2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

What Would You Like To See Me Write About?

Quill PenAfter reading a post about How To Get More Traffic, I decided to look into at least one thing that I had not yet done and that was ask you, my readers, what you would like to see me write about?

I have such a diverse background and have great stories to tell. I’ve been doing a lot of Post A Day from WordPress, which I have thoroughly enjoyed, but is it what you want to see?

Many of you have heard me tell a story or two (or more). What story would you like me to tell? Is it one I’ve already told? Is it one that you haven’t heard before, or one for which you didn’t hear the ending? That doesn’t mean that I’m going to change everything, because I will still write a thing or two from Post A Day.  Maybe I’m missing a story about my personal endeavours or my work experience. You tell me.

People are too dependent on technology: agree or disagree?

People are too dependent on technology: agree or disagree?

I agree. On coming up to the cottage this weekend, I felt compelled not only to bring my Blackberry, but I also brought my camera (which is handy at the cottage), my digital voice recorder, my iPod and my laptop. I figured I could get some writing done (as I am doing sitting in peace and quiet in cottage country). Catch up on a few blog posts that I’ve been meaning to write, some I have written and just need to transcribe to electronic form. Catch up on some emails that I’ve been meaning to write and clear my head. For me, that means detaching from the network and start with a semi-clean slate on Monday when I reconnect. My Blackberry does get reception up here, but I’m keeping it on silent and only using it if I need to get something off my head, like an idea I’ve just had.

In general I know that I have become much too dependant on technology. Sometimes to a point where all of it just makes my job harder to do and I spend more time trying to fix it or to find a better way of doing it than if I just sat down to do it.

A few years ago, we had the massive blackout on the eastern seaboard of North America. Friends of mine were jonesing for their cell phones to work. I was actually impressed with myself because I didn’t feel the need for my cell phone nor the internet. I made sure my family and close friends were okay and life was good. The barbecue still worked and food was defrosting, so we had friends over who didn’t have very good ventilation in the summer and we all ate together. We found things to keep us busy, but we connected with each other. I mean really communicated with each other face to face.

I know that I can actually detach myself for a weekend, maybe even more. I only keep up with everything because it will be less to deal with when I come back. Besides, writing these is fun. So vacation mission accomplished.

UPDATE: Of course I couldn’t upload this while on vacation, but I managed to go through all day Saturday without turning on the laptop, except to view some photographs I’d just shot. You’ll see those soon too…

What I Learned in Traffic Court

If you have to go to court, be prepared and be respectful!

If you have to go to court, be prepared and be respectful!

I had the misfortune of getting caught going through a red light back in October of last year. And before you ask, yes, it was in the car for the campaign, with the candidate in the car. I went in to request the trial within the two weeks and received my notice to appear in court a short time later.

I spoke to a friend who had been in this situation a couple of times before and his advice was amazing! This was the first time I was appearing in court as a defendant and I haven’t had an issue on my driving record in over 15 years.  He suggested that I go at least an hour in advance of the court time and speak to the prosecutor. They will set up a table outside the court at which time, I could try to negotiate for a quick trial and a potential settlement. I was forewarned that an offence of this type is usually viewed as being more severe than other offences, including speeding.

The Joe Pantalone Smart Car

The car I was driving when I was pulled over for failing to stop at a red light.

As suggested, I arrived an hour in advance, with my ticket, my notice to appear and a photo of the car, just in case. The gentleman said there was nothing he could do about the three points that would be taken off my licence, but that the fine might be reduced. I asked if there was anything that could be done to which he replied: “No.” He said that I would have to wait in court until my name was called and that I needed to understand that I would in fact be pleading guilty to the charge. I said that I did and waited until the judge came in.

I’ve watched enough court shows to know that there are formalities and procedures to be followed. I was also taught that if you are going to appear in court, you should dress appropriately. I saw people coming in wearing flip-flops, t-shirts and shorts. When some people addressed the judge, they had their hands in their pockets, even though they were instructed not to do so. At least two men did this.

In one case, a representative of the defendant was in front of the judge asked for a continuance because he had been retained the day before court. The offence was around the same time as my own, the judge granted it, but asked that it be noted on the file that this was highly improper and that the defendant should have been prepared long before one day prior to the trial date.

There was one man in the back row near me who was leaning over in his seat. The judge actually stopped court and told this young man to sit up. “This is a court of law and it should be respected,” said the judge, pointing at the shield behind him. As the young man sat up, the judge noted the coffee in his hand. “Young man, you are not allowed to have coffee in the court! Please, sir, remove it from the court,” the judge scolded, then turned to everyone else. “There is no coffee, food, water or any thing of that nature allowed in here.” After the man came back into the court, he sat back down and the judge asked the prosecutor for the next case. Guess who? Yep. Same guy. When he stood up, the judge said, “You? You’re the next case? No, have a seat, sir. We’ll deal with you later.”

One thing I observed was that when a case was called, the prosecutor may turn around, ask for a badge number and if the officer was not present, the prosecutor would ask that the case be withdrawn. This seemed to be planned or at least was known in advance of the prosecutor and the defence being in front of the judge.

Eventually, after all the lawyers had been dealt with, my case was called. Seeing them go first, I at least could see what might or might not be appropriate to say. I had a pretty good idea, but mostly from US television shows, so it couldn’t hurt to see the differences between there and here at home. I moved as quickly as possible without fumbling over everything and remained calm. I put my briefcase on the floor and put my hands behind my back, not in my pockets. I was asked to state my name for the court, which I did. The judge at least gave a small smile indicating that he was pleased with my actions and attention. The prosecutor then asked his honour if he could have the case withdrawn. Did I miss something? Did he even ask if the officer was present? Before I knew it, the judge stated that my case was withdrawn and that I was free to go. I thanked his honour and the prosecutor, wished them all a good weekend (since it was a Friday) and left. I couldn’t believe my luck and I wasn’t sticking around in case they changed their minds. I asked a young woman sitting outside if I should expect anything in the mail or whether that was it. She said that no, it’s entered into the record and that’s all there is. Looks like my karma ran over my traffic ticket!

The lesson here is simple: Show some respect, do what you are supposed to do, be prepared, speak only when asked to do so and say as little as is needed. As long as I did these things, I had no difficulty. It seemed to me that these things were common knowledge when you go to court, but after this event, I’m not so sure anymore. So take note if you ever have to appear before a judge, even if it’s just a traffic ticket.

External Hard Drive Problems

So, I’m pretty good at solving most technical difficulties. And, like most I turn to Google and have done a pretty extensive search. However, here are so many forums out there, I don’t know where to post it, so, I’m hoping that I can get some assistance here.

I am running Windows 7. I have an external portable hard drive from Transcend (500 GB). I also have a Western Digital external hard drive (2 TB). I’m quite sure that none of this is hardware related, but could be handled through disk management. I’ve done something to the smaller drive and don’t know how to reverse it. There are no partitions on either drive.

Here’s a screen shot of what I see in Disk Management:

Disk 0 is the drive in question. Disk 1 is the internal and Disk 2 is the working external drive. The problem is that the capacity (not the partition) is stated incorrectly. I honestly don’t remember what I did, but I was essentially trying to start from scratch and format the drive. Some how, it’s stating that the size of the drive is approximately 500 MB not the actual 500 GB.

I’ve tried taking it offline, but that doesn’t do anything. I’ve tried making it a healthy partition, but that won’t work either. Extending only works with partitions upto the maximum capacity. What happens when the capacity is wrong? Would love to hear any suggestions on how I can reset this.

UPDATE: I finally took the drive in to get looked at since I can’t get it to even load. It turns out that something has mechanically gone wrong with it so it is getting replaced for a small fee. Never did figure this one out.

Why Am I Posting All This Stuff?

A fellow Twitter fan that I follow, Dan Levy (@TheDanLevy) did a post a short time ago and I thought I might do the same. So, firstly, thanks to Dan for the idea.

Some people may be asking why I’m posting all this stuff? I jump around to a lot of different topics and some are pretty obscure. Well, Dan and I are both participating in the WordPress “Post A Day 2011”. Every day, @PostADay gives you a topic. You don’t have to write about it, but the purpose is to give you ideas about what to write about and get you into the mood of writing.

So what have I learned so far? Firstly, I enjoy using WordPress. I’m learning now about some of the more advanced features, including hosting it and possibly setting up other clients on this platform.

Secondly, a post doesn’t have to be the length of an essay. Even this post is smaller than most, but it’s something that I felt I needed to talk about and explain to those who know me as to why I was doing this. I’ve found there are things that I enjoy writing about and that through this I will find my focus. I’m finding that I’m even posting more than once a day in some cases. I’m reviving old posts that I put on my previous blogs that I easily imported to WordPress. Besides, I know that I haven’t been posting every single day, but I certainly have enough material that I’m catching up.

Hope you all enjoy the ride with me. Thanks Post A Day!

FITC FTW

I’d noticed recently that a few people that I follow on Twitter have been talking about this conference called FITC. For those that don’t know, FITC = Flash In The Can. For more info on the conference, you can check it out here.

Enter Justin Kozuch and 49 Pixels (aka Pixel to Product). I entered a contest to win a conference pass worth about $700. Did I mention that he would be a great Manager of Conversation? (@FITCJustin). Well, he should.

But now I have a dilemma: What sessions should I attend? I’ve got a background in doing web sites, but the skills need some upgrading. Have even thought about getting back into it recently. I was pretty good at coding them, but could use some more design ideas.

So dear readers, if you were granted such a gift, how would you use your powers for good? The schedule is here. What would you attend and why?

Rogers Cable Volume Too Low

I have one of those really simple digital boxes from Rogers Cable. (Model: Explorer E940). When I play a DVD through my TV, the volume doesn’t need to be much higher than about 14 out of a range of 0-63 (I don’t know either…just go with it). When I watch anything through Rogers, I almost always have to have it up to the max. So, I decided to do what any technically minded person would do…I Googled it.

I should note that I have already programmed my remote to control my TV’s volume control.

I found a great discussion here: http://forums.redflagdeals.com/archive/index.php/t-752470.html One of the first things it suggests is under the Audio Range in Settings, change it to “Narrow”. Turns out, mine is already there. Still not very good. Further down, it talks about Audio Control = “Fixed”. Turns out mine was set to “Variable” and as soon as I changed it, I had to turn down the volume! Not much mind you, but I noticed a difference right away. It’s not as good as when I watch the DVD, it’s still better than having it all the way up and not being able to hear anything.

So even though the post was almost 2 years old, it was still relevant. Thought this might help some of you out there without Netflix. 😉

Advice from a Newbie on Blogging

A friend of mine has taken to my blog posts lately and asked my advice about creating one since she wants to do the same. Well, my first statement to her about writing a successful blog: I don’t know how. I’m still figuring it out myself. And though I haven’t read all the articles about blogging successfully, I have an idea of where to find some and some tools that can help.

One piece of advice I had for her is to use WordPress. I’ve downloaded it for my Blackberry and I like it. I switched from blogger and was able to import from there as well as live journal, so it’s all in one spot. I can also manage multiple blogs from the same spot. There are also articles right from the home page with advice.

The other tool that goes hand-in-hand, in my humble opinion, is Twitter. Much of the advice and examples of blogging is through the people I follow. Sometimes it serves as inspiration too!

The one piece I’m still learning about is how much to streamline my blog. Make it all technical and businesslike, or just categorize my posts in one place and let readers decide on what they want to read.

I’m certainly no expert, but to paraphrase, a person in power surrounds themselves with those who can give good advice. Once she gets set up, I’ll give her a dedicated post so you can all say hi. Hope that helps!

-Shanta

I think I’ve got it

I’ve been really slack about updating this blog, but I think I’ve figured out how I’m going to do this. It will be a forward motion idea, so feel free to look at my past posts to get an idea of what I’ve done before, though it was mostly posts of interests and random things I found around the web.

I am slowly working through importing all of my other accounts such as Livejournal and Blogger so that I can have everything in one place. I’m still learning how this works, so bear with me and join in my journey.

But now that I’ve started blogging on some of my other topics, I think I’ve figured what I want to do with this site. Thanks go to my friend, Alex Blom (@AlexBlom) who gave me some wonderful insights in to how to market myself and what to do with my blog. Though I haven’t mastered it, I’ve got a much better idea on how to do it. Let the info flow!