Feelin' Genki

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Fantasy Baseball Team Names

I'm about to join my first Fantasy Baseball League and I need some help coming up with a team name.

Of the following, what are your favourites?

Chico’s Bail Bonds

Hong Kong Cavaliers

Honey Nut Ichiros

The Double Stuff Orioles

Jeters Never Prosper

The Fargin Iceholes

The Alpha Squad Seven

The Clear and the Cream

Balco’s Bombers (or Balco Bartokomous)

The Sporting Woods

The Stinky Pujols (or Winnie the Pujols)

Also, if you have an amusing pirate-themed suggestion, by all means let me know. I was trying to come up with one, but "Buccaneers" became "Cavaliers" and that led to the obscure Buckaroo Banzai reference.

Comments please!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Using Google Analytics to track keyword referrals

Okay, Google Analytics just got a whole lot more useful to me, thanks to Doug's blog at webdev101.com.

Now that I know what I'm being found for, I'm going to write more on my blog about those keywords. And THAT is what SEO is all about.

(Oh, don't get me started on SEO... I'm setting up a couple of sites on the topic to share my infinite knowledge...)

Here's how to find out what search terms are sending visitors to your site:

1. Go to All Reports on the left side –> Marketing Optimization –> Visitor Segment Performance

2. Choose the referring source report

3. If Google is one of your referring sources you will find it in the list with a red dot to the left of the number rank with two up arrows in it.

4. Click that red dot and select “Cross-Segment Performance” which will open up another menu, which you can select “Keyword” from.

5. This will show you a list of keywords that users use to get to your site, and how many times people have used it etc.

Thanks to Doug for this incredibly useful information - I would never have known where Google Analytics kept this info - and aside from being entertaining to bloggers, it's ESSENTIAL that business owners know what search terms people were typing into the search box that led them to their site.

As Doug said, "Makes you wonder how many other really good reports are buried away in the tool?"

Thursday, February 22, 2007

So what's the deal with turtles?

It's a rhetorical question. Please don't answer that.

People don't often ask me for my thoughts on turtles (do they ask you?) but Meg did, today on my lunch hour, and I unleashed a torrent of stream-of-consciousness babble in her blog comments.

Well, I says to myself, apparently I do have some thoughts on turtles. And they're pretty chaotic and don't stand up well to sober scrutiny.

Sounds like perfect blog material to me.

So, turtles, eh? (I like saying "eh" in my blog, even though I never actually say it in real life.)

Well, according to Milo, a dog says woof, a cat says meow, a lion/tiger/bear(oh my!)/dinosaur/sea lion/dragon/jaguar/ etc. says “rrraaarrrr!”, so what does a turtle say?

Milo is almost 20 months old and he wants to know, so I’m forced to make stuff up.

While I’m on the subject, what does a rabbit say? A fish? How about a bushbaby, coati, or ukari? Kids’ books have too many freaky animals these days and they make me lie to my child.

Turtle. And what’s the etymology of the word “turtle?” A sailors’ mauling of the French “tortue” circa 1609? Yeah, right, like I buy that.

Turtle. You know, the more you say it, the weirder it sounds. Turtle.

Turtle. I once had a teacher (Olive D. Primmer, Gander Academy, grade 3) who didn’t pronounce those middle t’s in words like bottle, turtle, and rattle… she just left big pauses in there in the Scottish style. (And by Scottish style, I mean like how I’d try to fake a Scottish accent.) Tur-uhl. as opposed to turdle. Both ways, it’s weird. Turtle.

Don't get me wrong, I like turtles. I have no desire to eat them, and I know that if you feed them a lot of fresh shrimp they won't eat ALL of it and their little aquarium will stink up the entire house in a matter of days, but I still like them.

I also saw an episode of Nova that said Native Americans at a site in Gault, Texas weren't merely big game hunters, they also ate small mammals, birds, and turtles. And recent evidence indicates that many different groups peopled the continent 17,000 to 20,000 years ago, although what we know as the Clovis point was a piece of technology that spread (possibly from the Solutreans of southern France!) across North America at the end of the last ice age about 13,500 years ago. DNA from the Ojibwe peoples show the possiblity of European heritage going back many thousands of years before Columbus.

Wow. All from turtles. Thanks Meg.

Google news makes fun of the Canadian Mint

So this is what Google News showed me today.

There's an article from the Toronto Star pointing out that the mint paid a consultant $2 million dollars to tell them that by firing 100 people they could save almost $8 million dollars.

And right underneath that story, what do we see? A headline that says the mint is spending $2 million dollars to make a giant 100-kilogram gold coin that's worth $1 million dollars.

I know, $2 million worth of gold to make a $1 million dollar coin?

Surely, you see how they could save a million bucks there too... but they're actually selling the coin for $2.25 million dollars, so they'll be making a profit. Too bad about those jobs, though.

Hey, I know a consultant who might like to buy one...

An Open Letter to Puretracks

Actually, this is the letter I wrote to Puretracks. It's only because I've put it on my blog that I'm calling it an open letter.

Lots of us in Canada got excited after reading the CBC article on how Puretracks is supposed to be DRM-free, but it's not.

Dear Puretracks,

So I’m sitting here in Vancouver and I keep getting an error message that tells me I can only access your website if I’m in Canada... which I am.

This is not good. I merely want to find out more about your service and see whether or not it’s true that your music tracks are crippled with Windows DRM.

I’m on a Mac at home (which plays non-DRM mp3s just fine, despite your blatantly false and deliberately misleading warning that they’re “not compatible” with my operating system) and won’t be able to visit from there. (Actually, I'm not sad at all about being on a Mac. Just sad that I can't do my own research and have to rely on people I trust to do it for me.)

All in all, without even getting the chance to go over your site, you’ve earned a big “thumbs down.” AND you’ve been publicly humiliated by BoingBoing to boot. I probably shouldn’t even blog about your debacle.

Please, for the public image of all Canadians everywhere, clean up that mess. It’s pretty sickening.

Dread Pirate Robert

UPDATE: .wma files crippled with Windows DRM won't play on my operating system, which means that Puretracks may NOT be lying when they claim that their files won't play. The CBC article is the one that says their files are in the mp3 format, but THAT'S clearly not true.

Anyway, I'm hoping for a response from Puretracks, Michael Geist, or anyone else who cares to weigh in.

FURTHER UPDATE 26 FEB 2007: Looks like Puretracks is actually trying to fulfill the promise of non-DRM mp3s.

Even more importantly, they're working on making it work for the Mac too. The original story in BoingBoing got a response from Isabelle at Puretracks, who says:
"I'm the director of marketing at Puretracks and a big fan of BoingBoing. I wanted to give you an update on your post about our MP3 offering that just rolled out. The first thing to mention is that we really do have 50,000 MP3s for sale in Canada . But we don't have Mac support at the moment. This is a side effect of our business reality. The entire first version of the store was based around the WMA (DRM'd) format, and it has been a monumental task switching our database and everything to support the new format. Several of these pieces, including our Download Manager, are still based on ActiveX controls and other non-Mac-friendly mechanisms so Mac users cannot purchase and downloads songs from Puretracks as of yet. But we WILL support the Macs, and the MP3 rollout is our first step towards being able to actually do that."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Costa Rice: Wedding Day!

It seems a shame to post these photos on my blog when the bride and groom haven't even seen them yet, but hey, that's what you get when you don't answer my emails! Don't worry, they have many dozens more to sort through. I'm sure they're looking forward to it.

Ready to walk down this aisle? Flower petals on the sand beat a hardwood floor any day.

If I remember anything from my wedding ceremony, it's looking into her eyes. The rest was just a blur.

Oh, and the hands. Eyes, hands, and trying not to miss my cue.

Now flee! Before the rice gets you in the eye! We're on a beach, which means no sweeping up, so the guests are throwing bucketloads!

The timing was absolutely perfect. The ceremony ended just as it started to rain. We went under the patio for some champagne, a dance or two, and some toasts, then the rain clouds left us a spectacular sunset.

For Milo, the highlight of the event was the Pass-The-Cork game with Poppa. Just like the Snickers Super Bowl ad, but with pure love.

And we're back at the villa for drinks, dancing, and delicious desserts. What a great party, and congratulations to the bride and groom! Let's do it again!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Costa Rica Day Ten

Hooray! It's the big day!

Other than the groom, I think Milo was the only person at the wedding wearing a tie. And I KNOW he was the only one wearing Spiderman sandals.

Okay, I'm finally at the wedding photos. I hope I can figure out Flickr's bulk uploading tool or this is gonna take forever.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Costa Rica Day Nine

One great thing about the heat was that it necessitated frequent trips to the pool. And we all know how much Milo loves the water.

These days he says "water" more than just about every other word. He runs for the tub when it's bathtime and pleads with us to remove his clothing. We have to hide the dog's water dish whenever he's running around, and if we didn't give him his milk in a sippy cup, he'd pour it from one container to another until it was all in a puddle on the floor.

I guess taking him to swimming lessons a year ago paid off!

And here's Milo, his parents, and his grandparents having a great time out for dinner. I'm already getting nostalgic for Costa Rica.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Costa Rican Interlude: Geckos with headlights

One of Milo's new words is "gecko." I think he learned it pretty much instantly -- and second only to "cookie" in sheer repetitiveness.

Apparently, when you take flash photos of geckos, their eyes turn into little glowing headlights. Aside from the fact that my camera couldn't properly focus on them, it's pretty cool.

Costa Rica Day Eight

Another day in paradise, and another trip to the beach. Our fellow travellers tended to stay in bed longer than Milo, so here we are down at the beach around 8 a.m.

Hot, sunny, sandy, and warm ocean water. Plus a big plastic spoon. Milo was loving it.

Not much shade on the beach, but that's why they invented sunblock. And wow, it was hot. 35 degrees, if I remember correctly.

And after the sun and frolic, Milo's ready for a nap with all the comforts of home: his blue blankie, his sheepskin, and his butt in the air. Daddy gets a beer.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Colts vs. Bears

Let us pause for a moment and give our observations on the Super Bowl.

The Bears haven't been in a Super Bowl since I was 15. Yes, I remember The Fridge and the craptacular Super Bowl Shuffle. Please, no more. Even retro, it's not funny.

And I was one year and four days old the last time the Colts Formerly Known As Baltimore had a shot at it.

This year, it's the Indianapolis Colts' offense (Peyton et al, even though an improved team defense is what got them through the playoffs) vs. the Bears great defense (but didn't their offense score more points than the Colts this year?), or so the media tells us.

Peyton vs. Urlacher. (Hello? I'm Rex Grossman? Doesn't anyone care about me? The Rodney Dangerfield of Chicago?)

The interesting thing, from my point of view, is finding out who my nephews Aidan and Anthony are cheering for. They live in Indiana (a couple hours north of Indy) but they're only four hours south of Chicago, their Mom's hometown and where most of their relatives live.

I have to admit, I'm more into the big game this year than other years because of the connection. And because I got a great Indianapolis Colts toque for Christmas, and Milo got an AWESOME Bears warmup suit. We're wearing both every day this week, and we even have a wager on the game.

If the Colts win, I get to tickle him silly, and if the Bears win, he gets to inherit most of my worldly possessions. So come on,... whoever!

P.S. Colts by 20. Not even close.