Tag Archives: blogs

A Moment to Vent on Blogs

Allow me a moment to vent on blogs. If you don’t know want to read a “back-in-my-day” rand a la Andy Rooney, by all means, skip this one. I have a few complaints, in no particular order.

  1. Lately, I’ve been getting way more requests than normal for guest posts and other content for my blog. I have a site policy that says I almost never accept unsolicited guest posts, but no one seems to pay attention to these. Yet it seems like I’ve received half of dozen request in the last few days. Which leads me to wonder:
  2. Are blogs so hard up for content these days that they can only survive by outsourcing their content creation?

Do you ever notice how terrible many of these requests are?

  • Do you accept guest posts? If yes, I’ll provide you a well-written article and 100% related to your website niche.
  • I’m a blogger and freelancer, so you’re website is such a find for me. I’d like to contribute a guest article to your blog because I believe your audience will find my ideas interesting and useful.

In my head, I invent interview questions for these guest-blogger candidates:

  • What makes your article well-written?
  • If it is so well-written, why not put it on your own blog?
  • My blog has over 6,500 posts ranging across countless subjects. Tell me how your well-written article is 100% related to this “niche.”
  • What, in your opinion, makes my website “such a find” for you?
  • What makes you believe my audience will find your ideas interesting? Half the time, I don’t know if my audience finds my ideas interesting.

Some of these folks are persistent. Many of them, when they haven’t gotten a response from me, ask to speak to my manager.

Why my blog? Certainly, it can’t be the numbers; they are not what they were five years ago, but I gave up caring about the stats on the blog a long time ago. This is a place, where I can sit down and write about what’s on my mind. If people read it, I’m delighted. If people comment, I’m even more delighted. But the act of creation is what satisfies me, and anything beyond that is gravy.

Then, too, I’m skeptical that any of these potential guest bloggers have actually read what I write, or for that matter, have even looked at this blog. If they had, they’d notice almost at once the absence of any kind of advertising. They’d have to go back a long way to find a guest post (there have been a few over the years, but always at my request, not the other way around). If making money is the object of these guest posters, then I’d think one look at my site would scare them away.

Which brings me to my second complaint. I find myself visiting blogs less and less because, more often than not, they seem almost preposterously monetized. I’ve seen single articles take 30 seconds to load because that’s how long it takes all of the ads to load around the three or four hundred words of text. I stumbled onto Boing Boing recently, after a long absence, and, man, what happened? The site felt almost unusual under the weight of ads and pop-ups. I imagine the articles are still as good as ever, but it seemed impossible to get to them.

And what’s with all of the pop-ups? You get halfway through an article and suddenly there’s a pop-up asking you to for the love of God subscribe to their newsletter! You know what those pop-ups remind me of? They’re the digital versions of those annoying magazine inserts that I have to tear free from the paper copies of magazines I get. But the pop-ups are worse: I can’t tear them out!

Look, I get that people want to make money from their blogs. It seems to me that the real money comes from skill and value, not from buckshot guest post requests. I’ve never put ads on this blog, heck, I don’t even use that Amazon thing that earns you money when you recommend books. But that isn’t to say I haven’t made money as a result of the blog. I’ve been paid to give talks, and write articles for magazines because of things I’ve written about here. I like that better than choking the screen with ads and pop-ups. Even so, I’d be happy just writing.

Which brings me to my final complaint: I wish I had time write here more. I can’t quite describe the enjoyment I have sitting down and bashing out a silly post on bird-watching, or toilets. I don’t even mind announcing big goals to the world, uncertain as to whether or not I will meet them. I just like writing here, and I wish I could do it more.

Forgive the venting. There are always going to be people wanting to find a shortcut. Given that I enjoy writing here so much, it’s just hard for me to fathom why a shortcut would be necessary. That, and recently, it seems that everyone in the world is requesting to write an article for this blog.

A new post in the Adventures of the Little Zipper

People following our blog on the Adventures of the Little Zipper should head over there now to read about the latest developments.  But be warned:  this one’s a doozy.  If you don’t have access to the blog and would like to read it, send me and email and I’ll add you to the access list.

All birds come home to roost

A brief note: my experiment with Word Press over for the time being.  It is a great document-management and blogging product, but:

  1. I spend way too much time trying to tweak it just the way I want
  2. It seems silly to me (now) to manage the blog myself when LiveJournal provides that service
  3. Most people reading this are already on LiveJournal and I don’t want to burden people with multiple logins and accounts.
  4. I paid for a permanent account way back when, I might as well use it.

So, for now anyway, LiveJournal will remain my official blog for the foreseeable future.  Items posted here will be relayed to Facebook.

Sorry for the confusion.

New updates on the Little Zipper

With my update on this blog earlier, I wanted to also post a reminder that Kelly and I do have a separate protected blog with updates on Zachary.  Until a few days ago, that blog hadn’t been updated in a while, but we’ve both made updates in the last few days.  Aa any parent knows, you can spend all day talking about your kids, and I didn’t want to impose that here, but for those who are interested, you can find out the latest on the Adventures of the Little Zipper and family here.

(Note: you must be pre-authorized to view that blog.  If you do not have access and you’d like to follow along, let me know.)

Originally published at Jamie’s Blog. Please leave any comments there.

Transition to WordPress

After nearly a year of playing with WordPress behind the scenes, I have decided to begin the gradual transition from LiveJournal to WordPress once and for all.  As part of this transition, the following will be taking place in the short-term:

  • All blog posts will continue to be cross-posted to LiveJournal and Facebook
  • LiveJournal posts will be closed to comments.  Instead, click the link at the bottom of each post to comment on my WordPress blog.
  • Comments on Facebook should (in theory) be picked up by WordPress as regular intervals.

I am doing this for several reasons:

  • I have a custom installation of WordPress on my  domain which I can control completely.
  • WordPress has more of the features that I am looking for, and it is far easier to tweak the styles than in LiveJournal.
  • One-stop-shopping for blog posting.

As far as LJ blogs that I read, I will continue reading them.  Most of them I read through Google Reader at this point, anyway.

The WordPress blog should be configured to allow you to register an account for comments (if you don’t already have one.)   I will approve this user account requests as quickly as I can.

Originally published at Jamie’s Blog. Please leave any comments there.

Do you like food?

I mean, really, who doesn’t right?  What about cooking?  And funny?  Do you like funny?  Well then, forget Julie and Julia and take short link hop over to the Mouse House Kitchen where gives you food and funny all in one heaping helping.  Think of it as George Carlin meets Rachel Ray:  you know, like the seven words you can’t say while spreading your EVOO once around the pan.  But don’t blame me if you come away hungry.  Or with soap in your mouth…

Offline most of the weekend

I was offline most of the weekend.  Back-dated posts and updates coming later today or tomorrow.  Just got into the office (10:50 AM).  We had about 6" of snow since last night.

Yes, I have some catching up to do

Backdated posts from Valentine’s Day and the weekend are coming soon.

ETA: weekend has been updated.  You can read about the trip to Albany here.

Backup blogs and LJ layoffs

 Thanks to will_couvillier  for pointing this out:

LJ seems to be in some turmoil.  There were some layoffs and some of the development and design has been pushed to Moscow, while other aspects (like server hosting and support) are remaining in the U.S.  This has got a lot of people nervous about LJ’s future.  Post of the talk is that LJ is not going away, but just to be safe, I’ve created backup blogs on both wordpress and blogger.  I’ve already ran an import of LJ blog data to wordpress and it worked seamlessly.  I guess it’s a good thing I archived my entire blog (3 years worth of entries, over 700,000 words) at the beginning of this month.

For now, I’ll be sticking it out here.  After all, I have a permanent account.  But should things get chaotic and LJ becomes kaput, I’ve got backups (both data and blogs) to keep going without a hiccup.

Mortgage questions?

My brother, Doug, who is in the mortgage business, is doing a series of videos on his blog that answer common questions about mortgages.  If you are interested or curious, you should check them out.

Catching up

Vacation has put me a few days behind on the blog, but I am catching up and the backdated posts should appear this morning.  Keeping up on Facebook was easier because I didn’t have to depend on wireless connections while I was gone.  Incidentally, speaking of Facebook, thanks to Doug, I go reconnected with a high school teacher from "Core".  Pretty cool thing, that Facebook is!

I’m in one of those frazzled, disjointed modes that vacation can put you into.  No significant reading since the middle of last week (instead, I’ve been re-watching episodes of Battlestar Galactica, in anticipation of the final episodes coming up in January.

Spent a lot of time last night consolidating our iTunes media library onto the new 1 TB drive and making sure it was available to all of our machines and that we could sync our devices the way we wanted.

Today is going to be a catch-up day, both work and home.  Lots of things to do.

Happy Birthday strausmouse, etc.

First, a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY shout out to strausmouse .  For your birthday, I give you warmer weather than you’ve been having lately. You can thank me later.

Etc.:

I know, it’s been a few days.  I’ve had intermittent wireless access and limited time.  Nevertheless, I’ve got the backdated posts  mostly written and should get them posted shortly.  Just a few quick items of business.  Doug has a blog!  (And kruppenheimer  will be happy to see just how much the content of Doug’s blog entries take after his big brother’s.)  I have passed the halfway mark in The Hard SF Renaissance.  More on that shortly.  No writing today, but some notes and ideas down on paper and maybe I’ll squeeze in a little bit of writing sometime tomorrow.  Along with the aforementioned backdated blog posts.

G’night, all!