March 10th, 2013
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the most skilled at SEO and its best practices, but I do know that being linked to your site is a good thing. I also know that it depends on the kind of site that links to you (regular sites = good; spamming sites = bad), but in general, having backlinks to your site is a good thing in the eyes of the search engines. So 2 things here are possible: 1) I really don’t know my SEO or 2) I have a spammy site, because there are some people that dislike me linking to them. Here’s the story.
A short while ago I received an email from an online retailer that sells all kinds of gadgets (I won’t link to them now, since they hate being linked to) about one of my posts from 5 years ago with a request to remove a link that was there (now removed) to one of their items. In this particular post was a link (thus now removed) called “Cool looking clock” which was linked to their salespage of the clock (I originally got the link via Boing Boing). It was a clock looking a lot like this one (and no, it’s not linked to the site which wants my links to them being removed). So all in all pretty harmless in my view, because I saw something I liked and wanted to share that.
So here’s what I don’t get: why would you want to have your link removed after more than 5 years (I would understand if the item was discontinued, but it’s still being sold)? Or why if it was a positive recommendation (I know my readership is small, but still)? Does linking from my blog to their site have such a negative influence on thier ranking in search engines? To be honest, I didn’t ask them because I thought it was too silly of a request (I did of course respond), but still it got me wondering, because it goes against pretty much against all my (albeit limited) knowledge of SEO.
Or maybe posting once about every 2 months is considdered spamming nowadays.
January 20th, 2013
Celebrities use their fame and status to raise either awareness or money for causes close to their hearts. Organizations such as One, Unicef, Red Cross and Greenpeace can count on the support of celebs like George Clooney, Bono, Angelina Jolie and former US president Bill Clinton. And for both parties it’s a win-win situation. Most of the time this support by celebs is done by donating time or raising/donating money to already existing organizations. But sometimes these celebs start their own charity. And that doesn’t always go as well as they’d hoped.
In 2010 Haiti was hit by a catastrophic earthquake. In a response to that Wyclef Jean started Yele to help the victims of the quake and with various fundraising efforts the charity raised a reported 16 million dollars. However, as is reported in this NY Times article none of that money has reached the ones that need it most, but it was spend on everything except aid.
Secondly there is Livestrong, the charity of now disgraced former pro cyclist Lance Armstrong. The story is well-known. Armstrong seemed to live the ultimate come-back story: after a bout with cancer he came back and won the Tour de France 7 times among alligations of performance enhancing drugs. Armstrong always denied these allegations, but after being stripped by USADA and UCI of all his victories, he came clean this week and admitted to using drugs to improve his performance. While still being an active pro athlete he started Livestrong and build it into a multi-million charity with an active volunteer corps. Now the organizations has cut all ties with Armstrong, people have shown their displeasure and it still remains to be seen what the impact on fundraising will be.
Although both charities are in trouble, these are still 2 different stories. It seems the money that was raised by Yele was only used to enhance the people behind it, while Livestrong has given millions to cancer research while its vast number of volunteers have helped numerous cancer patients with one-on-one or other types of support. It would be a shame if an organization that does this much good would be hit hard because of the actions of one (albeit the founder) person.
If a celeb has anything to do with a charity it shouldn’t make any difference to you if you want to donate either time or money to it. Sure, he or she could be the one making you aware of it and most of the charities will have the best of intensions. However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a bad apple in the bunch. What should be the deciding factor is the charity itself. Do a little research and make sure it’s one worthy of your time an money, no matter who started or support it.
September 25th, 2012
We use Google to search for anything we want. We use Facebook or LinkedIn to keep up with our friends and business contact. We tweet and use Gmail or Outlook for our mail. All these and other sites and (mobile) webapps we use in our daily lives have one thing in common: they’re all free.
Sometimes I’m astound at this, because there are so many ways these free services can help you.
At the end of last year I started a new job. One of the things it involved was learning how to code in VBA, which before that time I knew little about. As is the case with many coding languages, most of the time there are several ways to come to what you want to achieve. Being a newbie at all this, I turned to forums and tutorials to learn as quickly as I could and find solutions to things I wanted to accomplish using VBA. Until this day I always found what I was looking for without having to spend a dime.
Just last week, I decided to go and watch the mens timetrail of the WC cycling. I downloaded the route of the WC site and by using Google maps streetview I looked at where I would have the best view, how to get there and where I could park the closest. It worked out great and I did have a great view where I could see the riders coming through the corner and ride up the hill. All by using a simple free web too.
The web is of course not entirely free: you have to pay for access to it. But despite that, there are numerous examples of free (web)applications that can make your life just that little bit easier. Sure, there are some privacy issues with sites like Facebook, but overall, if you use common sense and some web savvy (read: do not disclose everything about everything there and make sure your settings are right), there’s no real concern. One thing is for sure: there are plenty of free ways the web can help you, whether for business or personal gains. And that’s its best feature.
July 8th, 2012
I have to be honest: despite my New Years resolutions I haven’t lost weight as much as I wanted. It’s not that I stopped eating Paleo, but more that I’ve sticked to it 60-70% of the time in stead of the recommended 80-100%. Combine that with enjoying lots of (not so healthy, but oh so) delicious food and snacks on parties and birthdays and that combines to even gaining a bit of weight.
Of course that had to chance.
So in the beginning of june I jumped back on the paleo wagon and after 2 weeks lost 2 kg.
But there was still the remarks from friends and family that this could not work. Most claimed that the traditional ways of losing weight would be better than having a diet that consisted of, let’s be honest, eating, among many other things, fats.
So I decided to do a little experiment: 1 week I would follow a traditional diet, the other week I would do strict Paleo. The regular diet was provided to me by a friend whose mom lost a lot of weight on it (but also created some health issues that had to be addressed) and was prescribed to her by a dietitian. It consisted of, among other things, eating bread in the morning, having a few shakes in between meals (all artificial stuff) and potatoes and pasta during diner. It also had strict times on when I should eat. For those not in the know: not what you’re eating or doing on a Paleo diet: far from it.
In full disclosure I have to admit that both weeks I wasn’t completely adherent to the diets, having a cheat meal once in the week while on the regular diet and twice in the Paleo week.
So what were the results and things I’ve noticed.
- Weight loss: on the regular diet: 0.1 kg. With Paleo: 0.9 kg.
- Energy levels: it seemed I got hungry earlier with the regular diet. Sometimes when on the Paleo diet I could go a day with just 2 meals, while on the regular diet I was kind of living from meal to meal, sometimes having a growling stomach. And when on Paleo I eat when I’m hungry and not on a timetable, which just suits me better.
- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it agian: Paleo food is just delicious. It’s not that the food of the regular diet was awful, but for instance bread goes a bit stale after a day or so and I didn’t much care for the shakes.
This wasn’t the most scientific of experiments I’ve ever done and it wasn’t for a serious amount of time. Having preconceptions (that the Paleo diet would be better) when starting an experiment also isn’t the best way to go about it. It just was confirmation of something I already knew: Paleo is the way to eat for me.