Thanksgiving Food: Tips & Tricks

peanutsThanksgiving is a wondrous time for family and friends to come together, give thanks, relish in fine company and … oh who are we kidding, it’s all about the food. With the most gluttonous holiday just days away, your brain’s likely zeroed in on one thing: lots and lots of gut-busting sustenance.

For some, it’s about the turkey, for others it’s the mountain of irresistible, carb-filled sides. Personally, I come from a family that houses more pies than people every Thanksgiving, so dessert is my true love (sorry everything else). Continue reading

17 Trivial Facts about the English Language

Are you eager to wow your friends/colleagues with trivial knowledge regarding the English language? Are you an up-and-coming Jeopardy candidate? Do you routinely attend trivia nights at your local pub? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then this is the blog post for you.

Prepare for the onslaught of praise that is sure to ensue after regurgitating these facts.

blogfriday02

Sources

How To: Make an Animated GIF from a YouTube Video

Ever find yourself wishing you could easily make an animated gif from something you saw on YouTube? Well, now you can. Best of all it’s free, relatively painless, and only takes a few short minutes.

After you’ve scoured YouTube for that copyright-free video you want to make into a gif (I chose a Monster Truck fail montage), visit: makeagif.com. Once you’ve opened makeagif.com in a new tab, simply follow the instructions I’ve outlined below.

pro tip: create an account (free) at makeagif.com for quality gifs and no watermarks.
blog01 blog02 blog03

What’s the point of a “clean” URL? It makes sharing the image much easier, since it won’t link to a website, and instead directs users to the image itself. This way you can upload it to Twitter, Facebook, attach in an email, or even post in the Studio’s Forums minus the headache of sending anyone to a website.

Here we have the final product…

Huge success! (for us, not so much the driver of the truck)

Put a Pin in it! DMS invades Pinterest

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I make it my business to regularly visit several websites every day. Force of habit? I like to think of it more like smart surfin’–a one stop shop for news, resources, and entertainment. Without divulging too much into my browser history (it’s private, OK?) I have news.google.com locked down for what’s happening in the World, Reddit.com for community news/pictures of cats, and DMS’ very own Photo Lab on Pinterest.

Why?

Bacon, puppies, men’s style, happy hour…do I really need to go on? As of this writing there’s currently 23 boards, each equipped with its own unique visual splendor. But that’s not all–the hand-selected boards provide insight, as well as helpful tips on all facets of photography, home decor, cooking, and more! Basically you’re getting all the Photo Editor’s favorite photos/articles in one convenient place.

Quite frankly if you’re looking for inspiration on what/how to shoot, you needn’t look any further than DMS’ Pinterest. Still need convincing? How about some mouthwatering pictures from the Tasty Treats board (recipes are included, so be sure to check ’em out).

bavarian-cream

milkshake

It’s not all about food, either (though if it were, that’d be A-OK in my book). Outside of Tasty Treats and Food Photography you’ll find…

  • Pets & Animals
  • Kids & Family
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Beauty
  • Costume Ideas
  • Babies

And plenty more! So get out there and check it out for yourself. Besides, you’d be hard-pressed finding someone who doesn’t like Pinterest. To be honest I was a little hesitant at first, but after seeing my wife utilize the site’s full potential–not to mention hearing her loudly proclaim “check this out” well over a dozen times–I finally caved. Sure, my boards are all geek-related, but DMS’ page has broadened my Pinterest board horizons.

How To: Insert Pictures into your Post (Studio Forum)

As the Community Specialist I spend a great deal of time in the Studio’s Forum. If you managed to miss it on your way in, or never bothered to check it out, I highly recommend you stop on by. Not to sound like a sales pitch, but we have a thriving community–one that encompasses everything from the individual sections (Automotive, Basic Health, Fitness) to General inquiries/ideas. The forum is a great place to ask questions, get to know fellow Studio members, and even learn a few tricks of the trade.

Speaking of tricks…here’s how you can glamorize that fancy new post of yours!

When I first started using the forums I discovered that posting pictures is not very self-explanatory. At the time I was convinced the only way to post pictures was to click on the little green tree icon, browse your computer for that local image you can never seem to find, then click save. However this greatly reduces the file size of the image–you practically have to squint to see the thumbnail. Observe:
old-way-blog

If you’d like to post a picture (especially one that isn’t tiny) allow me to share with everyone a quick and easy trick I learned. However, I must ask that you refrain from posting GINORMOUS-sized pictures, OK? We’ll get into how to re-size ’em further down!

First, select the image you’d like to post. Follow these instructions:

Select-Picture02

After you’ve managed to Copy the image, it is now time to Paste it directly into the text prompt of your post! Important note: If the image exceeds 650 pixels in width, or 650 pixels in height you’ll have to re-size the image. The easiest way to do that? Firefox‘s latest browser has a built-in image re-sizer that works extremely well.

Tip: When re-sizing images in Firefox, you might have to click the image once in order to prompt the white re-size square icons. They look like this:square

resize

Want to share your own photos and/or show off your mad photo skills? The forum is a great place to display your handy camera work. Here’s how you’d be able to quickly upload your images to a free online photo service, and then share it in the forums via a quick Copy and Paste.

First, go to www.imgur.com 

imgur-how-to

Well that should do it, for now. If anyone’s looking for specific tips in the forums, or anything else for that matter, let us know in the comments below.

Spotlight on Demand with Eve Lederman

It’s time for another sit down with one of our own DMS peeps, Eve Lederman! The Big Apple resident despises cab drivers, divulges a traumatic tale of going to the veterinarian, and even wrote a glorified haiku.

eve

Eve at 3 years old, training for Everest.

Current Residence: Manhattan (NY)
Dream Residence: Somewhere I can eat fruit off trees
Years with DMS: Eight
Sections: Home Décor, Pets, Family & Relationships, Real Estate and Travel


Oh boy, looks like we have another New Yorker on our hands. Are you native to the city? I’m from upstate NY (aka the tundra), which means 7 hours from the city. It’s not Westchester–which natives consider to be upstate.

Gotcha. So what’s the weirdest thing you’ve witnessed on a NY Subway? Bonus points if it involves something that’s NSFW. 
A rat carrying an entire slice of pizza.

That’s…weird. Speaking of unusual circumstances, what’s the zaniest job you ever had? One summer I decided to work for a private investigator. I chose a PI with the largest ad in the yellow pages (remember the yellow pages!?). Anyway I called him up and we had an interview in a bar. He put me to work the next week. For my first gig I thought I’d be following a deadbeat dad or something…instead I had a briefcase with a hidden video camera. I boarded a Learjet and tracked a guy around the country in his Learjet with a couple car chases in between. Only in New York!

While I Google “learjet,” why don’t you show us your favorite animated gif. sadsadWhy the love for a panda wrecking an office? I’d love to wear this and antagonize cabbies.

Touché. How’d you get that scar? When I was five I fell on a broken bottle at the zoo and my flustered mother took me to the vet (oldest kids get a raw deal when it comes to parenting skills). The veterinarian gave me a banana and sent us to the hospital.

At least you got a banana! Can you provide context for the last time you said “I’ll be right back.” I was sitting in the veterinarian office’s waiting room. I heard a loud squawking emanating from the doctor’s office–I couldn’t imagine what she was doing to the patient in there. When she opened the door, there was a large macaw on her shoulder.

For some reason I imagine the vet giving you a Rorschach test. Here’s one for you now, what do you see?

rorshace

My mother taking me to the vet (see above) and blood everywhere. It was traumatic.

We’re gonna go ahead and dial back the trauma for a bit. When it comes to cutting loose, do you practice any of the following dance moves? 

  • dougie
  • cat Daddy
  • the jerk
  • stanky legg 

Ask the people in the building directly across from my living room. At this point I’m sure I’m a youtube star somewhere. Maybe in Japan.

The thing/part you struggle most when writing/editing?
Rewriting. You think every first version is a masterpiece.

Haikus are so hot right now. Mind giving us a genuine Eve-inspired haiku?
My shrink on the street
Just someone with a fat ass
Looking for a cab

Wow, you really dislike cab drivers! Please fill in the blanks:
I am incredibly relieved someone invented ear plugs. Without them I might have to take matters into my own hands.

I’d hate to be on the recipient end of your wrath, Eve. All right, let’s wrap things up with a This or That (bold picks are Eve’s)

  • Yankees or Mets?
  • New York Thin Pizza or Chicago Deep Dish
  • Being too hot or being too cold
  • Breaking Bad marathon or Sex and the City marathon
  • Paying too much for car insurance or switching to Geico
  • Coffee or RedBull
  • Going to the beach or going to the Museum
  • Guitarist or Drummer
  • Beemer, Bendz, or Bentley

Get Started with Google Authorship

Today we’ve unveiled a great new feature on the Studio Work Desk – the Google Authorship tab.

GoogleAuthorshipPage
This new addition to your Work Desk will make it incredibly easy to sign up for the Google Authorship program if you haven’t yet done so.  All you need is a Google+ account to get started.

Not quite sure what Google Authorship is?  Click here for a brief introduction.

The new Google Authorship tab on the Work Desk provides an introduction to the program, along with links to Studio resources that should cover any additional questions you might have.  If you have a Google+ profile, just click on the Connect your Google+ Profile button and you will be walked through the Authorship sign-up steps.  The process only takes a couple of minutes and then you can move on to adding your Studio work to your account.

We believe that Google Authorship is an invaluable resource for writers, both inside and outside of the Studio, and we are encouraging everyone to sign up.  Log in to your Work Desk and get started now.

If you have any questions or concerns with this new feature, please let us know at DMS.Social@demandstudios.com.  We will make sure to get back to you quickly.

Note: Google+ recently introduced a new custom profile URL option. This change doesn’t affect anyone who has already connected their Studio work to Google Authorship. If you’re currently using a custom URL and you experience any problems setting up your account, please email us at DMS.Social@DemandStudios.com and we can help you further.

SERENITY NOW!: Tech tips that will save you time

We all use a ton of technology that’s supposed to make our lives easier. But with all the technology we use (computers, phones, tablets, cameras, lasers, time machines, etc.), we may be losing more time than we think just navigating the devices. Enter NYT personal tech columnist and excitable man David Pogue. He spoke at TED back in February about some simple tricks and shortcuts you should be using. Check out the roughly six minute TED Talk video:

Pogue touches on shortcuts for typing on your computer, using a cellphone, shooting photos and searching on Google. Some of our favorites were: using the space bar to scroll down on your browser, bypassing those pesky answering machines on cell phones (I mean, who needs instructions on how to leave a voice message anymore?), and getting around that annoying state drop down menu on online forms without using a mouse (it’s seriously adding time to our online shopping). We hope you’ll shave a few minutes off your work (and play) time with these gems.

Watercoolering: Becoming a Google Author

Credit: vabulous.com

Credit: vabulous.com

Ok, so you have your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and maybe even your personal website. But, have you set up your Google Authorship profile? Well you should, because the office is buzzing with talk of the 331 new writers who’ve set up profiles since June. And more than 800 eHow writers are getting theirs up and running as we speak. Google Authorship is a great tool that links your published work to your author brand, so you can build readership. We put together a little FAQ for those of you who may get dizzy at the idea of setting up one more social account.

Google Authorship?

Yeah, it’s a program Google offers to folks who publish content online. They say it will strengthen your reputation as an expert by making your byline (for Studio or non-Studio work) more visible to a person searching for information.

How does it work?

First, it links your work to your Google Plus profile. Once you sign up, your Google Plus photo and a byline will pop up right next to your content on a Google search, making that content stand out from other results.

Can I see some examples of Google Authorship at work?

Of course! We thought you’d never ask. Here is what one writer’s Google Authorship profile looks like in search:

authorshipexampleAnd check out these links to see how the profile would display in search:

Is this something I’m going to have to manage regularly?

As long as your Google Plus info matches your Studio profile, the search engine will automatically link searches to the content you allow them to. Then just sit back and let Google do the work.

If you want Google to stop publishing a site’s articles at any time, simply unselect it from your Authorship page. Otherwise, they’ll add new articles automatically, as long as the bylines match your Google Plus profile.

What do I need to start?

A basic Google Plus profile, published  Demand Media content, and about 15 minutes.

Ok, I’m gonna get started. But I’m more of a visual learner.

Check out this screencast we put together to walk you through starting your Google Authorship profile.

Got more questions? Shoot an email to DMS.Social@demandstudios.com.

10 Things My Studio Won’t Tell You

We spend too much time hanging around Demand Media Studios not to know each other better. Let’s fix that. Each week we’ll profile a DMS contributor or staffer and ask them 10 questions in our feature, aptly titled, 10 Things My Studio Bio Won’t Tell You.

Name: Carolyn Williams

Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Location: SF Bay Area

Years in the Studio: (I had to look that one up!) I began pre-eHow in 2006.

Sections I edit for: I edit across multiple sections, including gardening, tech, fitness, parenting, home and education. 

1. I’m usually working hard, but when I’m hardly working, you can find me…

Cheering my children at a volleyball match or swim meet; attempting the perfect combination of cardio, yoga and strength training; enjoying a fabulous meal (that I didn’t cook); downloading a new app or debating Google’s influence.

2. If I had to describe my work in three words, they would be…

Engaging, flexible and 21st century business model (perhaps hyphenate that last to make it seem as if it’s just one word).

Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images

3. My favorite websites to waste time on are…

Facebook (naturally), RantsFromMommyland.com, and NYTimes blogs (particularly Tech and Well).

4. The one thing I wish I could do well, but can’t is…

Dive. I like to swim, but diving still scares me.

5. The difference between writers and editors is…

Not that significant. Good editors and good writers want the same thing: Engaging content that meets the needs of our client.

6. I couldn’t make it through the day without…

Two cups of coffee and “The New York Times.”

7. The greatest risk I ever took was…

Quitting full-time work in the high-tech world to work independently.

8. You’ll catch me saying this phrase far too often …

What happened here? (addressed to the children or the cats — neither respond immediately).

9. I am saving up for…

diablomag.com

diablomag.com

A trip to Europe.

10. My favorite movie of all time is…

I can’t pick just one, as I love the movies. For pure action, “Iron Man” or “Independence Day.” For a great story about friendship, “The Shawshank Redemption” or “Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.” For the family, “Finding Nemo” or “Monsters, Inc.”