Category Archives: Blogging

Blogger’s Almost Dead (To Me)

Google officially announced it will be cancelling FTP support for all of Blogger.

You can read about it here.
This blog was started roughly 5 years ago and Blogger seemed to be the easiest blog platform to use at the time (and still is for most users).
However I use a custom-domain version of Blogger where it publishes files on MY server, not Blogger’s….this of course causes much engineering difficulty for them, so they’re pulling the plug.
Kind of sucks, but I completely understand their logic. 0.5% of people on Blogger use FTP support, but it probably drains 25% or more of their engineering resources. That’s just bad business.
Anyhow, this blog has to move somewhere. I could easily pop this whole blog onto Blogger (which offers a lot of very easy to use tools), I can even still use my own domain name…but Blogger isn’t very customizable as open-source platforms.
I asked myself, “If I was going to start this blog TODAY, what platform would I use?”
…the obvious answer is WordPress, so I will use that.

I already use WordPress for all business related blogs because it’s MUCH faster, extremely customizable and has a MASSIVE library of free templates and widgets. I can’t program very well, so customizing templates myself is a wee bit harder than Blogger, but something I’ve in the past been able to do (or pay someone to do).
I’ve many times considered crossing this blog over to WordPress but there wasn’t a real need….so this is actually a fortunate nudge in the right direction!
So pretty soon this blog will cross the blogging platform see to the WordPress side. What do you think Adam?

Handwriting Blogs

Boring hyperlink to the post.

It took me three sheets of paper, a scanner and Photoshop to make this post, that might be one reason it isn’t a popular format:

….However when tablets (with both multi-touch and pen inputs) become more popular, this style of blogging shouldn’t be difficult at all….and with tags you can make the whole thing search engine friendly too

I like this style of blogging for many reasons…plus it’s just fun!

Good Comments, Bad Comments

I’m making this post so I can reference it later.
—————————————

Dear Commenter’s,
If you’re going to comment on an article and leave a ridiculous comment, most people find them entertaining yet totally moot. If you want your opinion to count even an iota, express your feedback in a constructive manner.

When a person simply flames another person….I visualize them as the insane guy on the street corner yelling gibberish at other pedestrians:


What you look like.

AN EXAMPLE:
I recently did a Homeless Experiment which delivered some pretty strong opinions on homelessness. In fact, I concluded that in my opinion I will no longer give money to homeless people holding signs in certain areas of Austin. This statement alone can elicit a fair amount of criticism because some people interpret it as “I am commanding you to NEVER give money to ANY homeless person ANYWHERE.”

Here’s an example of a person who very much disagrees with me, but clearly explains what he’s disturbed about, and even offers solutions. When I view this comment, I see this guy as intelligent, calm and someone I should probably listen to:

Nev, I’m the president of an agency that houses homeless families in Durham, North Carolina. I’ve been following your “experiment” with interest.

I must say I have mixed feelings. I find it admirable that you seemed to want to gain some understanding of how people very different than yourself live. But you seem to have viewed the experience as a lark or an adventure, a personal challenge or growth experience, a bizarre vacation rather than anything deeper. And it really bothered me to hear you keep saying how easy it is to be homeless. Sure it is, if being homeless is optional, if you didn’t have to really experience the final crisis (and the series of crises leading up to that) that makes most people homeless (eviction, illness, layoff, divorce, domestic violence that’s so bad that you finally leave), if at any minute you can go back to your 4,000-square foot loft and take a shower, and if that’s what you do after a few days. When you know you have a college degree and a good job.

I was also hoping you might express a desire to get involved to help homeless people in Austin in some way. I’ve read the whole blog, and I haven’t seen any inclination toward that yet, though you did seem to gain some understanding of the people you
met.

I’d like to challenge you to volunteer at the ARCH or another agency that helps the homeless. It would also be nice for you to at least donate $50 or whatever to the shelter to make up for moral transgression of crowding a truly homeless person out of a bed that night you stayed there. (Nev Note: which I did partially thanks to this comment)

What I’m most wary about is that some people may read your experience as “evidence” that homeless people are not worthy of our help because they have it easy or because they are making poor decisions. Emergency shelters like the ARCH are an important community resource, but we also need agencies that help the homeless solve their problems (addiction, mental health, education, illness) and attain maximum self-sufficiency long-term.

Each of us fortunate to have more than enough has a moral obligation to share with and try to help our neighbors in need who were born without the advantages we have. So I agree you should never give money to a person begging on the street — you are often enabling addiction, and you are certainly enabling continued homelessness. But all of us who enjoy plenty should give money and time to agencies working to help homeless and other less fortunate people find long-term stability and return as contributing members of society.

Best,
Bryan Gilmer

See how eloquent that was? I’d say if anyone made me feel even remotely bad about taking up space in a homeless shelter for this experiment it was this comment. All the “You’re a stupid asshole” comments in the world can’t do that. He even agreed with my “no giving money” policy to homeless people with signs, but quickly noted the money could go other places that would be helpful to society.

So while this gentleman didn’t agree with many things, he didn’t make his comment a personal attack that would’ve fallen on deaf ears. Therefore his comment was actually read and taken to heart….and whoever else sees his comment will definitely listen to his opinion.

Here’s why I say don’t leave poorly constructed criticism…IT DOESN’T HAVE AN IMPACT.

If I read this:

Anonymous said:
How cute… an affluent geek pretends to be homeless for a few days with a sleeping bag and thinks he can make sweeping moral generalizations. How about you learn a little more about the mental health issues surrounding homeless (most of whom are vets) before you pretend to know what you are talking about.

….before even finishing the comment I have a million comebacks:

  1. I already stated I could never truly get a full homeless experience in such a short time and knowing I have other options.
  2. I never made sweeping moral generalizations. I always state these are things I observed in my tiny bubble of an experiment in certain parts of Austin, TX. (which I mention is very homeless-friendly many times).
  3. More about mental health? Ok sure….what resources are good? What books have YOU read? Do you actually know ANYTHING about this subject at all? I have previously done work with homeless shelters and HAVE seen true mental cases…but not every homeless person is a mental case. YOU sir are making broad generalizations.

You see? I barely listen to this comment because I have more retort than they have comment. It’s like arguing with a really irrational or stupid person….it just isn’t worth the time to bother.

So next time you have an ignoramus comment, please save it for YouTube!


Image Source: http://xkcd.com/202/

-Neville

Austin Post Meetup and Homeless Award

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Lyssa and asked to guest post on a new project someone had started.

I get this kind of crap all the time
“Hey Neville, would you like to guest post on our crappy debt-consolidation-in-the-South-Phoenix-area blog??”

So I was less than excited to hear another request that required ME to do work, while THEY get the benefit of MY content on THEIR site.

Luckily Lyssa’s email clearly indicated she had actually read my blog beforehand, that this was an Austin-based project with backing from Trilogy and this new site she was a part of would like to have some posts from my freshly completed homeless experiment. She explained this whole project was an experiment to see if they can find a new iteration of traditional print news sources…and you know I love experiments.

So I started posting once a day on the Austin Post from my Homeless Experiment archives.

People left encouraging comments on the posts and in general seemed to enjoy the whole thing.

So just today there was an “Austin Post Writers Meetup” that was held at my favorite swank sushi joint in Austin called Imperia. The event was better than I expected…I really thought it would feel like one of those meetups where everyone is on Twitter and no one is interesting. Thank god it wasn’t (no offense to the Twitter people….well actually, some offense).


A little trick I played:
Right before the meetup…just to be kind of an ass….I “manipulated” the points system of the Austin Post to make me appear to be the #1 rated blogger they have :-)

During the meetup they gave out awards in the form of $100 gift certificates to Imperia and t-shirts, and I won the “Best Series” award for the Homeless Experiment posts! (Or maybe they gave me the prize because they thought I was still homeless and actually needed the food and clothes….?)

It was really cool that nearly everyone there knew about this experiment and LOVED it! It feels good when someone like the president of Trilogy thinks what you did was fantastic and keeps asking questions about it. A lot of my friends even started regularly reading my blog after they heard about the homeless experiment.

People in general find the experiment FASCINATING for some reason….and I kind of expected it because of the harsh reactions I got BEFORE I performed it. No matter what someone may think of me pretending to be homeless, it’s definitely interesting to see what happens.

It reminds me of that famous (and probably butchered) Walt Disney quote:

“I ask ten people their opinion about an idea before starting. If they all say it’s not worthwhile, I begin immediately.”

Almost every person I spoke with thought it was a horrible idea in the beginning….many thinking I would most certainly get either killed, mugged or diseased in the process. However I knew this was one of those things I’d regret for a long time if I didn’t do it soon. Even if someone disagreed with me doing this, they almost always said, “…but I’m curious to find out what happens!”

So the moral of the story is:
Do dumb stuff and people will like you (or something like that).

Money This Blog Makes

Blogging about blogging, my most hated subject but sometimes of most interest to other people. Anyhow, I got a couple of emails asking about how much money (if any) this blog (NevBlog.com) makes.

I’m not too interested in monetizing this blog but if I continually update something, I might as well make some cash on it. Here’s the breakdown:

Selling text links (June 2008): $800/month
There are usually between 8 and 12 text links placed throughout the site that advertisers pay $80/month for.

Google Adwords (June 2008): $116/month
They run on the header and left navigation. These just kind of sit there and make a few bucks a day.

Adify Ads (Through Forbes Network): $20
I’m part of a network run by Forbes, and they run those ads you see on the header and left navigation bar through the Adify network. I have a minimum pay-per-click clause set on my Adify settings, so if an Adify advert is lower than my Google Adwords, it shows whichever is the highest paying. So sometimes the advetisement is from Adify, sometimes from Google.

So to answer all of your questions, for June 2008 this blog made roughly $900.

Happy 2008!

No matter how well you did in 2007, I hope your

Now, it’s time to celebrate!

Best wishes,
Neville

Money Made Since 01-01-2005 – Gone

From the beginnings of this blog on November 17th 2004, I openly wrote how much money I made, saved and spent. However I rarely reported what I earned through partnerships or consulting. This means what my actual finances were and the finances listed on this blog were different.

December 2006 was the last month I publicly accounting my income. For all of 2007 I haven’t listed specific income, and I will finally take off all that income on the NevBlog.com sidebar.

The plethora of bloggers openly listing their income generally hide their identity, write under pseudonyms or don’t name the companies they work for.

It’s not exactly hard to find out that I look like this:

…or that I live in Austin, TX. and Houston, TX., or that my phone number is:

…so listing detailed income gets tricky. Let’s say I do some consulting for a company and I openly list how much they’re paying me per month. It’s not fair to them to openly list that information.

One of the interesting things people found about this blog was the fact I so openly listed income. It was also good for me, as I felt self conscious about my finances if they were too low. An open environment definitely helped.

But for now, I’ll stop writing every piece of specific income on this blog.

——————————–

Here is the income for 2005 and 2006. And yes…I know I listed “Change Jar” as income when it’s not.

Money Made from January 2005 till Deceber 2005:
Online Biz – Jan. $ 502
Work $ 253
Work $ 281
Ebay Sale $ 100
Change Jar $ 55
Online Biz – Feb. $ 751
Work $ 271
Change Jar $ 30
Rebate $ 30
Work $ 229
Lottery Experiment $ 2
Web Design $ 100
Online Biz – March $ 946
Syntel Dividend $ 270
Ebay Sale $ 218
Ebay Sale $ 340
Water Experiment $ 5
Work $ 246
Work $ 248
Online Biz – April $ 836
Web Design $ 300
Change Jar $ 32
Surveys $ 55
Books $ 165
Selling Notes $ 105
Work $ 297
Online Biz – May $ 1,024
SYNT Dividend $ 21
FO Dividend $ 6
GE Dividend $ 10
Work $ 213
Change Jar $ 17
Work $ 167
Online Biz – June $ 718
FO Dividend $ 11
Work $ 274
Work $ 261
Online Biz – July $ 834
Work $ 304
GE Dividend $ 10
SYNT Dividend $ 11
Change Jar $ 35
Acco Brands $ 183
Work $ 210
Books $ 30
Online Biz – Aug. $ 804
ACCO Dividend $ 7
Work $ 228
Change Jar $ 76
Online Biz – Sept. $ 654
Selling Pixels $ 1,350
FO Dividend $ 11
SYNT Dividend $ 11
GE Dividend $ 9
Online Biz – Oct $ 1,120
Misc. $ 1,000
Birthday $ 200
Online Biz - Nov $ 1,630
Change Jar $ 115
Online Biz - Dec $ 1,801

Total on Dec. 31st 2005
$ 20,021


——————————-

Money Made from January 2006 till December 2006:

January 2006
Selling Pixels $ 700

Online Biz - Jan $ 1,131
SYNT Dividend $ 11
FO Dividend $ 11

February 2006
Change Jar $ 85
CraigsList $ 100
Online Biz - Feb $ 2,016
Adsense Experiment $ 138

March 2006
Mobile Marketing $ 158
Other $ 3,000+
Online Biz - Mar $ 1,915
Selling Pixels $ 100

April 2006
First order f/ new biz $ 30
Other $ 350
Selling Pixels $ 50
MobileCampus $ 110
MobileCampus $ 50
Online Biz - Apr $ 1,080
SYNT Dividend $ 11
FO Dividend $ 11

May 2006
SYNT Sale $ 681
ABD Sale $ 175
Other $ 1480
Selling Pixels $ 50
Change Jar $ 55
Online Biz - May $ 1,345

June 2006
FO Dividend $ 11
PGH Dividend $ 12
DYN Sale $ 250
Other $ 30
Online Biz $ 2,505
FacebookProfile $ 28

July 2006
Online Biz $ 1,770
Other $ 300

August 2006
Online Biz $ 1,600
Other $ 300
Change Jar $ 80

September 2006
Online Biz $ 1,700

October 2006
Online Biz $ 5,000+
Other $ 1,000

November 2006
BIDU Sale $ 230
Stock Dividends $ 32
Other $ 500
Adsense $ 120
Online Biz $ 4,000

December 2006
Stock Dividends $ 30
Other $ 500
Online Biz $ 4,500

Total on Dec. 31st 2006
$ 38,341

——————

Last Account Snapshot:

Explanation of accounts

Why Is Google Paying Me So Much?

I rarely check my Google Adsense earnings because I don’t use the program much, but I got a bit of a surprise to see some mysterious extra income and thousands of extra page views in the last few days:

It’s odd because none of my stat programs show any significant increase in traffic on the sites I have Adsense on. Adsense generally earns me less than a dollar per day, but all of sudden it’s sometimes been paying me over $12/day!

There’s on average an extra 13,000 page views per day ever since Dec. 3rd, and I have no clue where they’re coming from.

This is kind of the equivalent of free money falling from the sky! I’m a little baffled, but not complaining ;-)

Comment Policy

For a long time I’ve allowed anyone even anonymous posters to freely post comments on this site. However that doesn’t seem to be working so well.

With WordPress you can see IP addresses and other info; however an anonymous Blogger comment without using any third party allows anonymous posters to remain completely anonymous.

It’s just a known fact that in a completely anonymous environment safe from any social repercussions people will inevitably start saying mean or stupid stuff. Point in case: YouTube comments. Good lord they’re the stupidest comments ever. I don’t even bother reading them for that matter.

This brings me to another point. When anyone DOES try to leave a constructive or encouraging comment on this site, there are a select few individuals who try to unnecessarily rip them apart JUST because they were nice towards me. That isn’t fair at all, and quite annoying to most people. A personal attack on me is fine, but don’t spill that over to others.

While stupid comments are sometimes entertaining, they don’t provide any growth value and actually stifle more intelligent remarks.

So now above the comment field it now reads:

————————————
I ask that if you would like to leave a comment that you think of this website as my family’s home and that you wouldn’t say anything on this site that you wouldn’t, as an invited guest, say in someone’s home. Constructive criticism is welcome, as we all benefit from such advice. Rude, mean, or obnoxious comments are not welcome and will not be approved to post (that’s me, gently escorting the misbehaving guest out of the house). Please restrict your comments to the topic at hand, for the benefit of all who may be reading.
————————————

That quote was taken from an article written by Elise Bauer. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I’ve also turned on comment moderation so comments will not be immediately posted. I don’t care if negative things are said, but any plainly ignorant attacks or rude posts will no longer be welcome.

Leaving an anonymous comment to me is like driving in your car, yelling something mean to a person on the sidewalk and driving off. You only do it because you KNOW they can’t catch you or figure out who you are.

If you were face to face with them, you’d never say something like that.

So to conclude: Don’t be a jackass.

NevBlog Laboratories – Nevlab

I always try out new programs, web widgets, technologies, Photoshop and Flash effects etc. and have no place to put them. To solve that I created a section of this site called NevLab.

This is like the think tank of a big company where people just tinker around with ideas, new products or processes all day in hopes of stumbling upon something new or useful later down the line.

It’ll be like my internet technology testing area and playground.

The lab is very rudimentary in it’s design and will remain so. It actually uses frames which I haven’t seen on a website since 1997. Since some of the lab creations will have scripts in the head/body tags or require specific page colors or plugins, frames are the best technology for the job. Using a content management system (aka Blog) would be a terrible option for NevLab.

The NevLab is officially open!