4 Ways to Win Your Day

Man sits on mountain top after accomplishing hike.

Eat Well

Stay away from burgers, pizza, and other fried or fast foods. Also try and stick to non-sugary drinks and increase the amount of water you drink. Opt for unsweetened green tea whenever you’re tempted. Stick with non-processed whole foods and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Salads are a great option with a simple dressing.

Exercise

Doesn’t matter how, when, or where. Just get your body moving. Make plans with friends to hike up a mountain or find someone to hold you accountable. Shoot for 30 minutes each day, then step it up by doing three types of exercises… running, then a discipline like biking or climbing, followed up with some strength training. Bodyweight exercises work great and you can do them anywhere. You’ll wake up the next day feeling amazing, energized, and ready to do it all over again. Don’t forget to stretch.

Get (Dis)Connected

Ditch the social media as a one-way communication link between you and your so-called friends. Narrow down the core group of friends you have in your life and reach out to connect to them. Reconnect with those you’ve lost contact with, plan to see the people you’ve been wanting to spend time with, and enjoy time well spent. Don’t waste time on those who don’t make time for you, you’re not important to them.

Get Organized

We all have a list of things to do, but never enough time. One way to improve efficiency is to be organized. You can greatly reduce wasted time when you have a place for everything and don’t have to go searching for it. We all know it’s in the last place you look, because why would you continue looking after you’ve already found it?

— That’s it. Of course there’s many more ways to make your feel accomplished at the end of your day, but if you’re in a little funk right now you can simply do one of these things to start working toward your healthy routine so you can start accomplishing more and be more productive. —

Rudimentary Online Ad Campaign Tracking

Sometimes you just can’t track your campaigns the way you want to. People call instead of click, they move across devices, or simply the technical aspect of tracking just hasn’t been implemented yet. So what do you do when you do want to track those dollars spent towards adverting on platforms such as Google AdWords? It’s fairly simple…

First thing you want to do is create a campaign with all your settings (location, budget, etc.)

Then create several different ad groups and prefix them with some numeric reference. I use 100, 200, 300, …and then for each ad I do 101, 102, 103, but going into the ad level is getting ahead of ourselves and out of the scope of this article.

Ok, so if we look at our ad groups we’ll see we have a couple, each based around a general theme and numerically referenced. Now what we’ll want to do is run only the first ad group and pause the rest on the first day of the week. All leads/sales that were generated we obviously know what ad group that came from the ad group starting with 100. Day two pause the first ad group and then enable ad group 200 and do the same… track the sales/leads from that day and attribute them to the ad group. Keep doing this for a couple of weeks. It’ll be best if each ad group has a chance to cycle through so that they run on different work days of the week. (I personally don’t run ads on weekends)

For Example:

Day 1 Monday….. Ad Group 100 (17 leads, 3 sales, $2,300)
Day 2 Tuesday…. Ad Group 200 (3 Leads, 0 Sales, $0)
Day 3 Wednesday.. Ad Group 300 (7 Leads, 4 Sales, $5,500)
Day 4 Thursday… Ad Group 100 (14 leads, 1 sale, $790)
Day 5 Friday….. Ad Group 200 (8 leads, 3 sales, $2,370)

So after awhile you’ll get a good sense of what ad group is performing best. You may see that although one ad group gets a lot of clicks, it may not be generating as many leads/sales as another with a way lower amount of clicks. I’m assuming you’re in the business to make some sales and not just see how many people can click and waste your money.

If you’re thinking why not setup conversion tracking or use Google Analytics to simply track then please reference the title of this article.

I’m Calling Shenanigans on Michelle Thomas’ Tinder Date

I was sent an article written by Blogger Michelle Thomas about a Tinder date she had, and I’m calling shenanigans on it for a few reasons (as many others have as well). I didn’t even have to start reading the post before my mind told me it was fake. The drama-filled pictures that headlined the article sent my BS alarm off instantly as someone who was just looking for some quick viral attention.
If someone were to analyze writing styles it would seem apparent that both responses were written by the same person, most likely someone with a writing background… such as a blogger(as she is)… in attempt to gain attention and the sole purpose of it going viral. It’s called stylometry, and it’s based on the analysis of things like word choice, sentence structure, syntax and punctuation. Probably similar to methods used by song identifiers like Shazam to identify songs.
Things like this happens when a legit similar story goes viral (the one where the guy commented on a girl’s weight to receive back a picture of her eating Chipotle), then bloggers make fabricated versions of it… like this drama filled one.
On her blog she talks about the quick attention that it had brought her from the 400 word reply from the guy and the 800 word reply of hers… yes, she knew the approximate number of words in the response. Who does that? Unless the article was made-ready to be submitted to some publishing site that required a 1200 words.
So soon after it went viral the aspiring writer comes out with a book. Surprise!
Of course I’m not the only one to argue that it’s contrived… and she admits to having no proof other than having shown her friends and some others. People who have challenged her have been met with a quick deflection of “If You Think I’m Making It Up, You’re Focusing on the Wrong Issue.” Great tactics… just use the red herring fallacy like Ariana Grande did.
Anyways, the whole thing just seems fabricated and just made me very skeptical. The guy on the other end could be in on it too. However, it’s on the internet, so it must be real… but I digress.
P.S. I hate the fact that I’m bringing more attention to the subject, but I don’t like when someone purposely victimizes themselves.

$100 Off Equinox Memberships

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Below is a link to Equinox’s current promotion… which is $100 off when you join. Each membership comes with a complimentary Equifit assessment, which is what most gyms do to help benchmark where you are so you can see how you progress. Enjoy!

Join Equinox Today and Save $100

If you’re looking for a VIP Trial Membership before you join an Equinox gym near you, read my post Equniox Gym Membership Deals & Discounts. I would suggest you reading through that first to see how you could save money when you join. If you have any questions just leave a comment below or contact me and I’ll help you get started.

@rayholt

How Much Information Is Your Smartphone Sharing?

There has been a lot of discussion recently of privacy-focused smartphones that offers encryption for all your calls and texts. Until these devices become commonplace, if they do, how much information are you currently showing off to the world? Your phone holds your life… from your contacts, to your emails & pictures, to places you’ve been, and so much more. It’s really scary to think of how much information can be collected and stored about you and kept for a long time.

We’ll start with the very basics. This day and age many of you are using Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You take picture with your phone and post them online. You also take video capturing the moments wherever you are. More than likely you are home, or near home when you take these shots, right? So how much information are you sharing with the world that you had no idea?

Facebook Messenger Location Services

Recently I was talking to a new friend on Facebook Messenger in which I had never met before. Unbeknownst to her, she had her location settings on and displaying where she was. I could simply click to see her location to pinpoint exactly… and I do mean exactly… where she was. I could literally pick which corner of the house she was in. At first I thought how funny it would be to just play a joke and ask her where she lived and then explain how I live nearby, then give her a street name and act like I was a neighbor. Instead I just was like “FYI… your location setting is on”. Now if your entire Facebook friend list is comprised of close friends and family that you would like for them to know where you are anytime you’re chatting away… then yeah, leave that on. Otherwise I suggest turning it off. Facebook collects this data and uses it as a filter in their Facebook Ads settings where advertisers can select to target you while you’re away from home, on vacation, or just returning from vacation.

Action Step: Go to Facebook settings and turn off Messenger Location Services. Alternatively, you may disable this per message in the messenger box.

Twitter Tweets Location

This one is pretty obvious that you can share your location. Turning it off is pretty plain and simple, as you just click the location icon  when you’re about to post to turn it off. The website pleaserobme.com demonstrates this through their efforts in raising awareness about over-sharing online.

Instagram Photo Map

instagram photo map

There was a recent news segment on Instagram I think that talked about geotagged photos. We’ll get into that in a second. Ok, so Instagram has the same sort of thing going on with putting on a map where you took the photo (and maybe just where you uploaded it). If your phone is geotagging photos then one could simply find you on instagram and see where you live. Many of you openly display your username to strangers on apps like Tinder and other public sites. This allows anyone to simply click on your image to bring up Google Maps and show where it was taken… most likely your house. Now they know where you live. Using Google street view they can now even take a peek around neighborhood.

Action Step: Don’t geo-tag photos and remove any that you have from your map… unless of course you want them there.

Geo-Tagged Photos

This is where a lot of information can be getting out whenever you post a photo, email a photo, or text a photo to someone. I’m not saying you have to turn off location settings on your photos. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to group pictures by location. Sometimes you may just want to remember where you were when the picture was taken. However, when you post the image somewhere in it’s raw form… all the metadata about the picture will also be available. Here’s a picture I took today with the details next to it. This is just some of the information that is being attached to each photo. You could pop in those coordinates into Google Maps and it would bring up the location. If it weren’t for the spoon in the picture, I would have you do it and guess where I went.

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Apps

The privacy and security of apps always leaves me a little skeptical. Especially when it lists everything it has access to… text, sd card, emails, accounts, camera, etc. Now I know what apps are supposed to have access to, just like what computer software is supposed to have access to. Yet, somehow… these barriers are crossed from time to time where access to sensitive information is attainable. To understand how much of a privacy concern you should have, one must understand an app is just that… an app. It’s software written in a way to show you what it wants you to see while performing any action it can get access to. Technically, and not to bring upon fear, an app could access your camera at any moment and broadcast what it sees. It could access all your images and upload them to a remote location. If an app can do this for altruistic purposes, it has the capacity to do it for other purposes too or if imposed on by the Government.

I think the issue of privacy is becoming more prevalent today because of the lack of it. There are many conversations I have with people about what information they share or that is available online that they find haunting. With a minimal amount of information, and I do mean minimal… one could find out more information about someone than most of their close friends and family are aware of.

On a bigger scale… there is quite a large collection of data that is being collected about you, your life, who you interact with, all your credit card transactions tied in with your shopping patterns, where you frequent, and much much more. Most of the time this data is put together to create information to better market you products and services, but not all the time.

A few good related reads…

http://mashable.com/2013/06/28/encryption-apps/
http://mashable.com/2014/02/26/boeing-black-phone/
http://mashable.com/2014/02/24/what-is-blackphone/
http://mashable.com/2014/03/05/snowden-phone/

9 Quick Ways to Improve Your Credit Scores | Easily The Best Rates

There are plenty of people out there just like you who are looking for quick and effective ways to improve their credit scores. Tens of millions of people in the United States have credit inquiries severe enough to make getting loans and credit cards with reasonable terms and interest rates incredible difficult. You may also be one of those where your credit is good, but you want to make it excellent! Why wouldn’t you after all, because the better your credit score the less you will have to pay in interest and insurance. Yes, even insurance companies may take a look at your score in determining your premium.

Read 9 Quick Ways to Improve Your Credit Scores at  EasilyTheBestRates.com

So if you’ve had a few problems paying your bills lately, and you’re wondering what you can do to repair the damage to your credit. Join the club!

Hard Bounces – Who Would Have Thought?

I was doing some testing and was wondering why hard bounces weren’t showing up in my email marketing system. I ran a test to some bounce and complaint test addresses that respond accordingly, and it worked. I was a little perplexed why the fake email addresses I was putting in didn’t bounce. Then it made sense to me… I was putting user@somefakedomain.com … which doesn’t have a server to respond back with information regarding the type of bounce. As soon as I put somefakeuser@arealdomain.com then it showed the hard bounce correctly. Now it seems common sense.

So does that mean that anytime that double opt-in isn’t used and someone enters a fake email address with a domain that does not exist it just become junk that piles up in the email database? I think so. I always stress the importance of list hygiene and not mailing to email addresses that have never opened a single email within a 3-6 month threshold. There are some situations in why it’s a good ideas to keep those email addresses in the system and not just purge them, but that gets to some pretty advanced discussion on deliverablity that I’m just not going to get into at the moment.

I’m Back in Action!

Well I’m back in action after about a 10 day hiatus away from my laptop because the hard drive failed… and by “failed” I mean it failed to continue to work after I dropped it… and by “dropped it” I mean I dropped my fist on the keyboard because it was being so slow and I have zero patience for slow computers and slow internet.  Have I caught your attention yet? Then keep reading…

I was at my computer as normal, working away… or at least trying to… when it was becoming unresponsive. So naturally (and without performing a recent backup) I decided to to bang the keyboard with my fist because that’s what most people do when they want something to work. Unfortunately, Dell places the hard drive right beneath the touch pad, which is right where the impact took place.

Well then the whole thing just froze up completely so I attempted a hard boot. This is where I was like “Oh Sh*t, not again” as Windows failed to load. Yes, I say not again because my last laptop met its demise by a similar blunt force trauma episode. Having previously worked for a backup software company you’d think that I’d have a bulletproof backup plan in place. Nope! I used to… but somewhere along the way my files in the desktop folder were no longer being synced with a cloud storage drive. I do have one setup… but nearly 93.6% of the time I store what I’m currently working on to my desktop.

There I was hoping I didn’t just kill my drive and would be able to recover what was on the desktop, since that’s pretty much the only location on the computer I have data that isn’t backed up (that I remember at least). After removing the drive I had a buddy of mine try to mount it via USB to his computer to see if we could get some data off. We quickly realized I had just parted ways with all that data.

So the moral of the story… as much as it seems like it’s a good idea to take a baseball bat to your computer and destroy it, just do a full backup first and then swing away.

Why you should keep your Verizon Unlimited Data Plan

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So back in the day when smartphones weren’t as common and the data usage was pretty minimal for text messaging and picture messaging. Even getting online wasn’t that big of a deal because for one, most people weren’t getting online with their phone because websites didn’t play well with mobile devices. With the birth of apps and the growing number of mobile websites the demand for data has grown far beyond anticipation. There’s no sign of it slowing down, at least not anytime soon.

So what companies like Verizon has done is come up with some attractive data plans however they are limited. They’ll sell you on the fact that you don’t use as much data as you think you do (yet!), and that you can share your data across multiple devices, and so on. The reality is that in the near future mobile will continue to grow and be bigger than ever. So the demand for data will grow exponentially. So that amount of data that you currently use, let’s say for the sake of argument it’s 1GB per month… will soon be 3GB, then 6GB, then 10GB! Think of how much you’ll have to pay for a plan like this when apps and mobile website require more data. Just think when computers were fine running off of 512mb of RAM… now if you have anything less than 3GB you might as well just pull out a pen and paper.

I like convenience and I don’t want to worry about if I’m going to go over my plan or not. So I’m going to stick with unlimited data and I suggest that you should as well. Yeah, you can save a little money by upgrading and extending your contract to get a new phone for a little cheaper… but the amortized cost of what your really saving only comes out to like $18/month.