Janette Toral sharing her tourist experience in Australia.

Monday 31 March 2008

Australia Top 100 Blogs by Blog Juice (as of March 2008)

Here's the 3rd update of the Australia Top 100 Blogs by Blog Juice list.

The ranking of blogs listed here was based on blog juice. Its rating is based on Bloglines subscription (40%), Alexa ranking (15%), Technorati ranking (30%), and inbound links as per Technorati (15%). This is what I found as of March 31, 2008.

I highlighted those who are new, gained an increase from the last update to this one, and those who got their highest score to date.
  1. http://www.problogger.net/ - 8.7
  2. http://www.lifehack.org/ - 8.4
  3. http://freelanceswitch.com/ - 7.8 (highest since July 2007 update)
  4. http://digital-photography-school.com/blog/ - 7.7
    http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/ - 7.7
  5. http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/ - 7.3
    http://infosthetics.com/ - 7.3
  6. http://www.istartedsomething.com/ - 7.1 (highest since July 2007 update)
  7. http://bibliodyssey.blogspot.com/ - 7
    http://www.skelliewag.org/ - 7 (gain)
  8. http://northxeast.com/ - 6.4
  9. http://timblair.net/ - 6.3
  10. http://www.bannerblog.com.au/ - 6.2
    http://thewrongadvices.com/ - 6.2 (highest since July 2007 update)
  11. http://www.psdtuts.com/ - 6.1
  12. http://www.themaninblue.com/ - 6
  13. http://www.incsub.org/blog/ - 5.9
    http://galadarling.com/ - 5.9 (highest since July 2007 update)
  14. http://blogs.msdn.com/frankarr/ - 5.8
    http://www.hawkwings.net/ - 5.8
  15. http://www.smallbusinessbranding.com/ - 5.7
    http://ilovemilkandcookies.blogspot.com/ - 5.7 (highest since July 2007 update)
  16. http://thepodcastnetwork.com/ - 5.6
    http://faith-theology.blogspot.com/ - 5.6
  17. http://www.disambiguity.com/ - 5.5
    http://www.itnews.com.au/ - 5.5
    http://larvatusprodeo.net/ - 5.5 (highest since July 2007 update)
    http://www.karencheng.com.au/ - 5.5
  18. http://www.rossdawsonblog.com/ - 5.4
    http://www.iwillchangeyourlife.com/ - 5.4 (gain)
    http://kiddley.com/ - 5.4
  19. http://www.abc.net.au/pm/ - 5.2
    http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/ - 5.2
    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/ - 5.2 (highest since July 2007 update)
    http://www.lostateminor.com/ - 5.2 (highest since July 2007 update)
    http://www.urbanmonk.net/ - 5.2 (gain)
  20. http://www.steptwo.com.au/columntwo/ - 5.1
  21. http://blogs.msdn.com/charles_sterling/ - 5
    http://www.ozpolitics.info/blog/ - 5 (highest since July 2007 update)
    http://www.secretgeek.net/ - 5
    http://black-dog-knits.blogspot.com/ - 5 (highest since July 2007 update)
  22. http://www.livingroom.org.au/blog/ - 4.9
    http://www.duncans.tv/ - 4.9
    http://libraryclips.blogsome.com/ - 4.9
  23. http://blogpond.com.au/ - 4.8
    http://craigharper.com.au/ - 4.8
    http://leehopkins.net/ - 4.8
  24. http://cookingismypassion.blogspot.com/ - 4.7 (highest since July 2007 update)
    http://www.justinelarbalestier.com/blog/ - 4.7
  25. http://www.anecdote.com.au/ - 4.6
    http://laketrees.blogspot.com/ - 4.6 (gain)
    http://grabyourfork.blogspot.com/ - 4.6
  26. http://www.justmakemoneyonline.com/ - 4.5
    http://ashleybambaland.blogspot.com/ - 4.5 (gain)
  27. http://www.dailyreckoning.com.au/ - 4.4
  28. http://www.snoskred.org/ - 4.3
    http://gdayworld.thepodcastnetwork.com/ - 4.3
    http://www.defamer.com.au/ - 4.3 (gain)
  29. http://www.sauer-thompson.com/ - 4.2
    http://alistercameron.com/ - 4.2
    http://blogs.technet.com/mkleef/ - 4.2
    http://www.scottwesterfeld.com/blog/ - 4.2
    http://www.thomassinfield.com/ - 4.2 (gain)
    http://duncanriley.com/ - 4.2
    http://nyssajbrown.net/ - 4.2 (gain)
  30. http://www.allaboutolive.com.au/ - 4.1
    http://www.artnewsblog.com/ - 4.1
    http://www.sueblimely.com/ - 4.1 (new)
  31. http://www.blogcharm.com/sweets/ - 4
    http://servantofchaos.typepad.com/soc/ - 4
    http://youngie.prblogs.org/ - 4
    http://www.tvtonight.com.au/ - 4 (gain)
  32. http://www.inthemix.com.au/ - 3.9
    http://www.designsojourn.com/ - 3.9
    http://www.allforwomen.com.au/ - 3.9
    http://aussielicious.blogspot.com/ - 3.9
    http://www.foodpast.com/ - 3.9
    http://librariansmatter.com/blog - 3.9 (gain)
  33. http://cookalmostanything.blogspot.com/ - 3.8
    http://www.gizmodo.com.au/ - 3.8
    http://mykoreankitchen.com/ - 3.8 (gain)
    http://www.freedomtodiffer.com/ - 3.8 (gain)
    http://hobartdaily.com/ - 3.8 (new)
  34. http://www.thinkinghomebusiness.com/ - 3.7
    http://www.boudist.com/ - 3.7
    http://trevorcook.typepad.com/weblog/ - 3.7
  35. http://moviecritic.com.au/ - 3.6 (gain)
    http://www.shaicoggins.com/ - 3.6
    http://www.thefoodpornographer.com/ - 3.6
    http://www.kotaku.com.au/ - 3.6 (gain)
    http://sydneynearlydailyphot.blogspot.com/ - 3.6
    http://www.aussiebloggers.com.au/ - 3.6 (new)
  36. http://roadtosurfdom.com/ - 3.5
    http://www.clubtroppo.com.au/ - 3.5
    http://www.nik.com.au/ - 3.5
    http://www.tailored.com.au/ - 3.5 (gain)
    http://www.fatplanet.com.au/blog/ - 3.5
    http://imaginif.com.au/~ima33724/blog - 3.5 (gain)
    http://notjustmama.net/ - 3.5 (new)
    http://originalmx5.net/ - 3.5 (new)
    http://thetallpoppy.blogspot.com/ - 3.5 (new)
If you have a blog and your blog juice is in the range of the ones listed above, please post a comment and will add you.

Sunday 30 March 2008

Medical requirements for Australia permanent resident visa processing

Skilled workers who are already in Australia have the option of getting a permanent resident status. If you are based in areas like Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Melbourne, and Perth, your path to permanent residence is by filing the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 121/856).

Skilled workers based in other areas, considered as regional or low population, can file the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 119/857).

Prior to filing, one needs to complete an x-ray and medical examination. The first that needs to be done is the chest x-ray. You need to fill up form 160 and bring it with you along with your passport and a passport-size photo.

You need to call any of the following HSA Group offices to make an appointment for your chest x-ray and medical consultation. In some cases, appointment is not necessary for chest x-ray. However, you need to call as the venue for chest x-ray is not necessarily in the same address listed below

Once you are finished with the chest x-ray, you can call again to arrange the date of your actual medical examination. You will need to fill-up form 26 and bring your passport. Always make sure to visit the HSA Group offices website to get updated information.

Areas under Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 121/856):
  • Brisbane
    Level 7
    340 Adelaide St
    Brisbane QLD 4001
    telephone 07 3307 9444 and 07 3307 9440
  • Melbourne
    Level 4
    501 Swanston St,
    Melbourne VIC 3000
    telephone 03 9224 8381
  • Newcastle
    13 Darby St,
    telephone 02 4915 5400

  • Perth
    Level 3,
    553 Hay Street
    Perth WA 6000
    telephone 08 9324 6444

  • Sydney
    Level 5, 136 Chalmers St,
    telephone 02 8396 0600

  • Wollongong
    Level 3, 43 Burelli St,
    telephone 02 4253 6400
Areas under Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 119/857):
  • Adelaide
    Level 8—West
    55 Currie Street
    Adelaide SA 5000
    telephone 08 8468 6084

  • Canberra
    1st Floor,
    15 Bowes St,
    WODEN ACT 2606
    telephone 02 6269 2001

  • Darwin
    Level 1, Cavanagh Centre
    43 Cavanagh Street
    Darwin NT 0800
    telephone 08 8981 7492

  • Hobart
    200 Elizabeth Street
    Hobart TAS 7004
    telephone 03 6281 4000

  • Labrador
    102 Imperial Parade
    Labrador QLD 4215
    telephone 07 5631 4800

  • Parramatta
    Level 4, 2-10 WentworthSt,
    telephone 02 9806 7333

  • Townsville
    Park Haven Medical Centre
    7 Bayswater Rd
    Hyde Park QLD 4812
    telephone 07 4795 7800
More information can be found at health requirements for visa applicants.

Thursday 27 March 2008

ISBN and Book Covers are in

The book cover of my E-Commerce for Entrepreneurs and Blogging from Home books were finally sent last night. I still might do changes in the book cover, such as putting my name at the lower part of the book.

We are now in the layout stage and look forward to the first draft.

This morning, the ISBN I purchased last Monday was sent to me through e-mail. The next step is to update my publisher information and get the ISBN assigned.

I also need to find a good printer who can serve my print on demand needs in the Adelaide area and evaluate whether having my books listed or advertised at Bookseller+Publisher would be strategic.

This is my first time to publish a book in Australia. I'm excited and find the process to be quite smooth sailing so far.

Monday 24 March 2008

Getting Ready for Book Publishing

Yesterday, the ideas for my 4th and 5th book became concrete and clear. With this self-assurance, I've decided to get an ISBN reserved that shall be good for 10 titles. If the books will come in electronic and printed form, then that would be good for 5 titles as each format are required to have its own ISBN.

A few hours ago, I also registered a domain as soon as the book title "Blogging from Home" struck me.

I'm finishing the manuscript at the moment and excited with the idea that I'll be releasing another book again after 4 years.

Work at home

(I first wrote this column piece for Sun.Star Cebu last July 27, 2006. As it is no longer online, I am posting an updated version of it here.)

I got an interesting e-mail from a friend about possible work-at-home scheme. From personal experience and observation, there are many ways to earn and work at home. Here are some of them that I also get to do up to today.

Writing. I started my freelancing career as contributor to the networking section of PC World Philippines. Afterwards, I offered my writing services to other publication and gradually found myself writing for international magazines and websites. If you are persistent enough, you'll find writing to be quite fulfilling. How do you go about it? First, you must be an avid reader of the publication you are aiming for. Think of stories or feature articles that you can confidently write about and send a pitch to the editor.

Technical consulting. If you know your stuff, you can offer your services as a consultant, research or analyst, and do most of the nitty-gritty work at home. Although, I must admit that it can be hard to concentrate at times with a very relaxed setting, especially if your workplace is your bedroom.

Online secretariat or virtual assistant. This is especially useful for organizations or companies that don't have time to read inquiries and respond to them, post new products in websites, among others.

Event marketer. Companies that are into seminars and training but are not so tech-savvy with their marketing are potential clients. This is where your investment in putting up an online newsletter can be most strategic. The database that you are able to build can serve as a good start in marketing them.

Internet marketing analyst. If you are knowledgeable in optimizing websites to make it search engine friendly, perform analysis of website traffic, and capable of making recommendations for improvements, then this can be another work for you.

E-learning instructor or tutor. If you have a knack for teaching, you can also develop e-learning materials where interested parties can sign up and receive lessons or assignments through e-mail.

If you need to create a portfolio first, then this is where creating a website or blog can be most helpful for you. This is where DigitalFilipino.com started, in my case.

Your website or blog can help attract leads for your services. Just update it as often as possible with the most relevant stuff to increase its visibility. Make sure to have a newsletter service so you can contact them for future updates.

You can also make your website self-sustaining or even profitable by integrating passive revenue opportunities. This can be in the form of joining an advertising network like Google AdSense. In my case, I already expanded my services in this area by building my own blog advertising network and content writers network.

Another way is to join an affiliate program. This is where you can sell books, products, and services of other entities and earn a commission for every sale that your site generates.

With the Internet and a phone, there are many things you can do to work at home and make it a rewarding experience. Creativity, aggressiveness, patience and diligence are "musts" to succeed.

Remember, in a work at home arrangement, you set your income. How high you'll earn will all depend as to how aggressive you will be in marketing your services.

Friday 21 March 2008

Immigration to Australia by Skilled Workers

Since my partner started working in Australia, I often get asked a lot of questions as to how we went through it. Basically, he was recruited and went through an agency. In my opinion, I always think it is best for anyone who wants to work in Australia to go through such a process.

What makes Australia better compared to other countries like Canada is that professionals have a chance to practice their profession here.

The agency that helped my partner and brother-in-law to process their papers is ABC Global. If there are others worth mentioning, let me know and will add here. However, please make sure you are mentioning them based on your experience.

Employer sponsored workers usually get any of the following visa:
Non-employer sponsored can still apply on their own provided they meet the requirements stated in the skilled categories.

Skilled Worker Permanent Visa
Once here, both the employer and employee can take the next step of applying for a Skilled Worker Permanent Visa.

If you are based in areas like Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Melbourne, and Perth, your path to permanent residence is by filing the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 121/856).

In our case, as we are based in regional or low population growth areas, our option is the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 119/857).

There are medical requirements that needs to be completed before an application can be lodged though.

To help you get adjusted as well, here are some interesting blog post to read:

Friday 14 March 2008

Ximmy: Deliberate Vote Solicitation, Photo Copyright Acknowledgment, Dead Links

A social media site that I got the chance to join lately is Ximmy. Its only difference with huge sites like Digg is that active users can earn reward points.

For now users get the following:
  • 1 point for every story submitted
  • 1 point for every story commented
  • 15 points when a story gets to the front page (for now, 5 votes is what it takes to get there)
Earnings are dependent on points
  • $10 for 1000 points
  • $20 for 1800 points
  • $40 for 3200 points
  • $80 for 6000 points
  • $160 for 12000 points
  • $300 for 20000 points
  • If the user joined the affiliate program, they can also get US$0.50 for every person invited to register.
Like any income generating site, it can be open to abuse from users who only intend to make a quick profit from the site. There were issues like:
  • Clear guidelines for photo submission
    There are a lot of Ximmy users who submit photos but usually lacking of info. Photo submissions should always include most of the following:

    1. Source - Where did you get the photo?
    2. Photographer - Name of person or entity who owns the photo credits.
    3. Date - When was this photo taken? (if information is available)
    4. Location - Where was this photo taken?
    5. Story - What is the photo all about?
    6. Significance - Why are you sharing it? What makes it worth noting by users in the Ximmy community?

    I personally believe that people who don't share the above information are treating photos they submitted unfairly. At the same time, waste website resources and user's time. What's worst, some photos with a few words (or same title and summary) get 5 votes straight away that doesn't show much rational as to why they are being voted for.

  • Deliberate "Vote" Solicitation
    There are postings in Ximmy lately where users directly add the word "Vote" or the phrase "Vote for this" in their submission. In major submission networks, this style normally results to criticism from users.

    However in Ximmy, some users do vote and it is a way of giving back to those who voted for them.

    In my opinion, using of the word "vote" in any submission encouraging other users to do such should not be allowed. Ximmy has no clear policy on this one at the moment and it is pretty much left to the community. For now, I don't vote any post that deliberately seeks for a vote as that posting style may set as a bad example to fellow members.

  • Dead Links in Ximmy
    There are a lot of interesting articles in Ximmy that once reached more than x number of days (usually 30), they disappear. One site that removes its great articles after x number of days is Yahoo News.

    With this trend, Ximmy should start considering blocking sites from being submitted in its system or else it will be filled with news from a specific site that will no longer be accessible after a month. Worst, Ximmy is even paying for it as they compensate through reward points in submission, comments, and popularity. Unless of course, Ximmy manually clicks on submissions being claimed for rewards if they are accessible or not.
For now, to encourage quality submission, Ximmy limits submission up to 10 a day. It also deletes spam, non-constructive, and irrelevant comments. This is a good start until policies are fine-tuned.

I think Ximmy has a lot of potential. If more users will join the system, the quality of submission and vigilant users can increase in the long run.

Monday 10 March 2008

See you at the Adelaide Weblogger April Meeting

I just got an invite from Shai Coggins who is organizing the Adelaide Weblogger April 18 Meeting, Friday 6 pm. Will post exact venue info soon.

I look forward in attending this event and get to know bloggers in the area such as Simon, Stephen, Lee Hopkins, among others.

If are you in or from the area, I hope you can attend!

Sunday 9 March 2008

Getting to know Janette Toral

I got tagged by Kim Barker to answer questions that gives more information about myself. Since I'm pretty much new in Adelaide SA, I might as well give it a shot.

1. What is your occupation?
I'm a writer, blogger, book author, e-book and online workshop creator, researcher, e-commerce and software process improvement trainer / consultant, search engine optimization trainer / consultant, Google AdWords campaigns trainer / consultant, blog advertiser, content contractor, podcaster, e-commerce club owner, e-policy lobbyist / consultant, among others.

Most of my work are done at home. Except for my training activities which is done through public or in-house corporate in the Philippines. I'm still finding a way to jump start my freelance and training work in Adelaide.

2. What color are your socks right now? none
3. What are you listening to right now? aircon
4. What was the last thing that you ate? spicy beef noodles
5. Can you drive a stick shift? No
6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? red
7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? my home caretaker in Manila
8. Do you like the person who sent this to you? yes
9. Favorite drink? coconut juice
10. What is your favorite sport to watch? volleyball
11. Have you ever dyed your hair? Tried once at a nearby salon
12. Pets? turtle
13. Favorite food? spicy
14. Last movie you watched? Kung Fu Hustle
15. Favorite Day of the year? no day in particular
16. What do you do to vent anger? I create a project
17. What was your favorite toy as a child? toy piano with microphone
18. What is your favorite, fall or spring? fall
19. Hugs or kisses? Hugs
20. What kind of pie? Egg pie
21. Do you want your friends to email you back? Yes
22. Who is most likely to respond? most of them
23. Who is least likely to respond? the busy ones
24. Living arrangements? 3-bedroom, one story apartment in front of a soccer field
25. When was the last time you cried? the other day for a child not in good health.
26. What is on the floor of your closet? none
27. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending this to? No one to send to at this time in Australia.
28. The friend you have known the shortest amount of time that you are sending this to? No one to send to at this time in Australia.
29. Favorite smell? coffee, roses
30. What inspires you? books, other people's story
31. What are you afraid of? not sure which exactly
32. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers? spicy
33. Favorite car? Nissan Vanette
34. Favorite cat breed? none
35. Number of keys on your key ring? 3
36. How many years at your current job? 13 years (started freelancing in 1995)
37. Favorite day of the week? none in particular
38. How many provinces have you lived in? none in Australia
39. How many countries have you been to? Thailand, Malaysia, USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taipei, China, Indonesia, Nepal, Spain, France, Switzerland, and Mexico.

At any rate, should you like to participate or you have done this before, share the link!