Blog 2014: Adding affiliate links to earn money

I just found out that, the advertising-averse blogging platform that hosts this site, allows bloggers to earn revenue by posting affiliate links. What?!? I wish I’d known this years ago! I’m this nice guy who, for years, has had links on this blog to Amazon for books I contributed to — just to make it easier for people to find them — even though I wasn’t getting royalties for purchases or commissions for referrals. All this time, I could have been earning at least a few pennies from Amazon for the business I was sending their way. Who knew?

This affiliate links looks exactly the same as the link I created before; the only difference is I might earn some $$ for it.
This affiliate links looks exactly the same as the link I created before; the only difference is I might earn some $$ for it.

Well, since I’m this nice guy who spreads the word for the greater good, I’m telling the community about this opportunity in case I wasn’t the only one in the dark. Basically, says it’s okay to post affiliate links to goods you like and think your readers might like, as long as you’re a real blogger who writes original content and doesn’t just use your blog to sell stuff.[1] I’ve always been an honest blogger with loads of original content; now I know I can turn my “free advertising” into commissions each time a reader follows one of my product links and chooses to purchase the product. Yay!

There are several affiliate programs out there, but in case you’re interested here’s a link to’s Affiliate Program I just joined. They pay 4% on every purchase readers make from your affiliate links. Hey, even if it only gets a blogger a few dollars a year, it doesn’t hurt.


[1] Support > Policies & Safety > Affiliate Links

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – very good, but very sad

Photo poster, link to AmazonExcellent movie, but very hard to watch. At moments, it shows the better nature of humans and apes, but more often it proves why we wage war. If you are sensitive, I would suggest you either watch it when you are feeling strong, watch it at home, or not watch it at all. This movie was horrifying enough for this 47-year old man; it is certainly not appropriate for young children.

Why there is no “Google Gesture” sign-to-speech translator

Aside from the irresponsible journalism that propagated this story in the first place, the basis for the concept is fundamentally flawed. There cannot be such thing as a wristband a signer can wear that will translate their signed language into spoken language; why? Because signed language is not just on the hands! Signed language is on the face and the body as well. The grammar of signed language is made through eyebrow, mouth, cheek, and even nose movements. Signed language is made with head nods and shakes, head and body tilts, and even shoulder shrugs. Anyone who ever took an introductory course in ASL should know this.

There is one other important flaw in the concept of a gesture-to-speech translation machine, and that is the notion that there is one “sign language.” No, folks, “sign language” is not universal! No sir, no ma’am. Even if Google were able to take input from a human interface device located on a signer’s body–even if that included all the points on the face and body necessary to read signed language–Google would have to add hundreds of signed languages into their Google Translate engine. Language is culture-bound, just as gesture is culture-bound. I’d like to see how this supposed “Google Gesture” would translate the thumbs up gesture, which can mean something like “up yours” in countries other than the United States.

American Sign Language (note that the A in ASL stands for American; i.e., not universal) is a much richer and more complex language than people give it credit for; in fact, so are all the signed languages in the world. Until enough people learn to appreciate the sophistication, complexity, and diversity of signed languages, we will continue to swallow false stories like this hook, line, and sinker.

So exciting — trying out multi-focal contact lenses!

Multi-focal contact lenses for presbyopia
Multi-focal contact lenses for presbyopia

I just put on my first trial pair of multi-focal contact lenses for my presbyopia. The near vision as I’m typing this on my smartphone right now is very nice, and the far vision isn’t bad either. Adjusting between the two is a bit of a challenge, but not nearly as bad as I’ve heard people say it is with progressive trifocal glasses.

I prefer wearing my contacts to wearing my glasses, but it’s gotten to the point where I can barely use my smartphone with them on. I’ve been wanting to wear my contacts and be able to read without carrying around reading glasses and having to put them on and take them off all the time. These multi-focal contacts may just be the answer.

It’s always exciting for me when I do something to take care of my health and improve my quality of life!

Magic Man is a tightly crafted song!

I was listening to a classic rock station just now, and they played Heart’s “Magic Man.” I remember hearing this song many times when it came out– my mom and her boyfriend played the vinyl LP every day for weeks. I never noticed before today, though, how tightly crafted it was. The verse and chorus repeat only once each, with slightly different lyrics and very different meanings each time. In the first chorus, the person quoted is the self-proclaimed Magic Man himself, inviting her to “come on home, girl”; the second time, it is the mother pleading with her to “come on home, girl.” I don’t know what it’s called when songwriters change the meaning behind the same lyrics, but I think it can be brilliant (my favorite example is Tim McGraw’s “Don’t Take the Girl”).

What really impressed me just now was how short “Magic Man” is. Coming out of my car radio, where so many songs are composed mostly of choruses repeated ad nauseum, this tight little composition put the rest to shame.