Ordered a Few Tools

I hadn’t realized until very recently, but Amazon.com will actually buy books back or take them in trade. I knew you could sell to other people through Amazon, but I didn’t realize that they themselves would take the books in on trade and give you credit. Very cool! So I did that. I went through their simple process, sent them in a computer book I didn’t need, and the gave me a gift credit of Alvin Professional Self-Healing Cutting Mat Green$27! Can you believe that? A free and clear sum of spending money to buy some new hobby tools.

What I needed most was a nice surface to work on, so I bought an 8.5″x12″ self-healing cutting mat. I also got a pair of Xuron Track Cutters so that I can finally start laying rail. Finally, I needed to refresh my cutter collection, so I ordered a 16 piece hobby knife set. I know the blades on this on will be cheap, but that doesn’t worry me. I will end up replacing them with good quality X-Acto blades. I really needed the handle and such.Xuron Track Cutters Eventually, maybe, I might get a high quality handle. But I wanted to get a feel for them first.

Hobby Knife SetAll of this, because it ended up being over $25, is being shipped free. So in a week or maybe a bit more it should get here. Final total was $27.23, meaning only 23 cents was charged to my debit card.

Woo hoo! Talk about win-win, I got rid of a book I didn’t need that was cluttering up the house, Amazon paid for it to be shipped to them, and I got a nice little group of tools for a grand total of 23 cents. I just wish the rest of life was this easy.

At Home: A Short History of Private Life

At Home: A Short History of Private LifeAt Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson was my most recent companian companion in the car on audio book. My daughter, who is 19 and a huge history buff, thought it was going to be dreadful, but Bryson’s dry wit is keeping us both entertained. So far I am not loving it as much as I did “A Walk In The Woods” or “Notes From A Small Island”, but it is still excellent.

We finally just finished the last bit of this book on Monday, as I had ben taking a break from listening/reading, to listen to podcasts and other things. At Home: A Short History of Private Life has the same problem as a lot of Bryson books in that it starts of great but really tapers off towards then end. Much like a sermon that goes on fifteen minutes too long, I find myself thinking about all the places the author should have ended the book.

Still fun though, and recommended.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Clear Blogging – A Good Book For Business

To put it succinctly, Clear Blogging by Bob Walsh is the kind of book I would give to a boss or manager to educate them about what blogging is, can be, and a hint of technicalities on the back end. While a good book and a great overview of what is entailed with blogging, there are not enough nitty-gritty details to satisfy someone who is of a technical nature or someone who has been blogging for a while.

However, for someone who needs to know what this blogging thing is about and how they might be able to use it for their business, either directory or indirectly, this is the perfect place to start. I would estimate that at least half of the book is made up of interviews with either bloggers, people who run blogging companies, or marketing type folk. These interviews, though they get a little long and predictable after a while, lend real life examples to the lessons being taught.

Additionally, there is sufficient attention given to topics such as podcasting, monetization, and social networking to give you a good start on finding out more about these areas.

All in all, for any body wondering where to get started, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Clear Blogging. And if you are already in to blogging, I will bet this book can still teach you a few things.

WordPress for Dummies Review – 4 Stars

This is actually the book I wish I had been there when I first started out with blogs and especially WordPress. WordPress For Dummies For Dummies by Lisa Sabin-Wilson was just published last month, but I sure wish it has been published early. Like most blogging books, a couple of chapters up front are spent addressing what blogs are and what they, and WordPress in particular, can do for you. After that the bulk of the book is center on going through how to set up a WordPress.com account or how to install the WordPress.org software (single or multi-user) on your own site. While most of this information can be found on the web, having this book beside you would make the task so much easier. So, if you don’t have everything set up yet, go out now and get this book. It will save you a ton of heartache.

If you already have your blog all set up and in use, most of the book is of far less use to you. I find myself in that category. The two parts then that I could really get my teeth into are the section on theme customization with an explanation of many of the variables, and the second detailing the author’s top ten plug-ins. I found some items there that I had somehow overlooked before and are coming in quite handy. Those two sections really were worth the price of the book for me.

So, why the 4 star rating? Well, if you are just starting out, you really need this book. Pick it up before you start. For you it will be a great companion and time saver and will deserve a 5 star rating. But, if you have been doing this for a while, there will only be a couple of chapters of real value to you. so it will most likely be a 3 star. Average them together and what do you have? 4 stars!