All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

The Roller Derby

I tend to be a creature of habit. I don’t try a lot of new things because, well, life has been fairly good. I certainly don’t eat exotic things, and I don’t often go to things that I’m not accustomed to.

So, how is it that I found myself going to the roller derby? Because my friend Scott wanted to go after reading about it on Twitter through one of my friends there, Mel. I’d actually never met Mel, but sat behind her at a Christmas party last year while she was working this long gray dress; hotness all around. Anyway, she’s the public face of roller derby in the area, and she’s got the face for it. She believes in it so much that she actually got this tattoo on her side within the last few weeks; nope, wouldn’t be me, but she gave us a public viewing, which we get to show here.

Of course, anyone over 45 remembers roller derby because it used to be on TV all the time. Some of us remember the movie Kansas City Bomber with Raquel Welch; stunning, I must say, and pretty believable. Back in the day, we thought roller derby was fake, and I guess one has to own up to the fact that there was always a bit of entertainment mixed in with what some claimed was a sport. Many of the participants were acting like bad people, which made you wonder just how real it was.

These days, it’s quite real, and very little like it was back then. For one, it’s more of a woman’s movement than a mixed gender thing like in the past. At the event I went to, there was a men’s game, but it was a pick up game of local guys who just wanted to try it out. Truthfully, they weren’t very good en masse, but there was one guy really good on one team, and it showed as his team beat the other team by almost 100 points. Once they were done it was time for the home team, the Utica Clubbers.

What’s the idea overall? I had Mel explain it to me, which worked wonders. By the way, I’m not as large as this picture might make you think I am; it’s all about perspectives (although, after seeing it, I did join a gym; that story will be later).

You have two teams, of course, and the bulk of the team is supposed to stop one person on the other team. They are known as blockers. Their purpose is to try to keep the individual person on the other team, the one who scores all the points, from passing them. That person is known as a jammer, and you can tell that person because she’s got a star on her helmet. Most of the time each team has two jammers so that one can replace the other for a breather. The final piece is known as the pivot; I learned about this position later on. This person is the one whose job it is to keep an eye on where the jammer is and to let everyone know the jammer is coming and where, so they can try to block the person. I’m not going to get into much more of how the game is played, but if you’re interested you can check out this roller derby game link.

This was an interesting event for me. The crowd reminded me of the type that would show up at an independent wrestling circuit. The picture you see of the guys in big blue hats is indicative of a lot of what I saw, although most people just sat in the stands. There was a women dressed like a purple bee. There was one in a sequin top, tight short skirt with a tail. There was one I was intrigued with because she reminded me of a fantasy nurse with bright blonde hair that was indicative of what you might have seen in the 40’s, very stylish. There was a guy wearing a monkey around his neck.

There were a lot of kids there. There were signs pulling for both the team and their favorite players. Even the referees had fans; that doesn’t happen in any other sport I know. The team in pink in these pictures actually came to Rome, NY, where the event was held, from New Hampshire; that was stunning to me. It’s not really a league, as they don’t keep statistics; it’s more of a universal club. This club has 6 teams in multiple states, and sometimes they go to other states to both play and watch others play.

My friend Scott, who took all the pictures you see here, talked me into it by saying we’d go to the casino afterwards; I’m so easy to bribe. But I had a wonderful time, and met another Twitter friend I’d never met, Meghan, and one I did know, Frank; I’m giving their real names rather than their Twitter names, as that’ll be on them if they read this. I also met this guy who played in the men’s game named Jason, whom I saw a video of in the production Rocky Horror, as he played the main character and was very good in it. And after the initial band that was playing when we got in there, which was hurting both my ears and my feelings (angry rock/punk music; Mel said it was too loud also, as I was feeling like an old guy), this guy named Deaf Geoff, the DJ, was playing some music that was fantastic, and then I learned he’s actually legally deaf; think about that folks!

Of course Scott didn’t get all the shots I wanted, but I think there’s enough here overall to show some of what it was all about. Turns out Mel wasn’t skating that night in a match, but she was a referee for the guy’s game, which is why she’s in the outfit she’s in. We stayed for the first half, when the local team was ahead; they lost later, but I guess it’s not about winning or losing, just having fun and women showing that they’re not shrinking violets for anyone.

Hey, they had nachos, and I got to play poker later, though I was card dead so poker wasn’t as much fun as normal. Still, it all works for me; I may even go again some day.

Might, that is. 😉
 

Zone Alarm Issues You Should Know About

I’ve always liked Zone Alarm a lot. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this, it’s a firewall program, free or paid, that blocks signals from activating nasty things on your computer, as well as hides your ports. It also prevents programs that get onto your computer that you don’t know about from loading without your knowledge. I mentioned it in my post on Best Free Software almost a full year ago, along with Comodo, another free firewall program.

I hadn’t been able to use it ever since I got this computer last December because the computer was 64-bit, and Zone Alarm hadn’t decided if they were going to go that route. Lo and behold Windows 7 came out, was 64-bit, and Zone Alarm, knowing it was coming, saw the writing on the wall and came along into the future. Still, I didn’t immediately load it. I decided to add it two weeks ago when, for whatever reason, Comodo, which I’d been using, stopped updating itself. I went to the forums, and it seems the only thing I could do was unload it and load the updated version. I decided if I had to unload it I might as well pop Zone Alarm on.

I loaded Zone Alarm and it was a snap. I saw that they had added some goofy toolbar, and I’m not one of those people who likes adding all those stupid toolbars from all these programs so I told it I didn’t want it. Unfortunately, it seems that if you tell the program you don’t want it that it loads it anyway, just doesn’t show it. I didn’t know that at the time, and only learned about it this week.

Why did I learn about it this week? For whatever reason my Palm suddenly wouldn’t sync with the computer. Also, Firefox started acting really goofy as well. At times it would suddenly stop working, and when I closed it, seems it wouldn’t fully close. Then I would try to reboot the computer and that wasn’t happening either. I was getting this message saying “forcefield.exe” was preventing the shutdown.

Forcefield? You know I started wondering which alien force had invaded my computer, or whether there were some superheroes battling bad guys. I finally looked it up and it seems that’s the program Zone Alarm loads onto your computer as the toolbar. And, for whatever reason, it messes things up drastically. I went into “msconfig” and told it not to load anymore, yet when I rebooted, there it was again. I finally thought to check my Programs area in control panel, and there it was, all the way at the bottom. I uninstalled that, and things have been great ever since. My main concern was that Zone Alarm would still work, and it seems to be working just fine.

Since I’ve recommended the program I figure it’s time to remind you of the underline. If you see a blue underline, that means it’s a link to a product. Zone Alarm is free as a firewall, but you can also purchase the product as it also has an antivirus and anti-spyware program that’s part of the paid product. And, of course, there are some other products; gotta take advantage of those special words here and there, right?
 

GoDaddy Almost Drops Me As An Affiliate

Okay, this time I have to admit I’m stunned.

I got a letter on Friday saying that as of the 14th I’ll be dropped as an affiliate from GoDaddy because of low sales. This one shocks me because over the years I’ve probably made the most money as a Commission Junction publisher from GoDaddy than I have from anyone else. I get all my domains from there. My friends mainly get their domains from there. I’ve recommended to my clients that if they want to get a new domain to go there.

Now I’m irked. I mean, if I’d made no money from them I still wouldn’t like it because, after all, it’s not costing anyone anything for me to help promote them. But when I’ve made some money for someone, and for myself, and then have them want to drop me… that just seems disingenuous. They did say I could write a letter explaining why I shouldn’t be dropped, which I did, but when someone only gives you a week to respond and you’re responding by email, and it has nothing to do with you as a customer, well, I don’t expect much.

Or at least I didn’t. I got a response back from them, saying they weren’t going to drop me after all. They appreciate me as a customer and publisher, and were looking for those who were no longer participating in the program. Whew! Talk about timing; this part is a rewrite of the original article that was going to post at this time, and I’m glad because I’ve always been a fan of GoDaddy, and for once it’s an affiliate that I’ve made money with.

So now I don’t need to find someone else who markets links, because I don’t work with anyone who decides I’m not good enough for me. I did that with Brookstone and have never gone into their store. I thought I was going to have to push domains through 1&1 instead, since that’s where I host my site. Nope, guess I’m good.

I’m glad it’s worked out for once in my favor. Now, let’s buy GoDaddy!

Get Your FREE Coffeemaker Today!

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Tribute To The Horne

Lena Horne passed away Sunday night at age 92. That was one woman that most of us thought would never age at all. Even in her early 70’s she was stunning, and you wouldn’t have believe she was a day over 35 or 40.

That woman could sing. I don’t know anyone who ever heard Lena Horne who didn’t think she could sing. She was super good looking also; absolutely fabulous woman. Could she act? Well, that’s questionable, but she never really got a chance to do it.

She was classy and had pride. She refused to allow anyone to identify her as anything other than being black, and that was a big deal back in the day. Many early black baseball players used to be identified as Latino so they wouldn’t have to deal with as much racism as if they were straight up black. Lena Horne wasn’t having it, so it ended up limiting the movies she was in. Early civil rights activism killed many a career; she didn’t care, and that was another diamond in her favor.

This is a mini-tribute to the “Horne”, as she was sometimes known. I hope you enjoy these videos, which I also hope showcases just how talented she was.


Stormy Weather


You’d Better Love Me


If You Believe

The Incomparable Lena Horne

Price – $6.99








The Myth Of Link Building

Almost every SEO article you read talks about the importance of link building. They say that you have to create organic ways of getting people to link to you to build your prominence.


Chain Link

They say if you can get one way links that you’ll be in a much better position than trading links. Even Google said that they base their rankings, invalid as they are, on the number of people who link to you without your linking back to them.

What’s happened because of all this talk? I keep getting people writing me and wanting to link to many of my websites, including my business websites. They look at the PR (page rank) on those sites, which is pretty good, and think that by offering me the “opportunity” to trade links with them that it will work out great for me. They may even look at the Alexa rank, which is almost always better than theirs, even if they have high PR (that’s one reason why I question PR) and think they can snow me.

There are many myths that are related to link building. Many of the ideas people come up with don’t work. Some things people believe about link building aren’t true either. Let’s look at some of these things.

1. Link building will automatically boost your site’s prominence. That’s not quite true, although it is partially true. There’s this thing called relationship link building. That means if you link to a page on pink elephants and your blog or website is about quantum physics, you’re not going to get much bounce from that. Whereas if you link to a page that’s related to yours, you’ll get some benefit out of it.

Actually, sometimes linking to a site that doesn’t have much to do with your topic, but helps highlight something you want to be known for, is beneficial to you. For instance, on my business site, I tell people what I do, which works pretty well. However, I also wanted people to know I was based in Syracuse. So I linked to Syracuse and highlighted it, and if one looks me up and adds Syracuse I come up pretty high on the list as well.

2. All related links to your page are going to boost your site’s prominence. You’d think this would be true, but in actuality it’s not always true. I don’t know if you’ve ever gotten one of these requests from someone. Every once in awhile the subject on another site or blog seems like it might be a good fit. That is, until you take a good look at that site. Try to see if you can find the page they’re telling you they’re going to put you on from the main page. Most of the time you can’t because what they’ve done is thrown in a page that doesn’t link to any of their other pages, but is on their site. You don’t get any benefit from that at all; that’s one of those one-way link tricks that benefits them, and it’s sneaky.

3. If I don’t get enough external links, I’m not going to have any good rankings at all. That’s not true, and I’ll give you the perfect example. I’ve mentioned it before, but who’s checked out W3C? That stands for the World Wide Web Consortium, and they’re the folks who pretty much create and monitor the standards for how the web is supposed to work, including coding. They have almost no external links at all; pretty much everything they do is internal.

They’re the masters at internal linking, and the best example for the rest of us. When it comes to page rank, their main page is 10/10. Their Alexa rank, as of when I wrote this, is 479. It’s in looking at that page that I knew that internal linking was the way to go, which is why I often link to my own content on this blog. A few people use a WordPress plugin to do it, but I’d rather do it myself. This way I can bring up some very old posts or newer posts, and hopefully it’ll be more relevant if I do it myself than if software does it. Maybe not, though; sometimes you just have to get a little silly.

Link building is a big deal, but not in the way you might think it is. I’d start off working through your internal linking first, because it’s the main thing you can control. If you still feel the need to do backlink building, at least do it intelligently and ethically.

Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success: Building Blocks for a Better Life

Price – $8.61








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