All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

System Restore; Possibly Your Computer’s Best Friend

I have spent the better part of the last 24 hours trying to repair a friend’s computer. Actually, not quite a repair; seems he got a few viruses and malware on the computer while downloading shared music through Limewire. Suddenly he was getting all sorts of popups, then it wouldn’t let him open any programs except the one offered to fix everything; if you’re computer savvy you know where this one’s going.


by blisschan

Since it’s still on XP I went and pulled out trustly ol’ Combofix, which has never failed me in the past. And this time… it failed me! It wouldn’t load, consistently saying some file had crashed and asking if I wanted to send it to Microsoft for review. Sometimes I do that, sometimes I don’t, but this seemed somewhat suspicious. So I looked it up on my computer and found that if I’d clicked on it more malware and nasty stuff would have been allowed onto the computer; ick.

I went through a litany of things; after all, I had just cleaned and fixed this computer about 2 months ago. Nothing was working, including going through the registry trying to track down this one particular virus. There were some programs that said they’d fix it for a price, but I wasn’t having it, especially for someone else’s computer.

Finally, I decided it was time to go back to square one. Okay, maybe not quite square one, since I didn’t start with that, but it was time to go to the WABAC Machine for this particular computer; it was time for System Restore.

System Restore is a program on your computer that allows you to reset your computer to a time and place before you added something new to your computer. If you’d downloaded songs and the like it won’t touch those, but if you’d loaded any programs whatsoever it would eliminate anything you’d done that affected the registry since the last time your computer had a system restore point. There are some folks who recommend turning this off to speed up your computer performance but trust me, it’s worth a slight decrease in speed to keep this sucker open.

I opened the program and went back about 4 weeks, which I figured was a safe enough period of time where this computer was running better, and I loaded it. The sucker took almost 30 minutes, but that’s okay because I knew when it was done almost everything would be fine.

And I was right. When it had completed its task all his icons were back, his wallpaper was back, and I opened a few programs just to make sure they were back as well; they were. I could have said I was done at that point, but nope, it was time to add more stuff.

There was no antivirus on the sucker, so I downloaded and added AVG, which is not only free but looks for a few other things than just viruses. Then I added a firewall, Zone Alarm, which still works great on XP computers. I ran a full scan on his system and found some minor virus that must have been residing there some time ago, and got rid of that. Otherwise the computer was now totally clean and, after telling tons of things that he and his wife had starting up automatically and sitting in the background to beat it, loading much faster.

System Restore just might be your best friend; whew!

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Google Alerts

After I wrote that last post, I went looking for a link talking about Google Alerts, only to find out that I’ve never talked about it on this blog. What the hey? How’d I miss this one, something I’ve been doing since before I started this blog? I’ve deprived you of one of the best tracking methods that any site has to offer, especially Google. Time to rectify that.

Google Alerts is a way for you to track whatever it is you want to track based on how people might be looking for whatever it is you want to know about. Okay, that sounds confusing, so let me give you a real example.

One of the alerts I track is “Mitch Mitchell”. What one does is goes into their Google account (yes, you have to have a Google account, which you already have if you use Gmail, Adsense, Adwords, etc), go to alerts (which you can access through the link above), type in the words or phrase you want Google to alert you on if it’s searched, tell it how often you want to receive email on it (mine is set to once a day” and which email address you want it sent to (mine is defaulted to the email address I have on my account but it seems you can change it, though I have no idea why you would). If you want the words or particular phrase in order, just put those words between quotation marks, as you’d do if you were searching for something on a search engine (I’m assuming you already knew that), and that’s all you’ll get.

Truthfully, you’re not going to want to use this if you’re only tracking one word because you’ll get really long email details, unless the word is out of the ordinary, which can happen I suppose. I track all versions of my name, all my websites, and a couple of specific keywords for my main business, which right now comes to 19 in all. I only get 4 or 5 a day most of the time, as not all the phrases I’m tracking come up; heck! But maybe now that I’ve made a few changes in my SEO tactics things will pick up a bit more for this blog; we’ll see.

That’s all there is to Google Alerts; and now you know the rest of the story (I miss Paul Harvey).

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

SEO Your Blog; Two Quick Fixes

Man, sometimes I feel really stupid. I’ve been missing something for a long time that I’m betting some of you know, but most of you are also missing. As a matter of fact I just took a quick sample and it seems that some of you knew about this, but aren’t doing it right, and the majority don’t have it right at all. Well, that’s what I’m here for. What am I talking about?

SEO Your Blog

SEO for your blog, of course; didn’t you read the title? Here’s the thing. Many people talk about proper SEO tactics for your blog and they get into talking about your content, keywords, etc. I’ve been on record in saying that it’s rare that I get into doing all that much SEO when it comes to my posts. When I write, I write, and I rarely go backwards I’ve always figured that my content will eventually speak for itself.

But I’ve missed some important concepts of SEO for my blog, something I’ve actually never paid any attention to, that suddenly hit me last night and, dagnabbit, I wanted to slap myself silly. I’ve lost 3 years on this, and now I’m ready to capture my traffic, the search engines, and watch this baby flourish! I’m going to tell you what I’ve done, then I’m going to tell you how I did it.

Yeah, yeah, I hear you, get to the point. Okay, a quick SEO lesson on how search engines begin looking through webpages. They start with the Title, which is the area at the top of your browser that says what your site is all about. If you’re going to do it properly, what you want to have at the top is what your website is about, then the name of your blog. You don’t want any “stop words” or “stop symbols”; these are things like “and”, “the”, and, well, symbols. You never start with the name of your website or blog unless it’s what your site is all about because if people already know your name then you don’t ever have to worry about titles, or even being found on search engines, to begin with.

What did mine say? It used to say “I’m Just Sharing”, which is the name of this blog. Do you think anyone was out there on the search engines searching for that? Nope. What does it say now? It says “Blogging Writing Social Media – I’m Just Sharing“. That’s what it should have said all along. Now it begins with what I mainly write about on this blog. Now the search engines will scan my title, then be able to match up my content with it; nice start.

But that’s my title page. What about all the other pages? Initially, after the first change, all my other pages said that same exact thing. Not the worst thing in the world, but it’s not proper SEO & it doesn’t always work. For instance, when I write my diabetes posts none of what’s in the title is going to help there. What shows up for each article as my Title now? Whatever the name of my post is, that’s what. That’s what I decided to go with, but one doesn’t have to stick with that. However, since for the most part my titles do indicate what I’m going to talk about (like this post, for instance), I think I’m good.

Okay, how did I make the change? By using the All In One SEO plugin, a plugin I beat up on for a couple of years until I learned how to upgrade my server to PHP 5.0 and had it suddenly start doing some of what it was supposed to do. I haven’t fully used it correctly until last night, and now it’s going to help this blog grow; I just know it will.

The first thing I did was change the Home Title to what you see above in quotation marks; that’s what now shows in the Title area. If you decide to hit Save at that point your home title will change and you’ll at least have that taken care of. But that’s not all you want to do.

The next stage, of course, is to fill in the next two boxes for your home description and keywords. Your home description should be what your blog is about, as that’s what will show up on Google if someone is searching for your topic, so either say something, like a line or two, or just type in more words, which will look kind of odd on Google as a description but hey, it’s up to you. In the keywords of course type in some of what you do. This is kind of “meta” like, which search engines don’t exactly look at anymore (actually they don’t look at it at all according to them, but go with me), but it helps the plugin do things for you that you might not want to do for yourself later on. Anyway, once you’ve done that then you need to check the box next to “Rewrite Titles”.

That’s it. Now, every one of your posts will have the title you’ve given for your post as the Title that will show at the top of the browser, the one that Google’s going to be checking out. Leave everything else there the same unless you really understand it all; everything’s pretty set, except for some of the boxes you might want to check or uncheck underneath.

For instance, I really don’t understand the concept of Canonical URLs all that much, even though I read about it, so I left that checked. Further down, I have checked to use Tags for Meta Keywords, which I’ve seen come across here and there through Google Alerts, told it to generate keywords for post pages, and told it to use noindex for my Archives, though I’ll have to think about that one a little bit more. My thought on it is that if everything else is SEO’ing itself properly it might be overkill having it coming through the Archives as well; search engines might not appreciate that too much, as it might seem spammy.

The only thing to finish talking about is when you’re actually writing your post you need to know that you have the option of overriding what you’ve told the plugin to do automatically for your title and description. I rarely change the title, though I’ve seen some people do it, but sometimes I add a specific description, otherwise Google will use the first few words of your post as the description. For someone like me that likes to introduce things in kind of a story form, that’s not the best lead-in for me all the time.

So, I’ve just helped you learn how to SEO your blog better, and trust me, it’ll go much quicker than all this stuff I just wrote. Good luck!

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Firefox 4; My Review

Yes, it was time for me to download Firefox 4 to see what it had to offer. I thought about waiting up until late last week, when 3.6.whatever started freezing up on me again. No idea why it kept doing that, but I can honestly say that version 3 never lived up to expectation and almost drove me away from what had become my favorite browser.

Actually, I’d thought Firefox 4 was still in beta, but it seems to be the real deal, and it’s about time. It’s promised faster speed and better functionality; let’s see what it’s all about.

The download, of course, was simple, one of the gripes that I had against Chrome. It automatically updated all my bookmarks and all my add-ons and the like, with a few exceptions. I don’t have weather anymore, and I lost this neat little add-on from AVG that tested links before I went to them and gave warnings to those that were dangerous. It looked like I was going to lose my Multirow Toolbar add-on as well, but I searched beforehand and saw that its creators had a beta going for FF4 and, once I updated to the new Firefox version, went and grabbed it and things are working great once more. I was also able to get an old favorite of mine back, Colorful Tabs, which helps me see all the different tabs easier than having them all be the same color.

One of the first things I noticed was how much it seemed to look like Chrome. It took away the toolbars and put the tabs at the top of the browser, with the address bar underneath it. The idea was to open up the browser so we could see more of our content. Me being me, I like change but not that much, so I went into the options setting, which is at the top left, and put things back where they used to be; very easy to do. The one thing they finally added that both Chrome and Opera had was where you can choose the option to Paste and Go if you copy a link into the address bar; that’s sweet.

Firefox 4 is supposed to be up to 6 times faster than its previous version, so of course I had to test that. I’ll say that normal websites seem to load pretty fast, but I had to do the test of YouTube. The videos did load faster but they didn’t play much better than previous. For whatever reason everything was shaky; not sure what that was about, but it’s somewhat irritating.

It’s also supposed to handle resources better, but I just checked and it’s using 430K of my resources, which is pretty much the same as the other version. I had read where the more tabs you have open the more resources it uses but come on. I turned off prefetching webpages to help speed things up and reduce resources, as well as altering about:config to tell it to reduce resources if I minimize the browser to the toolbar, but that seems to be being ignored as well.

The final test I can’t do yet, and that’s to see if the browser will lock up any time soon. That one I’ll just have to wait for, but I’m a patient guy. Overall Firefox 4, at least for the casual user, has some things that are changed around that some people might find fascinating, but since I have no need for synching my browser to anything the only thing that’s different to me might be the speed. I hope the YouTube thing clears up eventually as well.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Thank You, But… Don’t Do This

Many of us write about blogging and social media in general. We hope we give pretty good tips on how to treat your audience, the people who visit your blog and the people who follow what you have to say on social media sites. We love the fact that so many people are looking for a way to thank people for doing this or that online. I’d say it’s all appreciated, but I’d be lying.


by Lars Plougmann

Truth be told, there are some things that, I’m sorry to say, are kind of irritating. I know it’s done with people in mind, and it’s supposed to be somewhat positive, but it’s not. Instead, it creates clutter, irritation, and a sense of not really caring about us as much as going through an automated process that someone said “we” wanted to see. Untrue, I hate to say. What am I talking about? Let’s look at some of these things.

1. Please stop sending me messages from your blog thanking me for leaving a comment. If you’re not going to respond to the comment, or you have it in moderation, then go that route, although I hate being moderated. I see that I left a comment, and that’s all I need. If you decide it’s not worth commenting on, trust me, I’ve moved on. You’re just making me delete the email in my Mailwasher program (great program by the way; if you don’t believe me ask Sire, who purchased it from my link); don’t waste your time.

2. If I decide to follow you on Twitter, don’t send me an automated message through the direct messages area thanking me for following you. At the same time, don’t send me a link to your latest free ebook or product or blog or anything else. If you really care, send me a real message through the normal channels first, and then if we’re talking share something with me. Almost all the time I get one of those things, I immediately drop you from my account; you’ve been warned.

3. Please don’t automatically add me to your email newsletter just because we’ve connected somewhere. If I didn’t subscribe, I’m not downloading it, and I’m going to be looking to see where we might know each other and possibly dropping our connection. I don ‘t just go around adding people to my newsletter… anymore. By that, I did used to add internet marketers that I know I didn’t subscribe to that suddenly started sending me stuff to my newsletter, but that bit of run wore out quick. If I want to subscribe to your newsletter, I will.

4. I covered this one a couple of days ago when talking about LinkedIn, but I’m not going to spread it to Facebook. If you want to connect with me as a friend on Facebook, at least add a message as to why you want to do it. I’m pretty accommodating, but I have to tell you that if you’re not connected with any of my “real” friends already, I’m probably not adding you unless you give me a reason why. Now, I’ve reached out to the few people who aren’t my friends that are following my Facebook business page and I’ve told them why in the message I send them; that’s how it’s supposed to work.

5. Please, everyone, stop following everything one of the big time internet gurus told you they do on their blogs. Stop popping up the notice asking people to subscribe to your newsletter. Stop with all the toolbars that we can’t get rid of. Stop with the videos or music that automatically starts playing when we stop by your blog. I get it; you’re trying to engage me, and you’re trying to make sure I know about your newsletter, and you’re trying to help me retweet all your stuff, or list it on some other social media site. Can’t you just add a Facebook like button like I did and move on, or a blurb about your newsletter in a sidebar (heck, I removed my newsletter link; gotta get it back on there) that people can see? And the other stuff… no more!

I think that will cover it for now. I decided not to go on the Twitter Follow Friday rant again, since I wrote about that already, but that’s another one. What have I missed folks?

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell