This blog is basically on an indeterminate hiatus.
I blog more often at Cross Cutting Concerns, which is a blog specifically about aspect-oriented programming.
I’m still very active on Twitter, where I tweet about similar topics to mgroves.com.
Also, I occasionally write something on Tumblr. Those tend to be very entertainment based: pop culture, comedy, comics, etc.
It’s the new year, time for fresh starts, resolutions, and..uh..drinking.
So in the spirit of all 3, welcome to the (4th?) new look of mgroves.com. This time, I’m using a whole new blogging engine. Instead of my custom engine that I wrote years and years ago, I’m using Habari, which is an open source PHP blogging engine. The Habari guys came to Columbus to demo and promote Habari at the PHP Meetup. I liked it and thought I would give it a go.
Additionally, you’ll notice a new design. This design was not created by the always talented Jon Plante, but instead it is a Habari theme, with a few minor adjustments. I’ve never been a fan of using themes–I’m afraid someone else will use the same theme and then it’ll be like we wore the same dress to a party, and we all know how embarrassing that is. But I’ll give it a go, and if it doesn’t work out, I can always cajole Jon for some more free labor.
So anyway, leave a comment, let me know what you think, and let me know of any kinks that I need to iron out.
Another excuse for my lack of activity: I’ve been moving the site over to new hosting. There was nothing wrong with the old hosting, I’m just consolidating sites (I’m getting quite a network of sites going here).
So, if you see anything wrong, point it out to me, and I’ll get it fixed as soon as possible.
As for the lack of content: I’ve got a couple of good ideas brewing. The creativity drought might be at an end. My apathy for this election season isn’t helping, but I know the reader of mgroves.com demands results, not excuses. I shall double my efforts.
If so, leave a comment below saying so, and I’ll send you a Toluu beta invitation.
What’s Toluu? I’m glad you asked.
Here’s what you do:
- Export an OPML file from your favorite feed reader
- Upload the OPML file to Toluu
- Wait a little bit
- Toluu finds other people who read a lot of the same feeds you do.
- Check out other feeds that those “matches” subscribe to, thus finding new RSS gems
- The end
Serious RSS junkies only!
I’ve just launched a mobile version of this blog. Here’s the low-down.
You can access the site via these subdomains:
If you can think of another subdomain that should be on there, leave a comment.
The mobile site contains the important functionality of the main site: the same exact content, the same exact comments. The mobile site does not have tags, searching, top commenters, or basically anything in the right-hand column. The mobile site is also not cached.
I did manage to put mobile Google Ads on the site, but those might take a couple days to fully kick in.
I also plan to write some code that will transform embedded YouTube content into links to YouTube Mobile, thus making even Tuesday Tube viable on a mobile device.
I’ve put no browser detection/redirection code into any part of the site. Therefore, you can view the mobile or full site on both desktop and phone browsers without fear of being automatically redirected anywhere. There are also links to the “full” site on the mobile site.
It’s still a work in progress, but it’s certainly functional at this point.
What is a good policy on broken links in blogs?
That is: should they be fixed, and how should they be fixed?
Note that when I say broken links, I mean every broken link here at mgroves.com, including:
- Invalid affiliate links
- Broken links left in comment field or URL field in a comment
- Broken links from old news (i.e. Reuters doesn’t have the story up anymore or something)
- Any links in “Random Destinations” or “Bookmark This Page” in the footer
For instance, I know that Sithlet used to leave his URL as 50pixelsofevil.com, but that site no longer exists. Should I remove/change all his comments for the sake of removing broken links?
If I don’t, aren’t I going to have an ungodly amount of broken links eventually? If I do, am I violating some sort of unwritten trust that comments generally shouldn’t be tampered with?
Thank you for the okay questions. I will try to answer a few of them, but please don’t hold me responsible for inaccuracies, misunderstandings, or outright lies.
With that disclaimer in place, here are some answers.
Sithlet asks, What kind of screwed up keyboard do you have that puts the question mark in place of the e?
This is how keyboards are made in Colorado, buddy, better get used to it!
Always the rebel, Nathan asks, If the creator of My Little Pony asked you where his 18 year old son should go to college, while at the same time asking you where the best place to breed cattle in space, by asking you if his rocket would be able to carry the mammal, what would you advise?
Answer: Don’t move to Houston without one of those air conditioned hats.
David asks, I just found out the other day that Himmelreich, the name mine was anglicized from, is a common surname for Ashkenazi Jews. Everyone told me grandpa was Catholic… Is this some sort of a Steve Martin “The Jerk” scenario? And is it okay to stop feeling ethnic shame for the holocaust and start feeling ethnic outrage? When does that kick in?
I would suggest trying to dispel both feelings of shame and of outrage. The world has enough of both already. I do suggest, however, that you do not name your son David, because it could eventually lead to David Himmelreich the 3rd, or “Third Reich” for short.
And now the serious portion of “Ask Matt”. Jonny gives me yet another opportunity to demonstrate “begging the question“. Of course, every day, Jonny torments me by using the phrase “begging the question” incorrectly. 2000 years ago, the world’s population center was still in China (approx. 50 million people). Is Jesus a bad guy for not giving them and generations of their children a chance for salvation rather than burning away in hell.
Jonny’s question makes an assumption that 50 million+ (at least) Chinese are going to hell because Jesus initially lived and taught in the middle east. I’m not convinced that is a safe assumption to make (hence I think Jonny is begging the question). The same question can be asked about people who lived before Jesus (especially Gentiles), and even the small amount of people today who haven’t heard of Jesus. Jonny isn’t the first to ask this question, and there are many schools of thought on this in theology and apologetics. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what my answer or any other man’s answer is. Romans 12:19 says “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Some Christians think every person ever is saved no matter what they’ve done or haven’t done, some Christians think only 144,000 people are going to heaven. Me? I think it’s possible that Dahmer, Hitler, and Saddam have all been saved and are in heaven right now, but it’s not my call. I’m thankful Jesus came, and I think I could do a lot worse job of finding someone to worship and try to emulate. If you think that’s a cop-out, so be it. That’s my answer in the context of Christianity. If you aren’t a Christian, the question is moot (or at least akin to a Kirk/Picard debate), because you probably don’t believe that Jesus saved anyone from anything.
But know this: the sin of misuse of the phrase “begging the question” is unforgiveable, and for that, you will burn in the lake of fire.
And finally, UR lays on the toughest question of all, If a trombone is made of brass and a clarinet is made of wood…then what is a yoyo made of?
Do you guys enjoy this “Ask Matt” stuff?
I took a full year’s worth of Google data and smashed it up with data about mgroves.com blog posts to see what (if anything) I could learn.
I ran a regression, and it’s telling me that my humor is not appreciated.
First, let me very briefly explain regression. It’s a statistical modeling technique in which a dependent variable (daily adsense revenue in my case) is analyzed as a function of one or more independent variables (in my case this includes things like common tags, number of comments, and clicks). The idea is that the independent variables explain the variance in the dependent variable. This isn’t a great explanation, but it will do for now.
So what I did was I matched up Google AdSense data (date, revenue, clicks) by day to my blog post data (date, keywords, number of comments) per day. So each row counts as a day, not a blog post.
I then ran a regression for 2007. Here are the results.
Some quick interpretation:
- Adjusted R Square: this tells me how much of the variance of the revenue can be explained with this model. In this model, it’s around 54%. Pretty darn good!
- Significance F: this number tells me the likelihood of this model not being statistically relevant. Very low numbers are good.
- Coefficients: This tells me how much each variable affects revenue. So, looking at “wii”, for instance, tells me that a post with a tag of “wii” affects revenue by +28 cents.
- P-value: This column is similar to Significance F. It tells me the likelihood that using this coefficient will give me an inaccurate result. The lower the better, but I chose a cut-off point of around 0.10. 0.05 is a popular cut-off point too. Any P-value higher than the cut-off and the variable really doesn’t tell me anything one way or another.
- Confidence interval (Lower & Upper 95%): The coefficients give me a single point estimate, but this range indicates that it’s 95% likely that the actual coefficient is in the range. If a range straddles 0, it means that this coefficient isn’t useful even in a basic positive or negative sense.
So based on that, what does this regression tell me?
- “Wii” posts really bring in the money. 28 cents each!
- My jokes aren’t funny. This data went out of its way to tell me that “humor” posts cost me 12 cents of adsense revenue each. Good P-value and a confidence interval that’s all negative. Thanks for the self-esteem boost, data!
- AdSense clicks are correlated with revenue. Duh.
- I ran some other models with less variables, and they indicated that “politics” and “programming” might be worth some money (around 14 and 20 cents each). The model shown above doesn’t indicate anything useful about either.
There are some flaws with this model. The biggest one is that the data is lagged. While a blog post might go up on Tuesday, no one might actually click ads or post comments for a day or two (or even much, much later for that matter). I might try lagging the dates by 1 day and 2 days to see what a regression says then, or maybe matching up comments by the day they are posted (instead of the blog post they are attached to).
Remember when I did “Ask Matt” back in October?
Well, it was such a rousing success that I thought I’d try it again.
So go ahead, and ask away. Any question, any question at all. It could be trivial and easy, or it could be metaphysical and difficult.
Here are some topics/questions to avoid of if you expect a good answer:
- My Little Pony
- Sentences that end in question marks
- Advice for people 25 and younger
- Questions that are asked in English (or any non-English language)
- “Does rockets really work?”
- Advice for people over 25
If you stay clear of those topics, I promise you that I will give you a well-researched, thought provoking answer.
2007 was a big year for mgroves.com.
Now it’s time to look back and see what was good, and what wasn’t so good, and to (hopefully) get some feedback from you, the faithful reader about what you like and what you want to see (and don’t say “more posts with hot Asian women.”
First up, I wanted to list the new features that I’ve put on mgroves.com in 2007.
- New design (from Jonny)
- Google search
- Merchandise affiliate ads
- Multiple writers (who all eventually gave up after contributing some fine posts): Tweeder, Correl, Jonny
- Some regular weekly features including Tuesday Tube and Weekend Update, the former of which I see as a great success.
- Maybe some other things that I can’t remember…
Which of these features do you like? Hate? Don’t care about? What features would you like to see added or removed?
Second, here are my favorite posts from 2007, in no particular order:
- Movie knock-offs – I enjoyed this because I fell victim to it, and it opened my eyes to a whole other world of sleazy entertainment.
- Any of the Game King posts. These posts were really the only information on the Game King-II on the web (and they might still be) besides the basic product specs on import sites. I think these helped a lot of people, and they made me some money too!
- Jeffrey Marzi. It’s really a shame that this post didn’t get any traction with Digg (or anyone), because it’s quite an interesting story (and video). If you haven’t watched the full “Malkovich’s Mail” video, you should do so.
- I really enjoyed making the Best of Futurama video posts leading up to the new DVD release.
- I didn’t do a lot of politics this year (as I said I wouldn’t), but one of my favorite political posts was on the Ohio strip club law. It’s really a very interesting issue if you can get past the “pervert! prude!” arguments and really discuss democracy, free speech, regulation, and decency. This is one of those rare issues where my libertarian side and my conservative side really clash.
List some of your favorite posts! Go ahead! Use the Google search on the right side of the page (click the “mgroves.com” radio button first) and make sure to post a link in your comment.