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Taming the eBay Search Engine.

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Taming the eBay Search Engine.

If you know what you’re doing, you can quickly find what you’re looking for on eBay – and the more you know about how buyers find you, the easier you’ll find it to be found. Here are a few golden searching rules.

Be specific: If you’re searching for the first edition of the original Harry Potter book, you’ll get further searching for ‘harry potter rowling philosopher’s stone first edition’ than you will searching for ‘harry potter’. You’ll get fewer results, but the ones you do get will be far more relevant.

Spell wrongly: It’s a sad fact that many of the sellers on eBay just can’t spell. Whatever you’re looking for, try thinking of a few common misspellings – you might find a few items here that have slipped through the cracks.

Get a thesaurus: You should try to search for all the different words that someone might use to describe an item, for example searching for both ‘TV’ and ‘television’, or for ‘phone’, ‘mobile’ and ‘cellphone’. Where you can, though, leave off the type of item altogether and search by things like brand and model.

Use the categories: Whenever you search, you’ll notice a list of categories at the side of your search results. If you just searched for the name of a CD, you should click the ‘CDs’ category to look at results in that category only. Why bother looking through a load of results that you don’t care about?

Don’t be afraid to browse: Once you’ve found the category that items you like seem to be in, why not click ‘Browse’ and take a look through the whole category? You might be surprised by what you find.

Few people realise just how powerful eBay’s search engine is – a few symbols here and there and it’ll work wonders for you.

Wildcard searches: You can put an asterisk (*) into a search phrase when you want to say ‘anything can go here’. For example, if you wanted to search for a 1950s car, you could search for ‘car 195*’. 195* will show results from any year in the 1950s.

In this order: If you put words in quotes (“”) then the only results shown will be ones that have all of the words between the quote marks. For example, searching for “Lord of the Rings” won’t give you any results that say, for example “Lord Robert Rings”.

Exclude words: Put a minus, and then put any words in brackets that you don’t want to appear in your search results. For example: “Pulp Fiction” -(poster,photo) will find items related to Pulp Fiction but not posters or photos.

Either/or: If you want to search for lots of words at once, just put them in brackets: the TV example from earlier could become ‘(TV,television)’, which would find items with either word.

Don’t get too tied up learning the ways of the search engine, though: a surprising number of eBay users don’t search at all, preferring to look through eBay’s category system and save their favourites in their browser. The next email will show you how to make sure these people can find you too.

The One You Love To Hate

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The One You Love To Hate

Many of the best stories in fiction have both an antagonist and a protagonist.

The protagonist is the main character or hero that we cheer on and hope conquers all.

The antagonist is the story’s villain. The best bad guys are the ones we love to hate. We don’t need to know why they are bad, we don’t need a play by play of the choices they made early in life, we simply recognize they are bad and we don’t want them to win.

A story can operate without an antagonist; however the use of an antagonist is the best way to demonstrate conflict within a storyline.

Conflict in a well executed work of fiction provides the friction that keep readers tuned in. In most cases the antagonist reigns supreme through the majority of storyline. The reader wants the forces of good to triumph, yet the villain remains in charge of the bulk of events that thread through your tale.

This combination of good versus evil creates suspense and causes your reader to wonder how exactly the protagonist will gain an advantage.

One of the primary benefits fictional conflict is the reader is often forced to consider how they might respond against such odds and in similar circumstances. In a best case scenario the story assists the reader in learning more about themselves.

Conflict can also be used to disrupt a normally predictable plot. By presenting conflict that is, in many ways, worse than the previous conflict you can instill a greater desire for evil to be defeated while keeping the reader guessing where the story may be headed next.

Ultimately the story must provide resolution. For the fiction writer of faith this resolution process often provides the simple message that good will triumph over evil although other threads of faith will likely work their way through your text – sometimes without you being consciously aware of their presence.

If you allow the antagonist to loose the struggle too early in your story it becomes anti-climactic and the fire in the story is reduced to an ember that may leave your audience cold.

The use of a villain (may not be a human, could be an animal, ideal, political agenda, etc.) goes a long way in conveying a story with elements that emotionally involve your reader.

What Type of Books Are Easier to Get Published?

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What Type of Books Are Easier to Get Published?

Are you a writer who is interested in writing a book, hopefully one that will be published? If you are, have you ever written a book before? If not, there is a good chance that you are looking for the easiest approach to take. After all, no one wants to create more work for themselves than needed. That often results in many writers asking themselves which books are easier to get published.

When it comes to determining what type of books are easier to get published, the answer isn’t as easy to find as many individuals had hoped for. In all honesty, publishing any type of book, whether it be a children’s book or a romance novel, isn’t easy. A lot of time, hard, work, determination, and research goes into getting a book published. With that said, there are a number of steps that you can take to help you ease the process.

For starters, it is important to choose a genre, topic, or theme, that you feel passionate about. This is particularly true with how-to books or other helpful guides. Yes, you should look at writing as a job, especially if you hope to get a book published, but writing should never seem like work. That is why it is important that you choose a genre, topic, or theme that interests you and one that you feel passionate about. For example, if you are a parent, consider writing a children’s book. If you are a science fiction enthusiast, consider writing a science fiction novel, and so forth.

Not only will choosing a genre, topic, or theme that you are interested in make it much easier for you to write a book, but it will also provide assistance with getting your book published. If you have an invested interest in what you are writing about or if you are passionate about the words that you write, you are more likely to produce better results. You are also more likely to take the time to properly proofread and edit your book, as opposed to other authors who are just hoping to make as much money and as quickly as possible.

Regardless of what type of book are you interested in writing, you should do a little bit of research first. As important as it is to write on a topic or great a story that you feel passionate about, it is also important to know what publishers want. For example, did you know that mysteries are popular stories for chapter books and early adult books? They are and you will see if this if you take the time to research what publishers are looking for. This research is easy to do with printed resources, like the Writer’s Market books, or by using a standard internet search online.

When you write a book that focuses on a story or topic that you have an invested passion in, as well one that focuses on a topic or a story that publishers are seeking, your chances of getting your book published increase significantly. It is also important note ease of writing. When you know what you should write about, in addition to what you want to write about, the words will flow off of your fingers in no time at all.

As a reminder, there is no specific type of book that is easier to get published than others. All publishers have the same goal and that is to publish a book that will sell. For that reason, all have strict standards.

The legal fiction of common law marriage

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The legal fiction of common law marriage

During a radio-talk show appearance, a caller told me about his unfortunate brush with the legal fiction of common-law marriage. He had been living with a woman for several weeks when he came home one evening to find the woman, his TV and assorted other property missing. He called the police, who mistakenly informed him that the woman was his common-law wife and so they couldn’t help him.
What qualifies as a common-law marriage? Take your pick:
Leaving too many clothes at your girlfriend’s house?
Living together six months
Living together seven years?
Chances are you picked the third answer, but all three response are equally wrong. A common misconception is that the length of cohabitation creates common-law status. This is not true.
Three elements are necessary and none relate to a time-frame. A couple must
Live together
Agree between themselves to be marriage
Represent themselves as married (also called “holding-out.”)
The agreement in the second element does not have to be written; it can be implied by the behavior of the parties. Signing leases as husband and wife or filing joint income tax returns are examples of the proof used to imply a common-law marriage.
In the example above, the police, as are most people, were woefully misinformed.
Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and D.C. recognize common-law marriages. Ohio repealed its recognition in 1992. Pennsylvania has just now abolished it. Other states may recognize an informal marriage if it was originally contracted within one of these states.
In the past, common-law marriage was often seen on the lower socio-economic rungs of the ladder. However, celebrities often make the news with claims by their live-ins of this status.
If you are concerned about your own status, contact an attorney in your state for more information.

Reading does the body good! Or maybe it’s the mind

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Reading does the body good! Or maybe it’s the mind

I’ve always been a fan of fiction. In some respects, there’s nothing quite like delving into a well-written mystery/suspense novel. I used to lounge under trees for hours, reading countless chapters of cleverly plotted stories. However, I recently found a text from the genre of non fiction books, which really caught my attention. This book is entitled “Protecting the Gift.” Chances are you’ve never even heard of it. I had never come across it in a bookstore or library. But then the title was mentioned to me by a friend of the family. He basically instructed me to read this book by author and crime expert, Gavin De Becker. So I picked up a copy from Amazon.com and dove in, not knowing what to expect. I was taken-back by the way this book read. It contains a number of true occurences, which are referenced to help readers like you and me learn and better understand criminal violence and behavior. And while this book will certainly tug at your heartstrings and often keep you on the edge of your seat, it’s well worth a close read. I have never in my life learned more about the violence and realities of our world.

Okay, maybe non fiction books in general are not up your alley. However, I do suggest that you give “Protecting the Gift” a shot. This goes double for anyone who has a child/children. This book will assist you in keeping them safe more than any other attribute. Once I began reading it, I knew I had to finish in order to better protect my gift, a seven year old daughter.

Career Tips for a Writer

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Career Tips for a Writer

A writer has the creative ability to draw word pictures. They have the ability to communicate through the written word. A writer’s work can be to write articles of fiction woven by a vivid imagination or to write articles covering non fiction like educational resources, news, reviews, technical documents, or articles on science, environment and health. Work could also entail creating summaries or huge tomes, writing for the web, researching on specific topics, or reporting on meetings and conferences.

When choosing writing as a career choice you must consider whether you want a full time job or whether you would like to freelance.

If you decide on freelance writing, the first thing you need to do is create a resume that highlights your talents. The second most important aspect is to create a list of clients. Networking, communicating well, and building a good relationship with clients is essential to freelance writing. Today the World Wide Web has opened up many more opportunities for freelance writers and there are job sites as well as sites where one can register and bid for projects.

If you choose to work full time you have a great many options. You could be a journalist, web content writer, or resume writer. These are just a few examples of the umpteen choices a writer has.

To be successful you must understand what the industry needs and sharpen your skills accordingly. Study the different writing styles as well as what constitutes good writing. To get the “perfect” job write a prize winning resume, next send out your resume with a brief but succinct covering letter to potential employers. Scan the classifieds as well as online job sites for vacancies that suit your profile. Consider registering with one of the agencies or online sites that specialize in jobs for writers. Another option is a paid job coach, agency, or resume blasting service.

When you go for an interview be sure to take along with you writing samples, a resume, and any publications in which your work has been featured. Do your homework well and find out about the potential employer and the kind of writing they need. You must be able to convince the company why you are a good candidate.

As a writer you must constantly update your skills to suit developments in the writing industry. Read writing tips given by experts, do a writing course, attend workshops and seminars. Become a member of professional writer’s guilds.

Train yourself in the use of personal computers and desktop or electronic publishing systems. Learn how to research competently using the World Wide Web. Have a working knowledge of graphic design, page layout, and multimedia software.

Statistics gathered by the US government indicate that 320,000 jobs were generally held by writers and editors of which more than 1/3 were self-employed. On an average, a full time writer could earn a salary of US$44,350 annually. And, if creativity flows from within you and your write a prize winning piece or best seller then you will soon be a millionaire.

Identity Theft Is Not Science Fiction

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Identity Theft Is Not Science Fiction

With the staggering proliferation of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) in recent years, a wide range of computer users have found themselves owning one or more of those “miracle” portable electronic systems that contain important files as well as personal information. Belonging to the same category, desktops and laptops -also known as notebooks- have been used extensively by people around the globe as mobility has recently become another major concern for computer users. Existing in a wide product range and offering numerous applications to their end-users, contemporary computers have become important digital devices for a wide range of audiences, who usually stored in them a wide range of personal files or use them for their online navigations. From the busy housewife to the college computer geek, laptops have given everyone the opportunity and the ability to perform any necessary functions as well as to be able to decide physically where they wish to be at the time of their operation. But, today’s computer users have to combat a great enemy called: identity theft.

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information, usually without your knowledge and especially without your consent, to commit fraud or theft. Although this problems existed before the Internet or the extensive use of computers, these two have made it far more easier for skillful frauds to take advantage of others inability to detect such a criminal act and use people’s names, addresses, bank accounts, personal identification numbers or credit card information to commit unlawful acts. In fact, the problem of someone invading one’s privacy has greatly been examined over the years as extremely well-designed systems monitor others actions and report them to those interested in operating under another person’s identity.

Since such evil schemes are not a matter of science fiction anymore, it is possible for people to be caught into these highly skilled individuals’ nets and spend weeks of agonizing thoughts on where or how their personal information might have been used to harm others or themselves. For that reason, after a series of complaints from victims to financial institutions, banks have begun to check alleged frauds and claims that identity theft has taken place. With multiple incidents reported in the last five years of such malicious intent, users of computers and portable digital assistants have increased their demand to be offered the necessary security measures whenever they attempt to visit websites and need to report highly personal information online in order to purchase a product or service. But keeping yourself aware of such dangerous individuals is not enough. Due to the technologies evolving, one should frequently update the necessary security systems so as to minimize the stress associated with online navigation. Finally, avoiding publishing personal codes, passwords, credit card numbers and any other personal information, if not adequately reassured by trusted sources that possible threats can and will be detected, is considered a must in today’s vulnerable online environment. Be aware and be prepared.

home automation wireless

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home automation wireless

Wireless Home Automation System, How It Works

If you think that living in a home where everything is controlled by a single control panel or a single remote control including your electronic appliances is purely science fiction and can only be seen in movies, you have to think again. You have to consider the fact that a remote or even a television for that matter have been thought of as science fiction in the past. Today, fully automated homes controlled by a single control panel are now available in the market.

In fact, some homes today are now using this technology, especially people who live a hectic lifestyle, to make their lives a little bit easier to live. The home automation system can let you control every home electronic appliance wherever you are. Thanks to the internet and the advancement in computer technology, this is now considered possible.

This kind of capability has existed before. However, home automation systems in the past were controlled by a wired controlled panel. Today, because of the advancement in computer technology, a new kind of home automation system is now available in the market to make it even more comfortable than the previous versions of home automation systems. This is called the wireless home automation system.

Some manufacturers have now included wireless technology into home automation systems. Just imagine the benefits it can give you and to think that previous models of home automation systems are already considered convenient, what more if it is integrated with wireless technology?

Basically, there are three things that make up a home automation system. These are the structured wiring, the computer-like microprocessor and the connection center. The structured wiring is done by professionals and it is all connected to the connection center which houses the microprocessor. In wireless home automation systems, the connection center can be also be integrated with the wireless technology. The whole system is controlled by the microprocessor wherein you control the microprocessor. The microprocessor is only responsible for communicating with your electronic equipments. Think of it as a translator of your every command.

In wireless home automation systems, the interface will usually be a touch screen wireless control panel that you can carry around in your home. Just imagine yourself in your living room enjoying a good movie, you suddenly forgot about turning the lights on in the kitchen and you don’t want to get up and interrupt your movie watching. With the wireless control panel, you can simply touch an icon in the screen and turn off the lights in the kitchen.

Some home automation systems can also be triggered by voice recognition systems. What this does is it will record your voice and once you give the command by speaking, you will see that it will instantly be obeyed by the home automation system. Aside from the wireless control panel, you will also be capable of controlling various electronic equipments in your home through your voice. All you need to do is specify a command and the computer will instantly record it and store it. Once you give the specific command, the computer will analyze your voice pattern and when it matches the recording, it will instantly turn on or turn off specific electronic equipment.

Most home automation systems today are now connected to the internet. With this capability, you can access your home anywhere you are as long as there is an active internet connection. Just imagine, while sitting in a middle of a gridlock traffic in a hot summer day, you access your home through your PDA, turn on the air conditioning unit and turn on the stereo to play your favorite music. Once you reach home, you can expect your home to be completely cool while it is playing your favorite music.

As you can imagine, you can completely control your own home wherever you are whenever you want. In time, you can expect more from home automation systems. Who knows, maybe one day home automation systems will include advanced robotics technology and advanced artificial intelligence that can simply adjust to your lifestyle with robots that can cook fantastic dinners for you and your family and do household chores.

This kind of technology can definitely make your life a little bit easier and a little bit comfortable. So, if you are thinking about living in a future home, you can consider living in it today, through home automation systems equipped with wireless technology.

Do you like to write? This hobby soon became my passion in college

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Do you like to write? This hobby soon became my passion in college

I write short stories sometimes for mere enjoyment. I can read them to my daughter and she absolutely loves them. I personally prefer to write short stories in the horror and/suspense genre. This always keeps my little girl on the edge of her seat. She can never wait for me to finish the story. Do you ever write short stories? I think this is a wonderful place to begin a writing hobby or career. Now, on the other hand, I definitely prefer to craft screenplays. This is a much more “involved” process if you ask me. When you write and develop your script, you have to write in a different fashion. For example, if you like to write short stories, then you are basically a fiction writer, or I am assuming anyway. I guess you could be constructing stories based on true events; however, I doubt it. Now, when you craft a script, you are only writing what spectators will see on the big screen. You never want to get inside a character’s head. This is a major no-no. If they can’t see or hear it on the screen, then you should not be writing it. This is why fiction writing is completely different. Stephen King can say whatever he wants, whether it’s a thought or memory. It really doesn’t matter with fiction because you’re the one reading it. Chances are you won’t have a copy of the script handy when viewing a film.

So, are you interested in fiction, screenwriting, or maybe wish to write short stories yet? This is wonderful if your answer is yes. There are a number of great books available now days that can seriously aid you in this process. Get online and you will discover exactly what I mean. Whether your desire is to write short stories or an entire novel, you can get the job done right.

Funny As A Fictoid

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Funny As A Fictoid

While truth may be stranger than fiction, a fictoid is definitely funnier than a factoid, says the author of an hysterical new book.

What exactly is a fictoid? A fictoid is a bit of fictional history making a statement or telling a story in one sentence.

“A typical fictoid tells who did what, when and where,” says Bill Dutcher, author of “Fictoids: Short Fiction…Very Short” (Dutcher & Company, $12). Neither historically accurate nor politically correct, the book takes a random walk through cultural history from 1220 B.C. to 2004.

Readers can learn who invented self-storage and who invented both the periodic table and the occasional chair; why Henry the Ninth couldn’t get a date; who founded General Eclectic; who recorded “You were always there for me…but I was always here”; who told his bankers “You can call my loan, but it won’t come”; who opened a high-priced helium bar, believed to be New York’s first Squeak Easy; and whose unauthorized autobiography sold more than one million copies.

The book introduces such colorful characters as Sleeping Beauty’s sister Lazy Susan, Norwegian film star Harrison Fjord, classical rap artist Yo Yo Mama and assistant press secretary Feckless Spinmeister. The illustrations were done by The New Yorker magazine cartoonist Jack Ziegler.

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