Saturday, June 10, 2017

SiteHoundSniffin' 101


As many of you-all already know, I have been trying to reconnect with my children for the past several years.  Sadly, it has not been going all that well for a number of reasons I will not disclose, but I have been recently told that one of my grandsons is an internet whiz.  This has bolstered my hope that he will want to become involved with SiteHoundSniffs much sooner than later and take the reins of the directory when I can no longer hold them.  So, this piece is more for his benefit than anyone else, but I suspect that many of you-all are dying to learn just what is going on behind the scenes.  Of course, many of the following steps can be automated with a few lines of code that I hope my grandson will want to learn (if he does not already know it).

Step 1: Find the site.  Since I already have links to around 10,000 sites, this step mostly involves looking in a private list, and with each site usually having links to several other sites, the begating goes on and on.  Virtually all of the sites on my private lists came from individual’s blogrolls and favorite sites lists.

Step 2: Quickly glance over the site to see if it has enough content to justify inclusion.  A site with less than a dozen posts is usually dropped unless the entries are truly outstanding in one way or another.

Step 3: Seek to find the actual name of the owner and an email/Facebook address to send private communication to.  This information goes in the “Littermates” MS Excel spreadsheet.

Step 4: Google Bookmark (not to be confused with Google Chrome Bookmarking) the site under zzzd (don’t ask).

Step 5: As part of the Google Bookmarking process, the site name (sometimes) will come up in a separate dialogue box.  Copy and paste it to a blank area of the MS Word Notifications document (again, don’t ask).

Step 6:  Also on the separate dialogue box from the bookmarking process is the site’s URL.  Copy and paste it to the dialogue box involved in attaching a hyperlink to the site’s name in a Word document.

Step 7:  Copy the hyperlinked site’s name and paste it to the first column of the “SiteHoundSniffs Master MS Excel spreadsheet.

Step 8: Click on the hyperlinked site’s name to insure that it works.

Step 9: Copy the site’s URL from the browser address bar and paste it in the second column of the “Master” MS Excel spreadsheet.

Step 10: Type the corresponding Littermates row number in the third column of Master spreadsheet.

Step 11: Seek to find the country of origin for the site.  If found, type it into the fourth column of Master spreadsheet.

Step 12: Seek to determine what the site is really all about and list each category in a column of the Master spreadsheet.  No, one cannot rely upon the site title.  For a site that sounds like it is about Cooking/Foodstuffs may be actually about humorous observations, and a site that looks like it is from India may be actually from Singapore.

Step 13: Make a screenshot of the site header/logo if the “Save Image As” function is not available from right-clicking.

Step 14: Resize the site header/logo to 300 x 100 (pixels).  This might involve a few additional steps to make the image more presentable.

Step 15: Go to SiteHoundSniffs.com and pull up the “All” page in the categories.  Click-on “Edit Page” at the top.

Step 16: Scroll down though the content in the text-editor box until you come to where the new site should be placed in alphanumeric order.  Left-click to the right side of the image immediately ahead, and click “Enter.”  Then click-on “Add Media” in the text-editor options.

Step 17: Click-on “Upload Files” when the “Insert Media” dialogue box comes up.  Click-on “Select Files.”  Find the folder where the Site headers are saved on your computer and upload the new site header to the SiteHoundSniffs Media Library.

Step 18: The new site header will be already selected in this first round, and the dialogue box will be shifted down to where the image link can be pasted/typed in at this time.  Another way is to link the image through the options in the text-editor.

Step 19: Click-on “Update” to the right of the text-editor.  After the update has been made, click-on “View Page” above the text-editor.

Step 20: Click-on the new site image to make sure it is correctly linked.

Steps 21(+): Repeat the previous steps (with a couple of exceptions) involved in adding the new site in its other categories and country, along with “News.”

Final Step: Send a notification email or Facebook message to the owner of the site that explains what SiteHoundSniffs is and gives an option to have the site immediately removed.  This notification is left as a comment when a way to send it privately is not found.

Removal Steps: If an owner wants their site removed, most of the previous steps are reversed.  The Google Bookmark tag is switched from “zzzd” to “x,” and the owner is notified that their site has been completely removed from the directory.

Yeah, I have probably scared-off my grandson, but by the time he is old enough to take over the management, there might be some revenue rolling in.  Besides, a code can be written to automate most of the steps, which will drastically speed-up the process (not to mention make it much, much easier).

Speaking of not being so easy for me, I am currently trying to learn what to do to develop an app for Android smartphones and tablets that will enable people to simply give the icon a tap to go to SiteHoundSniffs.  I would also like to develop an iOS/Apple app, but I discovered that one has to have a Mac to run Xcode, which is the Apple developers platform.  Android Studio is needed to develop Android apps, and there are free versions of it for both Windows and OS/Apple computers.  Now, there is a way to run Xcode on a Windows computer, but one has to download a free VMware program that converts a portion of their computer into a Mac.  One has to also purchase the latest version of Mac OS X (at this time).  So, I will probably just hire some to write the iOS app if the Android app proves to be fairly popular.  Oh how I would like to go on another rant about just how rotten Apple truly is, but this would probably be cutting off my nose to spite my face.

Alas, it will probably be a year or so more before there is any advertising revenue to share, but the steady growth of the traffic has been encouraging.  There are now over 1,500 unique visitors from all over this world coming by each mother, and the number would rise exponentially if more of the Littermates would start promoting the directory more.  Hey, it is in the best interest of us all.

Our physical health is basically the same.  The last two times Arlynda went in for a [paracentesis], they pumped-off over eight liters of fluid.  Getting her to the hospital and back in the house is very hard on me, but her feeling much better afterward makes it well worth it.


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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Nicole's Bird-Watching Tip


It is much to my chagrin that negative feedback often counts for a lot more than the positive to me, and far too frequently, I feel rather apologetic when approaching someone about [SiteHoundSniffs]—as if I am doing something wrong.

Adding all the more to my shame is listening a little too intently to the whispers in my ear about it being quite obvious that our Heavenly Father is not supporting me in my endeavors concerning developing the new site directory.  “After all, would not the site have gone viral by now if He was?”

Yeah, I know where those whispers are coming from, but it still hits home a little too hard for my comfort.  Long after I have borne too much in my own very personal opinion, our Heavenly Father eases my burden in a myriad of ways, and this time was extraordinarily special to me.  For He arranged for the following email to be sent way.

Hello,

My name is Jessica Lowe, I am a middle school science teacher in Colorado. My class is working on a project I have assigned that aims to get them outdoors and identifying wildlife and learning about what’s in our backyards and surrounding areas! We really enjoyed the birding and other wildlife resources and information on
 your page https://sitehoundsniffs.com/birdingwildlife-additional-text-links/.  Several of my students are choosing to create a plan to identify and observe birds for their project. I thought this would be an excellent idea to encourage hands on learning and exploring the nature and science that is all around us!

One of my students who is working on bird identification, Nicole, found this article
http://www.homeadvisor.com/r/birdwatching-guide/ about bird watching. It gives a lot of great advice for beginners and I wanted to share it with you so you could add it to your resources for others, especially those who are interested in getting into birding as a hobby or kids who are doing similar projects.

Thanks again for the great information and help with my students project! Please let me know if you decide to add the article Nicole found to your resources, I would be very excited to show her and the class that we were able to contribute. Have a great day!

Best Wishes,

Jessica Lowe

WOW!!!!!!!!!

I am not ashamed to disclose that I choked-up with emotion while I was reading that email to Arlynda.  For it completely blew out of the water all of those negative comments and emails sent my way during days past.  Furthermore, it adds another layer of armor around my heart for when I run across another [proper English lady] and much, much worse.

No, I am not able to add Nicole’s bird-watching link to SiteHoundSniffs, but that does not take anything away from what a helpful article it is, nor how astute Nicole is.  Hey, she reminds me of what a wonderful kid I used to be!

Oh how I wish there were many, many more teachers like Ms. Lowe.  At least we can be confident of the children she teaches having a distinct advantage over others.  For practical application of what is in school textbooks is truly invaluable.  Hey, it was not until after I had been on the job at a machine shop for several weeks manually laying out the drilling pattern for [combine] wheel-flanges that it came to me that I was actually using trigonometry, which I had taken a class in during high school a few years before.  Ms. Lowe’s students are learning such lessons before having to fight for survival in the real world (naturally-speaking, of course).   

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Nick V's Hedge, Site Badges/buttons and Nasty Bugs


If you are wondering about the new background to [SiteHoundSniffs], it is rows of [Nick V’s Hedge].  The rest of this mess is an attempt to connect the dots.

I have been fairly open about Grayson not being all that impressed with the appearance of our site directory.  Quite obviously, my best efforts have not been making his tail wag.  So, it especially stung when I received a reply to an email I had sent to a particularly-proper English lady about displaying her linked site badge/button.  She started off with saying that I really did not need to ask for permission, and then she went on about the fact that she would not normally want a link to her site on such a woefully outdated and homely site as SiteHoundSniffs.com.  To be perfectly honest about it, I was a little miffed and removed all traces of her site from our site directory.

As I was trying to go asleep a little later, the thought about using a high-definition image of mowed grass (in honor of Reenie, Arlynda’s long-gone love of her life, who needed a patch of grass to go on) crept in.  The first thing I went to do after getting out of bed six hours later was find such an image.  I quickly found a suitable one and made it the new background.  When Grayson saw it, he gave me one of his looks and pranced out of the room to leave me a present in a strategic place (he has never required a patch of grass to go on).

Plan B had to formulated, but my best efforts were getting in the way again.  Miraculously (I am really not joking about that) the solution was already in hand.  For after I read the emailed reply from the particularly-proper English lady and took action, I sent an email to Nick V about displaying the linked badge/button to his [Floral Friday Fotos] site and asking permission to display the linked headers for his [Melbourne Fresh Daily], [NixPages] and [NixPixMix] sites.  In his reply, he suggested that I might want to also include his [My Desktop Daily].  While going through this site to determine which categories it should be listed, I came upon his high-definition photograph of a hedge, and Grayson did his [Whirling Dervish] dance (he is always lurking about) to signify his delight.  For Yorkies feel right at home around hedgerows.
   
Linked site badges/buttons?  It was brought to my attention that I had been ignoring the fact that site owners with a linked badge/button wanted backlinks to bolster their search engine rankings, and displaying them avoided having to always obtain permission first before displaying a linked site header.  This made me literally grunt, “Duh,” to myself.  For I had already been clued in on the absolute truth of the matter truly being that most could not care less about whether or not their linked headers were displayed on SiteHoundSniffs, which included not caring enough to actually give permission.  So, site owners with a linked badge/button are sent an email informing them of what I have done and given the option to have their site removed.

If you are wondering about backlinks bolstering search engine rankings, there are several things that go into getting to the top of the results list when you search for something with Google, Bing, Yahoo and the other search engines.  One of them is the amount of quality backlinks a site has, and according to the research I have done, SiteHoundSniffs is a quality backlink site.  What determines a quality backlink is whether your link seems to belong on a site, such as links to other pet sites on a pet site, and since SiteHoundSniffs is a site directory, links to all legitimate sites most definitely belong.

Another thing that was recently brought to my attention is that I have been lax at making as sure as possible that a site is safe.  For a little notification thingy shows up on our Google Chrome address bar when an unauthorized script or Adobe Flash Player tries to download something onto our computer.  Our BitDefender anti-virus program also gives a notification when something funky is going on, and the image below is a screenshot of this.


In all fairness, one has to be looking for these notifications, and I have been focusing on other things.  Therefore, I am now going back through all of the sites listed to see how many I may have missed for the benefit of visitors with lesser anti-virus protection.  I am sure that there are not many, but it only takes one nasty bug getting through to make for a really bad day.  Yeah, most of the nasty bugs out there these days only seek to steal your information—not shut down your computer, but those are the kind that can stay on a computer for a long time before being detected and removed.  When you have one, you can change your passwords to sensitive sites all you want and the bad guys will still know what your passwords are.  Sigh.

P.S.: Nick V's hedge proved to be a little too dark to make for reading ease of the text to the [Home] and [Littermates] pages.  So, a high-definition image  of a New Zealand cloud formation from [WallpaperCave] now serves as the site's background image.  I hope you like it.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Littermates, Bi-Petuals and Kidney Failure


[Littermates] is a new page added to SiteHoundSniffs.com, which can be accessed through the link on the left of the footer.  Contained on it is a message about the dream being to eventually attract advertisers and share 90% of the revenue with those who have allowed their site header(s) to be displayed and that they are considered to be littermates by Grayson.  It also addresses that we have decided to invite into the litter those without sites, who will say something (preferably good) here and there throughout cyberspace about SiteHoundSniffs.com and the great sites listed in the directory.  To be clear, they will receive an equal share of the advertising revenue (if there ever is any) and I posted about it on [my Facebook page].  Be assured that it was made clear that we do not want any spamming going on.

Speaking of spamming, I was attacked again by a cranky old man, who considers my requests for someone to give permission to display their header on SiteHoundSniffs left in a comment on their site to be spam.  Oh no, he did not do so directly.  He left a comment after mine informing the site owner that he had already ran me off from his site.  I then replied directly to him about there being a difference between an unsolicited ad and a sincere request made for the benefit of all involved.  He did not respond, and the owner of the site deleted all of our comments.  No, she has not given permission via email, either.  In order to avoid this very unpleasant situation in the future, I will endeavor to make the requests via email when an address can be found.


I also ran into some trouble after releasing an earlier version of that new video ad.  For the owner of one of the co-starring sites took exception to the wording and that I had not received prior permission to include her site.  Not only did she want the ad pulled, she wanted her site completely removed from SiteHoundSniffs.  So I had to produce the current version (and replace the old one with it on YouTube, Facebook and Google+) and remove her site from the directory.  I understand where she is coming from, but I certainly do not agree with it.  For in my mind, no one publishes a blog or website without wanting people to see what they have to offer, and they should want all of the free promotion they can get.  Yeah, it would be wrong for me to use their property in a bad way, but is it really so wrong that some love both dogs and cats?  Now, I consider even a public Facebook page or something like it different, but it utterly baffles me when I run across someone who acts like I am some sort of Peeping Tom Provocateur for daring to offer my help with others finding their site.  Therefore, I will endeavor to obtain prior permission for also including a site in future video ads, and I was given a way to do so.  For videos can be uploaded to SiteHoundSniffs, and I will keep the page private until it looks like the coast is clear by sending a link to it to the owners and asking for them to grant permission in a timely manner (within two weeks) before I go ahead and unleash the beast upon cyberspace.  [Video Ads] contains links to all of the SiteHoundSniffs video ads in order of release, and it can be accessed through the link next to Littermates on the Footer.

Before I move on to a more personal matter, Littermates contains the HTML codes for the new SiteHoundSniffs.com badge (in three sizes) that site owners can add to their sidebars.  Be assured that it does not include a tracking code.  In fact, there is no way for SiteHoundSniffs to affect a listed site other than to help attract more traffic to it.  Grayson has made me learn some new stuff about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and being listed on SiteHoundSniffs is most definitely NOT a bad backlink.  To save you the trip over, the badges and their corresponding codea are as follows:

<center><a href="https://sitehoundsniffs.com/"><img border="0" src="https://sitehoundsniffs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/SHS100.jpg"/></a></center>

<center><a href="https://sitehoundsniffs.com/"><img border="0" src="https://sitehoundsniffs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/SHS150.jpg"/></a></center>

<center><a href="https://sitehoundsniffs.com/"><img border="0" src="https://sitehoundsniffs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/SHS200.jpg"/></a></center>


In any event, my primary care doctor thinks that I may not be around much longer to bother people, anyway.  For the last two blood tests show that my kidneys are failing.  It is not to the point of requiring dialysis to remain alive yet, but that does not matter.  For I ain’t doing dialysis because of how extremely difficult it would be for me to have to go to the hospital 1-2 times a week.  Even though I do have a much, much, much better place to go after my time as a part of this world comes to an end, be assured that I really do not have what would be considered to be a death-wish in the eyes of this world—certainly not to the point of me doing things to hasten my own physical demise.  For suicide is absolutely not allowed for anyone in their right-mind, and refusing to reasonably care for one’s health is suicide.  Of course, it all comes down to what is reasonable, and an ethical ping-pong match for the ages could be waged upon establishing a correct definition in our sight.  Quite honestly, I do not believe that the blood tests were done correctly, and even if the results are accurate, our Heavenly Father can easily fix what is wrong if He wants me to remain incarcerated in this prison of world for a while longer.  Be assured that Arlynda fully understands, and she even asked a doctor if it would be a painful death, He said that a person would simply go to sleep, fall into a coma and quickly expire without being hooked up to a life-support machine.  No, it cannot go that easily for me.  Sigh.

P.S.: A tornado passed over the top of the house last night.  I am not aware of any serious damage being done, but our neighborhood lost electricity for around three hours.  The lights came back on at 1:45 a.m. (Central) and despite despising the management, we are most blessed with utility workers willing to go above and beyond to serve the public.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

SiteHoundSniffs Remodeling Completed


I really hate to admit it, but I suppose Grayson ain’t as full of it as I thought he was.  For he said that remodeling [SiteHoundSniffs] was not going to take all that long, and considering just how much was changed, a little over two weeks is really not all that long.

Oh yeah, A LOT was changed.  Most of it should be rather obvious, but getting there took a great deal of effort.  For all of the linked headers displayed on the All and United States pages had to be redone—not to mention moving the additional text links for every category and country to their own pages.  Will I get a raise out of it?  According to Grayson, one must be getting paid to begin with before they can expect a raise {Insert groan here.}.


Yeah, I finally got around to adding a [Humor] category.  We hope it will be a place where you will want to hang out with [Crotchety], [Chatterbox] and [NoNameDufus].


Going clockwise and starting on the left of the front row, that is me, Steven Vaughan, Eric Fields, and Gary Sanders in the newspaper clip from 1972.  The [Preppers(+)] sites featured in order of appearance on the rest of the ad are [Rational Preparedness], [Off Grid and Free], [Reality Survival], [Plan and Prepared] and [Backdoor Survival].  By the way, Grayson says that I ain’t prepared for diddly.  Sigh.

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

https:


When I first heard of Google rating whether a site was secure or not, I did not pay all that much attention, but then I started hearing more and more about it might not being a bad thing for [SiteHoundSniffs], I decided to get’r’done.

If you do not know what I am talking about, the http: at the beginning of a site address is changed to https: while a padlock shows up to the left.  This involves having at least a shared SSL certificate and removing any “stuff” on the site.  [SSL] stands for Secure Sockets Layer,  which is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.

To accomplish it for SiteHoundSniffs, I had to upgrade my hosting plan to a business level in order to have a shared SSL certificate.  A private SSL certificate is available, but it costs more than we can afford at this time.  I upgraded several weeks ago, but there was still not a padlock showing up while my upgrade seemed to be on hold (according to my HostGator dashboard).  I was finally able to get in touch with someone to help me (the trouble was probably my fault) and they said I had the certificate and suggested going to [Why No Padlock?] to determine what may be the problem.  If you look up at the address bar here, you won’t see a padlock, nor an https:.  Blogger/Blogspot sites share a SSL certificate, but there is some “stuff” on here keeping the padlock away.  One of the things is the Feedjit widget on the sidebar, which would be easy to remove.  I have no idea what the other thing is.  Hence, “stuff.”

Yeah, there was some “stuff” on SiteHoundSniffs, and after doing some research, I came upon a WordPress plugin that got rid of most of it after three passes of increasing the setting.  Ah, but Really Simple SSL was indeed simple and finished the job in one pass.  Needless to say (I hope) you can now see a padlock and https: on the SiteHoundSniffs.com address bar.

I do not know if something broke in the code while removing the “stuff,” but when I went to start adding a new round of listings to SiteHoundSniffs, I could not access the All category on the backend.  The others I checked seemed to be fine, but I still had a major problem on my hands.

After failing to find a realistic (for me) way to easily fix the problem, the only recourse seems to be deleting the page for the All category and building another.  Since Grayson has been somewhat less than fully satisfied with the way the site looks, it will be undergoing some major remodeling for the next week or so.  He promises that it will not take all that long, and I have rued the days I have called his bluff in the past.  Sigh.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

BlogDogIt on SiteHoundSniffs.com



This is my second attempt at producing a video ad for SiteHoundSniffs.  I think it is a little better than the first one, but Grayson says, “Just a little—not so much.”  Sigh.

In regards to Super Bowl LI, since my beloved Cowboys did not make it again this year, I do not really have a dog in this fight.  Quite frankly, we will be cheering for offense, and we will not mind either team winning.  After all, the continuing excellence of the Patriots should be rewarded, but the Falcons have never won it.  Of course, when my beloved Cowboys win the next one, I will not care who they beat.  I will start holding my breath now.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Get a Snootful at SiteHoundSniffs.com


A star is born?  Hardly.  Not that it is Grayson’s fault.  For as he loves to tell anyone within his considerably range, he has a seriously sorry lot to work with, which the quality of that first ad attempt clearly indicates.  Maybe being really bad is really good?  Just ask the Sharknado movie series producers!

Speaking of producing, I have had an idea for this ad and several others for several weeks, but the Windows Movie Maker and Sound Recorder went away after installing Windows 10.  It was fairly easy to replace the sound recorder, but the movie maker was an entirely different story.  After weeks of searching for a suitable free replacement, I decided to investigate just how complicated Adobe’s Premier Elements 9, which came installed on this computer, would be to work with.  No, it would not be impossible, but with all of the “stuff” that I do not have the time and energy to do, I was sure longing for the very simple Windows Movie Maker.  As I know all too painfully well that one can find almost everything they are looking for on the web if they know the right question to ask.  Well, I was finally given the right question, and it turns out that one can simply reinstall the 2012 Windows Live Essentials Suite on a Windows 10 computer, and the Movie Maker is included.

As if our normal life around the house is not tornadic enough, Arlynda’s mother, who has lived with us for the past almost eleven years, decided to have one of her “spells” on New Year’s Eve, but this one was more serious than her others.  For she actually wanted an ambulance called to take her to the emergency room.  It turned out that she had a massive heart attack, which left half of her heart no longer pumping.

Yeah, “spells” conjures up visions of an old witch working her magic, and if I did not know better, I could argue that a bad spell had been broken.  For as soon as the EMTs arrived, Arlynda’s mother became the sweetest little-old-lady ever.  She even told them that she did not want to be a bother when they asked if she wanted to be carried to where she could be placed on the stretcher.  This wonderful persona continued until she died a week ago last Sunday (January 15, 2017).  She would have turned 79 last Sunday (the 22nd).  No, I do not want to go into any details, but be assured that the sweetest little-old-lady ever did not live with us for the past almost eleven years.

Her funeral was held last Wednesday (the 19th) which Arlynda’s sister arranged.  Thankfully, Arlynda’s sister has been doing 99% of the work at going through their mother’s “stuff.”  Be assured that she crammed quite a collection into our small house.  Is there a market for empty catfood tins?  Around 100 have been found so far.  I gave up on throwing them in the trash after she kept digging them out and voicing her added displeasure with me.

In regards to Arlynda’s physical health, she has been getting along as well as possible.  She has not fallen again in weeks, and she has full movement in her right shoulder back.

Nothing has changed with me.  So, there is no need to elaborate.

Our two pups and two kitties are all doing well.  I have taken over the catfood duties.  I was already scooping the litterbox.  Grayson always laughs at me when it’s time.  Sigh.

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