Aug 23, 2010 Uncategorized
This podcast is all about the free stuff that many bloggers have access to, what they do with it, and what it means for readers. This is a subject I know a lot about. I have a swag room. I let my pregnant sister Cara go shopping in it for baby stuff last time she was in town. It’s crazy that my youngest child was four when I started blogging and yet I’ve been given tons of baby stuff. I think it’s just easier and cheaper for the companies to send stuff out to way too many people than to take the time to target the products well.
Almost every job I’ve ever had had some kind of perk associated with it, from free baked potatoes at Arby’s to a great suntan while lifeguarding to free porn on the TV when I was a concierge. But at least those jobs had paychecks, and the perks were just extras. For many bloggers, the perks (free products) are the main reason they’re blogging. For others, free products are evil and they will have nothing to do with them. I suspect that most of us fall somewhere in the middle.
When I was still a fairly new blogger I was having a conversation with Kim Orlando (TravelingMom.com) about all of the free stuff I was starting to get and what I should do with it. She told me something that really stuck with me: whatever I do with it, it’s not free. Dealing with it takes work. And it can be very fun work. I like using products and writing about them. But it takes a lot of time, and yes, it is work.
In fact, the only “freebies” that I would consider totally free are the ones you never ever hear about on this blog: they come to my house and either get given away or collect dust. And that category makes up about 90% of the stuff that comes my way.
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Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn, Behind the Screen, Momtourage, and podcasts with The Blogging Angels.
[Don't read this next part if you're an avid iTunes purchaser, or just generally aware of digital media happenings - you'll just be saying "duh" a lot and wondering why I didn't know all of this already.]
I also received iTunes gift cards for administering the contest, and this posed a dilemma, because Microsoft gave me a Zune HD a couple months ago and I bought a Motorola Droid phone a couple weeks ago, and I was having trouble getting a few dozen songs that I had purchased on iTunes to play on both of those. I could burn CDs that would play the songs, but couldn’t transfer them to my Zune or my phone. I wasn’t sure if I should buy anything else from iTunes, ever. Then I noticed that all of the files that wouldn’t transfer said “protected” in the file name. Hmm.
A little googling and I discovered that I had purchased those songs before iTunes music had become DRM (Digital Rights Management) free. According to Wikipedia, Apple removed the usage restrictions earlier this year from new music purchased from the iTunes store, so everything I’ve bought since then worked fine on my Zune (plus, apparently, some songs I had purchased at an increased price during a transition period – that’s why it was so confusing). But I was stuck with the stuff that I’d purchased a while back. Grr.
So, first I tried a bunch of different programs that promised to remove the restrictions. None of them worked at all, but at least they were all free to try. Then I got back to googling and discovered (this is where the giant “duh!” comes in) that for about 30 cents a song I could remove the restrictions from those songs. It’s the “upgrade” feature at the bottom of the iTunes store page. With a couple of clicks I was able to upgrade the rest of my library and I was all set for the Zune and the Droid. And I was able to use my iTunes gift cards to do it!
So, if you’re afraid to ditch your iPod because of all of the music you’ve purchased on iTunes, that might not be a deal-breaker. It depends on how many songs you have to upgrade and how much you want to spend. I’m loving my Zune but would have been upset if I’d had to buy all of those songs over again. I’ve never used a “real” iPod (I just have a little clip-on iPod shuffle, the original one without a screen that holds about 150 songs – great for jogging) so I can’t compare, but after using the Zune HD for a week I can’t imagine what more the iPod would have to offer. I’ve never been a Mac person (Jake loves his “I’m a PC shirt” – he tells people it stands for “problem child”) so it kind of bothered me that iPods seemed to be the only good option for music. I have no idea why Microsoft is so bad about PR for the Zune, but honestly I wouldn’t even have considered it if they hadn’t given it to me. I’m going to put it in my holiday gift guide to help change that. :-)
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has Compensation Levels of 1, 8 and 10. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.
Oct 30, 2009 Contest/Giveaway
Be a BudJetsetter
I’ve always been partial to Holiday Inn when traveling because I’ve worked at two of them: one as a lifeguard and the other as a concierge. They’re usually a good mix of value and amenities, and most are very family-friendly. Children under 12 get to eat free off of the kids’ menu in the hotel’s restaurant, which is a huge savings when traveling with kids. Even here in New York City, which is infamous for its ridiculous hotel prices, the Holiday Inn on Sixth Avenue is listed as a “Best Value Hotel in New York,” offering the “most for the money.” Very cool for families that want to experience NYC without breaking the bank.
Holiday Inn has been making a lot of changes recently, including updating their website. Holiday Inn wants you to be a BudJetsetter (get it? Budget? Jetsetter? Jetsetting on a budget?). Whether traveling to see family or going on vacation with your family, there are lots of ways to fit travel into your budget.
Some budget tips that I’ve picked up myself after 8 years of traveling with kids:
- Make sure there’s a pool. I’ve found that my kids will skip all sorts of expensive outings to hang out in the pool all day.
- Ask if a suite is available. In theory, my kids go to bed a lot earlier than I do. So when I’m traveling with them, I try to book a suite. This does not have to be expensive! I stayed in a Holiday Inn in Kansas City a couple of years ago where I was able to get a suite for only $20 more than a regular room. After the kids went to bed in the bedroom, I had the whole living room to hang out and watch TV in.
- Find a free breakfast buffet. Holiday Inn Express is especially great for this. My kids love getting to help themselves to whatever they want, and it usually saves us about $20-25 per breakfast.
- Check out local children’s museums. The admission price is usually pretty low, and even if you go to your local children’s museum a lot, the exhibits will be totally different. And, if you have a membership to your local museum, check and see if they have a reciprocal agreement with other museums – our family membership to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum gets us in to hundreds of other museums across the country, for free!
- You know those huge racks of fliers that are sitting in a lot of hotel lobbies? The ones that I used to walk by quickly so that my kids wouldn’t grab them all and make a mess? There are some fantastic deals and travel coupons in those, plus we often find out about local attractions we never would have found otherwise.
Win iTunes Cards from Holiday Inn
Traveling is always a good time for music, on the plane or in the car. Holiday Inn is providing two of my lucky readers with $20 in gift cards for the iTunes store, so that they can make their own vacation music mixes. When my husband and I went on our first vacation together, to Disney World (waaaay before kids and marriage), we played “Roam” by the B-52s as we set off in his mother’s car. To this day, almost twenty years later, every time I hear “Roam” I think of that trip.
So, what songs would you put on your vacation mix? Put your answer in a comment on this post.
You can also get one extra entry by tweeting about this contest (leave a separate comment linking to your tweet!) Just make sure to mention what the prize is and link back to this page, or you can just copy and tweet this:
Win $20 in iTunes gift cards from Holiday Inn Hotels! Enter over on SelfishMom.com: http://bit.ly/4xZSdt
So, that’s a maximum of two entries per household, please. The comments will close at noon-ish on Friday, November 6th and random.org will draw the winners. For complete rules, please see my Giveaway Rules page. Good luck!
This is a TravelingMom dedicated post.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has Compensation Levels of 3 and 10. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.