technology

11 Reasons To Use Google +

1. Lots more control over what your posting

When you post something on Google + you can choose who sees it without the tedious creation of a special lists like on Facebook. Just type in the names of the people you want to share it to, or select one of your default circles. You can also disable comments and sharing from posts. Still can’t do that on Facebook, nor will you ever be able to. This means you have the highest level of control of any social network out there over who is seeing what you post.

2. Hashtags actually work

Hashtags make sense on Twitter, though how much they’re actually used to connect with others is debatable. Hashtags were implemented on Facebook as an afterthought and are pretty much useless. So much so that you risk public ridicule for using them. The point of hashtags is to connect to common conversation topics and allow new followers to find you and connect, but on Facebook, we all live in walled gardens surrounding the people we have added as friends.

On Google +. using hashtags is easy and displayed nicely at the upper right of posts so you can easily connect to others. And for those who don’t know quite how to use them or what hashtags are the best to use, Google + will automatically add related hashtags to your posts.

3. You can share links to individual posts without sharing your entire Google + profile

In the upper right corner of your Google + posts is the control menu for each post. There’s an option for “Link to post” which gives you a url that displays a page showing your Google + profile emblem the post in question, and that’s all. For example: https://plus.google.com/+JamesLCarey/posts/ieNCGcxxqyS

4. You won’t be advertised to like you will on Facebook and Twitter (mostly)

Because Facebook’s product is you, the only way they can stay in business is to make money off of your social interaction. This is why we can’t go more than a few posts anymore without seeing sponsored posts or suggested posts. They have to bombard you, they have to get you to buy so they can get more ad revenue from advertisers. This is also why if you have a brand page on Facebook, no one will see it unless everyone who follows it likes and comments on every single post unless you pay to have your post “boosted”. If you didn’t give Facebook money you’re a second class citizen at best.

Twitter isn’t far behind. They’ve realized the only way to make money is good old fashioned ads for crap you don’t want so get ready for it.

Google, however, doesn’t really need to make money off of you from Google + because they are the top name in search and get all their revenue through that portal. They also have so many money-making ventures cooking that they don’t have to treat their social network like an untapped goldmine.

5. You’ll actually want to upload your pictures to it

Uploading a picture to Facebook is often a moral/social dilemma. Do you want everyone to see what you were up to last summer in Cancun? But uploading to Google + is different.

First of all, it works more like a photo backup as opposed to just showing off the pictures you want to the world to see (you can choose to make all your photos private on Google +).

There is an Auto Backup feature built into the Google + mobile app which will upload all of your photos on your mobile devices if you choose to and at Full Resolution. You can choose who sees what photos and you are also given your own photo display page at https://plus.google.com/photos where you can edit photos, tag people, or easily share. You can also redownload full albums

Also, photos uploaded via Auto Backup have no storage limit whatsoever (for photos up to 2048 px). There’s also a desktop client. So upload away.

6. Auto Awesome

Auto Awesome is pretty much what it sounds like. It will select certain photos like a series of portraits or other shots you took trying to find the perfect take and automatically create a gif or a grid. In the case of pictures with snow or small lights like a Christmas tree, Auto Awesome inserts twinkling lights or a snow effect. Grandmas of the world will rejoice. It’s pretty cute. It can also automatically enhance the balance of photos and create panoramas.

Here’s some more features as detailed on lifehacker.com:

  • Snow: adds falling snow to a photo that has snow in it
  • Eraser: removes moving objects in the background from 4+ successive shots (e.g., get rid of passersby at a tourist location—no need for Photoshopping to get rid of tourists)
  • Action: shows full range of movement from 4+ photos of the same scene with something moving (e.g., show a pitcher’s arm in motion while throwing the ball)
  • HDR: combines the best lighting from 3+ photos of the same scene when nothing is moving (e.g., landscape photos)
  • Motion:  creates a short animation from 5+ successive shots of something moving
  • Smile: combines 2+ photos of a group of people so each person looks their best (i.e., smiling)
  • Pano: turns 3+ partly overlapping photos into a wide view
  • Mix: creates a composite, photobooth-style grid from 3+ photos of someone with the same background

7. You’ll run out of things to say before you run out of space on a post.

Twitter has just enough space to have a sliver of a thought and that’s about it. Less if you use hashtags. Facebook has more text real estate but you can’t do much with them. Google + posts can be very wordy. I’m not even sure what the upper limit is, but essentially you could treat a Google + post like a blog post if you were so inclined. You can also bold and italicize and urls are automatically changed to clickable links. What a novelty.

8. Communities

Facebook has groups, Google + has Communities. Besides the page design being much easier on the eyes on Google +, community creators can set their own discussion thread tabs so that when you join a community about DC Comics, but just want to read about Batman, there’s a tab for that. This will let a lot more people participate in a discussion in a huge community that would get lost on Facebook among the never ending stream of posts. You can also control if you see any posts in your Home Stream too.

9. Hangouts

Hangouts is Google’s Skype killer. How? It’s part video chat, part social video platform.

If you have a Google account, which EVERYONE does, you can use Hangouts. Not that many people have a Skype account set up and how much do we really need a Microsoft account? There’s a Hangouts app for every device. You can add up to 10 people to a Hangout so everybody can get in on the action.

Hangouts On Air is a killer feature of Hangouts that allows a people to essentially host their own video talk show. It allows for recording in HD and can automatically upload to YouTube as well. People can tune in to discussions and also meet and chat with experts and celebrities in a way that can’t on any other forum.

10. The design

11. GIFs

Google + is the only social network (besides Tumblr and Pinterest if you count those) where GIFs work natively. So get those reaction GIFs ready!

There’s a bunch more, but I just thought I’d highlight a few of the reasons I really enjoy using Google + as a platform for myself as a writer and someone seeking to connect rather than just a place to share baby pictures.

Thoughts?

Follow me on Google + and Tweet me on Twitter!

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photography

Fall Wallpapers from Radnor Lake

It’s my favorite time of year!

The leaves are turning beautiful colors, every TV channel is full of creepy delights, and rainy days make it perfect for staying under a blanket with a book and a cup of coffee. Plus my birthday is in October. Maybe I’ll skip that this year. Is that allowed?

In most Octobers, when I’m not living a pretend Pinterest lifestyle, I’m trying to write something coherent (not always successful) or taking pictures.

Here’s a couple of free wallpapers from Radnor Lake State Park in Nashville that are phone/tablet ready.

Hope you’re all enjoying your fall days!

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reflections

In Which I Am Unemployed

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Well, long story short, I am a member of the Recently Unemployed.

It is a good thing, and it was by choice, but nevertheless it’s not really something I was expecting to deal with right now.

While I love writing stories and working on my blog, capturing images, and working on my side project Just Live Simple, I’m like anybody who is doing creative work, I gotta have that regular job to pay the bills. And I’m okay with that, that’s life right now, and those student loans have gotta get paid off somehow so I’m not paying them off when I’m 55.

So when I was offered the most recent job, I thought I had found a challenging, but manageable position that would allow me to do all those things. Unfortunately what I thought would be a great fit ended up being in an abusive, toxic work environment. Humiliation and scare tactics were used on a daily basis to motivate me to do more, to ask for less, and to dehumanize me on every level. I won’t say the name of the company because it’s just not even worth the headache.

After spending the past few months feeling like my life was slowly slipping away from me under stress and depression I finally said enough was enough. It sucks, but sometimes in life you have to stand up and say you will not accept being treated like you are less. Getting a paycheck does not make it okay to for anyone to treat you like garbage either. Stand up for yourself, lean on your support system, and don’t settle.

So what now? Well, I hopefully will not be out of work for too long, I still have student loans to pay. I’m taking steps to make sure that doesn’t happen. But I’ll be honest and say I’m enjoying the rare break. I’m doing a lot of reading and writing too. Throw in James Altucher’s Daily Practice too. There’s some decompressing that needs to happens as well. But I’m hopeful for the future.

In the meantime, if you like my stuff and want to help me out while I’m between jobs, don’t forget my first publication, Zodiac, is still up on the Kindle Store. If you’re one of the awesome people who’ve already picked put it, THANK YOU! You rock!

If you can help me out and leave a review, I will personally thank you. Even if you didn’t like it (but I hope you did!), I appreciate you taking the time to be honest. That’s what it’s all about.

I’m also still selling prints if you need something for that bare wall of yours, you know the one.

I hope you read this and remember that you are a valuable person, you deserve to be respected and if there’s an area in your life where that is lacking, then do what you have to do to either stand up for yourself or remove yourself from a harmful situation.

Take care!

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music & design

Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 2

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix vol. 2

How bad ass was Guardians of the Galaxy? I mean, really. It was TOTALLY bad ass.

And that soundtrack? It’s like a gateway drug into the era of sweet 70’s lite rock jams. It’s a soundtrack made for dancing around your house in your underwear, singing into a toothpaste tube, and hoping your neighbors can’t see through the curtains. I mean, not that I do that kind of thing…but I can see it.

After jamming out to the soundtrack for the past two months I’ve been left with a hole where only an Awesome Mix Volume 2 can fill. But I’ll be waiting 2-3 more years for that to appear! What will I do until then?!

So I thought I’d assemble what would make for an AWESOME Awesome Mix Vol. 2. You hear that Marvel Studio/Disney execs?? Let me know if you need me on the media time *wink wink*.

1. Boogie Shoes by KC and The Sunshine Band

Guardians of the Galaxy started on all the right notes. Come and Get Your Love was the perfect introduction the man known only to himself as Starlord and Guardians 2 has to start off the same way. Fun, familiar, but Sci-Fi. Boogie Shoes plays as Starlord, Gamora, and the rest of the Guardians liberate (steal) an important device that some alien race could use to be real jerks. So what if they get paid a finder’s fee? They’re doing the universe a favor here…

2. Goodbye Girl by David Gates

This plays during a really fun scene. It’s Peter’s birthday and everybody wants to do something nice for him, well maybe not Rocket, but almost everyone. So they keep him blindfolded and fly to his birthday present…the Earth! They brought him to Earth for one night of memories and general good times before they have to zip off under the cover of darkness so they aren’t discovered by some guys wearing suits with “S.H.I.E.L.D.” on their business cards. The Men in Black of the Marvel U are always watching. Peter and Gamora dance chastely to a dusty boombox playing this song from the Awesome Mix Vol. 2 tape. Baby/Teenage Groot waters itself from a watering can it found. Rocket doesn’t know about this new Groot. Drax looks weepy and wistful and not so tough for one sweet moment. It was a nice night on Earth.

3. The Joker by Steve Miller Band

Come on, you know this has to be in the movie, it starts with “Some people call me the Space Cowboy, some people call me the Gangster of Love“, this is Peter Quill/Starlord in song version. This will play when the Guardians get to their “Mos Eisley bar scene” to find the buyer for whatever they stole, er rescued from bad people/aliens…

4. I Got a Name by Jim Croce

This plays when Gamora is looking dejected after being forced to meet with her intergalactic tyrant father Thanos and told she has to betray the Guardians or they will all be killed. Can an assassin change her ways…?

5. Sara Smile by Daryl Hall and John Oates

This is from a scene showing a romantic interlude between Starlord and Gamora. Things are getting spicy. Don’t worry though, Peter will screw it up…

6. Brick House by The Commodores

This is from the scene where Drax has to dress up in drag. I don’t know why either. But he’s going to dress up in drag to entice some guy the Guardians need to get to. Comedy ensues. It will make sense. I promise…

7. Jet Airliner by The Steve Miller Band

This songs plays from the onboard tape deck on the Guardians spaceship as they make off with the sweet rewards from their dealings in the last scene. Damn, they are good. Gamora has other plans though…

8. How Deep is Your Love by The Bee Gees

This is from the scene where the Guardians are all looking dejected because Gamora has revealed herself as a traitor. How could she do this?? Rocket never trusted her anyway…

9. Desperado by The Eagles

This song plays after Gamora has been revealed as the traitor in the Guardians’ midst (don’t worry, Thanos made her do it) and tries to save the Guardians and Peter by telling them she is evil and just not a nice person and takes off in their own ship leaving the Guardians stranded. Peter has his doubts though…

10. Just The Way You Are by Billy Joel

This is the song where the lovably valiant and hopeless Peter Quill seeks out Gamora after she was forced to betray the Guardians into Thanos’ trap. She assumes that the team and Peter hate her and want her dead, but she’s part of the family and means a lot more to Peter…

11. December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

This song plays after the Guardians avert intergalactic disaster yet again. High fives all around! A bunch of rubble surrounds the cast. Somebody got their butt kicked…

12. Best of My Love by The Emotions

The credits song! This is the song that plays as the Guardians triumphantly cruise off into space in their intergalactic Winnebago while we see Peter Quill and Gamora just out of view of the cockpit with their arms intertwined looking all romantical at each other and the like. Awww. Rocket sleeps peacefully around Baby Groot’s neck.

Be sure to wait for the after credits teaser for Avengers 3: Infinity War. No spoilers since this is all in my head, but it’s going to be the Avengers, Vision, and Adam Warlock vs. Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet. Oh yeah, he’s gettin’ all dem gems…

Don’t forget the after AFTER credits scene! It’s got Gamora giving Peter his belated birthday present: Awesome Mix Vol. 3! This one is on a flash drive with the S.H.I.E.L.D. emblem on it, because Director Coulson gave it to her. What a sweetie.

Hope you liked my take on Guardians of the Galaxy 2! Let’s meet back here in 2016 and see how close I was.

Until then, listen to Awesome Mix Vol. 2 on Spotify by using the player below. Enjoy!

UPDATED 10/28/14: Marvel revealed today that the title of third Avengers movie is….wait for it…Avengers: Infinity War! I can’t wait to see which others of these picks are as close!

P.S. If you work at Marvel, I’m available if you need someone to do some writing or whatever. You know. Just sayin’.

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books & writing

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Week 1 Results

Well the first week has past since I took the plunge into the self-publishing pool, put a short story out there, and here’s the results:

Sold 9 copies of my short story, not all of which were to people I know (huzzah!) and 1 Kindle Unlimited borrow.

That’s a total success in my book! That’s 9 more pieces of writing than I have ever sold previously and I’m pretty thrilled about it. Sometimes it’s the smallest win that can propel you. This week has definitely been a win. It’s amazing how different I am looking at my writing after seeing a couple of numbers tick up on a line graph.

It just goes to show that these days the gatekeepers don’t exist anymore. The only thing that you can hold you back is not trying or believing in what you can do.

Thanks all for the support!

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