Google Cardboard Glasses? Okay, I’ll Try It!

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Okay, so I’m a newbie when it comes to this Virtual Reality stuff. I guess I’m like 99% of the world, but I’m always willing to try something new.

I had heard of the Occulus Rift glasses (amazon link), and I’d even seen them in posts, on websites, etc. Yeah, I wrote them off as some tech geek stuff, but for some reason hearing someone mention them recently, I decided to give them another look.

So I went on amazon and looked them up.  So they were only about $650, which basically meant there was no way on earth I was buying these things!

So anyhow, as with any and all products you look up on the site, Amazon shows you related products. So I saw these Google Cardboard glasses, and I thought it was a joke. I mean, these things were really made of cardboard! And they cost less than $20. So there was some sort of rip-off happening.

But as I read the reviews, I saw that these things are for real. Google, the masters of all things, came up with some cardboard knock-offs of Occulus Rift? For under $20? Yup, I gotta try it!

Soooo, I ended up buying the D Scope Pro ‘Google Cardboard’  (amazon link)glasses.

Ordered them on Friday, with my Prime Membership, they came on Monday, and here I am assembling them.

Basically, I’m sold! They are an awesome new toy for under $20!

As I state in the video, I ended up downloading the Titans of Space app, so I could experience floating around our solar system. I plan on downloading many more of these apps! Only issue is the apps do take up quite a bit of space (Titans was 220 MBs), but we can work around that.

I can only assume that this is only the beginning for VR. One day it’ll probably get to the point like in that Woody Allen movie, Sleeper (waaaay back in 1973), where he (they) were able to use the orgasmatron. But until then, get yourself some Google Cardboard glasses, and enjoy the ride (literally)!

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Do You Play Well With The Other Children? ( A Lamont C Blog Post)

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Do You Play Well With the Other Children?
(Be sure to follow my blog right there on the left side. It takes all of 20 seconds to do it…done? Thanks!)

We all are children at heart (or at least that’s what I’ve been told). And what do most children like to do? Go run around and play on the playground!

Your playground may be different from mine. Some of us own the playground. Some of us are leaders on the playground (or at least are expected to be). Some of us are just there because we have to be there.

Have you stopped for a moment and considered what’s it like on your playground?

Do all of the children play well together?

Do YOU play well with the other children?

It’s very likely that everyone doesn’t play well together, that’s just life, but when the children don’t play well together how does that affect the playground as a whole?

Let’s look at three or four reasons we don’t play well with each other.

CHAOS

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On far too many playgrounds there is just pure chaos. This usually happens when there is no one watching over the children. Or maybe the person who is assigned to watch the children is either weak or distracted. If the playground monitor is not respected by the children, well it really doesn’t matter what s/he says, because the children will just run around and do whatever they feel like doing. Or if the monitor is too busy focusing on things other than the important playground rules, again, the children will just do whatever it is they feel is important to them at the moment.

Until there is someone who not only thoroughly understands what the playground rules are, but they are willing to enforce those rules, mayhem will rule the playground.

LACK OF SKILLS

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What? You need skills to be on the playground?

Obviously not if you’ve been on some of the playgrounds that I’ve played on. But having skills will certainly help maintain some order.

Have you every play the “telephone game” (or the less politically correct “Chinese whispers”. It’s the game that starts with one person who whispers a message to a second person. That second person whispers the message to a third person, the third to a fourth, and so on and so on, until the last player announces the message to the entire group. The rule is you can NOT repeat what you said to the person. If you don’t understand what the person told you, tough! You just forward the message you THINK you heard.

Obviously there are errors that get passed along, and by the time the message reaches the last person, the original statement has been strangled, mangled, and destroyed. Why is the passing of a message between the children so difficult? Maybe one child was so anxious to start talking, they never bothered to listen to what was being said to them. Maybe one child was really soft spoken and whispered the message to another child who had a legitimate hearing issue (that no one bothered to check). There are always the children who change the message on purpose, simply because they think it is fun to pass on bad information. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget about the ‘embellisher’. You know the kid who sees or hears the exact same thing you do, but for whatever reason there version of the story always has added twists and turns.

Improve the children’s skills in listening, fix a technical issue, or teach them why it’s important to pass on accurate information, and you will have children who play the games better.

ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER

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What if you were playing a team game, and your team is starting to gain momentum, but all of sudden your team captain decides to change your strategy. It’s likely you will lose some of your momentum right? But then the captain sees another team doing something then decides your team should do it too. BUT then the captain remembers something her father told her, and decides that your goals are all wrong, and now they change too. There’s no way your team will be successful.

With lack of focus, hopping around from one goal to another, or being preoccupied by what the other team is doing, your team won’t have a direction let alone gain momentum. Maybe somebody needs to take their meds…

FAT, DUMB, AND HAPPY

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No, don’t worry, I’m not about to get all Conspiracy Theory on you. We’re staying in Metaphorland here. Keeping the children ‘fat, dumb, and happy’ simply means that they are trained to be unaware and uninterested in what’s really going on. The advancement of the children isn’t a priority, because they are content just where they are since they are given the sugar they crave and ignorance is bliss.

If any of the children decide they want healthy food instead of sugar, or perhaps they decide they want to learn something meaningful those children run the risk of being called “teacher’s pet” or “nerd” or being told they’re “messing up the grading curve”. They won’t be the most popular children on the playground.

I’d love to hear what you think ‘playing well with others’ means and what some hindrances are!

There’s No “I” In Team…(but there is “M” and “E”)

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So millions of us watch the Super Bowl and the overwhelming majority of us thought that Seattle was going to give the ball to Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch to seal the deal.

Ehh, eh.

So when asked about the play, and was he surprised that he didn’t get the ball Marshawn said (paraphrasing) “No, I wasn’t surprised. We play football, it’s a team sport”.

While Marshawn is probably one of the few people in the world who isn’t surprised that he wasn’t given the ball, his answer is indicative of who he is as a player. Marshawn could have went all Keyshawn on us and said “Just give me the damn ball!” or he could have thrown the coaching staff under the bus, but by all accounts Marshawn is a great team player.

Great Teams Are MORE Than Just Great Players

Great teams aren’t made up of just great players, but they have to have great team players. If all you have on your team is a bunch of all-stars who only care about their own stats, then you won’t have a great team. No one will care about winning, they just want to make sure that they look good in the highlights, or they look good when their numbers are reviewed.

I’ve been on a number of teams, some of them winning teams, some of them losing teams. The clear difference was between the two was how well the people worked together.

The previous team I was on (a winner) while all of the players didn’t always get along, we knew how to play well together, and as a team we consistently scored high. My current team, well let’s just say that my assistant and I call it the 1999 Los Angeles Clippers. The team is in disarray, and unfortunately everyone wants to play for themselves instead of as a team. You can play in the same building with the champions (1999 LA Lakers), but you won’t win unless you play with the same culture as the champions.

The Making Of A Great Team

Here are five things that winning teams do that losing teams don’t:

  • Know your role – Whatever your position is, make sure you know how to do it better than anyone else can. Everyone can’t be the star of the show. You may not get a solo but every voice in the choir matters.
  • Trust each other to do their job – Where there’s no trust, there’s no us. You simply can’t build a successful team if you can’t trust or be trusted.
  • Understand the team vision – If each person simply works for what they believe should be done, then you’ll have a bunch of people set out on a bunch of different paths, with very few of them ever meeting.
  • Inspire each other – Shit happens. Mistakes will be made. There will be setbacks. But when the chips are down, teammates should be there to pick each other up and remind them of what they are working towards.
  • Reward each other – Even when your team has their eyes on the prize, they need small reminders along the way telling them “Good job on what you just accomplished”.

You may be wondering why I didn’t include “Good Communication” on this list. Well, because good communication weaves it’s way through everything on that list. ALL of these things, and more, make up good communication.

What other things have you seen and/or experienced that have created great teams? I’d love to hear your responses!

Wanna Be A Successful Self Published Author? (A Lamont C Blog Post)

Want to be a successful self-published author?

Okay, good!

The first thing you need to do is define “success”.

I’m a “success” because for me success meant ‘doing something that I never really thought I would do’, which was write a book. Then I did it about 10 times over. (Check me out here)

Now I will keep it real with you, it’s time for me to alter my definition of “success”. My success was not based on sales (I have been selling moderately well) or how much money I made (I’m definitely not rolling in the dough),  BUT now that the novelty of self-publishing has worn off, it’s time I decide to make sales a priority.

But in YOUR case, you may decide that success is finally getting that book done after 20 years of procrastinating, or writing that book that will help bring attention to your business, or writing that tell all that exposes those nasty sorority girls from your alma mater for the whores that they really are! Whatever. It’s YOUR definition of “success”, not anyone else’s.

Anywho, from me to you, here are 10 tips that you should pay close attention to if you want to be a successful self published author.:

1) In addition to following this site (shameless self plug), you should join self-published and/or Indie writer’s groups both on and offline. How? Go to your favorite search engine (notice how I didn’t automatically assume you ‘Google’ everything?), and type in “Independent Writers Group” or “Self Published Writers Group” and watch the world come alive! These are the ‘doers’ of the world, and you can get plenty of advice on anything and everything you ever wanted to know about self-publishing but were afraid to ask. And you don’t need to wait until you have a book out to join! Join now…watch, ask, and be informed.

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2) I know this is subjective, but please write a good book! There is too much crap cluttering cyberspace as it is, so put your heart into your book. If you feel you have done your best, then that is all a man can ask.

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3) You need to have a good title and a good cover. Remember that last comment about cybercrap? Well if you want to stand out amongst them, do yourself a favor and create an eye-appealing, professional-looking cover. Your cover should not only look good large, but it should catch the eye when it is set as a thumbnail, because if you sell online it’s likely that people will only see a thumbnail of your book.

Book-Title

4) Have your book proofread! You can have a great book, but if it is filled with typos and grammatical errors, guess what comments will be left on Amazon, B&N, iTunes, etc.? Do yourself a favor, even if you can’t afford to pay a lot for a professional, you should be able to 1) use spellcheck and 2) ask a friend, family member, or colleague to take a look. A new set of eyes will go a long way.

Proofreading

 

5) BEFORE you hit the “go” button to get 1,000,000 copies printed by your locan printer, be sure to get a proof of your book first! Getting a proof is different from having it proofread. Once your book is finished and at the printer of your choice, request or purchase a copy of it before it goes into full production. When your proof arrives give it a thorough looksy. This is your labor of love, if something doesn’t look right, change it. Better make those changes now than having a garage full of books with your name spelled wrong.

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6) Make sure the Price is Right! No, I’m not talking about the television game show with Drew Carrey. It’s important to make sure that your book is priced appropriately. If you are using a Print on Demand service such as CreateSpace, they will kind of force your hand by telling you the minimum price you can sell your book for. This will be based on things like length of the book and if you are using black/white pictures vs. color pictures. Anything above that minimum should become profit for you. But don’t get crazy with the price. Will people really buy your $24.99 book?

 

If you are selling an eBook, keep in mind that the “sweet spot” for eBooks is usually around $2.99. You may consider starting at .99 cents, letting your book get a little momentum then gradually increasing it to $1.99, then $2.99. If you are selling on Amazon, familiarize yourself with their Royalty policy since they have 35% and 70% rates.

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7) Unlike at a bookstore or in a library, online potential buyers can’t thumb through your book so they will rely on other people’s reviews. Solicit reviews on Amazon.com. How? Well, remember that writers group I suggested you join, tap into that group. Another possible way is to send free copies to anyone who may have an interest in your genre or topic (including family or friends) and ask (beg) that they write a review at Amazon. Getting reviews will help with your book ranking. If Amazon sees that people are reviewing your book, they will rank it higher.

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8) And no matter what site you use to sell your book, make sure that your book description and your publisher’s comments are well thought out. Potential buyers will also look to these areas to decide whether they will buy your book or not. If the description doesn’t provide them with enough information on your book, they may likely pass on it. This is especially true when you don’t have many reviews. Or even worse, if your description is poorly (or even just “okay”)written and people purchase it, they will come back and leave a negative review because it “wasn’t what they thought it was”. (Ask me how I know).

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9) Create a website for your book (or better yet, a website for yourself!), and link it to any of the places that you may sell your book. Now that you are a self-published author, you are a brand, and no brand is complete without its own website.

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Last, but certainly not least…

10) Market, Market, MARKET! How can you sell your book if they don’t know it exists? There are 1001 ways to market, so find the best ways for your book. And don’t just think online, think offline marketing as well! I’m sure I will do more posts about marketing, branding, etc. etc, but really you should market your book.

I’m glad I only said 10 tips, ’cause I’m tired! If you have any tips, please feel free to share them in the comment section!

10,000 Hours!? Eff That! Here’s 20, Now Give Me A Skill (A Lamont C Blog Post)

You may have heard the theory about how it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. Guess who won’t be mastering a skill any time soon..(hint: Me!).

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to totally master something, anything, but it’s not going to happen right now. I have a full time job, plus the “side” projects I take on, and two young kids. My time just goes. It’s like I’m living in a time warp.

As a matter of fact, I don’t even have time to write the rest of this blog post! So instead, just watch this TEDx Talk by Josh Kaufman, and you can get his book on the subject here — The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything . . . Fast!

Shut Up! And Start Writing Already! (A Lamont C Blog Post)

(Hey, be sure to Follow My Blog)

I don’t really think of myself as an “author” or a “writer”, but when you write multiple books I guess you are those things by default. (You can see my creations here at Smashwords)

For some people writing is really their thing, their bread and butter, their life’s mission. Me, I do it because it is a creative outlet. (Making music used to be my thing, then it was producing television shows, now its writing… and making chocolate chip cookies).

Often I get “I want to write a book” or “How can I write a book” or some variation of those questions. I’m always willing to give advice to anyone who has the desire to do it, but really my best piece of advice is this…

SHUT UP, AND START WRITING ALREADY!

Look, your book isn’t going to just mysteriously start seeping out of your brain and coagulate into words on a page. You have to sit there and write, type, or speak (using Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home 13.0, English
or other program) your book into existence. Stop “wanting” to write, and write!

Is writing a book easy? No, but if you are like me and just doing it at your own leisure, then there isn’t any pressure from publishers, etc. You don’t need to go around telling everyone that you’re writing a book either. That’s just a set up. Write it, and show it to them when you’re done.

There are plenty of good books on writing available, but here are three that I found helpful (Amazon links)…

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft

Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity

Again, there are tons of good books out there, these are just three that resonated with me.

Anywho, if you are one of those people who “want” to write a book, you already know my advice.

If you have any advice for would be writers, please share it in the comments section.

If I Can’t Have It, You Can’t Either (A Lamont C Blog Post)

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Have you ever heard of “Crab Mentality”?

You know, the whole ‘crabs in a barrel’ mentality thing where if a two or more crabs are in a barrel, if one attempts to climb out the other two are going to try to pull that first one back down.

The interesting thing is, crabs are actually very agile creatures. They are ‘decapods’ meaning they have 10 limbs, and it is common for some species of crabs to be able to climb rocks and trees with ease. So why the fuck would crabs, who are fully capable of climbing out of a barrel themselves, prevent one of their own from doing what is natural to them?

I mean really? If there is a gang of them all sitting on top of each other and one of them says “Hey, it’s too crowded in here! I’m gonna blow this joint!” shouldn’t more of them say “Yeah man, you’re right! Let’s get outta here!”.

Nope. Instead they break the arm of the crab trying to escape.

Luckily crabs can regenerate their claws.

As fate would have it crabs share this same trait with us humans.

You decide that you have a good idea and you want to break away from the herd (get a higher degree, get a job promotion start their own business, etc.) there is bound to be people around you that will try to pull you down and break your arm. Well, they won’t literally try to break your arm, but they will try to break your spirit by doubting you and your dream. If your idea “fails” they will laugh at you, mock you, and ridicule you.

Well, luckily your spirit is resilient. You can bounce back from failure. Your knowledge, skills, and abilities can grow after failure, and you CAN still break away from the herd, as long as you learn, grow, and persevere.

If Mr. Krabs can break away from those break away from those clawing son a bitches and be successful, then so can you damnit!

So. Can. You!

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Please be sure to comment below!