September 2007


Nintendo and video games September 29th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom HourglassNintendo celebrates the release of The Legend of Zelda®: Phantom Hourglass™ with an action-packed launch party at the Nintendo World® store in Rockefeller Plaza. Video game lovers of all ages will line up for an early look at the latest Zelda® game and a chance to win exciting prizes. Fans will have their picture taken with the game’s hero, Link; dress as their favorite Zelda characters for a costume contest; show off their Zelda knowledge in trivia quizzes; and be among the first to play Phantom Hourglass in a live multi-player tournament. From 2 - 4 p.m., attendees will have a chance to purchase the highly anticipated title the day before its official release.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for Nintendo DSâ„¢ makes its formal debut on October 1, breaking the mold for first-person adventure games with a revolutionary stylus-only control scheme and a wireless two-player mode. Phantom Hourglass features eye-popping 3-D graphics and fun challenges for casual gamers and Zelda fans alike. Since 1987, the Legend of Zelda franchise has sold more than 52 million units worldwide, making it one of the most popular game series in the industry.

The big party will be held at the Nintendo World Store at 10 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. On Sunday, Sept. 30 between the hours of 1:00PM and 4:00PM. The game will be available for purchase after 2:00PM and the costume contest runs from 3:00PM to 4:00PM.

If you are going to be in the New York area on Sunday why not check it out?

Games September 28th, 2007 by Stephen

In this photo provided by Nintendo, Lillian Faybik, 87, of Manhattan, plays baseball on the Wii from Nintendo, Friday, Sept. 28, 2007, at The Carter Burden Center for the Aging in New York. Nintendo visited the center to show off video games that appeal to adults. (Nintendo Photo by Diane Bondareff)On Friday, Sept. 28, 2007 Nintendo visited The Carter Burden Center for the Aging in New York to show off video games that appeal to adults.

What's that, you've never seen your grandmother play video games? Ever wonder why that might be?

Even though the Nintendo Wii is no where near as powerful as the Xbox360 or the PS3 it has a special kind of power that neither of those two consoles can compete with; the power of fun.

There, I said it. The reason Nintendo is dominating the video game world right now is because they took the bold step of creating games for non-gamerz. What many in the video game industry considered a very risky move with no chance of success, Nintendo managed to pull off. Yes, Nintendo managed to build and sell game systems to non-gamerz.

In this photo provided by Nintendo, Ethel Bockman, 94, right, and Stella Zielecki, 88, both of Manhattan, play Brain Age 2 on Nintendo DS, Friday, Sept. 28, 2007, at The Carter Burden Center for the Aging in New York. Nintendo visited the center to show off video games that appeal to adults. (Nintendo Photo by Diane Bondareff)I have heard some people say that the Wii is riding solely on the popularity of Wii Sports and you know what? Does it really matter? The gamerz of the world will buy a Wii no matter what (if they can find one) but how many grandparents are going to purchase an Xbox360 or a PS3?

You'll have to excuse me now. I'm headed down to the geriatric ward at the nursing home. I have a date to go do some bowling with some venerable old folks who can't lift a bowling ball but sure can swing a Wii-Remote!




Programming September 28th, 2007 by Stephen

Have you ever had one of those days when you receive so much traffic from a particular site that you need to redirect that traffic to a cached copy of your content? If you can gain access to your .htaccess file than you can implement this very quick bit of code

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} (example.com) [NC]
RewriteRule myarticle.html http://www.cacheserver.com/myarticle.html  [R,L,NC]
</IfModule>

The above short code snippet will allow you to send all traffic that comes from example.com looking for myarticle.html to the alternate location of cacheserver.com/myarticle.html. This little bit of code can come in very handy when a particular social media site is sending a ton of traffic to your MySQL/PHP site causing it to crash.

You do not even need to send it to another server. If you simply create a static page on your existing server (I like to use a cache directory) you can send the traffic there. In all honesty it is far better to serve the cached copy from your own server than to send it elsewhere.

Internet September 27th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

Sell links on every page of your site to thousands of advertisers!

Are you looking for an alternative to Text-Link-Ads? I know I am.

TNXI was recently contacted by a company that is breaking into the text link marketplace. They offer a service that I feel may just be superior to that which is offered by Text-Link-Ads. If you click on the flash banner above you will be taken directly to their site. Yes it is an affiliate link and I will get into why that is good later on in this article.

Selling your own text links

It can be hard for a webmaster to sell advertising space on their blog when no one knows they exist. You can put up an advertising page and hope someone sees it but you are far better off being in some sort of marketplace where advertisers can find you.

Unlike previous entries in the text link market TNX has put a new spin on the act of purchasing text links. Instead of digging through a directory of sites and looking over each one TNX offers you the ability to just buy links en masse from sites that you never even need to see based on their Page Rank and content.

Think about that for a minute. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is all about getting back links from sites that are in the same niche as yours. There are thousands of PR 0 sites out there in your niche. To manually go through and find all of these sites would take forever and provide negligible results compared to the effort needed to buy the links.

By using TNX's system you can simply tell them you want 1K PR 0 links in the technology niche and they will do all the work for you.

Let's take HMTK dot com as an example. I want to create a text link ad for this site but I only want it to appear on sites in my niche and language. Can TNX do this?

Creating a campaign

The first step in creating a campaign involves naming the campaign and setting the initial parameters:

    Parameters

  • Google Page Rank: 0 to 5
  • Yahoo Backlinks: 0 to 250K+ in 5 levels (0-500, 500-5K, 5K-50K, 50K-250K and 250K+)
  • Site Category: 17 categories listed and you can choose up to 7
  • Geo-targeting: English only, German, Ukraine and Russian sites.

The Page Rank and Yahoo backlink sections are self-explanatory. The higher you go the more it will cost you to get the link. The site category box tells you to select between 4 and 7 categories but I could not get the listbox to work correctly. When I tried to select multiple categories it selected everything in between instead of just the ones I wanted. As for Geo-targeting, they do tell you that they have a small inventory of English-only sites. This is to be expected as they are only now breaking into the English speaking market.

The second step is to load your ads.

    Here are the basic rules for adding ads:

  • Upload at least 10 different ads (max. 2000 for each campaign).
  • Your ads should contain links, that will lead to different! pages of your website. Your campaign will not be declined, if all of your ads lead to the main page, but for best results in search engines we recommend that at least 70% of links lead to relevant internal pages of your site.
  • Text inside your links should be different. Keywords in links should present on pages advertised for best results.
  • Plain text should be placed before and after the link (anchor). Make it so those who interested may be able to click on your link. Your ads should not look like senseless bunch of keywords.

If you are going to be creating a large amount of ads they offer you the ability to save them as a text file and upload them directly. If not there is a collection of textboxes you can use for creating your links.

The third and final step is where you choose how many links you wish to purchase.

    During this final step you will be able to select:

  • How many links to purchase
  • What category gets how many links
  • Maximum number of links for any one site to get

TNX also has some rules for advertisers that will insure only quality links get in the system:

    Campaigns that will not be approved:

  • Contain spelling and grammatical errors, lead to pages that don't exist.
  • Contain words written in all CAPS with the exception of acronyms and trademarks.
  • Lead to websites that do not contain any information related to the keyword given in the link.
  • Have nothing to do with the chosen subject or contradict it. Also, we will not approve campaigns that advertise pharmaceutical products and gambling.
  • Are unethical and offend public morals.
  • Can lead to claims from third parties and TNX webmasters. For example: TNX will not approve ads such as "download windows vista" or "make extra $1000/month"

After you complete your campaign it will be reviewed by a staff member prior to going live. You will be paying for any and all approved and placed links with what is known as TNX-Points. This is the currency of TNX and will be explained in greater detail later on.

That covers the advertiser side of things but I know that most of my readers are interested in the publisher side of things. Can you make money with this? Is it worth running? Well, I covered the advertiser portion first because the first thing you want to know is the kind of ads that you will see on your site if you choose to sign up with TNX.

    Publisher website Requirements

  • No Free-hosted sites with just rare exceptions.
  • No Doorways - pages created only for search bots.
  • No New websites without backlinks - before using our system you need to at least register the site in catalogues.
  • No Involved in illegal activities.
  • No Selling confiscates and others that require advance payment.
  • No Political sites and slogans.
  • No Websites promoting violence, pornography, extremism etc.

As long as your site does not fall under the above list of exceptions you should have no problem signing up with TNX. You can sign up by clicking on this link to the TNX site. Yes, it is an affiliate link.
When adding a website you fill in much of the same information as when creating a campaign. You list the language (Geo-targeting), category of your content, short description of your site, how many pages on your site and your estimate of your daily readership. The last two items are for TNX moderator usage.

Your site will then go into a moderation queue for approval by TNX staff. This can take a few days depending on the nature of your site and the backlog at TNX. Remember, this site is just breaking into the English-speaking market so do not be surprised if it takes a day or two for your approval (or denial) to go through.

Adding websites to your profile is a no-brainer.

TNX-Points

As I mentioned before the site runs on something called TNX-Points. These points can be purchased directly from TNX or from a TNX member. You can also sell back TNX-Points to TNX itself for about 50% (or more) of the cost of buying them (the price for the buyer depends on how many links he orders, I will cover this later on in the article). This may seem bad at first but it makes the secondary market for TNX-Points into a great way to make money. If TNX is selling 1K points for $1 you can likely sell yours for $0.90 per 1K to another member rather than just selling them back to TNX for $0.50 per 1K TNX-Points.

TNX does have a minimum payout of $5 on re-purchased points but that should not be a major issue for most publishers.

What does it cost an advertiser to buy links? If purchasing strictly based on Page Rank and not Yahoo backlinks it breaks down as follows:

    20,000 TNX-Points gets you:

  • 20,000 different PR0 pages from different websites
  • 400 different PR1 pages from different websites
  • 200 different PR2 pages from different websites
  • 100 different PR3 pages from different websites
  • 40 different PR4 pages from different websites
  • 20 different PR5 pages from different websites

Let me clue you in on a little secret here. Most sites that have a high Google Page Rank will also have a high number of Yahoo backlinks, so the seller may get much more, depending on the parameters of his site. You can likely not even bother with Yahoo backlinks when creating a campaign. There are some exceptions to this rule so your mileage may vary. I also do not know if setting the Yahoo backlinks at the lowest setting will prevent sites with more Yahoo backlinks from getting your ad if they have the proper PR and niche.

OK, so now we know what a publisher pays, what does the webmaster get? According to TNX their commission is just 12.5% from each party involved in the transaction. Since I have yet to sell any links I can not give you any more information than that. Instead I will go out on a limb and say that if an advertiser spent 10K TNX-Points buying links from you 1,250 of those points would go to TNX and 8,750 would go to you. It will then be up to you to sell those points to TNX or another member to get your money.

At this point you should be doing some math in your head and thinking, "wait a minute. If I pay $1 for 1K TNX-points and the publisher only sees 875 of those points once I spend them and he can only cash them in for $0.44 didn't TNX make more than 12.5% off of the transaction? It looks like they made 66% off of the deal!" But price of TNX-Points for advertisers may vary: SEO companies that buy $250 worth of links are buying them for exactly the same price TNX publishers sell them to TNX. Wholesale discounts are activated for payments of $50 and above. So the maximum price Price-Per-Point is mostly for those people trying the service for the first time and depositing less than $50. Don't forget, about half of all TNX comission go towards refferal fees.

Affiliate system

TNX also offers an affiliate system and unlike other programs from other link sellers their program does not pay a flat fee nor only allow you to accumulate money for a short expanse of time. Oh no, as long as you remain active in the system you will earn 10% of the TNX-Points of members who sign up under you.

My personal opinion

Now that I have provided enough information to explain to you what TNX is I'm going to take a minute and give you my personal opinion of the service.

Overall I like the service. Getting your money out of the system is not as clear cut as in other systems but you also do not have to give away 50% of the money you earn to the middle man. You also have direct control over what links appear on your site via the publisher control panel.

For advertisers this service is extremely good. All you have to do is follow a few simple steps and TNX will do the rest to send your text link to thousands of sites. Because rates are determined solely on PR, Yahoo backlinks and niche of the website, you do not need to worry about being charged different rates by different publishers.

Another point that many people may miss out on is that if you are both a buyer and seller of links you can use your incoming TNX-Points to pay for your own linking campaigns. This allows you to avoid taxation on income earned through this program simply because you never convert your points into cash.

    Good

  • Simple interface
  • Uniform pricing
  • Solid advertiser and publisher moderating
  • Never-ending affiliate income
  • Uses PHP or Perl
  • You can cache ads localy to improve performance
    Bad

  • Lack of English language sites
  • You have to work the TNX-Point reselling system to maximize your income
  • Moderation of ad campaigns by a live person slows down approval process
  • Does not use a standard WordPress plugin but instead has you add a large chunk of code somewhere on your site.

Sell links on every page of your site to thousands of advertisers!

Games September 27th, 2007 by Stephen

Brain Age 1Nintendo's popular Brain Age game is popping up in some very unlikely places. Hair salons, RV shows and shopping malls may not be places where you would expect to find gamers kicking back with a DS in hand. You might instead expect to find the non-gamers of the world such as moms and grandparents in these places. Well the times they are a changing and Nintendo's new Brain Ageâ„¢ 2: More Training in Minutes a Day game for the DSâ„¢ is proving the point.

"Many different people are sampling and playing Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day, including some people you might not expect to be trying video games," says George Harrison, Nintendo of America's senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications. "The title draws people in with its engaging game play, so this summer we're giving all kinds of people a chance to energize and sharpen their brains while demonstrating that everyone's a gamer."

Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day contains a collection of 15 fun, challenging exercises to get users' brains pumping. Tasks in memory, math, reading and even music challenge users to complete them as quickly – and as accurately – as possible. Combined, global sales of Brain Age™: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day and Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day already have topped 14 million and still are increasing. Between now and January, Nintendo will showcase Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day in a variety of expected – and some unexpected – locations:

  • A 50-City Mall Experience: Between now and Jan. 8, Brain Age 2 will be part of a 50-city nationwide mall game-play experience. Visitors can train their brains and check out all the latest Nintendo games. To find a location near you, visit the Nintendo Mall Tour website.

  • Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk Events: As part of this nationwide event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's care, support and research, Nintendo is sponsoring booths at Memory Walk events in Chicago, Austin, New York, Washington and Los Angeles. Participants and visitors can sample Brain Age 2 and learn how to keep their minds active.

  • A Hair Salon (yes, a hair salon): In honor of National Self-Improvement Month, Nintendo has sent Nintendo DS systems and copies of Brain Age 2 to the new Nelson J Salon in Beverly Hills, Calif. During September, visitors to the salon will have the chance to freshen up the insides of their heads while stylists coif their tresses.

  • Nintendo Street Team Appearances: Members of the Nintendo Street Team will fan out across the country to show off Brain Age 2 at a variety of major landmarks and expanded-audience events like home shows and fitness expos, including the Atlanta Home Show (Sept. 28-30) and the Long Island Fall Home Show (Sept. 28-30).

Brain Age 2Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day is rated E for Everyone. For more information about Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day, visit BrainAge dot com.

You have to admit that it seems kind of funny to see a bunch of older folks sitting around playing games on a DS. Most gamers are assumed to be kids and young males in college. All that is changing. If Nintendo has proved one thing it is that gamers come in all shapes, sizes and ages. Unlike the "traditional" view of making your games for the hardcore gamer Nintendo has broken out of the box and instead follows the, "if you make it they will come" mantra.

Nintendo stock is doing super well right now and the Wii and DS are outselling all the other consoles on the market. Think about that for a minute. The DS, which has been out for several years, is still a top seller in the video game market! Add in the Wii that is still sold out in most sotres and it is clear that Nintendo knows what it is doing.




Games September 26th, 2007 by Stephen

Metroid Prime 3 case modThe professional modders over at Morpheon Mods have done it again. This time they have created the ultimate fusion of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and the Wii. They have even modded a Wii-Remote and Nunchuk to enhance your experience.

Not only is this case mod amazing but the guys at Morpheon Mods are also 15% of the sale price to the non profit organization Child's Play. Child's Play enables the gamer community to make a positive difference in the lives of children and young adults, primarily through donations of toys and games to childrens' hospitals around the world as well as funding pediatric health research.

So not only can you get an amazing custom Wii for yourself but you will also be helping out a good cause.

The Wii stand has a concealed battery changer for recharging after a long day of Metroid! Two rechargeable AA's are included. The opposite side holsters the Wii Remote to carry on the overall look of Samus's Varia suit.

From the auction:

This has the most elaborate electrical mods of any I have done so far. Specific yellow-green LEDs were installed in the faceplate and base to closely match the color and look of her illuminated visor and shoulder lights. Each LED was sanded, shaped and placed to carefully maintain a dramatic yet subtle look. The Metroid logo is backlit by an array of six ice white LEDs embedded in a sanded acrylic disk. This disperses the light evenly to give the entire logo a halo of emanating white light.. The Wii Remote was modified with a custom internal controller board and a plasma orange LED. This controller board slowly fades the LED in and out much like the lighted effects on her canon. Finally, the four player indicator lights at the bottom of the Wii Remote were also changed from blue to green. In total 15 LED's were used and, as always, since these are "always-on" LED's the voltage was calibrated so as not to be either overbearing
or too dim.

Metroid Prime 3 case mod for wii




Internet September 25th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

I had to jump on...

Don

If I find a better picture I will update.

Nintendo and video games and Wii September 25th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

No your eyes are not deceiving you that is indeed a NASCAR car with the Wii logo on it.

Wii NASCAR

NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Greg Biffle and his No. 16 Wii Ford Fusion race in the Sept. 23, 2007, Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del. Biffle finished second in the race, just a fraction of a second behind winner Carl Edwards.

The Wii car

NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Greg Biffle and his No. 16 Wii Ford Fusion speed across the finish line a fraction of a second behind winner Carl Edwards. Biffle finished second in the Sept. 23, 2007, Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del.

Wii Sports at NASCAR

Nintendo sweepstakes winner Julie Vineyard, 39, of Arnoldsburg, W.Va., left, plays Wii Sports against NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Greg Biffle prior to the Sept. 23, 2007, Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del. Vineyard is a huge fan of Nintendo, NASCAR and Biffle, who finished second in the race.

Who says girls don't play video games? Obviously Julie Vinyard plays video games and likes NASCAR.

I'm going to guess that they are playing Wii Sports: Tennis.

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