December 9, 2012

The future of blogging (at least for me)

Categories: Admin

As you can tell from my monthly archives, I've been blogging a lot less in the past year or two, with only twelve posts this entire year; there used to be some months when I'd post more. Part of it has been some challenges I've had maintaining my blog, but I think I have those worked out now thanks to some help from a Moveable Type expert.

However, I see this same pattern from a lot of my friends' blogging habits. If they're like I am, I share the little things like cool links or short Michael stories via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest these days -- things I used to post here. I feel more pressure for my blog posts to be more thoughtful and richer as a result. You see a lot more photos and longer posts now, but there are a lot fewer of them now.

Truth be told, I miss writing here. I consider my blog to be a diary of my life and thoughts. I really enjoy going back over old posts. I feel like something is missing when I don't write about big things or even small things like new restaurants. Also, my blog is really mine; the stuff I post on other sites is theirs and can disappear in a puff.

So, I'm going to try to write more here going forward and cross post to the other forums instead. I'm not too proud to admit that I like having the comments show up in my blog instead of on Facebook, etc. so feel free to leave notes here...

Posted December 9, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

October 15, 2007

I'm still alive

Categories: Admin

I haven't abandoned the blog, although I know it looks that way. Things have been a little crazy with work and home stuff lately; nothing bad or anything to be worried about. I have a bunch of posts in the queue and hope to get back to writing more regularly Real Soon Now.

In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves...

Posted October 15, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 1, 2007

No More Snap Thumbnails

Categories: Admin

Those of you who read the blog from the site (vs. an RSS feed) may have noticed I was playing with Snap Preview Anywhere. This is a neat service that provides popup thumbnail views as you hover over links on a web page. It was super easy to add to the site (put a few lines at the top of my web page).

Unfortunately, while the idea is interesting, the script they were loading and running was just too slow. It really bogged down the load times of the page.

So, it's gone.

Posted March 1, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 18, 2007

Browser Stats on my Blog

Categories: Admin Random junk

OK, since I'm trolling through my logs this morning, I figured I'd write about the browser and OS stats.

Since January 1, 2007:

  1. Internet Explorer 6.0: 34%
  2. Internet Explorer 7.0: 23%
  3. Opera 9: 10%
  4. Firefox 1.5: 8.9%
  5. Mozilla 5: 7.2%
  6. Firefox 2.0: 3.6%
  7. Netscape: 1.4%
  8. Internet Explorer 5.0: 1.3%
  9. Safari: 1.3%
  10. Firefox 1.0: .7%

I admit the high Opera numbers are really surprising. All told, IE versions account for 65% of my traffic. Mozilla variants including Firefox are 21% and Opera is 11%. These non-IE numbers are higher than the market as a whole, leading me to believe that my readers are more on the tech enthusiast side (a segment that use a broader range of browsers than the population at large.)

These stats don't include the search robots who hit the site. Yahoo visits the site a ton, accounting for 13% of my web traffic. Robots in general are about 20% of my traffic - a surprisingly high cost.

On a separate note, who is out there running all these old browsers? WTF? It's not like they're expensive. Everyone should be running the latest version of their preferred browser, if only for the modern security protections! Come on people!

With respect to operating systems

  1. Windows XP: 65%
  2. Windows Vista: 9%
  3. Linux: 5.8%
  4. Windows 98: 5.7%
  5. Windows 2000: 5%
  6. Windows NT: 4.3%
  7. MacOS: 2%
  8. Windows Server 2003: 1.3%
  9. FreeBSD: .8%
  10. Windows 95: .8%

All Windows versions account for 91% of my viewers. I'm surprised how many more people use Linux than Macs, but that may again reflect my geeky readership. Whoever is out there running Windows 98 or Windows 95 - please, for the love of God, move to something more modern and secure. We don't even provide security updates for Windows 98 or 95 anymore, so you're running naked.

On the ISP front, Comcast is the single biggest provider at 15% with GTE at 10% and MSN at 5%. This skew may be due to the popularity of those providers in the Redmond area.

Unfortunately, I think the other stats are too heavily warped by the robots and comment spammers to be useful (stuff like unique visitors and pages viewed per visit.)

Posted February 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (101) | TrackBack (0)

Most Popular Posts

Warren (a lead developer on the IE team) asked me the other day what posts on my blog have been the most popular, so I thought I'd check the stats.

The list has been reasonably stable for a while now. Here are the top ten articles as measured by page views since Jan 1, 2007.

  1. Pokemon Rocks Seattle! (by a long shot and with a huge, huge lead in comments.)
  2. The Best Rum in the World
  3. The Best Way to Cook Bacon
  4. Amazing video of octopus attacking a shark
  5. Cub Scout Hell
  6. Big Butts (I think people come to this page looking for something else...)
  7. Bud Lite Ads
  8. Changing the Default Source Editor in IE
  9. Call CPS!
  10. World's Best Flashlight

The most popular category searches are

  1. Random Cool Stuff
  2. Travel
  3. Kids
  4. Food and Drink
  5. Random Junk

37% of the traffic on my site is the comments page; given the relatively low number of legitimate comments, I suspect most of this is blog spammers trying to get it (I get hundreds of spam comments per day). 20% of the traffic is my RSS feed, so I'm guessing most people read the site via an aggregator (hopefully IE7!) The home page is the single page with the most traffic at 2.66%.

Google domains from various countries are by far the largest referrers, accounting for a whopping 85% of all my page views. Yahoo domains are a distant second at 6%. Live and MSN total 4.3%. I know my site is just one data point, but it highlights a few things to me. First, Google is completely dominant in the search space; the lead they have is huge. Second, the big three (Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft) really own all the traffic. These three account for over 95% of all my referrals. The others don't even show up.

Anyway, there's your daily dose of trivia.

Posted February 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 30, 2006

To back date or not to back date?

Categories: Admin

Well, I finally posted the entries from my sailing trip. I had written them mostly during the trip, but I couldn't post them due to the lack of connectivity.

When I got around to posting them, I was confronted with an interesting question: should I back date them so the entries appeared on the days the events occurred (and the day I wrote them) or should the dates reflect the date the entry showed up?

This is more than an philosophical topic. For my readers who use the RSS feed, I didn't know what effect the backdating would have, especially since I had made one live post in the middle of the trip. I was concerned it might confuse others who visit the site regularly and suddenly saw entries from previous days.

Despite those concerns, I decided to backdate the entries. Since its inception, the blog has primarily been for me, serving as a journal. I decided to optimize for my usage; I wanted the entries to appear on the day the events occurred.

Any opinions?

Posted September 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

September 9, 2006

Beating Blog Spam

Categories: Admin

As you may have noticed, I've had an ongoing blog spam problem. In many respects you could say that my hobby was deleting blog spam, not writing a blog.

Well, thanks to a tip from Yukino, I installed MT-Akismet, a Moveable Type plug-in that does some anti-spam magic.

It's changed my life. In the past few days, I've deleted maybe three pieces of blog spam that slipped through instead of the hundreds I delete normally. There seems to be a virtually zero false-positive rate as well, judging from the scans of the junked comments I've made.

I now have hours more a day to write meaningless posts that no one reads and to screw around looking for old music on Urge. Happy day!

Posted September 9, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

August 17, 2006

Trying out Windows Live Writer

Screenshot of Windows Live Writer as I wrote this post

I'm writing this post using the Windows Live Writer beta. This is a client application that hooks up to various blog services and allows a more word processor like. Normally, when I write my blog, I use a web form and have to hand-code a bunch of HTML to do things like lists or images. Live Writer makes all that easier.

The setup couldn't have been easier. I just gave it the URL for my blog and my username/password. It figured out what blog software I used, and it imported all my styles and categories automatically. When I write this, it uses the styles from my blog, so I can easily see how everything will look. There's even a view that shows the draft post injected into my blog, so I can see it context.

The spell checking will be a huge plus too. Right now, background spell checking (you know, the red squiggles) doesn't appear to be working, but I'm sure it will be before release. The build also has some bugs; it crashed on me on my Vista box at work and lost my post. Life in the fast lane, I guess.

Still, this seems awesome. The UI is straightforward and clean. I can't wait to try it out over time. Give it a whirl and tell me what you think!

Posted August 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 31, 2006

Got my first Google Adsense check

Categories: Admin

I just got my first check for the ads on my site. It was enough for a very nice bottle of whisky (which is likely what I'll buy). I think this is my first hobby that has generated any money. Not enough to retire on, but it's fun.

Google won't sent the check until you have $100 in the account. I got to this point more quickly than I expected when I first started with the ads in November of last year. (Traffic has been picking up slowly). I admit it was fun to watch the money add up - a quarter here, a dime there. I haven't really done anything to optimize the ads; this was just a grand experiment. I will say that the Google guys have done a good job here.

Thanks to everyone for clicking the ads!

Posted July 31, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

April 5, 2006

Upgraded to Moveable Type 3.2

Categories: Admin

I upgraded the version of the blogging software I'm using. It was surprisingly easy, but I'm still shaking out some of the bugs (like the bad looking search results page.) Let me know if you're seeing anything else. Thanks.

Posted April 5, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 26, 2005

Messing around with Google AdSense

Categories: Admin

As you may have noticed, I've added Google AdSense ads to my blog. This is mostly to check out what the Google experience is, but I admit that if a little money came my way, that would be fine too.

It was certainly trivial to set up. I signed up for an account and waited to be approved. A day later, I logged into their AdSense code page, filled out a form, and then copied the code it generated into the appropriate spots on my web pages. The hardest part was picking the colors.

So far the ads have been reasonably well chosen. My gear and running pages produce more actionable ads than the kids' pages, but I guess that's to be expected. I don't like the ads it comes up with on my IE content, but again, I suppose there are no surprises here.

Anyway, let me know what you think.

Posted November 26, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 10, 2005

Google Top 10s

Categories: Admin

It's kind of amazing to me how my silly blog winds up coming up high on Google search resuls. I don't think many people really read this blog or link to it, so I admit I'm a bit confused as to why this site pops up on Google so prominently.

Anyway, here's a sample of some of the searches (other than for Tony Chor) result in top 10 hits (links are to the articles):

It's interesting to note that none of these are in the top ten on MSN Search. I guess I should have a word with the MSN guys...

Posted July 10, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

January 18, 2005

Take that you comment spammers!

Categories: Admin

I'm super pleased about a new weapon against comment spammers. The top search engines including Google, Yahoo, and MSN, will ignore links that have the rel="nofollow" attribute set. Thanks to a plug-in from Movable Type (the maker of my blog software), this tag gets added to all of the URLs in the comments and trackbacks that people post. If the search engines ignore those links, there will be way less incentive for comment spammers to do their nasty deeds since their links will not increase their page rank.

Nice to see the industry doing something good together without a ton of bureaucracy and worries over IP.

Thanks to Scoble for pointing this out.

(Also, I should note that although Movable Type only tested the plug-in on MT 2.664 and above, it appears to work fine on my 2.64 installation.)

Posted January 18, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0)

January 2, 2005

Great article on fighting blog spam

Categories: Admin

Jay Allen, author of my beloved MT-Blacklist, recently wrote a great article on how to fight blog spam using MT-Blacklist. I learned a few tips that will greatly improve my success on this front.

Getting the most out of MT-Blacklist by Jay Allen.

Posted January 2, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

November 25, 2004

Happy Anniversary

Categories: Admin

It's been a year since I started this blog. I didn't know what to expect or have anything particular in mind when I started it, other than it seemed to be an interesting thing to do.

There have been a few surprises, some pleasant, some not.

  • Stories about Michael are far and away the most popular. People seem to like hearing about his evil ways.
  • Comment spam is a tremendous pain-in-the-ass. Thank God for MT-Blacklist.
  • I'm always surprised by people outside my circle of friends who read the site and comment. It's also been a way for old friends and family to find me.

I'm not sure what the next year will bring, but I'll just keep adding entries and we'll see.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted November 25, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 14, 2004

More MT Blacklist Lovin'

Categories: Admin

Have I recently mention how much I love MT Blacklist? It's so wonderful.

I have a new thing I like doing for a little lift; I look at the log file for my blog and see how many comment spammers MT Blacklist has stopped. It makes me smile. Score one for the good guys.

Posted August 14, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

July 10, 2004

Comment spam hell

Categories: Admin

As some of you have noticed, I've had a little issue with comment spam -- site operators who put their URLs in my comments to get their Google ratings to go up. It wasn't a big deal for a long time; I'd get onesy-twosy spams. Then, this week, I got something like 80/day (virtually one on every article). Aside from fact I didn't want links to porn sites in my comments (at least ones I hadn't put there...) it became a major pain to remove them.

Fortunately, there's a great Moveable Type (my blog engine) extension called MT-Blacklist that allows you to block comments by domain (vs. the useless IP banning built into Moveable Type) as well as remove comments by domain. Best of all it's free. That said, I've already gotten enough value that I'll donate to the author, Jay Allen.

I'm sure I'm the last blogger to discover MT-Blacklist, but if you haven't added it to your blog, you should do it today.

Posted July 10, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 23, 2003

Getting started

Categories: Admin

Ok, trying again after messing around with the site (and getting randomized by that silly work thing). Let's hope it works this time!

Posted November 23, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0)