Saturday, February 27, 2010

ClariTrans Transcription on MTurk

So I've stumbled on what seems like a newer requester on MTurk, but so far so good with ClariTrans. Their transcription work is broken down into smaller segments to transcribe, which is nice with a toddler running around. I haven't been able to accurately judge how much money per hour I've been able to make on these, but I'm not unhappy with the results I've seen at all.

Their style guide is a lot different than CastingWords, so that's taking some getting used to. But I do like it, it's simpler, and often just one speaker, so it seems to go quicker.

I aced the first qualification test, and have worked several of their HITs now. All were approved and paid within hours. I did take the qualification testing for the reviewer, and no matter how many times I take it I can't get a 100! Frustrating! On the bright side, I haven't seen a whole lot of the review work come up for grabs. Maybe after doing a little more of their work it will become easier to reach that perfect score.

I had been on a $10 per day streak on MTurk, and was starting to inch above until the snow storms and power loss broke my stride. It's been hard to get back into that grove and hit ten bucks every day. I'm getting there, but I think ClariTrans might very well be able to double my goals in no time at all. Yay!

All in all, I'm happy so far with ClariTrans. There seems to be quite a bit of work posted in various segments of time, batches with as short as 5 second work on up to 35 second work. My only complaint is trying to work transcription at home with a very noisy two year old! But for nap and bed times, it's perfect for making a few dollars each day. I'm definitely happy to find this requester, and I hope they stay around for the long haul.   

Monday, February 15, 2010

Homemade Butter

We decided to try something simple this weekend, we made homemade butter. Yummy! There's nothing like fresh real butter to take a meal to a new level.

It's really quite simple. Just take heavy cream, a clean jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake shake shake. Just when you think you can't take it, shake it some more! First you will end up with whipped cream, then as you shake a little more it will look like lumpy whipped cream--you're almost there at that point. It will seem like it's getting hard to shake, but keep going--it's almost done. Then you will see the little globs of butter forming and the buttermilk will start to separate from the butter. Yes, this is REAL buttermilk, which has a slightly sweet taste. Strain off the buttermilk, shake a few more times until there is no more liquid coming off, and rinse in very cold water. Scrape the sides to ensure you get all the butter and voila! You have real, homemade butter. Yummy!

We used almost a cup of heavy whipping cream, and it made a ball of butter about the size of a smallish lemon. And it was so good! I didn't add any salt, but if you wish, add a pinch or so after you have rinsed the butter and stir it in. Chill, and you are all set. Keep in mind, real homemade butter is a little firmer than the margerine you may be used to, so set out at room temperature for a few minutes before using.

I got this idea from my friend Joey a while back, but if I'm not mistaken she had used a blender (or food processor?). That would probably be a GREAT idea, because my arms sure did get quite a workout! It was totally worth it, real butter is fantastic!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Great eHow Debate

eHow has recently had quite a mess on it's hands. The infamous eHow UK debacle has left many writers angry and feeling cheated. I've kept up on the eHow forums on related threads, and really do feel for people affected. I, however, do not feel my earnings were impacted to the level others were. I had some of my best earning months in that time, so I have no personal complaint.

In trying to not blame the victim or make excuses for eHow, I'm wondering exactly how many factors there actually were for the earnings slump many suffered recently. Many people a year ago reported a holiday slump on earnings. Google changes it's ranking formula on a regular basis. Perhaps having cloned content did hurt the US content. I don't think the slump was an intentional cheat on eHow's part, but that's only my opinion.

The UK Compensation-- many people were extremely disappointed, and I suppose rightfully so. I received about 10% of my monthly average, but again I feel I wasn't that affected so I'm happy with that. It was like a nice little bonus *for me.* I fully admit, if my earnings were impacted to the level other member's were I would not feel the same way.

I've heard others say they will not write further for eHow, or they will be removing their articles from the site. I do still plan on writing for eHow, my momentary break stems more from site glitches at the moment than anything else. eHow has still given me the opportunity to earn passive income I would not have otherwise had. The page ranking eHow pulls in far exceeds anything I could manage on my own. For me, I'm still pleased with my interactions with the site.

I will continue to write and keep articles on my computer to upload at a time the publishing platform seems a little more stable. Even if it's only a little bit, it's still a hundred bucks (or more!) a month I didn't have before. I'm happy with my results thus far, and hopeful for the future.

Snow snow snow snow

Well I think we're finally digging out from a couple of back to back snowstorms. We lost power for three days from fallen trees and power lines. So I had to take some time away from my online work endeavors. Ouch. But just line anything else in life, working online is sometimes two steps forward, one step back. And it seems it is taking a little while to get back into the groove I'd built up before.

On the bright side, we've got miles of snow to make snow ice cream out of. Yay! Eight cups of snow, a can of sweetened condensed milk, and a tsp of vanilla extract. That's it. Mix it all up and eat immediately. Yeah yeah, I know there could be some contaminants. But I truly believe it is minimal, and no more health risk than anything else in life.

One thing I was really happy to be able to fall back on during the lack of electricity was my mad camping skills. We have well water, and with no electricity we also have no water. Fortunately, there is a creek right out front, so we hauled up water to boil for dishes and cleaning. We had already bought bottled water for drinking, and my coffee press came in handy for my morning cup of joe. But washing dishes in a pan of creek water sure did bring back memories of washing dishes beside a camp fire. The best way to do this is to start with the least dirty and work your way to the greasiest and dirtiest last.

Thankfully, the generator we ran for a couple hours at a time kept the chest freezer nice and cold, and the items in the fridge fit nicely in a box we sat on the porch. It got frigidly cold at night, so I laid towels on top of the box and sat it back inside the fridge to keep cold, but not frozen, until morning. It seemed to work well. We did lose a few things, mostly dressings and condiments I didn't pack, but our food loss was minimal.

I did have to make a run in town for more batteries and candles. We had some, just not enough for three nights without power. I underestimated the need for canned goods in such an event, but we ended up okay.
Now it's time to get back in the swing of making money. I am definitely saving up at this point for a vacation somewhere nice and warm!