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Culinary 101 – Cooking with Godfrey

Posted on: September 22, 2010 I Written By

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UPDATE: They’re adding a 30 day free trial offer for their Culinary 101. Check out the content he’s created for free. That’s a good deal.

This summer I took on a little side project to help a guy who was really passionate about doing an online cooking show which he’s calling Grubbin with Godfrey. My role was to just help code and make the website functional. A graphic designer made it look pretty and I left all the video and promotion of the website to someone else.

All in all, I think Grubbin with Godfrey is turning into a great website. Plus, I’m sure his videos will continue to improve more and more over time as he gets more comfortable in front of the camera and learns the art of cooking while talking. However, the quality of the videos he’s produced is really great. Some of the best I’ve seen on YouTube.

Here’s a short video he did to promote the cooking show that’s pretty funny:

The other cool part about the cooking show is that Grubbin with Godfrey has a section of the site called Culinary 101. This is a set of premium videos that go into depth on cooking dishes. Tracy really wants people to cook along with him.

If you like cooking, take a look and let me know what you think of the site.

Shutting Down Smuggle Me…Mostly

Posted on: August 19, 2010 I Written By

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I must admit that it’s kind of sad to think that I’ll be basically shutting down this blog. Smuggle Me (this blog) was the first blog I ever created. It’s the start of what has become my blogging empire (a small empire, but an empire just the same). Who would have thought that me just playing around with WordPress one day would later become my full time job and me traveling to present at WordCamp Utah and Las Vegas.

Yes, my first post was June 2, 2005. Although, the post I remember most was when I posted that I beat my sister in Solitaire Showdown. Good times and great memories of the start. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 5 years already.

Don’t think I won’t be blogging anymore. I just won’t be blogging on Smuggle Me anymore. Instead, you can see my work blog at CrashUtah. That’s my new and relatively professional blog that I’ll be writing. Plus, you can follow all of my other blogs which are listed here.

I’ll still be posting here on occasion. This is basically my test blog where I test new plugins and updates. So, I’ll continue doing that. Otherwise, Smuggle Me will go pretty quiet. It’s been a great ride!

BuddyPress Group Photo Gallery Plugin Thoughts

Posted on: May 26, 2010 I Written By

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I really need to have a great BuddyPress photo gallery (and it would be nice if it did video also) for a project I’m working on. Unfortunately, there just aren’t many options out there for BuddyPress Photo and or video galleries on BuddyPress.

The 2 top ones that are out there now are the following:
BuddyPress Album+ – Free and Open Source
BP-Gallery – Paid Plugin

Here’s the challenge. I really need the BuddyPress Group Galleries or the plugin won’t work for me. The paid plugin has group galleries and the Open Source one doesn’t. However, the open source one has it on it’s future release list and suggested 3 weeks for the group galleries to happen. I have to make a good choice, because photo galleries are not the type of plugins you want to have to change later.

Don’t get me wrong either. The $30 for the paid plugin is not a big deal at all. It’s a drop in the bucket really. However, what bothers me is that the plugin is not open source. This matters, because then the plugin is only dependent on one person for development. This includes new features, bug fixes, security issues, etc.

I hate the idea that I’m building my website on the back of a plugin that’s so dependent on one developer. Plus, I also don’t like having to pay $30 to see if the plugin is what I really want. I want to try out the plugin and make sure it’s a good fit before I cough up the money.

Long term I think that the open source BuddyPress Album+ has more potential. I also love that it’s a Google Summer of Code (GSoC) project. However, I’m a little nervous waiting the 3 weeks to see if they built the features that I really need (ie. Group Galleries). Plus, timelines often slip when we’re talking about open source development. So, I won’t be surprised if the group galleries take longer than the suggested 3 weeks.

Oh the choices we have to make. Taking what’s here and available now or betting on the better long term choice which isn’t quite ready right now.

P.S. If anyone has an implementation of BP-Gallery I can try, I’d love to have a chance to try out the features.

BuddyPress Disable Email Activation – My First BuddyPress Plugin

Posted on: May 12, 2010 I Written By

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As those of you who follow my Twitter account probably know, I’ve been diving head first into the BuddyPress development side of things as I build my Sports Fundraising website. So far I’ve made some amazing progress and I’m quite happy with my choice of BuddyPress as a platform for this project. I guess we’ll see how it goes once I launch the site in July.

In my process, I’ve created a number of BuddyPress plugins, but mostly just for internal use. I hadn’t written any for the public yet. So, today I decided to take some code written originally by Andy (founder of BuddyPress) and add in one piece that he was missing and make a plugin (he told someone to).

So, here’s the first release of the plugin: BuddyPress Disable Email Activation (download here). I’ve tested it and it seems to work, but I welcome any feedback.

Unfortunately, it only disables the email activation for a standard WordPress install (with BuddyPress of course). I’m still working on getting the WordPress MU email activation to be disabled too. I’ve got most of it disabled, but can’t get the email to stop sending (see more details of this problem here). If I figure that out, then I’ll likely incorporate it into this plugin as well.

Until then, enjoy my first BuddyPress plugin. Now I’m going to figure out how to post it to the WordPress plugin repository.

New Member of the Mile High Club

Posted on: February 28, 2010 I Written By

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Get your minds out of the gutter. This is the mile high club for bloggers. I’m writing this post from 30,000 feet on a flight from Las Vegas to Atlanta. This is just awesome. I can’t wait until every flight has this available. Not to mention, I’m watching the Olympics on NBC at the same time. The US just won gold in 4 man bobsled.

I just did a speed test and it’s showing 0.97 Mbps download and 0.25 Mbps upload. Not bad for most of the things that I do. I might have to go test out Youtube and Hulu and some things like that and see how it does. Amazing!

Oh yeah, and the best part is that I got it for free. That a baby!!

Only problem is that now I won’t get any sleep on this red eye flight. Tomorrow’s going to be rough, but it will be so worth it.

BuddyPress

Posted on: November 9, 2009 I Written By

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This weekend I had a little bit of fun and installed BuddyPress. YesN I know I’m twisted to think that is fun. Oh well, it is what it is. I must admit that it was super simple.

I’m really looking forward to using it. I’m planning on using it for my next project. I still need to find a good host for it and create some killer plugins. Hopefully I can get it to work the way I need it to work I’m a little hesitant building this project on top of BuddyPress, but at least it can bridge me until I can hire a true programmer to work with me.

WordPress on the Blackberry

Posted on: November 4, 2009 I Written By

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I just got a Blackberry and I’m surprised how much I like it. Today I decided that I’d try out the WordPress app for blackberry. So, this is my first blog post from the blackberry.

I like it since now I’ll be able to do a lot more blog posting during down time. The small keyboard is kind of a pain, but it’s manageable. The only problem I see with blogging like this is that it’s harder to add links to blog posts also.

Are there any other must have Blackberry apps? I already have email(of course) and Twitter. I also use I’m quite a bit as well. I think I want to look into a Mint.com app if there is one. Are there others I should get?

Creating Content Versus Consuming Content

Posted on: August 3, 2009 I Written By

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Last night I had a second to start reading through a bunch of content. I realized as I did this that it had been a while since I’d really spent a good amount of time just consuming interesting content. I think I’ve been spending too much time creating content and not enough time consuming content.

This isn’t completely true. I think I’ve done a decent job of keeping up with content on So You Think You Can Dance and electronic medical records. I kind of have to in order to maintain those blogs. However, even there there’s so much content out there that I only have so much time in a day.

There in lies the problem. How to prioritize your time between the creating and the consuming of content. Creating content is how you make money on a blog. However, I sincerely believe that the more content you consume the better content you create (old school people say “To be a great writer you have to be a great reader.”)

However, even more than the above is that I probably need to spend a little more time consuming content just because it’s enjoyable. I love reading about the progress of WordPress. I love reading the various venture capital or entrepreneur blogs out there. I enjoy me a bit of techcrunch talking about startups, etc, etc, etc.

Of course, it still goes back to having enough time in a day to do everything. All in all, I have no complaints. I love my life. I just can’t help but wonder if I’d love it even more if I tweaked my balance in consuming versus creating content.

One thing is certain. I love blogging!!

Confessions of a Stats Addict

Posted on: June 19, 2009 I Written By

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Yes, I’m sad to admit it, but I have a problem. I enjoy looking at my stats far too much. I’ve kind of known it’s a problem before, but now it’s just going overboard. Don’t believe me?

I’m absolutely addicted to the WordPress.com stats package. I hit refresh of that screen far too often. With over 12 blogs that I like to watch their stats, I never have one that hasn’t changed. However, I have my 5 favorites that I watch far too closely. I almost wish the stats weren’t real time.

You’d think that would be enough. Nope, I relatively frequently go and check out some of the same stats on Google Analytics. It’s far too fun. I love seeing the traffic grow.

However, that’s not the worst of my problems. Yes, I also have to constantly check Google Adsense to know how much my ads have paid. Yes, this is real time also. Yes, I am absolutely addicted. By day, by channel, by month, by site. Oh brother, the things I could tell you about Google Adsense.

Nope, that’s not all. All my affiliate programs. My favorites are iTunes, Amazon, Ticketmaster and eBay. iTunes being my most common stats checking. Buy.at (which runs that iTunes affiliate program) has the worst reporting of any affiliate program I’ve seen. Luckily, that’s good for me, since there’s less for me to check. Plus, it’s batched at really weird times. However, since it’s weird times I check it too much as well. Ticketmaster has a nice little widget that sits on my desktop like an IV into my veins, pumping stats before my eyes constantly all day. Do you think that’s a problem?

Ok, you thought you were done, right? Not even close.

Yes, I have to watch my feedburner stats too. You’d think just checking the main page to see how many people have subscribed to my feed would be enough. Nope, not for me. That only wets my tongue to get at more stats. Yes, I have to dig into each feed to see how many views it has and how many clicks for my most recent posts. Thankfully this is batched daily too instead of in real time. See the above comment about my 12 blogs and you’ll realize this is really starting to add up.However, I’m not done with the feedburner stats either. Yes, I have to also check how many people have signed up for the email subscriptions as well. I love watching that number grow since how many people really give over their email? They must really like what you’re doing to give you that.

Nah, maybe I don’t really have a problem checking too many stats. It’s probably just a misconception on my part.

Oh wait, how could I forget? Did you know I passed 3000 followers on my @TVBlog twitter account? Watching follower accounts grow isn’t really a stat is it? Just because I look at follower counts on my 4 different twitter accounts doesn’t mean anything does it?

What do you think? Do you think I have a problem?

Yeah, bring on the comments about how much more content I could create on my websites if I stopped checking stats or how much more promotion I could do for my website if I didn’t check my stats. Certainly this is true. However, just think about this for a second. I’ve done nearly 5000 blog posts over the past 4 years. Guess how many posts I would have done, if I didn’t have stats?

WordPress.com is Utter Genius

Posted on: June 13, 2009 I Written By

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I’m a huge fan of WordPress.com. I’m amazed at the platform they’ve created. There are some amazing benefits to using WordPress.com which I’ll save for another post. However, you can be sure that it’s a big part of my marketing strategy. I just wish they’d open it up and allow users to show ads on it already.

What is so amazing about WordPress.com is how they monetize traffic on the site. I’ve been using it for a long time and driven quite a bit of traffic to the site. However, I’d pretty much forgotten that WordPress was putting adds on my blog. At least when they launched, they said it was only a small percentage of the pages on WordPress.com and ads are only shown to people that aren’t logged in to WordPress.com (or was it just users of that blog that weren’t logged in?). Either way, it’s a genius plan.

See, since they don’t show any ads to logged in users (which the owner of the blog is almost always logged in), then owners of the blog forget that the content their creating is being monetized by WordPress.com. How smart is that?

I imagine Matt Mullenweg back there with a little percentage setting that he can change at any time. This week it might be set at 10% of the pages getting ads. Then, next week he decides to double the revenue of WordPress.com and so he changes the setting to 20%. Best part is that users of WordPress.com won’t even notice the difference.

It’s not quite money growing on trees, but pretty close.