I Woke Up From a Nap 40 Years in the Future!

I woke up a little groggily. I have awakened from a nap several times this way in the past but I noticed that it requires a little more will and effort to really get up from my bed this time.
writing prompts
I remembered having worked a sweat a couple of hours ago when I weeded out the thickening grasses in the vacant neighbor’s front yard. That probably accounted for the muscle and back aches I’m feeling.

After pushing the water closet’s flush button I proceeded to turn on the lavatory faucet to wash my hands and that’s when I almost jumped with a start. Any remaining drowsiness I previously felt went poof in an instant.

I felt like being in one of those horror movies as I stared at the strange much much older face in the mirror who stared back at me with the same surprised and horrified look.

Am I presently in a nightmare? Have I taken a nap too soon after the workout I did earlier that my body is reacting rather strangely by giving me this weird dreams?

Convinced that it’s just a dream, I felt some sort of eerie elation as I thought about finally being able to experience lucid dreaming.

I hurried outside and immediately decided to enjoy the much hyped joys of conscious dreaming. Like flying a la superman. I willed myself to be attired in Superman clothing – the kind of material and design used in the latest Man of Steel movie. And of course I have to blow up my pecs a bit to make my look more credible.

Oops, what’s wrong? Why is it not working? Why am I still looking down at very elderly wrinkled hands and loose clothing usually worn by old folks? And the painful joints and pains in almost every part of my body — what is happening?

I tried to think of other ways of checking whether I’m dreaming or not? Pinching! So, I pinched the fleshy part between my wrist and elbow.

Ouch! That hurts! And it wasn’t even a really strong pinch.

I’m not dreaming then? I hurriedly ambled back to the bathroom mirror to check again. Nothing’s changed. There’s still that old guy. On closer inspection, I recognized that he’s actually me. But why is he so old? I know I’m presently forty-something. What’s with the 80-something guy in the mirror?

I thought of the other people in the house. Oh, just my luck! I remembered they had gone to the mall to buy some school supplies.

Confusion and the scary feeling of being hopelessly lost threatened to overwhelm me. This just can’t be. If this isn’t a dream, I can think of only two other possible explanation for this. Either I’m a victim of some evil spell, or I have lost my mind. Whatever the case, I can only see myself facing hopelessness and an inability to find a way out of this quandary. If I haven’t lost my mind yet, I’m sure I will within the next few minutes if this goes on any further.

Oh my God, even thinking about it and writing it down makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.

I had to blink twice and get myself out of the trance to stop the thread in my head. Whew! I think this ‘writing prompts’ technique may work according to the intentions of their originators.

I just happened to stumble today upon this writing prompt generator page and got this first prompt:

[note]”You awake from a nap only to discover you are 80 years old. Describe what happens next.”[/note]

I had earlier plotted to stretch this into a dream within a dream instance. But I soon realized that singers and storytellers probably share a common trait. That they both emote and thus feel the emotions of the characters in the song/story.

I almost got to the point of being overwhelmed and thus had to cut the story short. And I’m not even that good a writer.

Writing prompts, they say, are great tools to overcome what they call writers’ block. I also think it’s one cool tool to practice one’s writing skills and thus improve in this area. Aside from the site I mentioned earlier, there are other sites that offer this tool for writers and would-be writers.

Click here for Writing Prompts Resources.

I also searched for an iPhone app for this and found 17, of which only 3 are free. Of the 3 free apps, 2 are probably cool enough for this exercise.

Flash Fiction Prompter – is a free iPhone app that can provide random plots for a short story. It even suggests the characters as well as the setting for the story. Perfect especially if you want to improve your imagination and story writing skills.

The other app is called WordDot, a random name and phrase generator. The phrase actually consists of two random words which are most often unrelated.

What do you think of writing prompts?

Body Language Confidence: Fake It Till You Become It

From ‘Fake it till you make it’ to ‘Fake It Till You Become It’

Do you know that you can begin changing your future in as little as 2 minutes each day or 2 minutes each time you feel the need for a positive change?

It’s all about posture. But before you shrug off and call this as another one of those self-help suggestions that never work, listen up and know that this is not another sensible-looking theory that has yet to be proven. The author, Prof. Amy Cuddy, is a living testament and evidence of its efficacy.

Amy Cuddy, as a young woman, suffered a severe head injury due to a car accident which left her with a much lowered IQ and lesser body flexibility. As expected, the people around her immediately concluded that she’d never amount to anything after that.

[tip]If I remember right, someone called Albert Einstein was also ‘sentenced’ the same way during his childhood. And like Einstein, Amy Cuddy proved them all wrong. [/tip]

She’s now a professor and research scientist at the Harvard Business School. She dissects people’s non-verbal behavior and snap judgments from the classroom to the boardroom. Original post: http://moralde.com/fake-it-till-you-become-it/

Body Language Power

fake it become it power poseIn terms of confidence, body language is one dependable gauge to measure it on a person. A person who is in total control and is sure of himself transmits body language confidence with ease and without even knowing it. Of this, I’m sure we all agree. I’ve seen far too many real life instances where people, specially leaders, are ablaze with this body language of power as to have doubts about this concept.

Thing is, we forget that body language is not only something we see in other people. It is also seen by our own selves with regard to our own body language. Our ‘inner’ selves also judge us based on how we ourselves express body language.

Cuddy speaks about how she felt like she doesn’t belong anywhere. At school and at her workplace early on, she felt so small and so out of place. It was one of her teachers who convinced her that she does belong. That, feeling so low and out as she was, she should go out there and face everything with a confident face and body. That being not confident, there’s no other way but to fake it like hell.

Long story short, she finally got to where she is now having made ‘fake it till you make it’ as one of her initial stepping stones. She also helped a lot of others make it by paying it forward.

She then looked back and dedicated her life to studying in depth what makes ‘fake it till you make it’ tick. She started asking questions like:

Do our nonverbals govern how we think and feel about ourselves?
Do our bodies change our minds?

She of course eventually proved that while it’s true that our minds dictate what our bodies do, it is likewise true that our bodies can shape the mind.

Scientific proof of her work is not limited to observations of human behaviour but, most importantly, quantified by measurable levels of testosterone and cortisol. Testosterone is related to power, and cortisol to stress.

She reports that ‘power posing’ does raise testosterone levels and lowers cortisol levels.

And the great thing about it is that she found that 2 minutes is enough to raise testosterone and lower cortisol levels to a usable and affective level. Thus, prior to an interview, you can get inside a comfort room cubicle and do some power poses for at least 2 minutes.

[note] “Tiny tweaks to your body configuration can lead to big changes” [/note]

Cuddy adds that usually, it’s how the message is expressed or delivered that makes it happen rather than the message itself.

So what are some of these Power Poses?

[note]The spread out arms: Studies revealed that even born-blind folks who have never seen how people react when they feel powerful (e.g. winning at games, elections, being promoted) automatically spread their arms the same way our champions spread theirs in the finish line.[/note]

fake it become it power pose-2

fake-it-become-it-power-pose-1

fake-it-become-it-power-pose-3

Note: All images above were taken from Amy Cuddy’s talk-video on ted.com featured below.

On the other side of the fence are the powerless poses. Just about any pose where you contract your body as if you want to take as little space as you can.

Research Data

fake it till you make it research

Note: The above data were based on observations of 2-minute sessions of power posing and powerless/withdrawn/dejected posing. If 2 minutes can affect one’s behaviour and esteem that much, imagine the outcome if we stretch it out to say, 5 minutes, or more. And on a regular basis e.g. everyday. I’m sure that high levels of testosterone and minimized cortisol is not limited to effectively making you look good during job interviews only. Where else can we use more testosterone and less stress? I’m sure you have ideas.

[warning] Don’t just fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.[/warning]

Here’s one additional interesting video about body language, this time, particularly focusing on the ones used by the opposite sexes in a bar or a party.

Getting Back Missing Images on My Websites After Enabling htaccess Hotlink Protection

Enabling hotlinking protection via cpanel or htaccess may not only protect your images from external sites but also from your other sites which you shared on the same host as well. This means you may find images which you yourself uploaded to your other sites missing.

This post was first & originally published at moralde.com.

I discovered this firsthand when I experimented with hotlinking protection a few weeks ago. All of my sites except this (my primary site) lost all their images.

I, at first, did not know it was due to the hotlinking protection but when I found out that all the sites’ htaccess files got modified at the same time that I enabled hotlinking protection, there’s no doubt about its cause. Each site sharing my hosting got their htaccess modified, except for the primary site’s.

How the Images Got Missing

Turns out the cPanel automatically created or modified the htaccess file in all sites sharing my hosting account. If you have your primary site called, say, ironmandomain.com, and you have other domain names sharing the same host, say –

  • 2tee.net
  • noelmoralde.com
  • greenlanterndomain.com
  • i-am.ironmandomain.com

– lunarpages, or your webhost actually sees all these as follows:

  • ironmandomain.com (your primary domain)
  • 2tee.ironmandomain.com
  • noelmoralde.ironmadomain.com
  • greenlanterndomain.ironmandomain.com
  • i-am.ironmandomain.com

[note]That is, whether it’s actually a subdomain or an independent domain name, they’re all seen as subdomains to your primary site as far as lunarpages (or your hosting provider) is concerned.[/note]

Part of the htaccess entries generated, thus, would look like so:

htaccess hotlink missing images

Thus, all the above sites except for ironmandomain.com and the legitimate subdomain, i-am.ironmandomain.com, will experience missing images.

The actual URL which the browsers recognize as http://2tee.net, for instance, is not included in the list; so, it is seen as an external site and is denied hotlinking rights.

How to Bring the Images Back

There are 2 obvious ways to remedy this glitch.

  • Deactivate hotlinking protection

If you’re the kind who gives up immediately and think that hotlinking protection is more of a headache than a benefit, then just dramatically and with flourish say “To hell with hotlinking protection!”, and then disable it from your cpanel.

  • Edit the htaccess files

Obviously, all you need to do is change the lines like

change htaccess hotlink from

into

change htaccess hotlink to


Sure enough, after I edited each site’s htaccess files right on the cpanel’s file manager, the sites images came back like nothing unusual happened to them.

One thing I noted when I checked the htaccess for each site is that they all have the same htaccess file content except that all wordpress sites has this at the beginning

wordpress htaccess

while non wp sites just have

non-wordpress htaccess

So, you shouldn’t panic the next time you find your images vanishing from your sites after you enabled hotlink protection in your sites now that you know how to bring the images back with a few tweaks in the htaccess file.

How to Avoid Duplicate Content with Canonical Tags


The relative canonical tag written as rel=”canonical” in code is one of the most effective tags site owners use to fight duplicate content on their websites. According to experts, this tag is used with link tags in website development. It has the same capacity as the 301 redirect in the website HT access. This article looks at duplicate content on a website, in addition to the different techniques that can be used to deal with it.

The duplicate content problem

When you develop a website, one of the biggest problems it will face is duplicate content. To Google, duplicate content is the one that doesn’t pass its bill or right as unique. You can find such pages with a duplicate content checker PlagSpotter. Simply, this is content which the same as content on another page on the web.

Sometimes, duplicate content exists when particular content is accessible from different URLs. The search engines access these pages with the same path and they see this as duplicate content. Moreover, although you may not be punished for this, only one out of the pieces/URLs will be shown in the Google search results.

To add on this, when you have different versions of the website with the same content, they compete against themselves for page rank. In the end, this may erode the entire links authority in the search engine results. To the content owner with similar pages competing with each other, winding up with a low search engine result is definitely out of the question.

The relative canonical tag helps you direct the search engine results about the pages they should put more focus. In the worst-case scenario, duplicate content on a website affects your search engine optimization effort, negatively.

rel=”canonical”

This is one of the most respected tags in the SEO sphere. It tells the search engine crawlers on Bing and Google that regardless of the page URL, the one specified within it is the one you want them to look at. However, you shouldn’t abuse this tag. According to Google engineers, any use of the tag for purposes other than getting rid of duplicates is bad and against its guidelines.
If you have understood the role this tag plays, where do you implement it? The following are duplicate content locations and issues you can fix with this tag.

Creating tracking codes

When you create a website tracking code or URL, this can be one of the leading causes for duplicate content. Even though most search engines, especially Google have technology that is able to determine these elements, they do it at discretion. Sometimes, they may pass you on. This may lead to the duplicates and the associated poor performance. The canonical tag will ensure that the pages you have on the website have connectivity and this will improve your website’s performance.

Poorly crafted URL


The URL is the doorway to your site’s content. Poor orientation caused in coding can result in many URLs pointing to the same content causing duplicate. In the idea scenario, the search engines want you to have a particular URL for specific content. The rel=”canonical” can also help you escape duplicates.

Pagination

Websites also grapple with duplicate content caused by pagination. These pages have content, which is almost the same. If you have this kind of pages on your website, you can strengthen the stronger one by pointing the other page to it with a rel=”canonical”.

WWW and non-WWW versions of sites

Many websites can be accessed on both www and non-www extensions. This causes duplicate content. For the benefits that come with linking a single version, you should use a relative canonical to redirect to your preference.

Securing WordPress Against Botnets Hacking Attempts Worldwide On WordPress Sites

I too received a couple of emails from 2 different hosting providers I use, one of which is lunarpages, informing me of a recent onslaught of hacking attempts focused on wordpress websites all over the world now, and how to secure wordpress better. Although this is no new thing as these hacking attempts happen year round, there just seemed to be a surge these days and they’re centered on wp sites.

securing wordpress

If you used wordpress, chances are, you have email in your inbox telling you of this ongoing attack.

Anyway, they all advised everyone to be vigilant and not to take security for granted. If you’ve been hacked before, you’ll know what I mean.

Yes, I once ignored this kind of advise before, resting on an innocent thought that no one would have any reason to hack my site. That only the big sites are being actively attacked. No way Jose. We aren’t dealing with little insecure would be hackers here. What’s making all these attacks are bots… software that automates all hacking actions and attempts. Thus they can work 24/7, no rest at all. And more importantly, they don’t differentiate between big wbsites or small insignificant one-page sites. They devour everything in their path like a hungry lion that’s been genetically engineered to behave both like a lion and a hyena.

Lunarpages did notspecify how they handled the attacks but Fatcow revealed that they choked traffic to the login pages. The attack was temporarily stumped. The downside to this however is that legitimate wordpress owners’ IP may have been blocked as well from accessing their dashboards at least during the first 3 days starting Thursday.

What we can do

While hosting providers levelled up their security fences, we as webmasters are left with the responsibility of setting up the first line of defense.

  • We are advised to change our passwords every 90 days. And not just any password. We should employ strong passwords that are not listed among the passwords being feed to hacking bots in their nefarious attempts.
  • password protect your login page. This effectively adds an extra layer of protection for your websites agains these hacking bots.

    This methods can be done manually or through a wizard (if its available in your cPanel).

    Manually, you can follow the steps outlined on this page.

  • Install wordpress security plugins.

Additionally, if you haven’t installed them yet, then install two very essesntially security plugins for your wordpress site as discussed in this post.

How to Download Youtube Videos to Your iPhone Without PC or Jailbreaking

This is a very short blog entry as I just found out how I can download youtube videos to my iPhone without using my PC or jailbreaking the phone.

I’ve grown somewhat disappointed with my iPhone after I found I can’t directly interact with my PC. A windows PC is not necessarily friendly to an Apple device, and vice versa.

I found that my PC can’t even recognize my iPhone when I connect it using the USB cable that came with it. It can recharge while it’s plugged to my laptop, but it’s nowhere in the explorer. With this setup, the iTunes app I installed naturally couldn’t find my iPhone either.

So, I still don’t have any music on my iPhone now.

Luckily, I found that without need of jailbreaking or using any other device or pc, I could download videos from youtube for later viewing. At least now, I could listen to music through their videos.

And this was made possible by the mc-tube app which has a free version. For my purposes, the free version is more than enough, I suppose.

The youtube video below elaborates on this matter more in-depth.

You can check out the video in YouTube here.

My Kids Love Oz The Great and Powerful

There’s nothing like seeing your kids having a great time watching a movie made specially fo them.

oz the great and powerful movie

The whole family watched the movie Oz the Great & Powerful. It was a movie we were all eager to watch since the movie’s ads went live. The kids had pictures with them standing in front of the big cardboard standees a couple of weeks ago, after we watched another movie – Jack the Slayer. The kids enjoyed that too, although Shaniah Niles admitted to being scared of the giants.

James Franco looked perfect for the role of Oz. He does seem to radiate, at first glance, of a selfish man who is full of himself. Only rarely do I ever disagree with the caster’s choices. With this one, I would agree.

The movie kicked off with a setting in the past when Thomas Edison probably just rocked the world with his ideas and inventions. That’s who Oz wanted to be, after all.

It’s a movie of deception against deception; of evil vs the masterful use of trickery and implementation of some ‘new’ technology.

Even after good wins over evil, Oz stills continues to play his deception.

“Your secret’s safe with us”, say his newfound friends.

oz the great and powerful nice movie

Only a hero with a character like Oz can pull that off. But of course, I’m no expert movie critic. I hear that some critics think that the actors fell short of their expectations, especially as they compared this to the movie back in 1939 which they seem to imply as one that cannot be surpassed.

I don’t know about them critics but as far as I know, the kids loved it. And this is a movie for kids after all. With movies like these, I let the children judge whether it’s a good watch or not.

Thus, I deem Oz the Great & Powerful – an enjoyable movie to watch. You can find the DVD of Oz the Great and Powerful in my favorite movies below.

Deceiving the Enemy of Productivity

Productivity is always an ‘in’ thing regardless of what business you may be in. Whether you’re working for Donald Trump, or for a startup distributor, or you’re sorting mail in the mailroom, one’s performance is based on how you maximize the use of your time for maximum productivity.

Even when you work for yourself, where you own your time, you’re still bound to discover that efficient time management can boost your productivity and give you more time to do the things you love to do.

Before I go further, a word of warning. I’m not talking as an expert here. I’m talking from the standpoint of someone who has the same need for constant reminders about the advantages of sticking to a productive routine in order to meet expections – mine or others – or perhaps even to do better.

I found that the usual way I do things is not necessarily a bad routine. Normally, I don’t really lay out a complete plan before embarking on some things. I also still have not mastered myself inspite of my desire to improve my focus. But I saw that some folks who are or can be considered successful in their present life practice the same things I do and have the same weaknesses I have.

Jeff Goins’ Productivity by Deception

Well at least that’s what Jeff Goins of jeffgoins.com is doing. He’s a published writer and is deeply involved with the ‘Adventures in Missions’ non-profit group. After reading his chapter in an ebook from Problogger.com called Blog Wise, I found that I’m not alone after all in my hither-thither approach to things.

Besides having to force himself to follow established productivity methods like time chunking (e.g. Working in 30-minute increments), Goins proposed a method of productivity he calls Productivity by Deception which makes sense as far as I’m concerned. There’s still hope for people like me after all.

In his own words:
[note]
“Another thing I do is I create an enjoyable context,” he reveals. “Like last night I downloaded the Mumford and Sons album, and I made myself a carafe of really good coffee, and I was like ‘I have to do something I don’t want to do, so I’m going to create the most enjoyable context possible. I’m going to listen to music. I’m gonna drink coffee. And I’m gonna sit down and I’m gonna do it. And I’m gonna set aside this much time to do it.’

“And for me, the CD, which is like 45 minutes, was my egg timer, and when that was up I was done – whether or not I was actually done with it. I was done.”
[/note]

The way I understand it is that the trick is to trick yourself into thinking that a particular job is enjoyable. If not, then at least make the environment comfortable and less work-like. I am definitely adding this to my list of techniques for overcoming self-sabotage.

That, in my case, should work pretty nicely.

The enemy that blocks me from doing cool stuff and being productive is me myself. Tricking the enemy into cooperating by bribing it with what it loves is the best measure it seems.

I’ve got to make sure to personally thank Jeff Goins the next time I meet him for sharing this simple trick. Ooops, I forgot I live on the other side of the globe. But, who knows? I just might get to bump into Jeff one of these days.

Now, I’m off to read the other chapters of the Blog Wise e-book. Goins’ chapter is not the first chapter but I somehow found myself going there directly and discovered that he’s one cool guy. Now, off to the other cool folks’ chapters.

Scarcity Samurai WordPress Plugin 50% Discount Launch

I had the opportunity to test this brand-new Scarcity Samurai wordpress plugin last week in my blog and found that it works exactly just as its authors claimed. I suppose there’s little room for doubt when it comes to products created by the maker of the successful Market Samurai software.

Firstly, the visible feature of the plugin is the countdown counter that you can fix either at the bottom or top of the visible page.

This counter, even when you don’t elaborate about it on the page you put it on, without doubt creates a feeling of urgency in the reader. It is a perfect complement to the scarcity principle which has been effectively used for years by businessmen who understand human psychology. Thus when you imply in your copy to the readers that the price of your product will stay at this low price for, say, only 24 hours, the Scarcity Samurai (SS) countdown counter will reinforce this reminder and invoke the innate ‘fear of being left out’ in the reader. And you can bet he’ll take action quickly, often favorably.

scarcity samurai screenshot

The plugin also gives you the option to redirect to another page once the countdown is over. You can check out a test page I quickly drafted up when I tested this plugin. This test page utilizes the ‘evergreen scarcity‘* type of counter as opposed to the really one-time counter. And be sure to wait until the counter runs out so you can see its redirect action. Click here to check it out.

Scarcity Samurai is Not Just a Counter

Here’s where most, if not all other counter plugins are left in the dust by Scarcity Samurai.

SS can be configured to synched with your autoresponder so that as it counts down to a specific day, it can fire up a series of mails to be sent to your subscribers at specific intervals up to the end of the countdown.

At the moment, the Samurai team says it works with Aweber. The next update would probably make it work with the other autoresponders soon. Speaking of updates, I hope they ‘ll also give users the option to choose the size of the counter bar.

So, check it out now. I hear they’ll be offering huge discounts for a limited time. The video on this page will tell you more about this awesome Scarcity Samurai wordpress plugin.

*Evergreen Scarcity – is a counter that triggers everytime a user visits a page.
Fixed Date – a counter that has a specific lifespan.
And both these have either multi-page or single page campaign types.