Thoughts From My Life

March 2008 Archives - Page 1

Mar
03
Written by Neil Galloway
 

February is over now. It was a bit of a shorter month, but was a leap year too so was only 2 days shorter than January was.

Thoughts From My Life Traffic Stats for February 2008

February's numbers and January's numbers are in brackets.

  • Page Loads: 20484 (19997)
  • Unique Visitors: 12907 (12224)
  • Average Uniques/Day: 445 (394)
  • Lowest Uniques/Day: 301 (173)
  • Highest Uniques/Day: 628 (721)

Traffic was consistent the whole month. Most of my traffic came in for the following articles:

Still showing very strong page views are my articles on the Best Nintendo DS Homebrew and Aeroplan Versus Air Miles - Comparing Them.

February 2008 Traffic
February 2008 Traffic

Thoughts From My Life Revenue

Overall, my earnings for February 2008 were $244.46. Here is the breakdown with last month's numbers in brackets.

  • PayU2Blog: $110.00 ($95.00)
  • Adsense: $94.29 ($105.82)
  • Kontera: $29.67 ($29.00)
  • LinkWorth: $10.50 ($10.50)
  • Azoogle: $0.00 (new)
  • Commission Junction: $0.00 (new)

My Adsense kept up with January's pace and I just missed $100. Pretty crazy to think it is up there now and staying there.

Kontera has set a new record by just a hair when it cleared $29. It is interesting that with all the new traffic, it has not increased as much as Google Adsense has. Nevertheless it provides additional money.

PayU2Blog was also high this month as there a number of bonus assignments handed out for "good performers". Even though there were only 2 pay periods instead of the 3 last month, I was able to beat last months numbers.

I added 2 new revenue sources, but I made nothing from them. Azoogle and Commission Junction set up referral deals with various web sites. The key is that the visitors need to actually "sign up" for you to get paid. The commissions are a lot higher though. No signup for me last month, but I did get a number of clicks. I will try tweaking it this month to see what happens.

Overall, I am quite happy with the month. I wasn't writing as much as I would like, but I was busier as well. Looking forward to March and I have a few interesting articles coming up that are a bit out of the normal subject areas for my site, but oh well.

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Mar
03
Written by Neil Galloway

The 2008 Alberta provincial elections are today, March 3, 2008. If you are trying to figure out where you can vote, you might have a bit of fun.

My friend pointed out that he can't find the information on the Elections Alberta website and if you go to the Alberta 2008 Elections site right now (10:30AM), it says:

The Elect2008 web site is unavailable at this time.

Well, if you live by me in Lynnwood district of Calgary, I know the voting is at one of the two elementary schools by the hockey arena.

I sent an email to the website guys and hopefully they fix it.

Federal Election

As a note, if you are voting for a federal election, this has always been at Sherwood School. It is the junior high school by the hockey arena in Lynnwood. It is just across the street from the drugstore and just across the south east corner from the Beaver Dam Lodge.

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Mar
04
Written by Neil Galloway

I created my first version of an A* Pathfinding Demo. It is an applet further down this page, so you will need Java installed. Basically, you can draw a map by setting a start point, end point, and drawings walls. Then press Start to watch the algorithm think its way through.

Keep in mind, you are still allowed to have multiple starting or end points, but it will only lose the highest grid number of each when the algorithm starts. It costs 10 units to move left, right, up, or down and it costs 14 to move on the diagonal.

If you pause AStar, any map changes at that time will also do nothing to change how the algorithm will finish.

Here are a few instructions:

  • To set a wall, click on a square once. It will turn red.
  • To set a start point, click on a square twice. It will turn to a wall on the first click, but the next sets it to a blue start point.
  • To set an end point, click on a square three times. Just like above, it will turn to a purple end point.
  • To clear a grid square to just be walkable, click on it until it turns white again.
  • Just click Start when you are ready to go. It will work its way through, color coding each block to show its status and if it belongs to the open or closed lists in the algorithm. You can pause at any time. At the end, it will trace in pink, the path it wants to take.

  • You can adjust the speed as to how fast it runs by inputting a new number when AStar is stopped.

To understand what it is doing, refer to the tutorial A* Pathfinding For Beginners and my original article called A* Pathfinding Algorithm.

AStar Demo Applet

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Mar
05
Written by Neil Galloway
 

One of the best homebrew games for the Nintendo DS that I play is Warcraft Tower Defense. It was written by noda and he has just released version 0.5. Read about the Warcraft Tower Defense 0.5 Release on his blog.

There haven't been major changes, but enough to make it worthwhile to upgrade. My favorite changes have been the difficulty levels for each map and you can now save your game (only one at a time though). Read the article in the link above to see a full list of changes.

He is hoping to add multiplayer but he needs more hardware to do it. He is trying to raise $200 and is at $71 already. Feel free to donate if you would like to see multiplayer.

The game is fun, polished, and definitely in the top 5 for the homebrew game scene in my opinion. It has made it into a number of my articles:

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Mar
07
Written by Neil Galloway

We just finished the main part of booking our trip the other day. We will be gone most of a month and taking a tour that starts in Cairo and ends in Istanbul.

There will be 4 of us going. We ended up doing a tour through Gecko Adventures called Cairo to Istanbul. You can check out the detailed itinerary on their site.

We are leaving a few days early and will will hang out for a couple days in Cairo or try to get up to Alexandria since it is not included in the tour portion of our trip.

Cairo to Istanbul Trip Map

Booking With Gecko from Canada

I learned something interesting when booking this tour. Gecko is based out of Australia and they do book anyone directly outside of Australia.

The Canadian prices are also quite a bit higher than the American quotes because they were printed back when the exchange rates were quite a bit lower. They can be paid in American money. This is what we did. It saves quite a bit.

I tried calling an American company that deals with Gecko in case this didn't pan out originally, and they told me I had to book with the Canadian Gecko affiliate. This is Trek Escapes. We phoned the one in Calgary and they were more than friendly and would take the American cash payment, so it all worked out in the end.

If you live in Canada and are interested in this same tour, check out Trek Escape's Cairo to Istanbul tour on their site. It is the same as Gecko's but you can book through them if you live here.

Deposit

You have to commit to a $300 deposit, but you can hold your spot on the tour for a week before you have to place your deposit. The remainder must be paid 70 days before the tour begins.

You can get your deposit back only if the tour does not run. This would be political issues in the region or if the tour does not meet its minimum number of people. For Cairo to Istanbul this is 5 people.

Flights

The cheapest flights we found came in around $1,900. On the way over we go from Calgary to Toronto to Rome to Cairo. The way back is Istanbul to Rome to Toronto to Calgary. It was going to take 1 layover for sure on the way over, so one more won't be too bad. There is a fair bit of time in each place so missing flights shouldn't be a big worry. They are all Air Canada and Alitalia (the Italian airline).

Visas

It looks like we will need them for all 4 countries, but from reading the site it appears you can get them at the borders. The only questionable one is Syria which can be expensive if you try to get it at the border. I think we will apply here for that one.

Mar
11
Written by Neil Galloway

Well, my video finally made me some money on Meta Cafe. I uploaded it over a year go and thought it would never make the cutoff to get money, but I was wrong. It was a video of a giant elephant lumbering through the Ngorongoro Crater in Africa and a woman that was standing a bit too close in my opinion. Nothing bad happened. The video would have probably had a million hits if something did happen.

Check out my elephant video. I have it embedded in the page farther down as well. I had written a few articles about it.

They sent me a contract by email that I had to fill out and fax back in. We'll see if they actually send the money now. Cross my fingers. The account is at $101 right now.

For your video to make money, it must meet a few criteria:

  • Produced it yourself.
  • Maintain a rating of over 3.
  • Had anyone in the video sign off that it is okay.
  • Reach at least a threshold of 20,000 views. At this point you can get $100, the minimum payout.
Here is the video...

Elephant And The Stupid Tourist - The most popular videos are a click away

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Mar
12
Written by Neil Galloway

I wrote yesterday about my Meta Cafe video making 100 dollars. I was still a bit skeptical if I would be eligible for a payout, but it looks like everything is fine.

I faxed away my signed contract on Monday and Tuesday morning I received a confirmation mail asking for me to fill in what payment method I want. They give you 3 options:

    Pre-loaded Mastercard

    Pay Pal

    Direct Deposit

I opted for the Pay Pal, since it is the least intrusive and I buy enough off eBay to use it eventually. Apparently I will be paid in April for my accumulations thus far.

The other cool thing they do is a free Meta Cafe t-shirt. Free shipping too. I hope I picked the right size. We'll see when it gets here.

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Mar
17
Written by Neil Galloway
 

I received my money yesterday from Meta Cafe. You can read about my Meta Cafe video making me money in some of my previous articles. Anyhow, despite all my doubts, I had a little over US$100 deposited in my PayPal account yesterday. I can't believe it.

The video camera was taken along just to help record our trip, but there is an extra $100 out of it. We are going to use the money to go for dinner with our fellow travelers.

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Mar
19
Written by Neil Galloway

I joined Toastmasters a few months ago, because we formed a club at work called the Pason Presenters. If you are not familiar with Toastmasters, it is a speaking club that is aimed at helping individuals improve their speaking and presentation skills.

Our work club meets twice a month over lunch and has a meeting. The main parts to each of our meetings are:

  • Prepared speeches
  • Impromptu speeches
  • Evaluations

I have participated in many impromptu speeches so far, but today will be my first prepared speech. I am a little nervous, but think it should go well.

My Toastmasters experience so far has been really positive. You can get as much out of it as you want to put in and there is so much to learn. If you are interested in trying it out, you can find a club locally and go sit in for a few meetings if you like.

Just go to the Toastmasters International website and use their "find a branch near you" feature.

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Mar
20
Written by Neil Galloway

I can't believe it. Guitar Hero is coming to the Nintendo DS. It is called Guitar Hero On Tour. It comes with a the fret buttons that plug into the Gameboy Advance game slot (Slot-2) and the game cartridge goes in the normal NDS slot

IGN has an Guitar Hero On Tour exclusive on their site right now.

Here is an advertisement for it below.

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