site shite

I mentioned it awhile back in my music review section (mainly because that’s where the lions share of traffic goes on my site), but roughly two weeks ago I passed two million page views for the year. That’s not hits, nor individual users (which most people probably gauge their worth on), but nonetheless it was a minor milestone for my little domain, which has grown in traffic a little bit each year since launching it.

With the music reviews being the largest part of the growth, I’ve actually had several times in the past couple years where I’ve considered putting ads into the section. I’ve been approached by several different labels asking about rates for placing ads, yet I’ve never even seriously considered it. With creating podcasts and trying to listen to everything, I’m spending more time per week than ever actually thinking and putting work into the section, yet for some reason I still feel weird about trying to take the next step and putting ads up. For some reason it feels like it would be impartial, even though the spots would obviously be paid for. It’s something that may happen in the future at some point, yet I can say it probably won’t be any time soon.

All of the above said, I’ve seen the stats for this blog and there are a lot more readers here than I thought there would be. Who’s sleuthing me?

I haven’t updated this site in some time, and there are a couple reasons for that. The first is that I’ve been insanely busy. I was out of town for a couple days at a web conference in Baltimore (more on that later, maybe) and life has been rather busy in general. In addition to that, I’ve been relegated to working on my older, backup computer for over a month now due to my powerbook being in the shop.

At any rate, last Monday I called Apple again after a series of breakdowns in repair and replacement times. I didn’t raise my voice at all, but was obviously frustrated, and was actually sent up the chain of command several levels. After I’d been on the phone for some time, I ended up talking to someone that looked through my long case history and flat out told me that Apple would get me a new computer.

Because they don’t make the powerbooks anymore, this meant that I got a new Macbook Pro. Needless to say, I was quite excited, although I tried to temper my enthusiasm until I had the machine in my hands.

One month and 5 days after Apple initially checked-in my old machine, I am now the official owner of a new Macbook Pro. I haven’t gotten everything up and running on it yet, but it’s clearly faster. Another nice gesture from Apple was to not only make sure that I had the same amount of RAM as my old machine, but max out Macbook with a whopping 2GBs. So yeah, it’s noticibly faster, and I can’t wait to really see what happens once I start chugging it away on Logic Pro.

And so that’s the end of the story for now. I don’t have any image editing software on here yet, so this post will go without a picture, but I have several posts I’ll be making in the near future to catch up on things (I managed to finish a book and start another on my recent trip).

Although I’ve always heard great things about Apple’s customer service, this was the fourth (yes, you read that correctly) weekend that my computer has been in for repair. When I first took my computer in, I was told it would take 3-5 days, but for the past 16 days the response for Apple has been that they’re “waiting on a part.”

Needless to say, in that span of time I’ve lost a lot of respect for Apple computers. Since I bought my Powerbook, I’ve been a big fan of it and even tried to fight the the various problems that started cropping up. When the problems (outlined below) became too much to ignore, I finally had to bite the bullet and get it repaired. So, as mentioned, here’s what went wrong with my laptop…

  1. About three months after purchase, one of the USB drives stopped working completely (which wasn’t a huge issue, since I used a 4-port hub on the other port).
  2. About four months after purchase, all of my desktop icons suddenly started re-arranging themselves every time I turned on the machine (yes, this was annoying, but since I worked through the finder I again overlooked it).
  3. About a month ago (nearly as long as Apple has had my computer in repair), the Superdrive stopped working. This was the final straw, as I could no longer burn CDRs, nor read from CDs (although I could still burn DVDRs oddly enough).

In the time that my computer has been AWOL, I’ve been forced back onto my crappy desktop machine (running Windows 95), and I’ve actually become accustomed to it at this point. It’s a little bit slower at everything I try to do, but I’ve had it for 8 years and still have never had a single problem with it, whereas my Apple laptop had 3 separate issues within 8 months of buying it. Compounding my frustration is the completely slow repair time by Apple, considering that if they have it for 3 more days, it will have been in their possession 1/12th of my first year of ownership.

Apparently my repair case has become somewhat of a local legend where I work, though, as a co-worker I don’t see very often asked me about it at a meeting recently, mentioning that they’d heard someone else talking about the repair time in disbelief. I guess that’s kinda funny.

Or something.

I just realized that I hadn’t yet made mention of the newest feature of my music review section. About a week ago, I started adding podcasts for featured reviews each week. It’s something that’s been in the making for some time now, but it went live and the reaction was nice. Basically, they’re the same as regular reviews, but with yours truly reading the review and with snippets of songs interspersed. If you can stand my voice, it makes for a nice way to get a decent picture of the albums being reviewed.

The first couple that I did took me nearly an hour each, as I fiddled with the programs I was using and got used to reading aloud and editing everything together. Having done them for a couple weeks now, I’ve gotten my time down to about 35 minutes each from start to end, which is much more manageable.

While updating my music reviews for the week, I noticed that I had plowed past another decent number in terms of total done. It’s not quite a big enough total to justify celebration (which should happen in about 15 months if I can stay on course), but it seemed like an occasion to check out some other totals. Here’s what I found…

  • Number of different artists reviewed on the site: 1141
  • Number of different labels covered on the site: 652
  • Total number of reviews: 1701

The bigger number that I’m talking about is 2000, and I’m going to plan some sort of blowout with prizes for that one provided I keep on keeping on that long. I have no plans to stop right now, and in fact feel about as inspired as I ever have in terms of spitting things out on a regular basis.

I’m kinda obsessed with checking the referral logs on my website. Sometimes I come up with decent ideas to boost traffic, but most of the time I just find myself looking at the numbers to see what people are reading on my site. I know that quite a few visitors check this section each day, but people rarely comment, and I’m fine with that. I don’t write much that warrants a response, instead making the section more of a diary-style site that I can look back on in a couple years and say “oh yeah.”

However, I do follow the statistics for the music review section of my site pretty closely, and after a small lull at the beginning of the year, I’ve noticed that things have picked up dramatically lately. I think it’s partially due to finally getting bumped back up in search engines after my redesign, and that seemed to be confirmed after I went to Google and entered about 10 recent titles I’d reviewed plus the word “review.”

At any rate, I guess there’s no real point to this post other than to say that I’m hugely excited about the increase in traffic, especially considering I haven’t even dropped my latest site feature in the review section (coming soon). It’s always nice to feel like your work is getting seen by people.

It was pointed out to me today that this blog looks wick-wack in Safari, so I checked it out when I got home and indeed it is screwed-up looking. I looked through my CSS and code (which validates) and couldn’t find the issue (even after doing some searches for Safari bugs. It seems that the background image for the main content of my page isn’t loading for some reason.

If you’re a web person and you have some idea why this might be happening (the site looks find in IE and Firefox both), drop me an email. I would be very grateful.

After much talk of re-designing my blog, I finally got around to getting it all done this weekend. I’d been testing the rework and doing different posts over the course of the past week in order to get some things written down (mainly book reviews), but I made it official today by also redoing the main page as well. If you go to that page, you’ll see that I completely ditched a bunch of the old sections. I hadn’t updated most of them in years, and I was pretty much sick of looking at them. Also, it’s a little easier knowing I’m only trying to keep a couple things going instead of ten. Ugh.

The former hand-coded system was getting to be too much to bear, so I decided to scrap the whole thing and start completely anew. The old stuff is still hanging around, but it won’t be updated anymore. This first design is fairly standard, but since the site is done with PHP and CSS, it should make redesigns a heck of a lot easier in the future. I got so sick of my old blog because it was so limiting, so I’m hoping that this new system allows things to go a little more smoothly and inspires me to post and write a lot more.