Sunday, April 27, 2008

Social Network Development

Social Marketing has been around for a very long time; the Web 2.0 phenomenon is not exactly breaking news either but, what does this mean to you - the blogger? The social give-and-take between you and your readers is there, right? You give information and insights, they take a related link to a "similar interests" or landing page. Aside from being both informative and insightful, you are also providing a form of entertainment; you creatively express your thoughts and ideas concerning the subject. Your site contains advertising of some sort and you employ a few marketing elements as well. This is your foundation. Be certain it is constructed on solid ground and is significantly well built itself.

"The art of social marketing is to be perceived not as a marketer;
rather you should become known as a Maven."
Keith Larson (4/20/2008)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

maven (also mavin or mayvin) is a trusted expert in a particular field, who seeks to pass knowledge on to others.

The word comes from the Yiddish meyvn and Hebrew mevin (מבֿין), with the same meaning, which in turn derives from the Hebrew binah, meaning understanding. It was first recorded in English around 1952, and popularized in the 1960s by a series of commercials.

In network theory and sociology, a maven is someone who has a disproportionate influence on other members of the network. The role of mavens in propagating knowledge and preferences has been established in various domains, from politics to social trends.
(End of Wikipedia reference extract.)

Starting out as a writer who wishes to be known, then beginning to monetize your site is the most effective method of ensuring that your content remains the primary focus of your blog. Readers return to your site because what you have written previously was of interest or was useful to them. As long as you are genuine in your "endorsements" the advertising you present should be seen in a favorable light. People expect you to investigate your advertisers, to learn about the company and its products and/or services. Advertising on your site should reflect your concern for the reader. It needs to be relevant to your posts AND it needs to be something you would recommend to a close friend or family member. "What would Mom think of this?" A question which allows time to pause and reflect. Are you more giving, or taking more?

All Content © 2008 Keith E Larson

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Widget for PCWorld Added to V.O.I.D Phoenix

When I need to get out of the house for a while but, have no particular destination in mind, I often wind up at our downtown public library. This is a relatively quiet place with a large magazine section full of a variety of publications. One of my favorites has always been PC World; with their link URLs listed for a great many of the magazine features it is easy to hop on the Web and get the expanded version. Today I noticed the widget. This handy, embeddable tool provides headlines and highlights right in your web page or blog. The widget installer for Blogger has two options: install to a new post; install to the sidebar. Adding a bit of centering code makes a perfect fit. The install to sidebar function got confused by the existing widget in this post; a simple cut/paste operation took care of that issue.

News, reviews, and video on the latest tech products.

All content © 2008 Keith E Larson

Monday, April 21, 2008

Disclosure and Disclaimer Policies


This policy is valid from 21 April 2008

This is a personal blog written and edited in its entirety by the author. For questions or comments about this policy, please see the current contact information on my profile page.

This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, or other forms of compensation. However, I will continue to post regularly about that which I find inspiring and refuse to be manipulated by potential sponsors. They will either accept my blog and I for who and what we are, or they will not be welcome here.

It is my reputation as a Blogger and a Maven that is on the line; This I will not jeopardize.

This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest. I am free (as in freedom) to choose that about which I blog. Refusal to publish advertising for any reason is at my own discretion.

Keith E Larson
Author and Publisher

To get your own policy, go to

Disclaimer Policy

All information provided on this site, particularly any information relating to specific hardware, software, products, or services is presented for general informational purposes only. It should not be considered complete or exhaustive, nor does it cover all aspects and issues or their suitability for use under all circumstances.

While the author and publisher makes a reasonable effort to include accurate and up-to-date information on this site, the information you access through this site is provided "AS IS" and without warranty, express or implied. V.O.I.D Scribe makes no warranty as to the reliability, accuracy, timeliness, usefulness or completeness of any information accessed through this site. Keith E Larson assumes no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content of this site. To the fullest extent permissible pursuant to applicable law, Keith E Larson disclaims all express or implied warranties related to this site, included but not limited to implied warranties for merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.

By using the V.O.I.D Scribe site, you agree not to rely solely on any of the information contained herein. Under no circumstances shall V.O.I.D Scribe or Keith E Larson be liable for your reliance on any such information, nor shall it/I be liable for any direct, incidental, special, consequential, indirect, or punitive damages that result from the use of, or the inability to use, the materials in this site or the materials in any site linked to the V.O.I.D. Scribe web log.
Your use of this web log (Blog) site is at your own risk.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Distraction Therapy can be a wonderful thing...

What VOID Pheonix Means
You are very hyper. You never slow down, even when it's killing you. You're the type of person who can be a workaholic during the day... and still have the energy to party all night. Your energy is definitely a magnet for those around you. People are addicted to your vibe.

You are well rounded, with a complete perspective on life. You are solid and dependable. You are loyal, and people can count on you. At times, you can be a bit too serious. You tend to put too much pressure on yourself.

You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing. You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long. You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.

You are balanced, orderly, and organized. You like your ducks in a row. You are powerful and competent, especially in the workplace. People can see you as stubborn and headstrong. You definitely have a dominant personality.

You are influential and persuasive. You tend to have a lot of power over people. Generally, you use your powers for good. You excel at solving other people's problems. Occasionally, you do get a little selfish and persuade people to do things that are only in your interest.

You are truly an original person. You have amazing ideas, and the power to carry them out. Success comes rather easily for you... especially in business and academia. Some people find you to be selfish and a bit overbearing. You're a strong person.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone. You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together. At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people. You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts. You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals.

You are incredibly sexy and sensual. You have a naughty vibe that no one can ignore. You have an unquenchable desire. And you are unrestrained in your passions. You have a tendency to be unfaithful. Whether you fight it or give in to it is up to you.

Vista and McAfee Woes

Talked about forever, rumors and promises mixed together, and finally SP1 came out as a regular update. I took a deep breath and held it; the anxious tension making my heart race and my palms sweat. What have I to fear? My reasoning self-assurance was of no comfort. Then I clicked the update button. Not long after I discovered the need to breath; this was going to take quite some time. I waited, watched, and dutifully did what I was told. Trust? Not really but, I do have faith in Restore Point. That was a good idea well implemented.

At first glance, everything seemed to be alright, which is suspicious in itself. This is Windows Vista: temperamental at best; a nightmare more often than not. Why must they insist upon reseting all of my desired settings to their own ludicrous defaults? Only I know what is best for me and my PC, not Microsoft! Even my Hotmail account was dysfunctional for several days, and I didn't know about it until all of the backlogged messages burst through at once. What has that to do with SP1? Who knows, maybe it's just a coincidence. Why are there no "lemon laws" for software, particularly operating systems? Ironically, I went to msconfig to lock out all future updates; now I won't be tempted to allow the tyrant "one last chance".

Realize that all of my security applications were disabled for the install, as recommended of course. So, the first discoveries occurred immediately following restart. As I attempted to re-secure my system. My replacement choice for the resource hungry McAfee Security Suite included ClamWin AV which would no longer load due to some esoteric error which I did not think to record. With no suitable alternative at the ready, I was forced to re-install McAffee. Now, which of the remaining security applications must remain disabled to avoid internal bickering? Ah yes, the Comodo firewall I had been training for weeks. And naturally, the on-access scanner added due to the lack thereof within ClamWin.

Due to a previous issue with the McAfee "Quick Clean" which required a re-install, I knew that SpyBot would be reported as incompatible and "...must be un-installed prior to..." This is simply NOT TRUE! They can be taught to play nice with each other and make a very nice team; each one senses and reports a little differently in accordance with their parameters. Sometimes they report together but, generally one or the other finds something amiss. Therefore, I left SpyBot and TeaTimer unloaded while I got McAfee back on-line. Next was Comodo Anti-Malware which would have reported and stopped the install but, works wonderfully in the background otherwise.

Somewhere along the line KeyScrambler got knocked out; MetaCrawler flawlessly pulled up the necessary page for a quick and painless re-install. What I did not know was whether there would be issues with CCleaner and Total Privacy 5 as they were added to the mix without McAfee's presence. Proper set-up with each cleaner is essential to both proper operation and clean start-ups and shut-downs. CCleaner is set to run at start-up as soon as it is loaded, then shut down; this works out fine because McAfee loads first and keeps control until it is finished. TP5 is set to load to the system tray in anticipation of an eventual shut-down; Vista recognizes and waits for TP5 to finish prior to actual shut-down. SpyBot has a delayed run option which is wonderful as this application takes even longer to load and run than CCleaner. The two of them fight over resources when started together which makes boot-up even slower than waiting three minutes for everything else to finish.

As a final tweak I have disabled every available splash screen except SpyBot. All of the others will appear in the system tray should I be wondering about progress. The final indicator of imminent start-up is the three minute SpyBot timer; this will take several minutes to update and run then, I'm good to go once again. Everything is now updated, cleaned, and standing at the ready...

"In the true Literary Man there is thus ever, acknowledged or not by the world, a sacredness: he is the light of the world; the world's Priest; guiding it, like a sacred Pillar of Fire, in its dark pilgrimage through the waste of Time."

-Thomas Carlyle

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Staying on Course - To DO or NOT to do?

My plans and actions are in a continual state of flux; there are SO many interesting ideas deserving of follow-up. There are innumerable refinements to be made to existing projects. These may be due to a new ideas or additions to the social development mix; they might also be old ideas deleted in theory yet, not quite securely erased in practice. The abundance of potential distractions is enormous and serves as a constant threat to my "big picture" goals. These distractions also serve as fodder for future research and development projects. I thrive and prosper on the manipulation, the management of these distractions. Staying on course, deciding what to do and what not to do is no easy task. How then, shall I accomplish these two competing and necessary aspects of both my personality and my business?

Creative expression for me breeds new insights; the "coming together" of what I am doing with those Random Brainstorms with which I am blessed. For this reason I keep a pen and notepad at my desk, and at my bed side. Not always is my computer ready to pull up the Random Brainstorm file I began in Notepad some time ago. There are times when my computer pursues its own agenda regardless of my need of the moment or my painstaking configurations.

I am occasionally bothered further by what is known as "writer's block", a malady which can render the creative spirit somewhat bewildered and basically dysfunctional. It is then that I stop trying to produce that literary masterpiece and jump into one of many necessary maintenance projects, or go scampering off down Cyberville Lane searching for whatever I might find. Sometimes a distraction is exactly what I need to refresh my internal desktop and loosen up the flow of creativity.

Today I was pondering the subject of today's post. What wants to be let out? What needs to be shared? To get away from the issue and allow intuition to guide me, I set about adjusting the tags for these blog posts. I became side-tracked repeatedly since I was in a free-flow mode and eventually was drawn to an as yet unused icon placed upon on of my development toolbars. Squidoo Lenses then became the focus of my attention.

As I surfed through a few Lenses an idea began to form. How to best utilize this phenomenal resource in the development of my social network. Reading through their guidelines and suggestions furthered my distraction and resulted in enough notes to fasten together several loose ends and produce new material for a post in my development series. The ah-ha! moment struck me as I was making a celebratory cup of coffee. You have now experienced the precise
formula I use to stay on course and I have crossed off two items from today's written To Do list!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Social Marketing vs Spamming

Social Marketing is an indirect and somewhat subtle method of reaching potential customers with your "offers of interest". Please note the quote. Spamming a social site is a deliberate attempt to blatantly advertise your product or service and is most commonly associated with affiliate opportunity-type programs. The latter is an excellent way to get yourself "Ban-Hammered" or even "IP Ban-Hammered"; either one is bad for your business health. The former involves a variety of long-term, low-key marketing concepts embedded in a genuine attempt at providing a social service to any given community. Which would you rather be known as: A social marketer (Perhaps a Maven), or a social spammer (Pain-in-the-PC)?

Proper social bookmarking can be a most valuable tool; by providing short, positive commentary on each post which helps people decide if they want to know more. Many of my own comments are derived initially from the bookmarked website; edited for both clarity and grammar it is often enough. Sometimes there is simply nothing available for a cut/paste/edit operation; other times your own review is best and will give a personalized feel to your post.

Another important consideration is effective, non-redundant tagging. I review my own tag cloud following a post looking for inappropriate use of tags. It is very easy to see in a tag cloud due to the alphabetical listing. right now I have multiple "online..." tags which were taken originally from the suggested list. These will have to be reduced to my personal "root tagging" method.

This reduction to roots assumes that I care little whether or not I am found in the public search list. Why? It's similar to the keyword SEO issues involved when considering the submission of a website. The competition is HUGE on the most common, or logical, keywords. Redundancy is rampant due to the number of different words and phrases people will use in a search. Therefore, to obtain the greatest number of unique tags in my cloud, I will combine multiple possibilities into one main tag which I hope people will understand. These tags will NOT contain a lot of keyword phrases; however, in some cases (as in "photo") there seems no easy way to list a lot of different bookmarks with similar but distinct subcategories. There are also instances wherein a two word phrase (such as "social networking") gives me just the right and proper tag. There instances in which multiple tags can be useful and not appear redundant; when this repeated word is prefixed by another descriptive word (adjective) such as: desktop publishing, publishing, and web publishing. These three tags will not appear one right after the other in your tag cloud therefore you should not be seen as "stacking keywords" for SEO purposes.

How then, do I expect to be found? Look to the main header of this blog which refers readers to my Blinklist tag cloud. Next check out the V-O-I-D Network header; each of those sites contains a text link back to my Blinklist as well as to this blog. That is networking within your own sites. It becomes social networking when you begin to become part of a community. It becomes social marketing when you have found your first customers through your expanded network.

A subtle, and highly effective method of social marketing involves your participation in forums. There is generally no need to be blatant here, especially since to be so invites a spamming report and a take-down of your post. Simply include a home page text link in your signature (sig)! When you have written an informative and grammatically correct post a certain percentage of people will want to know more about you. Be absolutely certain to READ THE RULES for posting on any boards/forums BEFORE you hyper-link back to your page! As I think up, test, and evaluate more ideas you'll find them here somewhere...

Why Do They Need My Email Address?

Squeeze Pages are everywhere. I have squeeze page generators installed on my PC. What purpose do they serve? Only one thing; the capture of your Email for marketing purposes. Yes, that is correct. They want to sell you something. Regardless of the offer; there WILL BE a marketing campaign attached to it. I'll offer no specifics in this post but, I have archived a great number of solicitous emails from multiple "Gurus" of the opportunity genre. Furthermore, I have unsubscribed to them all in an effort to clear out my inbox and sort through the barrage.

At first it seems beneficial, the information something I want to learn. Gradually they get off the point, with many of them simply spamming me with offer after offer while providing no useful information what-so-ever.

At first I was inundated and began to suffer from information overload; then I noticed the repetitive nature of the data itself. Frustration and disgust soon came into play as, one-by-one the emails devolved into spam. From now on, I will be using a special account set up at a place like; there a user defined period of email forwarding will be established. Should the subscription warrant further consideration for review, I simply go to my subscribed account and change my email address to a "reader" account and they'll never even notice.

Those who continue to offer a genuine service will continue to have my blessing and are welcome to add an endorsement or email advertisement should they so desire. Certainly they shall, after all that IS the ultimate reason for the contact. They have something to sell which may be of interest to me. I too have advertising, here and elsewhere, which I hope will find a few interested parties.

There is no genuine need for me to request your contact information. You may find you would like to return to see what I have to say; discover what I have found or learned. You may bookmark this page; you may also subscribe to the RSS feed. I do recommend an aggregator which will help with potential information overload. The Flock browser has one built (they call it "baked-in") right into it. I also have "My Blog Navigator" on trials. Both services will need to be reset as they have default feeds to get you started. Blog Navigator in particular had so much defaulted that I simply cleared everything and started over from scratch. TMI hurts my head.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Total Privacy 5 - Software Review

Pleasant surprises are always welcome on my world; today's GOTD offering is right up there with discovering a new friend.

Background from the download site:

"Total Privacy provides the most advanced information removal solution for protection against today’s malicious online and offline threats. Total Privacy 5 makes use of the most advanced washing and shredding methods available today to make sure that your own private business and computer use remains exactly that - private.

Securely clean Internet tracks, system activities and program history information stored on your computer with this safe and easy-to-use Windows privacy protection tool. Also Wipes the free space to make sure that previously delete files cannot be recovered. Supports all major browsers in addition to over 450 popular third-party applications.

My initial summary for the GOTD site:

Get this program installed NOW! I am a supporter of multiple security
products and Total Privacy 5 just hit the top of today’s list of MUST
HAVE security applications. All issues are clearly explained in a
separate description box on mouse-over so you know exactly what it
intends to clear. I strongly encourage, no I insist, that you do NOT
check any box you don’t understand! Has several “exclude” functions
such as the cookies list. Take the time to set this one up properly. My
PC runs CCleaner on start-up; the only thing I’ve run is Flock >
GOTD > TP5. This is the summary from my test run; Total Items: 43;
Custom Items: 14; Total Recovered: 3MB disk space, 29 Files, 7 Registry
Entries. Be careful with index.dat and registry streams - these
erasures WILL affect certain performance and display properties. The
full report will be available shortly on my blog, “V-O-I-D: What’s
REALLY out there?”.

The Full Report:

All of the following items were listed after CCleaner and the download; some files are there because of the TP5 download, others were not listed at all by CCleaner. I use my cleaner at least once a day on start-up, mostly to clear the useless files and registry entries that accumulate throughout my workday. As an Internet Investigator of many genres, there are also instances wherein I encounter files which I do not want in my possession, nor bugging my machine. Set-up of Total Privacy will take a little time, especially when preserving certain settings such as cookies.

In the case of cookies and dat files it is best to make a written note of those for which you are uncertain prior to erasing them. When next you encounter an item from this list you will recognize it as being from either: a friendly program with a funny named cookie, or an executable you got AGAIN from an unknown source. The latter case goes beyond the scope of this post to explain.

This is what Total Privacy 5 found and erased:

Document History 1 file; Start Menu Clicks 5 files; index.dat 3 categories/files 39 items and 96KB; Favorites Order History 1 item; Downloaded Components (DO NOT check box unless you want to eliminate your plug-ins!) 8 items and 4MB; Messaging detected ALL installed IM clients and offered 3 items for clean-up on each; Custom Plug-in Cleaners, checked "show only detected programs" and found 16 (Again, read what each does as you may want to keep certain items - my quarantine list from SpyBot being one of them.); Warning: Windows Direct Input will erase all user generated data files; Windows Temp 3 files and 270KB; Sys Temp 4 files and 3MB; DO NOT CHECK Registry Streams or Registry Streams MRU as this will adversely affect the PC you have set up as you want it! It also detects MS Office .doc files accessed even when opened with

Read the description box for everything you ever wanted to know about what you are about to obliterate. Most people can safely use one of the 3-pass options, mine took less time than a single intake of breath! It also has start-up and security management tools. Altogether, I am impressed enough to give this one a 10/10 rating for PC cleaners and highly recommend you get to the GOTD site and get this one installed while it's free.

A quick trip back to GOTD revealed this post direct from the application provider:

Regarding the question about how Total Privacy affects the registry, many privacy items are stored inside the registry (MRUs, Registry streams, history information for many programs, IE AutoComplete data and much more) and so, if you select to clean any of those items, Total Privacy will obviously have to access the registry to remove selected values.

Accessing the registry to remove any of those items is completely safe and Total Privacy is smart enough to only remove items that do exist (as opposed to some other similar applications we encountered before that just try to remove anything and everything without any safely checks first).

Total Privacy was tested on Windows Vista, XP, 2003 and 2000 and so it targets the correct registry locations depending on the operating system you are running.

I hope I was able to shed some more light regarding this question. If anyone have any questions or comments (good or bad) that wish to discuss with us feel free to contact us directly at

Another positive reinforcement from the GOTD comments section:

Mr Martin

I just downloaded the program and started reading the comments, as they sometimes influence my decision to install the program. This is the first time I have seen anyone associated with the program present and fixing problems as they occur — not to say it has never happened — it is just a first for me.

Don’t know about anyone else but this REALLY impressed me. Want you to know Mr Martin that because of your interest in helping us with bugs and gliches, even though you will show no profit from our download, that I will be buying the product directly from the site as opposed to taking it free. It is rare and refreshing in todays product market to see integrity in ones work and creation. It gives me the impression that questions and problems would be addressed by your software support system quickly and efficiently.

Thanks GAODT for the numerous free and useful products and games you have given me.

Comment by MamaBunny — April 1st, 2008 at 9:04 am

Community Commentary (powered by DisQus)

"There's no reason to treat software any differently from other products. Today Firestone can produce a tire with a single systemic flaw and they're liable, but Microsoft can produce an operating system with multiple systemic flaws discovered per week and not be liable. This makes no sense, and it's the primary reason security is so bad today."
Bruce Schneier, Cryptogram, 16/04/2002

Creative writing demands better word selection; interactive word mapping expands your choices.

"In studying the history of the human mind one is impressed again and again by the fact that the growth of the mind is the widening of the range of consciousness, and that each step forward has been a most painful and laborious achievement. One could almost say that nothing is more hateful to man than to give up even a particle of his unconsciousness. Ask those who have tried to introduce a new idea!"
Carl Jung
Swiss psychologist (1875 - 1961)

Would you like the tremendous advantages of mature writing skills plus an expressive style?

ABOUT: The conception and birth of V.O.I.D.

My photo
V.O.I.D. evolved in my sleep; becoming a waking dream which was then compounded by intuitive leaps. Formerly known as "w2w_Webfly's World" this site became the centerpiece of my socio-economic network. As such, the webfly persona no longer served as an iconoclastic representation of what I do here in CyberVille. I am still w2w_Webfly on many sites and will stay such for a while; perhaps gradually shifting screen names to w2wScribe. An attempt to establish an AIM profile registered the name but, not the profile. Ready, fire AIM.
"If computers get too powerful, we can organize them into a committee -- that will do them in."
Bradley's Bromide
"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience."
Eleanor Roosevelt
US diplomat & reformer (1884 - 1962)

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