Thursday April 13, 2006



Oh, by the way, today is the first aniversary of this’ere site. I started CM because at the time there was no Miamist, no Metroblogging Miami, and no other Miami based blogs of that sort. Today, there are dozens, and there’s a Miamist and MB-Miami (though they both blow), so technically, there’s no more need for Critical Miami. Nonetheless, though, I see no reason not to keep it up so long as it’s fun.

In honor of the anniversary, some changes are happening. Nothing drastic, but you may notice some things moving around over the next couple of weeks. To get you started, there’s a “one year ago today” feature in the left bar (thanks to Mary on the Textpattern forum for that one). The big thing will be that the Tuesday linkfest will be exploded and scattered throughout the week, ala There may be a slight design overhaul. The archives will be made easier. That sort of thing.

This would be a good time to kick in any suggestions, gripes, pet peeves, or advice you may be harboring. Thanks for reading.


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  1. Steve Klotz    Thu Apr 13, 09:38 PM #  

    No suggestions. Just keep it up!

  2. alesh    Thu Apr 13, 09:43 PM #  

    Dang it, Steve Klotz—write something for my blog!!

  3. Rick    Thu Apr 13, 10:07 PM #  

    Well, nothing but good things to say here, although I would love to see more Baroque Caribbean music coverage.:)

    Not to be too nosy, but do you have a similar break-out of your unique visitors?

    Keep up the great work, Alesh. Don’t mess with the formula too much. It ain’t broke.


  4. alesh    Thu Apr 13, 11:25 PM #  

    Thanks, Rick.

    I know of no way to reliable way to track “unique visitors.” ‘Page views’ obviously overstates them, while ‘unique IPs’ understates them, as does any cookie-based technique.

    I have ‘distinct host’ numbers, but no graph; the overall pattern seems to reflect the page view count, with a little over 12,000 for March.

  5. Robert    Thu Apr 13, 11:36 PM #  

    Congrats and keep up the great work!

  6. manola b    Thu Apr 13, 11:44 PM #  

    If CM (aka Alesh) stops I will go back on zoloft. Man, give me a break! Just started blogging and you get all weird about blogging. WE WANT YOU!!! I AGREE!!! AINT BROKE, DON’T FIX IT!!!

    ps … on sitemeter’s free service I can track all kinds of goodies, including IP addresses …

  7. alesh    Thu Apr 13, 11:47 PM #  


    I used sitemeter for a while early on, and it seemed like it was missing like 90% of my visitors. I ditched it.

    Hey – you see the remaindered links? how’s that looking?

  8. Miami Transit Man    Fri Apr 14, 12:20 AM #  

    Congrats! We all look to you as a model of what we strive to become. Continue the great work…

  9. Franklin    Fri Apr 14, 08:49 AM #  

    With the new Kottke-type format, remove those Google ads from the middle of the page. That looks like crap. Other than that, carry on, brave blogger.

  10. KH    Fri Apr 14, 09:27 AM #  

    Oh, yea. Second Franklin on Google ad placement. But otherwise—I’ve been wanting to put that notational-post-thing on my blog for a while; titles can be so tedious! Really. Not everything needs a dang title.

    Also, did you see Rotund World’s “Critical Miami is the best” thing on the sidebar?

    Congrats. You rule.

  11. alesh    Fri Apr 14, 10:30 AM #  

    Yeah, those ads look retarded. I killed ‘em. Actually, the sidebars need to be rethought, too. weekend projects!

    Yes, I see the Rotund World, but I’ll be danged if I can figure out just what it is . . .

  12. manola b    Fri Apr 14, 01:01 PM #  

    Hi Alesh, by remaindered links do you mean the untitled links?

    I think it looks fine, just that a # appears on the right hand side of the column, which is sort of weird, and if I click on it I just get the ‘link’ with an entirely blank column on the bottom (Safari & Camino)

    Is that really so about site meter? Could I possibly be getting more visits than actually recorded? What stats service are you using?

    I agree and am glad you got rid of the google ads in the middle of the page. I find that “scroll down to read more” always disrupts the flow of the reading experience.

    As far as sidebars, I have been pondering the three column blog format, and not sure how ‘real’ blog with ads can get around that. I’d rather see three columns than have to scroll down a lot to find things.

    In general, I think the most convenient thing in the world is being able to see ‘recent comments’ up top. Plus the fact that you have previous/next … very easy to navigate on CM.

    (I wish blogger would do that! That is a code I will have to hack in my dreams!)

    I also love the look of Verdana on CM and the pink on white. Very neat and easy on the eyes. I also love the changing artsy photos on the banner.

    PS (thanks for linking to SoBe Fry-It Diet) ... :-)

  13. Franklin    Fri Apr 14, 07:26 PM #  

    Michelle, a totally easy solution is Peastat. It doesn’t provide a huge amount of info but it’s enough to give you an idea about recent traffic. Installation is simplicity itself, assuming you’re not on a shared server like a blogspot address, and it’s free. Always glad to help the cause.

  14. alesh    Fri Apr 14, 08:46 PM #  

    Peastat looks very cool, but it’s not a substitute for the trend analysis. Its home page, though, offers some good suggestions (all free):

    Analog (this is what CM uses – came preinstalled on our dreamhost account)
    Google Analytics (currently has a waiting list)

    Manola~ The ’#’ is a permlink. The page that it leads to just needs to be cleaned up a little (probably ditch the sidebars).

    The design shift I’m considering includes maybe combining the sidebars into one (ala miamity), and opening the design up a little (check out Airbag Industries). I’m not planning on changing the fonts; I like them, too.

  15. noneya    Sat Apr 15, 02:55 AM #  

    congratulations alesh.

    you’re doing good by me; CM is it when it comes to senseless & biased reporting.


  16. manola b    Sat Apr 15, 02:00 PM #  

    Alesh, not being able to comment on the remainder links … is that on purpose?

  17. alesh    Sat Apr 15, 02:19 PM #  

    yeah . . . it just seems like it would get out of hand that way, no?

    Oh, and hey, look: i simplified the sidebars when you’re in sing-article mode. more tweaks ahead!

    do you think the weather thing’s worth keeping around?

  18. manola b    Sun Apr 16, 11:46 AM #  

    re: remainder links … good point. I hadn’t thought about that (then again I am a compulsive commenter) :-) LOL!!!

    I like the sidebar tweak!

    I thought about the weather thing but didn’t post on it. I’m not sure … it might be fun for readers from outside Miami, but for me as I’m already here I know what the weather is already. (Plus I have the weather widget on my Mac). On the other hand, having some kind of image there does break up the text.

    What do other readers think?

  19. Jonathan    Sun Apr 16, 03:52 PM #  

    -The weather thing: ditto what Manola wrote.

    -”Recent comments” is a valuable feature.

    -Comment permalinks do not appear in the comments, only in the links on the “recent comment” list. Thus clicking a recent comment takes you to the top of the post rather than to the specific comment you clicked, at least it does for me. Am I missing something or did you omit permalinks from the code that displays your comments?

    -WRT Sitemeter: Maybe this is obvious, but you have to put the Sitemeter code on every template so that it will appear on every page of your blog. Otherwise, if you only put Sitemeter code on your front page, it will miss visits that originate from other blogs’ direct links to specific CM posts.

  20. Jonathan    Sun Apr 16, 03:58 PM #  

    Oh yeah: those weird little posts that have permalinks and don’t allow comments? I don’t think they add anything. Better IMO to use standard posting format and just do brief posts. The ability to comment adds a lot of value. You never know when someone will weigh in with an unexpected comment that provides more info or starts a good discussion.

  21. Jonathan    Sun Apr 16, 04:02 PM #  

    And why not display, for individual posts, the same page or template format (blogroll, links to archives, etc.) that appears on your home page? All of that stuff should be visible to anyone who comes to your blog via a link to a particular post.

  22. KH    Mon Apr 17, 09:27 AM #  

    I like the weather thing; it’s useful to me. I have a weather widget on my non-mac, but I don’t like it bogarting my ram, so I keep it off. [My favorite widget is the one which cylcles through all the NOAA predictions and GOES images; that’s always on while a hurricane is on the move)]

  23. manola b    Mon Apr 17, 11:20 AM #  

    I ACCIDENTALLY DELETED SEX AND THE BEACH!!! I am so upset, guys. HAs this ever happened to anyone on blogger? I just emailed support and hope to God they get back to me.

  24. Rebecca Carter    Mon Apr 17, 11:41 AM #  

    OMG Manola! I wonder if that’s what happened to 305, too? I don’t know what you could do…

  25. manola b    Mon Apr 17, 02:27 PM #  

    Friends … PLEASE help me. And Alesh, I hope you don’t mind I’ll be communicating via CM.

    First of all, James Burnett, how about creating another weekly award category? The Miami Darwin Award? Because I am definitely now a bonafide retard.

    Here’s my request: I have managed to retrieve about 98% of all my previous posts, except for “Mosquito Mafia Mobs Manola” and “Manola Mobile Phone Mojo” ... it seems that google didn’t crawl over the weekend.

    If by any chance you’ve cached this page, PLEASE send the text to me

    OK. It seems like we’re all doing a little spring cleaning and remodeling. (That’s what this post was all about.) SATB, SToP and Greener Miami have also been working on a ‘blog lift.’ So, I’d like to address some blogging issues because I’d never want this to happen to you.

    First of all, how does it work in Typepad and Wordpress or other blogger software? Don’t they have an “undo” contigency plan for idiots like me?

    Second, why am I a idiot? I don’t know why. Maybe I think about sex too often and my mind is in the gutter. I was fooling around with the idea of starting a new blog and then decided to delete it. Pressed the right button for the wrong blog. A TOTAL FREAK ACCIDENT!

    After nearly TWENTY years of working professionally as a writer and designer, I have, in this one mere click of a button proven that I’ve lost my mind. I have a mac, a second hard-drive exclusively for back-ups PLUS a firewire drive with a “tank” partition for storage, a bootable drive and a third backup option. Believe me, I know backup. I know better. But clearly, those few little brain cells that occupied my cranium went out for lunch today.

    As I only started blogging in October, perhaps I naively trusted that blogger’s server would never fail, be moron-proof and that I’d never need to backup SATB. But this, my friends, is like basically computing without protection.

    See, I don’t know if blogger’s server space for each individual blog is, well, individual, in which case, blogger support could easily retrieve file from trash and get SATB up and running. I’ve just sent them an email, and according to at least one user at Blogger Help, they can retrieve an entire blog successfuly even after deletion.

    However, if blogger space is shared, then at this red hot second someone else is overwriting my blog, in which case SATB 1.0 is slowly fizzling into oblivion.

    I know that millions of people use blogger around the world. Perhaps blogger can’t afford customer service. So I’m learning a good lesson today. If I’m serious about this project, perhaps I should switch over to a more effective, moron-proof host.

    OK, why didn’t I back up? Here’s where I am truly, truly acting like an ignoramus. SATB started as a ‘what-the-hell’ project inspired by friends who claimed that Maria, the author who created the character Manola BBB, is just as funny as Manola in person and should write all her cockamamie ideas down and publish some kind of chick lit book.

    And so you’d think that I’d backup every entry in SATB. But no! Riding on the idea that ‘professional’ means being able to do the same thing over and over again just as good or with improvement, I really took it for granted that this sort of boo-boo would never happen, after all, some people backup onto remote servers and I’ve been working on some remote server applications (like open source) for ages.

    Thank God it was a slow work day, because I just spent the last two hours caching myself on google. I literally had to do a search for each individual entry. Since I had multiple entries on ‘previous posts,’ I was basically able to toggle from one entry to the next in reverse chronological order. Then, I saved each entry, along with comments, in Text Edit. (Rich Text Format with Graphics and HTML)

    I also recopied the source code to save the new template.

    But even so, with backup text, I’d have to start over again, which would never be the case on a ‘regular’ website.

    OK, I apologize for venting and verbosity. But friends, I mean it, the whole point of this comment is: as we are all passionate about our individual Miami blogs, PLEASE DON’T BE A MORON LIKE MARIA and let’s all learn from my mistake.

    And if anyone has any suggestions about the blogging service they use, please post here or email me directly.

    Apart from this, I hope EVERYONE is having a beautiful day!


  26. manola b    Mon Apr 17, 03:39 PM #  

    Thanks MKH for the offer to help!

    I just realized going to, we have access to our most recent posts, but you have to click directly from the sidebar. If you go to one article and click ‘source,’ it points you to several articles that have posted to MiamiS, but only the abridged version, and of course, if your blog is kaput, you won’t find it.

    I always wondered about MiamiS and thought a little weird as a news digest, but I am grateful to know it’s a great recent cache before google crawls.

  27. Rick    Mon Apr 17, 06:40 PM #  

    Comment on the “new posts:” like the “quick hit” concept, don’t like not being able to comment. Some of the best stuff can be found in comments.

    For some odd reason, those little posts don’t get picked up by Actually, I have yet to see if the full-size ones are recognized.

    Miamist’s new posts aren’t recognized either, but, you know…..who cares.

    Like the weather thing. Got an inconspicuous one set up myself on SotP. Great, especially in the winter. I don’t know about you, but I get a fair share of hits from outside of South Florida.

    And Manola…that’s it…no guest-hosting SotP when I go on vacation! How’s it coming?

  28. manola b    Mon Apr 17, 07:13 PM #  

    I’m sitting tight hoping to get a response from blogger . After this morning’s freak-out, I tried to focus on some client requests, hoping not to screw up THEIR sites too!

  29. Jonathan    Tue Apr 18, 06:03 AM #  

    Manola, sorry to hear about your misfortune. All I can say is that if the UI designer includes a “delete this blog” button, sooner or later it may get clicked. I think it’s bad design to make deletion so easy, and that you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. An advantage of arranging your own blog hosting is that some hosting companies do regular backups, a fact that has saved me on at least one occasion. Also, if you follow the DIY route (I don’t know if this is also true for Typepad) you can probably edit your blog’s UI to remove the suicide delete button, as I did for Movable Type. There’s no sense tempting fate.

    Blogger sucks, BTW. I hope they can help you, but it might be a good idea to consider moving to another blogging setup.

  30. A.T.    Tue Apr 18, 07:44 AM #  

    Alesh: Congratulations. CM is an original.