next morning, I turned on my computer to check and see if it was any faster. As it was booting, I walked out of the room to do a few things. I came back and noticed that although every was up and running, the computer was running very sluggish. Everytime I tried to open a program or access any files, it would load very slowly. A few programs crashed randomly too. I knew it was something serious, and I knew it was definitely not a virus. What I feared became a reality -- upon restarting it, it wouldn't even boot up all the way into Windows because it said a directory needed by the operating system was missing.

Today I went out and bought myself a new hard drive. It's much bigger than the old one (500GB as opposed to 80GB). I haven't put anything on it yet, but I'm really hoping after I get the operating system loaded on there, I can access the files from my old hard drive and move them over. I've had hard drives malfunction and go bad, but I was always able to access files from them. This situation is different as the drive really seemed like it was dying a very painful death judging by the inability to read some very basic stuff from the drive. I backed up some of the important things, but not everything. I would like to keep as much as possible, and that is the big upcoming test I face.

Does anyone have any suggestions of what I should do?

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Minor Setback

When I got my new laptop back in April, I had to borrow several hundred dollars to get it because I didn't have the money right then and there. I wanted to be sure I got the rebate on it, so I had to buy it that day.

Lately, I've been been getting 40+ hours at work. That's not bad for a part-time cashier! That overtime really helps too. Anyway, I've been catching up. I have car insurance and rent both due at the end of this month. I can pay my insurance in full if I have the money, and really that's the way I prefer to do it in order to save money down the road.

I have an issue that came out of nowhere -- my car doesn't run anymore! It died tonight in the parking lot at my work place. This is not what I needed right now. Just as things were turning around and I was getting extra money that could be used to get ahead again, now I'm probably going to have to shell out extra money that will set me back. The thing is, I don't really know what's wrong with it. It's been acting really weird these past couple of days. I will have it looked at ASAP, and I'm hoping that it's nothing expensive.

I'm fearing the worst though -- a problem with the fuel pump. So much for getting ahead.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

I Was Suprised, But I Shouldn't Have Been

I have been monitoring my viewership on my YouTube channel. The chart shown here shows my viewership from the time I first became a YouTube partner, up to yesterday. Now before the partnership, I was getting between 100 and 200 views daily without any video uploads. When I got the partnership, I decided to make a lot of my videos (including some very popular ones) private to give my channel sort of a clean start. As you can see on the chart, my viewership declined as a result of that. Everytime I upload a new video, you see a big spike on the chart, and then the viewership trends down again.

I want you to look at that huge spike all the way on the right. That is from the Justin Bieber video I put up. It's an enormous spike, and compared to the viewrship I had before the partnership, it's among the biggest spikes I've had since October 8, 2007 (the biggest spike was 499 views.) It's impossible to know how it compares to videos earlier than that date.

I've tried and tried over the past year to have something that would generate a large spike in viewership. I'm happy I found something, but only now has it become obvious to me why this Justin Bieber video works (and it's not just because Justin Bieber has lots of screaming girls falling for him.) There's a lot of people who are annoyed about Justin Bieber due to his music being a little too pop. In other words, it's entirely manufactured for the sole purpose of selling, and nothing else. I think that's pretty obvious, and many people resent it, so they start saying nasty things about Justin all over the internet. His die-hard fans see this and go the extra mile to defend him. My video is about Justin Bieber haters on the internet, and that subject strikes a chord with a lot of young people. If you play to people's emotions, you will surely get a big response out of it.

I might experiment with videos similar to this in the future to see how people react. It certainly worked for Daxflame. It is important to do it in the interest of my audience though. After all it is you, my audience, that makes this happen in the end. So thank you for helping bring some more life to my channel.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sony Vegas

I bought Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD today since my laptop uses Windows 7, which doesn't have a "good" version of Movie Maker. For those who don't know, Windows Live Movie Maker is very limited, and I can't get Windows Movie Maker v2.6 to see my Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000 at all!

Anyway, Sony Vegas is supposed to be a good replacement, so I bought it. The problem is everytime I record something with it, the video and audio are out of sync. With closer examination, it appears it starts recording the audio before the video has a chance to start recording. With standard playback of the raw AVI files, it is fine. When Sony Vegas tries to mix/encode the file for playback, that's where it becomes out of sync.

My question is, what can I do to stop it from screwing up? Is there a way to make the audio recording sequence wait for the video (as it should?) I don't want to do something crazy like destructively edit the audio so that it is in sync. That's a silly solution since that should not be necessary to begin with. I'm looking for a solution that will make it work the way it was meant to work. Can anyone help me?

Saturday, April 03, 2010


I bought myself a laptop today. It took a big chunk of money I had, but it was worth it. I can now access the internet, and having this laptop will also make doing certain things for school a lot easier.

It's an HP Pavilion DV6-2173CL. It was a good deal for $700. It comes with a 15.6" screen, an Intel Core i3 processor at 2.13GHz, a 500GB 7200RPM hard drive, 4GB DDR3 RAM, a built-in wireless 'N' card, and Windows 7 64-bit. It connected to the internet without any issues. I'm still getting used to Windows 7 after having used Windows XP for so long.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Most Boring Book Ever

Try reading "The Structures of Everyday Life" one time. Just try it. I guarantee you will fall asleep, get distracted, or something along those lines.

I had to read a chapter (about 90 pages) out of it for my history class, and I couldn't do it. Normally I force myself to read a book when it's required, but history is bad enough, and having to read it is worse. When it goes into detail about food though, it's really bad. I don't care about how wheat traveled across the world. The author loves this topic apparently.

Tonight, I (at the age of 25) went to my mom and asked her to read to me. I sat down and took notes as I listened. It's a sad thing to do, but it was the only way I could get the job done. Anyway, I had a whole page of notes by the end, and I took those notes and wrote my paper that was due for my class. I better get a good grade!