All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Do You Comment On Blog Links You Share?

The act of sharing what other people create is one of the most selfless things a person can do online. Just knowing that someone has read a post of mine and thought enough of it to retweet it or like it for Facebook or even every once in awhile send the link to someone else is an email is a joy.

However, I’ve noticed something else that makes me wonder a little bit about the practice. I notice that for the most part links that are shared on Twitter and Facebook by people don’t end up showing any comments by the people doing the sharing. Now, I can understand that to a degree because I don’t write a comment on every single blog post that I retweet. But I do one of two things; I either comment on the blog post itself or I make a comment on the link when I retweet if there’s room, which is another story entirely.

Anyway, when I see these things on a recurring basis, it makes me wonder if those people actually went to look at the post they’re retweeting. I think that also is what my mom would call a “sometimey” proposition. I know I’ve clicked on a link, looked at a post that’s abysmal, then asked the person who shared the link why they shared it. Only a couple of times has one of those people responded, and they were then ashamed they hadn’t gone to see what they were sharing. That’s dangerous because suddenly your credibility can come into question.

I was reading Tristan’s blog Thursday night where he talked about the number of retweets one of his blog posts got. He also did some metrics in looking at the numbers. The general conclusion was (my paraphrasing it all) that it’s great to have people retweet your content, but it doesn’t always translate to visitors, and it doesn’t always translate to new subscribers.

And thus, it seems that having people comment is a nice way to go, or maybe write about the post on your blog and find other ways to share what you think about a blog post that might have a little extra bit of meaning. I’m not saying to not retweet posts; I’m saying that sometimes it’s nice to see an extra comment somewhere, especially a comment on a blog post. It might do more good long term.

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What Little Thing Can Make You Smile?

I thought I’d go in a different direction today because, well, we’re hoping our weather goes in a much different direction today. Yesterday was miserable in central New York.

The temperatures were initially predicted to get into the mid 50’s. Instead, we had periods of snow all day which brought along these very high winds. And it wasn’t that fluffy snow that people look at and say “awwww”, it was hard, beady snow that hurt. Most of us complained loudly; yeah, I was part of that crowd. It’s just the kind of day that makes us all miserable, even though we’ve had snow later in the season than this.

However, even with that misery there was some joy to be found. If you look to the right there you’ll see that I wrote a post on my business blog titled “Think Like You’re Awesome”; I think that’s a post you might enjoy checking out, and it’s something that made me happy.

In general I think it’s easier to be sad than happy, yet sometimes it doesn’t take much to get us laughing or smiling. For instance, I posted a video of a puppy falling asleep that people seemed to like a lot, and I posted a video of laughing babies, this first one having quads laughing, the second one on New Years Day with lots of videos of babies laughing.

Sometimes all it takes is someone else or something else having a good time. And to me, Fridays are the day for that type of thing, when we’re all hoping to unwind from what might have been a tense week of work or issues. To this end, I present Cookie the Penguin. Make sure you watch until the end, then try to tell me this didn’t make you smile:

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Make Your Blog Available Via Kindle

I guess it was time for me to push this blog to the next level, and I owe it all to our friend Allan Douglass and his post titled Now Available on Kindle. In essence, he found out about a neat little deal where you could sign your blog up with Amazon such that people can subscribe to your blog and view it on their Kindle readers.


Volcano by Chris Leavens

I thought that was just the coolest thing, but thought about it for awhile because, well, like most minds, you sit around trying to figure out why anyone would want to pay to read your blog when they can read it for free on their computers or laptops. I waited a couple of months, pondering it all the while, until I came to this thought; it’s not up to me to determine what someone else might want to spend their money on.

Sometimes that’s a hard thing for people in business to come to grips with. It’s like a friend of mine told me many years ago when I created a product that I felt anyone else could create if they just spend some time on it, “Yeah, but you did it, and if they don’t have to think about it they just might buy it.”

And so it goes. Now, Allan sells something that will tell you how you can set it up, so I’m not going to steal his thunder there. I will say that I figured out how to set it up on my own, though it might have been easier doing it his way; I guess I’ll never know. lol

Anyway, I set this blog up and my business blog, and I have a little image there to the right offering the service, so I decided not to put the same exact image here, going with something else instead (I figured I’d add one of my Imagekind/Share-a-Sale product images up there, plus I was talking about volcanoes with some people yesterday). However, I will put the link to the Amazon page where you can find this blog if you wish to subscribe, or if anyone else wishes to subscribe.

They charge 99 cents a month; heck, for the year that’s only the cost of a small pizza (yes, I calculate things based on pizza). Unfortunately you can only read and not comment, but since the majority of folks subscribed through Feedreader are only reading anyway, here’s another way to enjoy seeing some of the goofy stuff I come up with.

As always, happy reading!

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Upgrading Your Technology Isn’t Always A Good Idea

Every week I’m getting some kind of alert that some software application needs to be updated. Most of the time it’s just Microsoft, but things such as Adobe whatever, Flash, Java and even a couple of other programs I’m running here and there will pop up saying I should upgrade, and I always do.

However, not everything will alert you to the fact that there’s an upgrade. It is in that vein that last week I tried to do something different.

Linksys - RangePlus WRT160N 4-Port Wireless-N Broadband Router

After one more story about someone who had their wireless connection leeched by someone else who was downloading kiddie porn I decided it was probably time to close my connection. My neighbors aren’t all that close and in my area signals get degraded quickly, but my mind said let’s not take any chances.

I have a Linksys router and figured out how to get into the software settings so I could change things around. Then it alerted me that there was a firmware upgrade for the router. I checked it out, seemed like a good deal, downloaded the program, did the upgrade, and figured all was fine. What the upgrade was supposed to do was two things. The first was to protect some of the open ports better against intrusions, and the second was to boost the speed a little bit more. I certainly wouldn’t have a problem with either of those things, and my computer still worked great.

The problem came the first time I tried to sync my Palm to the computer. Because of stupid Vista I can no longer sync the Palm via a USB connection; it has to be wireless, unless I want to take the time to go out and buy a Bluetooth connector for the computer, and I don’t. And the problem wasn’t the protection I had put onto the computer against wireless intrusions without a password either, as my laptop still accessed things fine.

The problem was that suddenly the upgrade had changed from 40-bit and 80-bit technology to 64-bit and 128-bit technology, but the Palm, being older, could only handle the older bits. I couldn’t get it to work with the computer in any way, shape or fashion. Talk about disappointing!

I worked on it for hours, then decided to shut it down and try again the next day. Same thing, couldn’t get it working, although this time I kept sporadically trying things. Nope, wasn’t happening. Then on Twitter I happened to mention it and someone said to try to do the upgrade again. I did that; as a matter of fact, not only did I do that, but I went in and turned off the wireless protection as well.

I’m not sure why but after the 4th time of running that upgrade I was finally able to sync my Palm; came out of nowhere, as I just wasn’t expecting it. I was elated beyond belief. Unfortunately, I still can’t access the internet on the Palm, but it’s more important to me that I can sync my address and date books again.

In a way, it’s a problem I should have thought about ahead of time based on the reality that many people have been trying and failing to upgrade the Flash BIOS on their Dell laptops and have found themselves with laptops that no longer work. There’s supposedly a class action lawsuit out there somewhere against them because it’s been found that many of their motherboards, estimated at around 12 million or so, are faulty and thus helped to cause the crashes.

Of course I could just go out and buy a new router like the one above, the N-series, and maybe that would help, and I may do that some day; just not now. 🙂

Either way, it does point out that whenever you’re thinking about upgrading your technology you might need to think about your older tech to see if it might cause you problems you don’t want to deal with.

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When Government Gets Into Our Online Lives

As many of you know, I love playing poker. I love going to the casino when I can and I love playing online as well at Pokerstars. One of the best things about playing online was that I didn’t have to have any money to play, and if I played well I could actually earn real money, which I did if you remember the post where I compared blogging to poker.

Recently I won my way into what’s called a satellite tournament which gave me another nice opportunity to win money, and relatively big money. It wasn’t scheduled to start until May, which shows you how big a deal it is because smaller tournaments start pretty much days after you win your way into one. However, I’m not going to get a chance to play now.

That’s because the U.S. government, via the FBI, did a major raid last week and basically froze the accounts of 3 major online poker sites, as well as confiscated their domain names. Immediately afterwards the site I play at banned all U.S. players from participating in anything that could earn them real money. In essence, even if they were free games that gave you a shot at earning money but you weren’t going to earn any money at that time, they banned you from those games as well, which kind of makes sense since we’re not allowed to earn money from them, but it’s irksome.

Frankly, I’m not saying the government was wrong in this big bust they did because these companies found a way around U.S. laws in tricking credit card companies to process payments geared towards getting around the law. What I’m mad at is that the law was passed in the first place.

In essence, the law was attached as a rider to a bigger law in 2006 that was to help protect our borders at waterways. Since we’re still conscious of terrorism at all ports (except at Mexican borders, but I digress) there wasn’t a politician that wanted to be seen as not voting for this bill. This is how government works in this country unfortunately; things get added to good bills all the time that make no sense and aren’t fair, and then it’s left up to someone to make a major decision as to what’s more important at the time.

I think this all stinks, yet it shows that the U.S. government isn’t all that far removed from other governments we heard about over the past few months that have tried to stifle the internet so that “rebels” could tell the world what was going on in countries such as Egypt, Yemen, China and Iran. Many people said at the time that the U.S. could never do such a thing and wouldn’t even try doing something like that; it hadn’t occurred to me at the time that they already had, just in a small dose.

So, until this law is changed, it looks like I won’t be playing poker online anymore. I never paid for any of it, but that’s not the point. With the government confiscating their domain name it pretty much emasculates much of the online game in all ways. And it’s not that I didn’t play some games that were totally free for “play money”; one would think I’d still enjoy that.

But not having the option to take a chance, to see what I’m made of in competing for actual money… something about that has sapped the steam out of my wanting to play online right now. There’s an action committee that’s being spearheaded by a former senator, oddly enough someone who probably would have voted for the bill when he was a senator because it would have made his particular constituency happy. It’s so funny that Republicans say they want to leave people alone and get government out of our hair, and in this case they decided to make the government the ultimate police in protecting those poor souls that had no control over themselves and spent themselves bankrupt.

Yeah, I’m irked; it stinks. And this type of thing should have us all looking over our shoulders; what will the government take away from us next?

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