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I have moved my blog from www.joshclark.com/blog to just joshclark.com. Please update your links and bookmarks.

This archived blog will remain intact.

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How to Spend Just Two Minutes A Day On Facebook

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FacebookI love the capabilities Facebook gives us to communicate and connect with each other. I can remember the first time I ever heard of Facebook when it was brand new. A friend in my college dorm was showing it to me and I said I didn’t want to sign up.
What’s the point of just making a page about me? I said. Two weeks later I had an account and I’ve never turned back since.

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I’m not what you would call a “Facebook addict,” but I do log on briefly every day to see what’s going on. A big turn-off for me, though, is the amount of time it takes to browse through my entire news feed just to see that a close friend updated his status three pages down.

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We all have dozens (hundreds?) of friends who – well let’s be honest – we just don’t really care about. Old friends from middle school or that girl who was in that group project from that class or that other guy who you’re sure you’ve never met. If I saw someone at the supermarket and wouldn’t even make eye contact, why am I wasting my time reading that they’re visiting their mom for the weekend and missed Bailey the family dog?

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Well I’ve figured out a way to cut through all that unnecessary stuff to see only the content from friends of my choosing. I can now take a quick 60-second glance at facebook twice a day and know everything that’s going on with the people I really care about.

It’s simple to setup. Here’s what you do.

1) Login and click on Friends in the top menu to view your full list of friends.

2) Click on Make a New List on the left, and name it something like “Important Peeps.”

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3) Now add everyone to the list who you really want to keep up with. Don’t spend too much time thinking about each individual, you can always add or remove people later.

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Now when you visit the Facebook homepage you should see your new list in the menu on the left. It may not show up for a few minutes, or you might need to log out and back in. Just select this list and the news feed automatically filters to show you only content from the people on that list.

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You’ll be surprised at how little stuff there is posted each day that you actually care about reading. Of course, that depends on the friends you choose to follow.

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Becoming An Expert

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What you put into something is what you get out of it. This is a simple, straightforward principle. If you want to see fruit and growth in an area of your life, all you have to do is put time and effort into it. Even if you do not see immediate results from the individual chunks of time you put into it, you will reap them in the long run.

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Here is a very basic example: If you want to improve your relationship with someone, you must spend time with them. Maybe you go chat over coffee, or grab dinner together. But you wouldn’t expect to get to know them very well if you only talked with them for five minutes a day. You would not be very close.

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I’m learning to play the piano right now. I take lessons and practice throughout the week, learning chords and keys and where the notes fall on the page. They say the general rule of thumb is that you must put 10,000 hours into something before you are truly an “expert.” That’s one hour a day for twenty-seven years. I maybe practice for twenty or thirty minutes a day. I do not expect to keep it up for twenty-seven years. I do not expect to become an expert.

So, if I don’t expect to get to know a friend in a few brief conversations a week, if I don’t believe I can truly master the piano in only twenty minutes a day, why would I think that I can know God in the same amount of time?

A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7

Posted in Faith, etc. | 2 Comments

New Free Netbooks Site [Trainn]

YourFreeNetbookNot too much going on in the freebie world lately, but Trainn is pushing ahead with a new site, YourFreeNetbook.com, offering the newly popular netbook computers. Netbooks are like miniature, ultra-mobile laptops which are slightly underpowered but ideal for common tasks like web surfing, checking email and word processing.

You can choose from any of the following:

Samsung NC10
MSI Wind
Acer AOA150
HP Mini 1035NR
Dell Inspiron Mini 9

As always, they also offer cash options of $300 and $430.

Trainn is one of the top freebie companies and offer both do-it-yourself or referral-based accounts, giving you lots of flexibility for how you want to earn your gift.

Sign up today!

Posted in Free Stuff | 4 Comments

MacHeist 3 – The Biggest Bundle Yet

MacHeist 3[This deal is expired]
This is the third time the MacHeist crew have offered an amazing bundle of Mac software for a ridiculously good deal, and this bundle is the best yet.
Valued at $850.75, the $39 bundle includes full versions of all of the following:

iSale
Picturesque
SousChef
World of Goo
PhoneView
LittleSnapper
Acorn
Kinemac
WireTap Studio
BoinxTV
Cro-Mag Rally
Times

And, after not too many more bundles are sold, the following will be unlocked and added for everyone as well:
The Hit List
Espresso

Furthermore, 25% of your purchase goes towards charity. You can pick one of various charities or split it up evenly between them all.

As if all that wasn’t enough, bundle purchasers can optionally post on twitter (as instructed) to also receive copies of Delicious Library 2 and Multiwinia, adding another $59 value.

Check out their site for all the details about each program and more. This deal is almost up so jump on board soon!

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Squares

I bought a brand-new date book yesterday, the kind I use every year – spiral-bound, black imitation leather covers wrapped around pages and pages of blank boxes. Every square has a number to tell me which day of the month I’m in at the moment. Every square is a frame for one episode of my life. Before I’m through with the book, I will fill the squares with classes I teach, people with whom I ate lunch, everlasting committee meetings I sit through, and these are only the things I cannot afford to forget. I fill the squares too with things I do not write down to remember: thousands of cups of coffee, some lovemaking, some praying, and, I hope, gestures of help to my neighbors. Whatever I do, it has to fit inside one of those squares on my date book. I live one square at a time. The four lines that make up the box are the walls of time that organize my life. Each box has an invisible door that leads to the next square. As if by a silent stroke, the door opens and I am pulled through, as if by a magnet, sucked into the next square in line. There I will again fill the time frame that seals me – fill it with my busy-ness just as I did the square before. As I get older, the squares seem to get smaller. One day I will walk into a square that has no door. There will be no mysterious opening and no walking into an adjoining square. One of those squares will be terminal. I do not know which square it will be.
- Lewis Smedes

My name is Josh Clark. I am twenty-three, and I do not know how many squares I have left. I could have 18,250. I could have three. Whatever the case, 24 hours from now I’ll have one less. Will I have used it wisely?

Posted in Reflection | 2 Comments

Save Up To $200 On eBay

Microsoft really wants people to use their search engine, Live.com. So much so, apparently, that they’re going to pay you to use it when you’re shopping online. By going through their search engine instead of directly to an online retailer, they will give you a percentage off of your purchase in the form of a “cashback” refund later on. Each retailer has its own percentage cashback, but one of the highest is eBay.

When you shop at eBay through Live.com, you’ll get 25% back from qualifying purchases, up to $200 per purchase. This means if you find a deal on a shiny new Apple Macbook for $1,200, you’ll get $200 of that back, so your total cost is an even grand.
A “qualifying purchase” just means you have to purchase something through a Buy It Now auction, and pay with a PayPal account in good standing. Also, things like automobiles are not eligible.
You get your cashback from Microsoft 60 days after your purchase.

So, if you were going to buy a Macbook, here’s what you do:

1) Go here to sign up for a Windows Live ID or sign in with your current @live.com or @hotmail.com address

2) Now that you’re logged in, go back to the search engine homepage at www.live.com, and search for “macbook”

3) At the top of the page, click on the sponsored ad for eBay that has the “Live Search cashback” icon next to it

4) Make sure the Microsoft cashback tag is at the top of the screen. Now search or browse for what you want and purchase it using Buy It Now. When you get to the payment confirmation page, it will list the amount that you will receive back. Make sure you pay with PayPal!

5) Shortly after your purchase, you’ll get a message entitled “You’ve earned cashback” in your My eBay Messages. Click “Get cashback” in that message. This ties your purchase to your Live.com account.

And now we play the waiting game…

It may take a few days for the purchase to show up as a pending item in your cashback account, but after that it will show a countdown to the date when you can claim your cashback. Then you just log back in and tell them where to send payment!

Feel free to read the Live Search cashback FAQs and of course, the good ol’ Terms and Conditions, so you fully understand the process.

Posted in Free Stuff | 12 Comments

Free 500GB External USB Hard Drive

So there haven’t been many amazing freebie deals lately, but I did manage to come across one decent one. The UPS guy just dropped off a brand new 500GB Western Digital External USB Hard Drive, courtesy of ExternalDriveOffer.com.

Retail value: $119.99. Actual cost: $0.00.

I typically don’t like credit card offers, but this one was a pretty good deal. Sign up for a Discover Card, get the hard drive for free. After you get the card (assuming you’re approved) you just have to use it once to activate it.

Here’s my timeline:
Signed up – 8/30
Received card – 9/5
Used card – 9/7
Card shows as “activated” on free site – 9/10
Shipped – 10/9
Received – 10/10

They ship from Amazon, so I may return it for credit instead of keeping the drive. Not sure yet.

Sign up today at www.ExternalDriveOffer.com
Update 10.24.08: Looks like they took down all of these offers. Sorry to anyone who missed out.

If you’d prefer a different gift, the same company hosts the following sites, each for signing up with a new Discover Card:

Canon PowerShot A590 Digital Camera

Garmin nuvi® 200 Portable GPS Navigator

iPod Nano

Flip Camcorder

Panasonic Portable DVD Player

Weber Grill

Posted in Free Stuff | 25 Comments

Help A Friend Report At The World Series

Update Sept. 22: Clay won! Watch for him at the 2008 World Series, and thanks a ton to everyone who voted!!

You all know I usually don’t do stuff like this, but this is a huge opportunity for a friend of mine, so I said I’d try to help him out.

My friend Clay is a finalist in a competition with a chance to be an on field reporter at the World Series. He needs our help by voting for him (It takes about 20 secs). You can vote for him once a day all this week by going here.
All you have to do is click “Vote for Candidate” under Clay Duerson at the bottom left, and enter an email address (feel free to use a crap address).

Or find out more here:
http://www.clayforcubs.com

If you are on facebook, join this group and he will send you reminders to vote:
http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=74112280018

And finally, to see a video of Clay in action see below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWUOVVl_NQY

Thanks everybody!

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Bittersweet Carousel

When I graduated from high school and moved away from my home and the friends I had grown up with, it was with sorrow. When I came back to visit and hung out with those friends, each time we parted I left feeling that old nostalgia again, thinking back on the memories we had shared together.

When I finished college and it grew time for me to leave the campus ministry that I had called home for four years, and the people I had grown to love went separate ways and our lives became busy and we no longer made memories together, I again encountered that familiar sadness.
Even thinking back on the classes I had so dreaded, I reminisced with a slight longing on the teachers who had really given me something, on those rare moments when educator and student faded for only a breath to reveal simply a room full of people all caught up in this world together, living out beautiful life. Memories and memories.

And now I have fallen into another group of people, and I will grow to love them much as I have so many others, and we will make new memories together and the years will pass even more quickly. And one day in some unknown future, a time will come when I will leave them as well, and they will leave me; even now I can almost taste the sadness that day holds. I will end up someplace new, part of a different group of people, and I will think back on the many I have known before with a sort of sadness and yearning and missing, and I will wonder how long it will take to grow to love this lot as I have loved the others.

Over and over life’s cycles will take me through this bittersweet carousel. Over and over people will come crashing into my life and then dance away into mist, pieces of myself trailing along after them. But that is the way God has shaped this life. It is why He created us, it is why He died for us. For the grand joy of life does not come in packages. It cannot be found in the furthest dark corners of the sky, nor the bottomless blues of the world. It cannot be bought and it cannot be earned; it cannot be touched or smelt and it has no texture to feel nor any color to see. The deepest joys the Creator placed in this world He put in nothing that could be captured or bottled or sold. He put it in a smile, in a laugh, in a tear. He put it in dancing and running, in cartwheels and kisses. He put it in people, and that is something worth considering.

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Students: A New Way To Save On Textbooks

This is the first time I’ve ever sold my previous semester’s textbooks and not had to buy more for upcoming classes. It’s a nice change, for sure. But for everyone out there looking around for the best prices on textbooks, here is a site that is going to save you some serious dough.

Chegg offers a textbook rental service. Huh? Here’s how it works:

1) You rent books from Chegg for a semester (until December 25th) or a quarter (until November 20th). Their prices are ridiculously low compared to even the used prices you’ll find online. Personal example: my fiancé saved $130.68 on the books she ordered from Chegg, compared to the next lowest prices available elsewhere online. And that was just four books. Prices varied, but most were about half of the price to buy the book used.

2) Use the books all semester, even highlight in them some if you like.

3) At the end of the semester, login to your account on Chegg and print out a prepaid shipping label. Slap it on a box with all your rented books inside and ship it off to Chegg.

4) You saved some green, and Chegg plants a tree for every book you rent from them, so you can feel green too.

Typically I’m all for buying and reselling on eBay every semester. At least that’s what I always did. But most of the time you won’t make close to what you spent, although it’s better than the spare change the bookstore would give you. With Chegg, you’ll save more money in the long run and you won’t have to worry about listing all those books on eBay right after finals.

Chegg has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, USA Today, and CNBC, just to name a few, and has been in business for a little over a year.

Check it out

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