Facebook Project : Kiva Christmas Charity Drive

christmas

Hi everyone,

Since it’s 10 days to Christmas, we’ve decided to do something special for the holidays! 

kiva_logo

We’ve talked about Kiva on this website before, but for anyone who doesn’t know, Kiva helps 3rd world entrepreneurs through microloans.  It’s our charitable favorite movement here at Friedbeef’s Tech, so we’re setting aside one US dollar (with a limit of 300USD) for every new user who ˜likes’ our facebook page from now until December 25th to help out this great cause. 

Here’s a rough idea how Kiva works, and if you need more info, their ˜about’ page is much more comprehensive.

 

kiva

 

Anyhowas I write this, the count of people ˜liking’ the facebook page currently stands at 2,552 fans.  So if you haven’t joined us on facebook yet, there’s never been a better time to do so. You can even ‘like’ the page directly in the box below

Update: Project has finished with 209 new fans and USD210 USD set aside for Kiva :)

Finally, if you’re on twitter or facebook, please help me spread this project within your social circle :) 

33 Trees Giveaway Project : Save the World and Get Free Stuff

trees 

How to you save the world and get free stuff at the same time?  Well now you can do just that. 

Since past giveaways on this site have been going pretty well, I’ve initiated a new project for Friedbeef’s Tech, and it’s called the 33 trees project.  The mechanics are simple:

  1. Sponsor plants 33 trees via Mokugift in exchange for the rights to give something away on this site
  2. Readers get free stuff

Objective

Our aim is to plant 1,000 trees by the end of the year – and we need you to help us! 

Reader’s benefit and how you can help

Your benefit as a reader:

  • You get to help plant trees.  These giveaways work mainly because sponsors see the demand and exposure it brings them.  The more you participate, the more you support this tree planting project.  Who knows?  Maybe next year this project may just be called the 100 Trees Giveaway Project.
  • You get free commercial quality stuff which otherwise would have cost a fair bit of money

How you can help:

Just participate for free :) 

Here are our first two sponsor giveaways: Totaling USD$524 amount in value

They have planted 33 trees each *applause*.  Feel free to participate in either one or both of these giveaways!

Would you like to sponsor the planting of 33 trees?  Check out out our project guidelines.

5 Quick Tips to Remove Unwanted Formatting from Your Documents

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Formatting is contextual.  One style may look great in one place, but look horrible in the next.  Here are a few quick tips on how to remove unwanted formatting from your documents.

1. How to remove unwanted formatting from your email

 emailindent

If you’ve received an email which has been forwarded multiple times, you’d notice that it can be hard to read if every line is prefixed with on more more ˜>’ characters.  Stripmail is a great piece of freeware which will help you strip any unwanted characters from your email and formats it into proper paragraphs and indentation so it’s much easier to read.  Stripmail is a free standalone utility which does not require installation so it’s incredibly light and portable.

2. How to remove unwanted formatting from any text in Google Docs AND MS Word and Powerpoint

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Want a quick way to remove formatting in your document? Select the text you want to remove formatting from, and click Alt + SpacebarThis built-in function will instantly do the job, and will work both in Google Docs and Microsoft Office.

3. How to remove unwanted formatting from Excel

formatpainter

The Alt + Spacebar trick doesn’t work in Excel, so what you can do is select an already unformatted cell, then click on the format painter button, and then select the area which you want unformatted.   

4. How to remove unwanted formatting when pasting web pages into MS Word

paste special

Things you copy from the web tend to end up looking really bad when you paste it into an MS Word file.  The way to get around this, once you copy the text, go to MS-Word and click Edit-Paste Special – Unformatted Text.  If you tend to do this very often, check out this excellent video tutorial on how to set up this up as a macro.

5. How to remove unwanted formatting when copying from your web browser

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Have you ever copied something from your web browser to Outlook or Office and been annoyed that the text formatting (bold, font size, etc) came with it? Don’t you wish you could just copy the text itself, without having to copy it, paste it into notepad, then copy it again? This firefox extension gives you an option to copy text without the formatting. You can even set it to trim extra space in and around the copied text!

How do you deal with unwanted formatting?  Tell us in the comments!

Twitter 101: 7 Ways to Make Better Sense of Twitter

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Twitter is an incredible communication tool which can also be somewhat daunting if you’re not used to a constant stream of information flow.  Here are several ways to make better sense of the Twitter so you’ll enjoy your experience more.

1. How to properly understand #hashtags on Twitter

tagalus

Ever find yourself looking at Twitter and wondering what all this talk about #motrinmoms means?  or searching Flickr and not understanding why someone would tag their photo #ip4?  Hashtags can be notoriously difficult to keep track of, so Tagalus is a free service which lets users define tags so that others can understand what they’re talking about. 

Other users can even vote on definitions and decide which best describes the given tag.  Tagalus also has a bookmarklet feature so you can lookup hashtags with a single click.

2. How to filter topics in real time on Twitter

monitter

Twitter is essentially a sea of conversations, so tracking certain keywords can be very useful especially if you’re trying to find out what people are saying about your company or product.  One of my favorite tools to do this is Monniter

This is a free service which lets you track multiple keywords in multiple columns, and it streams in any mention of them in real time.  Which means you can essentially set up a tracker for you and your competition in a jiffy.  If you’re looking at tracking tools, you can also try twendz, and twitterfall.

3. How to find the most popular links on Twitter

twiturls

If you’re a fan of PopURLs which lists the most popular content on the web, then you’ll certainly enjoy TwitURLs which is essentially all the most popular links, pictures and videos being shared on Twitter and updated every minute – which stays true to Twitter’s real-time nature.

4. How to group your contacts in Twitter

tweetdeck

Once you start following a large number of people, conversations come in thick and fast, and it can be overwhelming if you try to keep up. 

One way to get around this is to use a Twitter client like Tweetdeck, where you can group your contacts up in a more organized manner.  For example, you can have all your ex-classmates in one column, and colleagues in another – that way it’s much easier to keep track of certain groups of people.

5. How to understand how much time you’re spending on Twitter

stats

Want to know how much time you’re spending (sorry – investing), on Twitter?  Tweetstats is the perfect tool for analyzing usage patterns to see how you actually go about Tweeting information, how often you do it, when you do it, and what you tend to tweet about.  Another useful stats engine to consider is TwitterAnalyzer. 

6. How to find relevant people to follow on Twitter

mrtweet

Finding and following people outside your usual social circle can be an interesting way to branch out and meet new people.  This however is most useful when you’re connecting to people who have similar or relevant interests to you. 

My favorite is Mr.Tweet where it analyses your profile and helps your discover relevant people to follow.  Other Twitter directories like JustTweetIt, and WeFollow are also excellent ways to find people who match you to follow.

7. How to get Twitter basics right

twitterbird

If you’re completely new to Twitter, this PCMag article on the ˜Top 10 Twitter Tips for Beginners’ is an absolute must read.  This covers all the basics of how to start using Twitter effectively.  This article covers everything from retweeting to mobile tweeting. 

If you’re interested in learning how to build followers, you can always try these tips from Guy Kawasaki of Alltop.com and Kevin Rose of Digg.com.  If you need a twitter dictionary to help you with more twitter terms, try twittionary.

Hope those tips were helpful, and do follow me @friedbeef :)

How often do you tweet, and what do you Tweet about?  Tell us in the comments!

Join a Kiva Group – Change Someone’s Life Forever

kiva_malaysia

Kiva.org, the Internet’s answer to helping poor people make a better life for themselves, made two significant moves yesterday.  If you don’t know about Kiva – check out this previous post on how it helps change lives. 

1. Loan repayment system faster and better

Kiva will now return repayments to lenders as soon as those repayments are received by Kiva. Because of this change, you’ll be able to re-lend funds right away instead of waiting until the end of the loan term.

This is a huge deal because this liquidity allows lenders to help more people at a faster rate than before.

2. Join a group – make a difference as a team

One of the most powerful things about Kiva is the community of lenders. You now have the option to connect with other lenders.

Members of Kiva Lending Teams continue lending as individuals, but they have the option to count each loan they make towards the overall impact of one of their teams.

Band together and raise your team’s profile within Kiva and build a stronger connection between members.  Whether you’re part of a society, club, company, forum or just part of a local community, banding together for this common good brings us all closer together. 

If you’re Malaysian, you can join the ‘Malaysia’ group that I’ve just set up and help raise Malaysia’s profile within Kiva. 

If you’re not Malaysian, search for like-minded people or people in your area who are active in Kiva.  You can even start your own group!

Make a difference today!

ps. This blog is an ongoing supporter of Kiva with contributions going to poor entrepreneurs in need every month.