Akshun “Sinner’s Therapy” Sampler – Free mp3’s!

A former co-worker and good friend of mine is releasing a new album in November. Kevin sent me and a few others the 4 track press sampler a few days ago and encouraged us to help spread the word and give the songs away to anyone who wanted a copy.

akshun

I’ve been a fan of Akshun (Kevin’s stage name) for years now and I’m still impressed. His first official release, Diamond District, was voted one of the best SC releases of the year.  Since then, he has gone underground, releasing 2 mixtapes – “Speaks for Itself” and “Let’s Be Clear Vol. I” (with Dan Johns).  For more on Dan Johns, see his website.

If you like good, lyrical music, check out the sample below.  Feel free to download the mp3’s by right-clicking the mp3 link and selecting “Save Target As…”.  If you like what you hear, stay up to date with Kevin at his Twitter, MySpace, and Magnum-Opus website for more information on the CD release.

Grizzly feat. Cajwell [mp3 link]
[audio:http://rybomedia.com/music/akshun/sinners-therapy-sampler/01-Grizzly-feat.-Cajwell.mp3]
Green Light feat. Lou Hall [mp3 link]
[audio:http://rybomedia.com/music/akshun/sinners-therapy-sampler/02-Green-Light-feat.-Lou-Hall.mp3]
I Don’t Need [mp3 link]
[audio:http://rybomedia.com/music/akshun/sinners-therapy-sampler/03-I-Don’t-Need-(The-Drama).mp3]
Breath Easy feat. Cajwell [mp3 link]
[audio:http://rybomedia.com/music/akshun/sinners-therapy-sampler/04-Breath Easy-feat.-Cajwell.mp3]

Whiplash

This post was written by my good friend Jimmy Sawczuk. If you would like to write a guest post, let me know.

server

We ran into a problem at work last week that was, at the same time, a nightmare and exactly the kind of problem you want to have. The culprit was our latest Big Prize Giveaways promotion, and the problem was that our app had metaphorically gone from 0-60 in about two seconds, and it experienced the same thing your neck feels when it accelerates that fast: whiplash. This was my first experience with an app that was this big; even in my McJournal days, I rarely averaged more than 60,000 (well, take that number and divide by 10,000 and you have the real number) hits per day. So in the last week, I’ve learned a ton during our march to a million fans that I think can be useful to everyone, no matter how close your app is to that kind of scale.

  • This is the first rule in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, so it’s the first rule here: don’t panic. My first (extremely narcissistic) thought was “what? Something broke? Our server sucks!”, and my second (seriously overdramatic) thought was “I tried my best when I was writing it, how am I supposed to improve it now?” Most scaling problems are definitely manageable, and even though (for me) they’re not much fun and can be stressful, there are worse problems to have.
  • Have a plan. These types of problems aren’t quick fixes, you’ll need to know what you want to do, how you intend to do it, and when. Keep in mind that unless you shut down your app completely, the slowdowns will continue to affect you as you work through the problem, so having a plan is crucial so you avoid wasting time thrashing.

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250 Sticker Giveaway from UPrinting!

UPrinting

Congrats to @ColumbiaSC – looking forward to seeing those #famouslyhot Gamecock stickers!

It’s that time again – UPrinting is sponsoring a 250 sticker/label giveaway for one lucky RyboMedia reader!  Aren’t they swell?

I love stickers.  I don’t know why – it’s just one of those things.  I think it’s the fact that they are semi-permanent, can be placed anywhere, and make a statement.  I mean really, when I walk into class and pull out my stormtrooper-faced laptop, what else need be said?

The winner will be given 250 2” x 3.5”, 2” x 4” or 3” x 3” 70lb label matte stickers.  Sweeeeeeet!  If you want to know more about the quality or details, check out the sticker printing page from UPrinting.com.  Worried about quality?  Don’t be – UPrinting is seriously awesome.  I received my custom poster a few days ago and couldn’t be more happy.  Great quality printing, fast shipping, and awesome customer service.  Plus, it’s free if you win!

Since the guys at UPrinting love me so very much (or maybe because I’m the owner of this blog…nah, it’s definitely the first one), they’re giving me 250 stickers too!  Since I heard I would be hosting this giveaway, I’ve been brainstorming about what I want printed.  When it comes down to it, I’ll probably end up doing something simple, like this:

rybo sticker

Plain, yes.  But bold.  Plus, can you imagine how much it will annoy my friends when I plaster these babies all over their notebooks?!

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Get More Traffic with Su.pr!

For the past few days, I’ve been trying out Su.pr – the new URL shortener from StumbleUpon.  When I first heard StumbleUpon released a link shortener, I couldn’t care less.  Honestly.  I’m really, really happy with bit.ly – why change?

This is why:

supr

Now, the click counts aren’t all that impressive – I generally get between 20-40 clicks per link I post to Twitter.  The important number is what’s in the little blue box.  This, my friend, is the number of people who viewed your link through StumbleUpon.  See, when you shorten a URL using Su.pr, you have the option to “Thumbs Up” your link by reviewing, categorizing, and ensuring that it’s family friendly.  Once that’s done, it’s ready to be stumbled and is made available to other StumbleUpon users.

So the obvious reason for using su.pr is more traffic.  In the past 3 days alone I’ve received a few hundred StumbleUpon views from the few links I’ve posted.  For a small, part-time blogger, this is a big deal.

Apart from that, Su.pr offers some other great tools for link management.

Thumbnail Previews

Sure, it’s not all that useful, but I like it.  It let’s me know at a glance whether or not my link has been reviewed and it lets me know what I’m clicking on without reading the title.  This sounds incredibly lazy, but…well…yeah, it’s lazy.  But I like it.

Statistics

Su.pr offers a variety of statistics – retweets, reviews, stumbles and clicks.  They also offer the option to download your link statistics in CSV form.

Post to Twitter, Facebook

Like bit.ly, Su.pr offers the option of posting your link to Twitter, along with your message.  However, Su.pr also allows you to post to Facebook – or both!  On top of that, it allows for scheduled updates (like HootSuite).

2009-10-13_2334

Promoted Websites

Once you add your domains to your Su.pr settings, you will start to see click report graphs in your sidebar.  This is useful because it shows your most popular websites and posting times at a glance.

Suggested Posting Times

Su.pr analyzes your updates and link counts to provide you with a nice visual graph of the best times to post.  For me, I tend to drive more traffic in the early morning.

2009-10-13_2331

Upgrade Your WordPress Plugins

If you’re like me, you probably don’t check your plugin page very often.  Aside from activating something new you’ve uploaded, there’s really no reason.  The problem, however, is that your forget to update your plugins.  After taking a look at my page the other day, I found several notifications like this:

upgrad_wordpress_plugins

Yikes. That sounds urgent. Just like upgrading your WordPress installation, upgrading plugins is very important. New versions often fix security issues, known bugs, usability, etc. Be sure to backup your installation and deactivate the selected plugin before performing major upgrades – the last thing you want is a PHP error that makes your blog inaccessible.

If you’ll be spending a few minutes upgrading multiple plugins, you might want to install Maintenance Mode – a cool little plugin that shows a message to visitors that your blog is being worked on and will be up shortly.

Spotlight at NecessaryCool

If you follow on Twitter or Facebook, chances are you’ve already heard about this.  Sorry for the excitement, but it’s a big deal for me.  🙂

rybo stops by

Jef from NecessaryCool contacted me a few days ago and asked if I would like to be spotlighted on their blog.  NecessaryCool is a daily blog that features…well, “cool” stuff.  That’s really the best way to describe it. From t-shirts to comic books to cars, it doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s cool.

I’m really honored by this invitation and it was neat getting to summarize all the things going on right now for another audience. I talked a bit about my two main projects at the moment – The Graff Blog and Joupes.

Check out the spotlight and some of NC’s other posts – including this one written by a friend of mine a few months ago.

Text to Joupes

joupes

Yep, I’m doing it. Joupes is my baby and I’m going to do everything I can do advertise it. It’s my blog. Get over it.

Hopefully you’re already a user, and hopefully you’re subscribed to the Joupes blog. If so, you can ignore this post. Right now, we’re still only accepting users by invitation. However, in the next week or two, we will be removing this and making it open registration. Until then, request an invite and we’ll get you an account!

On October 3rd we were happy to announce the new text-to-Joupes feature. We know that you might not have time to always log into your Joupes account just to add a task or goal. Thanks to TTJ, you can simply text-message or email us your tasks and we’ll add it for you! Below is a re-post from the official release explaining how TTJ works (from the Joupes Blog).

———————————-

Here is the list of the letter combinations you’ll want to remember when you text Joupes. As of right this second, we’re offering 3 options for remotely handling your account.

Send a text to 88147. While this is certainly the easiest option, there are a few things you need to know. First off, this is a shared shortcode. Since we’re poor college kids and don’t have $30,000+ to drop on our own shortcode, we’re experimenting with Zeep Mobile. So, if you decide to use this method, you will need to start each text with “joupes”. So to add a task, you would send “joupes nt pick up the milk”. Also, you will get a short advertisement on the confirmation text. To use the shortcode, click here to confirm your phone and get started (sorry for the bad formatting :-/).

Send an SMS (text-message) to joupes@joupes.com. This is exactly like using the shortcode, but you won’t have to deal with advertisements or appending ‘joupes’ to the beginning of your texts. If your service provider does not allow texting to email addresses, you can sometimes find SMS gateways to get around this.

Send an email to joupes@joupes.com. This option is great for people at work who don’t have time to keep checking online accounts. You can easily manage your lists and add tasks/goals without ever visiting the site.

Your confidence is important to us. Every time you add a goal or task, we’ll send you a confirmation message letting you know it’s been added to your account.

confirmation

Use the letter combinations below to start Jouping remotely:

  • nt : adds a new task – eg. “nt pick up the milk”
  • ng : adds a new goal – eg. “ng retire by the age of 40”
  • due : sets the time this task is due – eg. “nt pick up the milk due today 3pm”
  • lt : lists all tasks – eg. “lt” (returns a list of all tasks)
  • lg : lists all goals – eg. “lg” (returns a list of all goals)
  • help : returns a list of all letter combinations in case you forget
  • rmdr : sets the time that you will receive a text reminder – eg. “nt pick up the milk due today 3pm rmdr 5 minutes”* rmdr has not been released yet – however it is almost completed and should be out in the next week

That’s it! We hope this makes Joupes even easier to use and helps you get stuff done. As always, we hope you follow us on Twitter and let us know what you think of the site. If you don’t have an account, register here and we’ll send you an invitation. If you’d like to get in touch with me, find me on Twitter or send an email to ryan@joupes.com.

Enjoy!

Poster Giveaway from Digital Room

UPDATE – The contest is over. Congratulations Daniel Farmer!

digital room

Thanks to the great guys at DigitalRoom, I have been permitted to give away one custom 18×24” rolled poster print. You can see more details by checking out poster printing. The contest is open to anyone in the United States, and the winner will get their poster delivered UPS Ground for free.

Since DigitalRoom is so cool, they have given me a free poster print simply for hosting this contest. I’m ecstatic. The only problem is, I’m also a horrible decision maker. While I am tempted to go with the classy and sweet choice of enlarging a family picture for my poster, I’m feeling a little more selfish and a lot more ghetto. I love graffiti. LOVE IT. Anyone who follows me on Twitter will already know this, as I am constantly TwitPic-ing my work, linking to Facebook albums, and so on. The obvious choice, then, is to put together some work (I’m thinking somethings from COPE2, SEEN, maybe some old Dondi pieces) and have it printed up and framed!

DigitalRoom specializes in high quality digital printing, so the quality reviews are fantastic – my graffiti should look great!  But that’s just me. And now that you’re a bit turned off, here’s how to enter the contest for your chance to print whatever you want.

    To be entered, all you need to do is leave a comment below explaining what you would like to have printed. Please be sure to use a real email address, since I will need to contact you for your information if you win.

For extra entries, you can:

    Tweet the giveaway:

    @rybo is hosting a custom printed poster #giveaway from @uprinting and DigitalRoom.com! http://j.mp/IAQU8

    Write a post on your own blog that links to this post and DigitalRoom.com – due to time restraints, go ahead and send me a link on Twitter @rybo or ryan at rybomedia.com.
    Subscribe to my blog – I’ll be going by the honor system, so just let me know in your comment.
    Follow me on Twitter – Leave your Twitter username in your comment below.

This contest will close September 28rd at 2pm. At this time, I will use random.org to generate a winner. For each of the 4 things you do for an extra entry, I will add your name once.

So that’s it! Good luck everybody – I look forward to reading what you want printed!

UPDATE: In an attempt to get a few more entries before the winner is selected next week, I’m adding “refer a friend”. If you refer someone and they mention your name in their comment, you will get 2 extra entries, and the person who referred you will get 1 extra entry.

Computers, People, and the Fact That I’m Selfish

I want, I want, I want. Almost all anxiety and anger and relationship problems I have can be traced to me wanting something.

I want people to like me. I want to be stronger, tanner, taller. I want to be better at sports, a better writer, or a more prolific speaker. I want more Twitter followers, more Facebook friends, more blog readers and retweets. I want the new Silverstein cd. Oh, and while I’m at it, I’d like the Silverstein t-shirt that’s tempted me for the past 2 years (and for only $15, why am I not wearing it?!). I want to buy my girlfriend a Lakers jersey or shirt before the season starts. I want new basketball shoes before intramurals start. I want to own season 7 of Scrubs, season 1 of Arrested Development, and seasons 1-10 of Friends on DVD. I want new jeans, I want new socks. I want new posters, music, some nice cigars, ties, etc. I want stuff.

I want stuff ALL THE TIME. The only problem with all this stuff is that it is either impossible to acquire or it requires me to give up something that I rarely possess – money. And that’s the problem – sure, I can clutter my life with all the latest gadgets, cds, shirts and movies – but a few weeks later, I’ll just start the cycle all over again. The trick, I think, is focusing in on those things that you truly love. For me, the two most prevalent things in my life (and those things that are most likely to affect my future) are computers and people.

Computers have been a passion of mine for a long time. Currently, they occupy not only a majority of my time in school, but also much of my free time (though “much of” might be a stretch seeing as I don’t get enough free time to justify “much of” anything). I love just about everything dealing with computers, and I have since high school. I am much, much more likely to get sidetracked working on computers than playing video games, watching television, or even surfing the internet.

Take today for example. I had lots of Calculus II homework to do, and since I wasn’t in class, I decided that my TI-83 might help to move things along a little quicker. After a little searching, I dusted it off, put fresh batteries in and turned it on. Instantly my eyes were drawn to a button towards the middle of the keyboard: PRGM. Oh, the memories. Promising myself I would only be sidetracked for a moment, I pressed it to see a list of all the programs I had written on this little machine in high school.

Believe it or not, that little button changed my life. I knew that day that I wanted to make a career out of this kind of work. From that day on, I programmed games and applications every day – during class, at lunch, in study halls, at home and every spare second I could find. I was called everything from a nerd to obsessed, but I didn’t care – I LOVED IT. And what’s more, it was free!

You see, computers appeal to me in a maniacal way that people don’t – I can manipulate them, create an idea and mold them into what I want them to do. I can put as little or as much time into them and receive a directly proportionate amount of joy from the results. I can have a problem (even something as simple as boredom) and make something to solve it. And what’s best, the selfish part of me can come out saying, “I built that. I made it, you didn’t, I rock.” It might not be the best, it might not help anyone else in the world, but it’s mine and I’m proud of it.

I feel as if the most rare and important things in life are those that require your time. Let’s face it, we are not all equal when it comes to money. You cannot base the meaning of something by looking at its cost. However, when people put their time into something, you know it means something to them. That’s why putting time into relationships is so important. In fact, if you get one thing out of this post, I hope it’s simply that you need to cut back on all the stuff you want and focus on somebody – anybody else.

People are very important in my life as well. I like having friends – I like knowing that I have someone to lean on in tough times, people to love, and people who love me. I consider a select number of my Twitter followers to be good friends – they make me laugh, they get me through the day, and I enjoy chatting with them online about everything from graffiti to Laker basketball to fantasy football. Aside from my faith, friendships are the most important things in my life.

You naturally spend time on the things that you love. Like to blog? Then bust your butt to be the best writer you can. Way, way too often I’m locked up in all the things going on that I start to neglect friendships and do things half-heartedly. A lot of times it just comes down to figuring out what and who is really important in my life – prioritizing things, making time for those that I love and activities that I love. By all means, do what you love and enjoy it – but make sure you aren’t neglecting friendships along the way.

Speed Up WordPress Blogging with HTML

If you’re familiar with WordPress, chances are you know there are two options when writing posts – Visual and HTML. Using the Visual editor gives you more options for look and feel – alignment, colors, spell-check, etc. HTML is a very basic editor and only allows a few HTML shortcut buttons – bold, link, etc.

While using the Visual editor will allow you to use more of a WYSIWYG interface, learning a few HTML tags can save you quite a bit of time, allow you exact customization that Visual sometimes can’t offer, and speed up your input text.

Learning a few tags can make blogging quicker. For example, when you want to insert a link while in Visual editor, you must click a button, then wait for a Lightbox window to open up, giving you input text options for link address, name, etc. It also allows you to choose if your link opens in the same window or new tab/window. The problem comes when you have 10 links in one post. Opening the menu and filling out these options can take a long time. Why not instead, just learn to insert a link with HTML?

<a href="http://www.example.com" target="_blank">Example Link</a>

Example Link

Adding the target="_blank" forces the link to be opened in a new window. See how much quicker that is?

Here are a few more simple HTML tags for WordPress blogging:

Blockquote

<blockquote></blockquote>

So, since each of these HTML tags are already in blockquotes, this looks a bit odd. Hopefully you get the point.

Inserting Images

<img src="http://rybomedia.com/marly.jpg" />

Unordered List

<ul>Item One</ul><ul>Item Two</ul>

    Item One
    Item Two

Ordered List

<ol>Item One</ol><ol>Item Two</ol>

    Item One
    Item Two

List Items

<li>Item One</li><li>Item Two</li>

  • Item One
  • Item Two
  • Heading 1

    <h1>Heading 1</h1>

    Heading 1

    Bold

    <b>This is bold text!</b>

    This is bold text!

    Italic

    <i>This is italicized text!</i>

    This is italicized text!

    Alignment

    <p align="center">Center Text</p>

    Center Text

    <p align="left">Left Text</p>

    Left Text

    <p align="right">Right Text</p>

    Right Text

    <p align="justify">lots of texts</p>

    Justified Text – You can’t really tell that it’s justified unless it extends to the edges of the post box. Hopefully me explaining this will have caused it to! Note – you will also have to have text that is multiple lines so that you can tell it’s all the same length.

    Now all of that is pretty straight forward. However, it can come in really handy if you’re getting frustrated wit the Visual editor. Like any GUI-type interface, it is often easier and more efficient to type in the “basic code”. It’s sometimes easier to wrap <p align="center"></p> around the exact text you want than to try and highlight, then select menu items – especially when working with images and other media.

    For some reason, typing in the HTML box is faster than the Visual box. I’m not exactly sure why, but I’ve noticed this on several occasions. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles while you type, switch over to HTML for lighter blogging.