Transcribing: More Than Just a Walk in the Park

Taking cue from the title and my past blog posts, I think you can guess what the topic for today would be like.

Yes.

I’ve been asked to transcribe some conversations between women talking about a topic I don’t know if I completely understand. I’m kidding. Of course, I understand. What did you think? I’m some kind of slow in the head, or something? You’d be right, but that’s not the point.

Anyway, the task was more of editing than actual transcribing, but a good trick when editing a transcription is also listening to the material. Editing requires less effort, though, as the work is already there and you only need to tweak it in some parts to make it as perfect as possible. A decent command of the language being transcribed is also a plus when fixing transcriptions. Meaning, basic grammar rules, spelling, knowledge of common expressions – both literal and figurative – are handy when dealing with tasks such as this.

For example, the transcription says, “Yes, Maggie, I know that the people who visited the place was not you’re kind of people.” I know, too weak of an example, but what can you do?

Anyway, this error is one of the most common ones made by English writers – both native and, you know, non-native.It’s not that we’re stupid; it’s just that sometimes, when you write something, and your method of editing is reading it out loud, there’s a possibilty you’ll miss this small mistake as the correct word sounds almost identical. One good thing to remember to avoid making this error again is, when editing through reading, to say the words that comprise any contractions that you have in your piece. Not necessarily change the thing because articles that have no contractions in them sound forced and too formal. Just break up contractions when editing and you are sure to find more errors than you thought you made in the first place.

Alright, so following that brilliant advice (don’t contradict), let’s read the sample sentence without using contractions.

“Yes, Maggie, I know that the people who visited the place was not you are kind of people.” Now you notice how weird it sounds.

I can go on and on.

“A snake sheds it’s skin every month or so” might sound correct but when you break up the contractions in the sentence it would be this, “A snake sheds it is skin every month or so.”

Now. Let see if you can find the common errors in the following sentence.

“Its they’re duty to protect and honor the flag.”

Good luck!

Rediscoveries

Thinking of a different twist to the same topic to write a 600-word article about is not easy. Especially if you’ve been writing about it almost everyday for about a month. I recently discovered that when I was tasked to write about receptionists. I mean, there’s only so much you can do with the topic. You talk of the duties, common tasks, extra tasks, tips on good call handling, tips on taking phone messages, tips on active listening, tips on almost everything even remotely connected to it. Then you run out. Fortunately, I was lying. I didn’t run out. But it sure was a difficult thing thinking of anything more to write.

One trick my Hubpages co-conspirator came up with is to just work on an article not entirely dedicated to receptionists, but has the word sprinkled in it. This got me to thinking, then I got tired. But after drinking two cups of coffee, I thought again, ‘That’s a good idea.’ So I went to work and came up with receptionists on TV and receptionists in movies.

Doing the research for those articles has given me a chance to rediscover some old loves that I thought I already forgot and discover some new ones to take the place some former flame left (yes, I’m talking to you, Wiki!) Let’s go over them, shall we?

1. theofficeThe Office. They have a receptionist named Pam who is the object of affection of Jim, another employee who has been playing pranks on his other co-worker, Dwight, who calls himself Assistant Regional Manager, but always gets corrected to Assistant to the Regional Manager by the Regional Manager, Michael Scott, who is played by Steve Carell, who is one of the funniest actors today who is also friends with my boyfriend Jon Stewart. *deep breath*

The thing that gets people, meaning me, to watch this and enjoy every minute of it and leaves me wanting for more is the Pam and Jim love thingy. They were doing that thing you did when you were younger when love was still innocent and people didn’t play games yet. Like, sneaking a look when the other’s not looking. Making sure you get their names when you pick names from a hat for the gift-giving part of the Christmas Party. Worrying if they’re worried. Happy when they are. These two were giving me sleepless nights that I almost felt relieved when cable was cancelled in the house. But when I came upon Pam’s name during my article research, I realized that I miss their driving me crazy. But it’s cool coz I already know they did it. And they’re already married. Yay!Jim and Pam

Don’t judge me coz I feel happy about fictional people’s lives. It’s therapeutic.

2. Amanda and Marc. amanda and marc Ugly Betty is available without cable, but I don’t own a TV where I live now, so I also had ample time to miss this dynamic duo. I watch Ugly Betty for the Marc and Amanda crazies, and was so happy to have met them again I’m going out later to buy the DVDs. Their friendship is a mixture of the superficial and the deep that you can never guess how they’ll react to a situation. Unless of course it’s about Betty, then you know they’re gonna bring the funny.

*sigh*

I miss my Marc.Beetlejuice-Poster

3. Beetlejuice. Genius from Tim Burton, but what else is new? Alice in Wonderland, that’s what. But that’s not my point. Point is, the moment I saw that pretty green dead lady receptionist that you talk to when you die, I remember all the things Beetlejuice did and how creepy and attractive he was at the same time. I’m watching this again soon as I find a copy.

You see, my city, I think, has taken it upon itself to hide DVDs that I’d give my left arm for. No copies of People Under The Stairs, The Neverending Story, Willow, or even that awesome little piece with my dearly beloved David Bowie playing Jareth, The Goblin King. *snaps fingers* Yup, Labyrinth. Not available here. And I thought you need to watch that in order to graduate from adolescence.

Wait.

I just got a text message from the guy at the record store and they have a copy of Beetlejuice available. *jumps up and down* Gotta go see him and get it. He better not be kidding, though, coz I might be tempted to send him to see that pretty green dead lady receptionist that you talk to when you die.

Calm down. I’m kidding.

She’s not really that green.

Link Building And How It Can Change Your Life Part Deux

I’ve received some urgent questions from quite a number of people regarding my previous post, so I decided to do a part two of how blog commenting can help boost your traffic. One thing that…

Pregnant Rhinos Rock!

Pregnant Rhinos Rock!

*sees incredulous look from reader*

Fine. I got one urgent question.

Okay, non urgent question. From one person.

Alright, alright. I received one question. From one person. My sister.

Well, it wasn’t so much a question as a demand for me to explain what the hell was I doing commenting on unsecured sites using her laptop.

Doesn’t matter though, because no matter how the question was posed, posed it remains until I, with my infinite internet wisdom limited to smileys and knowledge of chat abbreviation meanings, take it upon myself to provide an answer.

What my sister meant when she said, and I quote, “What the hell are you doing leaving notes on unsecured sites? And with my laptop?!” is simply, “Pray tell, how do you look for blogs to comment on besides clicking the next blog button on the top part of a blogspot window?”

Good question.

Allow me to introduce a new way of using google except to see how many search result pages ‘pregnant rhino’ turns up. This new knowledge I’ve recently come in contact with is called ‘advanced operation’.

And how is that helpful? Well, it allows internet searchers to specify what information you want on the search result pages that turn up. Example, I have a blog about facts about pregnant rhinos and I wanna boost the traffic I have on the site. When I say boost the traffic, I mean have more visitors except me, my sister screaming “Why is this my homepage?!”, and a few curious – and by that I mean forced – younger family members. What I do is, except typing rhino on the search bar, which would just turn up pages from websites a whole lot bigger than mine like my ex Wiki and National Geographic, I type a command that looks like this:

inurl:blog + intitle:rhino + intext:pregnant

Now don’t worry, it’s not Sanskrit. This just makes sure only the specific information you typed will appear on the search results. What it means when you say inurl is the word after it (blog) should be in the url or the site address found on that long white bar top of the window we call search bar. Intitle means the search word after it (rhino) is going to be found on the topmost bar on your windows called the title bar. And intext means the keywords you wrote after it (pregnant) will be found within the page. So you’re looking for a blog with at least a page that has rhino on the title and mentioned the word pregnant at least once on that same page.

Specific, eh?

Now if you have any more questions about blog commenting, advanced operators, or link building, then don’t hesitate to keep your questions to yourself.. After that incredulous look you gave me, I’m not lifting a finger to type any more free tutorials.

Of course, unless you visit my pregnant rhino site.

Link Building And How It Can Change Your Life Part 1

As one who has been blogging on and off for the better part of this decade, I speak from experience when I say that one of the reasons people stop blogging is that nobody cares if they blog. Seriously, I used to lose sleep over this. I tossed and turned in bed thinking and moaning about why people didn’t read my awesome word vomit. One reason might be because I called my blogs word vomit, but even if I changed that, I still thought that people would pass over what I write and go read and comment on mediocre blog posts about lamps or something.

Now I’ve been word vomiting, I’m sorry I mean, writing on this here wordpress, and I think I’ve told you about my new job as a virtual assistant and soon to be virtual receptionist. Now working where I work has provided me with information about things I only have nightmares about: internet technology manipulation.

Yes. The internet can be manipulated. Much like a hula hoop or an inexperienced drunk, you can make the internet do things it has no idea you’re making it do. It’s called link building. The internet manipulation, not the drunk manipulation. There’s a different word when you manipulate a drunk. I think it’s called wickedness. But I’m not sure.

Anyway. How is my ignored blog connected to link building? Simple, I’m not famous.

I know. You’re shocked. It’s true, though. I’m not famous and that means nobody is gonna be typing my name on search engines wanting to know what stuff I’ve been getting up to. It means I need to do something, except writing sad excuses for blog posts, to promote my blog and generate traffic. That’s where link building comes in.

How do I do this most fabulous thing?, pathetic unfamous blogger asks.

Link building can be done in many ways. I’ve learned of about 16, but I will share with you one that I’m sure you’d appreciate if you’re anything like me *cough* cheap! *cough* : inexpensive link building, or what most people refer to as blog commenting.

What you do is browse through blogs near or around the topic you’re mostly discussing and comment on the posts. Make sure the comments you write is at least halfway decent to avoid getting deleted by the blog owner. This one seems pretty easy, and I think I hear you in your homes slapping your forehead going, “Of course, duh!”, but don’t be going too hard on yourself. Many people usually don”t think much of blog commenting because it seems way too obvious, but believe you me, it works.

I used to have a blog I had to force on friends to come visit. I threatened, and cajoled, and bribed, but all that came of it was one visit and no comments. Now that I’ve combined the threats with some blog commenting, I’ve managed to have that same blog visited

…..

are you sitting down?

…..

THREE TIMES and commented TWICE. How’s that for effectivity!

You might think that three visits and two comments don’t mean a thing, but when you’re a blogger who had been read by two people, one of them your mother, since forever, a couple of boosts on your traffic would sound heavenly.

So try, go around other blogs on your host (eg. Blogger or WordPress), comment on some of the more popular ones, and watch as you get people to come over your site cause they clicked on a link they didn’t mean to.

Joomla! And How Wiki Broke My Heart

In my endless pursuit of anything worth having a headache about, I was aided by my current place of employment and was asked to ‘get to know’ Joomla. As I’ve mentioned a number of times, I’m not an idiot. But going through stuff, technical in nature, which is required as my job revolves around the wonderful place called the internet, I sometimes feel inadequate. That’s the magic of ignorance, though. You can always fix it. And that’s just what I did. Or rather, have a co worker explain to me.

Let me enlighten you.

Wiki, how could you?

Wiki, how could you?

I was told to go through Joomla and acquaint myself with everything about it. This was a piece of cake, I thought since all I need is in Wikipedia. Yay! But alas, Wiki has failed me. Oh, disappointment! *clutches chest and moans*

Joomla! is a content management system platform for publishing content on the World Wide Web and intranets as well as a Model-view-controller (MVC) Web Application Development framework.

This was the definition my ex-beloved Wiki gave me about Joomla with an exclamation point. But being such an egghead as I was, every word just whooshed past me. I was like, Huh? Then I had to click each link they have in the article to know what those are. Content management system. Clicked on that and another definition beyond the understanding of ladies who like the internet but doesn’t know where it came from popped up. I went through that then another Wiki page of equal mystery came up, and this went on for a while until I realized just because I’m as ignorant as Homer Simpson (love the dude!), doesn’t mean everybody has to be. So I did what I should’ve done in the first place: I asked.

Fortunately, I’m surrounded by people who are blessed with technical superpowers; I just had to pick one. So, I would like to take this opportunity to thank from the bottom of my heart, which now has a space for another as Wiki has recently broken it, “Thank you Michael Amban.”

The gist of Mike’s explanation was this:

Joomla, I’m sorry, Joomla! is a program that allows people as ignorant as me to edit websites without knowledge of html. Now you’re like, Huh?. Okay, it’s like this. Suppose you purchase a website through one of the many hosting companies out there. You set it up and of course you have to edit it and publish and update as often as you have the need for. Joomla! is a software that you download to your hard disc and then transfer to your site by means of file transfer programs like Filezilla. When Joomla! is already in your site, it’d be real easy to edit content even for people who don’t know html.

Don’t interrupt.

Have you tried blogging on any site at all? See those little tags on both ends of your sentences that look like this: “</b>”? Those are called HTML tags. If you, like me, have no idea what tag to use for italics or bold letters or other such and such, Joomla! helps you edit your site without knowledge of these tags. Cool, no?

Another cool thing about Joomla! is it gives you access to amazing plug-ins, or what I call Bedazzlers, that can make your site look like a professional made it. You can put a community type page on it, like Facebook, by using the plug-in called JomSocial. So you can create a site for your old high school batch, maybe, and put JomSocial on it so you can get everybody updated on what everybody else is up to. Makes stalking easy, if you ask me.

With this new knowledge of the awesomeness Joomla! has to offer, I now have been purged of my fear of creating my own website. It gave me hope. And who knows, maybe next post I’ll be all out promoting my new site with Jomla!’s assistance. It might take my mind away from my awful disappointment with Wiki.

New Day, New Program

There are six accountants in my family. I took Engineering (I know, Math whiz!prepare to be mightily disappointed) because I wanted to be different from the rest of the family and that was the best course the school I wanted to go to was offering. I was a hairbreadth away from taking Accountancy and is now thinking I might as well have taken it for all the good Engineering gave me. Anyway, the fact that my sister, three of my cousins and an uncle are accountants and my aunt a CPA should’ve given me an idea to a software that I was tasked to ‘get to know’ (no more flowers this time!). Unfortunately, like the rest of things I expected from my aunt, I was extremely let down (I know, emotional baggage peeking). There was never a talk of any software they were using to make their lives easier, and thinking about it, I’m imagining them to still be using that little thing Chinese dudes used a long time ago to calculate and stuff…*snaps fingers*…Abacus!

Luckily, since I’m now employed at a job that constantly requires me to add something to my store of knowledge (once filled with useless facts), I had the chance to meet the newest form of abacus, and I don’t mean the calculator: Quickbooks.

It’s basically Accounting in sophomore year in high school only more complicated and a lot high tech to boot. Now I realize why my aunt hasn’t used this software. She runs away from technology much like Snape from shampoo. Ah, Severus Snape…

*smiles wistfully*

Alas, I digress.

Quickbooks has totally made things easier for accountants and even almost ignorant people like me. It has applications that help simplify transactions and records we keep when we have businesses.

Besides cool new words to add to my vocabulary like accrual-based accounting, cash-based accounting, equity, progress invoicing, and the like, I also learned how to set up Quickbooks. I know, I’m as slow as The White Queen on her sleigh when the snow melted in Narnia.

That’s one cool thing about Quickbooks, though. Upon setting up, it asks you questions that assist it in determining what you need in the business and how it can help you more. That way, it doesn’t exclude morons like me. There’s something called the Easy Step Interview where QB asks what type of business you have, whether you’re using sales receipts or invoices, which I learned are totally different things. It also has suggestions on some answers to some of the questions during the interview based on your business setup.

Anyway, to give a general idea of what quickbooks is, though, it’s a more advanced version of a ledger and more.

Soon as I learn more about this interesting little program, I’ll be right back here with you ’cause I’m all for information for everyone. Besides, a friend says the best way for me to retain knowledge and/or instructions is to write them again myself. She hates that I forget birthdays and stuff.

Ciao for now. Off to IM a friend who sells burgers and has problems with his inventory. He must not know about QB yet, I think.

A Whole New World

Fifth day on the new job and I slowly become aware of how much I don’t know. I’m not saying that I’m a walking idiot that needs to be saved from herself, but tasks I’ve been asked to do have shown me that this job should never be underestimated. Luckily, I’ve also made a promise to myself right after I turned 25 that everything I encounter from then on out would be treated as an adventure. Doesn’t matter if it’s to write a short letter or play The Godfather guitar solo, I’ll handle it like Frodo and Sam handled Orcs, Nazguls ,and that idiot Sauron, with the utmost dedication and focus,never wavering from the goal and still eat as much as I can get my hands on when given the chance.

The tasks I’ve done so far have all been a challenge, but extremely fulfilling. A bit of research, some encoding, a little transcribing, writing some letters, getting familiar with different tasks that might be given to me when I get my own clients (fingers crossed!). The one that posed the biggest challenge, though, was the article rewriting. I’ve had experience writing stuff before, but it’s always been ‘pick a topic and run with it’ kind of thing. I’ve never been asked to rewrite somebody else’s article. So, what do you think I did? Of course, I undertook it with the utmost dedication and focus; I never wavered and stuffed my face while doing it. Fortunately, so far, I’ve been able to finish tasks given me and do them right. Yay!

*jumps up and down then stops and gasps for air*

And as I wrap this first week of training, I’m pleasantly surprised at the fact that I’ve enjoyed every moment of the last five days and eagerly looking forward for more. Who would’ve thought that an office job can be so exciting!

Something Old, Something New

At the risk of alienating whomever is brave enough to venture into the unknown which is my newest attempt on a blog, I would like to please talk about age, the saddest topic ever to be discussed with a woman. Most dangerous, too.

Hold on, why am I saying please? There ain’t anything you could do about it if I talked about age, just like there’s nothing you can do about me using ain’t like I never had an English class.

Anyway, I just had a birthday this month, like I do every year, but unlike every year, last August 17, for the first time, I turned 25. I know, right? So sad. I cried the moment the clock struck 12:01 on that memorable Monday. Well, to be honest I was already crying ’cause I was being forced to watch Sweet November. You know, that sappy movie starring the pretty guy with the empty eyes Keanu Reeves? Well, I’ve as much tolerance for Keanu Reeves as I do for pain, which is zero, so only 20 minutes into the movie I was already bawling my eyes out. I actually forgot it was my birthday until after the movie when my friend mercifully removed the godawful dvd. But soon as I realized a year had been added to the number hanging over my head like a dark cloud that followed Timmy Turner when he turned evil, I cried bout half an hour more then decided this is gonna be a great year for me.

I know. I’ve mood changes of a 4-year-old kid.

But I was serious with that decision once I made it. 25 is a big number but not as big as the number the pointer goes to when I step on a weighing scale. This is do-able. And with just enough visits to Coffee Break, easy even. I’m already on the right track. Just got hired as a virtual assistant, have been meeting new people, traveling (usually if forced), eating different food (again, if forced) and getting in touch with my inner adult. More of these and I wouldn’t mind when the big 30 comes along.

Woah! 30.

*thinks hard then turns away to hide a solitary tear*

You’ll have to excuse me, there’s something in my eye.