Blog posts about the social Internet, mobile apps and hardware, and computer software and hardware. This is where I show off my inner geek.

Protecting My Good Name Online

I’ve been developing my web presence for a long time. And by “web presence” I don’t just mean my blog; I mean everything. All my social media profiles, all my comments on other blogs, even all the times my work is mentioned on other websites. I consider it all my web presence. Perhaps the most important element of any person’s web presence is the results found when someone enters their name in a search engine.

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The New King of the Hill

July 2012 marks the first time ever that the traffic on my technology web column has overtaken the traffic on my personal blog. July 2012

My person blog had 621 pageviews last month.

How Do It Know?! had 734 pageviews last month.

Some Context is Necessary

One of the reasons my technology web column has managed to garner as much traffic as it has is because I moved some of the popular tech-related posts I’d published on my personal blog from here to there. So, in essence, I was robbing Peter to pay Paul. Not only did my new website gain traffic but my original website lost traffic.

How This Makes Me Feel

Honestly, I expected this to happen sooner or later. Let’s face it. More people are interested in what I have to say about technology than what I have to say about my personal life and ministry efforts. Though I have to admit I’m surprised it only took six months for it to happen.

Also, even though the traffic to my personal website has taken a hit this year if you combine the pageviews from both websites then I’ve gained substantially more traffic than ever before. In time I fully expect to grow the readership of my personal blog back to what it had been when I wrote about technology here as well. It’s something that motivates me, not something that discourages me.

Blogging Envy

This is a self-important rant. You’ve been warned.

I wrote last week about the launch of the travel blog my girlfriend and her friend will be writing on while they galavant across Europe the next three weeks. Their blog is 10 days old and has 5 posts. Those five posts have accrued a whopping 24 comments! I’m really stoked for them. It’s great that their writing is being read and that people are giving them so much positive feedback.

But I’m also jealous. Compare their numbers to those being produced on my blog. I’ve managed to get 4 comments all year. And one of those was by me, a response to one of the other three.

Granted, if you include comments left on Facebook and at-replies on Twitter then I’ve received substantially more interaction. But comments left on my blog have always eluded me. Since switching to WordPress in May ’07 I’ve published a new blog post 274 times. I’ve received only 135 comments on those posts, and that’s not even telling the whole story. You see, of those 135 comment 28 are responses written by me to others and 10 were left on posts written by guest writers. That leaves 97 comments by others on my work in five years.

I’m not really sure how to change that trend either. Not that I’m losing sleep over it or anything, but it is a metric I’ve actively worked to improve with little success. Here’s what it boils down to. I don’t want to fall under the “those who can’t do, teach” category. Yes, I want to help others succeed. I want to succeed, too.

I’m in the middle of reading Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt. He’s built a tremendous following on his blog, including a very talkative reader base. Hopefully he’ll provide me with some new insight that I’ve overlooked.

Not only do I have my own podcast but I listen to several podcasts as well. I use Instacast for iPhone (and sometimes Instacast for iPad) to listen to and watch these podcasts. In my opinion it’s the way Apple should have designed the built-in music app to handle podcasts. You don’t have to sync your device to get new episodes. Instead you simply pull to refresh the feeds you subscribe to and Instacast will download any new episodes available. Both versions of this app come with my highest recommendation.

Recently Instacast integrated a Flattr button into its app. I imagine many of you have never heard of Flattr before. Allow me to explain how it works. The Facebook like button and Twitter tweet button are a kind of social currency. Flattr decided to take this idea and apply actual currency to it. Users of Flattr first deposit money into their account. Then as a user comes across content they enjoy they can choose to flattr it (typically via a Flattr button included with that content). At the end of a given month the money in that user’s account is evenly divided and distributed to the authors of the content they’ve flattr’d (so long as those authors have an account with Flattr themselves). It’s a slick way readers can support the creators of the content that influences and inspires them the most.

I’ve not used Flattr very much but when Instacast made it a prominent feature in their app I took the time to add the necessary code to integrate the Flattr for feeds code into my podcast’s feed. Now you can flattr episodes of my podcast directly from Instacast and other podcatcher apps that have this feature such as Podkicker Pro for Android.

In the screenshot above you can see where the Flattr button is located within Instacast when viewing a single episode.

If I’m completely honest I don’t expect this feature to be used often, if ever. But it seemed like such a shame not to take advantage of a new feature in one of my favorite apps. So, now that you know about it, why not Flattr one of my episodes!

Update: Apple has deemed the Flattr integration in Instacast to be against the App Store submission guidelines. Apparently any form of payment that does not go through Apple’s hands first is invalid. So, at present there are no iOS apps that support this protocol. The Instacast developers have written about this change in their app on their blog.

Blogging Goals for 2012

I’ve been blogging for nearly eight years now. I first started because I wanted to share my experiences as I studied abroad. I wrote as often as I could while I was in Europe, wanting to capture every memory as vividly as possible. I started with a simple goal and saw it through. As a result I have thirty-one posts from that summer through which I can relive some fantastic adventures.

I love to blog because I love to write. Essay or tweet, notepad or napkin, hidden in a journal or for all the world to see; it doesn’t matter. And I want to do whatever I can to become a better writer. Consistency will go a long way but I don’t believe it’s enough simply to hammer out some words and hit publish. So to that end I’ve made a few blogging goals for the year ahead.

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My Favorite Tweets from 2011

I won’t go so far as to say that these are the best tweets of the year. Neither are they all of my favorites. But they’re my favorite tweets that I took the time to save as favorites, meaning I had easy access to them to create this post. I’ll try to be a little less discriminating in 2012.

Anyway, on with the show. Some of these tweets need to be grouped together for the full effect and will be grouped together thusly.

Great idea! This sounds like one of those shows you see on Discovery Channel. But doing this as an independent blogger? That’d be wicked awesome.

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Very Preliminary Thoughts on Facebook Timeline

I’ve had Facebook Timeline for a couple months now as a beta tester. I interact with Facebook as a user and web developer. So, in other words, I’ve had the chance to see Timeline inside and out. Here are some initial thoughts and, as the title suggests, they are very preliminary.

The Good

There are a few things I really like about the new profile setup. It’s great to be able to designate certain content as Featured content, to show users which content you’ve added (or that others have added) to your Timeline is most important to you. This is something you used to be able to do on your profile several iterations ago, and it’s nice to see it added back again.

Facebook has made it super easy to navigate from one time period to another, without which this change would have driven me crazy. So, even if you don’t like the change, at least it’s fairly easy to use.

I even like the new profile cover, the huge image at the top of your Timeline, though I wish you could select a photo you’ve been tagged in instead of just the ones you’ve uploaded.

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Navigators National Conference Geek Survival Guide

Navigators National ConferenceI’m really excited about The Navigators National Conference coming up in November. If you’re attending, or if you just want to see what all the fuss is about, here are a few ways to get you ready for the event.

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Facebook MessengerThis is one of those apps that doesn’t get much attention but I think it should. Back in August Facebook released an app for iPhone and Android called Messenger. It is a dedicated app for the Facebook messaging system. Maybe you’re wondering why anyone would possibly want an app that could perform only one feature, especially when each of these platforms has a perfectly good app that is fully featured.

Here’s the main reason I really like this app: I don’t have to enter into the rest of the Facebook universe to check my Facebook messages. Messenger will not show you if you have any other notifications awaiting your attention. This is a great thing! How many times have you gone into Facebook just to check a message, only to find that there was lots of other activity that “needed” your attention? Yeah, all the time, right? This app lets you communicate back and forth with friends without risk of distraction.
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How to Hide the Facebook Ticker

If you find the Facebook Ticker to be information overload you can easily hide it using an ad-blocking browser extension. Below are step-by-step instructions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari users. (Once I find a Windows 7 PC I will add instructions for IE.)

What You’ll Need

Normally an ad blocking extension is used strictly to block advertisements, but it can actually be used to filter out all sorts of page elements.

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