The Change Direction Blog is about the joys, and practical impacts, of working from home online. It is about online businesses and techniques for internet marketing, traffic building. It is also about what it is like to work from home, working with family around, and all the practicial issues that arise on a day to day basis for someone working from home. Plus, an ex pat view of an English guy living in Palawan, a tropical paradise in the Philippines.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Working in an Oven

Today has not been a productive day. I was feeling a bit off colour this morning, due I would think to something I ate yesterday. Normally I would have kept working away, but that feeling, coupled with an intensifying heat, just about finished me off by 10am and I fell asleep.

I feel much better now, but the heat is still with us. I don't mind that, it's one of the reasons I moved here, but one thing I have learnt here is that if you don't feel too good, the heat and humidity can make things seem a lot worse. Even a simple cold can feel like flu. The only answer is to flake out. So that's what I do and did.

It's 5pm and the temperature is about 92 degrees Fahrenheit, with a humidity of 61%. Tonight the temperature will only drop to 79 degrees. But the day has been sunny, and what the holidaymakers are here for. It is gorgeous, and I just thank my blessings that I never wake up to a cold day anymore.

In about 2 weeks we will be moving to another house, so my Blogs will be shorter for a while I think. We are moving from a furnished apartment to unfurnished house, so need to buy just about all the major items of furniture. Well, not just about. Everything. So now we have to see if we can find a comfortable bed, and that's something I'm not too confident about. We're off to the store now before it closes.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Another Piece of a Dream

It's early evening and we have just returned from a trip to my favourite beach within easy striking distance of Puerto Princesa city proper, where we live.

Nagtabon is only about 30km from here, the final half of the journey on very rough and bumpy road. Saffron, quite unused to such a trip, and the bouncing up and down, managed to bring up all her food and drink. She was baffled rather than unwell, trying to understand what on earth had happened.

The bumpy ride is more than worthwhile once you glimpse the sea through the trees. Much of the area is still forested, and monkeys are known to venture across the road there still. It is quite a steep drop as you head down towards the bay, but when you get there, it is very much what you may imagine for a perfect white sand beach and blue sea. Not so much today, though, as the grey sky and choppy seas were sppoiling the normal clarity and blueness of the sea. But it is still perfect. Maybe not the best beach in Palawan, but the best this close to the city. And I just happen to like bays.

It was no ordinary trip to the seaside. It was to look at some land there which had become available. My dream was to have a very nice house in the city for our day to day living, and a beach property for weekends and day trips. The house was supposed to come first, but this was too good to miss. Another piece of the dream jigsaw is almost in place.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Signs of Residual Income

It's early Saturday afternoon, and my wife Mary Ann is practising on the keyboard downstairs. The gentle flow of simple notes is relaxing me a bit too much, and young Saffron is asleep beside me in the crib. That doesn't leave me in work mode, but I really do need to be for the next few hours. It's a good opportunity to make some progress, but it's one of those days when I have not convinced myself of the best things to do to move forward.

I think a lot of that is the distraction of losing most of the morning. I logged on at 7am this morning to check email and then make a post in one of my RSS feeds, with a copy to my website.

There was not a lot of mail, but one bit of good news. After the patience of setting up my Plug In Profit Site and marketing it, I was delighted to get the first evidence of a sign-up. I had made a sale of a Host 4 Profit account, which is part of the PIPS package. On the assumption that is a PIPS client, then that will lead at least to an Empowerism sign up. Both lead to residual income. Ok, we are only talking about $16 here, but as long as they remain paid up members, that's a monthly residual income. Many of the big earners on the internet are getting a significant part of their earnings from residual income such as this. It's ongoing, and of course, over time more sign ups can mean some interesting levels of residual income. Let's see what tomorrow's Inbox brings!

There was another potential bit of good news, but not in my Inbox. When I went to Studio Traffic, I found I had someone sign up there too, so not a bad start to the day.

The rest of the morning was lost though. We had to go to a meeting, supposedly 9 until 10, about the forest management programme. But in the event it was all done in Filipino time, in other words, late!

We followed that with a look around a few properties, before heading home. That was the morning gone.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Giving and Taking on Forums

The first quarter of the year has ended, and so far I think I can say things have gone according to plan. This was, to me, the year of article writing, RSS feeds (including this Blog), and discarding some of the time consuming chores which were not yielding results.

So far I have managed to keep on track with all of those. Additionally, though, I have been spending more time on forums. Online business forums, that is.

Up until October last year I was not a fan of forums, and had not contributed to any. The couple I had visited were a waste of time to say the least. I hung around a while and just saw a few people knocking each other. Not a pretty sight, and very petty.

My views started to change with the Instant Buzz forum, and although there were a lot of well known internet marketers there, it was nice to be able to make a contribution offering ideas to those less experienced, as well as learn from those who knew more, or knew about things I did not.

Since November I have spent a bit of time most days at the Empowerism forum, Empowerboard , and it is a place I enjoy being. As there are a lot of newcomers to internet marketing, it is nice to be able to make suggestions that may help them, plus give encouragement. Also, though, Empowerism, over recent years, has been built quite a lot on members ideas. They are very open to new suggestions and I enjoy making some contribution to that.

More recently, one of the benefits of PIPS membership is that you become a member of the Warriors forum. This is reputedly the top internet marketing forum, and I have not been disappointed. I do need to make more time to spend there, as there is so much happening. Most of the successful internet marketers have passed through the Warriors. I have been very impressed with the quality of the posts there, and it is certainly a place to learn from some of the top online marketing brains in the world. I must admit, I've been more learning than contributing so far, especially on some of the technical issues. It's alive with ideas, and the speed some Warriors move at is very impressive.

I must allow more time to spend with the Warriors.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Going Wireless Broadband in Palawan

Today it was a pleasure to wake up and find my technical problems on my main website had been resolved by the technical support team at my website host. It seems that Microsoft Front Page had corrupted a few critical files, but all is back to normal now.

I know it is the dream of many to be able to sit on a white sand beach and do their work on their laptops. Palawan is one of the most beautiful and least spoilt places in the world, 1.5 million hectares of sparcely populated countryside and over 1 thousand km of coastline. The beaches are often white sand, deserted, and lapped by crystal clear blue seas. Offshore, the greatest variety of corals in the world. So, what better place than to work here in Palawan?

We have talked of building a dream house here in maybe 2 or 3 years time. I have been praying that by then, broadband internet will be available much more widely. I did not really want to be forced to build the house in the city proper, with all those wonderful views just outside.

Now I hear that Smart Communications is launching Wi-Fi wireless broadband internet here in April. That will mean that anyone within 2 km of a Smart cell site will be able to get high speed internet. Now that opens up a whole new batch of options for us. We need to be near the city for the best education facilities in later years, but there are places close to the city proper that have great views of the sea, and are much cheaper land wise. Who knows, by then Wi-Max will be here, and that will be even better, with greater scope.

Given the remoteness of this wonderful province, it is something of a miracle that my perfect life is made possible here. Smart move Smart!

After the lost time yesterday it was good to get back to normal working, and my latest Ezine article was finished quite quickly this morning:

So, after a down day yesterday, it's back with a bounce today.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Technical Problems

Today has not gone, and is not going, remotely as planned. I add a bit of content to my main website each day, but today when publishing the amendments I was having problems with my password. I kept getting thrown out by my own admin panel. It's like getting home and night and finding someone's changed the lock.

So, I went to take a look at the website online to see if there were any problems there. Yes, indeed there were. It was password protected. I had not protected it, but someone or something had. So, two problems, probably linked, and major ones at that.

This post is part of my testing. If you see an html file somehow, then things are improving. If you don't see this at all, then you're not reading this, so I'm talking to myself and that was a silly thing to say.

I must get back to this problem.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Blog Delayed - Videoke in Progress

It's late in the "working" day and this will be a very short post today. I was about to have a 10 minute siesta early this afternoon, before doing my Blog, when Mary Ann came up and told me that Melanie, our favourite singer, was here. That usually means a videoke session is likely, and this afternoon that's what happened.

Living in the Philippines can often be "interrupted" by videoke, though of course I could have stayed at the computer working, instead of staying with our visitors. I chose to join in, and that is one of the benefits of being your own boss.

The visitors, including Melanie, are gone now, so it is quiet except for Saffron calling for attention from Mary Ann, and the sound of tricycles and other vehicles passing the apartment.

On last night's news, there was the usual daily mention of Terrie Schiavo, the American woman who had her life giving tubes removed recently. Since then there has been a series of court cases as her parents try to save her life.

Terrie Schiavo has been "brain dead" for many years, depending on life support. Following my posts of the last two days, I started to wonder about this case yesterday evening. How on earth can we define "brain dead"?

In this series of court cases, surely there has been a need to call for expert witnesses. But in the case of the human brain, there is no expert on the planet. Even some doctors admit they do not fully understand the workings of the human brain. That is a massive understatement. They only understand a tiny amount.

If humans only use less than 0.1% of the human brain, and doctors don't even understand that part "fully", how can there be an expert on 100% of the human brain. Surely, to remove life support tubes on the basis of brain death, when we have little idea of what brain dead is, must be wrong.

A person's life, their own world, is what they perceive it to be. Doctors, of course, do their best to deal with something they do not really understand. But what if, someone is "brain dead" according to a doctor's limited knowledge, but is in fact very much alive? How do we know that, because of her state, her brain has not started to utilise, out of survival instinct, a part of the brain not used before?

When I first saw Terri Schiavo on tv, I sensed happiness. Could not her brain be feeding her a new type of life, drawn from the reservoir of her subconscious? Could that not be a happy existence which she longs to communicate to others, but is unable to because she has lost that particular power?

The answer is, we do not know. How can the courts justly decide this case in the absence of knowledge?