All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Go To Webinar

As you know, I’m promoting this webinar I’m giving next Tuesday on Social Media, SEO and your Business in 90 Minutes. Today I got a look at the technology for doing it; I’d like to tell you a little bit about it.

My friend Renee, who owns the software, came over with her laptop so we could do a run through. I really had no idea how it was supposed to go, as I haven’t participated in lots of live webinars. I have been on a couple, and I know that things haven’t always gone great. Still, this was a first, using Go To Webinar, which I guess is based off Citrix software.

She signed on and downloaded the software to her laptop. It brought up the page, she signed in with her username and password, and she was good to go. She gave me what I needed to sign in, and I came to my computer and did that. I also tried using the headset that came with my Dragon software, which wouldn’t work on this Vista computer, and thus the headset wouldn’t work either; heck. Instead, I had to call in through the phone just to be able to communicate.

Once I was on the webinar, there was this window that opened, and I was seeing what was on her computer. Then what she did was make me the presenter, and she was the organizer, which she was always going to be. How odd; I was suddenly in control of things. The problem I had was this window that was open via the program wasn’t doing anything for me; it was in my way. However, she reported that she was seeing everything that was on my computer; how interesting that was.

What did I do? I lowered the window so I could see my own computer. I couldn’t close the window, otherwise it would kick me out of the program. However, once out of my way, though, things were great. I could hide my taskbar from her, but I would still see it on my computer. I could work on my Firefox instead of needing to use IE. This is going to make everything easier than trying to put it together as a powerpoint file, and I can show all the things I want to show live, which will work great. That is, unless my computer freezes up; no, that won’t happen.

We tested things for about 15 minutes, then shut it down to move on to other things. The plan is to allow everyone to download the outline so they can see where we’re going with things as I progress. The outline is almost complete. The next part will be practicing and rehearsing; that’s what I do as a professional speaker, and that’s what I’m going to do with this presentation. Many people don’t know what it takes to be a real professional speaker; maybe one day I’ll write about that, but not now. What I will say, though, is that I will be prepared, and I will do my best, and that’s all I can ask of myself.

And, just to toss this in there, I’ve been interviewed once again, and it’s been posted on Clickkt Dot Com, written by a young man named Toan Nguyen Minh; thanks Toan!

I’m putting through my request again, as I’m really pumping this thing up; help me get the word out to those people who have small businesses, or people who just might want to know more about how they can use certain social media options to help their businesses and websites.

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Anonymity Of Blogging

There was a news story that someone on Twitter pointed out coming out of the U.K. The story is titled Ruling on NightJack author Richard Horton kills blogger anonymity, and it talks about this police officer who’d actually won an award for his blog, but wanted to keep his anonymity because he was a police officer, and, it turns out, many of the things he was writing about he had inside knowledge on.

The judge decided that people who write blogs don’t have the right for any expectation of anonymity, The Times outed him, and now not only is he in trouble, but his blog is gone, and that’s that from the NightJack.

I’m of mixed thoughts on this topic, as I’m betting many of you are. On every one of my blogs, I’m Mitch. On my business websites I’m Mitch. I do have a couple of websites where I don’t mention my name, but it wouldn’t take a heck of a lot for anyone to figure out who I was, especially if they read the disclaimers.

But there are a lot of you out there who are hiding your identities for whatever reason. Though this ruling was in the U.K., you can be pretty safe in figuring that the same rule would apply here. The basic premise is that blogging gives you a public platform, and thus, even being hosted on your own site, the expectation of privacy isn’t valid and won’t be honored. At some point, if you irritated someone else, or someone decided to dig a little bit, you will be found out.

The question is whether you’re exhibiting behavior that makes you need to worry about it or not. For instance, many commenters here don’t use their real names. Y’all know I kind of like to have a real name of some kind to respond to, even if it’s only a nickname. Some of the rest of you believe that you’re protecting yourselves by using the fake name, whereas others of you believe you’re helping to enhance your SEO by using those names; both are false premises. I probably know who most of you are because you’ve forgotten some basics of how to hide yourself, or at least how to try to hide yourself. So, I do know some of y’alls names, but I’m not going to out you because, well, you haven’t irritated me. 🙂

Still, this issue of anonymity needs to be explored further. If you had someone on the inside of a corrupt company who was telling the rest of us what was going on, and we wanted to keep getting that information, wouldn’t we be happy with that person having anonymity? Sure, the company wouldn’t be, and they could get an injunction of some sort to get that information, but how secure would we be with that?

We could go to what I’ll call a vanity or community blog site, create an account there of some type, and start writing, making it somewhat harder to track us down if we used some kind of account from a place like Yahoo or Excite as our email address. But those types of sites don’t usually get a lot of attention, so your complaints would be lost in the crowd noise.

And, for most of us, if someone was saying a lot of negative things about us, we might want to know who was saying it, and would be frustrated by someone hiding behind a wall of anonymity, making accusations that we’re not sure how to respond to because sometimes fighting makes you look as guilty as not doing anything.

There is another side, though, which goes with what I’ve always said; sometimes, there are consequences for your actions, and if you feel you’re in the right and can put up with it all, then by all means do what you do, whether you’re the outer or the outee (I know it’s not a word, but it fits here anyway).

I think it prompts an interesting discussion and something to think about. Basically I have nothing much to hide, but I know some of you do. So, what are your thoughts on some of this?

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Vista, The Dog Of All Operating Systems

Last July, when I first started thinking about getting a new computer, I wrote about my Vista worries, based on everything I’d been hearing about it. Then came December, when I finally bought my new computer with Vista, since that’s all that was around (well, I could have paid extra for XP, but that didn’t seem so smart), and I hadn’t quite had enough time to truly evaluate it.

Now I’m about six months into it, and I think I can give an honest evaluation of it; Vista is the dog of all operating systems. To be fair, I never tried ME, which I heard was pretty bad, so I don’t know about it. But compared to all the other Microsoft operating systems, it’s the worst.

Since I’ve had this computer, it’s crashed twice. By crash, I mean the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). That’s actually not so bad when I consider what my other computer used to do. Still, this isn’t a dog of a computer; it’s got real power in it. This time, I know it’s not the computer itself, but the operating system.

The problem is the 64-bit thing. There aren’t all that many programs, at least older ones, that will work properly in the 64-bit setting. Many of my programs wouldn’t load into this OS. Some that did loaded into a different Program Files directory. Vista has two, those programs it likes, and those that it tolerates.

Some of those that it tolerates are their own products, though older versions. I have the Office 2003 suite, which I loaded. You’d think I wouldn’t have any problems with it, but it does, probably because they wanted everyone to go to Office 2007, which I saw and didn’t like.

Anyway, on my computer, there are certain programs where, if I let the computer go into its own energy saving mode, will freak behind the scenes and cause me minor grief when I come back and shake the mouse. One is Webshots; another is my email program, ECTOOL. A third is Top Style, the program I use to create my HTML pages. If those were open when I left, they’ll have corrupted when I come back. That’s not so bad, as I just have to shut them down, then reopen them again. Of course, if I hadn’t saved what I was doing in Top Style, I have to do it all again.

The real culprits, though, are Word and Excel, the two Office programs I use the most. They totally change how they look, and they freeze. Luckily, when I close them both back, they’ll have saved the files, since I made the settings save those files every 5 minutes. However, today, something new was added to the mix.

I had a business meeting that lasted about 3 hours today. I came back to the office, and once again the files had corrupted themselves. Word, my email chess program, Top Style and Webshots all had decided to pick on me. I went to shut down Word, as I had two different files open on it, when the computer decided to die on me. I got the BSOD, which is the second incidence ever that I mentioned earlier.

Then it started to reboot on me, which has never happened to me before, never on XP, and not the first time on this computer. I figured no big deal, except I’d had a Notepad file open that had some information I really wanted to keep. Then I realized I hadn’t heard a sound I’m used to hearing when the computer boots up, and looked on the screen to see something saying “ERROR LOAD OS”. What the hey? I tried hitting the button to shut the computer down, and instead it started to reboot again.

This happened a few times, and the start button never went off. I tried pulling the plug, waiting a bit, then put it back in. The first couple of times the light was immediately on, which was strange. The last time it was off when I plugged in, but it still wouldn’t boot up properly.

At that point, I knew it was time to try to boot into safe mode, so I did and it came up just as it was supposed to. I thought that was kind of odd, based on the error message I’d gotten, but I ran a quick diagnostic, and everything came up fine. I then rebooted in regular mode, but lo and behold I got the same error message again.

This time, I rebooted, but decided to go into the BIOS. I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for, but thought looking around wouldn’t hurt. Everything looked pretty normal until I got to the area where it talked about boot order. Oddly enough, I noticed things had changed. For whatever reason, Vista had changed the boot order so my computer was trying to load my USB external hard drives first. Now things made some sense. I don’t have any OS on either of the external drives, but once Vista recognizes it as a hard drive instead of a floppy or CD it thinks that’s the drive and that’s that. In safe mode, your USB connections don’t work the same way, as in your computer won’t boot safe mode from an external source like that, which is why that worked.

I changed the order to have my main hard drive first, saved it, booted up, and all is fine with the world once more. But I’m thinking that’s the strangest thing I’ve ever seen, the BIOS changing orders like that.

In any case, it’s made me disdain Vista even more than I already was. I hate that so many of my good programs won’t work. I hate that things such as Zone Alarm won’t work because they won’t create it in 64-bit. I hate that I can’t run my Dragon program, which had been relatively new, because they want me to buy the latest version at $150 to work with Vista; nope, not happening. I hate that Vista didn’t come with a fax program, so I’ve had to purchase one. Yeah, the professional version came with it, but it wasn’t offered when I bought this sucker; well, I didn’t want to pay an extra $200 for it.

There’s a rumor that Best Buy will be offering a special deal for the upgrade to Windows 7 the last week of June, even though it won’t be released for awhile. I’m hearing nothing but good things about it, however, if I go this route, I don’t want to buy an upgrade, but the entire program when it’s ready. So, for now, I’m stuck with what I have, but now have to be more cognizant of what I leave open when I leave the house, or go to bed.

And that just stinks.

Are You Twitter Selfish?

Twitter’s really been getting a lot more attention lately. When I did the interview on Sunday, we talked a lot about Twitter, and the habits, or lack thereof, for some people who are there in some capacity.

When I wrote my post back in February on why I don’t follow some twitter people, I highlighted some thing that were bothering me about how some people were using it at the time. It never crossed my mind then that I’d have some more gripes about how some people are using it, but I do, and, thus, this post.

I’ll ask the question directly of you; are you Twitter selfish? Some of you are, and I’m not calling anyone out. There are different degrees of selfish, some that are really irritating, some that are what they are. But they will probably tie in with the link to why I won’t follow some people on Twitter.

To start with, I get lots of people following me. I think I’m up around 1,650 at this juncture, give or take a few. Last week Twitter went through and cleaned out a lot of spam accounts, which dropped a lot of people from main Twitter users; I’m not sure how much I got hit, but mine is still pretty big.

What many of those people are hoping is that I’ll follow them; heck, at some point almost everyone wants to be followed. Almost, that is. One of my wife’s friends was over here two weekends ago and asked me about it. When I went to her account, she was stunned to see that messages she wrote to her son were visible. I told her everyone who followed her could see every message she writes to everyone unless she protected her updates. Instead, she went gonzo and deleted her entire account; so be it.

Anyway, I get notification of every person who’s newly following me; most people do. I go in and check out their Twitter page. I look at the messages to see if they actually ever talk to someone. Twitter gives you the first 20 initially; I’ll go through at least 60 messages to see if that person is engaging others in some fashion. If not, I’m not following them, plain and simple. Yes, it’s possible they’re putting out stuff I might be interested in. But if I can’t drop them a quick message and know that there’s a chance they might respond to me, I’d rather not have to deal with it.

I won’t follow someone who doesn’t show they’re participating in the Twitter experience at all. I can’t figure out why any legitimate person wants to follow so many people, yet never says anything to anyone. They’ve been on Twitter two months and have only written 2 or 3 messages, or possibly have never written anything at all. Nope; I’m not following them. They may continue to follow me, but I won’t reciprocate. Thing is, if they ever did write me, which wouldn’t be part of their pattern, I’d see it, and then I’d think about it. But until then, I’m not doing it.

Of course, last time I talked about this land grab for followers and how I didn’t support it, and that’s continuing. More and more people are sending out links saying “get 100 Twitter followers a day”. What the heck are most people going to do with that many followers a day?

Now, I’m not against lots of followers. I want lots of followers also, just like I want more RSS subscribers (and if you’re not following, I hope you do; easy, just look to the top right). But I have lots of things I want to share with people, from three blogs and two business websites. I actually like to talk to people on Twitter, which I do every day. I like to share things I find, and that others find, with those who are following me but not necessarily anyone else I’m either following or who’s following me. I like to be sociable.

And, really, that’s the crux of things. Twitter is called “social media”, and it is. But sociability isn’t a one way street. It’s not supposed to be about “me”, but about “we”. And, unless you’re a news service that I know isn’t a one person operation, that’s keeping me informed about what’s going on, I expect interaction of some sort, even if it’s not always with me. If that’s not going to occur, then I can learn about you in other ways. Heck, someone else is probably going to share your link, and I’ll see it that way if I’m interested. I don’t like selfish, and I’m an only child!

And there you go. What’s this, post #35 about Twitter? I’m sure there will be many more coming; Twitter doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon.

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Two Interviews Of Me

I consider myself lucky to have the friends that I do. Sometimes it leads to some pretty nice stuff, I must say.

Of course y’all already know about my newspaper appearance. What many of you may not know is that I just had my second live online interview last night with Beverly Mahone of BAM Enterprises.

The first interview was back in January on the general topic of reinventing oneself, something I’ve become a master at. If you’d like to listen to that hour long interview, you can download the MP3 here.

Last night’s topic was something different. It was on social media and SEO for websites and/or blogs. We talked about all sorts of things, and it was another hour that went by way too fast. It always feels good when you can present some of your knowledge to a new audience, and they’re really interested in it. If you’re interested in listening to that one, you can download that MP3 here.

Truthfully, I’ve said a lot of those same things on this blog, but there’s a lot I have never covered here, which means I’ll have lots more to talk about; you poor folks! Hey, at least we have another relatively short post here. 🙂

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