Archive for the 'Housekeeping' Category

You are entering a hard hat area.

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Or, rather, you WILL be as you spend hour upon hour of your weekend reading through my extensive archives here. (This is how you spend your weekends, right?)

This weekend I’ll be doing some overdue technical housekeeping on the blog, so you may get some strange results — up to and including a big pile o’ nothing — if you wander in at the right moment.


File under “Miscellaneous” for 2 February 2010.

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

1. Not that I set any specific targets, but it turns out I wrote 75 blog posts — spread across this blog and three others — in January. That’s the most for some time, and it certainly felt better to be in a better writing rhythm.

2. Crap, I’ve got a lot of lingering e-mail and bookmarks and papers to delete. Yes, still.

Given #2 . . . I think that’s all for today. UNLESS you care to amuse me in the comment thread, which would be awesome.

10 Easy Steps to Great Blog Images

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

1. Go to Flickr’s “Advanced Search” page.

2. Type in keywords relevant to your blog post, click “Photos” and “Only Photos” in the next two categories, and then click “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content” at the bottom of the page. (If you’re writing for a commercial/professional blog, also click “Find content to use commercially.”)

3. When your results come up, click to sort them by “Interesting” rather than “Relevant” or “Recent.”

4. Add or subtract keywords in the search bar at the top of the results page to narrow or expand your search. If you get way too many results, one of the best ways to do this is with a minus sign. E.g., if you’re looking for pictures of licorice sticks and it turns out there are a zillion shots of a thoroughbred horse named “Licorice Stick,” you could add the term “-horse” to your search. (Note that the minus is jammed right up next to the word to be excluded.)

5. Using the thumbnail views that come up in the search results, right-click on any interesting photos and choose “Open Link in New Tab.” This will let you browse through the best candidates much more quickly than you could by clicking through to each picture and then clicking back to the search results.

6. When you have several candidate shots open in their own tabs, compare them in pairs using “winner stays” rules. That is, if A is better than B, keep A and compare it to C; if C is better than A, keep C and compare it to D. Repeat this process as many times as you need to come up with a winner, and remember that choosing blog images is an excellent time for “satisficing” rather than seeking perfection.

7. Right-click on the winner image, choose “Save Image As…,” and save the image to your desktop with some appropriate name.

8. Tweak the size, cropping, etc. of your image using the picture software of your choice. (My go-to choice for simplicity’s sake: Microsoft Office Picture Manager.)

9. Upload the image into your blog post . . . and enjoy the fruits of great visuals to go along with your priceless, priceless words.

10. Oh, and be sure to give credit where it’s due by linking back to the photo’s Flickr page (like I do at the bottom of this post).

By the way, you can browse through more than 150 interesting Creative Commons-licensed Flickr shots that I’ve tagged with “Blog Images” on Delicious.


(Image by filtran.)

Keeping up with the comment-spam filter.

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

By which I mean “FAILING to keep up with the comment-spam filter,” because that’s what I’ve been doing.

Here’s the deal: if you ever leave a comment on this blog and don’t see it appear in some kind of reasonable timeframe (let’s say 18-24 hours), feel free to give me a gentle nudge via e-mail (“tewalkerjr” at-symbol “gmail” period “com”) or Twitter (@Twalk). I’ll retrieve your comment from the moderation or spam queues.

I will also endeavor to clean up the Akismet queue (Akismet is the spam filter I use) on a more regular basis. When I let it pile up, as I’ve been doing, I find I can’t stay focused on it long enough to go through hundreds of offers for V*agra, Russian pr0n, etc. I just flushed it, so I’ll try to check it every day or two from here forward.

Oh, and one more thing: in general, once you’re approved once for a comment, you’ll be free to comment without moderation going forward. The exception would be if you put red-flag words or multiple links into a comment, which would get you kicked into the moderation or spam queues.

Good? Carry on.


(Photo by kaiton, CC-Share Alike license.)

A minor observation on my bloggery.

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

As you might recall, I finished 2008 and started 2009 on a long hiatus from this blog.

Anyhoo, out of curiosity I took a look at the yearly totals for blog posts here, viz.:

  • 2005: 6 (The blog debuted in December, 2005.)
  • 2006: 346
  • 2007: 565
  • 2008: 137
  • 2009: 113

As I said yesterday, I have no specific ambitions around blogging this year — but it will be interesting to see what the figure for 2010 turns out to be.

Blogging non-ambitions.

Friday, January 1st, 2010

‘Member when I said, way back on 1 December, that I wanted to write 100 blog posts in the month? Now that the month is over, I note that the actual total was, ahem, 20. That’s what I get for setting arbitrarily high goals.

Going forward into 2010 and beyond, I intend to (a) blog more frequently, but (b) without worrying about specific goals. I’ll write a post whenever I have something to say.

Work for you?

December ambitions.

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Taking a cue from my friend Mack Collier, I’m upping my game in December. Here are three key ambitions:

1. Better blogging. What with travel, the press of work duties, and whatnot over the past few months, I haven’t blogged as much here or on my professional blog as I’d like. So, I’m giving myself the challenge of writing 100 blog posts — across all blogs — during December.

So far, so good. Early this morning I put up a little item at BigPapelbon about the Patriots’ crushing loss to the Saints last night. Later, I gave myself a pat on the back at my work blog for being named a speaker at SXSW 2010. Add the earlier post here and this one . . . and I have a mere 96 to go. (I promise I won’t make too many of them posts keeping track of my number of posts.)

2. Better fitness. If you’ve been reading my workout updates, you’ll know that November was a good month for me on the bench press. Unfortunately, it was a bad month for leg workouts — I did only two heavy leg sessions and one moderate one, when I should have done about half a dozen heavy sessions. My cardio work also left a lot to be desired.

The big challenge I’m taking on this month is to get through the holidays in better shape than when I started. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

3. Less paper. Paper is my absinthe. That stack of papers that has been my constant companion for years? This month, I’m whittling it down to what fits in a single notebook. Mark it down.

What about you? What are YOUR ambitions for December?

(Image by Wally Gobetz, used under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license.)

What would you like me to talk about?

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Mostly I talk here about whatever’s on my mind, but maybe you have ideas that could give me more direction.

Could be general (“Talk more about lifting weights”), could be specific (“What did you think of Book X?”), or whatever.

Lay it on me, eh?

This is a test . . .

Monday, October 19th, 2009

. . . to see if I can blog from my phone.

Apparently, I can.

Run & hide.

Emerging from the Fog.

Monday, October 12th, 2009

(This is a long post, so if you’re not interested in getting an earful about the state of my mental landscape, by all means feel free to skip it.)

Please, never let me complain. I’m ridiculously fortunate. I have a beautiful, healthy family, both immediate and extended, and we all love each other and get along great. My own health is robust to the point of embarrassing. I live in a neat neighborhood in a great city and do fun work with amazing colleagues for a humane employer who treats us like actual human beings. Add to this super-duper friends, more interests and opportunities than I have time to pursue, good and rapidly improving fitness . . . honestly, it’s crazy.

None of this is to blow the trumpet for myself, because I don’t think I’ve earned any of it beyond, basically, working fairly steadily and not blundering too badly when it comes to things like building personal relationships. I belabor the point just to let you know that life is good and that I’m very, very grateful for that.

And yet . . .

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