Welcome to The Blog Report

I'm so glad you stopped by and hope you find this blog an interesting read. I've been blogging since April of 2006, currently the author of six public and two private blogs. In the beginning I knew absolutely nothing about blogging. Over the years through trial and error, frustration and elation, and a few tears I've learned a lot. However, the learning process when it comes to blogging continues to evolve. Here you will find a hodge podge of my blogging experiences, useful codes and how-tos, sprinkled liberally with my opinions. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Some Bloggers Simply Don't Think

Some bloggers seriously do not think when leaving comments on other bloggers' blogs.  I author six blogs.  The other day a rather NOOB blogger from the age and construction of their blog left a comment on one of my blogs.  It was what I would consider borderline spam but just barely.  As I went through my comment moderation for my other blogs I found this blogger had also left comments, also borderline spammish, on my other blogs.  He obviously reached my other blogs by clicking on my blog links from the first of my blogs he was on and continued to use this method according to my stats to reach each of my blogs.  Borderline spam is annoying but in this case since I have set my blogs to not give backlinks for comment it was really no harm.  I was going to allow the comments until I got to the one blog comment awaiting moderation saying "update this blog already!"  Excuse me?  If he had actually read my blogs he would have seen we recently moved and that I was quite sick prior to and during the move.  Now I know he didn't read the blog post he tried to leave the comment on because it talked about us moving.  So his inconsiderate comment caused all of his comments to be filed in the trash can.  At some point if this person wants to continue being an active member in the blogosphere he will realize that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.  I don't mind constructive criticism but for Pete's sake read the post!  If you can't say anything nice or at least constructive criticism don't leave a comment.  Seesh!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Digital Cameras

I rely heavily on digital images for my blogs.  I started out with a small Fuji digital that held 15 pictures with no flash then moved to a Fuji with a flash then two Canons and now my Panasonic Lumix (10x optical zoom).  As a point a click camera the Panasonic is lovely.  It has a metal case rather than plastic and takes rather nice quality photos.  BUT when we were shopping for my husband's new laptop I spotted a couple of SLR camera that I know are cheaper than what we paid for the Panasonic.  The thing is a new digital camera is not on my 'want to purchase' list just yet not because we can't afford a new camera but because I am rather attached to my Panasonic.  It does precisely what I want and it does it well.  We have a spare back-up Canon digital.  Now, my husband who is an award winning photographer hobbyist would love playing with an SLR digital camera.  I can't say I wouldn't like playing with one either ...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Photoshop Elements Software

I am a huge fan of Photoshop.  I personally prefer it over some of the free photo editing software and it does a much nicer job than the limited photo editing included with most digital cameras.  It took a few years to learn to use it and the driving force for learning how to use it was blogging.  I use Photoshop pretty much daily.  The main problem with Photoshop is the price that will cost about $700 plus to set up on a new computer.  The real work-around is Photoshop Elements.  At under $100 is is affordable and performs quite nicely.  You can import your own custom brushes, filters, styles and that type of thing with a bit of working knowledge of the program.  For the most part Photoshop Elements will give you all the tools necessary for editing photos for blogging and scrapbooking.  Oh sure there are less tools but for the average Joe Blow, Photoshop Elements is more than sufficient.  I bought PSE version 9.0 for the laptop after using the trial version for 30 days.  The trial version is fully functional and free to use for that period.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mac Cravings

Oh good gosh, I'm blogging from my husband's ancient Toshiba laptop.  I normally blog from my beloved Mac desktop.  So I complain to my husband slightly and I do mean slightly then casually mentioned he could use a new, updated computer for his office.  We went shopping and he's now sporting a new Toshiba.  I'm using the old Toshiba while he complains I haven't tested out the new one.  See, I'm tired from the move so anything else new is not overly welcomed at the moment.  I want to sit, relax, do a little blogging and catch-up on some of my Facebook games.  I don't want to have to type in my passwords or do anything beyond the non-thinking category of life.  BUT, I just might have to take it for a test drive...

Oh and the plan is to strip the old Toshiba of anything not necessary then leave it at the vacation home.  This means there would be one less thing to carry through the airport or on the plane.  I have been eyeing up a sweet little iPad that would fit in my purse for traveling.  Perhaps it is time I treated myself, except I'm not in the mood for anything new.  I'm on official downtime...

Friday, September 23, 2011

CMF Ads Replacement

I was seriously saddened to hear that Ben and Turnip are pulling the plug on CMF Ads with the final close date of October 30, 2011.  Now on their site they recommend Project Wonderful as a replacement to CMF Ads and I am sure that Project Wonderful loves the referral but quite frankly I don't think this is a good replacement.  Project Wonderful is great and I do use it but it will not give you the traffic that CMF Ads did.  I cannot in good faith recommend Entrecard.  In my opinion, Adgitize is about the next best thing to CMF Ads without being a PTC blog advertising network.

Next to that, I'm seriously not looking at replacing CMF Ads on my blogs.  While I am sorry to see them go, there's nothing I can do about it and in all honesty nothing will replace CMF Ads.  So for the time being, when CMF ads cease to be displayed on the widgets on my blogs, I will simply remove the widget without worrying about finding a replacement.  It was good while it lasted and I do wish Ben and Turnip all the best.  Here's hoping they come back with another blog advertising network to replace CMF Ads!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bidvertiser Rolls Out It's New Slider Ads

A little over a month ago Bidvertiser announced their new slider ads.  If running the Bidvertiser widget these ads will appear on your blog unless you have indicated not to show them.  While I haven't seen any of these ads myself yet, there are reports of the slider ads appearing on some blogs within the Adgitize ad network.  These ads, like peel backs and pop-up ads are of course against the Adgitize TOS.  In addition to that, some may find the slider ads that apparently are advertising 'hot singles' offensive.

In most cases the blogger is not aware of the Bidvertiser slider ads especially if they have not updated their blog in awhile.  It is common in the blogosphere to let blogging slide (no pun intended) when there are more pressing life matters to deal with.  It is also quite common to have several blog post scheduled to run while on vacation where there may not be internet access so the blogger has no way of checking their blog or even email.  So in fairness, some of these slider ads will slip through until the blogger notices them or are made aware of them.  Guaranteed the readers won't like it but if taken care of within a reasonable time it should be fine.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Horrid Start to My Blogging Day

Oh good gosh!  Have you ever had one of those days where you would like to chuck every piece of computer equipment out the window then go out and buy new?  Well this morning I was dealing with that very temptation. Normally I am blogging from my Mac but when traveling or on vacation I use my husband's Toshiba (Windows XP) laptop.  The thing is getting to be slow but I have a plan of buying a new laptop for my husband's office, possibly taking my iMac to our vacation home while replacing it with a new iMac and after this morning giving his old laptop to the grandkids to play with.

I've encountered so many problems this morning that it really is more like a comedy of errors.  First the router wasn't working properly so I did a direct connect to troubleshoot.  After getting connected, Adgitize was very slow and the games I play daily on Facebook still won't load even though they worked fine on the laptop previously.  Then there's the Photoshop issue.  I had PSE 8.0 and PSE 9.0 trial versions on the laptop but needed to buy a license to continue using them.  I was going to buy online for $99 but Walmart, according to their site, had PSE 9.0 for $69 but when we got there it was $90.  Still, I saved $9 so can't complain.  I uninstalled both copies of PSE that took forever to complete and installed the new copy of PSE 9.0.  Then I emptied the recycle bin and ran AVG for the third time in two days.  I know I should check the disk clean-up and then do a defrag but there are three more programs I think can be uninstalled except I want to confirm with him that he isn't using them.  I moved my blog folder from the laptop to a portable stick just to free up a bit of room.  I will be going through this computer with a fine tooth comb to get it back to the way it should be.

In the meantime it is now almost 2 PM and I am well behind on my blogging!  After dinner I think we are going to make the trip back to the store where we saw a laptop for an excellent price.  Then I may even do an Office Space move and bust the snot out of this computer.  The whole thought of doing so at least gave me a chuckle!  Off to do a bit of blogging.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bloggers by Nature are Adaptable Folks

One of the most valuable lessons I learned in my early days of blogging, is as a blogger you must be adaptable if you want to survive in the blogsphere.  There's no two ways about it.  It's not as simple as starting a blog, adding a few posts here and there, then letting your blog mature.  There's blog advertising to consider, updating blog designs and templates, constantly finding blog fodder and just oodles more to do.  What works one day won't work the next and those secondary sites you depend on change sometimes causing them to be ineffective on your blog.  More importantly a site you used to drive traffic to your blog may suddenly close down with no notice or a widget you used may suddenly start triggering anti-virus alerts.  Affiliate programs change their terms of service or may become an ineffective use of your blog real estate.  As a blogger it is essential that you can quickly adapt to these sudden changes to keep your readers happy and your blog earning potential at it's peak.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

CMF Ads to Close Down

It was with great sadness I read about the closing of CMF Ads.  Features are being disabled effective September 16 with the planned site closing date of October 30.  'Tis a very, very sad announcement!  Over the past couple of years I have gotten to know Ben who I met during my Entrecard days.  When Ben and Turnip left Entrecard, I left as well to support their new blog advertising network, CMF Ads.  It was a small network but they ran it professionally and with integrity.  There is nothing bad I can say about CMF Ads.  It was a very effective blog advertising network.  When the introduced the Atomic Ads, I jumped right in, proud to say I was their second buyer of those ads. 

I sincerely wish Ben and Turnip all the best in their future endeavours.  I know they will continue to be active members in the blogosphere.  'Til we meet again, old friends :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Downside to Social Media

For awhile there the big blogging hype was using social media like Twitter and Facebook to promote your blog.  Well it does work but only if you are consistent.  The problem with being consistent is it eats up a lot of time that could be used for blogging and other methods of blog promotion.  I never really used Facebook for much in the way of blog promotion but I did use Twitter.  I even experimented using Twitter with ten blog specific links daily for a month just to see if it would generate traffic.  It did but with the move and basically life, I don't have time to sit on Twitter all day.  Now things are calming down, I am going to try pushing Twitter a bit more but only if I have the time to do so.  I'm thinking if I get active again it will be with a lot of restrictions rather than leaving TweetDeck open all the time. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Alexa Shinnigans

I have been rather busy with the move, too busy to pay attention to all the various stat numbers.  One of my blogs was hovering around the 120,000 mark for Alexa ranking.  Yesterday, I noticed that that particular blog was now just over the 300,000 mark.  As Alexa ranking goes this is not good!  But how could that be?  I picked up 3 new followers over the past two weeks and according to Statcounter my traffic is up on average by 100 per day.  So my traffic and followers are up but my Alexa ranking declines?  The only thing I can think of is Alexa has changed the way they are calculating traffic. 

At one time Technorati, Alexa and Google Page Rank were the top three rankings to aim for.  As a blogger it was important to get ranked by these top three.  Now I'm not so sure.  Technorati very seldom sends traffic and I haven't seen much if anything from Alexa.  Google has been and remains to be very good to me.  From what I have seen Alexa is basically going to a paid service.  So if you pay them a fee per month they will monitor your site/blog.  My speculation is if you don't pay them they won't do much in the way of monitoring and I did notice somehow my category was switched to computers/internet then placed into bloggers so that might explain the drastic change.  Their monitoring is expensive at $149 per month for a site audit which is a little too expensive for this blogger's pocketbook. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Settling In

We did the last of our moving last night.  My gosh, moving has to be one of the most disruptive things you can do!  It sure reeked havoc with being able to get blogs posts written.  Now we can start settling into our new house and get back into a bit of a routine.  I want to get back to my normal 7 AM posting schedule for my blogs.  A side benefit with the move is it gave me copious blog fodder!  I sure can't complain about that.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Phone Line Filter

We haven't been getting many phone calls on our new phone line so it took me a couple of days to notice that when the phone rang the DSL disconnected.  I got an error message saying I needed to put a filter on the phone line portion of our service to prevent this from happening again.  The phone line filter goes between the phone jack and the telephone.  I know I have a phone line filter floating around as I kept it from when we had DSL several years ago.  I even recall seeing it recently when I packed it in a box with emergency lighting supplies.  Unfortunately I can't find the box!  My husband has a couple extra filters at the office so is bringing me one when he comes home for lunch.  That should solve my minor connection problems.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My New Internet Service

Bell was supposed to be here between 8 am and 5 pm for our sat tv service and 12 pm and 5 pm for our internet service.  Talk about annoying!  Here was a whole day one of us had to be here waiting for them to show up.  Well the internet, the most important service was apparently delayed as the serviceman didn't show up until 4:45 pm then proceeded to be slower than molasses in January and from the looks of it had never seen a Mac in his life.  He told me to get the wireless router working I had to delete Airport!  I firmly told him to step away from my Mac watched him drive away then called tech support.    It took a bit of maneuvering but thanks to Emily (Bell's friendly automated service) I finally got the internet working and guess what?  I didn't have to delete Airport [majorly rolling eyes!]  So I am up and running ready to start blogging again.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Pluggability of Mac

A few years ago I switched from Windows XP to Mac and haven't looked back.  The nice thing is even the Mac desktop just plugs in and is ready to go.  I have taken it down to our vacation home and even with this move there is nothing special to have to do.  There's no towers or extras to have to deal with.  It's what you see is what you get.  I move the computer over to the new house tonight but won't have internet service until sometime tomorrow.  I can't wait to blog from real high speed internet!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

In the Process of Moving

We are on day 3 of our  move.  Let me tell you going back and forth between two houses with no internet at the new house is a bit of a pain but we are managing.  I am reduced to only an hour or so access until Tuesday but it's better than nothing.  At least I can get a blog post or two out and do my Adgitize so that isn't too bad.  Besides we don't have tv access at the new house until Tuesday either so at least I get to watch Corrie while packing a bit. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Moving and Blogging

This is the second move we've made since I started blogging.  The last move was hectic at best with the computer connected almost to the end.  The move was a one day move and honestly those really are a lot of work!  Our buyers were trying to move in while we were trying to move out.  The idea of trying to do any blogging that day was squashed!  This move is technically over a period of fifteen days.  Our legal closing date is September 15 but we have access as of September 1 so can take our time moving our possessions from our old to new house.  This really means that I will have time to blog each day during the move.

We started moving things today.  The internet is still live at our old house until the fourteenth.  The new internet service (Bell) is being hooked up on the sixth.  From that point I will be blogging from the new house.  Once the Bell service is connected I can call back Xplornet and tell them to disconnect that service or leave as is to be able to use the laptop at the old house if need be.  In reality though once everything is out of the house there is no need for internet service at the old house even for the laptop so I will likely call to disconnect early.  I don't anticipate being down for internet service much more than four hours if that.