Topics are Very Important

You need to find a topic for your site that you actually give a flying hoot about, or your writing is going to be quite laboured at the end of it all.

I write about finance (on THE Canadian Finance Place) mostly because it is more of a cathartic kind of thing. I complain and rale about stuff that I can’t really control, but it is easy to write. The topics usually become obvious depending on:

  • The time of year (e.g. Tax Season, Christmas spending, etc.,)
  • Major news events like the budget or stock market drops
  • Talking to friends and such, they give me a great deal of ideas
  • Reading other sites, and commenting on them.

I am always amazed at how many of my ideas come from day to day conversations with friends and family.

I can also find topics reading my own old writings, this article is actually a complete re-write of something I wrote 8 years ago. The original was quite sparse and didn’t really say much, but now, after almost 10 years of writing daily I think I can add a bit more to the topic.


TigerDirect (CA)

Write about something you care about, and your writing is that much easier, and always write your ideas down, I keep forgetting great ideas too!

How to: Fix BCD Error on Dell Vostro Lap Top

Dell Vostro and the Corrupt Vista BCD

This post is mostly a note page for me on how I fixed my wife’s DELL Vostro  1400.

This morning I woke up and tried to boot my wife’s Vostro and got a “Screen of Death” of sorts.

File: \Boot\BCD
Status: 0xc0000034
Info: The Windows Boot Configuration Data file is missing required information

In hindsight I suspect that Norton Anti-virus did something to the system, because the previous night Norton Anti-virus put up a note saying, “Doing stuff in the background”, and this morning the system was dead? Interesting coincidence at least.

Naturally I go to google and type in “Vista BCD Boot Fail” and found the following link:

Corrupt \Boot\BCD in Windows Vista

Which made me feel better, because at least someone was posting something about this issue. First thing it said I needed was a Vista Boot DVD, luckily I had my upgrade DVD (to Home Premium) so I was able to boot from it (after hitting F12 and choosing the DVD as the boot media).

The post above talked about recovering the boot track using a backup utility which I didn’t have, however it pointed to:

This useful Microsoft help page

Which outlined three fix procedures, all 3 of which failed miserably for me, but taught me a lot about how to debug windows, boot areas.

Frustrated I went back to Google and typed in: “Dell Vostro BCD Boot Fail” and found this:

The Real Answer from Microsoft Help

Which in fact outlines how to use bootrec, which fixes the boot record for the Windows Vista operating system.

The following steps are what I did exactly, after booting from the Vista boot DVD and choosing the command prompt:

Note If rebuilding the BCD does not resolve the startup issue, you can export and delete the BCD, and then run this option again. By doing this, you make sure that the BCD is completely rebuilt. To do this, type the following commands at the Windows RE command prompt:

  • bcdedit /export C:\BCD_Backup
  • c:
  • cd boot
  • attrib bcd -s -h -r
  • ren c:\boot\bcd bcd.old
  • bootrec /RebuildBcd

I rebooted after each command returned correctly and voila the system was back up.


Given I did a bunch of crap, including trying old restore points, I assume I have buggered up the system in some fashion or another, but we shall see there.

Norton came up and complained about being corrupted so I have reloaded it as well, and hopefully it will not do whatever it did last night to corrupt the BCD? Or whatever..

Sorry folks, needed to write this down, a little off topic, but useful to me.

A Pillar Post

This one originally started with me borrowing some ideas from a newsletter I received, but it does seem to be true, that you need to have some Pillar Posts, but you also need to make sure they are well advertised as well, and easy to find on your site!

What is a Pillar Post?

To quote our friends at Unique blog design:

Write at least five major “pillar” articles. A pillar article is a tutorial style article aimed to teach your audience something. Generally they are longer than 500 words and have lots of very practical tips or advice. This article you are currently reading could be considered a pillar article since it is very practical and a good “how-to” lesson. This style of article has long term appeal, stays current (it isn’t news or time dependent) and offers real value and insight. The more pillars you have on your blog the better.

On Canadian Financial Opinions I have written a bunch of “Pillar” articles, and I have submitted many of them to different carnivals and such, but I keep forgetting they are there. Here are a few chestnuts that I really like from the Financial Side of things:

  1. Einstein: The Rule of 72
    Understanding what a doubling period is, and how the rule of 72 can help you with this concept is important to the start of your investment plan.
  2. Don’t Pass it to the Other Team
    How does the Carleton basketball coach have anything to do with finances? Read and you’ll see a long stretch.
  3. Worst Financial Advice Ever Given
    Where I tell a good friend about something I’d never dream he’d do, with disastrous consequences.
  4. A Script for Customer Retention Deals
    This one, was me simply writing down how I got a good deal on my cable, so I wouldn’t forget, but it is by far the one post that gets many hits a day.

Most of these posts I resurrect over time and will replay, but I really need to send them out and post them on various Carnivals to  use them to draw more readers to my sites, and bring in more links.

Is this post a Pillar Article? Maybe not, but I think my previous posts on How to Post Amazon Ads on a WordPress Blog, might well be.