Irritating Popups, Et Al

Okay, now I’m upset with Problogger, of all people. Why, you may ask? Well, it seems that ever since he wrote this post on How To Drastically Increase Subscriber Numbers To Your Email Newsletter, many people went out and took his advice. And that advice was to add one of those irritating pop-in windows where you screen darkens and you get this advertisement in the middle of the page asking if you’d like to subscribe to a newsletter.

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He said his subscriptions jumped a bunch in only a few days, and that’s all it took. Suddenly, it now seems that every Tom, Dick and Harry has added it to their blog, and man, it’s got to be one of the most irritating things in the world. Of course, these types of things aren’t new, and I even griped about popups before; pop-unders count here also. I even asked at another time how far one was willing to go when it came to promoting themselves.

Oddly enough, it all comes back around to my post on what you’ll do to stomach sales; I guess I could have asked the question “what are you willing to do to irritate people to make sales“. Are the ideas of making sales and irritating people congruent with each other? Is it, in the end, more about conversions than about people?

Of course, while I’m on this particular rant, I might as well add one other thing that irritates me, and that’s media that starts up as soon as I hit a page. I’m not talking about Flash now, because I have to admit that some of those pages are fun to watch. I’m talking about videos that automatically start playing, or sound files of some sort that start playing. Sometimes, you can’t even find where to turn that stuff off, and you just have to turn down the sound on your speakers. It’s one reason I hate MySpace and a reason why I dropped my membership in Black Planet. Both sites take way too long to load, and the sound files are a big part of it. The best thing about the YouTube videos most of us put on our pages is that they don’t just start playing when a visitor shows up.

The biggest problem I have is that I can’t turn any of it off, or stop any of it from happening. I’m running the Firefox plugin Adblock Plus, but it seems not to have the power to overcome any of these things. Heck, maybe it’s just me; maybe I’m too old to appreciate the unasked for media assault on my senses. I just don’t know; what do y’all think?

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Soundtrack Of Your Life

I was reading a wonderful post on the blog Jungle Of Life entitled The Soundtrack of our lives. In the post, he talks about finding three songs that can describe the soundtrack of his life. I decided I just had to try this same thing, and maybe others will come along, sort of our own little meme.

The only rule I set for myself, one that everyone won’t have to deal with, is that I couldn’t use any video that I’ve already got on any of my blog sites. That immediately threw out Ain’t No Stopping Us Now; so be it.

I set to thinking about it, and wondered, well, just what would I want my soundtrack to be. I figure it doesn’t have to totally describe my life as it was, although it could. It could describe the life I want to have also, or maybe a mixture of the two. After all, how much fun would it be if my life had been terrible and every song I picked was a sad one? So, I decided to go in this direction, and here are my songs.

The first song is America’s You Can Do Magic, because I have always said that every day is another chance to do great things with your life. Sometimes, great things can seem magical, even if you’ve set the stage for them to happen. I don’t have a problem with anyone believing great things are magical, hence, this song:

The second song might seem like an odd choice to people who think they know me but don’t really know me. I decided to select Seasons Of Love from the Broadway musical Rent because it talks about how we live our lives and how we deal with love and friendship. I don’t have a lot of new friends, but I have a good number of old friends, people I still correspond with today, and man, there’s nothing better than that. So, song number two:

And finally, how would I really like to live the rest of my life? Heck, how have I wanted to live my life ever since I started thinking about it, dreaming about it, so many years ago?

It’s a strange thing for me, thinking back on my life at this juncture, because I figure I’ve lived three different lives thus far. My first life was as a military kid, traveling around the world with my parents, experiencing some things most people never get to experience, and having it pretty much set the person I was going to be.

That took the first 16 years of my life. My second life was the period of getting adjusted to “normal” life, going to college, trying to find a job and live on my own, trying my hand at the first dream, discovering a career path, and going through some ups and downs in that career path, yet never giving up the dream. That was the next 19 years of my life.

The last 14 years of my life have been the major relationship years, the married years, the years where I have taken more chances than I have at any other point in my life, experienced even more than those first 16 years, and still feel I have a lot more to go, grow, and undergo. Through all those lives, though, there’s been one thing that’s been consistent, the one thing I’ve really always wanted; I want my life to be a CELEBRATION!!!

So, what’s your soundtrack? What do you want it to be? I hope you create your own, and link back here so everyone can enjoy it. And, of course, check out Lance’s post and see what songs represent him.

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My Gripe With Blogger/Blogspot Blogs

I’ve come to a realization of something, and I’m just going to get it out now; I hate Blogger blogs! There, I’ve said it; now I’ll talk about why.

To begin with, I don’t have a Blogger or Blogspot blog; never have, never will. I do have a sign on, though I have no idea how it got there. Actually, I think one of my friends put it on there some years ago when I said I didn’t want to have to log into anything to make comments. This isn’t a new position with me, and I even wrote about it on this blog.

Truthfully, I do understand how one has to log into certain things, such as forums, in order to participate, but I’ve never understood all these people who want you to have to register to leave comments on their blogs, then gripe because no one is commenting on their blogs. Heck, you can’t have it both ways. Just as you have to decide that you’re going to comment on other blogs as well as not waste anyone’s time, you have to decide if you’re going to make it easy or hard to do so.

So, my first gripe is that many Blogger blogs are set up so that the only way you can leave a comment is if you have a Blogger account; I absolutely hate that. My second gripe is that if some blogs do open it up so that you can leave something other than a Blogger account, it limits you to name and link. I guess that’s not overly bad, because many people not on Blogger do that, but I’ve just gotten so used to CommentLuv (no, I’m not linking to it again right now; looks like I’m pimping for Andy!) that I hate not having the opportunity to direct someone to a specific post if I comment on their blogs, though one can easily link to an article from their blog that they want people to see.

My third gripe is just how many Blogger blogs look the same. Come on folks, there’s tons of colors and styles; break it up some. Okay, I’ll own up to this; I hate green, and, even though I live in Syracuse and our local football team is the Orangemen, seeing green and orange together really freaks out my system, and adding that pukey looking brown, or tan, with it,… just too much folks. Anyway, there’s just so much “sameness” to so many Blogger blogs that I don’t even want to bother taking the time to read many of them, as I’m bored as soon as I look at the page. Unfair, I know, but true.

And finally, my fourth gripe, that being that I’ve yet to see a Blogger blog where, if you’re already reading the main post, you can’t just put your information in there and write your comment. Instead, you have to click on “post a comment”, then go into another window to write your post, and not everyone has it set up so that you can click on a link to see exactly what it is you’re commenting on. Yeah, you’d think we’d all remember that, but heck, I’m getting close to 50, and my short term memory sometimes fails me; nope, not proud of that, but it is what it is.

Okay, I guess Andy’s CommentLuv is going to get a little bit of love because he recently modified the program so it will work on Blogger platform, so maybe that will help bring many of those blogs up to what the rest of us have been enjoying with WordPress. And, I will acknowledge that a few people have figured out how to use the Blogger platform and change the look so that it doesn’t look like Blogger anymore, even if it still behaves that way. Man, I much prefer WordPress’ blogging platform; talk about being a “homer”.

I guess I shouldn’t complain; at least I’m not being subjected to eating Nutraloaf. Still, Blogger could do better if you ask me.

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A Point About Commenting On Blogs

Here’s a regular conversation I have with most of my friends:

Them: “Did you see what I wrote on my blog?”

Me: “Yes, I read it; very nice.”

Them: “How come you didn’t comment then.”

Me: “Because you’ve never commented on my blog.”

Them: “I don’t have time to read other blogs, let alone comment on them.”

That, plain and simple, is one reason why there’s so many blogs without comments, and so many people deciding that they’d rather give up the ghost, rather than participate in the process. As I write this, I have at least 10 friends who have blogs. I can count on three fingers how many of them have ever written more than one post on any of my blogs, and my other blog has been in existence at least four years by now. Those without blogs; I can’t even count how many of them have been to each of my blogs more than once. I think that’s a shame.

And it’s not that my friends don’t know about my blogs, or my websites. In each regular email that goes out, all of my websites are in my signature line. In each of my business emails, my business blog is on each one. And for most emails for my other sites, I usually have one blog or the other tucked in there somewhere. On Facebook and Ryze, I have both blogs listed. On every forum that I’m a member of, I have my blogs listed.

Do you notice that little red, moving button on the side there? Basically, it says if you comment, I’ll follow back to your blog and, hopefully, I’ll be able to comment. That’s what CommentLuv does for you also, and if you comment, and your previous blog title looks intriguing, people will follow you to your blog, and comment there. You know, I thought the CommentLuv concept was very easy to understand, but I’m finding that my friends don’t get it, and if they don’t get it, then maybe some of you don’t get it either. If you have a blog and leave your blog address in the little box underneath your email address, CommentLuv will go back to your blog and select your last post to broadcast for folks. And, if you sign up at CommentLuv, then you’ll have the option of selecting from one of your previous 10 posts, in case you’re looking to spread some of your posts around in different places, or if you happen to comment on a particular post on someone’s blog more than once. I even talked about it here.

This post isn’t about pimping for comments; it’s about fairness and balance when it comes to comments of some kind. Sure, the big time bloggers don’t comment much these days, but if you’ve gone back through their archives, back to the days before they were getting tens and hundreds of people commenting, they regularly responded to everyone who posted on their blog, and of course they visited other blogs and commented on them, trying to raise awareness of their own blog.

So, if many of you believe that commenting on other people’s blogs is beneath you, or you don’t have time for it, or you only want to concentrate on your own thing, you’re missing out on a good thing. And, if you’ve read this post, I’m not only happy, but now I can say that you understand what it’s all about, this commenting thing; no excuses anymore.

But don’t leave junk posts like “nice post” or “good job”, and leave it at that. That kind of thing doesn’t do you any good, and it stinks; just ask Chris:

Dealing With Zombies

Taking a moment out for a little fun, suffice it to say that I’ve always had a problem with zombies. Way back in the day, they were slow and plodding, and those were relatively easy to handle. Yet, people always ran inside the house, and that’s how they’d eventually get caught. Nowadays, zombies are actually as fast as the rest of us, sometimes faster, and their stamina is amazing for creatures that supposedly aren’t breathing. And they think; who ever heard of thinking zombies?

Of course all of this is fanciful stuff, and yet, every once in awhile, I’ll have a zombie dream. At different stages of my life, I’ve had series of zombie dreams, and I don’t care how many psychologists say if you have a bad dream just go back to sleep, I’m not doing it because I’ve entered right back into a dream I’ve left more than once in my life.

So, is there any real escape from zombies? Well, how’s about this little video tutorial about it; I wish I’d seen this yesterday, while it was still Halloween, but it’ll work here just as well:

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