Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Speaking of...Speech Enabling Software

I just purchased Dragon Naturally Speaking software so that I might be able to use my computer when my pain is bad.This is the software that is recommended the agency is working with the disabled. I did not know however, how much time goes into training the program to recognize your speech patterns. At this point, I am not sure who is training who. I wonder if I am training the computer, or the computer is training me? It is difficult learning to verbalize punctuations and commands. I have to remember that the program is learning how I speak. I also have to remember that if I don't say enter, the computer will not hit return key to the next line. I also have to think about what I am going to say ahead of time. All in all, once the computer chair and I have each other trained, I believe I will find the program very useful. I believe people who have difficulties typing, for what ever reason will find this program very helpful. Therefore, I give Dragon Naturally Speaking high marks. I have used the program to create this blog post. Other than a few confusing words, it has been highly accurate.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

(Bleep) Me, It WORKED!!

Whenever I am surprised by a product's performance, I can't help but think of the moment in the movie "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" when Will Scarlett is launching Robin and his moor sidekick into the stronghold using a catapult. Will's shocked face as exclaims, "F#@% ME, It WORKED!" is how I picture my own shocked expression. I have experienced a couple of those "AHA" moments recently.
#1 is the vocalpoint campaign I am in trying out J&J's Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner. I really was skeptical that it would make a difference, given our hard water and older limed-up tub/shower unit in this older mobile home. Not only is it keeping our new shower curtain, soap scum and lime free, it is slowly taking off the lime and rust AND our bathroom smells better, despite the presence of the kitty potty.
#2 is John Frieda's Root Awakening shampoo and conditioner. I had a SUPER coupon deal on two, which almost never happens, so I took a rare plunge and tried it. I have been using it only 1-2 times per week alternating with low allergen products. I enjoyed the feel and fragrance of the product with out the misery of allergic reaction. That in itself was a pleasant surprise. To my amazement as I shampooed last week, I realized that in the front of my scalp where a lot of hair had broken off from allergic itching, felt thicker! I just couldn't believe it! I am not saying it will do the job of Prescription hair regrowth media, but between reducing the allergic reactions and my scalp just plain feeling better, I believe by improving the condition of my scalp and roots, it allowed my damaged scalp to heal and begin new growth.
So, lets hear it for the Eureka/Aha moments that make trying new products worth the effort!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Living in the 21st Century?!

(I'm using a green font today, because the subject is money, as in I NEED some green)

I am frustrated by the 21st Century Check Clearing law. We are living in the electronic age of supposedly instant gratification. If the check I write to pay my utilities can clear in 24 hours or less, why do I have to allow two to four weeks (or God forbid, six to eight weeks) for somebody to pay me?!
I belong to a few select survey groups, but am growing steadily more frustrated with the industry. In the first place, NO ONE will ever get rich or even be able to survive off of survey groups or product development panels, despite what tv commercials say. In fact, when I first started, one wise woman counseled me that I would do well to make coffee money off of the industry. She also warned that most "survey panels" were in fact scams to take your money.
I got burned by one that was supposedly a test panel for a new laptop, and that gift just keeps on giving. I even had to close my bank account and will probably have to change banks before it finally is over.
When I started, I qualified here & there, but it was "nothing to write home about". I did get invited to participate in one panel, ONE TIME, in over two years, that paid $75 for three days of discussion panels. It took over a year to get paid for it. The company apologized, somehow, my completion credit wasn't put through properly when the panel concluded and the study was closed. Other than that, the biggest survey payment I received was $7 and I'm waiting on that one now.
Most of them offer cashout thresholds. Initially most required $20 in earnings to cash out, in order to justify them issuing a payment. Now, one is up to $30, another $45 and one even requires 60k points which is equal to $60. Don't get me wrong, I would love a $60 payment, if I qualified for more survey panels with that company. It seems like I get screened out much more often now.
Perhaps what is most irritating is the lag time for getting paid. I understand that some studies take longer than others to conclude and confirm payment. What I have a harder time understanding is why when the company has been paid for their services and credited me for my earnings, does it take so long to send them to me? It is even more confusing when it is being sent to my paypal account. When I pay for something with my paypal account, the seller usually contacts me back confirming payment within the hour. Is the paypal a one way current like a river and do my earnings have battle upstream like spawning salmon?
Come on, people, what's the deal? If my money I pay out has to be available in 24 hours according to the 21st century check law, why doesn't their payment to me fall under the same regulations? Or does it and I am just being snowed?!
If we are truly living in an electronic age of instant gratification, why am I ungratified?
Let's get our acts together companies! Some of us are out here sitting without our medicines or even food while you dither around taking your sweet time. I have been steadily been trying to qualify for surveys for two years and in all that time have not made the $400 required to pay self employment tax in the entire time, let alone per year.
I have moved into the 21st century. Join me, won't you?