Monthly Archives: January 2013

Muhammad Ali – Children’s Classroom Candid Camera Show

I stumbled onto the video below of Muhammad Ali doing candid camera appearances in a classroom full of kids. By the looks of it the kids must have had some sort of task to do with Muhammad Ali and as they are sitting at the desk in front of the class talking about Muhammad Ali, he appears from behind them dressed in his boxing clothes.

The expressions on the kids face when the greatest fighter of all time appears in front of them are priceless. The last one is so fantastic, Muhammad Ali is essentially staring down the little boy, who is unafraid of his commanding presence and domineering body language and continues to talk to Muhammad as if they are sitting in a coffee shop.

Living Advice

On Sept. 3, 2012, James K. Flanagan of West Long Branch, N.J., died unexpectedly of a heart attack. He wrote this letter to his five grandchildren just months earlier and it is reprinted here with the permission of his daughter Rachel Creighton.

Dear Ryan, Conor, Brendan, Charlie, and Mary Catherine,

My wise and thoughtful daughter Rachel urged me to write down some advice for you, the important things that I have learned about life. I am beginning this on 8 April 2012, the eve of my 72nd birthday.

  1. Each one of you is a wonderful gift of God both to your family and to all the world. Remember it always, especially when the cold winds of doubt and discouragement fall upon your life.
  2. Be not afraid . . . of anyone or of anything when it comes to living your life most fully. Pursue your hopes and your dreams no matter how difficult or “different” they may seem to others. Far too many people don’t do what they want or should do because of what they imagine others may think or say. Remember, if they don’t bring you chicken soup when you’re sick or stand by you when you’re in trouble, they don’t matter. Avoid those sour-souled pessimists who listen to your dreams then say, “Yeah, but what if . . .” The heck with “what if. . .” Do it! The worst thing in life is to look back and say: “I would have; I could have; I should have.” Take risks, make mistakes.
  3. Everyone in the world is just an ordinary person. Some people may wear fancy hats or have big titles or (temporarily) have power and want you to think they are above the rest. Don’t believe them. They have the same doubts, fears, and hopes; they eat, drink, sleep, and fart like everyone else. Question authority always but be wise and careful about the way you do it.
  4. Make a Life List of all those things you want to do: travel to places; learn a skill; master a language; meet someone special. Make it long and do some things from it every year. Don’t say “I’ll do it tomorrow” (or next month or next year). That is the surest way to fail to do something. There is no tomorrow, and there is no “right” time to begin something except now.
  5. Practice the Irish proverb: Moi an olge agus tiocfaidh sí – “Praise the child and she will flourish.”
  6. Be kind and go out of your way to help people — especially the weak, the fearful, and children. Everyone is carrying a special sorrow, and they need our compassion.
  7. Don’t join the military or any organization that trains you to kill. War is evil. All wars are started by old men who force or fool young men to hate and to kill each other. The old men survive, and, just as they started the war with pen and paper, they end it the same way. So many good and innocent people die. If wars are so good and noble, why aren’t those leaders who start wars right up there fighting?
  8. Read books, as many as you can. They are a wonderful source of delight, wisdom, and inspiration. They need no batteries or connections, and they can go anywhere.
  9. Be truthful.
  10. Travel: always but especially when you are young. Don’t wait until you have “enough” money or until everything is “just right.” That never happens. Get your passport today.
  11. Pick your job or profession because you love to do it. Sure, there will be some things hard about it, but a job must be a joy. Beware of taking a job for money alone — it will cripple your soul.
  12. Don’t yell. It never works, and it hurts both yourself and others. Every time I have yelled, I have failed.
  13. Always keep promises to children. Don’t say “we’ll see” when you mean “no.” Children expect the truth; give it to them with love and kindness.
  14. Never tell anyone you love them when you don’t.
  15. Live in harmony with Nature: go into the outdoors, woods, mountains, sea, desert. It’s important for your soul.
  16. Visit Ireland. It’s where the soul of our family was born — especially the West: Roscommon, Clare, and Kerry.
  17. Hug people you love. Tell them how much they mean to you now; don’t wait until it’s too late.
  18. Be grateful. There is an Irish saying: “This is a day in our lives, and it will not come again.” Live every day with this in mind.

As was written in his obituary, James K. Flanagan “was proudly liberal and fought unyieldingly for the underdog. He was an accomplished author, poet, and seanchai — Irish storyteller; he reveled in recounting the joy of growing up Catholic in Jersey City and his adventures in the Adirondack Mountains and on the Western coast of Ireland. His greatest love was spending time with his family, most of all his five grandchildren Ryan (11); Conor (10); Brendan (9); Charles (8); and Mary Catherine (5).

2012 Blogging Statistics

In keeping with my 2011 blog statistics at the end of last year, following are my efforts for 2012.

2004 1 478 487 0 0.0
2005 82 1949 159835 511 12.9
2006 103 1837 189259 865 4.5
2007 127 1977 251150 229 1.3
2008 68 1597 108623 78 0.8
2009 77 2114 162804 104 0.9
2010 81 2147 173969 105 1.4
2011 58 1737 100779 144 1.5
2012 30 1725 51765 26 0.3

Over the last few years, I’ve been aiming to break through the 100 posts per year marker. That obviously requires me to post around 9 times per month or at least twice per week. Despite it being in the back of my mind, I haven’t managed to push through that barrier yet and this year I stepped off the accelerator pedal a lot.

For those that are interested in doing the same, I’ve made the blogging statistics SQL script available for you to use.

2012 Traffic Statistics

In keeping with past years statistics, below is a quick summary of what web traffic looked like in 2012.

2012 web visits for

In 2011 my blog took 108,325 visits and 140,882 pageviews, while in 2012 it took 76,630 visits and 97,964 pageviews. Last year I was happy to see that the number of visits and pageviews were increasing, not to their highest levels when I was regularly blogging about technical topics but it was nice to see regardless.

This year however, something drastic happened in April and after digging into Google Analytics the first date that traffic plummeted was April 24, which was the date Google rolled out a new algorithm named Penguin. The Google Penguin update was designed to combat several different over optimisation tactics that are commonly used in online marketing to drive more visits from Google. Fortunately while I fell victim to the original update, I was given a reprieve in late May when Google made an update to their algorithm – though traffic never returned to the exact same levels before.

What is surprising to me is that I was penalised at all by the algorithm. I haven’t performed any search engine optimisation on my blog, aside from configuring a few common WordPress plugins that everyone uses and except for my commenting legitimately on interesting blogs online – any links to my website are 100% organic.

It comes as no surprise that Google still dominate the traffic to this blog, like they do to most websites around the world. Following on from last year, Google organic search continued to contribute ~78% of the traffic to the entire website. Bing & Yahoo! (which uses Bing from a search engine technology stand point) continue to provide a dribble of traffic, contributing just over 3% compared to 3.5% from last year.

2012 traffic sources for

The most popular posts for the year were nearly identical to last year, however a technical post about an Oracle database error lost out in favour of a post describing how to get an old HP printer to work in Windows 7:

  1. Disable Options In A Select Dropdown Element
  2. Select Option Disabled & The JavaScript Solution
  3. Oracle RETURNING Clause
  4. Like Father, Like Daughter
  5. Windows 7 HP Laserjet Drivers Support

Of course when you ignore posts from prior years and only count articles written in 2012, it changes a lot:

  1. Jabbawockeez Jupiters Theatre Gold Coast
  2. Infolinks In-Text Advertising Review
  3. Shh, The Dinosaur Is Asleep
  4. Hugo, 4 Years Old
  5. Evie, 2 Years Old

I haven’t bothered to keep a close eye on the health of my blog this year and I’ve suffered as a result. Had I have been keeping an eye on things, I’d have noticed the significant decline in traffic toward the end of April and could have started to take action to rectify those issues. Of course, there is nothing stopping me doing it now either – so maybe I’ll spend a little time on some analysis to see what Google might be complaining about.

Onward & upward for 2013!

32nd Birthday

I’m now officially 32 years old, good golly Miss Molly!

Lots of people I talk to get worried about their birthday and getting older. I’m not one of those people, to me I’m officially another year older but it doesn’t weigh on me at all. I don’t feel any different to when I was 25 years old, so I don’t see why I should let an arbitrary number have any bearing on things.

I woke up early on my birthday morning, so decided that I’d go for a walk and try out my new heart rate monitor I received for Christmas. Unfortunately I opened RunKeeper before enabling Bluetooth, so it didn’t detect my new heart rate monitor but I’ll remember that for next time.

When I returned home, Claire took Hugo & Evie down to McDonald’s to get their weekend breakfast treat of pancakes. Once we’d munched through those, it was present time and I was spoiled with:

Mid morning we jumped in the car and ventured over to Sterle & Lorraine’s house for a barbecue birthday lunch. It served as a great way to bring all of Claire’s brothers, sisters, partners and kids together post Christmas and was really great to catch up with everyone again.

Thank you to everyone from Claire’s side of the family who drove down for a barbecue lunch and my family & friends who sent me an email, instant message, SMS or phoned me for my birthday – well wishes are always great.

33rd birthday here we come!