Saturday Evening Post


So, I have to ask…How did it feel to get back to normal? Yes, yes. I know. Normal is in the eye of the beholder. But after a week of guest posts and then a week where I was AWOL, how was it to return the the features routinely sporting on M3? Grab a cuppa and snuggle in for a brief update and something Clyde wants to ask.

Numbers and Bandwidth

New visitors are joining the M3 Reader ranks everyday. Users are up, and not just the ones coming to download the pictures (or steal bandwidth). Real, live, web surfing…wait, what?

Oh, when you use the “From URL” choice for pictures, you are stealing bandwidth from the owner of the blog or website who hosts the picture. The web owner of the picture does not get a hit when your blog loads, but the owner does get a bandwidth drain because while someone is viewing the picture on your blog, the owner’s host is powering the picture…on your blog.

If you are not paying monthly for hosting your own website, you might wonder why this matters…Have you ever been to a site which is lightning quick one day and slower than January molasses in Montana the next (or worse…the same day)? This is because hosts power websites based on the demand of the visitors. When someone who is not on the actual site is pulling from it, it is the exact same thing as running an extension cord from your neighbor’s house to power yours.

If you do not have one of your own, find a photograph or graphic which is royalty and copyright free and download it to your computer and upload it to your blog. Or find one which is attributable, download it, upload it and give the credit which is due. Do not steal bandwidth.

Polls and Free Things

This week’s poll may have you wondering where M3 is heading. Please do take it. Answer all which apply. If you already voted, but have additional answers, put them in now. M3 is headed somewhere.

A few of the Writer’s Spotlight authors have been gracious enough to supply their books to me, either free or deeply discounted. M3 is going to be running a few book giveaways over the next few weeks. If you would like to have a spot to have a giveaway, email for the whys and wherefores. It is all leading up to…


T3 is in the final production stages. All I have left before it goes live and into print is my catalog number from the Library of Congress. If anyone is willing to do pre-production reviews, scream in the inbox for an advance copy. I am offering the PDF to the first ten who wish to review it.

What is T3? Taming the Terrible Twos: A Parents’ Survival Guide is an interesting look into how the Terrible Twos predict how teenagers act and how the same psychology which works on little ones works on your colleagues…and in some cases can even be applied to Mate.

I have chosen to go Kindle exclusive for e-books for the first three months. Many apologies to my Nook owners, but it better serves my needs in getting into American libraries and the southeast Asia market, where I have a good number of followers and fans. The print books will be available in almost every country. More on that when it goes live.

Mantra’s Book

To say I was overwhelmed by the response to the poll about producing a poetry book would be a gross understatement. With 60% of the answers being a write-in version of “yes” in varying numbers of caps, a few “of course!’ and one “a long one”, I am going to look into the layout for one.

About 21% of voters thought the poems should come with some sort of explanation. This is a matter of debate for me. I am considering parsing some, but letting many stand alone for individual reflection. The alternative is a companion book with the explanations. Either way, they will both be inexpensive, as I do not foresee a large demand for them in print for the time being…maybe after I am dead, but certainly not now.

New to the Crew?

If you are new to the M3 Readers, please do stop by Welcome Home! You will find loads of information pertinent to the way assorted things work around here. It will keep you from being interpreted as a spam bot, getting lost and from being convinced things do not work. Believe me, by the time I turn it loose on the M3 Readers, I have broken it and rebuilt it at least thrice.

Right Turn, Clyde!

Right turn, Clyde.

In between attempts to download the piece of software I hate the most behind Internet Explorer, I was struck by something, which embedded and has become infected. As I attempted to navigate websites this week, I was amazed at the complete lack of logical information. This is a very specific type of information.

I found loads of information on what the sites thought I should think was important (read what they were selling). I found laudatory information about why I had come. No, thank you. I do know how to search for reviews, which, incidentally, are not helpful if their entire content is…

My condolences to this writer (Do you see why people think writers do not do anything for a living?) for your never having gotten out of the bubble. Your review is underwhelming to the point I wonder how you stay conscious. This information is not helpful or logical. It applies a subjective scale, which, if left to my own devices, I would conclude puts this product on par with The Clapper.

Then, there is the inundation of misleading information which makes believe there is something you have not done.

  • Activate now!
  • Unlock your product!
  • See why we are world famous!

Once you read the destination pages, you discover:

A. I did that already.
B. I did that already.
C. Complete lack of customer service? The lemur who designed your website? The number of computer sales credited to you for people throwing their laptops from 8th story windows after downloading your product?

Let’s not overlook the superfluous information. How many ways can I not care if…

  • Your owner won a golf tournament…trophy on your homepage under product news (and you sell plumbing supplies).
  • Your spokes-celebrity loved it (but has been dead for more than a decade, which was three years before you had the site built, and the product is in fourth generation now).
  • How your brother-in-law’s ex-roommate once dated Miss Congeniality from Podunk Junior Community College’s 1974 junior class (but she did not graduate because she eloped with his best friend).

I would, however, like to know how to troubleshoot your product, a map to find information on your site and, for when all else fails, a contact form which has both correct and logical information…like an email address or a telephone number…not a review submission box (which is nothing but a comment plugin).

DIY Disaster

Then, in what has to be the nadir of my week, there is the website which assumes you work for them and know which parts of their website do not work because they have no basic understanding of databases or search engines.

Written in #4 font in a color 2 shades off the background color. (Magnified for your convenience.)

For example, the search engine allows input for customer’s name or account number (not both). Since most users are not memorizing yet another 16-digit, completely random number with four interspersed letters which are meant solely to prevent hacking (like anyone wants the stinking information in the first place), chances are good, if users had it handy, they would not need the information on your website…it would be in their paperwork.

Hence, customers input their names. What your site fails to have posted, even in fine print (which does admit your results may vary), is more than 1/3 of your records are only accessible with the account number. Hoozah. You have a search engine why, exactly? What other logical information is missing? Without the cloistered information, all of your transactions with their site are compromised.

Good thing there is a beautiful picture of your 4.8 million dollar building in the header…which, as luck would have it, does not navigate to the home page. Yes, indeed. Have to love a site where a full 1/3 of the page is dead space with no information or gateway to information…not even superfluous information, especially when the SERP is the end of the line with no back, re-search or get me the [expletive] out of here button.


Have we come to the place where websites are designed by lower level primates because owners are that far out of touch with the design, purpose, functionality and customer satisfaction of the site?

As the keeper of an eclectic website, I can appreciate those who will hatemail me calling me the black pot. However, I do everything within my realm to make sure things around here work, I am accessible when they do not and there are pull chains everywhere. And when it is beyond my realm, I recruit those who have such things on their CV.

Until next time,

Red Signature


What common sense, logical information is left out of the websites you use the most? What is the biggest annoyance with DIY customer service sites? Are you a bandwidth thief? What constitutes TMI on a customer service site?

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

(c) Red Dwyer 2012
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  1. I guess it was just being a teacher helping teens write the research paper and my own work, well it was just natural to credit and list citations. The protocol adds professionalism and elevates quality of research and presentation.

    • I have met more than a few bloggers who forego images merely because the protocol is to give citation. I find it infinitely easier to direct link from a downloaded image. This provides click through to the credited source without cluttering the blog with an excessive amount of footnotes. Likewise, my copyright policy states my stance on images quite pointedly.

  2. ‘underwhelming to the point I wonder how you stay conscious’ oh mercy, Red! That’s so biting! I can imagine a bad review from you would feel like an attack of red ants biting you all over!!! Your words are… wow!

    I had no idea about this bandwidth thing & stealing it – no idea. I have my videos on Vimeo, which exists specifically for people to have their videos hosted there, but I had no idea that watching the video ON MY BLOG does not count in their count machine on site. I’ve stolen that count from them… no idea. Interesting, Red. I suspect you know a bit about computers, the way you write. That’s excellent.

    A v. interesting read for my Sunday morning 🙂
    Noeleen recently posted..DRINK DRIVINGMy Profile

    • LOL! I rarely give bad reviews to those who ask for my opinion directly. I prefer to help them with qualified critique to improve rather than denigrate. Then, there are those who believe the sun rises and sets in their creations. For them, I have no compunction when it comes to a scathing review, regardless how subtle my sarcasm (and spite) may appear.

      As to your videos, I have not explored Vimeo, but I do know the driver code for embedding YouTube videos includes a hit counter which reports back to YT. If I had to venture an unqualified guess, it would stand to reason Vimeo has similar technology. Video hosting is different because the videos are designed to be portable and the running of the script on your site pulls bandwidth from your host (WP) and bandwidth from the source (Vimeo) host only for the content (video file). It is the same technology with Google uses to put animated ads on everything. This is why WP has a specific plugin for video-centric blogs.

      Glad to help you start your day, Noeleen. <3

  3. You are right about videos, including Vimeo. I didn’t know people linked pictures like that. Interesting and annoying. I post almost all pictures I took, so I would hope people aren’t stealing them. But, if they do, I hope it is at least a good cause.

    I would be glad to write a review for your book, if you want or if I am in the top 10- I will even send an e-mail to follow the rules on that. It seems like the concept is quite relevant to me.
    Derek Mansker recently posted..The Lego Jar (7/14/12) – Taking the Kids OutMy Profile

  4. Hi hun! 🙂

    Useful and informative as always! 🙂

    I didn’t think about the bandwidth issue until you mentioned it, but being the hoary old programmer I used to be I am in the habit of uploading my own content – showing my age huh? 🙂

    Love and squishy hugs!

    prenin recently posted..Saturday – Doug cleans his flat!!!My Profile

  5. Hi Red, I found this post of your especially helpful and informative, and I would choose to be well informed over ignorant on posting images. From the start I have used only stock royalty free images, which I can do a search for. My written content is original and copyrighted and I have a DMCA account but am having trouble exhibiting the badge on my dynamic view in Blogger and have sent them feedback in their form about this. Above all thank you for the work you put into maintaining and linking your site internally, so that there are several ways to navigate. I am enjoying my email inbox notices!
    Gail Thornton
    Gail Thornton recently posted..Poem – Just One WordMy Profile

    • Unless you are embedding the DMCA script in your actual post, you may not be able to display it on your flyouts. It has been a long time since I did anything on Blogger, so I may have to run this by Ray. You are very welcome on the internal linking. I write so much which is interdependent on series we have done or on posts which support the topic of the day. I hope you enjoy most everything around here. It is great to hear when new followers enjoy themselves.

  6. I download then upload all images I use. And embed a link back to the site I got it from. WP makes that pretty easy.
    I think the dearth of website quality is that
    -Many companies have no idea what they want
    -Any one can set one up.Whether they know what they’re doing or not.
    El Guapo recently posted..Friday Foolishness – Kelvin editionMy Profile

    • I do the same thing with attributable images, which are my least favorite to use.

      I agree with you. Some of the places with plug and play sites give neophytes enough information to be dangerous. To employ a genetic engineering quote: Just because we can, does not necessarily mean we should.

  7. I recently found out why people link to images on other sites. Because it is E.A.S.Y. No kidding. No downloading. No uploading. Just copy the url and paste it in.

    All my pics -ok 1 or 2 exceptions-reside on my sites. I have used a few pictures that only want you to link them.

    My biggest annoyance with CS sites is when information that should be one click away is not. Yesterday I was looking at U-Verse. Could not find out how much extra HBO/Cinemax was. Only that it was available for an extra fee. I had nice (NOT) words for the CS rep who tried to tell me I should at the page online.

    My other pet peeve with any site is one that opens one of those extremely annoying lightboxes over the main screen “Sign Up for Our Newsletter – Free!” My response is once again ..i.

    MJ Logan recently posted..The BayMy Profile

    • I have a handful which are URL’d in because of the photographer’s policy for linking. I wonder if they understand the implications. I think your easy comment is in concert with what Guapo said.

      Glad to know I am not the only one who thinks CS tele-lines telling you to go to their website are redundant. IF I had been able to find it on your idiotic website, I would NOT be calling.

      LOL! That or “Buy My Book!” ROFL!

      • This reminds me of an experience with a few companies. They tell you that you should visit their website, but their website doesn’t help. Then the time spent on the phone accomplishes nothing. Yep, I am with you on this one.
        Derek Mansker recently posted..Nehemiah 11 &12- Leadership Sets the PaceMy Profile

        • I love the on hold music which says, “Everything you ever wanted to know is on our website!” I make a point to tell the CSR, “Indeed, if what I wanted was on your website, I would not be attempting to translate what you are saying into English.”

  8. I assumed with “unlimited” bandwith that wasn’t an issue anymore. Didn’t realize how it taxed the system.

    For me at least if they use the image via url if someone clicks on it, it will come to my site. To me that is better than them uploading it and not providing a credit link.
    Bearman recently posted..Editorial Cartoon: Mitt Romney Paternity Test on the Maury ShowMy Profile

    • That is not true, Bearman. When you use the URL box, you can change (or just remove) the link to the original image. I know plenty bloggers who do this to reduce the number of outlinks so their sites seem less spammy to the page rank crawlers.

  9. Hi Red… I truly feel your frustration RE worse-than-counterintuitive websites. Have you tried to find a specific answer on a government site lately? To be specific, Social Security. I often need to get specific info, and I feel like I’m hunting an imaginary paranormal monster or something (that does not exist). Even though the “helpful” phone agent said that’s where your answer resides.
    One does, at times, seem to need the patience of 20 Jobs. Not to mention the willingness to go away more confused than when you began your inquiry!
    Best of luck on T3!!! And I can’t wait to read Mantra’s book!!!
    hope you are staying cool…


    BuddhaKat recently posted..Let’s Sing the Brain Electric…My Profile

    • One of the sites I used as an example in this post is a government site. Not SSA, but that one is truly abominable. I hope you like Mantra’s book. I have been flipping through old work and lamenting the loss of the poems in the house fire, but there are more than plenty which have never been here to fill in the spaces in the book. I have some epics which are still just scribbled in the notebook. Working out the layout for them is turning out to be a challenge if I ever intend the book to be in paperback.

      So very glad to see you today, Kat <3 {HUGZ}

  10. I thought I left a comment here. What I really hate is when they steal your picture, don’t give you any link or credit for it, and then they rate higher in Google for the picture than you do!
    Binky recently posted..Average Chocolate ConsumptionMy Profile

    • I have loads of people who steal my pictures, but most of them are lazy and steal the bandwidth as well. I do not have many who have higher rank than I do on them, though. Although, I may have one of yours where I do…Um…well…


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