If you’re one of my long-suffering Facebook friends, you’ve heard me go on about how PixelOfInk might just be the best web site in the entire history of the Internet. That is largely because I love to read. And save money.

I’ve been reading ebooks since 1998; that was the year that the Palm Pilot III debuted. It was also the year that PeanutPress (now FictionWise) was introduced, the first ebook site that I’m aware of. The convergence of those technologies – mobile devices, the Internet, and the ebook format – forever changed the way I read.

Ebooks didn’t really catch on, though, until the Kindle was introduced in 2007. And while I appreciated the growing selection of books, the costs were also increasing. (Thanks Apple.)

In the ensuing years, I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on ebooks. (And thousands more on devices on which to read ebooks; PalmPilots, iPaqs, BlackBerrys, tablets, Kindles, iPods, iPads, Android phones, etc., etc.)  So any site that will give a sistah a break while delivering quality reads is really appreciated.

Pixel Of Ink (POI) is that site. Each day, they feature free and deeply discounted ebooks from Amazon. (Nook deals used to be featured, too, but due to the cuthroat nature of the ebook industry, Nook offers have pretty much dried up. Pixel of Ink does include links to Nook resources, though, including this link to free Nook books on Barnes & Noble’s site.)

While the vast majority of the free and discounted ebooks that I’ve downloaded are fiction and business-related, you can pick up books from all genres, including cookbooks, young adult, and children’s. In fact, POI has  launched several sister sites, including PowerReads (business), Dining Downloads (cookbooks), Pixel of Ink Young Edition ( young adult / children), and Inspired Reads, a Christian Fiction site.

Yeah, it might be time.

http://pinterest.com/daniesq/

If you’ve visited my site lately, you may have noticed a new addition to the right sidebar – a Send a Card Now graphic is now residing under my cute little Twitter bird.

That, my friends, will take you to an introduction to my new business.

I first found out about the SendOutCards service when I served as an alternate for my husband at his BNI group. After hearing the 45-second presentation that the SendOutCards rep gave (ironically, also an alternate that day), I chased her into the parking after the meeting to tell her that was the most brilliant thing I had ever heard of.

So what did she say? Basically that I could send real greeting cards from my computer. Cards that I designed with my own photos, logos, graphics, etc., or I could use one of their over 17,000 stock cards. I could import my contacts and send cards immediately, or schedule them. And I could even add gifts (brownies!!) or gift cards. If I liked someone else’s design, I could ask them to share it (something I’ve taken advantage of a lot!) And even customized, it was less than I would spend for a Hallmark card. I immediately thought of the possibilities – what this would mean to not only people wanting to keep in touch with loved ones and friends, but of business people that wanted to maintain and deepen relationships with their clients. And what this could mean for me, one of those people who fell into both categories.

I liked the idea of finally remembering my nieces and nephews’ birthdays. (I have 13 of them so keeping track of them is difficult.) The system will remind me ahead of time that a birthday is coming up, or if I’m really enterprising, I can go in and schedule a card with a gift card for all of them.

I also liked the idea of being able to reach out to someone on a whim, and let them know I was thinking of them. (I mean, really, how many times a week do you think, “I should call my mom.”? Or send someone a birthday, sympathy, or congratulations card. All the time, right? I know I do. But even if I actually remember to go and buy the card and stamps, half the time I forget to send the darned thing.)

I checked it out. I found out that not only could I use the product, but that I could make money by letting other people know about it. I would have done that for free – after all, it’s what I do on this blog, right? Let you all know about cool software, websites and gadgets. But making money off of a recommendation is always nice.

After about three months of due diligence that included attending one of the Treat ‘Em Right seminars, I was satisfied that this business opportunity was legitimate. By then I had also used the system to send out cards and I was impressed with the software (although there’s always room for improvement. You know me – no software is ever perfect.) I had also viewed tens of cards, and received quite a few, so I could vouch for the quality of the cards and the speed in which they were sent (within 24 hours of being created.)

So why did I take so long to apply for a license to represent SendOutCards? I was very cognizant of the fact that I have worked hard to get, and maintain, a good reputation. If I was going to associate my name with a product or company, I would have to be assured of a first-class experience for myself, for my customers, and for the team of distributors that I plan on building. There were many things that assured me along the way – from the excellent customer service to the fact that there’s no obligation to either distributors or customers. Anytime you want to quit, you can. From the website. (I can’t even do that with my Ancestry account. I have to call someone if I don’t want to continue. That really chaps my hide.)

Anyway, if you’re interested in knowing more and you have 3 1/2 minutes, click the envelope to watch the video. I’m a big believer in trying before you buy, so after watching the video, send a couple of free cards by clicking the Send a Free Card button.

It’s really free, there are no strings attached, nobody will spam you (although I will follow up with you) and it gives you a chance to try the system and send a customized card as well as a stock card. Most importantly, though, it lets you surprise someone with an unexpected greeting card. And it’s free, which is good, because you can’t put a price tag on that.

Your tech gear represents no small investment, and while Levenger.com accessories are pricey in their own right, the quality and practicality of their products is hard to deny.

The Pocquettes line of cases was clearly designed with the on-the-go fashionista in mind. The pebbled, full-grain leather cases rock the season’s latest ‘in’ colors (currently black, red and plum) for full color-coordination with your entire outfit.

These cases don’t just rely on looks, though; they’re as useful as they are stylish. Two gusseted, double-zip, suede-lined pockets comprise the case so there’s plenty of room for the device as well as accessories like cords and flash cards. A cleaning cloth and a Pocquettes earbud holder are included with each case.

Speaking of the Pocquettes earbud holders, they’ve traditionally been bone-shaped for easy winding of earbud cords, however, Levenger has introduced Pooch and Kitten Pocquettes.

Other favorites from their site are the Zip and Go iPad Traveler, the Nantucket Pad Lifter, and the Bomber Jacket Tech Traveler.
Most Levenger products can be personalized with a monogram for a nominal fee. More products and information can be found at their site.

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I blog of gadgets and digital hijinks.

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2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Danielle has read 3 books toward her goal of 75 books.
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