Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Making Facebook Work For You - Part 2

If this is your first time joining me on the joys of FB, you'll want to start here in order to be completely in the loop.

So, now that you've mastered "Hiding..." Lets take a minute and talk about "Requests." What are "Requests" in FB? Well, they can be anything from a friend request, to a gift for your favorite farming application, to an invitation to play the newest farming game, to a virtual hug. FB has thousands of applications, enough to interest everyone, though most of us are usually only entertained with a handful of them, and sometimes lose interest in an application after a couple of uses. When I first started using FB, I would get so annoyed by the growing number of requests I received. They multipled like rabbits (and I couldn't sell their fur, because they weren't farming rabbits!) Sometimes I would get annoyed and just delete all of them. That only worked for awhile though, because, like dandelions, when you get rid of one, five more come back to taunt you. On top of that, some of the requests were useful. What's a girl to do?

Well, the answer really is simple, and it's very similiar to the "hiding" feature. When you click on your requests from your homepage (not the "See All" but rather a specific type that is listed) you're going to see something similiar to this:

I've blocked out names & pictures, to respect the privacy of my friends, but you should get the general idea of what the screen looks like.

Generally, you'll see who the request is from, if it is from an application, you'll see the name of the application and then you'll see some blue buttons that give you options (options are nice!)

The first option is generally an option to accept, which is what you'll click if you want to comply with the request. You will also have either one or two more buttons that give you the option of passing on the request. Generally you can click "No Thanks" or "Ignore" and get the same result, the request goes away. This is possibly what you typically do. It works, the request leaves... the problem is... if this is something you have no particular interest in... you've just created a dandelion... the request can come back, maybe from the same person, maybe not... but mark my words... it will be back...

That's why I like to use the two link options below the buttons. The first one is my favorite. "Block This Application." You simply click it, and you will be blocking all future requests from that application. This is particularly handy for some quizzes and if you're not into hugs, flowers, etc.

The second option, I rarely use. It's "Ignore all invites from this friend" Technically, if you have a friend who loves to invite you to everything under the sun, you can click this, and you won't get anymore invites from them, ever... the only problem, you may want to get something from them later. If you have a friends who is constantly bombarding you with new requests for different applications and you're tired of blocking them all, this would be an option... then again, you may just want to tell your friend to lay off the invites... Invites / Requests are kind of like the FB equivalent of an email forward. We should all be responsible and only forward ones we actually enjoy and choose the most appropriate audience for each one, unfortunately there's always one person out there who Spams us with everything... If you don't want the confrontation of telling them to knock it off, perhaps "Ignore all..." is your friend.

That's all for now. Next time, I'll be focusing more on what you can do to limit what others see you doing (Big Brother's watching, lol)

Be sure and check back for other posts on even more options to Make Facebook Work For You!

Gotta go, my farm is calling, need to harvest my crops before the Mobsters take them all and I have to call my Sorority Sisters in for backup because then the Vampires might get testy, and then who will there be left to Farkle with?!?!

Making Facebook Work For You - Part 1

Judging by my current friend count, I know that I'm not the only Facebook (FB for short) user out there. Actually according to FB's press releases, there are more than 250 million active users, 120+ million of those access their accounts daily. It seems like I am constantly finding old friends, coworkers, acquaintances, classmates, etc... Many of my family, from my mom, to aunts, uncles, cousins, etc... are now on FB and I communicate regularly with them through FB. According to, in 2009 there was a 276% growth in FB users, age 35-54, and 55+ has increased by 194%, not to mention younger demographics which grow exponentially.

Ok, so why am I boring you with statistics? Well I guess that's stemming from my recent back to school mode, I'm used to having to provide supporting details and references, lol... But seriously, the truth is, there are plenty of FB users out there. If you are using FB regularly (or even semi-regularly) you're bound to notice that your friend count creeps up... and with that increased friend count, comes more & more information thrown at you. I enjoy reading my friends updates, and often times I also enjoy seeing the results of their quizzes, etc... but sometimes, I think it can be overkill... I don't particularly enjoy going to my newsfeed and having to scroll down through 30 different quiz results to get to anything real or interesting. And as the number of friends I have has increased, along with the time that I can set aside to use FB decreasing, I have began to use options that make using FB work better for me.

So that's what I've decided to share with you today. There are actually several things you can do to enhance your FB experience, and if I were to put them all in one blog... you might be finished reading it by next week, so I'm going to break it up over a few blogs, for your reading pleasure.

The first focus... your view... literally, what you see from other people when you log into FB. The quickest and simplest option for eliminating clutter in your Newsfeed (the main part of your homepage, that streams your friends updates) is to use the "Hide" feature. Let's say for example that one of your friends is a "Farming" fanatic, however you aren't interested in farming, or in seeing updates from your friend (or friends...there are lots of us farmers!) about their farm. All you need to do is, the next time you see a post from your friend that is one of the "Farm" posts, hover your mouse in the upper right hand corner of that post (Just below the separator line). When you do this, the word "Hide" will appear. When you click on the word "Hide" you should be given a couple of options, either to hide your friend entirely (this means you won't see anything from that friend in your newsfeed, and I don't recommend this option for someone you regularly talk to) or the option of "hiding" that particular application. Once you click to hide the application, it will take away ALL posts from ALL friends pertaining to that application... and presto... no more farming nonsense for you! This is also a handy feature when your friends start a quiz that you have no interest in... you know, one of those quizzes that everyone takes, you can simply "hide" the quiz. I use this all the time for random applications, like "drinks, hugs, kisses, etc" It's not that I don't appreciate the sentiment, but honestly, FB has thousands and thousands of applications, and various friends have their favorites... if I didn't hide some, I'd drown in drinks, hugs and flowers!

Be sure and check back for other posts on even more options to Make Facebook Work For You!

Gotta go, my farm is calling, need to harvest my crops before the Mobsters take them all and I have to call my Sorority Sisters in for backup because then the Vampires might get testy, and then who will there be left to Farkle with?!?!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Getting the most out of college text books

Higher education can have a lofty price tag these days. Not just the usual suspects like tuition or room & board. When I went back to school last spring, I spent alot of money on books. In fact my book expenses were almost 40% of the amount that I paid in tuition! Imagine that, paying tuition, then spending somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of that on book... Why I haven't went into the college text book business is a mystery to me.

Depending on the class a text book might cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 - $150... sometimes less, sometimes more... You can save a few dollars by buying the used books at the bookstore, IF you beat the rush, used books are limited quantities...

Of course college bookstores will also buy your books back at the end of the semester, however you might be sad to find out that a book that you spent $100 on will be purchased back for around $20... I've been in the bookstore picking up books and saw a student turn in a stack of books and only get back about $40... And of course, used books, while less than new, still go for a pretty penny. If a book is $100 new, you can probably get a used copy at the bookstore for $80... that's quite a profit for the bookstore... you'd definitely get more dollars if you could cut out that middle man... but how do you do that? Well, you could try standing outside the bookstore and asking each student what they were looking to buy, but chances are that isn't the best use of your time... Which brings me to...

The wonderous invention we call the internet. Everyone knows you can buy practically anything online. Most of us are familiar with EBay or similiar sites that allow us to buy & sell at better prices than we might otherwise find. What you may not know is that EBay has a branch of their company called So what is It is similiar to EBay, but instead of bidding, you just list your price for books, cd's, games, and gaming systems. If you're familiar with the "Buy it Now" feature of EBay, that would be an easy comparison, all of the listings are simply at a "Buy it Now" price.

The great thing about is that you don't have to pay a listing fee (as you do on EBay). collects a small commission on all final sales, so if an item doesn't sell, you're not out any money. The trade-off is that unlike EBay, where the buyer pays you directly (through paypal, checks, etc) they submit payment directly to The website pays you (via paypal) 2 times a month, so you won't get your payment right away.

So why am I talking about Well they happen to be a big draw for college text books. People all over the country list their books online & sell to other people all over the country. I recommend if you are purchasing books to check out their website and compare the pricing to that of the local campus bookstore. Depending on the book, it might or might not give you some significant savings. And once the semester is over, a few weeks before classes resume, you can list your textbooks on the website for sale.

Just this week, I listed 5 textbooks of mine & my roomies on and in 3 days, I had sold all the books. The combined profit? About $350 - if we would have returned these books to the school bookstore, we probably would have recieved about $60.

Now I know that many of my readers may not be in school themselves, but many of you probably know people going to school, or kids getting ready to start college, etc - So pass this helpful information along to them. College is expensive enough, it's great when you can actually save a few dollars!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Slowly but surely

So week 2 came & went, I weighed in this past Sunday... after having dropped 10 lbs the first week, I was expecting some resistance... While I didn't make double digits again, I did lose a respectable 3 lbs... So I'm at 13 lbs lost for the month.

This "monitoring your sodium" diet is tricky, but I think I'm getting the hang of it. It seems easy at first, you just cut back on salt... then you start reading labels...and well... you realize just how tricky that can be. Nutritionists recommend that a person should eat no more than 2,400 mg of sodium per day. That is roughly the equivalent of 1 tsp of salt... And you may be thinking, I don't eat a tsp of salt a day... but you might be surprised to find that many people consume more than that, alot more than that...

Since starting this plan, I've targeted the "2400" rule... and when I go grocery shopping I'm amazed... Pasta sauce - 400 to 700 mg of sodium per serving, my favorite french bread pizza... a whopping 1100mg of sodium... even juice isn't safe... a serving of juice can have upwards of 90mg of sodium per serving... Does that mean you shouldn't drink it? Well, no... just that you may want to look for the best options out there, practice moderation, and take a realistic look at what you're consuming. I think that's important with anybody, whether or not you're trying to cutback on anything...

Even water that's not filtered to remove it has sodium in it... not that sodium is bad, your body does need about 500mg a day... it's just fascinating... Right now I'm starting the search for sodium free/reduced baking soda/powder (Baking Soda has a ridiculous amount of sodium in it!) But the stores around here don't seem to carry it, so I guess I'm going to order it online.

Ok, rant about sodium is over.... it just happens to be a forethought for me these days. I will be posting a couple more blogs this week, I've got a yummy recipe to share (that's low sodium, hehehe) and I'll discuss how to save & make money with college text books!