Monday, October 29, 2007

 

New Computer, Episode 1



Buying a new computer used to be an exciting adventure. Now, it's just tedious.

I decided to dedicate today to this project in the hope that I'd actually purchase something. I finished a voice patch session early this morning, leaving most of the day to finish my search. I had done a fair amount of research over the weekend and knew more or less what I was looking for.

There used to be dedicated computer stores - large organizations with staff that were knowledgeable. They seem to have been replaced by the box stores that sell everything from washing machines to grandiose home theatre equipment.

I've upgraded my current computer to the nines and there's nothing more I can really do with it. To avert pending disaster with a computer with a 10 gig hard drive, I really do have to buy a new one. I've added an 80 gig drive but the OS and most of the programs are loaded on the 10 gig drive and there just is no more room to maneuver.

What is making this adventure less than enjoyable is the lack of choice when it comes to the Operating System. Simply stated, I do not want Vista. My current audio editing software, Cool Edit Pro, will not run on Vista. Everyone in the voice over world I have talked to has emphatically stated - do not get Vista!

I've looked online and have actually found a number of laptops and desktops running XP. But when it comes to computers I want to touch, feel, look, and most importantly, listen to it before I buy. Consequently, I have spent that past few days visiting various stores like Future Shop, Best Buy and Staples just to see some of the items I have been looking at online, even though I realized I most likely wouldn't find an XP machine in any of these stores.

I visited TigerDirect.ca online and they seemed to have a fairly good selection of laptops running on XP. So I decided to go to one of their local outlet stores today, thinking I just might be coming home with a new computer. The outlet is located in the west end of town, a fair trek from where I live. I am not at all familiar with the area so I of course went too far and had to double back to get to it. I walked into the large warehouse type store to find that all they had were some refurbished Gateway desktops all running Vista and almost no laptops to speak of. What a disappointment. A small consolation, at least I managed to get back home before rush hour.

When I asked about the items I found online, they told me they would be shipped in from Chicago so that would be an added expense and just more aggravation I would think.

It's back to the drawing board. I spent some time on the Dell website but again, no touchy-feely experience there. At least they do recognize that there are still a lot of people not ready for Vista.

Then, of course, there are the Macs. Nice to be sure, but expensive.

Stay tuned for the next episode.....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

 

Internet Marketing Plan for Voice Actors


I must admit that I have become more than a little jaded when it comes to these marketing advice books. I have read other marketing books before and they all tend to rehash the same thing over and over. And none of it seems terribly relevant to a business that is not only service oriented; but where the product is so dependent upon a very subjective decision made by the client. I can no more produce a Kathleen Turner sound than I can become 6 feet tall (I'm a little over 5 feet....)

So it was with more than a little of trepidation, I must admit, that I offered to do a quick review of Voices.com's newest e-book Internet Marketing Plan for Voice Actors.

Imagine my relief when upon reading the Internet Marketing Plan for Voice Actors, I realized that not only was this information relevant, it was relevant to me as a voice actor. There are over 30 pages filled with information that I can relate to. And it doesn't just assume you have all the basics ready to start to market your voice over business on the internet; but starts with the basics of creating a marketing plan. This, of course, is the first step before making a foray into marketing, whether on the internet or elsewhere. Some of the topics they discuss are Business Description and all its elements, Products and Services, and The Market. All this before they get to discussing Internet Marketing, Branding and Advertising Strategies, and go on to Search Engine Optimization, Social Media and Performance Evaluation. While, admittedly, some of it, by nature, is generic (Search Engine Optimization is Search Engine Optimization), I like that they not only have made this very voiceover-centric but give specific voice over business examples.

Well worth the read! Congratulations Stephanie and David for producing yet another great tool that Voices.com provides for its voice actors.

Monday, October 15, 2007

 

Blog Action Day


Well, it took something as large as Blog Action Day to get me out of my torpor and post something again. I am just going to ramble on jotting down thoughts on the environment as they come to me.

A few years ago I wrote and recorded a tongue in cheek piece about Toronto's recycling program - you can listen to it here.

But in actual fact, I am quite pleased that I live in a city that gives me so many options to to contribute to recycling to decrease the amount of refuse that goes into landfills.

Our grocery stores now sell cloth bags to carry your groceries home in. My first thought was - uh oh - what will I use to scoop the doggie detritus. A colleague of mine mentioned that there are biodegradable poop bags now and I found them at the local pet store. Now not only will the contents biodegrade (is that a word?) but so will the packaging.

I get so upset when I see people toss things onto the streets and highways rather than disposing of them responsibly. My parents ingrained the importance of respecting the environment at a young age. Consequently my pockets are filled with bits and pieces of paper and other things waiting to be disposed of responsibly. It doesn't take much and it means so much.

I was very excited to notice a few houses in my neighbourhood with solar panels on the rooftops. When I lived in Israel, I heated my water through solar panels and it is very exciting to see these panels sprouting up here in Toronto. Unfortunately, the cost of converting is prohibitive at this time. Hopefully that will change in the near future.

I have spent time on Vancouver Island over the past couple of years. Virgin territory - it is so beautiful and pristine. Driving and hiking through the forests I saw signs of 'civilization' encroaching - golf courses, condo developments - people want to live there because it's so beautiful. But these 'improvement' are destroying that very beauty.

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