The playlists on my home page are now more obviously playlists

Ever since I created a new splash landing page for my website, I’ve had some videos embedded in it.

Over time, I realized that a lot of people thought that the videos were just that – videos. Most people weren’t alert enough to realize that I had actually embedded entire playlists, and once the video was over, another one from the same playlist would automatically play.

In order to make it more obvious, I did a bit of coding today, with the help of jakiestfu.

Now, there is absolutely no question that you are able to watch multiple videos per video player on my home page, as there is a very noticeable list of videos to the right of the actual video.

A passive plus side to implementing this new embedded playlist is that the height of the whole thing is shorter, so I was able to get room to embed even more playlists.

 

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WordPress updated to version 4.0

Upon receiving the little notification in the top of my WordPress dashboard letting me know that version 4.0 of the content management system had been made available, I used the auto upgrade feature to get my site up to date with the latest release.

So far there hasn’t really been anything particularly noticeable or amazing about the new version. Of course, this comes from a five-month break from using WordPress, so I’m sure that I don’t really re­member all the nuances of the previous version anyway. Overall, it seems like the look and feel of 4.0 is almost identical to what it used to be (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

I checked out the patch notes for the new version over on WordPress’ website, and according to them, it seems like the biggest differences are in the editing and media panels. Unfortunately, I do all my content creation using the “Text” tab where I write my blog posts in raw source code. So, it seems like I won’t really be taking full advantage of all the media-related stuff that was added in.

 

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Parkzer Rises Again

On this day five months ago, I made a post stating that I would be taking a break from publishing new con­tent on my website.

Coincidentally (but not really), it happened to be on April Fool’s Day. A lot of people thought that I was joking. But, as time went on, they started realizing that I wasn’t actually playing around.

What I intended to do during that time was publish an entire redesign of my entire website with a lot more features, better graphics, and overall a better way to present all the content I would be posting. Unsurprisingly, that was a lot harder than I thought it would be, especially because I was so occupied with so many other things going on. To jump to the “tl;dr” version of the story, I basically got almost noth­ing done.

I fiddled around with my landing page for a bit, moving some highlights around and sticking some more in, then opened the template editor in WordPress a few times only to get repeatedly overwhelmed and scared away.

So, we’re basically almost back to square one.

Actually, we never actually even left the first square to begin with.

Never use a preposition to end a sentence with.

 

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Changes coming to Parkzer’s Blog

Hi humans.

I decided to throw a quick post up on my blog to let you guys know that I will be working on some pret­ty large changes to my website within the upcoming months. During this time, I will be making very little to no new content posts.

At the end of this period, I hope for my website to have a completely new design with far greater functionality. I am also attempting to turn my blog into more of my own personal social network feed (this means more posts in general throughout the day, and more different types of content overall).

In the meantime, if you want to keep up with me, I recommend following @Parkzer on Twitter. If there is something urgent or personal, you are welcome to send me an email or use the contact form on my website. If you are one of my close friends, this doesn’t mean I’m disappearing for a few months, it just means I won’t be posting on my blog. I’ll still be around, and nothing will be different about me outside of my website.

If you’re eager to see the changes, I will be publishing them live in segments throughout the next hand­ful of months. Feel free to check back every few weeks or so to see if I’ve made any noticeable progress.

 

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Tip of the Day: Pay your bills

Hi humans.

If you’re a frequent visitor to my website, you might have noticed that for the past day, my website was down.

Normally, when something goes wrong, I can usually figure out the problem and fix it within a few hours because I have access to the main server, as my friend owns it. However, this time, when I tried to go to the core of the problem to fix it … well I couldn’t. The core was missing.

I went to my friend’s website, which is hosted on the same server as mine, and his website seemed to have disappeared as well. I scratched my head in confusion, then texted my friend.

A few hours later, I get a text back:

“Omg I forgot to pay the bill.”

Yes, he had received a few notifications letting him know that he was supposed to pay his bill, but ap­parently he somehow still forgot. As a result, the company that maintains his physical server cut off his service, and both our websites, as well as the control panel that manages the server, went down.

So here’s your tip of the day: pay your bills. Or else your friend’s website might randomly die for a day.

 

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In case you’re curious: uptime statistics for 2012

Hi humans.

I got an email report a few days ago from a service I use that tracks my website’s uptime.

Uptime, of course, is the time that my website is up – basically, any time that my website is not down due to some sort of server error. A few years ago, web hosting services emphasized how they have 99.9% uptime rates, but nowadays, it’s not that huge of a deal because near-100% uptime is pretty much expected out of all hosts now.

Either way, I thought the stats were interesting, and decided to post mine here for 2012 for those who were curious.

Yearly uptime: 99.92% Downtime: 5 hour(s) 48 min(s)

Month 2012-12 Uptime: 100.00%
Month 2012-11 Uptime: 100.00% Downtime: 46 sec(s)
Month 2012-10 Uptime: 99.66% Downtime: 2 hour(s) 9 min(s)
Month 2012-09 Uptime: 99.98% Downtime: 5 min(s) 35 sec(s)
Month 2012-08 Uptime: 100.00%
Month 2012-07 Uptime: 99.84% Downtime: 1 hour(s) 2 min(s)
Month 2012-06 Uptime: 99.99% Downtime: 5 min(s) 39 sec(s)
Month 2012-05 Uptime: 99.91% Downtime: 33 min(s) 29 sec(s)
Month 2012-04 Uptime: 99.90% Downtime: 37 min(s) 4 sec(s)
Month 2012-03 Uptime: 100.00%
Month 2012-02 Uptime: 100.00%
Month 2012-01 Uptime: 99.81% Downtime: 1 hour(s) 13 min(s)

Seems like October was my worst month.

Two hours and 9 minutes out of 31 days? That’s pretty rough.

 

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Comments have returned … for now

Hi humans.

As of a few days ago, the commenting system has returned to my website.

I initially took out my commenting system a few years ago because it was more of a hassle to me to monitor them. My audience has historically not been very conversational or discussion-oriented (either that, or everything I’ve ever written is usually not conducive to provoking discussion), and a majority of my comments have either been spam, or comments letting me know I have a typo or misspelled a word.

However, I’ve decided to bring back commenting for now to test out a new feature provided by Disqus called Discovery. Basically, I rent Disqus some space on my website and it will place some related and promoted links near where the comments are. If someone finds any of these pages as interesting and clicks on the links, I get paid advertising revenue.

I have yet to see the Discovery feature actually working on my website, but I’m assuming that, just like most other advertising campaigns, it needs a bit of time to search for relevant keywords on my page and index my website into a directory where it can form associations with relevant websites.

Also, if I do end up being able to encourage my readers to be more inclined to have discussions, that will overall raise the popularity of my website, so I figured that it could potentially be a win-win sit­uation in the future.

Again, everything is still in testing phase, and I might scrap the idea in the near future, but just men­tioning that it’s available for now.

 

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AdSense Account Disabled?!

Hi humans.

I was recently notified by Google that my AdSense account was temporarily disabled for invalid activity on my website.

Hello,

With our advertising programs, we strive to create an online ecosystem that benefits publishers, advertisers and users. For this reason, we sometimes have to take action against accounts that demonstrate behavior toward users or advertisers that may negatively impact how the ecosystem is perceived. In your case, we have detected invalid activity on your site and your account has been disabled.

We’re limited in the amount of information we can provide about your specific violation. We understand this can be frustrating for you, but we’ve taken these precautionary measures because intentional violators can use this information to circumvent our detection systems.

In some cases, publishers can make significant changes to correct the violation and are willing to comply with the AdSense program policies (google.com/adsense/policies). For this reason, we offer an appeals process as an opportunity to work with you to resolve the issue. To help you with the process, we’ve created a list of the top reasons for account closure for you to review before submission at http://support.google.com/adsense/bin/answer.py?answer=2660562. Please be sure to provide a thorough analysis in your appeal, which you can submit at [link removed] and we will follow up accordingly.

Thanks for your understanding,

The Google AdSense Team

I did file an appeal, as suggested in the email, because I obviously have no idea what this invalid activity is, and I have never before artificially created activity on my website that would be considered dishonest through the Google AdSense terms of service. After filing my appeal, I got this automated response:

Hello,

This message confirms that we’ve received your appeal submission.

We’ll get to your appeal as soon as we can, though due to the high volume of emails we receive, it may take us up to a week or more to process it. If you’ve previously submitted an appeal for this account, you might not receive a response to this or future appeals.

Also, please be aware that appealing the disabling of your AdSense account does not guarantee that it will be reinstated.

If you have any questions or concerns about accounts disabled for invalid activity, please visit https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=57153.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

And now I’m waiting for a response back from the Google AdSense team.

I’m sharing this with the readers of my website because this has immediate consequences to my website, and if the appeal is denied, it will have drastic consequences to how I produce content on the Internet overall.

First of all, I have a temporary contract with another advertising company so I can keep serving advertisements while Google is reviewing my appeal, which will supposedly take about a week. Fortunately, the minimum payout for this company is $5 (and not $100 like Google), so if my account were to be reinstated, I could easily cash out from this temporary advertising company and go back to Google AdSense.

If my AdSense account were not to be reinstated, I would take a temporary break from content production as I start making more personal contracts with companies and other people to ensure that I can continue earning as much as I did before, but through different means. I can pretty much guarantee that nothing on my actual website will change, because I am confident that I can strike some deals to continue earning a good amount from my website.

Unfortunately, that is not going to be the case for my videos. As of right now, the only website I know of that provides reliable advertising for videos with good payout is YouTube. Once your AdSense account is disabled, there is no way to make money off your YouTube videos. As a result, my primary motivation for making YouTube videos will essentially be completely eliminated, as I will get absolutely no compensation for the time invested in filming and producing videos. Thus, the amount of videos released on my YouTube channel will shrink to near-zero. This does not mean, however, that I am going to completely stop video production all together – I will still take roles as contributing producers in various other people’s videos like I have been in the past.

So, the result of this temporary account disable are still up in the air. I’ll post another update on my website when I get a response from Google.

 

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