There are no men like me. There is only me.

All posts in "Navel Gazing"

Server Migration Complete

Published February 19, 2017 in Navel Gazing , Technology - 0 Comments
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus

I have completed the server migration should all five sites (this blog, Morgon’s blog, Spirit Made Steel, Silver Empire, and Lyonesse). It’s possible that due to the vagaries of DNS you might still see one of the old sites on your end through tomorrow, but that should be it.

I’ve also spent a lot of time working with various caching and optimization plugins for WordPress. I’m not quite done with everything yet. However, the dojo site has achieved the Holy Grail: a 100 score on Google’s PageSpeed Insights test. I’ve read guides that have said that’s nearly impossible with WordPress and that it’s a waste of time to try. In fact, it’s all just a matter of getting the right caching and optimization plugins and tuning them correctly. I’ll have a guide up for how to do it within the next few weeks.

I’ve replicated some of that on the other sites already – they should be loading MUCH faster than before. I’ll be finishing that up over the next few days.

Server Migration in Progress

Published February 17, 2017 in Navel Gazing , Technology - 0 Comments
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus

I currently run five web sites: my blog, my wife’s blog, my dojo web page, Silver Empire, and Lyonesse. My old hosting provider had one gigantic advantage when I first signed with them: they were cheap. Nowadays, there are lots of other providers in a similar price range, and some of them provide far better service. I’ve been eyeballing a server migration for some time now. The preparation for launching Lyonesse didn’t quite force me to go ahead and migrate, but migrating now does have some major technical and logistical advantages.

In any event, all four sites will be migrating over the next few days. Silver Empire and the Lyonesse placeholder have already moved, although due to the vagaries of DNS you might still be getting the old server for another day or so. If this is the newest message you see, then you’re still seeing the old server for this blog. The others will move at various times, but the entire process should be finished by Monday.

Side note for my various authors and other folks: my Spirit Made Steel and Silver Empire e-mail addresses may have minor hiccups over the next few days as part of the transfer. I should still get everything, but there might be a mild delay. If you have my straight gmail address, that one should work fine throughout the transition.

My Top Blog Posts of 2016

Published December 31, 2016 in Navel Gazing - 0 Comments
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus

Here they are, in order from least to most popular: my top ten blog posts of 2016. Silver Empire calls for submission proved very popular, but they couldn’t beat out scandal and sex appeal. Go figure!

2016 In Review

Published December 31, 2016 in Navel Gazing - 0 Comments
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus

By any metric, 2016 has been a great year for me. There were some hiccups, but altogether the good overwhelmed the bad. Here’s a look back on the year.

  • My fourth child was born.
  • Our fourth annual Extra Life event raised nearly $2000 for Children’s Miracle Network.
  • Book sales for Silver Empire are up almost 10x over 2015.
  • I merged my old dojo, Madison Martial Arts, with my Sensei’s dojo, Spirit Made Steel. The resulting dojo has 3x the student base of Madison Martial Arts. Our new facility is 3.5x larger. I have a strong base of wonderful assistant instructors helping now, and our classes are better than ever.
  • Blog traffic for 2016 is up more than 7x over 2015. My best month was May, which approached the peak traffic levels of previous incarnations of this blog.
  • Blog revenue from Amazon Associates sales increased 5x over 2015.
  • My grandmother passed away after an amazing 95 year run.
  • Silver Empire published its first novel.
  • And we published our first audiobook.
  • I finished the first draft of my own first novel (read a sample chapter).
  • Our Kickstarter campaign for Lyonesse nearly doubled its goal.
  • I set new personal records on all major lifts at the gym.
  • I earned my 4th Degree Black Belt
  • Some of my favorite authors sent me free books to review.
  • I got interviewed for the first time.
  • My Twitter feed crossed 1000 followers.
  • I’ve made many wonderful new friends through the author community, social media, my dojo merger, and many other areas.
  • I published 216 blog posts this year.

2017 is looking to be an even better year.

  • After more than three years, I expect my dojo to finally start operating in the black.
  • I expect to publish both my first novel and my first novella.
  • Blog traffic will likely grow by around 3-4x.
  • Based on our upcoming lineup, Silver Empire book sales will likely grow by around 5x.
  • We plan to launch Lyonesse in the early part of the year.
  • My goal for 2017 is to publish at least one blog post every single day, including holidays and weekends. That will more than double the content on this blog.
  • And… I have a few more surprises in store for the year. What, you wouldn’t want me to reveal everything ahead of time, would you? 😉

30,000 words

Published June 16, 2015 in Fantasy , Navel Gazing , Silver Empire - 0 Comments
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus

Going to go narcissistic for a moment. I’ve hit 30,000 words on my first novel (working title Post Traumatic Stress). Still a long way to go, but that’s a big milestone – and by far the longest thing I’ve ever written.

Spurred on by a comment from Brian Niemeier on John C Wright’s blog, here’s the current version of the book’s elevator pitch:

A young man comes back from Afghanistan on a medical discharge after a helicopter crash only to find that his literal war demons have followed him home to terrorize his friends. He has to deal with them with the help of his not-quite-father-in-law, a young friend, a hapless and overly bureaucratic secret military group that gets in the way more than it helps, and an ancient order of knights chartered by the Vatican.

The work is not strictly part of the Tales of Peter Bishop series, but it does tie in heavily to the series (the “young friend” mentioned in the blurb is, in fact, Peter Bishop). You might even say that this kicks off the series.

A Brief History of Time

Published February 19, 2015 in Blast From The Past , Navel Gazing - 0 Comments
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusFacebooktwittergoogle_plus

Once upon a time (round about 2002 or so – ancient times) I had this little blog. Only the term “blog” hadn’t been invented yet. It was a “weblog” back in those days. Good blogging software hadn’t been invented yet, either. Nor had affordable web hosting. This little blog was put together by hand. Updates were coded by hand. New posts were coded by hand… Affordable web hosting wasn’t really a thing then, either. So it was hosted on a recycled computer running Linux and Apache in my spare bedroom. I used a dynamic DNS remapper to cover the fact that my ISP didn’t provide me with a static IP address.

Then things got interesting. Actual blog software became a thing. So I upgraded to that. My first “real” blog software was B2Evolution. And it was super awesome (for the time). Then I had to deal with things like comment spam… ugh. But eventually some plugins came out that more or less solved that issue and life was pretty good for a while.

At its peak, I was actually getting pretty decent traffic. Now… you have to understand what “pretty decent traffic” means on a blog. Most people would hear that phrase and think of somebody like Instapundit getting (sometimes) hundreds of thousands of visitors per day. Of course that qualifies as “pretty decent.”

But the actual reality is that blog traffic looks something like a power law curve. And getting more traffic than, say, 80% of the other bloggers, actually means something more like getting… 50-100 visitors a day, and having the occasional “hit post” that would bring in a thousand or so visitors in a day. That’s actually not too shabby for a blog.

Anyway, for various reasons (mostly to do with the headaches of hosting a site myself) I abandoned that blog and started a new one on Typepad.com. I ran that site again for a few more years and built it up again to pretty decent traffic. And then I let that blog go defunct because my day job went away and I suddenly found myself with more important things to worry about like, “how am I going to provide lunch for this new baby in the house?”

And the thing is, 50-100 visitors a day is pretty good, actually… but it’s not good enough to effectively monetize. Web ads on that kind of traffic will bring you a handful of dollars a month, which is nowhere near enough for the kind of effort that it takes to build and maintain that kind of traffic. So another blog bit the dust.

Over the course of the next few years, I blogged anonymously about a particular topic and became fairly decently known within that community and once again built up to pretty decent traffic. But the blog was anonymous because I wanted to be able to say things that aren’t easy to say under your real name, and now that blog is gone. Completely deleted.

Unfortunately, so are the other two incarnations of this blog. Mostly, anyway. The Internet Wayback Machine typepad version still has history of the Typepad version… but Typepad themselves are unable to recover it. It’s a shame because there were a pretty fair number of good posts from those incarnations of the blog and even a handful of really good posts.

But this blog is back, and it’s back with a bit of a purpose. I expect it to be around for a good long while this time. Mostly it’ll be new content, but every now and then you might see me salvage something from the Wayback Machine and repost a Blast From the Past.

To any old readers who might be returning, thank you for coming back! And for the new folks, thank you for giving this place a shot. Stick around for a bit. Things might get interesting.