Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Trials, Tribulations, and Simple Pleasures

Today I spent half an hour raging by myself in my office. I was vaguely aware that my neighbor could probably hear me ranting and raving, but it was only afterwards that I remembered that the window was wide open and lots of my neighbors probably heard the Gringo losing it in profane English in that mysterious office of his.

Whatever. Brazilians lose it all the time, but they usually do it at one another, not at inanimate objects (or objects intended to be inanimate that suddenly, unnaturally, take flight). The problem was my 3pm phone call. I, like an outsourced tech support department, rely heavily on the VOIP phone services of Skype to keep my international calls at a reasonable portion of my budget. The thing was, I couldn't get the thing to work at 3pm this afternoon. This in spite of having two computers and three microphones to choose from. One of which I bought yesterday just for the purpose, because my 'boss' had been complaining that he couldn't hear me very well on the phone- he offered to pick up the tab.

I'll spare you the details, but finally I did get the internal mike on my laptop to cooperate and I made the call to an already grumpy client who I don't think appreciated the half hour technical delay. I put on my tallest Customer Service hat, poured the DJ Mike Presence (seven years of radio has to be good for something) into my voice and did my best. It was only later that I discovered why the stupid mike jack on my Mac wasn't working- it's not a mike jack. It's never worked. In the four months I've owned this computer I didn't realize that until today- talk about feeling stupid. It's a line-in jack and I'll need a preamp to get it to work with a standard microphone of which I have four now- that or get a USB headset. I gotta say- Apple loses a couple points with me with this line in jack- maybe it's great for professional recording but this is their freakin' econobox laptop and it would be nice if cheapo headsets would work without another external gizmo- I already shelled out for an external modem thank you very much.

I never did figure out why my trusty old Dell desktop didn't want to cooperate with the microphone as it has for so many years.

Those were the trials and tribulations. For the simple pleasures, I have been haunting my Google Analytics looking at the stats for this blog, and have been pleasantly surprised to discover that total strangers are having a look and apparently enjoying it. At least I assume they are total strangers. I know the wife of one of my best and oldest friends has been parusing and enjoying it, and one of my old college friends read a few pages, but what about this person in Miami that spent seven minutes reading four pages? I don't know anyone in Miami. Or the person in Rio that spent... uh... 4 minutes and 44 seconds reading six pages? We'll forget the bozos in Adelaide and Dallas and Burnsville, Minnesota who bounced in and bounced right back out again- forget you!

The real prize goes to the mysterious individual in Brighton, Massachusetts that spent fifty minutes and viewed nine pages of the blog! Thank you and hats off! I suppose this is something most bloggers go through- the satisfaction of knowing that other people are enjoying your efforts. That's probably why so many people are doing it, right?

I expect with time the stats will start to smooth out some, I won't be able to distinguish a single reader from here, another from there- who knows? I sure do enjoy looking at the map overlay in the analytics and saying Hey, did someone from India really check out my blog? Well, no, they left after zero seconds, but isn't it cool that they clicked through?

In case you're wondering and aren't familiar with Google Analytics, it only tells me what cities the hits are from, how long they stayed on the site, and how many pages they looked at. And whether they are return visitors. It doesn't give me street addresses or phone numbers. At least I don't think so.


AkuTyger said...

Another nice thing to throw in is a cluster map. It will give you a map thumbnail to throw up so everyone can see where in the world your blog is being read. I put one on one of my blogs a little over a year ago, and it's been pretty cool to see I have readers on 5 continents.

How do I use google analytics, I would like to know?

By the by, I'm a Salvador resident too. Hi!

markuza said...

Hey there! I found your blogs the other day and have been enjoying them. I have seen those cluster maps and they are cool- I'll have to check that out one of these days. Google analytics is pretty easy to set up- you need to add a snippet of code to your template- here's the homepg: have fun with it!

AkuTyger said...

Yes, I saw I was already linked to when I got done writing this comment - thanks! I have returned the favor. How did you come across my blogs? It's nice to finally find someone else in Salvador.

markuza said...

I found you via a link at - I was curious if there were other folks writing similar blogs and lo and behold! There is!