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To Enter or Not to Enter Writing Contests (writing contests) If you are a freelance writer, it is because you love to write. Why not put those abilities to use and enter a writing contest? You have nothing to loose and a lot to gain. You can find writing contests by simply searching the Internet. Writing groups and message boards may also have listing for these contests. No matter what you writing genre maybe poetry, fiction, non fiction, there is a contest out there for you. Read about them and choose which ones are right for you. It is not necessarily about winning or loosing but about the experience and knowledge that you gain to get there. Whether you win or not there are still valuable things that can be learned or gained by entering into contests. Entering writing contests will help you hone the skills that you have. Try something new, you may choose to write in a niche that you normally wouldn?t. You get constructive criticism from someone new. Someone that doesn?t have to worry about hurting your feelings and that is unbiased can be a wonderful asset to your career. The feedback you receive can be invaluable to you. It will get your name out there and give you a place to showcase your work. Depending on how good your story, if you make it to the next round your writings could be in front of editors and agents. This feedback and criticism is even more important than the first. Do not your eggs all in one basket. Enter a couple contests to get multiple feedback sources. Not every editor or agent is going to agree. By entering multiple contests and find common points about your writing that need perfecting you will be able to concentrate on a general consensus about your abilities. There are some downsides to entering writing contests, too. Chances are that a simple contest is not going to launch your career into star status. Do your research just as if you were going to write an article about contests. For many contests you give up your rights to your entry whether it wins or not. You need to decide whether or not you are willing to give up all rights to your story. If you win it is not a big deal, but if you loose your giving your work away. Are you willing to do this? Research the contest. You can search the Internet for reports or opinions on contests run by the company. You can find valuable information on if the contest is legitimate, if entering has had any effect of previous entrant?s careers, and if it is really worth it in the long run. The bigger and well-established companies will give credibility to your work if you win. But the bigger and more well know the companies are will also bring in tougher competition with well know authors. Some companies offer contests as a disguise. Yes they will give away prizes and declare winners but their main goal with the contest is advertising. It can be in the form of offering you to buy obscure book featuring your contest submission. Sometimes it is an editing company that offers a discount for its services or a company that will offer you discounts on writing classes. A writing contest is just a possible stepping stone. Whether it helps you or not is the unknown, but it definitely won?t hurt you. It may help you reach the next level of your career. You and only you will be able to make the decision on whether or not writing contests are a good move for your career.

Evaluating your Free Offers of Stuff Getting free stuff can be a lot of fun, and for many people, the hunt for freebies is as fun as actually enjoying the free products themselves. There is a dark side to freebie offers, however. Many scam artists have come to realize that pretending to offer free things is a great way to trick people into handing over sensitive information about them than can be used in identity theft operations or even bilk them out of cold, hard cash. For that reason, it is important to make sure you know how to stay out there when you?re looking for free offers. There are some things you can do to make sure you freebie hunting only brings you good times ? these common sense rules are a great place to start. You?ve heard it a million times before ? if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The reason you have heard it so many times is that it almost holds water. Think about the reason that companies give away free things. They?re usually not doing it for charity. They want you try to their products in the hope that you will come back to them as a paying customer in the future, and they?re doing it to build good will for their company over all. They?re definitely not doing it go broke. So consider whether the freebie offers you come across make sense according to these criteria. Does it make sense that a company will give you a free bag of their new flavor of chips or a trial size jar of their new face cream? Sure it does, because if you like it, you may buy these products in the future. Does it make sense that a company will give you an all expenses paid, two-week first class trip to Bali for you and ten of your friends? Not so much. Don?t waste your time on these too good to be true freebies ? they may end up costing your big time in the long run. By the same token, the more outlandish an offer sounds, the more you have to look for the small print. Sure, maybe the hotel chain is willing to give you a free weekend in their beachfront hotel. The small print in the offer might say that you have to agree to spend 10 hours a day at a sales seminar or that the free weekend is yours after you pay for a two week stay. One particular airline ran an offer for a free coach class plane ticket from New York to London. The small print said you had to buy two, full price first class tickets on that same route before you could get the free on ? at a cost of around $8,000 per ticket. Before you jump, make sure you get all of the details. Freebie offers that actually require you to shell out some money are very tricky. Sometimes they are legitimate ? after all, if you are accustomed to paying full price first class airfare, a free coach class ticket can be a real score. But many times, when you have to pay to get something for free, that is a red flag that a scammer is at work. You should never send money, even for postage, to a company that you don?t know. Also, keep an eye on the costs for things like postage even if you do know the company name. If they?re asking for $50 postage to send you a free magazine, then you know something is up. Lastly, beware giving out too much personal information. There?s no reason a company giving away free shampoo needs your bank account details. Protect your private info and if you?re unsure, move on to the next freebie offer.

Great Sources for Free Games on the Internet The Internet is a great source for games, especially of course computer games. Computer games are the biggest hit since they are invented and every year thousands of PC games flood the market. Some of the computer games actually are so expensive that many parents cannot afford them for their children and are looking for alternatives that their children can play. There are actually a vast number of games that are available for free through the Internet and in some cases even as a CD. Freeware, shareware, trial products and even full version of prototypes are available on the Internet. Many pages on the Internet actually specialize in offering freeware or shareware programs. Hobbyist programmers usually write shareware and freeware programs and other programmers, who want to give something back to the community. These programs are not always working one hundred percent and most often there is also no real support for all the programs, but they are free. Freeware in general is a free program that has a copyright. The program is made available free for use, but it cannot be changed or used for development by other developers. Shareware programs are often only free for certain periods of time. After that period the user has to pay for using the software. Shareware programs are a marketing method of big computer firms. It is the try before you buy strategy that is used here. Some companies will offer the full version of the program for 30 days for trial, while others offer a version of the program with reduced functions to give the user a taste and to lure the user to buy the product if he wants to use the rest of the functions. Even thougfh both freeware and shareware are often callled free software, free software is something completely different. Free osftware are programs that are available for free, but generally are also avialble for others to study the code, change and modify or even use the code as a base for their development. In any way, these three major types of free game software can be found on the Internet along with such things as online games. Some of the games can be plauyed online. Evne though the userm ight not own the software, the games can be played for free anytime. The only thing that most of those free onlin game pages require is to sign up to their page for free. For younger hcildren, many of the educational sites offer free preschool and early childhood computer games, that teach children, the shapes, colors, vocabulary, counting and much more. With parental sucpervision such activities are safe for children and can enhance the learning process. Other pages offer free games for older chidlren and adults. While many parents do not constantly check on their chidlren while they are on the itnernet, it is important to keep up to date on their youngsters Internet activites. Many pages are completely safe, but sometimes advertisement to found the free software can be dangerous for young, innocent eyes. For adults, there are even more choices in free games. There are whole communities of gamers, that are connected throughout the world for vieosgaming sessions. Anything form cardgames to wargames can be played for free in some of those communities. All one needs might be a free membership sign up to the web page or the community. All of these sources for games can be found easily by typing the words freeware, shareware, online games into any of the major search engines. But as always, do it with cuation, conisdering the many viruses and spyware programs that aare out there in cyberspace.

Software copyright act The Software Copyright Act was a Great Step in the Right Direction The software copyright act, which is actually called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act has given software developers a little more power when it comes to protecting their works. If you've bought software in the last few years I'm sure you've noticed some of the changes that have been made in the software buying process. If not, then you really should wake up and take note. Some of the more noteworthy achievements of this act are the following: 1) It is now a crime to go around anti-piracy measures in software. 2) It is no longer legal to make, sale, or give away software or devices that were invented for the purpose of cracking codes enabling the illegal copying of software. 3) Limits the liability that ISPs (as far as copyright infringement violations) when information is transmitted online. The problem isn't the people want to be bad or do something wrong. Most of us by nature want to do the right thing. The problem lies in educating people to the fact that it really is stealing when you bootleg, pirate, illegally download, or otherwise acquire copies of software that you didn't pay for. It's one of those 'white lie' types of crimes for most people and they don't really see how it will hurt anyone for them to copy a game that their brother, cousin, uncle, or friend has. Someone paid for it after all. The problem is that at $50 plus being the average price for computer games and simple software if 10 million people are doing it, the numbers are staggering and they add up quickly. The software copyright act sought to protect businesses from losing money this way. The software copyright act was the worldwide response to a growing problem. This problem was so widespread with illegal downloading of music that lawsuits and massive commercial ad campaigns were initiated in order to curtail illegal downloading activities when it comes to music. It seems to be working to some degree. Fewer people are illegally downloading music; the downside is that these people aren't buying as much music either. The reason is because they are no longer being exposed to the wide variety of music and artists that they were getting freely when downloading music each night at no cost. This equals lower record sales and is becoming a problem of lower movie sales and software sales as well. People aren't trying new games like they could before the software copyright act by going to LAN parties and everyone sharing a copy to play, now everyone has to own a copy before they can play. While this may be great for the companies that make a few (a minimal few at best) extra sales on the games for the sake of a great party but for the most part, it is costing them the extra money that could be made by 10 people finding they liked the game enough to go out and buy it so they could play it whenever (and the next group of 10 they will introduce the game to) Gamers are a funny group and software copyright act or no, they are going to stick with the software and games that serve them best. The software copyright act was created in order to protect the rights of those writing and developing computer software. We want those who fill our lives with fun games, useful tools, and great ways to connect to friends and family to continue providing these great services and to get paid for the ones they've already provided. The software copyright act is one giant step in the right direction as far as I'm concerned.