Tag Blogging

Posts: 15

Joining the Indie Web

I don't remember how I found it but I learned about the Indie web from this blog post. The Indie Web is a movement to reclaim your authorship and blog from the clutches of corporations. It's not a move back to the 'good ol' days' rather a way of putting your data back into your hands. In other words, don't be the product.

As a Data Scientist, I process lots of data every day. I use whatever we collect or is available from Kaggle datasets to build demos and POCs. I can get A LOT done by doing that. Imagine if you were a Facebook Data Scientist and was able to collect all the data that your users post everyday, for free. Wouldn't you monetize it? Sure you get to use the platform for free because all your friends are on it but you end up buying more crap in the long run because some FB Data Scientist has optimized a model from your data and 1000's of of other peoples.

This is why the Indie Web resonated with me. I'm going to reclaim my data and control. So this week I cut the cord with Google Analytics and Disqus. I'll extract my comments from Disqus and try to port them over somehow (static generators don't do comments very well), but I'm going to start keeping my data right here. I'll have to cut ties with TinyLetter too, I haven't figured out a replacement yet.

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The Ye Old Blog List

Back when I started blogging in 2005-ish, I had a few blogs that destructed due to bad software or databases. My Sixth World News and Commentary site just stopped working one day and I couldn't recover any posts. I was a tech newbie so I didn't know how to do SQL dumps and try to save over a years worth of work.

Wordpress came along and changed all that by making blogging more robust and fun. Then the blog explosion happened. We had Blog Carnivals, blog circle links, many new blogs popping up every week. Over time I made many online friends with many bloggers. I had found my tribe. I posted about the markets, Forex, investing, and machine learning. Suddenly my blog took off because of my RapidMiner tutorials and the rest is history.

12 years later and I discover some old posts that I had archived. I started reposting (backfilling) a lot of those posts and inadvertently took a stroll down memory late. I noticed that a lot of the old links to blogs that no longer work but some still do.

I decided to do some digging and find out whatever happened too...

UglyChart

One of my most favorite blogs was UglyChart. Mike was one of the first people to code all kinds of neat trading intelligence stuff. His 'new all-time highs' and 'new all-time lows' daily list was invaluable. He built a trading bot and posted the trials and tribulations of it on a weekly basis. He's since shut down the blog and is now a successful Domain catcher. Good for him.

Maoxian

Maoxian started his daily day-trading tips back in 2005 with his "Dummy method.' He posted pretty regularly for a long time till he moved to China and back. He was offline for a few years and his posting suffered. Luckily, his blog has survived and he posts semi-weekly now, mostly about movie reviews. Rumor has it he's day trading again and he does share some tidbits here and there. His notes on Trader Interviews are invaluable.

TraderMike

I loved TraderMike's blog. His daily market recaps were the best and he was so sharing with everything he did. He was an electrical engineer turned software developer turned swing trader. He automated a lot of his stock selection and traded the 'swings.' He sold TraderMike several years ago and it's not the same anymore. He's moved on to SwingTradeBot now and appears to be living the dream.

TraderGav

TraderGav is still kicking around but he doesn't post as much as he used too. He's a full-time Forex trader and trading platform developer. We're friends on Facebook and he's busy being a Dad. I loved his Forex chart reads and he's one of the reasons why I got into Forex trading in the first place. Hopefully his blog will be re-energized one day.

Grace Cheng

Grace had a great Forex trading website where she posted her mechanical trading tips for currencies. She wrote a book and become a small sensation in the Forex circles. She has since redirected her site to some credit card reward program site. It looks like she's a busy mom now of two kids and travels the world with her partner. Good for her.

Jaloti

Jaloti cracked me up. Jaloti was just short for "Just another loser on the Internet." He had a brief but funny blog but then disappeared.

Howard Lindzon

Howard burst on the blogging scene back in 2007 with his Wall Strip video show. It was great, hilarious, and he sold it for $60 million to CBS. CBS promptly shut it down (dumbasses). He remains a blogging force to be reckoned with and remade himself from a hedge fund manager to a VC guy that manages a hedge fund. He's the right mix of humor and self-deprecating humor that I love. I have still yet to meet him but I have his mobile number somewhere.

From Blogs too?

It's amazing how fast time goes. Taking a minute to look from where you came from is equally important than just charging ahead too somewhere in the future. Like a lot of the bloggers above, I wrote a lot of blog posts between 2007 and 2010 and then dropped off. I was lucky enough to discover my love of machine learning by writing here. This love landed me a gig with RapidMiner and now H2O.ai.

I'm happy that many of the old bloggers have transformed themselves into some better and/or cooler from their writings as well. That makes me happy. It's amazing what you can do when you're passionate about something. You learn, you create, you make. You see, kids, it's possible to 'live the dream' if you put your passion to paper. At least it is for me.

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Build a Site from the Ground Up

Recently I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a new blog, just for fun. The area of focus will be on craft beer brewing and reviews. Knowing what I now know about content, content planning, and management, I started to think about how to build a site from the ground up with entertaining but valuable content.

Of course, this means I need to spend time thinking about how to organize my content and what CMS will I use? If you read my last post, you’ll see that I’m back to WordPress but also evaluating Expression Engine. The reality is that WordPress is way easier when it comes to templates and since this blog will be casual, I’m not going waste time and effort with a big powerful CMS system only to have to hack together a bad looking web template.

That said, it doesn’t negate the fact for having relevant and well organized content on the site. I sat down last night and jotted down a few notes and ideas on my handy Moleskine.

This is where you and I begin.

Mind Mapping

First think about what you want to do with the blog. In my case, I want to write about great craft beers I’ve recently tasted, give them a personal rating, and also post my latest brew logs. I’d like to build a community that will share info, so I’ll need to create a Twitter and/or Facebook presence, and I might create brew day videos too.

So the main mind mapped chunks are:

  • Beer Reviews
  • Brew Logs
  • Videos
  • Social Interaction
  • Exercise

Beer Reviews

Beer reviews will be about just that, beers that I’ve tried and logged. The posts should have a photo of the beer I tried, maybe poured in a glass and a discussion about its characteristics. A final 5 or 10 star rating will be provided at the end. Organizing this content will be straight forward. Categories will break the beer into lagers or ales and tags will provide a deeper description of color and body.

Brew Logs

Brew logs will be a bit tricky as I share my brews recipes and experiments. The key thing is to be able to allow my readers to download the recipes easily and to do that I will generate them in the beer.xml format.  Readers can then quickly import them into BrewTarget or some other tool to get all the particulars of mashing, ingredients, etc.

Videos

Videos will probably come later and be posted to a new YouTube channel. Why? So I can monitor the analytics separately. The intent for these videos is to share what happens during a brew day. I believe (and this remains to be measured) that a video, coupled with a brew log, will be a powerful and useful bit of content for my readers.

Social Interaction

Any videos that will be posted to the YouTube channel will also be published to a new Facebook page. I’ve come to find that connecting on Facebook has a better signal to noise ratio that Twitter. Twitter will always remain as the modern version of email marketing!

Exercise

WTF is exercise doing on here? Well the reality is that beer makes me fat because of my generally sedentary lifestyle. So my goal is that before each beer review or brew day that I spend some yet to be determined time at the Dojo or on the Elliptical burning off extra calories for my tasting. If I meet my exercise goals, then I’m allowed to have a beer or brew beer!

Now I just have to figure out my inaugural home brew batch!

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The Adsense Money Making Experiment

I haven’t updated my readers in a while about how my Adsense experiment is going. I recently made a switch back from Blot.Im to WordPress to turbocharge SEO and Adsense.

In the past two months (September and October) I only made a total of $0.24. This was pitiful indeed, it would take me forever to earn enough revenue to buy a single roll of film!

Optimizing Adsense with WordPress

After migrating BACK to WordPress and installing Google’s Adsense plugin, things are turning around. Just 8 days into November and I’m already up 200% from last month! My impression to click ratio just about doubled.

While this is all good news, there still is a lot of work to do as I clean up my bouncing pages and go through all my posts. There’s a lot of SEO work to be redone but the effort is well worth it. If November turns out to be a good month, then I will start adjusting my experiment goals upwards!

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Neural Market Trends is the online home of Thomas Ott.