How to Incorporate in Maryland

by jim on November 26th, 2012

If you do business and you don’t incorporate, either to a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC), you’re opening yourself up to legal liability. When you operate as a sole proprietorship, you and your business are one. There is no separation between the two. You can’t sell your business because it is you (you can sell the business assets though, so all is not lost).

If your business gets going and starts making any kind of money, you’ll want to incorporate. Fortunately, incorporated is easy and you can do it yourself. I incorporated my business on my own by filling out a simple form that I downloaded from the Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation.

The only downside to doing this is that you’ll need to file a Business Personal Property return each year which comes with a minimum $300 fee.

(the following instructions are for Maryland only, though I suspect your state will be similar)

If you are forming an LLC, you will need to file Articles of Organization with the state. The form is just one single page with straightforward fields. My advice is that, for “(2) The purpose for which the Limited Liability Company is filed is as follows:” put:

To engage in any lawful activity for which a limited liability company may be organized.

In some states, that exact phrase is often printed onto the form!

Next, write a check for $121 to “State Department of Assessments and Taxation” – $100 for the fee to file the Certificate of Organization and then $21 for a certified copy of the Articles of Organization. The certified copy is optional but some banks require it if you want to open a business bank account (which is recommended, to maintain the corporate veil). Keep this certified copy in a safe place.

Then mail it to State Department of Assessments and Taxation, Charter Division, 301 W. Preston Street; 8th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21201-2395 and wait eight+ weeks. You can also fax it to 410-333-7097 but a fax request will expedite it and require an additional $50.

Once you get confirmation, you are officially an LLC! Head over to the IRS to get an Employer Identification Number and you’ll be all set. And remember to file a Business Personal Property return each year.

How to Turn Off Notifications in Google Plus

by jim on November 19th, 2012

Do you have a few friends on Google Plus?

How about a few really active friends on Google Plus?

And are you just a tad bit tired of their updates? Or maybe you’re getting messages from friends of friends?

Whatever the reason, you’re being inundated with notifications from Google Plus and you’d really like to reduce the amount of messages you get, but aren’t sure how? Don’t worry, we’ve navigated the menus and figured out how to turn off and disable Notification messages in Google Plus. The reality is that the messaging notification system for Google Plus is broader than Facebook and you can get messages for a variety of reasons by default.

How to Turn Off Notifications from Google Plus

First, log into your account (you probably are already logged in) and go to Google+. At the top right, right under where you see a picture of your face, you’ll also see a small gear icon.

Click that to get to the settings page (or click that link to the left).

From here you should see your notification preferences under the headline of Receive notifications:

From there, you can select what actions will trigger an email from Google Plus.

Mute a Single Post

What if there’s a thread on Google Plus that you were once interested in but are no longer interested in? Or maybe it’s gotten out of hand and you don’t want to get anymore notifications about just the one post? There’s a solution for that.

Go to the post and look for a little downward arrow inside a circle, it’s located at the top right of the post’s box. Click that and you’ll see a drop down menu that has the option to Mute This Post. That’ll shut off notifications for that single post.

I hope this helps clear up your email inbox!

When Facebook removed the “Send” button from the commenting system, it made it so that hitting your ENTER key (or RETURN key) submitted the comment. You no longer could create paragraphs in your comments by hitting the ENTER key and it was kind of annoying. It was nice to submit without going to the mouse to click but it’s nicer when people can separate longer thoughts into discrete paragraphs.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution. To add a line (or carriage return, if we want to get all technical) just hold Shift and hit Enter. SHIFT+ENTER will act as a carriage return and let you finally create paragraphs in the comment reply layout.

Now stop writing walls of text and separate your thoughts into paragraphs – isn’t technology grand? 🙂

If your iPhone or your iPad has been slowing down lately, one of the common suggestions is to clear your Safari browser’s cache. As you visit websites, the browser cache accumulates a wealth of data so that future visits are faster. All that data, which consists of text and images, gets stored on your device and takes up more and more space. While they are meant to be optimized, sometimes it just becomes too much and you have to clear it. Clearing it is easy on a regular browser on your computer, you find the proper settings and clear it there. It’s a little trickier on the iPhone and iPad because your Safari browser doesn’t have settings… it’s actually handled on the phone’s settings.

Find your settings icon and tap it and then navigate to the Safari settings:

Just tap “Clear History” to delete the history of your browser and then tap “Clear Cookies and Data” to delete the cache of the browser.

Hopefully, by clearing that information, your device will run faster!

If you were to ask anyone ten years ago whether you could build a journal on the internet and then sell it to someone or some company for a few million bucks, you’d be laughed at. Then, one by one, you see sites like Treehugger (sold to Discovery Communications for $10 million in 2007) and Bankaholic (sold to Bankrate for $15 million in 2008) and you stopped laughing. A blog is a business and every business ends – it is either sold, passed onto someone else, or it is closed. If you don’t have an exit strategy for your blog, you can safely assume you’ll fumble through the exit or you’ll shut it down.

Here are ten things you should know before selling your blog:

  1. Get your finances in order. Not all acquisitions are for strictly financial reasons but every buyer will want to see your financial books. If you plan on selling to a publicly traded corporation, have spotless books. If you plan on selling the blog for a few grand on Flippa then you can get away with something less rigorous. Accurate books will make the due diligence process much easier.
  2. Approach competitors, partners, distributors, and their mothers. The key to getting a good price for you blog is competition among buyers. The more potential buyers you have, the better because they will push up the urgency and, hopefully, the price.
  3. Get a lawyer. The sale of your blog is going to be one of the biggest financial decisions of your life, make sure everything is in order because you don’t want the deal collapsing because you forgot something trivial.
  4. Make sure you own all your content. Did you hire freelance writers? Did they sign a contract that indicates the content was “work for hire?” Do you have the rights to the images you are using on the site? Make sure you own everything.
  5. Talk to a broker. Nothing says you can’t sell your website yourself but if it’s generating significant income, consider talking to a full service broker. Almost all of them will offer a free consultation
  6. Learn the process. The basic schedule for the sale of a business is straightforward, learn it and keep track of it because you will, hopefully, be dealing with multiple buyers and it’s crucial that you keep them straight.
  7. Cut expenses. Whenever you can, try to cut the expenses associated with your business. Buyers will often default to valuing your business as a multiple of profits and expenses each into your profits
  8. Talk to your fellow bloggers. You probably know someone who has sold a site – talk to them and try to learn from their experiences. While every sale is unique, there are commonalities you can learn about just by talking to someone else. Even fellow bloggers who haven’t sold might provide insight simply because you don’t know if they’ve been approached before.
  9. It’s not always about the sale price. When you read about someone selling a business, you’ll hear about the sale price. There’s a lot more to it than that. The sale price is the marquee number but it’s hardly the final one. By structuring your sale properly, you can get a smaller sale price but walk away with more money in your pocket after taxes.
  10. It’s a long journey. If you talked to other bloggers, especially ones that have sold, you’ll learn quickly that it can be a very long process with a lot of work involved. Be mentally prepared to devote many hours of your life and that there is a chance that, even with all that work, the deal won’t go through. Losing a deal, especially after you’ve put many hours into it, can be demoralizing but it’s a possibility.

These are just ten things you should know before you sell your business – maybe in a few weeks I’ll throw ten more out there!

How to Take a Screenshot of Your iPhone

by jim on July 17th, 2012

It’s easy.

Hold the the lock/power button (at the top) and the home button (on the face, the button with the rounded square) at the same time. The screen will flash and what’s on your screen will appear in your photos. That’s it!

I’ve been playing a lot of Battlefield 3 lately and one of the new services they offer, which was clever on EA’s part, was the ability to rent servers. I like the idea of owning/renting a server but I really didn’t want to set it up, so when my friend set one up I thought it would be great if I could just give him points.

You can send Microsoft points to your friends by sending them a message with the Microsoft code, the string of letters and numbers, in the message. Apparently this works pretty well though I haven’t tried it, but this isn’t much different than emailing it to them and having them enter the code manually themselves. I suppose it saves them one step.

While you probably don’t want to enter it into a message with your controller (unless you have a keyboard) so I suggest you do it online via xbox.com after you buy a 1600 points code (online delivery FTW!). Just copy and paste into a message.

There’s a way to get free Microsoft XBox Points – Bing’s search reward system. Sign up and earn 500 credits to get 400 Microsoft Xbox Live points (or 525 points for a $5 Amazon gift card) by searching using Bing. Or cheat and use this auto-searching tool to get the points.

Unfortunately, there is no way for you to transfer them points that you’ve already added to your account. I have a bunch of points I thought would be better served renting servers (until the new DLC comes out in a couple weeks) but it appears the only way to give points is to buy a code and just send the code.

How to Remove an App on Facebook

by jim on April 12th, 2012

How many times have you given an App access to your Facebook account only to realize that you don’t want to subject your friends to an endless stream of what you’re listening to, reading, viewing, or doing online? Fortunately, Facebook makes it easy for you to remove Apps with the click of the button, finding the page is the hard part.

Go to https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=applications to view your App Settings and remove, or edit, anything you no longer want.

Or anywhere on the theme?

My gut reaction is no. Definitely no if you paid money for the theme. While I don’t begrudge a designer who is trying to get a little extra SEO benefit, or any other type of advertising, from a text link in the footer, or sidebar or whatever, I think the site owner is 100% within their rights to remove that text link.

That said, if you agreed to leave the text links as a condition of getting the theme, then I think it’s dishonest to remove it. If that wasn’t part of the deal, as is the case with many free themes, you shouldn’t feel guilty removing it.

There are plenty of linkbuilding companies out there who create free themes with those footer links as a way to build links for their clients.

Links are the currency of the web.

How to Find Your WordPress Version Number

by jim on February 24th, 2012

Back in the days of old, you could look for your WordPress version number by looking at the source HTML of any page – it was a meta tag named “generator.” Then someone realized you could look for vulnerable WordPress blogs using older versions just by searching so they took that away.

Then, the next way to find out which WordPress version you had was by looking at the footer on the admin pages… until they took that away (not sure when, or why, but now it just tells you to get the latest version).

So, if you want to find your exact version number, look in your version.php file, located in the /wp-includes/ directory. That file has a bunch of other version related information, like the DB version, but usually the WordPress version is all you need.