Saturday, June 30, 2007

Amazon Unbox Downloads

DVD box sets of your favorite shows are great, but you know you like some episodes of a season better than others. It'd be nice if you could choose the ones you want, rather than paying for the whole thing and ending up with some episodes you'll never watch. Amazon Unbox Downloads allows you to do just that, for a reasonable price. You can keep purchased videos on two PCs or TiVo DVRs and two portable video players at the same time. Individual episodes of certain shows are available for $1.99.

Unbox downloads also offers video rentals which can be stored on your PC or TiVo DVR for 30 days. Once you press play, you have 24 hours to watch the video before it expires. Rentals are typically $0.99 - $3.99.

There are some restrictions, though. The offer is only available for US customers located in the 48 contiguous states, Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia. You will need to install the Unbox Video Player. Requirements are a Windows-based PC (XP or Vista) or a broadband-connected TiVo DVR (Series2 or Series3). It is not compatible with Apple/Macintosh operating systems. Amazon states that while it may be possible to run the Amazon Unbox video player on an Apple computer running a required Windows operating system, they cannot guarantee performance on those systems. Minimum hardware requirements are a PC with a 1.5-gigahertz (GHz) processor or faster, at least 256MB of memory, and a DirectX 9.0 compliant Video (64 MB Memory) and Sound Card.

Amazon Unbox downloads can help keep your entertainment budget within limits. I've linked some of my favorites on the right that I didn't think I could get for awhile due to money constraints. Don't forget their other choices in movies, music, and books as well. Sometimes Amazon prices can beat eBay.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Get Paid To...waste my time

If you've Googled making money at home, you've probably run across GPT and PTC/PTR/PTS (paid to click/read/surf or sign up) sites. I did some research, admittedly maybe not enough, but what I found was enough to convince me I'd make money faster scouring parking lots for change. And end up with a far more manageable headache.

I'll be fair to anyone who wants to give this a try. Most of these sites have the same basic format and rules. Some have a very low minimum for payout, such as $2 at Cash Lagoon, others pay monthly or weekly. They have free offers which are generally surveys and sign ups that pay anywhere from about 20 cents to up to a couple of dollars. There are also trial and credit card offers where you pay a small fee at first to get a much higher return. And of course there are referral systems for building residual income. I'm not going to go into all the details here - there are sites galore dedicated to explaining this, even down to how many pages you should do on the survey/sign ups like here. I'll let them do it.

I started with Cash Crate. I jumped right in without having any real idea what I was doing. I figured the FAQs would be enough. In a word, no. I signed up and immediately started a free offer, a survey. Ten pages later in this apparently never-ending survey from the place none of us wants to go I just closed the browser window. I submitted it for payment and decided I needed to learn more about this. Surely not everyone would think this was so great if every offer was like that, right? But while I'm browsing, I'm suddenly buried in pop-ups and redirects. I've done tech support, I know my computer's been infected with something. Long story short, it took 2 hours to clear all traces of spyware, including a backdoor trojan, that had suddenly appeared on my system. I'm not saying it's Cash Crate's fault (actually it's my own for not being more careful), but that's a coincidence I'm not going to chance occurring again.

So I researched GPT sites, how people are making money using them. Here's a very basic list of things you should do:

Sign up for multiple email addresses to handle the flood of spam you'll get. Keep track of all these, because many offers require an email with a verification link being sent to the address you provide in order to get credit. Also, if you do too many offers with the same email address you won't get credit at all (I found this out at Cash Lagoon, I had about $20 worth of offers disapproved).

Sign up for a free voicemail number to handle the flood of telemarketing calls. A good site is Private Phone.

Get a prepaid credit card to use for the higher paying trial and credit card offers. Note, though, that many GPT sites are no longer accepting them. Here is a blog with a list of sites that still allow them, along with information about other recent changes in GPT sites.

Download an autofill program like Roboform to take care of the tedious surveys and sign ups. It is free with no spyware or adware.

Download CCleaner to delete your cookies and cache and make sure you're cleaning both after every single offer so that you're properly credited.

That's more effort than I personally want to go through. If you want to try GPT/PTC (etc, ad nauseum) sites, I sincerely wish you the best of luck. Me, I'm just going to hope I find some dropped change in parking lots.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I didn't mean to do this yet, really. But it said "claim your blog" so I did and now I'm signed up there. Because I'm new (and I have hardly any content yet, at least not here) I have no Authority, which is the number of blogs linking to a website in the last six months. So I know what it means, but if my kids ever saw that "You have no authority" I'd never hear the end of it. Hopefully I'll be able to fix that soon. Anyway, my Technorati Profile.

Aspiring Photographer

I check the forum on Associated Content (more in previous post) regularly, and found an interesting site called VuMe that allows you to upload photos, videos, and audio files and pays $3 per 1000 views. They will deposit money into your Paypal account when your balance reaches $25. The site is pretty new, and I still have a way to go until I hit the minimum amount, so I don't know how good it is yet. Guess not too many people are interested in looking at my cats.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Fancy yourself a writer?

One way I've found to make money at home is through a site called Associated Content. If you have a talent for writing I highly recommend it. They offer pay both by article and by page views on your published articles, so you can build a nice little residual income without having to bother friends and family to sign up for something under your referral.

The FAQ section is clear and detailed, and there are several helpful articles and videos both for writing and increasing page views from experienced Content Producers on the site.

And of course, I will shamelessly plug my own page while I'm blogging.

And just how are you going to do that?

An excellent, and legitimate, question. One for which I'm still working on an answer. Like moving into a new place, there's alway that period of time during which you're unpacking, shifting things around, deciding what works where, etc.

Starting with why I even created this blog in the first place seems like a good place to begin. I chose to stay at home early this year. At the time, it was the best solution to family scheduling conflicts. But life goes on. And beyond just paying bills and surviving, it's hard to give up those extra things that cost money. Music, movies, and family entertainment come to mind. And I've become interested in environmental causes over time. It's hard to donate money you don't have.

So I thought that I'd look at ways to still have a life within a limited budget in addition to throwing in my two cents on ways to make money at home. We'll see how it works.

Why read this?

There are so many sites tackling the whole "work at home" thing, do we really need another one? Probably not. But then, did we really need a Fantastic Four sequel? Probably not.

So, I'm going to try to give this a unique spin, and hopefully not follow the same well-worn path of so many sites before me.

And just maybe, one or two people might be interested.