Sunday, October 31, 2004

Bush in Miami

This was just a funny quote I wanted to share. It was printed in a blog from the Orlando Sentinel. This morning President Bush was in Miami and went to the Church of the Epiphany for worship.
'What a great privilege it is for all of us to pray with the most powerful man on the face of the Earth,' said Msgr. Jude O'Doherty. 'I want you to know, Mr. President, that I'm not one bit nervous. If I should stumble on a word or two, I know you will understand.'
Now that's funny!

Happy Reformation Day!

(I originally wrote this 2 years ago, but thought I'd dig it back up today)

You probably thought this would be about Halloween, huh? But I wanted to take a moment to remind us all that today is a very significant day in Christian, indeed Western, history! Let me take a moment to explain...

On October 31, 1517, in Wittenberg, Germany, Professor and Catholic Priest Martin Luther wrote 95 statements that he cared to discuss with his fellow professors and priests. Luther was upset (among other things) with the abuse of indulgences sold by the church to raise money previously to fund crusades and to fund building churches. For instance, John Tetzel was in charge of a "church building campaign" and was preaching all around Germany, "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs". This manipulation tactic infuriated Luther. As was custom, Luther posted his 95 statements on the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg -- it was like the bulletin board or a message board online (blog?) -- written in Latin (not German) so that his colleagues could discuss the issues. He wanted to talk reform in the church.

However, someone took that paper, translated it into German, and then used the new invention of the day to spread the word of the "rebellion". Gutenberg's Print Press was used to circulate the message all over Germany and soon Luther became a hero of sorts to the Germans. Luther didn't back down either. Luther preached sermons, wrote books, and printed and circulated these works using the Gutenberg press.

The church didn't like this stirring and issued an official statement from the Pope for Luther to quiet down. "A wild boar has invaded Thy vineyard" was a statement made in this document (called a papal bull) asking God to judge Luther.

Long story short, Luther continued his protest and call for reform and thus the protesting Protestants began the Reformation on their own.

Many scholars today say Luther was one of the first to really push the improvements of the print press. The technology of the day allowed Luther to spread the protesting reforms. Most, if not all, of western culture was first formed as a direct result of Luther's works -- and his works were made known because of the new technology of the day.

Enjoy today, knowing that God uses us to make a difference in this world using the tools He's given us.

PS. This post isn't intended to "Catholic bash", but there's no denying reform needed to happen in those days. And it did in two ways: The Protestant Reformation and later a Catholic Reformation under Pope Paul III (1534-1549): the Council of Trent, Spanish Jesuit Ignatius Loyola, Francis Xavier (one of the first missionaries to India and Japan founding a town for Christian converts named Nagasaki), and Matthew Ricci (first missionary to China).

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Clemson hits .500

Alright! The Tigers D does it again. We beat NC State 26-20 today to take us to 4-4 on the season.

Next up: Miami. Ugh.

Go Tigers!

PSA: Fall Back Tonight

Don't forget to show up for church tomorrow morning an hour late. Okay, well, sort of. Daylight Savings ends tonight so everyone should set their clocks back an hour.

The concept of DST has always intrigued and confused me. So today I found a site that helped my understand it better. You can learn about how & why it works, along with who in the world does it, and all sorts of other stuff.

This has been your Orangejack Public Service Announcement.

Friday, October 29, 2004

A Page A Person

According to Google, there are over 6 billion pages indexed on the web. Just do a search for "the" and look to see how many they say are there. When I just tried it, it told me there were about 6,010,000,000 entries. That's about one per person.

Interesting. Yahoo found less than 2 billion.

MSN only found 315 million. Got a long way to go, Bill.

Rob's Interview

The following went out to our eNewsletter list today so I thought I'd share it here also...
Patricia and I have been in Canada over a month now and we wanted to give you a quick update on how we're doing. Patricia is still sick often so please continue to pray for her. I have been doing well adjusting to this role here.

We also wanted to tell you about a really cool opportunity I received last week. I had the humble pleasure to be interviewed by a ministry in the Washington DC area called For Ministry. The transcript for that interview has been posted on their eQuip channel. You can also access the transcript directly here.

The interview will give you a little more insight into how I got involved in internet ministry and a new website I've recently launched about being effective in internet ministry.

Thanks for your continued prayers for us both.

Rob & Patricia

Trailer III has announced that the Episode III trailer will be released in theaters next Friday as a trailer for The Incredibles (which looks like a good movie in it's own right!). All the more reason to go see the movie.

They have also released the teaser poster for Episode III. Personally, I don't like it. But they didn't ask me. I really liked the one for Episode I. The one for II was okay. This one is the worst of the bunch. You can see them all here.

I'm still excited about the May 19, 2005 release though.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Most Popular Sport In America is...

The NFL. Duh! But what is interesting is that college football has now passed the NBA.

Lunar Eclipse

Did you see it last night? We did. I took one photo on my digi cam but haven't looked to see if it came out. Doubt it. But never fear! This guy didn't miss it.

Thanks to Micro Persuasion for the link.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Help with Hurricane Relief

Cool. and the Weather Channel have partnered to provide hurricane relief. All you have to do is visit every day. Each day you visit, they will donate.

Bad Moon Risin'

Tonight there will be a total lunar eclipse. Keep watching the sky...

Morning of Music

This morning wasn't too bad. I woke up with my radio alarm and my currently new favorite song came on. It's called They by Jem. Have you heard it? It's a great song. Some say it's spooky. I admit it's haunting, but I think it sounds more like a Christmas song with the boys choir in it.

Then I made my way out the door and to the car. Our first frost! I have a scraper but I just sat in the car with the heat on high until I could see out of the windshield. But the ride in was beautiful! I travel down a highway for just a few miles (oops, kilometers!) but it goes parallel to some snow capped mountains to the north and heads toward some more slightly snow capped mountains to the east. The sun was huge and bright orange coming up over the mountain and made everything around me an orange hue.

Then I was skipping through the radio trying to find something I like. The last song that came on before I got to work took me back. It was Respect Yourself by none other than Bruce Willis. Now ain't that a strange way to end your drive? Listening to Bruce Willis sing and "play" the harmonica?

But it was good. Just a bit different.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Happy Anniversary, Patricia

Today is my wedding anniversary. I've been married to my wife for 8 years now. It's been great so far and anticipate that it'll only get better!

I love you, Patricia.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Wonder Twins Power, Activate!

Form of: a PDF maker!
Shape of: a Yahoo Toolbar!

For more: Yahoo! Partnets with Adobe PDF

Zook Hooked

They're going to fire Ron Zook today. I don't get it. Fanblogs has a running update on it all.

I'm no Florida fan, but I follow them. Living in Orlando you get to know about Gator football. Orlando is part of the "Gator Nation". But man, they have never give Zook a chance. I think he's doing a fine job there. I mean, he's no Steve Spurrier, but who is (and why do you really want him)?

Well, no skin off my back. I just wonder how much influence actually had in it all.

College football in the south really is a religion...and winning seasons aren't enough.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

10 Years Ago Already?

Has it really been 10 years? I guess Monday will be the 10 year anniversary (if you can really call it that). Do these names sound familiar to you: Alex, Michael, John D. Long, Tommy Pope, and David? They are all names tied to another name -- Susan.

It was 10 years ago when back in Union, SC, Susan Smith drowned her boys.

I was living in SC at the time. I grew up just an hour or so from Union. I remember looking for the car as I drove around. I remember being amazed and pleased that the entire country was joining me. Then I remember being duped. I remember looking at her face realizing she lied, realizing she killed. I remember feeling sorry for her, and feeling mad at her.

Has it really been 10 years?

The article I linked is good. I like Pope's (not the Pope) attitude in this article. Thankfully, with all the memories I have of this, I feel like he does.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Go Tigers...and a strange score

Somehow Clemson pulled out another "W". We were down all day and scored a TD in the last minute to get the win. Our defense did well as the only TD they allowed was off great field position because of a blocked punt. So now we're just one game shy of getting to .500 on the year. Not what I expected for this year, but at least we're back in the win column again.

Now for the bizarre football score of the year so far: Iowa beat Penn St 6-4. Yes, I said it was football.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

TV in Canada

One cool thing about TV here is that they don't have to stick with the US network affiliation. For example, one channel here called "Global" will show tonight at 7:30 Joey from NBC, then at 8:00 will be Survivor from CBS, then at 9:00 will be The Apprentice from NBC (all times PST).

No need for the remote tonight.

The History of the Web as Keith Knows It

Keith has done a great job writing a summary of how the internet has changed over time in trying to find information.

Nice post, Keith. I enjoyed the concise history. I get tired of reading long history books, etc. I like the concise stuff first. If it piques my interest, then I read more!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

"Amanada from Canada"

Amanda is a co-worker of mine here in Canada. She's great. Look how much she can get done before 9AM!

Now you know why I call her "Amanada from Canada".

Sweet Biscuits

I call them sweet biscuits. They are called scones. Either way, they are good eats. (okay, I don't really call them sweet biscuits).

Last week we went to a cranberry festival and bought a bag of 'em. Patricia found a recipe on the internet (God bless the internet!) for cranberry-lemon scones. Man are they good. I just had another.

Of course whenever I see or hear about scones, I think of that episode of Friends when Ross was having trouble with his British girlfriend (or was Emily his wife then?) and so he ordered a scone:
[pounding a scone]
Ross : Stupid British snack food.
Chandler : Did they teach you that in your anger management class?
I laughed just looking up that quote.

I like scones...fresh, homemade, cranberry-lemon, sweet biscuits, I mean scones!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

New ACC Divisions

The Atlantic Coast Conference has announced it's new logo and football conference names: the Atlantic and the Coastal (Clemson is in the Atlantic). reported that:
the new egg-shaped ACC logo includes almost the entire Eastern seaboard, with diamonds marking the locations of the conference's 11 current schools, plus Boston College. The new seal looks similar to the old circular one, which featured the six contiguous states that serve as home to the league's member schools.

But the arrival next year of Boston College provided a challenge for seal designers, who couldn't squeeze the state of Massachusetts in the old circle. So after reviewing more than 100 seal proposals, league officials adopted the oval.
Thanks to the TigerPundit of the hookup.

A Seabourn Hurricane Season

A great letter written by Keith to his ministry partners recapping the hurricane season for them. A very well written, well photographed, letter.

PSA: Orlando Used Cars

Over 100,000 cars flooded from all the hurricanes are now showing up in used car lots
Most damaged cars from Hurricanes Charley, Jeanne, Frances and Ivan will be totaled by insurance companies. However, that doesn't mean they will end up in the junkyard, the investigation found.
Although most of these are in Central Florida, be sure some of them will be shipped out and sold in other regions.

This has been your Orangejack Public Service Announcement.

Wi-Fi Cities

I never thought I'd say this, but Chaska, Minnesota might be a nice place to live. Not because of the weather, but because they are going wireless throughout the city. Cool!

Of course this article then told me that downtown St. Cloud, Florida is also wireless. I know a portion of downtown Orlando is also. Wireless is great and I hope cities continue to expand it's reach.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Un-Golden Knights

When we moved to Orlando, I adopted the Univ of Central Florida because it's only a couple miles from our house. They've had a decent team over the years. Until now. UCF lost again yesterday. "The loss extends the Golden Knights' losing streak to 10 games, the longest in the nation."

Now that's bad.

Poor Knights. They had all sorts of pre-season hype hiring Coach George O'Leary. But right now, of the 117 Division 1-A schools, UCF is the worst.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Clemson Wins!

The headline from this article tells it all: FINALLY! Clemson finally won a game to go to 2-4 on the season. I know it was Utah State, but hey, it was our homecoming also. I've always said that at a minimum, a team should win homecoming and beat it's rival. We're half way there!

Hopefully this will be a spark so we can end up with a respectable season.

Go Tigers!

The Credit Card Prank

I was talking with some friends the other day about credit card signatures. Mine is wearing off and is tough to read. Some of them put "Check ID" on the card but it never works. I've only been carded maybe 3-5 times in my life for a normal purchase. But I'm always surprised and pleased when they want to check the signature on my card and/or check my ID. It shows they care about the protection of my card.

Then a friend sent me this. It's called The Credit Card Prank and it's hilarious...and kinda sad at the same time. Check it out though. It's worth it.

Friday, October 15, 2004


Today is my wife's birthday. I'm not going to tell you how young she is because that's not polite. But she is still quite young...though she keeps maturing. Today is a good day. Anyone who wants can celebrate her...that she's in this world. I thank God that she's here with me and I tell Him that I'm never quite sure why He'd put her in my life. I'm so undeserving of a woman like her. She is a leader with a servant's heart. She is intelligent. She gets my jokes. She even blogs! Although her health is a constant struggle, she's still a Babe to me.

Happy Birthday, Patricia! I love you.

(now drop by her blog and fill her up with birthday comments!)

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Google Desktop

Google announced today a desktop search tool (in beta). You can read a review from SearchEnginePosition. Also here is the "official" annoucement from the Google Blog.

I wonder how Microsoft feels about Google now organizing, indexing, and searching through all it's products?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Life at our house now that we both have blogs.


A Blog Seminar in a Blog

There's going to be a seminar about blogging by the Radiant Marketing Group called How to Write a Business Blog Teleseminar. They posted some of the topics they'll cover and I thought I'd save you the $$ (ha!) and give you my opinions (although I recommend getting other opinions also...maybe some will post their comments below?) I don't want to take business away from them, but not everyone will be able to attend, right?

- do you need to write your blog yourself?
Yes. It's your blog. If it's for business or ministry, well then, yes! It adds a personal touch to your organization.

- should it be edited?
Maybe. In one sense, no. Let it flow. But in another, yes. Sometimes you end up posting something that has errors (factual, verbal, misspellings, etc). Fix those, but remember, a blog is personal and makes your organization more personal.

- what writing style or voice is appropriate?
Casual. Don't be formal or use too much (if any) lingo. Just relax and make it personal.

- what topics will most engage your audience?
Depends. What does your target audience want to hear? Mostly about you. Or things that are interesting to you. Or the personal touch from the organization. It's personal for you...and them.

- how will you measure the return on your blogging efforts?
Traffic. Actually conversions. Your blog will increase your branding. It can bring more traffic. What is the point of your blog? What do you want people to do after reading it? Measure that.

- how does a blog fit in with an e-newsletter?
Easily. One thing I'd really like to do is to use a blog to post notes, then create an eNewsletter based off of the "best of" from the blog. Blogs are pull technology. Use the eNewsletter for the push.

Well, there you go. Post your comments below. I learned of this seminar from Business Blog Consulting.

There's another blog conference coming to Seattle, New York, and Chicago.

Local Dean

You have to listen to Yahoo! Local's latest radio spot featuring Howard Dean. It's funny.

Signs You're Late

I went to a seminar with a co-worker tonight. We were 15 minutes late. We thought the mingling went from 6 to 6:30. Here's how you know when you're late:

1. No one is mingling where they're supposed to be.
2. The only name tags left on the table are yours and your co-worker's.
3. When you walk in, a guy in the back gets up to let your pregnant co-worker have a seat in the back and tells you there's one spot the front row.


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Blogging Process

You want to know what a blogger's life looks like in regards to the blogging process itself?

Look no further than here.

Thanks to Dana for the link.

My Life

My life has a life of it's own.

At least that's how I feel sometimes.

Yeah, I don't get it either.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Blue Like Jazz

I just finished my copy of Blue Like Jazz today. I'm a slow reader. I've written about it a couple of times. It's a very good book and I recommend it to everyone.

I was fascinated by how he writes. The things he said about spirituality resonated with me a lot. Because I've touched on this stuff before, I'm going to only mention this last thought. At the end of the chapter called "Alone", he writes:
If loving other people is a bit of heaven then isolation is a bit of hell, and to that degree, here on earth, we decide in which state we would like to live.
This is a fascinating quote I've been going back to several times. I don't want to be alone, yet sometimes I live alone. Alone can be good. But it can also be bad. It's a struggle of mine. I've been burned badly by opening up to people. I've lost relationships over it. So my response is to be alone.

And that isolation is a bit of hell.

Anyway, a good book. Pick it up. I see he's got a new book that just came out. I think I may have to pick up a copy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Depending on who's reading this, Patricia and I want to say "Happy Columbus Day", "Happy Thanksgiving", and "Happy Birthday"!

Okay, so the "Happy Birthday" is for our two year old niece today.

And it's "Happy Columbus Day" for all our US friends.

But here in Canada, it's "Happy Thanksgiving"! We have a long weekend this weekend because today is Thanksgiving in Canada. We celebrated last night with a huge spread much like what we're used to. We went upstairs to be with our landlords and their extended family and friends. There were about 20 of us I think. It was fun. We're going to a co-workers house tonight for another spread! It will be fun.

I already wrote some about Canadian Thanksgiving so check it out. One thing I haven't told you was Saturday we went to a Cranberry Festival and saw how they harvest cranberries. The flood the cranberry bed and come through with a large tool that will pull the berries off the bushes. The berries then float up where they skim them off.

We also tried cranberry wine. It's okay.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Important Game

This isn't a political post, it's about football (again). I'm posting because this is very important. It's truth. It has to be.

There is a very accurate predictor to find out who will win the 2004 Presidential election. The person who will win the White House will be determined not in November. It will be determined this month...on Halloween even!

What is this great predictor? It's the winner of the Washington Redskins/Green Bay Packers game. If the Redskins win, Bush wins. If the Packers win, Kerry wins.

This test has worked the last 15 years. Don't believe me? Check this out.

Future Florida Hurricanes

There's a disturbing article in the Orlando Sentinel today about the potential future for Florida hurricanes (free subscription required). In it, the question is asked:
"Why is the Sunshine State suddenly in the bull's-eye of so many fierce hurricanes?"

Well, don't blame global warming.

And get used to it.

Although Floridians aren't likely to see four hurricanes in a single season again, we can expect to see more-intense hurricanes in the Atlantic and Caribbean during the next decade -- or decades. And, depending on the steering currents, there's a good chance some will visit Florida.
I guess that's what we get for owning a house on a sandbar that sticks out into the Atlantic. You realize the Gulf of Mexico would just be the Atlantic Ocean if it weren't for Florida?

I wonder how long our "temporary" move to Vancouver might last! There's only one girl we have to worry about here in Vancouver and her name is Helen...and even then we don't worry about her much.

By the way, we had a "wind advisory" here the other day. Patricia asked someone what that meant because we're from Orlando. They said, "Oh, nothing like what you have!" I think it meant they could have wind over 25 mph. Psshhh!


Well now we have tropical storm Nicole. Looks like she is drifting off into the Atlantic like all good storms should.

I'm going to set the over/under for named hurricanes at the letter "R". With no money exchanging (ie: no real betting), do you take the over or the under? I'm going with the under (which for the alphabet I guess that means after "R").

In other words, what will be the first letter of the last named hurricane this season? Will it be "over" the letter "R" (meaning it will be O, P, Q, or R) or will it be "under" (meaning S, T, U, etc)?

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Canadians: "Happy Thanksgiving"

We just started a long weekend here in Canadia (yeah, I know, but for some reason I keep saying that so I thought I'd write it too). I won't write much about it because my wife already has. But it's nice to have this long weekend. We're going to have two celebrations this weekend with two different that should be fun.

Thanksgiving here is about the harvest. And one cool thing was yesterday at work, one of the board memebers had about 7 or 8 bins of fresh apples trucked in and we could take as much as we could. So I did.

It's interesting though to see that most people around here don't get into Thanksgiving much. Well, if you go to the stores, all you see is Halloween stuff for sale, nothing for Thanksgiving.

So I'll probably still blog over the long weekend while watching football (oh, we still get Thanksgiving football's called Monday Night Football!). So on Monday, we'll have a great Columbus Day, er, I mean, Candian Thanksgiving.

For more on Canadia and Thanksgiving, check these sites out.

Clemson Hope?

Here's a good and fair analysis of Clemson's remaining football schedule.

Sigh. Where did this season's results come from?

Orangejack Blogging University

Interested in blogging? Don't know much about what a blog is, why blog, or how to blog? Need to tweak your blog? Do you feel like you need to take some classes on it all?

Well look no futher. I have put together a series on the ins and outs of blogging. I call it the Orangejack Blogging University. Here's the curriculum in case you're interested in starting.

Blogging 100: Prerequisites
Blogging 101:
Blogging 102: HTML Code
Blogging 201: Posting Photos
Blogging 202: Publishing
Blogging 301: Marketing
Blogging 302: Webstats
Blogging 401: Template Tweaks
Blogging 402: Etiquette

So have fun in class. And if you want to link to this class, use this entry...and feel free to let me know in the comment section!

Blogging 100: Prerequisites

Hello class. Welcome to the Orangejack Blogging University. I am your professor, Rob. I look forward to being able to take you through your blogging degree.

We have two degrees to offer:
Associate's Degree of Blogging: complete both Freshmen & Sophomore level courses
Bachelor's Degree of Blogging: complete all four level courses

However, before we get started, there are a few questions you may have already. Let's get them cleared up so we can begin.

What is a blog?
Who blogs?
What do people blog about?
Why blog?
What is the blogging process?
How do you blog?

Friday, October 08, 2004


Whoa! Check out these photos!

Link via MUSC Tiger.


Here we go again...and Florida is in his sites. Thankfully it doesn't look too bad yet, but good grief. How much can one state take? And the panhandle has really been roughed up this year.

Cars that Read

The literate cars are coming. Literally. These cars can "read road signs" and check to see if you are ignoring them or not. If the speed limit sign says you should reduce speed and you don't, the car will tell you.

It'll be interesting to see if the marketers can win this one:
While some drivers might consider DAS to be a backseat Big Brother, NICTA prefers to compare the device to other driving aids such as anti-skid braking or cruise control. Their research also highlights the common example of inattentive drivers alerted by passengers to cars emerging from side roads or passengers crossing the street.
This can't be good for Sammy Hagar.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

We Stink

It's official. Right now, Clemson really stinks.

C'mon Tigers!

Blogging 402: Etiquette

Well class, this is our last session. I hope you've been enjoying your time at the Orangejack Blogging University. There will be extra classes posted here from time to time, but they may not be announced or even labeled as such. You'll just need to keep coming back!

Last time we talked about tweaking your template with HTML and I hope that didn't leave your head spinning too badly. This class will be an easy "A". Most of this stuff you should know and are already doing...but unfortunately we still need a class on it. It's about etiquette.

As we've gone through these classes, you may have already picked up on some of the more ethical things you should do such as don't post on someone's blog without contributing to the conversation. But there are other things you should make sure you do.

If you find a good article somewhere that you want to post about, don't plagiarize. Give credit to the person you got it from. You can blog directly from the article itself, just be humble enough to say you got the idea or link from someone else...and link to them when you do. It's like footnoting your blog entries.

Another thing you should do is allow people to post comments on your blog. When they comment, feel free to post a comment there to have a conversation. You certainly don't have to, but it's okay if you do. It's about the conversation.

You may, from time to time (or often) rant about someone or something. That's fine. It's your blog and you can say what you want. Just consider the Golden Rule as you post. If you wouldn't like it if they started calling you names and bringing up junk, then you shouldn't either. Be respectful of them. We're all humans...well, most of us anyway! ;-)

You also might want to link to a friend's blog or post a conversation you had with them. Just make sure you have their permission if you're quoting them. It's just common courtesy.

Well, that should do it. If you are able to go though these 8 classes and do well, you are well on your way to becoming a great blogger! And if you are able to do all of these steps and you learned most of it here, drop me a line or leave a comment with your URL. I'd love to see how you students are doing.

Now if you'll indulge me, let me say two last things. First, I really like blogging. I really enjoy it and have learned a lot. I want to pass those things along to you. That's why I did all this. I want to share what I know with you, the blogsphere.

The second thing I want to say is that I really want to see people be able to use technology for more "noble" practices. I want to see community built where we are able to share things that are on our mind. It's about life. And, in my opinion, life is best lived if there's a purpose to it. Part of my purpose is to engage in community. And that stems from a foundational relationship I have. Without it, my sense of purpose is gone. But with it, things are, well, different. If this is a topic of discussion you want to continue with me, feel free to contact me.

Congratulations on your OBU degree in blogging!

Target Missed

One of my favorite stores, Target, has announced they are banning the Salvation Army from collecting outside their stores this Christmas season.

That's a real shame. And I'm doing something about it. Will you?

Thanks to the ever observant Steve for the tip.

God speaks through Charley?

I saw this the other day on (a very fine site that everyone should check every time they get an email that could be a hoax). Anyway, apparently God speaks through Charley.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Blogging 401: Template Tweaks

Welcome back, class. I've been involved in a lot of extra-curricular activities (aka my job!) so I haven't been able to teach as much this week. Before I get into this class, I want to thank all those who have been participating and learning, leaving comments and making suggestions. We encourage class participation! Also, once I'm done teaching these senior level classes, I will post another post that will link all the classes together so you can have a one stop registration.

Now, onto the class.

Last time we talked about seeing if your marketing is paying off by looking at you blog webstats. Today we're going to look at how you can have a better overall design for your blog. This could be a lower-level class (thinking you might want to do this earlier than some of the advanced course), but I just felt that the level of understanding the code of the template was a higher level course. But don't fear. You can get though this class quite easily. And you'll want to. It's for your good.

There are a couple reasons why you'd want to tweak your blog template. For starters, after you pick a template (especially from blogger) you'll soon realize that there are MANY other blogs out there that will look just like yours! Tweaking your site will help set yours least some anyway.

The biggest reason you'll want to tweak your template is so that you can link to other blogs that you like. This is called blogrolling. There are sites out there, but with a little know-how, you can do it yourself (especially if you're not linking to a lot of sites). Here's how:

Get into the settings of your blog and choose to edit your template. WARNING: Before you start tweaking, highlight your entire template code, copy it and paste it as a .txt file somewhere. You'll want a backup. Trust me. I know from experience. Now, looking at the code at the top, you'll probably find all sorts of stuff you don't understand. Don't worry. Here's what you need to know. If something starts with (minus the _underscores_), those are comments. You can put them anywhere and the browser won't read them. This is good to use to make comments as to where things are in your code. In fact, your template might come with some comments surrounding some instructions of how to add things. So pay attention.

Also at the top you'll find all the settings that will define the layout and color scheme. You'll probably see things like "background: #ff9900;". That code is the code for the color. You have to use the hex code for colors. Just glace through the code and you'll see consistencies and you'll see how things are defined.

Now as you move down, you'll see the code <_blogger_>. This is the beginning of the "meat" of your template. Then as you move down further, you should see a comment or something to indicate you're in the section that runs the sidebar or "left content" or "right content". Just depends on your template. When you find where you want to add links, use the code you learned in Blogging 102: HTML Code to create a link and also the code to do an unordered list.

It may sound like a lot, but it's not too bad. For example, the code for a link in an unordered list would be <_ul><_li><_a href="">orangejack blog<_/a><_/li><_/ul>. Of course, take out all the _underscores_.

One last reason you should want to tweak your blog by adding links is that is can also increase your traffic. When you link to a blog and someone uses that link, the blog owner that the person just visited will know how they got there by looking at their referral webstats. In other words, when you click on the link to visit the Reality Blogs site, thye'll know it because in their webstats it'll show someone came from this blog. And then, he may just help you out by adding a link to your site. But don't expect it...and don't do it to get the reciprocal link. Do it because it's a place you want people to go.

Well class, this was a tough and long one. Sorry. It's tough because it's not the same for everyone and it's difficult to explain it all in post like this. Just look through your code and you should be able to figure some of it out with a little HTML know-how.

Next time: Blogging Etiquette.

Radio Chicken

All we hear is Radio ga ga
Radio goo goo
Radio ga ga
All we hear is Radio ga ga
Radio blah blah
Radio what's new?
Radio someone still loves you.
Those are the deep lyrics to the song Radio Ga Ga by Queen.

Here in Vancouver, all I hear is radio chicken.

What's even funnier is hearing Donald Trump himself promote such a silly game.

What Time Is It?

Just a cool website to figure out what time it is all around the world. My favorite is you can customize the site with whatever cities you like. Here's mine.

Also check out this crazy human clock, this linear clock, and the handwritten clock.

So Ricky Wants Back, huh?

In a followup report of this July post, looks like Ricky Williams wants to return to the Dolphins. His agent says, "He has a passion for playing football and is excited about playing."

Really? Where was that passion earlier?

Who wants to bet that he wants to come back because of the $8.6 million he owes the fins?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Mt. St. Helens Won't Be Big?

I had a feeling the story of Mount St. Helens would just keep going
For days, scientists have been warning that the volcano could blow at any moment with enough force to endanger lives and property. But geologists said Tuesday a more likely scenario was weeks or months of smaller-scale venting, with the possibility lava could enlarge the dome within the mountain's gaping crater.
"There's not necessarily going to be a big one," said Jake Lowenstern, a U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist.
Guess that's good news, right?

Volcanic Eruption Scale

I learned something new today. There is a scale they use to measure volcanic eruptions. So similar to the Saffir-Simpson scale for hurricanes, here is the Eruption Scale (or the Volcanic Explosivity Index):

Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) or Eruption Scale
0: Non-Explosive, <100 m plume height, 1000 cube meter volume
1: Gentle, 100-1000 m plume height, 10,000 cube meter volume
2: Explosive, 1-5 km plume height, 1 M cube meter volume
3: Severe, 3-15 km plume height, 10 M cube meter volume
4: Cataclysmic, 10-25 km plume height, 100 M cube meter volume
5: Paroxysmal, >25 km plume height, 1 km cube meter volume
6: Colossal, >25 km plume height, 10 km cube meter volume
7: Super-Colossal, >25 km plume height, 100 km cube meter volume
8: Mega-Colossal, >25 km plume height, 1000 km cube meter volume

Some of those sound like coffee sizes as Starbucks.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Last Comic Jumping

Has the NBC show Last Comic Standing finally jumped the shark? Ralphie May says so.

Ralphie, that show jumped the shark back when you were on it...not after you got cut from Season 3. And some of us do like the "remember when" comedy. I've got a lot of respect for Ralphie for getting up and telling some jokes (albeit crude) the day after his father died, but I've never been a Ralphie fan. Well, I've always loved this Ralphie.

But, I still like the show. It's funny. So I watch.

Thanks for the tip, RealityBlogs!


Best Buy is coming out with their own brand of TVs, Computers, and other electronics. No longer do you have to "settle" for a Dell. You can now get an Insignia!

I just wish I knew who actually make it.

...and again

I think this news will just keep going and going...

Mount St. Helens Belches More Steam

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Good News

This was posted on the National Hurricane Center website:
Page last modified Monday, 4 Oct 2004 03:23:05 GMT
Atlantic & Caribbean
There are no tropical cyclones at this time.
Good news indeed!

Breaking News about Mt. St. Helens

Mt. St. Helens soon to be renamed Mt. St. Frances.

More on this developing story...

Blogging 302: Webstats

Welcome back class. Now that you know how to market your blog, it's time to find out if it's actually working! And the only real way to find out if anyone is coming (and how many) is to look at the webstats.

However, many (most? all?) blogs won't tell you much about who's coming to your blog, at what pages they are reading, who's sending them there, and how long they stay. All really fun, interesting stuff. So what's a curious blogger to do? Install a webstat meter.

There are plenty of webstat meters out there, but my favorite (because I'm using it and many others are also) is SiteMeter. It doesn't tell me everything that I'd like to get, but it gives me enough of the stuff I want. It's also very simple to install into your blogger website. Just go to the SiteMeter website, sign up, and work through their tutorial. They will add it to your site automatically.

What is really fun is not just seeing how many people are coming to your site, but you can also find out how they get there, and what time zones they are from.

Now it's one thing to know how many people are coming, but it's another to find out how many people (and who) are linking to your blog. Turns out, that's not that hard to find out either. And believe it or not, Google isn't necessarily the best way to find out. Google will give you some, but not all. Just do a search for "link:your blog URL". For example for mine, you'd search:

However, for some reason, Google isn't the best blog indexer. In steps Technorati. They are currently indexing over 4.1 million blogs. There, you'll find out much more. And because it's a blog search engine searching the "World Live Web", you can search for topics also.

So now that you know who's coming and who's linking to you, how do you link to others? Well, you'll have to wait until next time where we explore Template Tweaking.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Blogging 301: Marketing

Welcome back class. Good to see you again. Last time we talked about syndicating your blog. Are you doing it yet? Let me know if you are!

Today we're going to talk about marketing your blog...or letting people know you have a blog and getting them to come read it. To be honest, this was one of the hurdles I wanted to cross early because I just wasn't sure how you'd get people to come. Any why would they? And if they aren't coming, then why invest the time into creating it?

Well, one answer is that some people blog just to do it and don't care if people come or not. That's fine. You've got enough for your Associates degree after taking Blogging 101, 102, 201, and 202. If you want your Bachelors of Blogging in the Orangejack School of Blogging, you're going to learn about marketing.

So the question is: "Now that I have a blog, how do I get people to come?". There are many answers...

1. Write content that people want to read. Bottom line is if you don't write what people are interested in, they won't come back. Do you keep visiting websites that don't interest you?

2. Keep content fresh and updated. Again, do you keep going back to blogs or websites that never tell you anything new?

Now what if you're doing these two things? Does that mean people will come? Not necessarily. You have to advertise your blog!

3. The easiest way to start getting people to come is to tell your friends and family. Email them and tell them. Add a link to the signature to your email that has the URL to your blog. If they like it, they'll tell others. The word is getting out now!

4. Another effective way to drive traffic to your blog is to visit other blogs you like and leave comments. Don't leave comments like "Hey! Love your blog! Come see mine!" You do that on mine and I'll delete it. Instead, contribute to the blog. Make comments that encourage the conversation. If you have something to say, say it. When you do, usually you can leave your URL in the settings of the comment so people can come check it out. Be reasonable. Don't be desperate.

5. Join or get listed in groups that list blogs. I'm listed in the Blog Search Engine, part of the Blogdom of God, the League of Reformed Bloggers, and The Truth Laid Bear ecosystem. In each case, I asked to be listed and they listed me. Find groups your blog naturally belongs to and then sign up!

6. Ping. Pinging is a funny word but don't worry about it. There are sites that will list blogs that have been updated. How do they know it's been updated? They received a ping from the blog that was updated. Blogger will ping some (look in the settings under "Publishing"). Another great resource is to use Ping-O-Matic. They will ping most of the sites for you when you visit their site.

7. Syndicate. If you syndicate, more people will remember to check out your blog and begin to follow it. Maybe then they'll even link to you! That's when your marketing really pays off. But remember, they won't come if there's nothing interesting for them to read!

UPDATE: I posted more on this here.

Next time we'll look at measuring how well your marketing worked!

Three Minute Workout

One of the things we did when we first got to the Vancouver area was to join a gym. We found a good one so that's a good thing. I'm going 3-4 times a week, though I should probably go more often.

Anyway, I got up to go this morning and got there at 10 till 8. Only 2 cars were in the parking lot. I didn't realized they opened at 8. So I stood outside talking with the guy waiting. The alarm went off inside and you could see the girl who opened running all around trying to get everything under control.

More people starting showing up and a couple of co-workers came also. At 8, the alarm was still going and one of the co-workers came to the door to be let in. She said "It's 8, let's open." "Can't right now. I can't get the alarm off." They both go in.

The guy I was talking to was getting anxious to get in so he tried and was told to wait. That made him more upset and impatient.

At 8:02 he huffed and puffed and left disgusted.

They let us in at 8:03 with the alarm finally off. He saw us going in, but he left anyway. I guess he only planned for a 3-minute workout.

I write about this because it reminded me of me. I'm sometimes like that guy. I tend to get all huffy (at least in my heart) and sometimes let people know about it. It's just a poor attitude. What makes it worse is that this guy probably went home and the next several hours were ruined. Probably the next few days or weeks he'll have a bad attitude towards the gym. I know. I've been that guy.

It was good for me to visually see what my life is like sometimes. It's not pretty sometimes. All that because they were 3 minutes late.

Turns out I still need a little more grace in my life.

Moving Florida?

Funny post by Keith.

There She Blows...Again

Mount St. Helens it at it again...and it might get worse. They evacuated the immediate area. Still not sure what kind of eruption it might have, but it looks likely that yesterday wasn't all she's got in her.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Blogging 202: Publishing

Welcome back class. By now, you should be able to post photos onto your blog that are on your computer. Now it's time to turn the corner a bit and take on a slightly different topic. Publishing your blog.

No, I'm not talking about when you actually publish the post to the blog. I'm talking about syndication. I'm talking about making your blog available for others to read. In blogger, it's called "Publishing Site Feed".

Why would you want to do this? Well, if you do, you can allow a couple of cool things to happen. For one, you can allow people to put your blog headlines into My Yahoo! Another reason is people can use aggregators either online or desktop applications to read your blog. More on this in a moment.

When you publish your feed, it takes your blog and converts it to RSS, XML, or Atom. uses Atom. For our purposes, don't worry about what these are. Just know it's a language that your blog is converted into so that these readers can, well, read them. Don't worry about it.

My favorite desktop reader is called SharpReader. Why should you consider it? Well, after you install it, it runs in your system tray and will constantly look for updates to your favorite blogs and news sites that syndicate their stuff. I have many blogs and news sites in mine. It basically surfs the web for me and lets me know when these sites are updated. To add sites to your reader, look for the feeds of blogs or sites. Look for buttons that have XML, RSS, or Atom on it. For instance, here is the orangejack Atom feed or use a site called Feedburner to convert Atom to XML. With feedburner, you can post cool things like this.

So how do you syndicate your blog so those of us who use these readers can stay updated with your blog? In blogger, just go into your settings, click on Settings then Site Feed. Tell it to Publish the Site Feed, and do me a favor...choose full description.

Next time: Marketing your Blog

Darth Draw

Ever wanted to be able to draw Darth Vader? In just 9 steps you can learn to draw his helmet.

If only it were that easy. May the pencil be with you.

If I do it, may the eraser be with me!

There She Blows!

Mount St. Helens Releases Plume of Steam

There is a video you can see also in this article.

Just in case you're wondering, we are about 200 miles north of the volcano. It's a Chamber of Commerce day here today.

Looking for Webstat Resources

I find myself trying to find different resources to find stats on internet usage, what people are looking for, how many are online, etc. I've found a couple of sites that are good, but I need your help. I want to put together a page that has good stats available...and are updated. I'd really like to find stat pages on specific demographics. If you know of some sites that aren't listed below, please leave a comment or email me. I know there are more and I just can't find them! Thanks.

Pew Internet
ClickZ Stats
Blogging Stats

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