Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Free Content Online? CC License Explained

Looking for free downloadable content you can use for your blog, website, book promotional materials, etc.? Have you found media (music, images, etc.) that has a Creative Commons (CC) license? Did you know what it meant? Was it confusing? If so, I'd like to help shed some light on this useful (and generous) niche of downloadable materials.

From their website:
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.
Our free, easy-to-use copyright licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choice. CC licenses let you easily change your copyright terms from the default of “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.”
Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. They work alongside copyright and enable you to modify your copyright terms to best suit your needs.

There are a variety of CC licenses available for an artist/creator to assign to their work. They vary in complexity and identify how the work can be used, shared, and modified by others. The common thread, regardless of the conditions, is that the user credits the creator for proper use of their work. A CC license is different than public domain--don't confuse the two. And do not misinterpret a CC license as a free pass to use the material however you like.

So how can you tell a photo or composition has a CC license? Look for a symbol, like, or similar to, this (there are several varieties, depending on the specific use permissions):


So now you may be thinking "Okay smart-ass, you've told me what it is, but how the heck do I find CC stuff to use?" Pretty much the same way you search for anything else on the internet.  However, there are some very useful free search tools that help:
  • CCFinder 2013 by Abelssoft is a free downloadable tool that I use. It's easy to install and operate, has configurable settings, and provides information on the types of CC licenses on the pictures you find.  Two thumbs up!
And I'd be remiss if I didn't plug my favorite CC music website Incompetech, by the incomparable Kevin McLeod, one of the many talented musicians providing royalty-free music on the internet.

So what can you do with CC content?  Here's an example of just one of the many ways CC-licensed content can be used:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SD4Z4vlvGdo&feature=plcp

And just in case it's not obvious, I blog not just because it's fun to share these tidbits of information with you, but also because I wrote a book I'd like you to read. It's an indie epic fantasy called Crimson & Cream, and I'd be delighted if you took a look at it. If you promise to give it a fair review, I'll even send you a copy for free (just contact me). 


March 2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title March 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : Free Content Online? CC License Explained
link : Free Content Online? CC License Explained

Read Also


March 2013

Looking for free downloadable content you can use for your blog, website, book promotional materials, etc.? Have you found media (music, images, etc.) that has a Creative Commons (CC) license? Did you know what it meant? Was it confusing? If so, I'd like to help shed some light on this useful (and generous) niche of downloadable materials.

From their website:

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.
Our free, easy-to-use copyright licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choice. CC licenses let you easily change your copyright terms from the default of “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.”
Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. They work alongside copyright and enable you to modify your copyright terms to best suit your needs.

There are a variety of CC licenses available for an artist/creator to assign to their work. They vary in complexity and identify how the work can be used, shared, and modified by others. The common thread, regardless of the conditions, is that the user credits the creator for proper use of their work. A CC license is different than public domain--don't confuse the two. And do not misinterpret a CC license as a free pass to use the material however you like.

So how can you tell a photo or composition has a CC license? Look for a symbol, like, or similar to, this (there are several varieties, depending on the specific use permissions):


So now you may be thinking "Okay smart-ass, you've told me what it is, but how the heck do I find CC stuff to use?" Pretty much the same way you search for anything else on the internet.  However, there are some very useful free search tools that help:
  • CCFinder 2013 by Abelssoft is a free downloadable tool that I use. It's easy to install and operate, has configurable settings, and provides information on the types of CC licenses on the pictures you find.  Two thumbs up!
And I'd be remiss if I didn't plug my favorite CC music website Incompetech, by the incomparable Kevin McLeod, one of the many talented musicians providing royalty-free music on the internet.

So what can you do with CC content?  Here's an example of just one of the many ways CC-licensed content can be used:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SD4Z4vlvGdo&feature=plcp

And just in case it's not obvious, I blog not just because it's fun to share these tidbits of information with you, but also because I wrote a book I'd like you to read. It's an indie epic fantasy called Crimson & Cream, and I'd be delighted if you took a look at it. If you promise to give it a fair review, I'll even send you a copy for free (just contact me). 


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I Feel Stupid! (Google Play sells eBooks?)

So, I'm a big Google user--Blogger, GMail, Sites, Calender, Drive, Player, G+, Music, Book store . . . wait, what?  Books on Google Play?

I can't believe I haven't investigated Google's book store page sooner--hence my feeling stupid.  Again, like most of my posts, if you already know all about Books on Google Play (formerly the Android Market, not to be confused with the infamous Google Books, though it appears they are curiously connected) you might as well check back next week.  But if, like me, you've somehow been oblivious to this Google endeavor, more info lies within.

From Google's own support page, you can learn that Google Play is yet another way to buy books online.  What's a little different is that Google Play stores your ebooks in the cloud, so you can read them (and shop for more!) from just about any 21st century device (i.e., PC, phone, tablet, eReader) that connects to the Internet.  Google Play currently touts over 5 million books to choose from and unlimited cloud storage.

However, if you plan to (or enjoy the option to) read offline on your computer or eReader, ebooks are also available in ePub and PDF formats.  For some books, only the PDF  is available.  Now, remember, I'm not trying to convince you to buy your books on Google and store them in the cloud (that's their job, after all).  I just wanted to make you aware of yet another avenue on which to sell your self-published works.

I just enrolled in the Google Books Partner Program today, so I can't give you a link to the Crimson & Cream page (or my opinion of it) till next week.  Enrolling was relatively quick and painless (and free, of course).  The Beginner's Guide on the Google support site has all the gory details and legalities.

Instead of paraphrasing the official Google text, I'll just link to the information most indie authors are interested in.  Then you can get the real deal straight from the horses mouth (cliché fiesta!):  How selling books on Google Play works

Before I clumsily segue into my Pinterest non sequitur, I'd like to mention Crimson & Cream was reviewed on Readers' Favorite today.  Fortunately, the generous review helped me feel a little less stupid for the whole Google Play thing.



Source: google.com via CM on Pinterest
March 2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title March 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : I Feel Stupid! (Google Play sells eBooks?)
link : I Feel Stupid! (Google Play sells eBooks?)

Read Also


March 2013

So, I'm a big Google user--Blogger, GMail, Sites, Calender, Drive, Player, G+, Music, Book store . . . wait, what?  Books on Google Play?

I can't believe I haven't investigated Google's book store page sooner--hence my feeling stupid.  Again, like most of my posts, if you already know all about Books on Google Play (formerly the Android Market, not to be confused with the infamous Google Books, though it appears they are curiously connected) you might as well check back next week.  But if, like me, you've somehow been oblivious to this Google endeavor, more info lies within.

From Google's own support page, you can learn that Google Play is yet another way to buy books online.  What's a little different is that Google Play stores your ebooks in the cloud, so you can read them (and shop for more!) from just about any 21st century device (i.e., PC, phone, tablet, eReader) that connects to the Internet.  Google Play currently touts over 5 million books to choose from and unlimited cloud storage.

However, if you plan to (or enjoy the option to) read offline on your computer or eReader, ebooks are also available in ePub and PDF formats.  For some books, only the PDF  is available.  Now, remember, I'm not trying to convince you to buy your books on Google and store them in the cloud (that's their job, after all).  I just wanted to make you aware of yet another avenue on which to sell your self-published works.

I just enrolled in the Google Books Partner Program today, so I can't give you a link to the Crimson & Cream page (or my opinion of it) till next week.  Enrolling was relatively quick and painless (and free, of course).  The Beginner's Guide on the Google support site has all the gory details and legalities.

Instead of paraphrasing the official Google text, I'll just link to the information most indie authors are interested in.  Then you can get the real deal straight from the horses mouth (cliché fiesta!):  How selling books on Google Play works

Before I clumsily segue into my Pinterest non sequitur, I'd like to mention Crimson & Cream was reviewed on Readers' Favorite today.  Fortunately, the generous review helped me feel a little less stupid for the whole Google Play thing.



Source: google.com via CM on Pinterest

Monday, March 11, 2013

Editing Software Everywhere, Savoir Faire!

In last week's post, I compared two online editing tools. Since then, I've learned a bit more on editing/grammar software and discovered the pool is quite full with a variety of options and capabilities. Because I'm in the process of self-editing Book II of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy, I've got editing on the brain. But before I continue, I want to throw out a few disclaimers and clarifications.

1.  I'm not endorsing any (or all) of these self-editing tools and am not suggesting they replace human editors, proofreaders, copy readers or copy editors.

2.  The basis of my blog is to provide insight to the indie author, do-it-yourself, self-publisher, who is looking to minimize costs (and maximize free resources), while still striving to produce a quality product.

3.  I'm not an expert at fiction writing or self-publishing, but I have edited hundreds of technical documents in my 20 years as an environmental engineer and am acutely aware of the damage that typos and confusing text can cause.

Personally, I feel an author of any type of document should polish it to the best of their ability before passing it off for another set of eyes to look at. Why? you ask. Isn't that the job of an editor, reviewer, proofreader, et al? Yes and no. If you're the type of person that wants to put their best foot forward, these tools may be valuable to you. If you have the luxury of paying someone else to fix mistakes you're not interested in fixing yourself, you've already spent too much time reading this blog. I'm not going to try to convince anyone of the value of self-editing--that could be a post unto itself. Rather, I'm trying to help those of you in the same boat as me. So, without further adieu (or curmudgeonly ranting), on to the good stuff.

The list below includes a variety of tools, from free online no-download tools to actual for-purchase PC software, and everything in-between. The for-purchase software versions are all available in free time-limited trial versions that you can explore before spending any cash, and some sites offer a variety of tools. I've tried to separate them into two general categories (free and pay), but again, a lot of them offer more than one option.

I didn't include AutoCrit and Pro Writing Aid, since they were given more detail in my last post. Also, don't forget that Word and WordPerfect have built-in tools that you should take advantage of. So excluding those, I've also discovered the following:

Free Online Tools (registration may be required and full suite of tools may cost money):
For Purchase software or web-integrated programs (free limited-time trails available):
Next week, I'll provide more details and some comparison of the free services, with more on the for-purchase tools later. Oh, and if you recog my obscure cartoon reference in the post's title and can tell me which classic animated series it's from, I'll e-mail you a free Crimson & Cream download code. That's all for now.



March 2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title March 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : Editing Software Everywhere, Savoir Faire!
link : Editing Software Everywhere, Savoir Faire!

Read Also


March 2013

In last week's post, I compared two online editing tools. Since then, I've learned a bit more on editing/grammar software and discovered the pool is quite full with a variety of options and capabilities. Because I'm in the process of self-editing Book II of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy, I've got editing on the brain. But before I continue, I want to throw out a few disclaimers and clarifications.

1.  I'm not endorsing any (or all) of these self-editing tools and am not suggesting they replace human editors, proofreaders, copy readers or copy editors.

2.  The basis of my blog is to provide insight to the indie author, do-it-yourself, self-publisher, who is looking to minimize costs (and maximize free resources), while still striving to produce a quality product.

3.  I'm not an expert at fiction writing or self-publishing, but I have edited hundreds of technical documents in my 20 years as an environmental engineer and am acutely aware of the damage that typos and confusing text can cause.

Personally, I feel an author of any type of document should polish it to the best of their ability before passing it off for another set of eyes to look at. Why? you ask. Isn't that the job of an editor, reviewer, proofreader, et al? Yes and no. If you're the type of person that wants to put their best foot forward, these tools may be valuable to you. If you have the luxury of paying someone else to fix mistakes you're not interested in fixing yourself, you've already spent too much time reading this blog. I'm not going to try to convince anyone of the value of self-editing--that could be a post unto itself. Rather, I'm trying to help those of you in the same boat as me. So, without further adieu (or curmudgeonly ranting), on to the good stuff.

The list below includes a variety of tools, from free online no-download tools to actual for-purchase PC software, and everything in-between. The for-purchase software versions are all available in free time-limited trial versions that you can explore before spending any cash, and some sites offer a variety of tools. I've tried to separate them into two general categories (free and pay), but again, a lot of them offer more than one option.

I didn't include AutoCrit and Pro Writing Aid, since they were given more detail in my last post. Also, don't forget that Word and WordPerfect have built-in tools that you should take advantage of. So excluding those, I've also discovered the following:

Free Online Tools (registration may be required and full suite of tools may cost money):

For Purchase software or web-integrated programs (free limited-time trails available):
Next week, I'll provide more details and some comparison of the free services, with more on the for-purchase tools later. Oh, and if you recog my obscure cartoon reference in the post's title and can tell me which classic animated series it's from, I'll e-mail you a free Crimson & Cream download code. That's all for now.



Monday, March 4, 2013

Online Editing Software: Pro Writing Aid vs. AutoCrit

Last August, I posted about my experience with AutoCrit Editing Wizard. Since then, a member of one of my Google+ writing communities recommended Pro Writing Aid, which is very similar to AutoCrit. Both tools allow you to paste a block of text and analyze it for a variety of potential problems. Both have free online versions and expanded subscription packages for purchase. This weekend, while editing Book Two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy, I gave them a side-by-side test drive using a chapter from this work-in-progress.

As you may recall, last year I signed up for AutoCrit's $77/year premium package. I compared Pro Writing Aid's free tools against the AutoCrit premium package, and discovered my $77 was probably not well spent. Don't get me wrong--I like AutoCrit. It has some excellent tools and I probably got my money's worth out of it a long time ago. However, the free version of Pro Writing Aid does virtually everything AutoCrit does, and more.

I'm not going to bore you with a side-by-side comparison, as many of the same features are available on both tools. This Pro Writing Aid page has a side-by-side comparison (remember--this is their own page, so account for some potential bias). As you can see, Pro Writing Aid has more features, especially for free. I know more is not always necessarily better, but when it comes to free, it's hard to beat. To be fair, there are a few features available on AutoCrit that aren't available on Pro Writing Aid (Homonym and Readability reports), but unless you cannot live without these AutoCrit-specific reports, Pro Writing Aid is hard to ignore.

Comparing the sentence variation tool each offers, Pro Writing Aid provides a similar, yet more detailed report than AutoCrit. I also found some report output variation between the two. For instance, although using my same block of text produced nearly identical overused words reports, the cliche reports were quite different. Analyzing the exact same text, the Pro Writing Aid Wizard found the following cliches:

  • give me a hand
  • taken aback
  • in your face
  • hard to swallow
  • wasted

While the AutoCrit Wizard found these cliches:
  • sleep on it
  • true love
  • none the worse
  • the worse for
  • the worse for wear
  • pass the time
  • in the market
  • deep down
  • dashed hopes

Obviously, they're not carbon copies of each other, as there were no duplicate cliches between the two. This test suggests there may be some value in using both, if love to go over your writing with a fine-toothed comb.

I did notice a few oddities (errors?) with Pro Writing Aid, although personally, I would consider them negligible. For example, the consistency report summary indicated 51 hyphenation problems, although when trying to find them in the text, they did not appear. AutoCrit is faster in analyzing text. In my 4,000-word block, Pro Writing Aid took around 15 seconds to analyze the text, whereas AutoCrit was done in about 4 seconds.

In summary, the Pro Writing Aid free version gives you more reports and features than AutoCrit premium. If you are considering using an online editing tool, I'd suggest comparing the two yourself, or starting with Pro Writing Aid if you're not a comparison shopper. After all, good free stuff is hard to pass up.


Source: sxc.hu via CM on Pinterest
March 2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title March 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : Online Editing Software: Pro Writing Aid vs. AutoCrit
link : Online Editing Software: Pro Writing Aid vs. AutoCrit

Read Also


March 2013

Last August, I posted about my experience with AutoCrit Editing Wizard. Since then, a member of one of my Google+ writing communities recommended Pro Writing Aid, which is very similar to AutoCrit. Both tools allow you to paste a block of text and analyze it for a variety of potential problems. Both have free online versions and expanded subscription packages for purchase. This weekend, while editing Book Two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy, I gave them a side-by-side test drive using a chapter from this work-in-progress.

As you may recall, last year I signed up for AutoCrit's $77/year premium package. I compared Pro Writing Aid's free tools against the AutoCrit premium package, and discovered my $77 was probably not well spent. Don't get me wrong--I like AutoCrit. It has some excellent tools and I probably got my money's worth out of it a long time ago. However, the free version of Pro Writing Aid does virtually everything AutoCrit does, and more.

I'm not going to bore you with a side-by-side comparison, as many of the same features are available on both tools. This Pro Writing Aid page has a side-by-side comparison (remember--this is their own page, so account for some potential bias). As you can see, Pro Writing Aid has more features, especially for free. I know more is not always necessarily better, but when it comes to free, it's hard to beat. To be fair, there are a few features available on AutoCrit that aren't available on Pro Writing Aid (Homonym and Readability reports), but unless you cannot live without these AutoCrit-specific reports, Pro Writing Aid is hard to ignore.

Comparing the sentence variation tool each offers, Pro Writing Aid provides a similar, yet more detailed report than AutoCrit. I also found some report output variation between the two. For instance, although using my same block of text produced nearly identical overused words reports, the cliche reports were quite different. Analyzing the exact same text, the Pro Writing Aid Wizard found the following cliches:

  • give me a hand
  • taken aback
  • in your face
  • hard to swallow
  • wasted

While the AutoCrit Wizard found these cliches:
  • sleep on it
  • true love
  • none the worse
  • the worse for
  • the worse for wear
  • pass the time
  • in the market
  • deep down
  • dashed hopes


Obviously, they're not carbon copies of each other, as there were no duplicate cliches between the two. This test suggests there may be some value in using both, if love to go over your writing with a fine-toothed comb.

I did notice a few oddities (errors?) with Pro Writing Aid, although personally, I would consider them negligible. For example, the consistency report summary indicated 51 hyphenation problems, although when trying to find them in the text, they did not appear. AutoCrit is faster in analyzing text. In my 4,000-word block, Pro Writing Aid took around 15 seconds to analyze the text, whereas AutoCrit was done in about 4 seconds.

In summary, the Pro Writing Aid free version gives you more reports and features than AutoCrit premium. If you are considering using an online editing tool, I'd suggest comparing the two yourself, or starting with Pro Writing Aid if you're not a comparison shopper. After all, good free stuff is hard to pass up.


Source: sxc.hu via CM on Pinterest