All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

3 Firefox Scripts I Use To Alter Google Search

Do you want to know why I love Firefox? Because it offers the ability to set things up so you can do stuff that none of the other browsers can do, especially Chrome because, well, Chrome doesn’t want you to do any of what I’m about to share with you.

I’m going to share 3 scripts I use to alter Google searches. These modify the Google page as well as hides information Google tracks on you. To use these scripts, you first have to add an extension called Greasemonkey, which I’ve talked about in the past. These scripts, created by other users, then allow you do alter things like what I’m about to share with you.

The first script is something called Hide Google Sidebar. You know how they added that thing that pushes all your information to the right? I hate that thing, and this script will make sure that doesn’t ever bother you again. Of course, I found that I liked being able to access in the past when searching for images (such as looking for images of a certain size), but I can deal with not being able to do that anymore.

The second script is called Remove Google Search Ads. You know those Google ads that you’re always getting served on the right side? I don’t see any of that. Yeah, I know they really want me to see those things, but I’m not in the mood to have them on my search page. I see them in so many other places, and I want to see my entire screen with just the links to websites I’m looking at.

This leads me to the last one, and this one’s a doozy. The script is called Don’t Track Me Google and it’s a very interesting script. I’ll explain it this way. Go do a Google search for anything.

When the page comes up, right click on the link, slide down and copy the link location, then paste that link into your Notepad application, or any other text program you have. You’ll see a whole bunch of stuff that’s not quite the link the Google page tells you that you’re going to. That’s actually how Google tracks where you’re going when you go to a page from their search engine. That’s how they know if someone that ends up clicking on an ad came from the search, which they get paid more money for and thus pays publishers (writers; that be us lol) more, and that’s also how they start determining what ads to show you.

When you add this last script, if you right click and copy the link you’ll see the same link the search page is showing you, nothing else added. Now they can’t track you; neat eh? You have to know that they still keep records of stuff you’re searching; no getting around that. But it’s something different than tracking where you’re going from their site.

That’s that; you now have a bit more control over your workspace and your privacy. You can thank me later. πŸ™‚
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

Google Analytics Real Time Reporting

By now I’m betting that most people know that if you run Google Analytics you can look at your websites and see if anyone is on there that moment and what they’re looking at. If you didn’t know it, well, you do now. If you did, I’m betting that 90% of you haven’t gone to take a look, and that 90% of you that haven’t gone to take a look aren’t even sure how to do it. I’m taking care of that for you right now.

The first thing you do is to log into your Google Analytics program. Then you decide which website you track is the one you want to look at. If you only have the one then you’re good to go; I’m tracking more than 20 so I have to click on the website, and once it opens I click on the link next to the word “default”.

Once you have your main window open and you’re looking at the stuff you’re used to seeing you go up and click on the word “Home”. Once you’ve done that you then click on “real time (beta)”. That opens up something that looks like the image below:

What you’re seeing here is that when I went to look at whether or not someone was on this blog at the time I was looking at it, I saw 2 people were there. At the top you’ll see that it tracks how long someone is on the site at the present time, and if there were any bars on the right side at the top it would mean they just got there and had been there less than 60 seconds. On the left side at the top is minutes; the small bars tells you how many minutes a person has been on a particular article, while the big bars tells you how long someone’s been on your site. I have to admit that looking at this it’s kind of freaky that someone’s been on the site for that long, but then I don’t always close the windows of blogs or websites I visit when I’m done looking at them.

What you can’t see in this picture is that below here it will tell you the keywords someone used to end up on your site, if they came through a search engine, and then where in the world the person’s accessing your site from. Man, I never knew there were that many cities in the world I’d never heard of, let alone can’t pronounce.

When you look at your menu (where “real time” is) on the left you can check out location, traffic sources and content, which closely mirror what you see on the main real time page, but will give you a bit more if you have more than one or two people on the site at a time. I’ve been checking in on this here and there for about a week, just getting used to seeing it. It’s late night here on the East Coast of the U.S. as I’m writing this, so only seeing 2 people on this late at night makes sense; one of the people was in some city in Asia, but I can’t tell you where (I don’t think it’s Carl, but I wouldn’t be surprised). During one day I did an experiment where I tweeted a link to an article just to see what would happen and I had 6 people on at one time; that was kind of cool.

Just something else you can do with Google Analytics that I should I’d share; give it a shot some day.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

Black Web Friday – 3/9/12

Welcome to Black Web Friday; is the message starting to spread yet? I have to say that February was interesting because I saw a few more people across the web that were highlighting black social media people or bloggers and that was pretty neat. Of course, it was Black History month as well, and so far I haven’t found anyone who’s written about it in March except for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening, so if you find another list anywhere be sure to drop me a line; if my name is on it let me know sooner! πŸ™‚

Black Web Friday

Here we go, and today might as well also be called Ladies Day. I’m starting off with my buddy Vernessa Taylor, who writes Local Business Coach Online. She talks about business development, both online and offline, social media, affiliate marketing, blogging, and a whole lot more. She also created the neat covers for my book on management and my management CD set which you see there on the left (go ahead, look at it, click on it to learn more, and then think about buying; I dare you lol). She also does business coaching, and has her categories lined up pretty neatly in the header. You’ll learn a lot from this blog with a standard commenting system.

Next we have the blog eponymously named Marlee Ward, and she talks about business; being in business, making business decisions, business motivation, etc. She gives a lot of tips to people thinking about working for themselves and man, is this a blog I need to read every once in awhile for a pick-me-up. I loved her post on figuring out when you’ve made it; great stuff. She also does business coaching, and one of these days I just might have to look her up for that.

The next blog is LogAllot by Sonia Winland, and it’s also a blog about business and business tips. She also talks about blogs and blogging design, as well as travel; that’s somewhat different from the norm. She’s got great taste as well as she included me in on her blogs of the month series in February. You might think this is a bit of quid pro quo but she was already on the list to be highlighted.

Business is the theme today and that brings us to the last person being highlighted, Pamla Whorne. Her blog is also about business and business tips, as well as marketing, publicity, blogging and being online. She does consulting, speaking, and teaching, has courses, and is a published author. She considers herself a social media junkie and technology geek; aren’t we all? πŸ™‚ This lady knows how to market; I definitely need to study her lessons better.

That’s it for this week; have a great and safe weekend.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

What It Takes To Play Empire Avenue

Back in October, I wrote about this kind of interesting online stock market type of game called Empire Avenue. It’s like playing the stock market, only it’s based on social media, or some of it. At the time I had only been playing a couple of weeks, so the jury was still out. I thought it was time for a follow up on the whole thing.

Basically, this is how the game works. You are judged based on how you participate in social media. When I initially joined, I thought that a part of its purpose was to help you make connections through your social media outlets; that’s not quite true unfortunately, although I have made some. Instead, there are things you’re kind of expected to do in order to get your stock price, since everyone has a price, to go up, thereby encouraging others to invest in you, which is also what helps your price go up.

A bit more detail. When you create an account, the expectation is that you’re going to link to all of your social media outlets. This means Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, your blogs, and other accounts if you have them. This is how they track how much you’re participating in social media.

They also then track how much activity you have on the game itself. This second part doesn’t seem to impact your growth at all, but instead impacts whether you’ll fall or not. By this I mean that it helps the worth of your account, which they track in eaves instead of a true monetary thing, go up or down. You can acquire great wealth in game terms; I’m worth more than $3.5 million at this point, but its virtually meaningless because wealth is only how you get to gauge yourself; it’s not anything that people use in evaluating whether or not they should buy your shares.

What makes you valuable? How much you participate in certain ventures. Blogging on self hosted platforms means virtually nothing because, like Klout, they don’t have a real way of evaluating its importance. For instance, I have 5 blogs and occasionally I’ve had 5 blog posts on the same day. But it’s not counted for almost anything so I could pretty much eliminate my blogs from consideration without having it affect the game. However, if I had a WordPress.com blog, or a Tumblr blog, for the game those can be measured, and thus people with those platforms get a lot of juice; the same probably can be said for Blogger blogs, but I’m not as sure about those.

What I’ve noticed is that if I post a lot of things on Facebook my growth the next day is, well, growth, and good growth. This more I post, the higher it is. Posting things on Twitter don’t count as much unless you’re posting things and including their name in on it; that’s why you see so many people with these things flying on Twitter all the time; it promotes the site, they like it and reward you for it. I’m a big user of Twitter for the most part, and thus you’d expect that my score would reflect that but it doesn’t unless combined with a lot of things being put on Facebook.

I have to do that because I don’t have a lot of activity on LinkedIn, I don’t have a Four Square account, I don’t have a Flickr account and I don’t have an Instagram account. Other than Twitter, I’m really not someone out there posting stuff just to be doing it, and I only know about the Facebook thing because I did an experiment. Truthfully, if you participate minimally on Empire Avenue but a lot elsewhere, you’ll benefit a lot. Actually, the game pretty much ignores LinkedIn as well unless it doesn’t have anything else to look at; that’s in their rules as well.

A prime example is the account for Chris Pirillo, who many people know as one of the top social media personalities in the country. I have him on my watch list because he’s in the top 3 for highest stock price, and is almost always in some manner of growth. His most recent week (as of Sunday) looked something like this:

* 31 Empire Avenue Actions this week

* 81 Facebook Posts, 1393 Comments, 2866 Likes this week

* 214 Tweets posted this week

* 4 upload sets to Flickr this week

* 63 Videos posted to YouTube this week

* 42 blog posts this week

Notice that he barely participates on the site? But look at everything else; which of us as an individual could even think of coming close to doing this much stuff? I can match the tweets, but that’s about it.

In the long run one has to determine what they’re playing the game for. If it’s to try to get a really high score you might have to think about what else you’re willing to give up to get it done. I have read where some people say they spend 3 to 4 hours a day working on trying to get their stock price up; that’s just incredible. I almost dropped this game a month ago because I was thinking that it’s way too much work. I mean, I play games to win, and now that I know the commitment it would take to win this game, I know I’m not up to it. After all, I have to try to make money right?

I have connected with a few people, but I think I’ve only really talked to 2 of them. As I stated in the previous post, conversation on the site is pretty much nonexistent. I did join a community here and there, but either the group was fairly dead or it involved people mainly posting links here and there but not getting any comments and not commenting on anything. Frankly, I’d rather take my chances with the blogs. πŸ™‚

What will I do? It’s something I have to consider within the next couple of weeks. I do have some fun, but now that I know that participating in the game as far as buying and selling shares of others really has no impact on my price, and knowing that I’m tired of posting things to Facebook just for the sake of raising my score on Empire Avenue instead of because I found something in my travels that I think others might want to see, it might be time for it to go the way of Klout for me and just stop playing and take my attentions elsewhere.

Definitely something to think about. After all, I have gotten some Twitter followers out of it, and about 75% of the meager number of people subscribed to my YouTube account came from this game. But without any interaction is it really reaching my objectives for the amount of time I’d have to put into it? If you play, do you have any thoughts on this?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

Nook 8GB Tablet – Product Review

I don’t do a lot of product reviews, mainly because I don’t go out of my way to buy a bunch of things. However, I did write one last October when I purchase my Toshiba laptop, which I still love. What I didn’t talk about back then is that days after I bought that I bought my wife a Barnes & Noble Nook 8GB color tablet, which you see in the image there. I’m ready to review it now.

B&N NOOK Tabletβ„’ 8GB

The reason I’ve waited to review it is that it took us a long time to figure it out. Actually, it took my wife a long time to figure it out, and since it was hers I stayed out of the way until she started asking me questions about it. Not that it’s overly complicated but she’s not technologically advanced; hey, she’d tell you that herself! lol

At around 7 ounces, 6 1/2 inches high and 5 inches wide, the Nook Color model is a beautiful thing. The colors are sharp and when you’re reading it’s really clear. Something this particular Nook has that none of the others versions have is its own light, which means you can read it in the dark or in dark places. And you can still read it in sunlight, although at this time of year in the Syracuse area that’s not a problem we have a lot of trouble with.

Just to throw this out there, CNET ranks the Nook higher than the Kindle Fire, mainly because of the screen resolution, the ability to expand storage to 32GB, and some physical controls. Oh yeah, PC World also ranks it higher; go figure!

It took us a bit of time trying to figure out where to add the chip, but we popped a 16GB chip in there instead. The sound quality is pretty good and you don’t need to use the earphones to listen to it. That’s a good thing because my wife loves listening to books on tape but hates wearing those suckers.

It can also access the internet if there’s wireless access, which we have in the house and which every Barnes & Noble store has. That’s a good thing because with the Nook, if you take it with you to their store you can access any music or ebooks on their system for free for up to an hour; I’m not sure if that’s total or each, but it adds a nice touch if you want to sample a lot of different things. My wife loves to sample the audio books sometimes when we go. And something else about the Nook is that the store offers classes that you can take; anyone know which Amazon store you can go to for classes… oh yeah, there are NO Amazon stores! lol

With the extra access, something else we’ve been able to do is load more books onto the Nook. You have to download a program so you can transfer files over, but you can put books on there that you can get from the library, which is pretty cool.

Frankly, my wife has never been a big reader, but suddenly she’s reading more, as well as listening to books, because she says she can read it easily and it doesn’t hurt her eyes, and she can also turn off all the lights and read if she wants to, which I’ll own up to as being rare because she usually immediately falls asleep once she gets too relaxed.

Anyway, I can say without reservation that my wife is glad we spent the extra bit of money on the color Nook, and look at this, now it’s going for $199, as when we bought it the sucker was $249. There are accessories for it, including cases, but they’ll cost you. Oh, one more thing; just like Amazon, Barnes & Noble offers free books you can download, but right now theirs are only on Fridays. Still, if you find what you like it’s not a bad deal.

If you’re thinking about buying one click on the book in this post or the upper link. Come on, you know you want to. πŸ˜‰
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell