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Archive for May, 2010

Don’t make decisions based on emotions

Maybe a better title for this is “Don’t make decisions based *exclusively* on emotions.”

We all make some decisions based on emotion: Love for our partner and/or children, frustration with matters at work, resentment over some wrong-doing, anger over something trivial, etc… but — we can’t let those emotions cloud our rational thought and make decisions based exclusively on them.

A saying I was told a long time ago: “Cooler heads prevail.”

If you’ve made a decision about something and you know it’s the right thing to do, or you haven’t made a decision but you’re letting your emotions lead the way — Stop to think. Don’t let your emotions lead the way. You might not like where you’re going.

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Geocaching Fail

Went out geocaching tonight, after the elusive “Old Mill” cache.

Try as I might, I still haven’t found this one after three attempts.

As frustrating as it is, I will wait a while and hit this one back this fall, after the foliage is gone and see what I can see. I know it’s there, I just can’t find it.

The fun of geocaching :)

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WordPress

I started with Drupal for a CMS, and didn’t pick up WordPress until just a few days ago, though I have seen mentions of it everywhere.

Initially I used Drupal for a blog, then expanded it to forums. For the blog portion, Drupal was good, but WordPress is so much better. WordPress is easier to use and upgrades and plugins can be done from the web interface (rather than needing SSH access). Much smoother.

I’m a happy wordpress user now :)

I am still keeping my Drupal site for forums. It serves its purpose.

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Web Analytics Reviews

I wrote this piece after going through several analytics packages in search of the best fit for my sites and needs. Here’s what I came up with…

What I’m looking for in an analytics tool:

Ability to track:

  • Page views / Visits and visitor counts (the usual)
  • Referrers / Searched terms from search engines
  • IP addresses (for access spam control)
  • Logged in user names (What my users are looking at)
  • Near-realtime stats (as close to realtime as possible, not having to wait until the next day)
  • Integration with Drupal/WordPress as a maintained module (less important)

The tools:


Google Analytics

What it does

  • Tracks page views / visitor data / search terms

What it doesn’t do:

  • IP addresses
  • Logged-in user name
  • Near-realtime stats

Cost: FREE

Traffic limit: 1 million page views per day.

Other thoughts: Some think that stats collected are used by Google to adjust search results.


Woopra

What it does:

  • IP addresses
  • Logged-in user names++
  • Page views / visits and visitor counts
  • Chat with your users##
  • Real-time stats
  • Referrers / search terms
  • Integration with Drupal

What it doesn’t do:

  • Clicking on the ‘chat’ function would crash the app.
  • Clicking on the ‘analytics’ once crashed my app for several hours

Cost: Free to Expensive$$

Traffic Limit: Depends on pricing tier

Other thoughts: Requires desktop app install (Windows / Mac / Linux [Java-based]). At 3,000 monthly page views for the free package and 10,000 for the $5/mo package, this is the pricey end of analyics packages. Considering all the bugs I had with it, I would consider something else. Unlimited sites, pricing plan is per-site.


Clicky

What it does:

  • IP addresses
  • Page views / visits and visitor counts
  • Real-time stats**
  • Referrers / search terms
  • Integration with Drupal

What it doesn’t do:

  • Logged-in user names

Cost: Free to expensive$$

Traffic Limit: Depends on pricing tier

Other thoughts:

Stats are near-realtime as they are displayed on a webpage. A refresh takes care of loading the newest stats. Free plan is good for 3,000 page views a day. $5/mo plan is good for a lot more. Pricing plan is tied to your account. Limit to the number of websites you can track.


Piwik

What it does:

  • IP addresses
  • Page views / visits and visitor counts
  • Real-time stats (via the Live! plugin)
  • Referrers / search terms
  • Integration with Drupal

What it doesn’t do:

  • Logged-in user names

Cost: FREE

Traffic Limit: As much as your webserver/database server can stand.

Other thoughts: This is a self-hosted software, which means you have to install it on your webserver or hosting account. Free / Open source. Though the usability and feature-set is impressive, there are a number of serious bugs which can be show-stoppers for the non-technical or easily-frustrated user. Database grows over time and requires manual purging. Can put a serious load on DB servers on high-traffic sites. No limit to the number of sites you can track. Set  up login/password access for others to view stats.


Mint

What it does:

  • IP addresses
  • Page views / visits and visitor counts
  • Real-time stats**
  • Referrers / search terms
  • Integration with Drupal
  • Logged-in user names++

What it doesn’t do:

Come free.

Cost: $30/site

Traffic Limit: As much as your webserver/database server can stand.

Other Thoughts: At $30/site this can be expensive in multi-site operations, but this is a very well polished software package. Database growth is kept in check as detailed stats are only held for 6 weeks. Totals are kept forever. This happens to be my software package of choice.


** There’s a catch.

$$ Cost varies according to traffic / number of monitored websites

++ Requires Drupal module

## Though this is a feature, I never got it to work correctly.

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Don’t judge a book…

This is written simply to be written, and for anyone that cares to read and take it in.

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

I think it goes without saying here that I’m talking about people, not books.

You never really know someone until you know them. You could meet the nicest person in the world and find out they’re conniving and malicious, or a person who outwardlly seems brash and rude, and has the kindest heart.

It’s all about what’s in a persons heart and soul, not necessarily what comes from their mouth the first time they open it.

However, there is a certain level of what comes from a person’s mouth that shouldn’t be ignored or disregarded, such as bigotry, racism, or hatred. Those things should certainly not just be considered “cover”.

All in all, take the time to really get to know someone. You might just realize you judged them too quickly.

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What I realized today…

To some of you, this may be an astouding “duh”, but to others… just read…

I realized today that we should never allow another person to take our happiness away.

That said, there are times that someone can make you unhappy (say, an uncooperative coworker, an uncaring boss, or an ungrateful friend) but most of the time that’s situational. That may come and go day by day. I’m talking about a person whose simple presence causes all of the happiness to drain out of you like pulling the plug in a bathtub full of water. A person that, the simple thought of seeing causes your the bottom to drop out of your stomach. A person who makes you miserable.

We should never allow anyone to take away our happiness.

“Be like a baby… where even the wind makes you giggle.”

I realize for most of us that would take an unhealthy dose of Prozac, but you know what I mean. Don’t necessarily giggle at the wind, but enjoy it. (And if it’s making your papers blow around the office, maybe enjoy it later.)

That said, you will, at one point or another, find yourself in the presence of that “happiness vampire”. I can’t tell you how to break that tie, and certainly it’s harder in some cases than others… but do it for yourself. Everyone deserves to be happy.

Everyone.

Don’t go down life’s road bitter and hateful.

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