Author Archive > Ashwin

Freelance and Guest Writing Opportunities for those Tech Savvy [Blogging]

Ashwin » 10 March 2009 » In Blogging & SEO » Comments


If you are professional blogger who has taken the first hard step of setting up your own blog and seen some traffic in the process, the next thing to look for is freelance and guest writing opportunities to sharpen your writing skills and become popular in the process.

There are many places around the Web where you can look out for opportunities to write and get paid in the process (not always!!).  I have tried to identify a few of those in this post, where you can showcase your writing skills.

Write for Mashable


Mashable is a very popular blog focusing on Web 2.0 and Social networking news.  With about 196k subscribers, one can hardly question about the reach and popularity that Mashable can offer.

If you are Web savvy and have a lot to share with the world, then you can right away apply for a Guest writing position with Mashable.  Details on this can be found here -

But the major downside is that – the guest posts are unpaid for and it is really hard to get noticed if you are an amateur blogger.  But once you get an opportunity to write, then the other benefits (read Popularity) might overcome the monetary ones.

Write for NETTUTS


Are you into Web Design and Development?  Do you have handful of techniques to share with like minded folks?  Then NETTUTS must be your popular destination!

Their primary focus areas are – Web Design, CSS, jQuery, PHP, CMS (like Wordpress, Joomla) and Ruby on Rails.  So if you are proficient and interested in any of these technologies, then NETTUTS is a right bet.  Head right here for more details on the writing opportunities -

Some nice things about writing for NETTUTS are:

  • It is NOT an unpaid position.  For every post published, they pay you $150 via Paypal
  • If they see you a good fit for their web site, then you can become a regular writer and get paid for each of your posts
  • Being a popular site, NETTUTS can provide you the much needed exposure and possibly better traffic to your own blog

Write for

freelancewriting_2 is a technology website that focuses on reviewing applications and web sites that are COOL, FREE and USEFUL.  Also, you can find a lot of “How To” guides, if you are a regular reader of their blog.

If you feel this a good fit, you can apply for a writing position with  Follow the instructions on this page for more details on how to go about this -

Some points about writing for are:

  • This is a PAID position, where you will be paid about $25 per post via Paypal (again this is subjective)
  • Links to your website or blog at the end of each post, that can boost traffic
  • If you are an active writer for, you can qualify to be listed among their ‘Authors’
  • You get full editorial support for writing your articles

Write for Javalobby


If you are passionate about Java and have few things to share, then I would strongly suggest you to consider writing for Javalobby.

Word of caution – this is an UNPAID position!!  But getting to write here is very simple.  Just register yourself with Javalobby and start posting articles immediately.  Once you gain popularity with your posts, you can start receiving the much needed popularity and attention, which can be converted as traffic to your blog/website.

Other Freelance Writing Resources

There are a wealth of Freelance writing resources around the web.  Here are a few to mention: – Articles and Resources to get started with freelance writing – A place to showcase you writings, participate in writing contests and also enter the marketplace for professional writing – A jobs board to know about quality freelance job opportunites – Offers all kind of freelance writing opportunities – Write How to articles and get paid in the process

You can also refer to this post by Mashable for a resources on Freelancing -

Few words to Prospective Writers

  • Before you apply for a Writing position with a Blog or a Website, make sure to know about their niche, topics and popular posts.  A best way to do this, is to Subscribe for their blog/site via RSS and keep a vigil for sometime (say 1 or 2 weeks)
  • DO NOT just look for paid positions.  Unpaid positions may be less attractive, but the exposure and the resulting traffic might complement the compensation.  Also, once you establish yourself, then paid positions will be easy to come by
  • Almost all popular blogs/sites are on Twitter.  Make sure you follow them on Twitter, to get regular updates on Writing opportunities, contests and vacancies

Good luck to all writers out there and have fun writing!!

Photo Credit: Wendy Piersall

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Utilizing the Power of “Retweet”

Ashwin » 07 March 2009 » In Web 2.0 » Comments







Going through a post in Mashable, I noticed this cute little Twitter gadget that shows the number of times the item has been “tweeted”.

But another cool part is that – it offers you to “Retweet” it right away by giving a link just below the count.  If you are not a Twitter geek and wondering what “Retweet” is all about – you can find a nice post here on what is Retweet and how to do it.

I sometimes wonder, why the web version of “Twitter” doesn’t provide an option to Retweet?  It just allows you to Reply to a message or send a Direct message to someone on Twitter.

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If Serious about Blogging, learn how to Write better [Blogging]

Ashwin » 02 March 2009 » In Blogging & SEO » Comments


Blogging started as a hobby for few, to share their ideas and interest with the rest of the world.  Still highly popular as a social networking tool, Blogging has evolved into much more than just that.

With Blogs serving as tools for Marketing Products, Spreading Ideas and Disseminating Corporate Information, extreme care is warranted while writing them. 

Creating a Blog is a mundane task, but writing quality content in the right way, is of utmost importance.  Almost all of us who had been to school are fortunate with a basic level of English Writing.   But when it comes to Writing in a Blog – preciseness and brevity – plays a key role.  Nobody in this age are willing to read a blog post with quality content, that is about 5 pages long!

What Not to Write – A Book on Writing!!

What Not to Write: An A-to-Z of the Dos and Don’ts of Good English - I find this book amazing…

This book has just about 150 pages, but a wealth of information inside it.  It gives you a lot of do not’s and a few do’s.  It is NOT a Grammar book, but a practical guide on usage of words, with an emphasis on brevity.  In my opinion, this is a must read for everyone who aspires to be a professional blogger. 

This book is very much available on Amazon -

Wealth of Resources on Writing

Kiruba has been one of my favorite bloggers and he has a wealth of resources on writing, as a page in his blog.

I don’t wish to repeat what is already in there.  So here’s the link, for you to check it right away -

Though the very title of the page says “Resource on Technical Writing”, there are many links on general writing.  I would strongly recommend you to bookmark this page and use it as a reference.

So to sum things up, with the explosion of Web 2.0 and many people taking on to the Internet, quality content is what can make your blog stand out.  And this quality content can only be accentuated by quality writing, which is of utmost importance.  Happy Blogging!!

(Note: Feel free to add additional writing resources as comments to this post and I would be very happy with the enlightenment)

Photo Credit: dabawenya

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Blogging Plan at Thoughts Unlimited, going forward

Ashwin » 02 March 2009 » In General » Comments

Hello to all readers of Thoughts Unlimited. We had a wonderful time so far, but somehow I am unhappy about my blogging routine, schedule and topics.

I did some homework and came up with a plan on how take this blog forward. Following is what in store for all you readers, in the coming days…

I have decided on a few categories and almost all of my posts will belong to one of these:

  • Technology Tips and Resources
  • Blogging, SEO and Twitter Tips
  • Personal Finance Tips

There may be one-off posts on other topics but these will form the mainstream.

Also, the posts on these categories will be spread across the week - Technology Sunday/Monday, Blogging Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, Finance Friday and General Saturday…

I am working on redesigning my blog to make it simpler for you to navigate and access the contents.

All I need from you folks at this stage is constant and open feedback on all my experiments.  I would be glad to take in comments like “Your blog sucks as I can’t see my comments”.

I will work my best to provide you the best of contents from all around the web and improve your technology life.

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How to get out of your Personal Credit Crisis? [Personal Finance]

Ashwin » 01 March 2009 » In General, Personal Finance » Comments


Times are bad and you don’t need a blog post to tell that!

This blog post is all about suggestions for you, to lead a healthy and successful financial life.  By no means this is a comprehensive list, but sure to provide a start.


Beware of Credit Cards !!

Credit Cards are very useful and at the same time, highly misused tools in the financial world.  They are supposed to be used as alternatives to cash, to prevent you from carrying too much of them but not when there is NO cash.  Certain thumb rules of Credit Card usage are:

  • Never use Credit Cards when you are out of cash, unless absolutely necessary
  • Never, ever withdraw cash with your Credit Card.  It is one of the costliest credits you can ever get…
  • Always pay off the entire amount on your Monthly Credit Card Bill.  Defer payment only when it is absolutely impossible to pay it off
  • Be extra careful about revealing your Credit Card details on websites or over the phone.  Finally, you and only you will be responsible for any misuse and pay off
  • Never use Credit Cards for expenses that are more than 50% of your monthly earnings, unless absolutely necessary
  • Final word – Avoid Credit Card usage when possible !!

Follow the 1/3 Rule

It is not just about earning huge sums – it is all about what you do with it.  All of us have commitments and mandatory expenses.  Here is a simple rule on how to better manage your spending:

  • Use 1/3 of your monthly earnings for all your expenditure needs
  • Use 1/3 of your monthly earnings for all your investment needs
  • Use 1/3 of your monthly earnings for all your saving needs

I am sure this is good for a start and you can build on it as you move along.

Foreclose your Loans whenever possible

It is hardly possible for any of us, to live without loans.  Auto Loans and Home Loans are order of the day and you can rarely get out of this virtuous cycle.

Whenever you take a loan, clearly understand the foreclosure norms for that type of loan.  For example, if you plan to repay the entire loan in say 6 months of time, what would be charges levied on you.  And, whenever you have sufficient balance in your savings kitty, the first thing you should consider doing, is to get out of debt.

New Loans to Close existing Loans – A Strict NO NO!!

It may be tempting to go for fresh loans, to close some of your existing loans as you are tired of repaying them.  Avoid this deadly practice, as much as possible.  Sometimes, it may be fruitful if the rates of interest for the new loan are drastically less than the older one.  But many a times, you will end up losing more money than repaying the original loan.

Another similar catch, is to transfer credit card balances from Card A to Card B.  Again, there are lot of loopholes here and ultimately you might stand to lose more money.

If you definitely have to do any one of these, exercise extreme care !!

Maintain a Note of your Daily expenses

I know many of us have it as part of our New Year resolutions!!  But sadly, many of us don’t succeed in putting this into practice, throughout the year.

This primarily serves two purposes:

  • Getting a grip on where your hard earned money goes
  • Identifying some unnecessary expenditures towards the end of a month and work on avoiding them

Hope you found this post useful.  Feel free to add in additional points, as comments to this post.

Photo Credit:Andres Rueda

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Get your Blog Comments to Facebook via Comments Box [Blogging]

Ashwin » 20 February 2009 » In Web 2.0 » Comments

If you haven’t setup the Facebook Connect for your blog, here is one good reason to do so.  

Facebook has launched the social widget for Facebook Connect, the Comments Box. Using this, you Blog’s Facebook readers can comment on posts or other content, and these comments can be published in Facebook as a Feed.

It is pretty easy to setup the Comments Box on your blog or web site. For detailed instructions, you can read the Comments Box Wiki page.

This is a great way for the comments on your blog to get into the Facebook stream and thus help in sharing conversations.

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Google Software Construction Toolkit for your Cross-Platform build needs [Programming]

Ashwin » 14 February 2009 » In Programming » Comments


Google has released the Google Software Construction Toolkit for building applications across platforms.  Using this toolkit, you can use a single “makefile” shared between all platforms – Windows, Mac and Unix.

This toolkit is written in Python and uses the Open Source SCons build tool.  The toolkit is Open Source and can be used easily for building open source projects.  Also, support is provided for parallel builds on multiple platforms.

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Fast Forward – Its kinda StumbleUpon with the flavor of Amazon [Firefox add-ons]

Ashwin » 14 February 2009 » In Web 2.0 » Comments


Fast Forward is a Firefox add-on that provides recommendations on the similar web pages that are most visited by readers, who visited the current web page you are in.

As they claim on their add-on page:

It’s like Amazon recommendations for webpages. “People who viewed this page also viewed this next…”

At all times, the Fast Forward button (that comes up on your Firefox toolbar once installed) answers the question - “Where do people go after they view this page?”.  Unlike StumbleUpon where people give “thumbs up” to their favorite pages, Fast Forward passively collects information on the browsing patterns (of course with your consent at the setup time).

Following is the comparison with StumbleUpon, in their own terms:

Why use FastForward compared to StumbleUpon?
- Page Relevance - We give relevant results based on the page you are on, it isn’t something random.
- No Registration. We don’t ask for any personal information to use the service.
- Only 1 button - We only add 1 small FastForward button, not a toolbar.

Also, Fast Forward is supposed to work the best with News sites, Tech Blogs and Youtube, while providing recommendations.

Here is a snapshot on the recommendations provided, when I tried to view ReadWriteWeb:


It’s kinda accurate and provides some meaningful recommendations.  Also, if you choose to “Preload” recommendations during the first use, then the response time is pretty fast.

But, a couple of problem areas in my view are:

  • Privacy of Information as the tool passively collects data
  • A visit to a web page doesn’t mean it deserves a “thumbs up”.  But when it comes to about 500 page visits, then I think it is reasonable

If you like to try this, then grab it right away from the Firefox add-ons page -

Reviews on this product on the following sites:

TechCrunch, Search Engine Journal

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How to find your leaders on Twitter? [Twitter]

Ashwin » 12 February 2009 » In Web 2.0 » Comments

Much has been talked on getting more followers, retaining your followers and blah, blah, blah… But in this post, you will find ways to locate people on Twitter, who are worthy following.  I prefer to call them your Leaders (in a linguistic sense) on Twitter, whom you choose to follow!!  Because who you follow, determines what you gain out of Twitter.

Start with the “Twitter Power 150” list


Twitterrank is a service that ranks almost all twitter users, based on a few vital parameters.  Since this post is not about Twitterrank anyway, you can jump to their FAQ section on how this really works.

With inputs from Twitterrank and Dapper, Advertising Age came up with the list of top 150 Twitter Users.  They are ones with popular blogs, focusing on advertising and marketing.

You can access the Twitter Power 150 List here -

Here is a snapshot of the first 20 in the list and you must already see some big names there…


To go a step further, you can jump in to the Advertising Age Power 150 page here -

Here you can find the complete list of Power bloggers, their rankings on Google, Alexa etc. and links to their websites or blogs. 

I am sure most of them must be on Twitter and this is another way to find your Leaders on Twitter.

Digg through “Shorty Awards Finalists and Nominees”


Shorty Awards is all about recognizing the best content producers on Twitter, for the year 2008.  The finalists were shortlisted and the winners were chosen, purely on the votes given by their followers or readers.

To know more about the Awards, you can go right here -

On the Shorty Awards home page, you can find the list of finalists on a variety of categories.  Some categories to mention are – Advertising, Business, Education, Finance, Music, Politics, Tech, Travel etc.  This gives you an opportunity to choose people from the categories you are interested in.

Also, on choosing a particular category say Tech, you can browse through all nominees under this category.  So, here you have more people to follow!

Find those your Leaders follow

You chose the person, whom you are following on Twitter.  Why not use his Leaders list, to find suitable candidates for you to follow?  Nevertheless, the similarity of interests between you and your leader, must hold good for your leader and those he/she follows.

For instance, I chose to follow Kevin Rose (@kevinrose) on Twitter.  Kevin Rose follows about 140+ people on Twitter, some of whom can be my potential Leaders with similar interests!!

Peek at your RSS Subscriptions


You put in all your valuable effort to choose which Blogs/Websites to follow on RSS Readers.  Why not utilize this effort to choose whom to follow on Twitter?

I am pretty sure that many of the popular Bloggers are currently on Twitter.  And somehow I feel, those who post quality content on their Blogs, can repeat it on Twitter.

So make sure that you follow most of them on Twitter, whose posts you read or whose moves you watch!!

Hope you found this post useful!!  Feel free to add additional thoughts on this subject as comments.  I may choose to add them as updates to my post!!

Also, you can follow me on Twitter here –

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Posting to Twitter by E-Mail [Twitter]

Ashwin » 11 February 2009 » In Web 2.0 » Comments

Is Twitter blocked by your Organization, terming it as a ‘Social Networking Site’ or you don’t have Internet access at all?  Can’t you live without your Twitter update?  Don’t worry.  There’s respite in sight.


TwitterMail is a service that can send tweets from your Twitter account, if you send them an e-mail. 

To set things up, you provide your Twitter credentials to TwitterMail and they give you an unique e-mail address.  All your further Tweets can be sent to this “e-mail” and they will be posted on Twitter.


You can choose to:

  • Send the Body (or) Subject (or) both Subject & Body as the Tweet message
  • Mail you when someone replies back (For this you need to provide your real e-mail address on setup)

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