Skate Blog(s)

Connecting with one blogger (Kyle Duvall of the Parking Block Diaries) a few months ago has resulted in meeting some good people online. I found David Thornton, and was on his Luchaskate podcast, and I’m enjoying his writing and his podcast. We’re going to trade some actual physical copies of our zines.

Then a yesterday I connected with Chris Sedition, of Concrete Existence. He’s been writing a while, and yesterday he began chronicling his own life in skateboarding more biographically. It’s a really good read, and I agree with Chris that reading the stories and tall-tales of everyday skaters is a lot more interesting than reading a pro biography.

It’s great to be connected with some really smart new people. The artists, writers, and musicians I’ve met through skateboarding continue to blow my mind. And it’s so good to have some cool shit to read!

 

The need for a rant…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a witty and hilarious (and possibly hate-filled) rant here on my blog. Please be advised that I’m aware of this, and actively reviewing worthy topics. Some possibilities include…

Editor’s note: My friend Jeremy read this, and asked why I “want my enemies to be free from suffering”? So please, anytime you see me wishing someone dead in this post, simply replace with “I hope [insert correct pronoun here] is suffering.”

  1. The girl in second grade who criticized me for liking Halloween more than “the birthday of Jesus”. I hope she’s dead.
  2. The junior high coach who wouldn’t put me in the track program in the 8th grade even though I was running every day after school as was about to hit my growth spurt and really become a good athlete. Screw him. I happen to know he’s still alive, sadly.
  3. That guy who made me mad that time about that thing…yeah…you know who I’m talking about. Hope he’s dead too.
  4. People who feel the need to convince a free adult American that his/her religious ideology is correct and their target’s in wrong. The hubris that allows one person to think they have the answers to life’s ultimate questions must be stamped out. Of this I am 100% certain, and if you disagree with me you are not only wrong but going to hell.
  5. The single fecal dribble stain on the wall of one of the bathroom stalls at work. Apparently someone had explosive decompression, and this one dookie particle made its way to the wall, sliding down about 2 inches, leaving a mild brown track behind it. It’s been there for 3 weeks. Hey – its not my job to clean it! How does this happen?! I’m still trying to compute the impossible trajectory. Was this a one-cheek sneak that got way out of hand? Was this the magic bullet that would have made Lee Harvey Oswald green with envy? Perhaps we’ll never know.
  6. People who back into parking places.

So there is my list of possible new posts. We’ll see how this all works out.

Chaos equals blog success?

Today I decided to check out my blog stats from the last quarter, shown below, to see what the most popular posts on the site have been.

I am sad to report that the article “MacBook WiFi problem/solution is still the most popular article. It has been the most popular article for the last couple of years. Actually, ever since I wrote it.

I’m sad because it indicates that many people are still having problems with their MacBooks and WiFi connectivity. I hope my article has helped some people.

One very interesting part of having a totally unfocused blog is the strange mix of popular posts. The post I made about my Streit Slumber chair is found by someone almost every day. Its amazing to me that so many people enter “streit slumber chair” into a search engine – most likely Google — and find my blog.

Likewise, my cat drawings and the article about the silverback gorilla at the Dallas Zoo always get some hits. Kind of funny – my drawings aren’t very good.

My skateboarding articles do really well, and this makes me feel like I should just shut Texaslongboarder.net down, and move it all over here. I won’t do that, though.

I’ve very happy that some of the more techie articles get good use. I should write more of those.

2010-01-23 to Today

Title Views
Home page 782 More stats
MacBook WiFi problem/solution 243 More stats
bob’s trick tips videos 203 More stats
the Streit Slumber Chair 202 More stats
Some downhill longboard carving 151 More stats
yet another cat drawing. 149 More stats
Some downhill skateboard racing 68 More stats
Silverback at the Fort Worth Zoo 62 More stats
Combining free blog hosting with your ow 55 More stats
Importing problem with iPhoto and Canon 45 More stats
RSS Readers: Google Reader vs. Bloglines 40 More stats
My new MacBook – problem – solution? 34 More stats

Ego Blogging

Time to blog about blogging.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on a new blog related to sustainable living/better living in the suburbs. In researching some of the topics I discovered an entire genre of blogs about “minimalist lifestyle”. I dug into this area a bit and came upon notions like “lifestyle design”, “digital nomads”, etc.

The unifying theme of most of these ideas and blogs is that one can live in a “minimalist” way, foregoing many of the trappings of modern, consumerist American society, and effectively live a “location independent” lifestyle, gaining lots of leisure time, time to travel, etc.

I have looked at a lot of these blogs, and really, they all seem like digitial version of 1)self-help books or 2)a non-materialistic verson of those “get rich and live like a millionaire” infomercials you see on TV. Most of them are full of advice and encouragement, but not a lot in the way of actual “how to” information.

Now, that being said, I have seen some very good advice on a couple of them. I happen to agree with a lot the the “get rid of your stuff” mentality. I hate consumerism. I don’t think owning a home or car is necessary for one to have a good life. I encourage people to THINK about how they are living, and make changes when they want to. I am not slagging these bloggers at all, but I do find a lot of their post to be 1)reworded versions of their earlier posts or 2)fluff.

Enough about the content. Now I want to talk about the style of their blogging.

I have found that the style of these blogs, and in fact MANY blogs out there, fall into either of two categories.

  • Blogs that contain great information, and make information the star of the show. These tend to be light on cool pictures of the author, and heavy on good info.
  • Blogs that may contain great info, but regardless of whether they do or not, they tend to emphasize the author of the blog as kind of a blogging rock star. Lots of pictures of the author looking cool and happy, living the free lifestyle, beating the system.

It is my intention that my new blog be full of extremely useful info, rather than being like that second type. I don’t look cool enough to pull that off.

Most popular posts

I’ve been running this blog for a while now, and thought I’d post up the all-time stats for most popular posts. These are the ones over 100 views. Pretty cool. My skateboarding stuff is popular, as well as any technical stuff about Macs, blogging, Linux, etc. I’ve been blown away by the interest in my Streit Slumber Chair.

Some downhill longboard carving 4,114 More stats
RSS Readers: Google Reader vs. Bloglines 1,496 More stats
My new MacBook – problem – solution? 1,391 More stats
the Streit Slumber Chair 869 More stats
Some downhill skateboard racing 855 More stats
bob’s trick tips videos 797 More stats
Importing problem with iPhoto and Canon 743 More stats
MacBook WiFi problem/solution 646 More stats
Silverback at the Fort Worth Zoo 608 More stats
Combining free blog hosting with your ow 436 More stats
Canon SD750 and video 408 More stats
Comet Longboard 357 More stats
Longboard ditch skating 204 More stats
Canon PowerShot SD750 199 More stats
about bsk8 191 More stats
yet another cat drawing. 182 More stats
Skateboarding, Germany, and Information 180 More stats
Ice Cave in Austria 159 More stats
“Hip” librarians… 156 More stats
Aikido image “art”. 148 More stats
YouTube.com and the death of a website 131 More stats
Comet longboard: pre-review article 128 More stats
MacBook update 125 More stats
Moving your site to a new server: some t 103 More stats

How to get lots of web traffic.

Here are a few ideas about getting lots of traffic on our blog/website. Now, I’m not talking about some big corporate site. I’m taking about “small” sites, created by one or a few people, without a bunch of money backing them. How can you get more than a few readers a day?

1) Be famous,once famous, semi-famous, or an opinion leader. For example, the great Steven Cohen, law librarian and conference speaker, is sort of an opinion leader. He gets readers. Granted, his blog is on a corporate site, but I’m going to still give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’s a one-guy with a computer blogger. Former child star and cast member of Star Trek the Next Generation Wil Wheaton has been blogging for years, and seems to have some readership. He seems to be pretty cool guy, writes fairly well, and people know him.

2) Have compelling content that is in demand. My other site, Bob’s Trick Tips, used to get about 15,000 – 25, 000 page views a day. I’ve written about this before, but that was before user-generated content via sites like Google made video posting really accessible to the masses. Back in the old days, my site was one of the only places you could see skateboard trick videos. Now the content is the same, and it still gets several thousand page views a day, but there’s just more competition.

3) Post outrageous stuff. I’ve notices on WordPress that by posted outlandish, sensationalist, or reactionary stuff, blogs get temporary spikes in usage.

4) Create community. If you can get a community going, and then maintain its momentum, you can get pretty good traffic. Also, participating in other online communities seems to boost your traffic.

5) Useful/unique information. I’m separating this from “compelling content”. The more actual, non-opinion information I post on this blog, the more hits I get. It doesn’t equal thousands per day, but it has grown. The story I posted about the chair I inherited, along with links to patent information, etc, company history, etc., gets traffic every day.  Really, I’d rather have someone find this blog useful for something like that than to attract them because I posted some crazy political opinion.

So, any other ideas? I welcome your comments on this topic.

RSS Readers: Google Reader vs. Bloglines

I’ve had a bloglines.com account for some time now. Honestly, I haven’t used it that much, but I do think it is useful from time to time. For those who don’t know, among other things, bloglines.com allows you to aggregate posts from any site with an RSS feed, and read/link to the posted items from bloglines.com, rather than having to check lots of sites every day.  In other words, if you read lots of news sites, blogs, etc., you check one spot instead of dozens.

At the Computers In Libraries conference last week, Steven Cohen sung the praises of the Google Reader — Google’s RSS reader. Since I’ve seen him speak at several conferences and he’s never given me bad advice, I checked out Google Reader.

As usual, Steven is right. Google Reader is cool. But first, let me tell you what is STILL good about bloglines.com :

  • When you set up an account with bloglines, you are not only automatically set up to subscribe to RSS feeds, but you are also immediately able to start your own blog. Is it pretty? No. It is a simple blog, with from what I can tell no options for different themes, layouts, etc. But it is a blog, and is right there.
  • I still think bloglines has a nice page layout. It isn’t fancy, but it is functional. The majority of the page is the window in which posts are displayed — nice and wide. Looks good. Displays images from the posts.
  • When you are reading a post on bloglines, you can click a link to see who else subscribes to that feed. Nice feature for finding other interested in the same stuff. Not sure if Google Reader does this — I’ll check.

 So, what is so great about Google Reader?

  • Well, if you have gmail account you an just go right into Google Reader with no sign up.
  • You can import your subscription list from another reader. Don’t have to re-enter all your info.
  • Since it is part of the Google system, you have easy access to all the other Google tools.
  • Most important: Google Reader allows you to click a link and share items to a public page that it creates for you. For example, here’s my public page. As you will notice, there is an RSS stream for your public page, which allows other people to subscribe to it. Yes, you can create an RSS stream of what you are reading. Sort of cool.
  • There’s also a “friends” function in Google Reader. Haven’t played with it much.

As you can see, Google has included a lot of social networking tools within Reader. I think this is what bloglines was missing.  They both allow you to aggregate information for your own use, but Google Reader has added the ability to share that info with the group.

Anyway, pretty cool.

Do I want the extra functionality? Probably. Do I want to sign over more of my online activities to Google? Maybe not. Will I continue to ask questions like this and then answer them? Most definately.

Discuss…

UPDATE: I added a link to my shared matrial from Google Reader over in the sidebar, under bibliosk8 stuff.

Tumblelog

OK, I set up a tumblelog using Tumblr. Pretty great little service/site they’re running. The beauty-part…I was able to include my RSS feed from that site here on my WordPress blog — over in the sidebar — using an RSS widget.

There is a very cool dashboard widget for the Mac, that allows you to make Tumblr posts without going to that site too. So from my desktop, if I want to just make a short post, I can use the Tumblr widget, and have the post show up in both place. Of course it looks better on Tumblr, but still pretty cool.

It would be even cooler if I actually had readers.

More kinds of blogs? ughhhh….

While I’ve been sort of moderately fascinated by Twitter, I’ve never really gotten into it. It seems like a site/service more suited to someone more mobile than me. I hate cell phones. I’m guess I’m old.

Anyway, I decided to look Twitter up on Wikipedia and see if the entry there had any interesting insights about it. Not really, but it did point me to Pownce, which it describes as “Twitter on steroids”. Pownce is apparently useful for not only micro-blogging but also file sharing. Kind of a cool idea, actually.

I also learned about Tumblelogs. OK — this is just getting ridiculous. I quote the mighty Wiki:

A tumblelog “favors short-form, mixed-media posts over the longer editorial posts frequently associated with blogging. Common post formats found on tumblelogs include links, photos, quotes, dialogues, and video. Unlike blogs, this format is frequently used to share the author’s creations, discoveries, or experiences without providing a commentary.”

Ok, I actually think that is kind of cool, and it’s probably what a lot of people use blogs for in the first place. I still find that I don’t really want to read, or even use RSS to monitor, most such sites. I’m sure very few people regularly read this blog, and I even sometimes post useful stuff.

Not sure where I’m going with this…just wanted to blabber about it.

Nerd

Two weekends ago I went on a skateboarding trip to North Carolina. It was a jam for Small School Skateboards, with whom I am now affiliated (which means I begged Jeremy to put me on his team, so I could say I was sponsored before I croak).

Anyway, here’s a pic of my hotel room’s desk in the middle of the visit. MacBook, iPod, digital camcorder, digital camera, USB cables, high-speed interwebs connection, battery chargers, coffee, etc, etc. The only thing missing is an iPhone. I have a cell phone, but it is a cheap one. I’m just not a cellphone guy.

I felt like such a nerd/road-warrior. But having everything small and portable enough to just set up in the hotel is great.

Not much blogging

Well, we bought a house about a week and a half ago, so I’ve not had much time for skateboarding, Aikido, blogging, or anything else. I did get Dish Network TV, and I think I may be hooked on the Star Trek “Enterprise” show. It’s pretty good, and is on the Sci Fi channel. Anyway, I’m hoping to get back to Aikido on Wednesday.

Web-based video editing application — free — cool

Here’s a story from Salon.com’s techie section, about Flektor, a new web-based video/media editing application (free). Pretty neat. Watch his little movie to really see it work.

http://machinist.salon.com/blog/2007/06/26/flektor/index.html

Thanks to my supercool wife for this link.

Bob’s Tricktips is back up

For those of you who have been using the BTT videos here on bibliosk8.net, I have got bobstricktips.com working again. Check it.

I decided to  use the Moveable Type blogging system for BTT, running on my rented server space at dreamhost.com. While I like WordPress a lot, I find Moveable Type to be a bit easier to format, and I like the way it handles categories. I’m still working on modifying a nice black, white, and gray theme I found, and I’ve still got to fix the pages with the videos on them, but everything is there and it works.

Back on WordPress.com

OK, after thinking about it for a couple of days, I’ve moved this blog back over to WordPress.com, using the same redirect that I’m using on concretelunch.net (the redirect described in this post). The advantages of using the WordPress free service are just too great. Sure, you lose the ability to tweak your style sheets and templates (unless you pay), but for this kind of blog the advantages far outweigh that slight disadvantage. It isn’t like I was doing anything creative with the template design anyway.

So if you are one of the 1 or 2 sites that actually links to bibliosk8.net, you don’t need to change anything. My scripting genius (i.e., the script I found in 5 seconds with a web search) has taken care of that for you.