All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Recovering Old Blog Posts

Back in 2005, I started my first blog, which was my business blog. It was going along okay until March of 2006, when things started looking a little shaky with the hosting company. My friend Kelvin had learned that the hosting company was having issues, while at the same time trying to get someone to buy them out.


Google Logo by Keso

Lo and behold, in April everything just up and crashed. By crashed, I mean all their servers went at once, including the servers that they used to back things up. In an instant, all was gone, and it looked like it was gone for good.

Luckily, I had all the pages for my website on my computer, and was able to get that back up quickly once we moved to a different host. However, the blog was totally gone. I had to make a decision; start all over or give up the ghost and move on with my life.

On a fluke I realized that I could actually recover all of my posts via Google. It seems they had cached every post I’d written; whew! However, now was the long part. I had to look up each post individually, copy it to my computer, then paste it into my blog space. I decided I wanted them in date order as much as possible, but I know I didn’t get them all in there properly. At a certain point I didn’t care. I had recovered about 125 posts, and decided to leave some that really didn’t say much alone. It literally took me about 12 to 14 hours to do it all, but I got it done. That was one of the ugliest days I’d ever put in, but I felt it was necessary to get it all in.

Of course, most folks would say just to backup your blog and it will all be just fine. Actually, that’s not totally true. Depending on your host, it’s possible that your backup file will be much too big to just move over. That’s the problem I ran into when I was trying to upgrade my blog to PHP5. The size of the file I backed up was around 4.3 MB, which isn’t super huge to me, but the largest file one could import to my server was only 2.5MB. Luckily I was able to convince them to help me out, as they said it wasn’t something they normally did for their customers. And I was glad I didn’t have to do it for my other blogs, which were already on PHP5 but weren’t showing it until I did what was required of me in that post above.

I mention this because there’s a possibility that I might be doing a recovery project for someone that’s going to involve this, as well as image searches for the posts. It can be a long and detailed project, but it’s nice to know that the search engines cache that stuff and gives you an opportunity to recover whatever you need for at least a short period of time.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

9/11/01 9 Years Later; Never Forget

A relatively short post today. Last Sunday I asked your thoughts about 9/11/01. All week long I thought briefly about it, but wasn’t getting too deep into it because, well, it seemed that life was going on, and people were saying they were ready to move on.

I changed my mind. I’m not really going to dwell on it all day long. However, it’s important to show a few images from that day, some very disturbing things, and then close with something sort of positive, though not exactly what I wanted to show. And this article is posting at the time the first plane hit.

This first clip is of the first tower of the World Trade Center being hit. There’s graphic language, but I believe it can be forgiven this one time:

This next clip is of the second tower of the World Trade Center being hit, with commentary about the first one going on before you see it. Strange thing that there’s not a single clip of anyone on the other side of the WTC getting a real shot of it being hit, but seeing this plane, which I saw live at the time, is still chilling after all these years.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any real clip of the Pentagon after it was hit, and the same obviously goes for the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. The folks who helped take that plane down and giving their lives for many others took a lot of courage, and in my mind they were heroes as well as anyone else.

This next clip was the first large assembly of people in the country after this event took place, and I watched it live because I wondered what they would do. The WWE has always been upfront in its support of the troops of this country, and they didn’t let me down here.

This final clip isn’t the one I wanted to show, but NBC has a lock on the copyright and, to date, has never allowed the clip to be seen by anyone after the first few copies got out. Saturday Night Live did a show 4 days later, which was the opening show of the new season. They asked Paul Simon to come in and sing The Boxer, and had Mayor Rudy Guiliani and a host of police and firemen standing behind him as he performed the song by himself with just his guitar. I thought it was drastically inspiring, and why NBC has kept a lid on it I’ll never know. No matter; here’s a different clip of Paul Simon singing the same song, in an odd way more of what New York City used to be than it is now, or actually was on 9/11/01.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

The Debates About SEO

Search engine optimization is an interesting concept, one that I’ve been dealing with for almost 4 years now. It’s interesting because you never really know where discussions on the topic are going to take you, and often people love to disagree on things concerning different aspects of it.


Debating Creationists
by the mad LOLscientist

I recently wrote a guest post about this subject on another blog. My general premise is that people shouldn’t be stressing themselves out about using all sorts of SEO tactics when it comes to blogging because it’s better to make your content look smooth and sound seamless than it is to worry about too much of the SEO involved in trying to get people to your blog. In my view, you don’t totally throw out SEO, but don’t overly worry about it because, for blogs, it’s not as important as the breadth of your content if you’re a niche blogger.

Of course I encountered disagreements on the post, which I kind of expected, because there are many others who would say I was stark raving mad for saying that. However, I stood my ground. Based on research and real evidence, if you have at least 100 blog posts on a subject all the SEO sculpting in the world isn’t going to make a blog post stand out from any other in the search engines. Having a consistently good pattern of writing on your niche will work wonders, though.

An interesting way to show this is to look at this blog’s top 10 keywords from January of this year through August 31st for how people found this blog on search engines and see if the posts they might match up to were all that optimized. Here we go:

1. Cleavage – well, that’s still my most popular post for some reason, but in a post that was almost 1,350 words I used that one word less than .7%, even if it’s in the title.

2. Ultra Diamonds complaints – I wrote one post about this back in 2008 and I mentioned it twice, and not even in a row.

3. sensors quality management scam – I’ve never written a single post on this topic, and I have no idea what it even means. I wrote a post on secret shopper scams, and someone wrote that line in a comment.

4. forcefield.exe – mentioned once in a post I wrote about Zone Alarm.

5. do they still make zima – I wrote that comment once in a post on, well, Zima.

6. pdf my url – I wrote a post on this software, but I used the term “pdf” twice and “url” three times.

7. favorite classical pieces – I wrote a post on my favorite classical pieces, but I only used the phrase once, not including the title.

8. obsession with numbers – This is the first post where, as I look at it now, one could say I optimized it, although it certainly wasn’t intentional.

9. google desktop thunderbird – This one is also inadvertently optimized, and when I look at it, probably very well indeed.

10. mystery shoppers corp scam – once again this phrase doesn’t show up anywhere in the post I wrote on secret shoppers, and I have no idea where the word ‘corp’ comes from.

What’s my point? Out of my top 10 keywords, only two posts are actually optimized, and that occurred because of natural writing rather than any attempt to provide proper SEO to the posts. And the two posts that are optimized are #8 and #9 on my list; how do we explain the top 7?

As I said and will reiterate, I’m not saying that if you wish to take the time to do it that going through the process of optimizing your content might not be a worthy goal? What I’m saying is that, at least in my opinion, writing your content so that it makes sense to your readers, and eventually search engines, seems to work just as effectively if your topic in some way matches up to what people are looking for. At least for blogs; we can talk about websites another time, unless you read the article I just linked to. lol

Or I could be wrong… nah! 🙂

WWE Greatest Wrestling Stars of the 80’s








Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

De-Stressing Life By Not Commenting

Two weeks ago on my business blog, I wrote a post titled Do We Have To Talk To Each Other? The premise of the post was that there are times when it’s probably better not to have interactions with someone else because not every person you encounter has to be deemed as someone you have to have a crucial conversation with. If it’s work related in a company and you need to do business, that’s one thing, but in your personal life, why would you want to consistently go through that type of thing?

Conflict by Rishi S

here are things I normally don’t like to discuss, but every once in a while, in my own space, I’ll get off a bomb here and there.

For instance, I don’t like the way the state of politics is in our country right now. Suffice it to say, my politics is totally against the party of “no”, and I don’t like how they’ve consistently lied to the American public about health care and about President Obama personally. I was particularly intrigued by this post on The Slate titled Why Won’t Any Republicans Condemn the “Obama is a Muslim” Myth? Don’t even let me start talking about this thing with the guy who’s going to be burning Quran’s (they keep changing the spelling of this thing; someone needs to decide on it one way or another and leave it be) this weekend, because my overall take wouldn’t be what someone might expect from me.

Having said that, I’ve realized over time that there are some battles you just can’t win, especially online. It’s not necessarily whether you’re correct or not. It has to do with distance and perspective.

Back in the early 90’s I was on bulletin board systems, the early versions of forums for those of you too young to remember. There was this particular forum I was in where some people came in just to be naysayers and cause trouble. They weren’t overly interested in the topic or in discussing issues; they just wanted to jam up the works.

This one guy in particular got on my nerves so much that I decided I was going to track him down. And I did; guess what? It turned out he was only a 90-minute drive away.

I got his real name, got his address and phone number, and I was ready to go. But I decided instead to let him know I had his information and that I just might pop down for a “face to face conversation” (sometimes I have a mean streak; I’m working on that lol).

In the forum I outed him, with his real name and the dorm he lived in; yes, he turned out to be a college student. I didn’t give his phone number or the name of the college, but he knew I had the goods on him. He wrote back saying if I showed up he would call the police and have me arrested for harassment, and that he would sue me for everything I had; good thing I had nothing back then. He deleted his account and never bothered any of us again. It didn’t stop anyone else, but I had my proof.

People tend to behave differently in person than they do online. Not everyone of course; I’ve met some wonderful people. But nasty people are a different matter. They’re not trying to be civil; they don’t care about you or your space. It may not always seem to be intentional, but there are patterns that happen, “track record” as I like to call it.

Sometimes, it’s not that drastic. There are some of us who just can’t get along with others. It’s unknown what the reason is, but it happens.

I have an interesting track record myself. People who meet me say that if you can’t get along with me, you have a problem. I appreciate that, but I also know I’m not every person’s cup of tea.

I’m a bit too politically correct for many. I’m also a bit of a hothead when I feel it’s justified, and I go for the throat. I’ve told friends that it’s never good enough to get even; you have to go for the jugular so you never have to deal with it again. That’s a concept the book Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card captured perfectly; it’s a great book and one I’d recommend to anyone who likes science fiction that’s not too far away from the world we could recognize. It’s a reason I’ve only ever had 2 practical jokes pulled on me and why I ended up having few fights as a kid.

Peace by lintmachine

However, I’ve come to an epiphany at this juncture. I’m now 51, and I know that realistically I’ve lived more than 2/3rds of my life. I have the right to decide if I want to spend any of that time arguing with people whose minds I’m never going to change or just leaving it alone and keeping some peace in my life. I’ve decided I’m going to try to go the peaceful route. If I feel that I’m starting to get mad at something, I’m going to leave it be, at least as it pertains to me. I need to work harder on de-stressing my life by not commenting.

If I feel the need to come to someone’s defense, I’m still going to do that; trying to save the world, as my wife says, but my big 3 are loyalty, respect, and trustworthiness. I’m loyal to my friends and people I like; I hope I’ve proven that often enough over the years both online and offline.

So, if you don’t see me respond to a certain post here and there, trust me, it’s probably a good thing. Social media has brought the world closer, but it’s also brought a lot of people together who aren’t really prepared to play well with each other sometimes. On Twitter I’m sometimes more political than I want to be; I think I’ve struck the correct balance on this blog. I tend to think that all of us have to try to take some time to look at what we see when we’re being responded to, but we also have to be ready to defend ourselves as well as try as best we can to get our proper message across. I add a smiley face a lot, or a “lol” to make sure people take what I’m saying as tongue in cheek fun. If you misunderstand that, I’m not giving a second chance anymore. I need to de-stress my life.

Who’s with me on this one?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010-2018 Mitch Mitchell

How To Start On Twitter

As I look back on all the times I’ve written about Twitter, I realize that I’ve never told anyone how to actually get going there. A big part of me just assumed that most people would figure it out, but when reality sets in and we know that more than 93% of all the people who sign up for it drop out after a month, probably because they really didn’t know what to do, it behooves me to at least try to help out in some fashion. So, for those of you who are on Twitter and know what to do already, this probably isn’t for you.

Of course the first step is to create a Twitter account, but think about this one before you do it. You can go three ways with this, depending on what you want to do. You can use your name or a derivation of your name; you can use your company name; or you can be creative and use whatever hits your fancy. Your reasoning should be sound. Using your name is simple; because that’s who you are. Using your business name is simple as well, but with the caveat that if your business name is long you’ll want to shrink it down drastically. Being creative with your name could be problematic, especially if no one knows who you are because that might affect, at least initially, who will hook up with you.

After that, there’s all sorts of information you can make on your Twitter page, as well as changing backgrounds and the like. Forget all that stuff for now and move to the next important thing, that being to add an image. Almost no one on Twitter wants to connect with someone else that doesn’t have some kind of image on their Twitter page unless they know who you are. It doesn’t even have to be an image of you; it can be pretty much anything, but try to show at least a little bit of class. Many folks gripe about some of the suggestive images on Twitter, but most of those accounts are from spam accounts, and if you don’t want people initially thinking that’s what your account is then shy away from that. If that’s really who you are you can always go back to that later on.

Okay, now you’re ready to tweet to the world; your problem is that no one knows you’re on, and thus no one will see what you have to say. Actually, that’s somewhat inaccurate. Everything you tweet goes into the general stream, and someone is bound to see it eventually. These days, however, most people have already set up who they’re going to follow and possibly certain topics they’re going to look for, and thus you might end up having a small audience of people who might find you. Instead, it’s time to head to the search box to look some people up.

The first thing to do is type in the names of some people you know to see if they’re on Twitter. You’ll be surprised to find that many people you know will be there in some capacity, and some will be pretty active users. When you find someone you know, start following them by clicking on the button that says “follow”; that’s easy enough. Then look through the names of people that they’re following to see if you know anyone else in that group, and you can start following those folks as well. Anyone you follow will get a notification that you’re following them, and if they like you they’ll probably follow you back. This is a great way to get started.

But don’t get too carried away with adding people. Twitter gets very protective of its people if someone is adding lots of people but hasn’t said anything yet. That’s your next step, saying something. There’s two ways you can do this. You can go to your main Twitter page and type something in that little space, remembering you only have 140 characters (it’ll count for you so you don’t have to do it).

Or you can send a message to one of the people you’re now following. The way you do that is to click on the widget looking thing, then select the top one that says “mention ____”. That will open up a window with that person’s Twitter name preceded by the “@” sign. Just type your message and hit ‘tweet’ and you’re on your way. Don’t just say “hi” and leave it at that; it’s your introduction, so make it stand out, even if it’s only “Hi ____, I’m finally on Twitter; I hope you’re doing well.” Okay, that’s a bit formal, but at least you’ll have said something.

And there you go; you’re now on Twitter and you’re ready to go. Of course, your issue will be having to constantly come back to this Twitter page to see lots of messages, so at some point you’ll find the smart move is to use some sort of application to access Twitter easier. But that’s for another day, or you can look back through this blog at some things I’ve mentioned in the past. And of course don’t forget to connect with me on Twitter; just click on that little blue bird to the right.

I hope this little tutorial gets you started easily enough; if not, ask me to clarify and I will. Good luck!


Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell