Welcome to vsatips
…why a new about me?
This is my current ‘about me’ page. I have an older one which I updated periodically by appending to it, and it’s now grown too long to be useful for its original purpose. It is however a nice chronological journal of my journey beginning vsatips from the very beginning. It describes some of the challenges I faced setting up this site and using a brand new website building engine. I was completely new to WordPress.com, and relatively new to the world of websites too since I’d only worked with 2 or 3 sites prior to joining WordPress. My main experience for this endeavor was with Weebly, which is another great solution for non-tech people to use in building websites. Here’s a link to my original ‘about me’ page in case anyone’s interested in reading it. And here’s a link to Weebly, if you’re interested in seeing what a different website builder is all about.
Last, here’s a link to the event in my life which brought me down this road in the first place…about the time a Botnet took over my family’s home network.
About Me & the Evolution of vsatips
Oftentimes I’m frustrated by not being able to accomplish some simple little thing using today’s technology.
Through an unusual series of events I’ve achieved the status of ‘tech guru‘ amongst my network of family and friends (while maybe not the most highly skilled one since we are a very tech oriented family…I was certainly one of the most enthusiastic!)
I’m intractable when faced with a tech problem. I spend countless hours pursuing answers to things most people would just give up or ignore. But finding a solution is, for me, only half the battle. Remembering it is equally challenging!
Many years ago I addressed this by writing little sets of instructions and reminders to myself after I’d finally arrived at what I deemed to be the best solution to my currently vexing situation. Those reminders morphed into ‘how to emails‘ which I ended up occasionally sending out upon request to friends or family members. This led to both my discovery of Evernote which I describe next and to the situation I deem most responsible for my decision to begin my vsatips website.
What occurred was this. Occasionally people began asking for my help to address their own tech problems that they were struggling with. I’m pretty certain that I always agreed to help. But, more often than not our communications occurred over long distances. Because I couldn’t sit down next to them and show them things in person, I ended up writing long step-by-step tutorials with diagrams, screenshots and other illustrations that I created from scratch. This began using up more and more of my time.
At some point I realized that many times the tutorials I was currently writing were almost identical to earlier ones I’d done. I knew I needed a better solution so that I wasn’t constantly ‘recreating the wheel,’ so to speak. After mulling it over I decided that having my own website was the best solution. I was banking on the notion that vsatips would help to free up some of my time, and I was right! Creating vsatips let me regain some sorely needed ‘me’ time while simultaneously continuing to allow me to help those closest to me too. That is, in a nutshell, how vsatips was born!
The Evernote Factor
Ultimately my earliest seemingly invaluable tidbits of knowledge grew and grew to the point where I needed a good solution to manage the amount of data I was generating. My ‘solutions’ ended up finding a more permanent home as notes within notebooks in Evernote. Evernote is an amazing note taking app I discovered shortly after I began using an iPad as my go-to device. I became a huge Evernote fan!
Sometimes the solutions I shared with family and friends were taken from my Notes in Evernote. You can share complete notes from Evernote with anyone having their own internet device. But, back then I learned that occasionally my notes weren’t very easy to read on different devices. That was in the early days of Evernote. Nowadays Evernote is much more user-friendly across all platforms (and much better than sharing my actual notes with non-users too!)
The first real blog post I ever wrote (above)
My Earliest Foray Into Blogging
Because sharing notes in the early days of Evernote had less than satisfactory results, I sought out a better solution. That’s when I stumbled upon Squidoo. Squidoo, which is now defunct, was a blogging community heavily populated with beginners striving to learn just like I was. I joined their community officially in August 2013. In mid-2014 Squidoo officially shutdown. Members were encouraged to transfer all of their written content to HubPages, which operated a very similar platform.
Starting All Over at Hubpages
To say that I wasn’t thrilled initially to be joining HubPages would be a massive understatement! I felt forced into joining Hubpages if I didn’t want to abandon all the work I’d done and the content I’d created the past year. I felt forced into undertaking a huge new learning curve too…which was necessary in order to master their entirely different system of doing things.
All this occurred on the tails of a huge problem I’d just experienced at Squidoo…which in retrospect, was coloring my overall negative frame of mind a lot. I’d been completely and utterly frustrated because I had just received huge accolades for a post I’d worked long and hard on…it was my first major recognition achievement in the Squidoo Community…only to discover that a day or two later that same post was ‘locked’ by Squidoo’s robots.
Below is a screenshot of the Squidoo post I received recognition for…this is the link to it on HubPages
Locking a post was the worst action possible for a blogger. It meant that Squidoo was accusing you of something really bad…although what exactly I was being accused of was never spelled out for the me. It meant that my post was, for all practical purposes removed because I couldn’t edit, update, or repost it. No one else in the world could ever access it either. My award, which had led to the most incredible feelings of confirmation for the path I’d chosen was and still feeling the amazing positive effects from up the that moment in time…was simply obliterated. I was crushed. There appeared to be no course of action for me despite my spending days looking into the matter. In case you missed it above, here’s a link to that article now at it’s current home on HubPages.
You can read more about that in my ‘about me‘ section…which (sadly) has become quite a rambling treatise. In hindsight Squidoo was deeply engaged in the ‘shutting down’ process. They had not yet informed their community of this however. What happened is that apparently they’d accorded too much power to their newly designed robots (which I suspect were created to automate administrative tasks that they couldn’t cover but which were necessary to keep their doors open.) But their robots weren’t well-designed and they malfunctioned on a massive scale.
This phenomenal failure in turn actually contributed a lot to the speed of their demise, which I believe was much sooner than even anyone ‘in the know’ had anticipated. I and my ‘well received’ post were literally caught in the crossfire! In the end I was able to find a human who was able to reverse the lock and restore my post and the accolades I’d received…but it required such an intensive campaign on my part that it left me feeling really bitter.
That was my frame of mind when I received the news that I either needed to join the HubPages community or abandon all my hard work completely. But since then I’ve grown to really appreciate HubPages! They have some amazing resources available to bloggers…especially to new bloggers, and a wonderfully supportive community. In retrospect…I sorta wish I’d started out there to begin with.
Loss of Control & Too Much Reworking of Previously Finished Work Led Me to Reconsider If I Really Needed that Supportive Environment Anymore
The end result and how things stand today are that some of my content is still there. Most of it is my early writing, and some still suffers from both inexperience and all the discrepancies and minor errors that cropped up when everything was transferred from Squidoo.
I worked for a really long time getting all those posts fixed up and ‘polished.’ But it took a lot of effort, I was forced to recreate all my images, and the final product is less desirable in my opinion. Whilst I was doing all that, I wasn’t writing anything new…it was a rule I had to make for myself. Because I’d much rather be writing new things than cleaning up old ones!
In the final analysis I felt that what had been successfully transferred there ended up being a random, varied assortment of articles which you can verify for yourself here. And my HubPages persona was still far from polished. Ultimately, I decided that this piecemeal approach really served no one well, so that’s why I created this new website.
The Birth of VSATIPS
In my mind, I was striking out on my own. I never really realized (at least until much later) that WordPress.com too offered an amazing community experience…I was completely oblivious of that aspect.
I decided upon the name of my new site because ‘vsa’ my initials, sounded catchy combined with ‘tips.’ I still like it almost 3 years later, so the name can’t be all bad! I knew I wanted to write about technology and staying safe while using it. That was the main motivation for me to begin writing online initially…you can read more about the havoc that a botnet wreaked upon my family’s lives here.
My goal for vsatips is to provide…
…tips for technology, and sometimes for life.
That was my original intention. But originally I’d intended to write about my other interests too. Some of those include fashion, style, design, travel, jewelry making and silversmithing.
Overtime however, I discovered that adding those topics here sort of detracted from my main objective for vsatips. Plus that, I think I got a little carried away (as I usually do)…and tech topics began to dominate my everyday thinking!
So in the end I created another website, vsatrends, (my tag line is trends for life…) to have a venue specifically for artistic and design related of topics. By doing so, I gave myself a place that I could be a little freer in a stylistic sense…I could experiment with themes and things without worrying that I’d lose all my hard work!
One More Sort of Ironic Event
As vsatrends grew and developed its own following, I began worrying a lot more about doing a lot of testing there too! I apparently harbor a deep-rooted fear that in a few simple keystrokes I might wipeout everything…and that that would be a bad thing! So, I created a 3rd site appropriately named vsatests…and a year later even a 4th!
Believe me when I tell you that even though I’m providing a link to it, it is not worth your time going to visit! It’s really a bit of a mess…which at least tells me that I’m making good use of it! I’ve been using it primarily to test out coding as I’m learning HTML.