When Lack Of Time Gets In The Way

Some of you have probably noticed that I’ve been off my normal schedule the last couple of weeks. This is proof that even with one of the better imaginations and with having lots of things to write about at a moment’s notice that things aren’t always under your control.

I don’t offer these things as excuses, but I figure I might as well mention what’s been going on, some of which you may already know.

1. My grandmother is still in the hospital. There’s the possibility that she’s going to be moved to a nursing home tomorrow, but I’m holding my breath on this one. That’s because we’ve already had two false alarms, which has distressed my mother and which caused me to, in my own way, castigate the social worker who allowed it to occur, in my opinion. There have also been many other issues that have shown me how the medical field is either really lacking or that they just treated my grandmother with less than proper care; believe it or not I don’t see them as just picking on her, which means things are worse than I can imagine.

2. I’ve been on the road. I’ve got a consulting gig, which has had me out of town here and there, including the last couple of days; actually, I was out of town today as well, but I just got home about an hour ago and wanted to get something out. Most of the project I’ll be working on will be at home, which means I should be able to keep to my normal schedule most of the time. I had expected that I’d be able to write from Connecticut, where I was, but it seems that the higher you are in a hotel, the worse the internet connection is. I was on the 16th floor, which offered a great view but my connection was so slow, whether I was wireless or not, but I lost interest in being on the computer at all. How funny things are; less than 20 years ago I’d have killed for the speed I was getting in the hotel, but these days with 15 MBPS as my standard, a slow connection is irritating as sin.

3. Because of this consulting gig, I’ve been inundated with paper. You wouldn’t believe how much paper, or electronic file information, I’ve been receiving. All of this is just prep work, believe it or not. I have tons more coming, which could be somewhat overwhelming. And yet, I believe the information I’ll be getting will be much easier to digest than all the information I’ve been getting. Because I’ve been traveling for work and traveling for my grandmother I’ve had to try to catch up with all that reading when I got home; that’s been tough. And that’s not all.

4. Because of the other two things, I’d fallen way behind on my other work. I do have some regular clients, and normally I get all my work done for the month within the first week of each month, so I can concentrate on other things. This time around, it just didn’t happen. So, I’ve been filling some of my other time with work, time I normally put to blogging.

All that and I get home to learn that there’s a bear running around town that no one seems to know how to find, but someone got a picture of it; sheesh! lol Anyway, I hope that I’ll be able to get back on a normal schedule tomorrow; man, so I have a lot to say!

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Google Really Is Everywhere!

As y’all know, I just got a new smartphone. On Thursday night my wife and I went to a training class on how to use the sucker. We learned a lot of stuff, but one thing in particular has finally convinced me that Google really is everywhere and pretty much owns us; yup, they really do.

To use my particular smartphone to its fullest capability one has to have a Google account. It turns out my wife has a Google email account, which I knew of but she’s never used it. I obviously have a Google account because of Adsense, but it turns out that according to Google I also have an email address, which I never knew because I never set up a Gmail account. They just up and gave me one; I still have no idea how to access it or if I should access it because I’m worried about what might be in there. lol

As I started to think about it I realized that I, and probably a lot of people, are already owned by or used by Google in some fashion. Let’s see how all of this works:

1. Gmail. Okay, that one’s pretty easy to understand.

2. Adsense & Adwords. Once again, pretty easy to understand.

3. Feedburner – many people don’t know that Google owns them as well. So, whenever you create a RSS feed through there you’re working with Google.

4. YouTube – yup, they own YouTube as well. As a matter of fact, I’m now wondering if, when I created my Google account, they gave me the YouTube username that I now “enjoy”, since I don’t ever remember signing up for it.

5. Google Apps – I don’t use any of these, but I know a lot of people do. I’ve read some shared documents that people have stored on Google, and I’m not sure but I think one has to have a Google account to view them, even if they didn’t have a Google account for anything else.

6. Google now has both a browser and its own operating system. And there are still tons of folks using both Google toolbar and Google desktop search; I’m a user of the latter.

7. Of course there’s Google itself, the search engine. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t pony up Google first, or at least at some point during their day if they’re on the computer.

There’s no despair as I write this, just acceptance. There’s also no fear; it seems that, based on the fact that I haven’t played any online poker at all since the government raid, that I’m not really missing it all that much, which means if something happened and Google decided to try to whip my behind I’d survive and find something else to do. Of course they’re not going to do that; who am I to them, other than the fact that they took my page rank away on this blog, as well as the possibility of having Adsense, which I never made any money from here anyway, and they’ve never responded to anything I’ve ever sent them.

I feel like I’m missing something; anyone know what it might be?

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Subscribing To Comments… Not Me!

I seem to be seeing two things occurring more often these days to try to get around spam; at least I assume it’s trying to get around spam. One is that more people are moderating their comments; the second is that more people are having you double opt-in to comments by sending you an email asking you to subscribe to comments.

Since I’ve talked often enough about why I don’t like comment moderation, I’ll move onto the second one, which I’ve mentioned here and there but I’m unsure if it’s something I’ve ever addressed on its own.

I hate the double opt-in system. I’m betting some of you are saying “it’s not double, since I’m only sending an email once.” That’s what double opt-in; remember the days when everyone that had a newsletter required you to confirm that it was actually you requesting it by sending you an email asking if it was you? Remember how, instead of consistently doing it, you just stopped subscribing to any newsletters because you didn’t want to be bothered, especially if there wasn’t any notification that you were going to have to do it?

I do. I had a newsletter, and I did the double opt-in thing for a couple of months many years ago after I got a rash of emails saying that they hadn’t subscribed to my newsletter, even though I had their email address. So I went to the double opt-in system, only to find that more than half the people who got it decided they didn’t want to play the game and never finished subscribing.

I really wasn’t all that surprised since I had already started doing that myself. However, I had put it on my newsletter page that I was going to do it, which make me think that I at least had given some kind of warning about it so people should have been expecting it.

Frankly, I see it as another way the internet gets cluttered with lots of digital garbage that never quite goes away because it’s somewhat unnecessary. There aren’t all that many people that are sneakily subscribing someone to someone else’s newsletter, although there are definitely a lot of people who will add you to theirs without your asking, just because they met you somewhere. The same goes for spam.

My blog does pretty well, and if I’m not all that bothered by the relatively low amount of spam I get because of the plugins I use, I can’t figure out why anyone else would be. Yeah, I know about the sneaky spam like the type I wrote about, but it’s like when you were in school and the teacher punished everyone in class because of that one kid that always acted stupid; remember how no one liked that?

I’m just saying that it’s not quite logical in today’s age to punish everyone for the sins of the few. At least I’m not doing it and you can bet I’m not playing either. There are always other ways folks, and they’re easier to deal with.

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Is There A Best Time Of Day For A Blog Post?

I have spent a lot of time considering the question posed in the title of this post. I have read where people have stated certain things about when the best time is to have a blog post show up and overall it’s mainly based on guessing rather than any real science. Well, I’m not a scientist, but I figured I’d talk about what I’ve noticed and leave it at that.


by Robbert van der Steeg

The first thing I’ve noticed is that I get notified of my blog showing up in feeds usually around 8PM. Now, I’m not sure if that’s a universal time for everyone or if it’s just my universal time and everyone else has it at the same moment but different time based on where they are but that’s how it works for me; yes, I subscribe to all my own posts so I can make sure they come through properly on all my blogs. All of them will show around the same time whether or not I’ve posted them live or wrote them ahead of time to post. So, whenever I put out a post, I always try to have it out before 8PM my time.

However, that’s just when it shows up. What about when I actually post? I have experimented with different posting times based on traffic and two things seem to happen. One, I have a group of people who will comment fairly early if I get a post out between 9AM and 10AM my time. Most of those people are either in the U.S. or in Australia; very strange indeed. When I was sending posts out between 10AM and 11AM most of the time they were being ignored. And if I send it out in the afternoon, when I thought more people on the East Coast had a chance to see it, they were ignored as well. So I’ve settled on an initial posting time between 9 and 10AM.

I’ve also experimented with reposting my articles at some time in the evening here and there. What I’ve seen doing that is a few people might pop over, but most of them are coming by overnight, once I’ve finally gone to bed, which either means they’re seeing my repost late or are just getting around to the original in their readers. Frankly I’m not really sure, but based on how fast Twitter moves I’m thinking it’s probably people seeing the original post.

However, there is one last metric to look at, that being Google Analytics. Over the last month I’ve made sure all my original posts on this blog have gone out between 9 and 10AM. Based on traffic, the top 3 time periods where this blog gets the most visitors are 9-10AM with 5.46%, 1-2PM at 5.39%, and 4-5PM at 5.35%. The first one makes sense, as that’s when I’m posting. The other two times… no idea.

I’m not sure what to conclude based on the numbers here. I could say it’s proof that most people come when I post, but it’s barely above the other two times so that makes no real sense. Based on when I get the feed in my reader it makes no sense. Therefore, overall I’d have to say that it seems that there’s no good time to post, and thus people should just post their articles whenever they feel the most comfortable.

Heck, I kind of like that; no real rules to follow; who’s with me? 🙂

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Smartphone Madness

Last weekend I went with my wife to the local AT&T store to upgrade our phones. Our anniversary is today, but last Sunday was Mother’s Day and there was a special on phones across the board. We went in with no expectations except to exchange the phone that AT&T sent her as a replacement when we had problems with them late last year.

We got lucky as we walked into the store because there was only one person working there and no one else was in the store at the time. The guy spent a lot of time talking to us, and eventually we decided on getting a HTC Inspire 4G, which would be the first “new” phone we’ve ever bought. Every other phone we’ve bought had already been discontinued but had a great price. In this case because of the holiday they were offering the phones at $49.99 each. Sure, we had to go through that long process of setting it all up, but at the end of the day we went home with our first ever smartphones.

The problem? No bars in the house, and very few elsewhere most of the time. For all that AT&T touts themselves to be, over the course of the 11 years we’ve been in this house we’ve rarely had much access to service. With the previous phone I had, the Motorola Razr, at least I rarely had any of my text messages bouncing back. With the new phone, which I thought was supposed to be a major improvement, I couldn’t get a text message to leave the house half the time I tried; same with my wife. But we’ve had people come to the house using Verizon and being able to have total access and use their phones in any way possible.

Over the course of the first week I called AT&T customer service twice. The first time they supposedly sent out a signal booster to both of our phones; nothing happened. The second time the guy said I had to do a full system wipe of my phone, which would cause me to lose everything on it, but that it should work; it didn’t.

If you know nothing else about me know this; I’m kind of a loyal guy. I got my first cell phone in 1995 when the company was called Cellular One. They went through a couple of takeovers until AT&T got them a few years ago, and overall I never thought much about leaving them; it’s just not my style. However, this was the final straw, and it followed my wife not having any bars anywhere she went last Saturday when I was out of town, which left us unable to contact each other.

Last night we went back to the mall knowing we were going to switch from AT&T to Verizon. The picture you see above is the phone I have now. Actually, it’s almost the same phone I had before. This is an odd thing but both phones are from the same company, HTC, and when you look them up on Google they’ll appear as the same thing. But AT&T calls it the Inspire; Verizon calls it the Thunderbolt. And there are a few other changes as well. There was a $200 price difference for each phone, which was kind of irksome, but that’s because the Thunderbolt comes with a 32G SD card; sweet! It also comes with unlimited internet access, whereas the Inspire came with only 2GB; how does one measure how many GBs they’re using online anyway?

The Thunderbolt is slightly smaller, so all the accessories except for the carrying case are too big, and thus we have to get new stuff. The off/on buttons are on opposite sides of each other, as are the volume control buttons. But almost everything else is the exact same. I’m not sure why they do that but so be it. Oh yeah, the Thunderbolt also allows you to take pictures on both sides of the phone; yeah, I won’t be taking many pictures of myself, and y’all probably need to be happy about that.

As far as canceling the deal with AT&T? You get 30 days once you sign a new contract to cancel, and that’s a great thing. And for once, even though it was in the contract, this guy didn’t charge us for the restocking fee, which I think he just forgot about because he didn’t even ask why we wanted to cancel out. If we’d had the same guy we bought the phones from I think it would have been different.

As to the new people? Well, because of all the traffic, strange for a Monday night at this particular mall, we were actually there past closing time, but the two people there showed us a few things we could do with our phone that we hadn’t figured out over the week we’d had them. And some strange anomalies that had occurred previously with the other phones seemed to solve themselves as well.

But the most important thing… we have bars in the house! I don’t have all 4 bars, but I have 2 bars, more than I had most of the time with my other phones over the course of years. I should have done this years ago, but it’s that loyalty thing again. Loyalty needs to be earned from all corners; I need to start holding companies as accountable as I do people.

But I’m happy today, and my wife is happy, and at 14 years together it’s a nice thing. 🙂

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell