One Month Later…

Well, if you’ve been following my posts lately (and judging by the site tracking, you haven’t)… wait, I haven’t MADE any blog posts in nearly a month. OK, I will level with you, I just was too preoccupied with work and household stuff to get to much here; so it’s really no surprise that my traffic took a nose-dive, because my work on this site did first.

Right now I’m in the process of getting another site project wrapped up, so for at least a little while longer, there won’t be much to see. I haven’t really had an opportunity to do anything with the West Seneca Valley Railroad; I definitely don’t do woodworking during this time of year (winter is NOT a great time for me to try this stuff without a proper shop environment)… so that leaves me with time in the kitchen.

I’ve tried out a few small new things recently. I have improved on the approach I take to doing cinnamon rolls; mostly I just do them as freestanding rolls now instead of in one of those pan setups.

I’ve made some sour cream glazed donuts which turned out quite nicely, some pizza dough that was not too shabby, and I’ve pretty much stopped buying any bread at stores. I’m not supposed to have much of that anyway, but since the kids still can have some, the home-made stuff is a lot better than having God-knows-what stuff put into the bread in factories.

So anyway, I’m going to try to wrap up some work I have pending now and maybe in a month or so I’ll be able to get back to something else more – interesting. I’ll try to post up some other things in the mean time.

One side-note, I have been playing around with the Unity development engine, just for fun, so when I have a bit of time and experience, I might try my hand at making a small game. If I do, I’ll post it up for download from the site.

That’s it for now.

Progress Report #10

This won’t be a full progress report – I don’t have much time to go into details, but one of the things that is changing on my site drastically over the next few weeks is the reorganization of my various articles and posts, driving an eventual redesign of the site itself.

This was something you may have seen a prior article on, mentioning some efforts to streamline things. At this stage, I’ve nearly completed the consolidation of all my article categories, and in the future, I’ll elaborate on the content of articles via tagging, which I’ve learned is the correct way to do things on here.

So at any rate, I am not removing any articles, but at some points you might see them disappear and later reappear as I take some steps to sort things out.

So please, pardon the bit of a mess while I improve the site…

Quick Note

I’ll be doing some major re-organization to the site (hopefully) in the next few weeks, especially as the holidays get closer. One of the major changes I’m already working on is tagging articles and simplifying categories. Once all of that is done, I’ll be making changes to the look and feel of the site to make better use of those changes.

So you might not see a lot of new content while my time is divided up a lot, but hopefully once the holidays roll around, I can get those things all handled and move on other projects that needed to be placed on hold.

Progress Report #9

So if you’ve been wondering where I’ve been and why I went over a week not posting… I was on vacation. Sort of. It wasn’t one of those fancy “go on a cruise” or “go to Disney” or “take out a 2nd mortgage so I can take the family to Switzerland” sort of vacations. It was a stay-cation. With two dogs and a cat to look after, traveling vacations are, for the moment, a bit of a tricky proposition.

Still, it was nice to get out of Buffalo for an afternoon on one day and overnight (we stayed at the Quality Inn in Batavia, NY overnight. It has an indoor water park attached. And it’s not that I didn’t do anything in the past week, I just decided I needed to get a break from most of the computer stuff, and it was a reasonably good thing.

Though I still didn’t want to go to work today. Not because of the job, or the company… I’ve just realized how tired I really am. 21 years I’ve been in I.T. If I count college, at least, which I do. It’s been a challenge to keep mentally positive through a bunch of it, and it has taken its toll on my mind and body. It’s hard to say which toll was more severe. I won’t get into details, because they’re rather personal, but some I had to make some serious, recent changes to my life for my own well being. The hardest one, to be perfectly frank, is giving up soft drinks. It’s the hardest, but definitely the best for me since, as things stand, I’ve already managed to drop over 24 lbs.

So let that be a warning to you people – soft drinks can be as dangerous as alcohol and other vices. Be careful about your consumption.

I have a goal weight I’m aiming for, and I’m sure I can get there, but it’ll take time and effort. My wife has been gently encouraging me to do better, and at times (most times) I haven’t listened to her as well as I should. Thankfully she still has faith in me to do right, and even if there are some other challenges to overcome, I consider myself lucky to have her support, as well as the support of my kids.

At any rate, that’s the general news. Perhaps it’ll be the start of a new segment on the site. I’ll have to give that some thought.

Additional news: Eli and I managed to get the third and (for now) final work table assembled last night. I will eventually post a project post up about the entire endeavor. There are still some odds and ends left to do, and it’s inspired me to look at a couple other projects for down the line, but for now, here’s the summary photos from constructing two mobile work tables (on-feed / off-feed / assembly) and the long work bench for my miter saw.

Anyway, that’s about all for now. I’ll probably be back to regular posting, soon. Hopefully with something more detailed about the trains, or baking, or SOMETHING.

Progress Report #8

In spite of a hectic schedule, last week was quite productive. I mean that, relative to the previous few weeks.

Elijah

Eli’s softball season wrapped up. Sadly, his team didn’t make the final game, but for all that, he came away with solid hits every single game he played, and he only struck out at home once during the entire season. Every other time he either was walked or, more commonly, he got at least a single with an RBI. Several times he ended up with doubles for multiple RBIs, and made it home a number of times himself.

He’s also managed to contribute a number of plays in the field, including at least two outs at home when playing as catcher and a few nice plays in the outfield (including picking off a power hitter’s long shot to left field).

Friday we picked up some particle board for a few shop projects and then, amazingly, we got through one on Saturday. One of our work tables is now complete and hopefully I’ll get a second one done this week with Caidi’s help.

Eli’s off to camp for a week, so hopefully he has a great time with that!

Caidence

Of course, you all already know about her fantastic job on the loaf of bread last week. This week will give her and Kelly a chance to work on some other baking projects and perhaps a shop project or two with me.

Kelly

I’m going to try to get Kelly to sit down with me this up coming week and put some effort into getting her website up and running. It’s been a back-burner project for way to long to get her artwork out there, so I really want to stop delaying this. Frankly, I’m looking forward to her finishing her long awaited portrait of Dexter (the male Husky).

After that, she’s got a baking project lined up with Caidi and hopefully some more art, because frankly, I want to see even more of what she can do, and I’m sure everyone else does, too.

Shop Projects

As I said before, Eli and I got one of our work tables done and this week I’m going to try to get number two up with Caidi’s help. After that, it’s onto the miter saw table and then finally working on the actual tables for the model trains. Fortunately, having the first work table done is starting to make this easier, because now I have a place to actually do some of the cutting work that doesn’t involve needing to kneel on the floor (that gets old REALLY quickly).

Train Layout

I’ve lost track of the number of design revisions / changes / restarts I’ve gone through in the past week. Seriously, it’s been a bit nuts, but as I would get feedback on a design I’d work on revising my ideas to address some great advice. I’m not sure if I’m fully on the right path with it, but hey, that’s half of the fun to this – an evolution of a design for a layout.

Thank you to everyone who offered input on that.

Site Design Update

I’ll get to it. I just haven’t yet. Much like the layout plans, this is just something that takes time and requires thinking and rethinking the layout. But again, that’s part of the fun.

Progress Report #7

I think we all know the feeling – in some ways, the weeks tend to drag by… in other ways, you blink and one’s over. That’s what it feels like all the time, lately. Still, another week passes by and while I never quite feel like I got through everything I wanted to, a bit of progress is always something to feel good about.

Caidi’s Bread Project

I think, without a doubt, this was the best thing. Caidence did her first loaf of bread from scratch and it was FAN-TAS-TIC! Needless to say, I think our young lady has the skill to do a lot with this in the future, so I hope she keeps it up! Well done, Caidi.

Shop Project Update

I didn’t get to actually do any work this past week, but I will be bringing in my MDF this upcoming Friday after work so I can get the tables set up and then work on the train tables.

I was also asked to make a couple of small things for family, so the work load is increasing, meaning I have to get this stuff done. That’s OK, though – I’ve been wanting to make things for people for a while.

Model Trains

So, yeah, as I said, I get in the MDF and I get my tables build. I redesigned the stuff I’m going to put together and build the tables on 2×4 frames. It’ll increase my material cost some, but by God that’ll mean sturdy tables.

Advertising Revenue

So I had a pretty good start with the advertising on the site the first two weeks… and then, strangely, my ads disappeared. The reason is that I need to be getting more traffic to the site. That, in turn, means I need to get more content out. So As some of my projects are churning out, I’ll be posting them exclusively to here and just posting the occasional note about it on Facebook to bring that traffic over.

But please, stop by regularly for updates, either way, and please, share with friends. Additional hits to the site means a better chance for earning the ad revenue I want to see coming in!

Progress Report #6

Getting right to it, I didn’t have much happen this past week in regard to shop, trains, or anything else, though I have to say it was a decently productive week on here with a few good posts (2 humor articles) that generated a fair amount of traffic to the site.

So this is a pretty brief one; I’m hoping to do another good humor article this week and maybe get some more traffic at this stage. When that’s done, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that a few other things will fall into place and I can finish up the work tables in the garage and maybe get moving on the train tables for next week.

That’s about it for now.

Progress Report #5

Despite not really doing anything personal, I have to say it was a reasonably successful week. The kids are all but done with school. My son is on his last exam, and my daughter has one of those days where you typically look at the clock every 3 minutes wondering why it’s barely changed even though you’re sure it’s been an hour.

For Kelly and me, it’s a matter of not needing to drive the kids in every morning anymore. They will start next year in the other part of the district and the need to drive the extra distance on the way to work to drop them off, and then pick them up at my parents will be largely eliminated.

And, for the record, thank you mom and dad for watching them this school year. We are very grateful for your help in that regard. But we’re sure you’ll be happy to get some measure of peace back though, and we’ll be glad to go straight home after work.

So maybe, conceivably, this week will finally allow for some time to get things done. No dance, no scouts, just a softball practice and Saturday game if the weather is reasonable. No more crazy schedule stuff. Maybe… possibly… a chance to actually do some of the projects that were put off for the past month or so.

And by the way, if you’re visiting the site, please remember to click an advertisement or two. Seriously, it helps me out. Thanks!

Advertising, Analytics and Push Notifications

I figured this was as good a time as any to just mention a couple of topics on a technical level with my site. I’ll be updating my Privacy Policy info soon for all of this, but as a step to keeping my info as up-to-date for visitors as I can, here are just a few quick notes.

Advertising

By now you’ll likely have noted the advertisements showing up on my site for various outlets. I signed up for Google AdSense some years back and I have attempted on a few occasions to add the AdSense stuff to my site. This is my latest attempt and I’m going to try to keep this going permanently this time.

My understanding of how this works is that various vendor sites you may visit will attempt to big their ads to show up through Google’s ad network. So if you visit Home Depot to look for some products, don’t be surprised if you come here and see Home Depot ads on my site. If you visit Amazon a lot, there will probably be Amazon ads regularly on here.

I don’t really control what ads are showing up in that sense, I just have added the allowances for Google to handle it’s ad publishing through my site.

Please note, though – if you encounter an advertisement that is really bothersome (hijack ad, something highly inappropriate, etc), please feel free to reach out to me and let me know. I’ll contact the AdSense team and make sure it’s dealt with.

My goal with this is just to see if I can eventually bring enough money in with ads and my content to have it pay for the server regularly on its own.

Analytics

I do use Google Analytics for purposes of tracking where most of my visitors end up, in an effort to determine what content I should provide more of. Yes, it uses some form of cookie technology and does track you, but I am not selling this data or doing anything with it other than determining the best articles and content to provide.

Google may do some additional work with this data, too, but I honestly can’t answer a lot more on that myself. Still, if you are concerned, reach out to me and I’ll try to get you answers on what, if anything, Google does with that data. Again, my own use of the data is strictly limited to “how you found me, why you found me, where you spent your time, and what further content should I focus on generating”. I am not doing anything beyond that.

Push Notifications

Finally, I do make use of a push notifications service to send out occasional updates, especially if I publish something that I think might be worthy of calling attention to. My pickle chips article would be an example of something like that. I am not going to push something out every single time I publish an article at this stage; it has to be something particularly interesting before I do that.

So if you decide to accept notifications, you won’t get one every single time I do anything on here, but I will probably send a couple each week during periods of higher activity.

I hope all of this helps to clear things up for now.