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Ch-Ch-Changes Update: Comment Problem SOLVED!

Saturday, January 14th, 2012


After copious feedback from my small but loyal audience, I believe I’ve solved the “I can see everyone else’s answers so why bother guessing?” problem with my latest Photoshop contest.

WordPress has an available plugin called Comment Timeout by James McKay. It’s simple enough – it enhances WordPress’s built-in “all comments on or all comments off” functionality by allowing the administrator (that’s me) to specify an age at which posts no longer receive comments. But more importantly (to me, anyway), it allows me to override the setting on a post-by-post basis.

So, I’ve set posts to “timeout” at zero days old (i.e., immediately), which sends all the comments to moderation. But for all non-photoshop posts, I can override that setting with one-click at posting time. So now, most posts on this blog will allow (encourage!) comments as they always did, and the Photoshop contest posts will send them to my moderation queue. I’ll leave them hidden until I reveal the answer to the puzzle, and then people can click back & see what everyone else’s guesses were.

Problem solved!

Categories: Blogging about Blogs | 1 Comment »

Back to Blogging?

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

With 2011 coming to a close, and my Brain Celebri-teaser contest coming to an end, I’ve been thinking about what to do with my blog in 2012.

The Photoshop contest had basically become the entirety of the content in 2011 for two reasons. First, the amount of media I consume exploded this year (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Podcasts, as well as the e-mail & blog traffic I used to read), and despite the name of the blog, I do eventually need some sleep. Second, the very presence of Facebook’s status update feature has allowed me to share quick thoughts and/or links with a much wider audience and with much less effort.

That said, I’ve come to miss writing longer form entries (even if very few people read them), so I’m thinking of starting up again. I won’t be foolhardy enough to plan out a schedule, because every time I’ve done that in the past, I’ve failed to keep it up. But I have been brainstorming some topics/features to write about. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

If anyone has any requests, feel free to leave them in the comments. I’m open to experimenting if you guys are…

Categories: Blogging about Blogs | 2 Comments »

To follow, but never to lead…

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

OK, the social media revolution is complete. I joined Twitter.

I’ve been reading too many articles lately in which some newswire is relaying news – typically celebrity news – based on what the celebrity in question has just tweeted. So, I figure, why not use Twitter as the news source it has become? I do not ever intend to tweet (I’m already on Facebook, and I honestly can’t see a reason to be on both, unless I’m caught in a real life, hashtag-worthy event…). Rather, I plan to use Twitter as a kind of “Facebook of the Stars,” in which I can read about what various celebrities are telling the world without having to catch up on them through E! Online or Yahoo! Gossip or some other aggregator that has worked an exclamation point into their name.

So, at the advice of a friend, I googled “Most Twitter Followers,” which led me to this site – a list of the one thousand most popular tweeters. Of the thousand I found there, I “followed” 59 people. Here they are, sorted in order from most followers to least:

1) Lady Gaga21) Al Yankovic41) Hugh Jackman
2) Justin Bieber22) Larry King42) David Blaine
3) Britney Spears23) Wil Wheaton43) Drew Carey
4) Barack Obama24) Lindsay Lohan44) Lea Michele
5) Kim Kardashian25) Penn Jillette45) Miranda Cosgrove
6) Katy Perry26) Bill Cosby46) Craig Ferguson
7) Ellen DeGeneres27) Dalai Lama47) John Hodgman
8) Taylor Swift28) Brent Spiner48) William Shatner
9) Oprah Winfrey29) Alyssa Milano49) Steve Martin
10) Justin Timberlake30) Kevin Nealon50) Sarah Palin
11) Ashley Tisdale31) Nick Swisher51) Seth Meyers
12) Ryan Seacrest32) Yoko Ono52) Tina Fey
13) Paris Hilton33) Sarah Silverman53) Roger Ebert
14) Demi Moore34) Neil Patrick Harris54) Bill Maher
15) Jimmy Fallon35) John Cleese55) Joan Rivers
16) John Legend36) Dr. Phil56) Pamela Anderson
17) Al Gore37) Barbara Walters57) Miley Cyrus
18) Conan O’Brien38) WikiLeaks58) Jessica Simpson
19) Dr. Drew39) Michael Moore59) Howard Stern
20) Stephen Colbert40) Kathy Griffin

In terms of actual entertainment, I am fans of some of these folks and not of others, but they all looked like they might produce interesting tweets, which was my only criteria here (and thus concludes the story of how a Twitter user came to follow both Michael Moore and Sarah Palin on the same day. If only I had a way to share this exciting news with everyone I know. Oh yeah, that’s right: Facebook).

Anyway, first impressions of Twitter as news source:

Yeah – this is gonna get weird fast…

Categories: Blogging about Blogs, Movie Talk, Primetime TV, Words about Music | 3 Comments »

In which I apologize to Astrology fans everywhere…

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

OK, so it all started back in August of 2009, when I saw on one of those “Born on This Day…” sites that Leonard Bernstein and Billy Ray Cyrus share the same birthday. I thought this was somehow ironic, and posted it under the heading “Proof That Astrology Is Nonsense.”

Fast forward to April of this year, when I turned the concept into a (mostly) weekly series, showing photos of pairs of celebrities who shared the same birthday and were somehow “odd couples.” Eight of these posts went by with the usual reaction – an occasional comment or a “Like” from the Facebook crowd.

But then yesterday, I published my ninth post of the series (George M. Cohan & Franz Kafka), and started receiving multiple messages from folks who were upset about how I was over-generalizing, over-simplifying, under-valuing, and speciously criticizing the field of astrology. None of which was the point, of course, as much as it was to highlight weird pairs of celebrities. That said, astrology? Really? Is nothing up for free ridicule anymore? Ah well, live and learn.

In any case, I’ve renamed the series Unlikely Twins, and have removed just about all references to astrology and/or horoscopes. Hopefully, we can all now share a weekly chuckle, and leave the arguing to important matters – like politics. Or whether the World Cup is getting in the way of a perfectly good baseball season.

(And oh, by the way, Happy Birthday to both Ringo Starr and Gustav Mahler, composers of Yellow Submarine and Kindertotenlieder – Songs on the Deaths of Children, respectively…)

Categories: Blogging about Blogs, Unlikely Twins | 9 Comments »

Brandon’s Blog

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Last night, my younger son, Brandon, asked me, “Daddy, can I have a blog?” When I asked why he wanted a blog, he told me he wanted to post pictures of baseball fields and funny houses. Of course, no father could possibly argue with such sound logic, and so, without further adieu, I present to you all: Brandon’s Blog.

It also has a place of honor on the top menubar of this site, in case you lose the URL and need a fix of ballfields and funny houses.

In the spirit of encouraging young bloggers, if you’re reading this and are so inclined, please take a peek over there, rate some pictures (Funny, Cool, or Interesting), and maybe even leave a comment. I’m sure he’d get a kick out of that. Thanks!

Categories: Blogging about Blogs, Family Matters | 5 Comments »

Man Bites Dog Story: Facebook drives blog traffic

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Lileks, 2/5/10:

Was amused to read that Kids Today have stopped blogging, more or less; they

Categories: Blogging about Blogs | 7 Comments »

The Twelve Sentences of 2009

Friday, December 11th, 2009

In the first of two Ilya-inspired posts (the second being “How People Found Me” – coming soon!), here are the twelve sentences that started off each month of 2009 here at I Should Be Sleeping:

January: Happy New Year to all!

February: Given the current state of the U.S. Economy, the following new rules will be instituted for this year

Categories: Blogging about Blogs | 3 Comments »

If I’ve Told You Once, I’ve Told You a Thousand Times…

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Today is quite a significant milestone in the extremely insignificant world of I Should Be Sleeping. This is my 1,000th blog post. In honor of this prestigious, yet highly inconspicuous occasion, I present you with some fun facts about my little corner of the web:

  • My first post was on May 8, 2005 and was entitled Hello World. Those who studied the ancient art of C Programming with Kernighan and Ritchie will understand. Everyone else will recognize it as a friendly greeting.
  • It took me 1,648 days to write 1,000 posts, or roughly two posts every three days. That’s not a bad pace to keep up over a period of four and a half years, if I do say so myself.
  • My posts have encompassed eighteen different categories, ranging from Politics (20%) to Technology (18%) to Sports (8%). A full 30% of my posts have been about Random Events or Weird News Stories. All of this strikes me as very representative of the things I think about, which I guess makes sense after all this time.
  • I’ve received 1,677 comments, or roughly two comments for every three posts. Since I joined Facebook in late May of this year, though, my comment rate has jumped roughly 50%.
  • I only have detailed stats going back to January, 2007. Since that time, though, more than 54,000 visitors have graced these pages, taking in almost 82,000 pages. Extrapolating across the life of the blog, it is very likely that I’ve received upwards of 85,000 visitors and have served upwards of 130,000 pages.
  • My post popular post in that time have been my Review of a January, 2006 Billy Joel Concert at Madison Square Garden which has garnered over 6,200 visits and sixty-six comments. Also insanely popular was my reprinting of Premiere Magazine’s Twenty Most Overrated Movies of All Time, which has been seen more than 5,500 times (almost 2,000 of them on the same day – August 28, 2008 – when someone tagged it on stumbleupon.com).

If I’m being brutally honest about my progress, I’d say I’m reasonably pleased with what this blog has become – a place to record my thoughts, an opportunity to learn a bit about running a modern web site, and a chance to watch the web grow from a static medium to a dynamic medium to a socially networked medium. I’ve made some legitimate friends here, and have made the acquaintance of a few interesting, if not notable, people (a few of whom have sent me free stuff!).

That said, I’d love to see the site “go viral,” and become a place where dozens of people I don’t know discuss the topics I throw out there, but I haven’t found the time nor the secret, magical ingredient to make that happen so far. After 4.5 years and 1,000 posts, I think it’s safe to say it will probably never happen. Then again, you can’t win if you don’t play.

So, to sum up, I thank you all for being a somewhat-willing part of this. If you’re still reading at this point, you are likely one of the 5-10 loyal readers who have provided more than half of the traffic described above. A special thank you to you guys as well.

Here’s to another 1,000 interesting things to say!

Categories: Blogging about Blogs | 4 Comments »

Linking WordPress to Facebook – My non-ideal solution

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Warning: This is one of those technical posts that won’t make much sense to many people, but will be a goldmine to those who have exactly the same problem I was just working on. OK, now that that’s out of the way, let’s begin:

A few weeks ago, I became both a Blogger and a Facebook user. One of my first tasks on Facebook was to find a way to link my blog posts to my Facebook Wall & News Feed, so that my Facebook friends could read my posts without me needing to cross-post them.

Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: Blogging about Blogs, Tech Talk | 4 Comments »

Minor Blog Maintenance

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Lately, I’ve found myself using the “Recent Comments” widgets on other blogs more frequently, in order to keep tabs on comments I’ve made, whether or not people have responded, etc.. That realization led to a second realization, which is that my blog didn’t have a “Recent Comments” widget.

As you can see on the right sidebar, this travesty was finally rectified this morning.

Categories: Blogging about Blogs | 5 Comments »

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