Archive for the ‘Website’ Category

Two Thousand, Seven

Posted by Arlo on Jan 24, 2008 under Life of Arlo, Website

2007 Awstats

So, 2008.

Yeah, I didn’t get as much writing done over the break as I’d hoped. Instead, I fiddled around with WordPress a lot, both on my own sites and someone else’s. If you’re the type of person that likes to read this via the RSS feed – And why shouldn’t you? The new version of WordPress tried to stop me from including the whole entry, but I fixed it. I got your back! – you might click through and take a quick look at the new design. I frittered away a lot of time on it while procrastinating. Hope you like it the one time you see it.

Looking over my blog’s web statistics for 2007 was enlightening, though I doubt any of you care. Just a hair shy of 50,000 “unique” visitors last year. Well, not really. That statistic resets every month, so there’s no telling. But still… scary on so many levels. Who are all you people?

On a related note, I did an ego search on Google the other day for the word “midgett.” This blog is third on the list after Midgett Realty and the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter! That’s insane. “Arlo” shows up on the second page, but I doubt I’ll ever climb to the stratospheric reaches of Arlo & Janis and Mr. Guthrie.

What else is new? Hey, remember my idea to create a hard-bound book out of all these blog entries? Well, once I got to work on it, I realized publishing is harder than it looks. Specifically, proofing, editing, and designing the layout for a manuscript is a bitch. I scaled the project back, however, and I’m almost ready to try self-publishing a volume encapsulating just the first year of the blog. If it turns out, I’ll move on to 2004 soon. Right now I have a nice, big Word file – boy do I love Office 2007, by the way – with copious footnotes, a table of contents, and 4 or 5 appendices. Only thing holding me back is the foreword. Anyone want to write that for me?

Also, with the end of 2007, my first timeline was officially complete. I slapped up a new one for 2008, but my life has been boring so far; nothing to report. I went ahead and archived the old one, though it makes me feel bad that I didn’t write about many of the things on there. Guess it’s time for a quick synopsis:

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Timelines and Changes

Posted by Arlo on Aug 23, 2007 under Website

My 2007 Timeline

Time to highlight a few minor changes to my blog.

The first is a new image at the top of the page.  It’s a timeline of what I consider to be notable events in my life throughout 2007.

Why?  Glad you asked.  Firstly, I want it to be a supplement for this blog’s content.  Ideally, I’d like to make the events clickable, so that they’ll take you to specific blog entries.  I mean, if these things that happen are important enough to highlight front and center, I should be writing about them, right?  You might notice that some of the past events don’t have entries; that’s because I’m lazy and need to get back to writing.  You might also notice some of them are in the future; that’s because they’re things that I know I’m going to want to write about this year.

There’s another reason I like the idea of creating yearly timelines.  How many times have not been able to figure out when something important happened in your life?  Hmmm, that first road trip across the U.S.  It was in… um, well, I was in college, so it’d have to be after ’90, but it was before I moved to Juneau in ’94… um…  It’d be cool to be able to quickly look up that information, but beyond that, I think it would be incredible, later on in life, to have one of these for every year.  Pass it on to the grandkids, you know?  Oh, wow, granddad met his wife in Venezuela and then proposed to her exactly a year later in Costa Rica!

Keeping on task with this project will be hard enough.  Working backwards 35 years will be much more difficult.  Wish me luck.

More esoteric subscription/blogging software information follows:
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Share This

Posted by Arlo on Jan 24, 2007 under Website

Web Stats for Jan 2007When I wrote the first entry on this blog, three-and-a-half years ago, I had certain Ideal Readers in mind.  The imaginary audience I was composing for was made up of family members.  This space was my 21st century replacement for all the absent correspondence and neglected thank you notes I always intended, but never managed, to write.

Have you noticed, lately, the subtle shift in the voice of my writing?  I have.  My Ideal Reader has changed, and I don’t know who exactly I’m writing for, anymore.

Tinker with a blog long enough and you’re bound to see your readership grow and change.  I’ve had friends tell me funny stories about how they stumbled across my website.  Juneau’s small, but big enough that I’ve been introduced to people that already knew something about me because of what I’d written here.  I keep an eye on my referral logs, and every month I’m surprised by something.  Google is by far my biggest referrer (likely because my logorrhea produces plenty of keyword matches), and its search strings are enlightening.  Probably the biggest spike I’ve ever had was when Steve Irwin died and hundreds of people hit my post on the Manta Rays of Hawaii.  I’ve even had a New York Times Bestselling author post a comment here (though, I admit, that’s a bit of a cheat.)

I love looking at the world map, seeing where all the incoming visitors are from.  Is that my friend from Japan?  Are those hits in Moscow someone I know?  What the heck are people from Eastern Europe doing reading my blog?  The point is, I can no longer pretend that what I write here is only read by a few friends and family.  Which is cool, actually.  I can deal with that.  I’m just struggling to find my Ideal Reader again.  If I can, it’ll make it easier to decide what I’m going to write about. 

I’ve thought about it, and rather than worry about who’s watching, I’ve decided to embrace the new readers.  I have no idea if my ping-pong thoughts will mean anything to anyone else, but as I see it, there’s no harm in putting (most of) them out there.

With that in mind, I installed a couple new WordPress plug-ins.  The first one should serve up a mobile version of my blog for cell phones and such.  Partly this is because I want to play with the data capabilities of my new phone, but it’s also because, believe it or not, someone actually requested it.  (Note to You-know-who-you-are: I expect you to read even the 15,000 word posts on your Blackberry!)

The other plug-in is more visible.  At the end of each entry (even in the RSS feed) there should be a new link called “Share This.”  I honestly don’t have any expectations for how this will be used, but after doing all that Web 2.0 thinking awhile back, it seemed like a worthy addition.  If you think something I post here is worth sharing, feel free to pass it on.  I’ve only played with the E-mail and Google Bookmarks part of Share This.  If you use any of the other services listed —, Netscape, Technorati, Yahoo, etc. — give the plug-in a spin and let me know if it works.

I doubt anyone will Digg one of my posts, but if you want to, hell, I’m game.  Bring it on.  I’d love to see what a metric butt-load of internet traffic does to my server. (Just as long as it’s not pointing to one of the videos.  God forbid half a million people try to download Pimp my Couch!)

Blogging about blogging

Posted by Arlo on Dec 27, 2006 under Website

The only photo I had of my website.“I hate to write; I like to have written.”

I read that somewhere, but try as I might, I can’t seem to find a proper attribution.  Whatever.  It describes the interaction I have with my blog quite well.

In the last week, I’ve posted three entries.  Good.  That means this one can avoid being another pathetic “Sorry I haven’t posted in a while” file to Google’s cache.  However, I’m still going to write about what I write about here.  Again.

As I look back over the archives, I see that I’ve barely averaged one entry a month over the past year.  My ego’s not so swollen that I worry for my readership; what bothers me is that I’m not writing about things that I will want to read about in years to come.  One of the things I enjoy about my blog is that I can go back and read about things that happened before.  I’m reminded of the thoughts and feelings I had at the time.  Usually, that’s a good thing.  That’s the “have written” part I like.

A Midgett Blog seems to break down into just a few categories:

  • Stuff that happened to me (1, 2 , 3),
  • Travelogues (1, 2, 3),
  • Essay-like writing (1, 2, 3),
  • Movie Reviews (a short-lived experiment),
  • Creative writing (of which there is really only one example ), and more recently,
  • Photography

I always wonder if the things I want to write about have a place on my blog.  When I created it 3 1/2 years ago, I appended the “sporadic and rambling by design” subtitle specifically so I wouldn’t have to worry about a theme.  Sometimes I wonder if what’s posted here is a little too sporadic and rambling.

One of my writing goals is to effectively communicate what I’m thinking.  Stephen King calls this telepathy; I like that.  Often, I use many words in pursuit of this goal.  (Too many?)

I’m off-contract until mid-January so I thought I’d change things up a bit while I have the free time.  For the next little while, I’m going to shoot for shorter entries.  I’m hoping this will have the added benefit of more frequent updates.  Hmmm…  Perhaps I’ll change my subtitle to “periodic and rambling by design…”

I’ve got plenty of topical ideas jotted down.  More photos, essay-worthy musings, overdue notes on my trip to Russia, maybe even a half-hearted stab at fiction…  For those few friends and family that are among my regular readership, if there are past entries or categories that you’ve particularly enjoyed (or other suggestions), well, color me curious.

Check out my back-end!

Posted by Arlo on Jul 14, 2005 under Website

There goes Greymatter...The only thing more annoying than weeding out a dozen spam messages from online casinos out of my blog’s comments is the alternative: Allowing them to stay.

I’ve become rather oblivious to the spam in my e-mail inbox – it’s just one of the necessary evils of online life. Comment spam, on the other hand, annoys the hell out of me. A few months ago, I implemented a quick hack on my blog that eliminated the worst of it, but in the last few weeks it’s built back up to time-consuming levels.

Good. I needed an excuse to change my back-end to the better-supported WordPress, anyway.

I got it up and running yesterday, converted over all my entries, and began the slow process of tailoring the new theme to suit my needs. It’s not perfect yet, but it’s far enough along to give you an introduction.
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Photoblog: Dead yet Strangely Effective

Posted by Arlo on May 5, 2005 under Life of Arlo, Photography, Website

Mendenhall Glacier Panorama
Last month I made my first sale from my photoblog site.

Or, if you want to get technical about it, I made my first sale back in January.

Let’s go back to the real beginning. April 1st, 2004 was the day I posted the first image to my photoblog. The weeks leading up to that foolish day, I had been struggling mightily with the Greymatter software, trying to wring some sort of decent design out of it. I was happy with the final results, but the weekly process of uploading a new picture was, to put it simply, a pain in the ass. Lots of html code, lots of writing, lots of image preparation.

Still, I enjoyed doing it. I kept it up, posting one image a week, all the through late October. I wish I could blame the end-of-posting on the back-to-back business trips I took in late October and early November, but really, it was just another case of blog burnout.

So, there the site sat, forever displaying on the main page the last uploaded photo. Neglected but not forgotten – you can tell by the way I categorized the site on my main page’s redesigned index: “Optimistically Updated.”

And then, late in March, Oksana decided to start work on our taxes. While sifting through our small business’ records for the previous year, she encountered a suspect PayPal charge for $18. I didn’t know what it was off the top of my head, so while she looked over my shoulder, I logged into my account and checked its history. Problem solved.

Before I logged out, I noticed something – a balance in my account for 280-some dollars. What the heck? I followed some links and discovered that someone had placed an order for the Mendenhall Glacier Panorama print from my website almost two months prior!
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Photoblog — Stats for September '04

Posted by Arlo on Oct 5, 2004 under Website

Photoblog web stats for October ‘04It took me until October 4th to remember to check my photoblog stats. Guess I’ve got a lot more going on than normal. Anyway, the numbers are a little difficult to interpret this time around.

Aug: 113 uniques, 1428 visits, 2726 pages, 4841 hits, 29.76MB bandwidth
Sept: 121 uniques, 1875 visits, 2496 pages, 3640 hits, 19.26MB bandwidth

What’s going on here? At first glance, it appears that I’ve had slightly more unique viewers to the site, but some of the other numbers don’t back that up. Visits are up, but numbers of pages loaded are down (as is the number of hits). Does this mean that the visitors I got in September weren’t sticking around to look at other photos? That might explain it, I suppose.

Last month was the month that I decided to submit the site to the major search engines. I’d been hesitating to do that because I was worried that my stats would be spammed by the ‘bots and random search inquiries. Shouldn’t have worried. Try as I might, I can’t find solid evidence that my submissions correlated to an any increase in traffic. In fact, only two search strings brought people to the site all last month (isabela de sagua and trinidad sunset).

Also, I finally think I tracked down some of the weirder referrer links to my sites. For instance, this site supposedly sent 35 visitors my way, but looking it over, it’s obvious that they didn’t. I’m 99% sure I’m the victim of someone spamming my referrer logs. Why someone would want to mask hits coming into website puzzles me. Do all the webmasters checking their stats really result in that much click-thru business? Seems doubtful.

My photoblog officially hit the halfway point this month – week 26 in a 52-week experiment. I don’t have any plans for increasing site traffic this month, but… well, that’s not exactly true. I still want to post each photo on and I’ve found another site that seems a good match, too: A Picture’s Worth. But I’m feeling lazy, so October is likely to be another one of those changeless months.

I did have one other thought about the site, though. Ofoto and Sony’s Imagestation both offer vinyl and linen photo books. After a year’s up, I hope to be able to convince myself that it would be worth my time to create a physical archive of all this work. I’m thinking a photo on one side and the micro-essay on the opposite page. Wouldn’t that be cool?