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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Fri, 23 Sep 2016

Ford to city: drop dead

Headless body in topless bar

Sticks nix hick pix

Sun, 24 Jul 2016

One-man Colorado newspaper still uses hot type

The Saguache Crescent is the last newspaper in America to use "hot" metal type produced with a Linotype machine. Take a look at the pictures from the Baltimore Sun web site. Amazing.

Mon, 28 Dec 2015

Getting started with blog advertising

So you want to start selling advertising on your blog or website?

There's always Google AdSense, which doesn't pay all that much. And there is NO customer service. I had a client blackballed from the service for doing something I KNOW they didn't do, and there is no recourse.

But looking around, it appears that you can do this outside of Google and make a lot more money.

Michael Hyatt says if you have 10,000 unique visitors per month, you can make it happen. And it looks like he used the Boston-based BuySellAds platform to help him do it.

Things he did included:

  • Launching a reader survey
  • Setting up an advertising page
  • Creating an "advertising kit"
  • Signing up with an advertising service (again, he used BuySellAds) Then capping it with:
  • Pitching an irresistible offer

If self-help and career/life coaching is your thing, MichaelHyatt.com is all about that. He also offers a podcast and a bunch of products like e-books, print books, audio books and even a WordPress theme.

Not having spent a lot of time at his site, I imagine that Michael thinks of a blog as part of the overall marketing/monetization strategy in your life (or your business' life, I suppose).

Does this blog have 10,000 unique visitors per month?

Even I was asking that question after reading this. The purpose of this blog isn't direct monetization (or its content would be a whole lot different instead of "whatever the hell I'm thinking about" and "here's what I'm putting on social media").

I don't really pay much attention to the traffic. I don't even have a "real" analytics setup. I just rely on the AwStats functionality that my web host bakes into my account.

I usually get between 4,000 and 7,000 uniques per month, but I host a few other things on the stevenrosenberg.net domain, and I had a huge spike in November 2015, doubling the number of uniques to 14,000.

It turns out the spike was due to Los Angeles County election results that I host here for my employer. I should definitely move those to a company server, and I actually do have one now that can handle it (it's all Bash scripts, chewing gum and super glue). For the next election, I will.

I'm not saying I will never sell advertising on my "personal" blog, but I don't see it happening. I might do it if I started one or more "specialty" blogs that had some focus, but this isn't that blog.

Thu, 19 Nov 2015

Watch Hulu on Fedora Linux with the fakehal package and Netflix without it

The Hulu video service -- which really, really wants you to pay them money instead of watching for free -- is not easy to watch in Linux.

They require the HAL library, something Linux hasn't used in years.

There are plenty of tutorials on how to get Hulu working in Ubuntu, but fewer for Fedora.

It's pretty easy to get it so you can watch Hulu in Fedora (version 22 in my case).

You do this:

  • Install the fakehal package available here
  • Use Firefox to watch Hulu -- Chrome still won't work

It's as easy as that. Video quality was good on Firefox. Now that I can watch Hulu successfully in Fedora, I am more inclined to subscribe.

Netflix: While Netflix doesn't have this problem, on Linux you have to watch in Chrome and not Firefox. Call it #confusing.

Tue, 17 Nov 2015

Are search and social-media links to paywalled content a bait-and-switch?

Do search and social-media links to content tucked behind paywalls represent a form of bait-and-switch, "tricking" users of those services into clicking links for content they cannot see without a subscription or paying a one-time fee?

Do words like (nonfree), (fee to read) or (subscribers only) make it more acceptable to promote non-universally available content via search engines like Google and social-media sites like Twitter and Facebook?

My quick answer is that creators of content are able to use the "open" Internet network to distribute their content and restrict access via software. It's a form of privacy.

But I do not like when links to that content appear on my social-media feeds without a warning that the content isn't accessible with payment. Give me an appropriate warning about the nature of the transaction ($ for content) and I can decide whether to click, ignore or remove from my feed altogether.

Fri, 31 Jan 2014

Facebook tries to out-Medium its competition with new Paper interface

I'm not big on Facebook. Or Medium. It would be a different story if I were getting paid to write for one of those services, but since that isn't happening, I'm indifferent.

But in the face of interfaces that are inviting to authors, plus the promise of exposing your work to a potential audience of millions, a la Medium and the Huffington Post (why I pulled that one out of my unmentionables I don't know, but I just did), Facebook is releasing a mobile app called Paper that promises to remake the way you (and you) interact with the service, especially when it comes to shoveling your content into their always-burning furnace:

Re/code: Meet “Paper,” Facebook’s New Answer for Browsing — And Creating — Mobile Media -- By Mike Isaac

Fri, 17 Jan 2014

Phoronix is one of my essential resources

Especially while I'm obsessed with the state of AMD video drivers, but for all Linux and much BSD news, Michael Larabel's Phoronix is an essential site that I'm looking at every day.

I honestly don't know how he keeps up the pace, but if you're looking for news on the state of AMD, Nvidia and Intel video, AMD, Intel and ARM CPUs, the Linux kernel, benchmarking of hardware and Linux and BSD distribution, plus what's going on (both in plain sight and behind the scenes) in many of the projects that make up the free-software ecosystems, Michael appears to have it covered, and for that I thank him.

Sun, 20 Oct 2013

I read 10 NYTimes articles today, and it'll cost me 99 cents for the first four weeks to read more, then $15 per month

I don't read NYTimes.com articles that often. But I got a link to one and started clicking around a bit.

There were little "warnings" along the way -- "You've read 5 of 10 ..." -- but I just kept going.

After 10 articles, I got the screen you see at the top of this post.

Now NYTimes.com is probably worth 99 cents for four weeks. But that goes up to .75 a week after that trial period.

That's also known as a 1400 percent increase.

NYTIMES.COM, ARE YOU HIGH?

I'm not a big NYTimes fan. I like the work of David Pogue, don't get me wrong, and NYTimes.com's technology coverage is pretty good. But it's a crowded field, and while I know you get the rest of the great journalism from the NYTimes for that .75 per week, which adds up to per month, the fact is that most media sites charge a lot less.

In fact most are free.

It's hard to charge a month and make a case that your content has that kind of value when most of your competitors are giving it away and hoping to support their operations with advertising.

If you're a big, huge, big (did I say "big" already?) fan and reader of the New York Times and spend hours a day on the site, I can justify you paying the per month.

But when it comes to technology news, there's a lot of competition out there, and the New York Times doesn't really stand out.

And for that reason, per month really doesn't beat free.

Here's my caveat: If this is working for NYTimes.com, and they're making a ton of money from subscriptions, MORE POWER TO THEM. I would like nothing better than for this sort of thing to work. But in today's Web news climate, I just can't see it.

I certainly CAN see niche content aimed at well-heeled business audiences commanding a subscription premium. And I can also see a micropayment-based model working out.

I can see online journalism dying on the proverbial vine without something to fund it.

But a blanket /month? That's for the New York Times faithful only, and that's not me.