All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Is Your Blog Successful? My Version

I’ve often said that you can get inspiration for writing blog posts from anywhere. In this case, I got the inspiration for this post from a blog called One Cool Site Blogging Tips (not to be confused with Sire’s blog tracking site Cool Blog Links, and this post titled Is Your Blog A Failure Or A Success? The conversation on that post wasn’t quite what I thought it was going to be based on the title, yet it made me want to throw the question out to everyone else, so it did its job.

How does one decide to measure success? I think that’s the most important question for everyone to answer for themselves. It all depends on the reason you continue to write your blog. I say that because I started this blog for a much different reason than why I write it now, and as those parameters have changed, so have my expectations for it.

My original reason for creating this blog was so I could say whatever I wanted to say without worrying about being filtered or worried about how it might impact my business. I also had high hopes that I would make some money from it. So, when I first started writing it, half of the posts were geared towards talking about something that I thought I’d make money from, and the other half talking about some things that were on my mind, though not necessarily personal.

At some point, the blog focus changed to talking about affiliate programs, blogging, and writing for the most part. That was fun to a degree, but there wasn’t anything personal in it. Well, I have my writing style, so I guess that was personal, but I almost never talked about anything I was feeling, never taking a real stand on anything, just doing reviews. The thing is, to do a legitimate review takes some time to investigate, and, well, like everyone else I needed to make money, thus I was draining the bank account while doing a lot of that stuff.

Then in September, I changed once more. I decided I was going to start talking about a few more personal issues, more of my beliefs and the like, while still keeping up with some of what I’d talked about in the past. Though I’d still like to make money with this blog, the focus definitely moved from that direction a long time ago. I still put up products and the like, just in case someone has an interest, but mainly I just like to write, share my thoughts, and see how others respond.

So, based on all of that, how successful do I view this blog, which certainly can’t be called a niche blog? Overall I think it’s a fairly successful blog for what it is. I’m certainly not at guru status when it comes to internet sales, but I think I have a nice loyal group of folks I get to interact with here and there. And it’s changed a lot; the people I was talking to a lot between the middle of 2008 through the middle of 2009 has drastically changed. Many of those folks either stopped blogging or their priorities changed.

New folks have come along, in higher numbers yet, and that’s pretty neat. And I know when people comment here, they’re not doing it just to get a link onto a popular blog that offers them nothing except an opportunity to maybe steer people to their blogs by kissing up to the owner of the blog, who most of the time doesn’t even see their responses. Oops, let’s not get into that discussion again! 🙂

Yes, I think this blog is a success, and I’m happy with it. What say you about your blog?

Apc P8V 8-Outlet Premium Surge Protector - Standard

Apc P8V 8-Outlet Premium Surge Protector






Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch Mitchell

Apricorn Biometrically Secure Hard Drives

You see the hard drive that I’m advertising below? I’m buying that bad boy in a couple of days. The maker of that external hard drive is a company called Apricorn, and I just learned about them on Tuesday while I was out of town.

Here’s the thing about these drives. They have two ways of securing the drives so no one else can get into them if they happen to snatch them. One way is to get a drive with a keypad on it. You create a numeric password, and you go on from there. The other, which I’m showing below, is something called “biometrically secure”; in plain terms, there’s this pad that you run your thumb across, and that’s how you get into it. There’s no guessing what the number is; if it’s not your thumb, there’s no accessing your data by anyone else.

I hear someone saying “so, we’ll just crack open the case.” Nope; if the case is cracked, it automatically shuts down because all data is encrypted. At that point, it’s of no use to anyone. And, with this method, you can pop it onto any computer you’d like, and just run your thumb over it and you’re good to go. All your information, and anyone else’s information, is secure and safe; no stolen laptop worries. Makes me wonder why the government hasn’t been using these things all along instead of leaving them on laptops that continually seem to be getting stolen.

Oh yeah, the one below is a 500GB drive, but you don’t have to get a drive that big. I’m just being greedy; it will be replacing my 300 GB drive that’s in my enclosure, the one which, right now, is telling me that it only has 95GB free, which I’m trying to figure out. No matter; this type of secure data is imperative for someone like me, who travels to do some of my work.

Oh yeah; they have other drives that aren’t as secure, and drives that are solid state drives, which means they don’t get as hot as other drives and run much quieter. Lots of choices, lots of different prices; check them out, because they look pretty cool. But I’m buying the one below; yeah!

Apricorn BIO 500GB Hard Drive – Biometrically secure/128-bit AES Hardware Encrypted External Hard Drive

Price – $162.99






Different Degrees Of Gaming The System

Suffice it to say, many of us write our blogs and hope to find a loyal audience. To get a portion of that loyal audience, something else we do is visit each other’s blogs and, when we can, we write comments on those blogs. It not only helps us in potentially getting people to follow the link back to you, but it helps them because not only are you contributing to the community, but you’re also helping their community grow. It seems that people love commenting on blogs that show some kind of activity.

If you wanted to, you could say that’s a way to “game the system”. I don’t necessarily believe it, but the truth is that it’s nice knowing there are some people who have your back from time to time.

However, I’m betting most of us can’t compare to what’s been reported about the Chinese government. It seems that China wants to change its reputation around the world in the worst way (so many ways to go on this one). So what they’ve done is hired 280,000 people to write good things about the country. Not only on their own blog, but on other websites that even mention China:vacation sites, political sites, product sites… you name it.

This isn’t new, really. How many folks remember the tale of Belkin, a company that was caught having its own employees review their products in many places, including eBay and Amazon, favorably, until someone found an internal memo and leaked it? It’s that sort of thing that brought about the FCC’s new policy on disclosure.

At the same time, who can compete with 280,000 people being paid to say nice things about you, other than India? That’s really gaming the system, and that’s just not right. I mean, almost no one here would be upset to get that kind of great press for their blogs or websites, but at the end of the day, it’s disingenuous, false, and no one benefits from it, including the person being talked about.

How do you feel about this one? Am I wrong?

The Beatles Trivial Pursuit Collector's Edition

The Beatles Trivial Pursuit Collector’s Edition

Price – $39.98






How To Train Your Dragon – My Review

You know, sometimes I feel like I just know how to call a movie that’s not only going to be good, but is also going to be popular. Such is the case with the new movie How To Train Your Dragon.

dragon_L1500_

Okay, so I’m a big kid at heart; I loved this movie! It’s the story about a kid whose father is the leader of Vikings, and they lead a fairly idyllic life in relative cold and their only problem is that they have to deal with dragons on an almost daily basis. The main character is named Hiccup, mainly because he’s a super klutz with no real skills and always seems to be messing things up at the wrong time, such as when the Vikings are battling dragons.

Along the way he finds a way to interact with a special dragon known as a night fury, which he names Toothless (but it has teeth) because they’re almost invisible at night, due to being black, and he discovers some things that aren’t know about the dragons and why they’re always attacking the Vikings and stealing their stuff. That’s about all I’m going to give you as far as what the movie is about; if I were writing this three weeks later, I’d say a lot more.

I have to say that they got the main character absolutely correct, as well as his voice. I don’t know this actor, Jay Baruchel, but they couldn’t have gotten anyone else who could have done that part. Gerard Butler, who’s also in the new movie with Jennifer Aniston, portrays the Viking leader, and I have to say I wouldn’t have been able to come up with it being him, nor America Ferrara as the lead female character.

You know, I really can’t think of all that much more to say about it without giving anything away except to say that it’s not just a kid’s movie, which means I believe adults will get a lot of joy out of it. I didn’t see the 3-D version this time around, and truthfully, I think you could get away without seeing it in that version. I loved the bright colors, and I’m not sure how much fun you get when you’re seeing 3-D when the background is darker, which it is in many scenes in this movie. This was a lot of fun; I almost want to go see it again. 🙂 Here’s one of the trailers:


http://youtu.be/oKiYuIsPxYk

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Sunday Question – How Do You Feel About The Economy?

By the time most of you read this, I should be on my way to New Jersey for almost a week of consulting for a hospital system in the area. This is a big deal to me because it means that the chains are finally off the wallets of some hospitals, now that the health care bill has been passed, and that most of them have some kind of idea of what their monetary situations are as it pertains to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

As I look at health care, it makes me wonder whether the economy is finally starting to turn around for the better, after about 2 years of horrible financial distress around the world. Actually, that’s not quite a true statement. I don’t wonder about it at all because I think I know the answer, and I’d like us to discuss it to see if I’m alone in this thought.

What I think the answer turns out to be is “no”. Here are some reasons why I say that.

1. Unemployment in the United States is around 9.7%. It’s remained there for the last two months, which means it hasn’t gotten any better, but it hasn’t gotten any worse. I’m not one who believes if you’re not falling further behind that you’re actually making progress.

2. Housing is still in the tank. Real estate people are saying that things are getting better because foreclosures are starting to diminish. I’m sorry, but if foreclosure rates were around 40% a month for awhile, and now they’re down to 22%, to me that doesn’t mean things are getting better, just that there are fewer properties for banks to foreclose upon. Home sales in general aren’t getting all that much better, home prices are still way down, and banks are trying to inflate the prices of some homes by withholding how many foreclosed properties they’re putting on the market.

3. Banks are closing at a higher rate than last year at the same time. There were around 140 banks that were closed last year by the Federal Reserve, the highest number since 1990. As I wrote on my finance blog last week, we were at 37 bank closures before Friday (that’s usually when you hear about more banks being closed), which was 16 ahead March 28th of last year. Also, all the large banks that had received bailout money from the government have paid it back, but more than half of those banks are recording losses ever since they left. That doesn’t bode well for anyone.

4. And that’s only in the United States. British banks are in trouble because the American banks are in trouble. Most of you heard about the problems in Abu Dhabi as they thought they’d be able to build forever without having any extra cash, investors, or clean water, let alone building everything on slave labor (no, they don’t like talking about it). Foreign investments are having problems as well, and let’s face it, the Chinese market is killing all of us because they just won’t open up; Chinese leaders, communism is dead and dying!

5. Credit. I’m talking about all of it, or the loss of it. Remember when you used to get 3 to 4 credit card offers a week? For about 8 or 9 months I stopped getting any, and now I’m getting one a week, for my business, and that’s it. Banks have learned the wrong lesson. They were giving a lot of credit to people who didn’t deserve to have it, or as much as they gave out, and they got burned. They got burned because they generated a lot of revenue that’s not real money, and when people were suddenly out of work and couldn’t pay, even collection efforts couldn’t save banks because all that money, which they turned around and invested, wasn’t real.

Now they’ve decided they’re not giving almost any money out, even to people with high credit scores, which I’ve already deemed are worthless. There are people with high credit scores being turned down for loans; that’s a shame. And let’s not even talk about how people are being cheated as it comes to their credit cards, even with the new legislation. Once again, this isn’t just in the United States.

Those are only a couple of reasons why I don’t believe the economy has turned around. I could go into a litany of things, but this should be enough to get a discussion going. Yes, some things are finally starting to turn around for me, but I never use myself as a gauge for how things are going for everyone else. What say you?

Sage Peachtree Complete Accounting 2010 – Complete Product – Standard – 5 User

Price – $699.99








Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch Mitchell