Saturday, February 28, 2009

BlackBerry Bullet Shows Apple Who’s Boss!


This is a cool video I found today when surfing the web. I myself have neither a BlackBerry or a Mac (I’m a frugal college student :) but I think this video is hilarious and very cool.

Why Commenting On Other People’s Blogs Won’t Improve Your Google Page Rank


There’s a common misconception out there that commenting on other people’s blogs will get you incoming links (backlinks) that will improve your Page Rank within Google.

This isn’t true. I learnt this the hard way.

Let me say from the get go that there are two types of blogs. Those that are self-hosted (they own their own domain) and those that are hosted for free (i.e. Blogspot, Wordpress).

Commenting on self-hosted blogs – No Problem

Commenting on blogs that are hosted for free (i.e. Blogspot, Wordpress) – Big Problem!!!

At least when it comes to gaining a bit of Google Page Rank in the process.

As I said earlier I learnt this the hard way.


I’m still a rookie when it comes to blogging only having started my own blog 7 months ago. So my best bet to get site traffic was through commenting on other people’s blogs. A common and well-meaning piece of advice that is floundering around the blogosphere.

So there I was… happy as a clam… commenting away…

Not spamming, mind you, but actual commenting, in my delightful, intelligent and witty way. Being supportive and encouraging.

I did a site search on my own blog in Yahoo recently (this was the first time I tried this - only having done site searches on Google before) when to my dismay –and horror– realized that my site only had 2(!!) incoming links. Those that I posted on a self-hosting blog. The rest, as they say, were…well, gone with the wind.

This shocked me a bit so naturally I googled around for a while and sure enough I found the information I was looking for.


You see evidently there’s a system (which I didn’t know of) that Google (meaning Blogspot) and Wordpress implement.

They attach a “No Follow” tag for URLs (that is, your in blog comments as a standard. This means that all the URLs in their blog comments are ignored, overlooked and just simply not paid any darn attention to at all.

This was of course implemented back then to stop or at least minimize spamming.

However, spamming hasn’t stopped and it sort of discourages simple folk like me to comment on Blogspot and Wordpress blogs now that I know about it. I don’t think they meant for that. I hope not.

The answer to this problem however is simple. “Do Follow” our blogs!

This means that we enable URLs in our comments to be picked up by Google spiders thereby giving others a chance to increase their incoming links and thereby their Google Page Rank. And in the end through both the links and the better Page Rank ultimately we help others generate traffic to their site.


Here’s a very simple step by step guide by The Blog Doctor named Remove No Follow Attribute On Comments that will help you to easily change your Blogspot blog from a “No Follow” to a “Do Follow”.

Afterwards to avoid spam change the settings in your blog so that you will now moderate your comments. Here’s a step by step guide on how to do this called How do I moderate comments on my blog? from the Blogspot Help pages.


For Wordpress Users there’s a “Do Follow” plug-in. You just install it.

And as for spam you will need to use a spam filter called Akismet. Or alternatively also moderate your comments. A quick guide on how to do so can be found in this eHow article called How To Moderate Comments On A Wordpress Blog.


And if you want to know more about “Do Follow” blogs and the whole “Do Follow” blog “movement” (not my words:) in general then read the post Why “Do Follow”? on

So what do you think? Show me the comments!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

6 Fun Facts About Me


I'm going to be going off-topic here and let you know a little more about me.

  • The last song I listened to was Phil Ochs' "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore"    

my money and savings blog - phil ochs






  • The last movie I saw was "The Constant Gardener" (dir.:Fernando Meirelles) last night

my money and savings blog - the constant gardener

  • I am a Film Studies major

  • I began blogging 7 months ago. You're looking at it. This is my very first blog.

  • I got a website recently because I finally dared to jump into the html and css domain. The site's still under construction, but I'll let you know when it's up and running. It's of course about film.

  • I love movies, music and technology.

That was it. A quick post here from me.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Books, books, books


Being a student you can’t come around it – you’ll need books. And loads of them.


But college books are expensive. I mean really expensive. And being on a tight budget already, it’s really difficult.

So a few money saving tips in regards to books.

There are basically 4 options you have in regards to saving money on books:

  • Buy new at student discount prices
  • Buy used
  • Borrow at library
  • Borrow from a friend

Buy new at student discount prices I present this as the first option, but really, you should consider it as your last. Buying new books will always be the most expensive option. Below I present some alternatives. However on occasion you will probably for whatever reason need to buy your books brand new. In these cases always ask if there’s a student discount. Always. I mean it. Make this your mantra when buying new books.

Buy used If you really need to buy the book then consider buying it second hand. There are great options for doing so. You can buy it used at the bookstore, from a friend or (here’s my personal favorite) on the internet. Websites like Amazon or eBay are great for buying cheap second hand books.

Borrow at the library This is a classic. If you’re only going to use the book once (say for example on a specific term paper) then this is really a good idea. Just be careful about return fees! Keep a close watch on when your books are supposed to be returned. Because return fees are really just an unnecessary expense out of your pocket. Because they can always be avoided, you just gotta hand your books in on time. Then the service is free.

Borrow from a friend If your friend’s got a book you need and he’s not reading it at the time. Ask him, nicely. If it’s ok you borrow it. There can be variations on this as well, like book-swapping - he buys one book for the course, you buy another, and you swap regularly. Another alternative is that you split the expense of the book 50%-50%. That way you still save money by buying the book at half-price. There is only one warning that needs to be heeded here! That is, you have to make sure that the friend you’re swapping/sharing with doesn’t have the same day rhythm or study habits as you. In other words, if you’re a night person then find a day person to swap with. If you’re a day person find a night person to share books with. I’ll bet you, that chances are a 100%, that the two of you will never need the books at the same time.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dubai’s financial crisis: the fall of the economic giant


I have been fascinated with Dubai for quite a few years now and have always dreamt of going there and experiencing first hand their excessively expensive lifestyle, luxurious Dubai Marina Parkhotels and lush attractions. However a recent article in The New York Times shows me that I’ll never get to experience that because those times are now over in Dubai and a new desperate reality has set in:

“With Dubai’s economy in free fall, newspapers have reported that more than 3,000 cars sit abandoned in the parking lot at the Dubai Airport, left by fleeing, debt-ridden foreigners (who could in fact be imprisonedDubai if they failed to pay their bills). Some are said to have maxed-out credit cards inside and notes of apology taped to the windshield.

The government says the real number is much lower. But the stories contain at least a grain of truth: jobless people here lose their work visas and then must leave the country within a month.

That in turn reduces spending, creates housing vacancies and lowers real estate prices, in a downward spiral that has left parts of Dubai — once hailed as the economic superpower of the Middle East — looking like a ghost town.”

These times are really crushing everyone, everywhere.

Saving Challenge Day # 6

Saving Tip # 6: Comparing prices
To compare prices thoroughly both in the stores and online is a must. Why pay more for the same item if you can get it for half the price someplace else?

It takes a little more time. And a little more “legwork” (physically or digitally). But the monetary benefits are definitely worth it.

I had to use this tip today as I had to buy some materials related to my university. And it’s actually sometimes quite surprising how huge the difference in pricing sometimes can be. I experienced that first hand today.

And naturally, I can honestly say now at the end of the day, that I most certainly got a bargain for my purchases.

So this is what I’ve been doing today.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Saving Challenge Day # 5

Saving Tip # 5: Savings container for your spare change
Many of us grew up with piggy banks but later on abandoned the concept again. I know I did because I somehow stopped believing that those small amounts of coins could really buy me my heart's expensive desires. However on people who are using this technique can be the first ones to tell both you and me the large items they've bought (a vacation or a new sofa) or the surprising amounts they've saved (anywhere between $150-$950) just using this simple tip.
So anything goes. A new piggy bank or an old jar. Just do it.
Save your spare change in a container and empty it out into a savings account every year. You'll soon see how a lot of small amounts accumulate into larger ones.
So this is my savings tip for the day. I've got to go find myself an old and sturdy jar now. See you tomorrow.


I'm beginning my thesis now. I probably won't have that much time for writing on this blog but I'll do my best. Alternatively, I've created another blog called Thesis Update that will be my thesis blog. I've found that in earlier blogs that I've created to help me with my focus and progress on different university papers that they have truly helped my productivity. So that is why I've decided to create one for my thesis as well. It's a great way to hold yourself accountable. So if you're curious where I'm spending most of my time these days asides from Microsoft Word then take a look here.

Weekly Update

It's been over a week now since I've started this Saving Day Challenge and so taking a brief look at how I've been doing is naturally an important part of the process.

This is my first weekly update.

Saving Challenge Day # 1: Turning down the heat
The heat is still turned down half a notch in all the rooms.

Saving Challenge Day # 2: Staying at home
Naturally this tip can't be done everyday. But once in a while in the spirit of saving money I'll remember this tip and take it to heart.

Saving Challenge Day # 3: Switching off appliances on standby
Appliances still off standby.

Saving Challenge Day # 4: Talk a little less, text a little more
Using the phone less. See the reason why on the original post at Saving Challenge Day # 4: Talk a little less, text a little more.

So all in all it's been a very good week.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Saving Challenge Day # 4

Saving Tip # 4: Talk a little less, text a little more
I know, I know, believe me, I know. Making a quick phone call is often more tempting than writing a text message. For me, that's very often the case.

Making a phone call is more personable, it's faster and I can even walk on busy streets and climb stairs while I do it (which is not the case for texting, I often lose my balance, especially, if they're a particularly long case of stairs).

Yes, making a phone call and say, for instance, doing the dishes at the same time is absolutely heaven for the multi-tasker.
But hell for the bill payer.

I think that we all know that 1 minute of talking is more expensive than 1 minute of texting (4 times more in my case, with my specific phone company). So there's a lot to be saved here.

It's just always been convenience (or rather, inconvenience) that has nudged me in one particular direction.

So this is what I've been doing all day today.

And I'll tell you something that I've learnt... what I've noticed is that there's a real bonus in this tip, for all of us who dislike texting. I've realized that I'm using my phone less because I really do dislike text messaging and I'm beginning to think long and hard before I start a text-conversation with anyone whether the conversation is really important or just a way to pass the time.

So let's take a look at this for a second. You're saving money per minute and using your phone less. It's a win-win situation.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Saving Challenge Day # 3

Saving Tip # 3: Switching off appliances on standby
According to Big Green Switch 8 - 10% of a normal household's energy consumption is due solely to appliances that are on standby. While a study made by The University Of California estimates that the figure is anywhere between 6% - 26%.

By unplugging these appliances you can obviously save a noticable sum on your electricity bill every year. And without actually having to do much except plug them out once.

You can also use something like a timer or standby buster or the sort. This will help you out even further.

Another plus side is naturally that you are saving money while at the same time helping the environment.

So this is what I'm doing today.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Saving Challenge Day # 2

Saving Tip # 2: Staying at home
Now naturally don't stay at home if you have to go to work or attend a close friend's birthday party. But once in a while, if you're trying to save money, it's a good idea to stay within your own four walls. To resist the temptations of window shopping, coffee-on-the-go, and many other various pitfalls that you might be prone to once you step outside and into the city streets.

At home you don't spend any money and here you can get a lot of the things done you need to.

I needed to get some work done so I decided to stay at home today and tonight (on this Saturday evening) so that I could finish the work and on top of that save money too in the process.

This little tip turned out to be handy for me as it saved me money and increased my productivity.

So this is how I saved money today.

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