Busy, busy, busy…

My posts have been a little sparse lately because I’m in the middle of a huge project, under a tight deadline. If you’ve emailed me lately and I haven’t responded, or you’ve been wondering where the posts are… that’s why. Bare with me… everything should be back to normal within a few days.

UPDATE (3.27.06): I will be wrapping up my project today. I’ll be answering emails and posting new content this afternoon. Yay!

UPDATE #2: The Project is done! But, I’m afraid I lied about the new posts and getting to email. I’m beat! I’m showering, eating dinner, and going to bed. More tomorrow…

You Digg Me… The FollowUp

weekly stats

I thought I would do one followup on yesterdays story about my digg / del.iciou.us experiment. The final visitor count for yesterday was 17,891, up from an average of 3,500/day. The RSS feed subscription is at 1,205, up from 286. Although the frenzy at digg.com has died down, elevated traffic continues to spill over into today.

I’m not mentioning this to toot my own horn… I’m just stunned that one tutorial could have such an impact. I have several long standing pages that get quite a bit of search engine traffic, but the iTunes tutorial has jumped from relative obscurity, to the third most popular page on this site… in just one day. Just incase you’re curious, the top two are Bloodrayne Topless, and the downloads page. I think it’s obvious why those two pages get so many visitors from Google Image searches.

I’d also like to take a moment to talk about stats, in general. Most stats packages give 2 numbers for visitors… Total – the total number of visitors in a given time period, and Unique – visitors that have never been here before. Bloggers, myself included, tend to get hung up on Unique… but is that the number we should care about? Advertisers care about unique visitors, because it means their ad is reaching a wider audience, but shouldn’t bloggers be more concerned with total, or more precisely… the difference between total and unique? The difference between those two numbers represent your regular readers. You may have a lot of unique visitors, but if your unique and total numbers are almost the same, then not very many people are coming back to your site. I don’t want that, would you? I care about my regular readers. Although I keep this blog for my own enjoyment, I would hate to think that no one else sees enough value in it to come back… and it’s just a random Google-stop for a topless image of Bloodrayne, or an Apple desktop picture.

You Digg Me… You Really Digg Me

Digg Spike

A little over a week ago I announced that I had changed my RSS feed over to FeedBurner, so I would have the ability to keep track of how many people subscribe. An added benefit to FeedBurner, was a feature they call FeedFlare. FeedFlare basically gives you some pre-built items to add into you feed, and your blog posts. That’s what generates those links at the bottom of each post, for emailing the story, digging the story (digg.com), adding to Del.iciou.us, etc… I wanted to make it easy for people to share my stories, so I decided to take advantage of that feature.

Now, I had never actually used digg.com or Del.iciou.us, so I really didn’t know what those buttons did, exactly. So, I decided to do a little experiment. The expirement was meant to show me what the buttons did, and determine if someone could boost traffic to their site by using those other sites. The only thing I can say now is… Oh… My… God!

Here’s what happened… Yesterday I opened accounts over at digg.com and Del.iciou.us (both free). I then gathered up a handful of my past stories that I thought people would be interested in, and bookmarked them in Del.iciou.us, and dugg them (digg.com). Most of the stories had a mediocre response, less than 10 diggs each. But, there was one story that got a little more attention. It was a tutorial I wrote last year, on how to back up you music library using iTunes, and automatically track future incremental backups.

As of 8:00pm tonight (PST) the story has received over 1,500 diggs. My site, which usually gets around 3,500 visits per day, has received over 16,000 visits today. The traffic hit its peak at 11:00am, receiving almost a days worth of visits in one hour. Yesterday, there were 286 people subscribing to my RSS feed, as of right now, there are over 1,000 subscribers. My referrer log has been overflowing with links from digg, Del.iciou.us, Yahoo News?, PopURLs, and a bazillion other online news readers, RSS aggregators, and blogs that picked up the post.

Now you see why I said… Oh… My… God! It was an amazing day. I’ve read about this happening to people, but it’s the first time I’ve gone through it. It was a bit freaky to see the numbers change as fast as they were today.

I’m going to say that this experiment was a success. I learned what the buttons did, and determined that, yes… you can increase your traffic by using sites like digg.com, and Del.iciou.us.

I’ve also read that after an event like this, you typically don’t retain all those readers. A lot of them will drop off… and that’s OK. But, I wanted to extend a welcome to any new readers out there. I hope you enjoy the site, and stick around for a while. Thanks for an exhilarating day!

When a freelancer says s/he is having a bad week

When a freelancer says s/he is having a bad week

This morning I read a very funny post over at joshuaink.com, called “When a freelancer says s/he is having a bad week“. It describes what can happen during a freelancers week, without proper discipline. Like John… this has never happened to me, but I can empathize anyway. :)

Of course, there are a couple of things that I can add to John’s “fictional week”. These can be placed on any (or all) of the days…

“After taking a break to catch up on your feeds, you realize there are a couple of topics you must blog about… now. It will only take a minute, and then you’ll get back to work.”


“While breaking for lunch, you realize Deep Space 9 is on. You’ve seen this one many times, but it’s a really good episode. It’s only on for 20 more minutes, and then you’ll go back to work.”

Anyway, check out John’s post, especially if you’re a freelancer. I think you’ll relate. John’s comments are closed for that post, se feel free to comment here.

Blogging for Dollars: Dooce & Kottke Podcast at SXSW

Heather B. Armstrong and Jason Kottke at SXSW

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to blog full-time… as your job? If so, you may want to check out this Podcast from SXSW. It features Heather B. Armstrong, of dooce.com, and Jason Kottke, of kottke.org. They’ve both turned their wildly popular personal blogs into their full-time jobs, but using different methods. Jason decided on a subscription based model, while Heather has opted for placing advertising on her site. Hearing them discuss their experiences is pretty interesting.

This subject is especially interesting to me. I put a fair amount of effort into maintaining this site, and although I love it… it would be great if it could occasionally give me something back… other than a warm fuzzy feeling that is. On that note, don’t forget to buy my t-shirt :)

Found via Binary Bonsai | Photo via Laughing Squid

The Sprint Ambassador Program?

Sprint Ambassador Program

So, I know it’s common for members of the press to receive complimentary products, for review purposes, but I never really thought it would happen to me.

This afternoon I received an email, supposedly from Sprint…

“Hi Paul,

The Sprint Ambassador Team recently visited Onedigitallife.com and wants to invite you to participate in our Ambassador Program.

The Sprint Ambassador Program is all about exploring our latest products and services and allows you to give direct feedback to Sprint. We recently launched the Sprint Power Vision (SM) Network and want to provide you with the full experience, at no charge. Sprint Power Vision Network enables customers to download data at faster speeds and experience new data products.

As a qualified participant, we will send you one Sprint Power Vision phone and provide you with six months of all-access service (at no charge). You’ll have access to the Sprint Music Store(SM) live TV broadcasts, gaming and more. Yes, you will also have unlimited free calling and data service. It s a pretty good deal and all we ask for in return is your candid feedback (you decide how much and how often).”

I immediately though… SCAM! But, after some poking around online, it looked like the program was legit. Sprint appears to be targeting bloggers who have a technical slant. So, I signed up and in 2-4 weeks I should be receiving a free Samsung A-920, with six months of unlimited service. WOW! That’s so cool!

By the way… if anyone else out there has a product they would like reviewed on one digital life, feel free to contact me. I’ll be glad to take your free stuff. But beware, if you send me a sucky product, I’ll tell the world… you make a sucky product.

Los Dos #8

Los Dos Hike 8

Every year, for the past 8 years, we’ve done a hike from our Friends house (in Phoenix), to Los Dos Molinos (The best Mexican Food anywhere). The hike goes over South Mountain, and takes 5-6 hours. It’s that time of year again. We’ll be hiking on Feb 25th. We missed last years, so I’m really looking forward to it this year.

For the past few years I’ve designed a shirt for the event (because no one else would do it… hint, hint). Here’s this years. I wanted to do something fairly simple, and the O’s in Los Dos worked well with the number 8. I think it came out pretty well.

In past years, I used Cafe Press for the printing, but this year I chose SpreadShirt. In the past, Cafe Press didn’t offer black t-shirts, and I really wanted that. They currently have a new black t-shirt beta program, but I hear it’s not very good (check out this review). SpreadShirt offers a different process, called plot printing. It’s limited to 1-3 colors, but it allows you to print on dark cloth, and is supposedly better quality. I’ll know more when I receive my shirt.

UPDATE (02.14.06): I just received the shirts from SpreadShirt, and they look great. I did the plot printing (flex), and I’m very happy with the quality. I’m curious now about their digital printing quality. If anyone has used digital, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought.

I haven’t washed the shirt yet, so I can’t say how well it will hold up. The spreadshirt site says it will be fine as long as you wash it inside-out. We’ll see.

Our weekend houseguest

Finn at our house

We had a visitor this weekend. Her name is Finn. She’s a 1-year old Border Collie, belonging to a friend of ours. We only watched her for one night, but it was great having a dog in the house again.

No Jury Duty for 1 Year :)

As I mentioned the other day, I had to report back yesterday for part II of Jury Duty selection. We immediately went in to the courtroom, and I was selected in the first round. For the rest of the day I was known as Juror #6.

The trial was for a murder case. A man was accused of stabbing another man to death back in 2003. He was claiming self-defense.

The judge, prosecution, and defense proceeded to ask us all questions, eliminating some of us as we went. Luckily, at the end of the day I was finally eliminated. It was the prosecution that booted me.

Throughout the day it became clear from the questions that the prosecution was looking for people that would be relatively easy to convince, and were ‘team players’ (they would go along with the rest of the group). The defense, on the other hand, was looking for people who would make up their own mind, and not be pressured by the rest of the group.

Based on my answers, I think the prosecution viewed me as a possible trouble-maker. My answers implied that I would need absolute proof before I could convict a man of murder, and I would not be swayed by the opinions of others.

Although I didn’t want to serve on this jury, I answered all the questions honestly. I didn’t want to just make stuff up to get out of it. Some people were doing that, and it was obvious.

Now that I have been excused, I can’t be called again for 1 year :).