Category Archives: Writing

Predict Baby Eye Colour in Decoded Pregnancy

My first Decoded Pregnancy article was published a day after they launched into cyberspace.

What Eye Color Will My Baby Have? Math For Pregnancy Prediction” covers the odds for your baby’s eye colour. That, of course, depends on the parents as well as the luck of genetic inheritance.

Can Genetics and Math Predict Baby Eye Colour?

"Simple Baby Eye Color Predictor" : image by Mike DeHaan

“Simple Baby Eye Color Predictor” : image by Mike DeHaan

My expertise is with the math for a “baby eye colour predictor”, but the genetics portion is fairly simple research.

I was amazed at how many people seem to be searching for ways to predict different characteristics about their yet-to-be-born infants. Maybe there are a few more articles in the works for those topics.

Publicity for Baby Eye Colour Prediction

As always, I publicize this article with a Canadian twist in DeHaan Services. “Predicting Baby Eye Colour during Pregnancy” adds some pointers for Canadian women looking for non-medical support from a trained professional.

As well, in my Blog of Writing, “Preview of Three Pregnancy Predictors“, my clear-eyed writing tip explains how the word “three” was what I intended, and why the article only discusses predicting baby eye colour during pregnancy.

(Updated June 22, 2013): Just as an experiment with this WordPress site, I’ve applied “full justification” to all the text of this article See “A Weebly Tip to Justify Text in an Online Blog” for more details about how to justify text in online articles.

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Toronto Casino Consultation Links and Background

To paraphrase a commercial, “I don’t often add an article on this site, but when I do, I think it’s an important topic”.

In January of 2013, an important topic for the Canadian city of Toronto is whether to allow the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Coporation (OLG) to build a casino in downtown Toronto.

Good or Bad Idea: a Casino in Toronto?

"Toronto Skyline from Billy Bishop Airport" image by beachdigital (George Socka)

“Toronto Skyline from Billy Bishop Airport” image by beachdigital (George Socka)

My latest DeHaan Services post, “OLG Proposal and Links to Toronto Casino Consultation“, provides links to the background documents, my comments on some of that information, and the extremely useful link to the online feedback page.

As a bonus, it even lists the dates for public consultation meetings on the subject of the proposed Toronto casino.

As always, my articles are publicized in my Xanga blog (“Background for the Toronto Casino Proposal“) as well as with a writing tip in my Blog of Writing (“How to Respond in the Toronto Casino Consultation“).

The Math Making a Business Case out of the Casino Proposal

(Added Jan. 20, 2012): My Decoded Science article, “A Sample Case Study of Math for a Casino Business Proposal“, uses simple mathematics and spreadsheets to analyze part of the OLG proposal for a casino in Toronto.

The main focus is on the “hosting fee” which OLG pays to every municipality where they have a gaming facility, such as slot machines or table games.

Toronto published a report about the bid, which included a range of possible hosting fees. My article grew from reviewing the official report and the background data. I pre-publicized my Decoded Science article in “Preview of Math for the Toronto Casino Proposal“. It was a pre-publication preview because it included my original artwork: the spreadsheets showing the hosting fee and other calculations discussed in the text of the main article.

This is an important civic issue about the role of gambling in an urban setting; whether it constitutes a regressive tax on gambling addicts or merely an entertainment activity for discretionary spending; and how to examine a business promise for feasibility and consistency.


2011 MCC Quilt Auction at Black Creek Pioneer Village is a Toronto Event

The New Black Creek Pioneer Village Relief Sale Web Site has Opened

Please head for the official site of the Ontario Toronto Mennonite Festival (Black Creek Pioneer Village Relief Sale).

This Event was a Success on Sept. 17, 2011

My DeHaan Services blog includes the category, “Toronto Events”.  See you next year!

2011 MCC Quilt Auction and Relief Sale at Black Creek Pioneer Village, Toronto

My “The 2011 MCC Quilt Auction and Relief Sale Event at Black Creek Pioneer Village” article promotes this Toronto event. It is an important annual fundraiser for MCC, an international aid and relief organization.

"Hand-Made Ice Cream"

“Hand-Made Ice Cream”

My article also introduces MCC as well as Black Creek Pioneer Village. Tourists will find the directions, date and time, and cost information especially useful.

Although this Directory puts my article simply into the “article” category, it happens that I invest time and effort into the annual MCC Quilt Auction and Relief Sale at Black Creek Pioneer Village as a volunteer.


Introducing the DeHaan Fitness Site

My recent “DeHaan Fitness and Weight Control” blog on Blogspot was launched without being properly welcomed here in the DeHaan Directory. That’s a shameful admission in an age when all content must be promoted and cross-referenced to within a centimetre of its digital life.

Primary Purpose for the DeHaan Fitness and Weight Control Site

To quote myself, my primary goal for that site is to “help visitors with useful fitness and weight control information”.

Accidental Cross-Training Led to a Deliberate Article

My “Fortunately Running is Cross-Training for Cycling” relates how I, a runner, came to be involved in a 100Km (Americans should think “60 miles”) bicycle ride with a group of friends. My article includes comments and a tip on cross-training.

 

"Mike DeHaan as a Cyclist" by Roger Horst

"Mike DeHaan as a Cyclist" by Roger Horst

So I took advantage of that experience to write an article. It is important to freshen every web site with new content. Fitness is very relevant to that site, and personal experience as a participant can be a refreshingly helpful perspective when someone becomes too comfortable as a “coach” or “trainer”.


Two New Posts at Decoded Science: Curcumin and Fibonacci

The Claims for Curcumin

My “Brief Survey of the Health Benefits of Curcumin” was my first article in the Health section of Decoded Science. As noted in my Weebly article, “Curry Versus Cancer via the Curcumin in Turmeric“, this D.S. article was actually one of three based on research into turmeric, curcumin and related health claims.

"Powdered Turmeric Spice" by Cherrie Rhodes

"Powdered Turmeric Spice" by Cherrie Rhodes

The Fibonacci Sequence

I also followed up in the Mathematics section with “Introducing the Fibonacci Sequence“.

"Floral Fibonacci Number" by Mike DeHaan

"Floral Fibonacci Number" by Mike DeHaan

Fibonacci numbers arise in a variety of lifeforms, including flower petals. The Fibonacci sequence is a gateway to several important concepts in mathematics. This article explains how to calculate Fibonacci numbers.

I publicized this article in my DeHaan Services home site in the blog post “The Fibonacci Sequence at Decoded Science“.

Business Tips for Freelance Writing

Note that I use a variety of blog sites to publicize and provide backlinks to my freelance articles. The hope is that these links will drive traffic to the articles, whether by people who read and click through, or by giving more “search engine credibility” to the original article.


The Tesseract is Published at Decoded Science

Today my first article, “The Tesseract: Folding and Unfolding a Simple 4D Hypercube” was published on the new site, “Decoded Science“.

"Eight Cell Tesseract Image" by mmhydrazinen04

"Eight Cell Tesseract Image" by mmhydrazinen04

My article provides an easy introduction to the tesseract, with some fascinating visuals.

Freelancer Tips

This tip for freelance professionals comes in two parts.

First, look for new opportunities. Decoded Science was started by one of the Suite 101 writers who believed that there was a great business opportunity in starting a new, tightly-focused web site. This would be especially true since Google’s “Panda” (or “farmer”) change in late February had penalized Suite 101, among other sites.

Second, build good relationships with peers. Several of Decoded Science‘s first contributors are freelance writers who regularly submit articles to Suite 101. The invitation to collaborate in the new venture depended on being recognized in a previous setting.


The Launch of the “DeHaan Fitness and Weight Control Blog”

What is the “DeHaan Fitness and Weight Control Blog”?

My new blog, “DeHaan Fitness and Weight Control Blog” has been launched on Google’s Blogger platform.

When is it Available?

Today, May 6, 2011, witnessed the first blog post and the first draft of the “About” page.

What Does it Cover?

So far, so little. The three goals of that blog site are: to serve readers with interesting and useful information about fitness and weight control; to promote DeHaan Services, which customizes fitness and weight control programs; and to point to other articles on related subjects.

Why Mention the “DeHaan Fitness and Weight Control Blog” on this Business Page?

The business tip is: Add a blog to publicize your business. Try to build readership, even if it is outside of your primary business site.

Why not simply blog on the DeHaan Services site? First, because these articles should target two audiences: local Torontonians living in the Beach or Little India who may become in-person clients; as well as readers interested in the fitness and weight control topics. Second, to provide more links to more articles that I write elsewhere. Third, this site should also become monetized in the future, so even general readership should add to my revenue stream.

Remember that search engines reward intelligently constructed links, and also reward sites with topic-specific URLs. Setting up a blog for a specific niche can provide healthy marketing at no cost in cash and a little in time and effort.


Monetizing Blogs with Kontera

I recently signed up with, and began using, Kontera for in-text advertising in my Weebly Writing blog and on the DeHaan Services site.

Kontera serves context-smart advertising by creating a link on key words inside the text of an article. Each ad is shown with double-underline and a colour that may be adjusted to contrast with the site’s usual link colours. Kontera also supports fine-tuning: one may refuse ads from specific sites; one may turn off advertising in specific sections of the article or page; one may tune the density of the ads.

Comparing Kontera with AdSense

Kontera differs from Google’s AdSense advertising, since AdSense places advertising boxes outside the text, usually in the margins of the page. Kontera and AdSense may co-exist on one page, since they use different areas of the web page.

Like AdSense, Kontera does not support pornographic or spam sites. Unlike AdSense, however, Kontera is willing to work with any site regardless of how poorly it has been visited.

Notes on Kontera

As mentioned, one Kontera account can serve advertising on multiple sites. For the publisher to track performance by site, they give a different account/site number for each.

One surprise is that Kontera wants to know your site’s topic; by default, that topic will apply to all your sites. I have not asked them to support different topics for the different sites. For example, I chose the “health” topic for DeHaan Services because it anchors my fitness and weight control business. That means, however, that when I add a blog post about an article on the Sacred Ibis, Kontera will not feed ads into it.

Since this DeHaan Directory is a non-premium WordPress blog, I am not permitted to monetize it with Kontera…or with AdSense, or by any other means.

Mike DeHaan Credit (Action Sports International)

Mike DeHaan (Credit: Action Sports International, during a race)

Hint: Pursue the Opportunity

If you write and publish online, with control over your own headers and footers so you are can monetize this site, consider adding Kontera in-text advertising.


Speak Your Client’s Language

This simple title covers three topics.

Speak Your Client’s Business Language

Today I bid on a project at Freelancer. The project deals with writing copy for a web site for a particular type of business in a particular country. I fine-tuned my bid to highlight issues relevant to his business.

I could have used my standard bidding text for this type of work, but that did not deal with this client’s specific business. He may not have understood the jargon involved in copywriting for web sites. I hope he appreciates the effort to make my bid meaningful for his context.

Some people want to focus on deliverable items; others on time and schedule; yet others fixate on cost. Be sure you address the issues relevant to your client.

Speak Your Client’s Computer Language

Another client has sent two files by e-mail that my Microsoft PC could not read. He easily reformatted the “.pages” file into Word’s “.doc” format. However, I could not find a program to deal with a “.caf” file. After a cursory search, I told him it was a problem. He sent me a link to the official Apple site for a copy of Quicktime for Windows. After a download and installation, I now can listen to his audio message.

Let’s not argue about the fact that Google did not recommend Quicktime. I admit, I searched for a “conversion” program for “.caf” rather than a “player” program. From a business perspective, it is far better to support the client’s files than to complain about them.

Speak Your Client’s Human Language

This is either the most difficult or most obvious item in today’s list of tips. Obviously both of the above clients speak English.

But the first prospective customer is British as far as I know. I selected some words with that in mind. The other client is an American from the south, plain-spoken but well educated. I use a different “tone” as well as vocabulary when writing for people from these different countries.

Some nationalities expect more “polite” words, such as “if you please”. Others want to be brisk and brusque, so as to save time and maximize efficiency.


My First Affiliate Sale through Squidoo and Amazon

Here is a moment of shameless self-promotion and boasting. Some months ago I signed up with Squidoo to create web pages, or “Lenses” as Squidoo calls them. I now have exciting news:

“The DeHaan Lens for Coat Rack Stands” has racked up my first affiliate sale for an “Oak Finish Wood Hall Tree Coat Rack” via Amazon.

The Business Case to Write Squidoo Lenses

Squidoo is a pretty popular site. Its current Alexa rank is #186, meaning that Alexa figures it is the 186th-most-visited site on the Internet. It has a large number of categories, with many, many lenses in each.

Squidoo provides a “social blogging” site, with little editorial supervision. I suspect that they would disable lenses or disenfranchise members upon complaints of breaking rules. They do try to recognize high quality lenses. They encourage people to follow other members, to visit their lenses and vote for favourites.

Squidoo also provides serious tools to monetize one’s lenses. They actively promote adding Amazon modules, so a typical lens has many links to products featured in Amazon. Squidoo makes it clear that these affiliate sales, or pay-per-action (PPA) bring the most revenue to the author of a lens.

In addition, Squidoo shares revenue from other on-page advertising, both pay-per-clickthrough (PPC, where the visitor clicks through on an advertisement) and probably pay-per-1000-views  (PPM, where ‘M’ is the abbreviation for the Latin “Mille” or 1,000…should have been PPKV but the Great Squid isn’t used to the metric system) too.

Squidoo also offers other sales modules, including e-Bay auctions updated when the page is loaded.

In the past two months, I’ve earned just over 50 cents per month on 13 lenses, simply by being visited a bit. I had fallen into despair, thinking that I would never make a sale. Now, oh joy and rapture, someone has bought something.

As I understand Squidoo’s arrangement, they hold back any affiliate earnings for a month to ensure that the buyer does not cancel the purchase. So it may be late May or sometime in June before I see an actual dollar value assigned to this sale.

Of course Squidoo takes a cut of the commission from Amazon. That’s fine…I don’t think my self-branded blogs qualify for affiliate sales yet, based on low readership.

The Key Point for New Bloggers

The key point: Squidoo offers new bloggers a site with the instant opportunity to earn based on page views, click-throughs and  affiliate sales.

If only people would buy a Shaker coffee table or a 5-piece Mission style master bedroom set from my other lenses…