Archive for the ‘Websites’ Category

Dear Morgan,

I’ve spent the last few days researching how to increase traffic to my two blogs, my general one and my photography one.  Blogging isn’t a get rich quick scheme, it’s a slow and laborious way to use up lots of time you don’t have in the hope that someone may click on an advertisement, or buy one of your images, or buy one of your books in the hope of making a small amount of money.

The surefire way of doing this is to increase traffic.  You need to write interesting or informative or hilarious copy.  In doing so you hope to connect with a reader who feels the same way, and with any luck will share your blog-post with their million facebook readers or twitterers.  Unfortunately that doesn’t happen very often.

The first thing you need to do is get traffic.  Fortunately my blogs are already getting that for a couple of reasons. The first is because I started them back in 2008, and I’ve kept them up to date.  The second is because I’ve registered them to a couple of blogrolls.  That is, when I post something in the blog, they go automatically into a blog-reader for several thousand people to read if they wish.  The problem with my blog readers is that they are ‘deaf’ orientated, and I’ve really stopped writing about deafness and am now concentrating on photography.

The other important thing about blogs is to have the right tags for the search engines to find you.  A good example of this is my blog about the Sculptor Ron Mueck and the accompanying photography.  I have a photo of his sculpture called Naked Pregnant Woman with it labeled as such inside the blog.  This is attracting a huge amount of pageviews from Google.  I’m getting between five and eight thousand pageviews a month from this.  Unfortunately, they’re not staying around to click on ads or buying any photography because they’re not getting what they’re really after!!   The only good thing about this is that the advertisers think I’m good and therefore I am getting good advertisements on the blog for people to view.

In the last two days to help increase readership and then revenue, I have…

  • Added the privacy policy for Adsense which apparently will increase revenue somehow.
  • Added share buttons from ShareThis on each of my posts in both my blogs.
  • Joined Chime.In, a place where you can add a link to your blog each time you update to gain more readers.
  • Joined Blogcatalog with my general blog to gain more readers.  It’s quite the social network as bloggers love reading other blogs too.
  • Downloaded Hootsuite to manage social media.  I have yet to learn how to use it, but the whole idea is to do regular postings to drive readers to your blogs.

I have yet to research..

  • Other advertisement (Adclick) programmes
  • An affiliateship with perhaps Amazon or other advertiser
  • Become a Guest Blogger or ask a Guest blogger to submit an article to my blog.
  • Join a Blogcarnival

Several things i have learnt in the past month when researching all these processes…

  • You can make a six figure income from blogging
  • I know of a woman writing about homelife making $40k USD a year
  • You need to diversify .. eg. Have more than one blog, offer different income streams from say books, photography, writing, but have links to theses in your blogs.
  • You do need to spend time researching, commenting on other blogs, reading, and developing and planning what you are going to write yourself.
  • Everything I’ve learnt here doesn’t just apply to blogs, but to any website you might want to increase traffic to.

I’ve enjoyed doing the research.  Even if this doesn’t work, the exercise has been entertaining, I’ve gained more knowledge, and I’ve met new online people within the blogosphere.  So all is not lost.

If I see any success with what I have done, then I’ll do the same on this blog as well.  If anything, it might buy us a cup of coffee from time to time!




Dear Robyn,

I was chatting with someone on formspring yesterday and I came across two questions you asked me on there some time ago:

1) If you could invent something, what would it be? and
2) If you could have anything technology wise – what would you choose?

They’re cool questions. But I never asked you so I am wondering what your answers to them are!

This is what I wrote (man, you wouldn’t think I was a geek or anything…)

I’d like to invent:

  1. A Munchkin style card game where Aliens attempt to take over the world and Men In Black try to stop them. The Aliens are only allowed to communicate in crop circles and the MIB are only allowed to speak in secret code. Alien and MIB characters can be spawned or killed using Conway’s “Game of Life” mathematics, control their spaceship and weapons using Turing Machine style state registers, move strategically like chess men, fool each other with Poker style bluffing and if there is an uneven number of people playing one person becomes a spy for any side they choose and no one knows who they are playing for or when they are going to switch alliances! OK, no one will play this unless they are Sheldon from Big Bang Theory but it will be funny to make it anyway!
  2. A guitar overdrive effect that spits randomly like a Rally car. At them moment all overdrive FX seem to just go RRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH! as one ear splitting, continuously homogenous cacophony.
  3. Consciousness, Artificial Intelligence and self determination for a robot. (Followed very closely by “Empathy For Living Things”, “Don’t Do That” and “Go To Your Room” modules….)
  4. A self interpreting programming language for the internet that anyone can use without being a programmer to make sites (or anything else) they like intuitively, and that can interpret itself perfectly without needing any other 3rd party browser.
  5. The computer program that passes the Turing Test

If you could have anything technology wise – what would you choose?

  1. A robot with a personality you can change with a screwdriver to suit your mood
  2. An alien spaceship
  3. A Mercedes MacLaren SLR supercar or Ford Mustang for when #2 is not available
  4. A professional Canon digital SLR camera like yours with a Macro lense to do high speed close up photography of miniature, split second things that happen in nature we can never see with our own eyes
  5. A private space jet that goes from Auckland to space and lands in Blenheim in 2 minutes so I can visit you whenever I like (hmmm, I predict that by the end of our lifetimes we’ll think this is ordinary!)
  6. An intergalactic wormhole that connects Auckland to any other city or planet I feel like visiting instantaneously (I hear the latest version comes bundled with #2)
  7. A newer bass guitar than the 25 year old one I have now and bass FX that can make a growling sound like Marilyn Manson’s voice
  8. A guitar rig that’s as awesome as my Tremonti Signature axe.
  9. A keyboard that is easier to program than my existing demon KORG and sounds less like it was designed exclusively to produce dance music for nightclubs – a bit disconcerting considering I hate nightclubs!
  10. The latest version of Cubase or Protools recording software
  11. Adobe CS5 Web Premium software (because, I am not quite smart enough to invent the self interpreting language in one lifetime)
  12. An alarm clock that plays a nice tune instead of BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! (which at 6am in the morning sounds more like Marilyn Manson going RRRAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!)
  13. An iPhone or similar with all of Muse’s songs and Govenor of Poker on it (hmmm, maybe this has a friendly alarm clock that will play Muse perhaps?)
  14. A recording studio with a monster desk that’s so long you need to roll your chair from one end to the other to reach all the buttons
  15. Chairs with NASA grade castors for withstanding the abuse at #14
  16. A more grunty computer that can tolerate all the work and Muse crap I put in it and allows attempts to create robot brains
  17. A memory chip and GPS for my own brain so I can remember stuff longer than 2 seconds ago and will no longer get lost walking around my own flat
  18. A microscope that can see things as small as those proposed in Superstring Theory (oh look! That’s where I left my keys…)
  19. A time machine that pauses time indefinitely so everyone can eventually make all the weird inventions dreamed up they can never finish in one lifetime.

What are yours?

Morgan 🙂

Image courtesy of Iva Villi

Howdy Robyn,

Hope everything is going well with your foot and you are managing OK as hoppy, haven’t become dizzy, tripped over the cat, choked on the cat or worse, died of boredom!

Just in case you are going spare while you are unable to galavant all over the countryside like you normally do (you’re not I hope!) I thought I’d tell you about the fun site I found today via a fellow Muser*. It’s called Wordle and it takes a bunch of words and makes them in to an artwork or “word cloud”. Looks awesome. You’re a writer so I figured you’d love it. The crazy Muser posted up some of Matt Bellamy’s lyrics and they looked quite profound like that so I thought I’d have a go at posting two of my songs (No One Will Know and Centre of Gravity) through the Wordle machine and see what it made of them. Here’s the result:

Looking at them like that is weird. Now I can’t imagine how I crammed all those words into one place. If you would like to have a play here is the link to Wordle

Morgan 🙂

*Muser = obsessed demented Muse fan who lives online on the Muse Boards. Not to be confused with regular “Muse fans” who resemble normal sane people. According to singer Matt Bellamy, Musers are completely crazy and he would definitely want to be one if he weren’t actually in Muse himself. I am a Muser, therefore this must mean I am crazy and also not a member of Muse …. Good to know…

Abducted, Back, and Bored

Posted: July 11, 2010 in Humour, Opinion, Websites

Dear Morgan,

Well – I was abducted by a surgeon on Thursday afternoon.  I’m now back home with my foot in plaster and I’m bored.  Bored.  Bored.  I managed to keep occupied for a little while playing online scrabble with a friend on facebook.  I had 6 games going at once with her.  But my playing partner got tired and went to bed.  Sigh. You’re not around to harrass on skype, so I turned to Google.  Google HAS to have the answer – it has the answer for everything!  So I typed in ‘What to do if you’re bored’.

I came across a website with 75 things to do when you’re bored.

Here’s just 10…..

1) Blink wildly and then close your eyes really tight for an interesting light show
See a variety of blobs, stars and flashes. Try to make out shapes and see if your subconscious is trying to send you a message.

Sigh – and the point is?  If I did that I would probably render my head to a Migraine Headache.  Okay – I admit it – I tried it.  It did absolutely nothing.  I got no interesting light shows, and it kept me occupied for a full 5 seconds!  Next…

2). See how long you can hold a note
Not that much fun, but it sure passes the time. Play with a friend, or try to beat your own personal best. Inhale deeply and then try and make a noise for as long as you can.

Okay – I did this.  Twice.  The first time my cat woke up and got out of her igloo.  The second time she jumped on my knee and put her head in my mouth.  Having cat fur in your mouth is no fun.  But her reaction was funny.  I might just do this one again occasionally.

3). Pretend you’re a robot
Walk down the street with mechanical movements, adding ‘zzzzzt’ sounds with each motion. Pretending to have a motor broken in, say, your left hand can add at least 30 seconds more entertainment.

Now this would be okay if I were out somewhere as I’m walking with a walking frame.    In fact, I have to go out tomorrow, so I just might try it.  If you get a phone call from me, would you rescue me from the funny farm in Blenheim?  I’m wondering what the left hand can add though – that part doesn’t quite make sense.  I’ll improvise though.

4). Pinch yourself
What is pain? Why is it unpleasant? There’s nothing physical about it – it’s all in your mind. Plus, after pinching yourself for awhile, boredom will seem nice next to being in pain.

Why would I even want to make myself be in pain?  I’m already in pain.  Pain hurts.  It makes time go by slower.  Not a good idea.  Boredom will feel no nicer afterwards!

5). Try to swallow your tongue
There’s not much to say about this one. It is possible, but really stupid.

Yes – very stupid – why is it even on a list of 75 things to do if you’re bored?   If you swallow your tongue, you’ll need to get to an emergency room straight away to let them know.  I wonder if they will know what  ‘hi   i  ha swwow ma ua’ acutally means Hi, I have swallowed my tongue’.  (I had to act that out to see what it would sound like  It relieved my boredom for all of 5 seconds.  My cat looked at me really – she must be getting used to weird things from me by now – surely!)

6). Get yourself as nauseated as possible
Best achieved by looking straight up and spinning around. Try to be so dizzy you can’t even stand up. This is also entertaining due to the “makes boredom seem a lot better” effect (see “Hurt Yourself”).

As a person who gets dizzy frequently without looking straight up and spinning around, I see no ‘boredom relief’ potential or fun in this.  Why anyone would want to feel this way is beyond me.  I have problems understanding why people go on roller coasters, scream their heads off, come off green, then do it again.  They call it fun.  I call it stupidity.  Brainless.

7. Invent a weird twitch
Adopt a bizarre twitch (e.g. flicking your head irregularly, twitching with eye or busting out sporadic cough noises) and try it out when you go shopping.

I already have one.  I’ts called a limp.  It’s why the Surgeon abducted me.  Adopting another twitch to go with the limp would probably make me fall over.  Not a good idea.

8). Pretend to be a car
Make appropriate revving noises in your head as you walk along and add a racing commentary as you pass strangers in the street. Use blinking eyes as indicators for extra authenticity.

Blinking eyes as indicators??  Does that mean you’re going to turn left and right simultaneously?  I could probably do that.  But I can’t wink.  Never been able to, so I wouldn’t be able to indicate at all.  If I did that down here though, with my limp and my walking frame, I would definitely be carried away by men in white coats.

9). Try to not think about penguins
This is especially hard, because by trying too much, you remember what you were trying to avoid thinking of. If you try too little, you end up thinking about penguins anyway.

Hard?  I never think of penguins.  They don’t enter my mind.  Ever.  Except when I see the movie March of the Penguins.    I’ve just tried it right now.  Not thinking about penguins.  I had no problem – I thought about aliens, sex, vibrators, torches, electricity, (because I had my power bill), food, my mobile phone.  Nope –  I never did think of a penguin. So I don’t see what is especially hard about it.  Maybe the author doesn’t have a lot to think about?

10. Make a low buzzing noise
Hours of fun in libraries! Keeping a totally straight face and looking nonchalant, make a low pitch humming/buzzing noise and see who reacts.

Has this guy who wrote this website been in a library lately?  It’s not a place of quiet anymore.  A low pitched humming/buzzing noise emanates from the computers 100% of the time, so it’s not going to surprise anyone.  Hours of fun?  I don’t think so.  Besides, I would never be bored in a library, I would be collecting good books to read, and researching all kind of things.

Maybe I’ll head to the library tomorrow to get out of my boredom of the day!!  But I won’t be swallowing my tongue.  Not even if I’m hungry!



Good Inventions.

Posted: July 7, 2010 in Humour, Opinion, Websites
Tags: , , ,

Dear Morgan,

I haven’t heard from you for over a week now and am getting quite concerned.   I know you get abducted by aliens on a regular basis but this is the longest you’ve been away.  Are you actually enjoying the anal probes now and don’t want to return?  Has an alien morphed into a sexy German and you can’t tear yourself away?

Anyway.  While you’ve been off enjoying yourself somewhere, I’ve been browsing on the internet.  There are all these weird and wonderful gadgets out there, but the one that caught my attention the most lately was the P-Mate.  This is a small invention that allows women to pee.  Standing Up!  I thought I would buy one here and give it a whirl, but no one brings them into New Zealand so I can only look at the product on the internet.  I’ve just found a ‘how to make one’ on wiki!  Now to find some cardboard! For those who are interested as well – you can find the instructions here.

The P-Mate was thought up by a Dutch woman who was very shy of going to the loo – and would take off into the jungle of Indonesia to make sure no one saw her pee.  When she came home she designed the p-mate and then went on national television and even demonstrated it.  I find this hilarious, one minute she’s too shy, next she’s peeing on national TV.   I couldn’t do that.  There is no way I can pee with an audience.  Don’t ask!  The thing I find most disturbing about this woman on National TV is she’s peeing into a beer glass.   I’ll never be able to look at a beer glass again without this image etched into my mind.

But hilarity aside, I think this is the best invention for women that I’ve seen.  Especially if you hate public loos.  Or caught out in the forest – I remember training for the Oxfam 100k walk and when we were walking in the forest for 7 hours at a time, how I wished I was a man, that could just duck behind a tree, then give it a shake!  Another time I was caught out was when I was out skiing.   Had to ski quickly to an ‘outhouse’, then practically undress to go to the loo.  It was freezing, and I just about got hypothermia.  It was so cold it was enough to give one piles.  I know I know TMI!    This would solve this problem easily.  The perfect ‘Ski-P-mate’!

With the P-mate, not only can you ‘stand by your man’, you can even give it a shake, just like the real thing!  Okay – that’s going a bit too far but you get the gist.

I’m about to go into plaster – this invention would help no end.  If you don’t see me around for a while, I’m busy folding up cardboard…



Dear Morgan,

I read your last letter with interest about the purpose of the websites, and I agree with you that a website’s sole purpose shouldn’t be just to collect emails. I also think it’s the experience of the website that is the most important thing.

So, as a market researcher in another life, I decided to troll the internet to further give examples as why email addresses would not be the most important thing for a website, and this is what I found…

1). Rune’s Barf Bag Experience.

So let’s ask the most basic question here. What would be the point in collecting email addresses for this website? It’s a barfbag collection! Why anyone would want to collect these things I don’t know. I only hope that he manages to collect clean unused ones, and they haven’t been ‘recycled’ in any way. Gawd – there’s a shop so you can buy them, AND there’s even a swap page. I can see it now – hey – I have 3 barf bags from United Airlines – I’m willing to swap them for one from Singapore Airlines! Honestly, it’s enough to make you.. well Barf!

In my opinion then. Importance of collecting emails? zero
Overall website experience? Stumped and confused.

2). The oo
Lets go to the question here again. What would be the point in collecting emails for this website. Actually, the question for this website should be.. What is the POINT of this website? It’s all about oo, whatever that may be. People are even invited to go in and write their own ‘oo’ What’s even more scary is that people actually do. Should these people even be allowed to procreate? I further googled ‘oo’ in Wikipaedia and I got a list of things that oo actually meant. Sadly, just as I thought, the oo website had nothing to do with any of them.

Importance of collecting emails? Zero
Overall website experience? Ummmmmmmm

3). Elevator Rules
Well what can I say? Rules for Elevators? I’ve used lots of elevators in my life, but never knew there were ‘rules’. It gives rules such as.. ‘Never, under any circumstances urinate or defecate in an elevator. It is not, and never will be considered funny by anyone.’
Do people actually do this? Defecate I mean? In an Elevator? Did they mistake it for a toilet? Do we even need to know about this? Do we need to collect email addresses for it? Gawd – you can even buy this book of rules. And stickers too. To place on the jacket of the people that defecate so they too learn the rules. But what’s scary about this is there’s a whole website for this. So now you know!

Importance of collecting emails? Zero
Overall website Experience? ‘0.0’ Unbelievable. What about ‘Common Sense’?

4). Urinals – The best urinals in the world, gathered here in one website
Okaaaaaaaaay. Do people actually go into that website and decide to travel based on the urinals? Does the website owner have errrrrrm, a fixation with mens toilets? Do we need to collect email addresses for this? What would be the purpose, to email everyone when he finds another ‘urinal’? Imagine… ‘Dear everyone, I was in Mexico City, in the main street, and found a really neat urinal in Joey’s Bar – you should all go and piss in this one for the best experience ever’. Hmmmmmm I don’t think so!

Importance of collecting emails? Zero
Overall Website Experience? Didn’t do anything for me – but would love a man’s take on this – anyone up for the job?

5). Pets in Uniforms

Okay – this is just plain nuts. I know that women sometimes have a fetish for men in uniform. I mean – that’s just plain sexy. Especially Policemen. And Fireman. And Air Pilots. Okay okay – Too much information – if you value your life don’t turn up at my door dressed like a policeman! Or Fireman. Or pilot!! But PETS? PETS? That’s taking the fetish a bit far. I could image it if it were a sheep and you invited farmers far and wide in Australia. But cats? Sigh. Why would it be important to collect emails for this site? By the way – right now there is a holiday special on and you can get your pet made up in full regalia for only $19.99. I think Morgan should send in a photo of her budgie and see what they do to it! They should dress it up like Tiger Woods as it’s a very amorous one! Just think, she could then watch Tiger Woods in action 10 times a day. I’m not talking about his golf!

Importance of collecting emails: Five , but only because they’ll send something back to you, and you might want to know of the specials so you can dress up your cats, dogs, horses, sheep, goats, and maybe your husband.
Overall Website Experience? Chortle!

Okay – I think you get the gist now – I could go on – there’s so many weird sites out there. I hope I’ve made my point.