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Encouraging New Bloggers

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Yesterday, I received a pageview from a new domain, StuffImThinking.com. Intrigued, I clicked through and found a brand new WordPress blog with one entry and one item in the blogroll (yours truly).

The ALT text for the link says, “Brian Greenberg’s blog (I don’t know him, but I do read his blog!)”

Well, Mr./M s. StuffImThinking – I don’t know you either, but I’m glad you take the time to stop by around here. Good luck with the new blog – I’ll return the favor and check in once & a while myself. We micro-bloggers need to support each other, after all…

Categories: Blogging about Blogs | 3 Comments »

Some Template Updates

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

I’ve been playing around with the template here at Familygreenberg.com. And is often the case when I do that, I call upon my small but loyal group of regular readers to throw some feedback my way. Here’s what I think I’ve done. Please tell me if you see anything differently on your end:

That’s about it for now. Other suggestions for things I can do to pretty up the place are welcome as well, of course…

Categories: Blogging about Blogs | 4 Comments »

Blog Schwag

Friday, February 13th, 2009

In the mail today:

My complimentary copy of Drink, Play, F@#k, as promised by the book’s publicist, Martin Wilson, in the comments of one of my previous posts.

This marks the first time anyone’s ever sent me anything because of something I’ve written on my blog, so first of all – as the kids might say: W00T!

Secondly, my mission is now to uphold my part of the bargain, which includes reading the book and posting my review back here at I Should Be Sleeping.

Watch this space…

Categories: Blogging about Blogs, Random Acts of Blogging | 3 Comments »

An Annual Meme Tradition

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

Over at Burlaki on the Thames, Ilya reminded me of a meme from last December, which was originally suggested by Jason Bennion over at Simple Tricks & Nonsense. Still with me? Well, whatever…

Here’s the deal:

Repost the first sentence of the first blog entry in each of the previous year’s 12 months.

Seems simple enough, right? Let’s see if twelve month’s initial post’s initial sentences tell a story, shall we?

January: It’s been a long time since an “Internet joke” e-mail contained anything I wanted to see, but these came through my inbox yesterday and I was rather impressed.

February: My officemate was the first person to pick up a MacBook Air from the Apple Store in midtown Manhattan.

March: Well, after two months of down statistics, I guess it’s hardly an accomplishment to say you grew month over month.

April: A quick note to people who wear a tiny diamond chip about halfway up their nose (a la last year’s American Idol winner, Jordin Sparks): unless the light hits it just right, it looks like a zit.

May: For those who wondered where I went again, Blogger took another 5-day hiatus on me.

June: This sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but it’s apparently true: the inventor of the Pringles potato chip can died last month, and his ashes were buried in a Pringles can.

July: So, how long does it take to move a blog from Google’s Blogger tool to WordPress?

August: They say you learn something new everyday.

September: Since I commented on the other big speeches from the Democratic National Convention, I figured I should weigh in on Barack Obama’s acceptance speech as well.

October: Disney’s High School Musical 3 opens in London in three weeks, and London movie theaters have already sold more than £500,000 in advance ticket sales.

November: What’s this??

December: Via Glenn Reynolds, a link to eleven cool things you can do with your digital camera that you may not have thought about before.

Well, I guess we can clearly go with “No” on the “do they tell a story” question. In other news, I certainly seem to be scoring pretty high on the variety meter, huh?

Silver linings…

Categories: Blogging about Blogs | 3 Comments »

The Best Bad Food Revue Ever…

Monday, December 15th, 2008

Matthew Baldwin over at Defective Yeti is one of the funniest writers I’ve come across. In a recent post, he described his opinion of Nabisco brand Cracked Pepper and Olive Oil Triscuits thusly:

So a few weeks ago I’m at the counter of a local diner, eating a breakfast of french toast and trying to read a novel, when an elderly man sits on the stool two down from me. He came armed with a copy of The Seattle Times and, after averring to the server that he’ll have “the usual”, began summarizing the articles aloud in an attempt to draw me into conversation. “Yeah, I don’t know about this big bank bailout deal,” he would declare in my general direction, while I did my best to ignore him. “No one is offering me a bailout,” he’d add.

Eventually his food arrived, which meant (I thought) that he’d clam up a bit. But just as I let my guard down, he abruptly turned to me and said, “I guess they were talking to Joey Cora about maybe managing the Mariners next year.” Caught by surprise, I accidentally said “oh, really?” and, having breached my defenses, the man launched into a long and convoluted tirade about our local and abysmal baseball team.

For the first 15 seconds I politely nodded and uh-huhed in response, frantically trying to concoct an exit strategy. But then I noticed something fascinating: as the man spoke to me, half turned in his seat and facing my direction, he was also shaking pepper onto his breakfast. And I don’t mean he was giving the shaker a few desultory jiggles now and again, I mean the entire time he spoke he had the mill in an elliptical orbit over his food and was moving it up and down as rhythmically as a piston. This went on for so long that I could only assume that he was doing so absent-mindedly, unaware of the huge volume of seasoning that was raining down on his eggs and hash browns.

So then I tried to keep him engaged as long as possible. “I was always a fan of Joey Cora,” I said truthfully. “How likely is he to take the position?” And that got the guy going for another 20 or 30 seconds, shake shake shaking all the while.

Then, having reached a stopping point in his analysis, he abruptly set down the shaker and grabbed his fork. And I was all, like, “oh man, this is gonna be GREAT!” But then he began wolfing down eggs without any apparent discomfort. Not even a Scooby-Doo style sneeze. Rats.

Anyway, I thought of this guy the other day when I first tried Nabisco brand Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil Triscuit…

It ain’t often a food review makes me laugh out loud…

Categories: Blogging about Blogs, Random Acts of Blogging | No Comments »

You Like Me! You Really Like Me!!

Friday, November 28th, 2008

My friend and colleague, Ilya Burlak of Burlaki on the Thames has conferred upon me the “I Love This Blog” award:

His rather flattering nomination reads as follows:

Brian at I Should Be Sleeping is a man of many interests and a great wit, with a curious and critical eye and a disposition for distilling complex issues into easy to understand concepts. His serious fare is moving and insightful and his lighter stuff is tongue-in-cheek hilarious. I know him in person, too, and he is a great guy to share company with.

Right back atcha’, Ilya. I really appreciate the kind words.

Anyway, with awards come responsibilities. In this case, these:

  1. Post the award on my blog.
  2. Link to the person who gave me the award.
  3. Nominate at least 4 others.
  4. Leave a comment on their blogs so they can pass it on.

#1 – check. #2 – check. #3:

I hasten to note that two of the blogs I read most often – Burlaki on the Thames and Simple Tricks & Nonsense are not on the above list because they either nominated me, or nominated each other. It strikes me as silly to turn this into a circular, mutual admiration society. That said, they are two excellent blogs, and if you’re looking for something great to read on a regular basis, you can do much worse than to check those guys out.

As for #4 – I agree with Ilya, that’s kinda stupid. A comment on their blogs would, by definition, be unrelated to whatever entry I commented on. So, I’ll just count on one of them (Jeff) reading about this here, and hope the other three check their ping-backs. If not, another accolade goes by the boards. So sad…

Categories: Blogging about Blogs | 4 Comments »

Claiming my WordPress Blog on Technorati

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

A long time ago, I claimed my Blogger-based Blog on Technorati. Now that I’ve migrated to WordPress, I need to claim my new blog as well (hat tip to Scalzi for inadvertently pointing this out to me).

At any rate, claiming a blog on Technorati involves typing in the URL, and then putting this link on the front page of your blog:

Technorati Profile

…which I’ve now done.

They tell me I can delete this post after the registration is complete, but I think I’ll leave it here for all those who have switched blogging providers recently and want Technorati stats on both blogs. Quite the public servant I am, amn’t I?

UPDATE: I think I found a bug in Technorati. Here are the stats for my two blogs, as well as a query of my root domain (www.familygreenberg.com):

Site Authority Favorites Rank
Root Domain 5 0 1,103,858
Blogger Blog 4 0 1,284,225
WordPress Blog 4 0 1,284,225

How, pray tell, can two blogs have the exact same rank? I always wondered if that was just a random number generator….

Categories: Blogging about Blogs | 1 Comment »

Familygreenberg.com Health Check – August & September Edition

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

I’ve gotten away from my monthly features here on I Should Be Sleeping – the Health Check and the How People Found Me posts. This disturbs me (even as I know that it disturbs little, if anyone, else), and so I offer this as an attempt to get “back in the game” as it were…

I’m going to skip “How People Found Me” once again, because I’ve found that Google changes so frequently, that once you get past the first or second of the month, the cute/interesting queries that brought people to my site no longer register highly on Google, which makes it tough to track them. But the health check, that I can do retroactively. Here’s what the last couple of months have brought:

MetricJulyAugustSeptemberJul-Sep Chg
Visits2,1963,079 (+40.21%)1,422 (-53.82%)-35.25%
Pageviews3,7245,262 (+41.30%)1,999 (-62.01%)-46.32%
Pages/Visit1.701.71 (+0.78%)1.41 (-17.74%)-17.06%
Avg Time on Site1:170:59 (-23.95%)0:57 (-3.18%)-25.97%
Bounce Rate74.86%49.89% (-33.36%)82.07% (+64.51%)-8.79%
% New Visitors87.11%92.11% (+5.73%)84.81% (-7.92%)-2.64%

August was a fantastic month, almost exclusively because of one of those link aggregators called StumbleUpon. Someone “stumbled upon” my 20 Most Overrated Movies post, and it generated a whopping 1,622 links, over a span of just three days. On this site, that’s enough to send the stats into the stratosphere.

Correspondingly, September was a lousy month. Not only was it a big let down from August (to be expected, given the unsustainability of a “Stumble Upon”), but it was also down 30-40% from July in most categories. This, despite 21 posts (relatively high for me, I think) and a variety of topical posts (politics, sports, etc.). I’m not sure what to make of this. Either I’ve become boring, or my loyal readers have become busy, or Google has been so inundated with posts on these topics that I’m not rising to the top of as many queries as I used to.

In any case, I’m motivated to do better. I know, you’re all a flutter in excitement. Try to contain yourselves… ;-)

Categories: Blogging about Blogs | 1 Comment »

Apparently, I’ve Upgraded to WordPress 2.6.2

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Nothing should be different on your end.

Unfortunately (fortunately?) nothing seems to be different on my end.  I guess I should go off and read that “what’s changed” page now, huh?

Oh, how did it go, you ask?  Well, fine, I guess.  The backup process took the most time.  Then, there were a few stupid mistakes I made, like deleting the wp-config.php file when they told me not to (restored from backup in one click, thank you very much…).  Also, I uploaded the new wp-admin folder, and then accidentally deleted it again, so I had to re-upload it.  And then there was the fact that they told me to turn off my plugins before I started, which I forgot to do. 

None of the above seem to have impacted my installation (unless, of course, this post doesn’t work!).  So if you’re reading this, I’ve got two comments for WordPress:  1)  the application is remarkably stable, in that it survived a few stupid mistakes on my part, and 2) upgrading your blogging software at 12:30AM is not recommended…

Categories: Blogging about Blogs | 2 Comments »

Familygreenberg.com Health Check – July Edition

Monday, August 11th, 2008
Metric June July % Change
Visits 1,140 2,196 +92.63%
Pageviews 1,800 3,724 +106.89%
Pages/Visit 1.58 1.70 +7.40%
Avg Time on Site 1:21 1:17 -5.00%
Bounce Rate 82.89% 74.86% -9.69%
% New Visitors 89.56% 87.11% -2.73%

Now that I’ve lived through the dark times where my blog wasn’t functional at all, I’m happy to return to my regular self-indulgent feature, the monthly Health Check. If you are not so happy, I totally understand. These are mainly for me, although I suspect there are a few out there who are geek-nation enough to read it anyway.

That said, I can’t help but be pleased with the July stats. Granted, the bar was a low one to jump over, since I hardly blogged at all in June, but I hasten to note that Visits, Pageviews, Pages per Visit and Average Time on Site are all at the highest levels since I began tracking this kind of thing back in May, 2007. Bounce rate is also at its lowest level ever, so not only are more of you visiting, more of you are staying. All of which is, of course, awesomely gratifying.

What was it Sally Field once said? “You like me! You really like me!”

(NOTE: The truly hard core will realize that my other monthly feature, “How People Found Me” did not return this month. That’s because it took me until the 11th day of the month to get the stats together, and by now, the Google results are all stale. Suffice to say, Billy Joel queries are up, given that he performed in July and I blogged about it extensively. Also, there were almost 100 different ways that people Googled “can’t get into Webkinz” and wound up at my site. I’m a public service to those with small children & lots of hi-tech stuffed animals. So proud. So proud. Next month – full-fledged self-indulgence. I promise!!!)

Categories: Blogging about Blogs | 1 Comment »

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