May 28 2010

Broken 70k Barrier!

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 7:48 pm

The Alexa rank for this site is currently sitting at 66,752, which you can check out here. If you click around the various areas of information, you can see which countries this site is more popular in, as well as the country-specific rankings there. A fairly recent addition to Alexa’s site are the search queries and other SEO related information. If you were to compare sticky post to spitoons or Megaline Kazakhstan, you can tell which subjects visitors to this site (those that come from search engines, as opposed to regular visitors, at least) are most interested in. Some of them I can understand why they end up at, however tmzflights seems to be some sort of blip in the statistics. I’ve not written, or linked to them, as far I can remember, and I’ve seen the same alleged popular search terms in Alexa’s reports for other sites. Does anyone have information on how the term is appearing?

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Jun 03 2009

Hey Google, Follow Me Please

Category: Friends,PersonalChrisM @ 9:40 pm

A friend here in Astana has created a web site for the Zhuldyz Centre (a centre for child development, based on the Montessori method). Currently, none of the major search engines have indexed the site, despite there being no apparent major issues preventing them from doing so. Knowing very little about the methods involved with this style of education/development, I took a while to read some of the pages, and also checked out Wiki’s entry on the Montessori method.
I would be interested to find out how progressive the methods used at the Zhuldyz centre are, as in whether they adhere to strictly earlier ‘pure’ Montessori, or whether they have followed other practitioners and modified the theories and approaches to take into account reviews and criticism. I could be wrong, but I think the last time I came across this method of teaching was a Newsround report, a good 20-odd years ago. (Newsround is (was?) a children’s news programme on BBC1, in case American readers have no idea what I’m on about.)

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Oct 30 2008

100K Almost!

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 3:53 pm

As I write this post, the blog is 332 people away from having received 100,000 unique visitors since it began (back in July 2006). In case the phrase ‘unique visitor’ is new to you, this is basically one person visiting the site. If they return within 24 hours, the repeat visit does not count towards unique visitor statistics (unlike a simple hit counter). Also, any visits from bots or spiders (from the search engines mostly) are not counted at all by both statistic packages I currently use (AWStats and FireStats).
So, if someone visits my site once a day all through October, my stats would show an extra 31 unique visitors. If they visited 31 times in one day, only ONE unique visitor is recorded. Anyway, thanks to those who know me and pop in occasionally to see what is new in our lives over here, thanks to those of you who come here from the search engines (I use a plugin that pings me each time I rank well for a google search) and especially those of you who come back again.
I’ve recently cut down on the adverts displayed on this site, especially those that were only shown for American visitors – the ads weren’t at all content-orientated, sometimes looked tacky, and to be completely honest were not generating anything like the income I had hoped for. You’ll also never find any sort of pop-up, pop-under, or full page sponsorship advert before you can access the site; each to their own, but I hate them when I’m randomly browsing around, so don’t want to inflict them on my visitors.

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Oct 08 2008

Don’t Want To Register?

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 2:54 am

Having just seen a section of a Ray Mears episode I’d already caught before, I wanted to check if he had done any filming in Kazakhstan. Simple enough, chuck in Ray Mears Kazakhstan to the search box in Firefox, and wait to see what gems Google returns. One of the entries looked interesting, so I opened it in a new tab, and checked to see what people had to say with ‘Bear Grylls or Ray Mears – who’d survive?” as the ecademy thread title. I was greeted with a “Join Now or Login to read all comments and to submit your own content, questions and comments.” message. Rather than register at every forum or knowledgebase that may or may not have useful information, I have two approaches to such occasions. The first is to return to the Google search results, and click on the Cached link at the bottom of most search results. This will then open up a page with what the Google bot originally found. This tends to effectively grant full access, as if the search engines can’t see the content, then search results aren’t likely to include the site.
Alternatively, if there is no cached version available, or if the site looks too garbled, I use the BugMeNot add in for Firefox. This checks their database for accounts that have been previously shared by other users, and if a match is found, you can log in without handing over your e-mail address to an organization you don’t know well.
If you use the second method, don’t forget that posting under that account is not a great idea, as anyone potentially has access to the same account, and may also alert the site owners to the fact that the account in question is not strictly genuine any more.

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Jan 29 2008

Blog Revamp Completed

Category: Personal,WordPressChrisM @ 12:54 am

So, the transfer process from my old host to this new one (Bluehost) is complete, and I took the opportunity to basically build this blog up from the ground again. With the amount of plugins I tested over the last 18 months, there was an awful lot of clutter left in the SQL tables, and I had experienced problems with the old host and their security updates. During the process of exporting the posts from the old home of the blog to this one (more on that later), I ended up losing the post numbers; where this post might have previously been something like , it would now be ……/1926 .
As this meant that any deep links to specific posts from external sites were lost (and the number shift was not purely sequential, so no fancy redirect equations would work), I decided to change the fancy permalink strategy, hence this post can now be found at . This makes addresses a little more memorable, and possibly could improve this site’s standings with the search engines (once the bots have completed crawling around, finding the old content under it’s new addresses.)
Back to the export/import process. Ideally, I would have done this properly, but part of the reason for me moving hosts was that I was again unable to access the backend of this site – the admin section of wordpress. Without access to my plugins, I was unable to take a proper backup of the existing posts, comments, pages etc. Luckily, I had an 8 day old XML file that I’d exported as a temporary backup. However, I hit an unforseen snag when I attempted to import that file into this site – it was over 2Mb, and therefore exceeded the PHP restrictions in place. Rather than wait around for tech. support to confirm if they’d be willing to, at least temporarily, relax the limits, I decided to delve into the XML file and see what could be done. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find 2.7Mb of data to drop, so I decided to try an experiment. Checking through the structure of the file, I kept the beginning and end of the file, then removed around 2/3 of the posts and comments. Saving the resulting file, this imported fine; I then kept the same empty structure, and inserted the middle 1/3 of posts & comments, to my surprise this then imported fine without wiping anything out from the previous import, and then the last 1/3 went in fine. Basically, I kept all the content bar a week or two, and I luckily still had the old site open in a different tab, so just needed to copy’n’paste that into new posts.
I decided to try a new theme for the blog, and also drastically cut down on the plugins installed, hoping it would speed up page load times, especially for first time visitors to this site. This seems to have worked reasonably well, and I repeated the process for this site’s brother blog (
I’ve also completed some work on John’s new site, and started the process of converting my old niche article sites into blogs as well, but more on that later.

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Dec 05 2007

64 Visitors Away From 30,000 !

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 6:24 pm

This blog has been running since July 2006, and has seen a few changes since then. Originally it was intended to be used for keeping in touch with my friends and family back in Britain, and also to link to some articles on my niche sites. Since then it has grown in different directions, and I now find a lot of traffic arrives from the search engines, rather than just people I know checking in. Since August, the site has received more than 3000 visitors a month, though despite the general upward trend of visitor numbers, the Alexa rank is still getting worse. I suppose other sites are improving their visitor stats by a larger margin…

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Nov 26 2007

A Month Of Random Contacts…

Category: Friends,KazakhstanChrisM @ 12:39 am

During the last month or so, I have been contacted by a number of people, all related to Kazakhstan strangely enough. First we had someone who has built a plane and called it Berkut (which is also the name of a vodka over here), an English guy moving to Astana who wanted some more information about satellite TV and supermarkets, an Australian guy who is moving here in December, with his Russian wife, and finally an Indian (apologies if incorrect, his surname sounds Hindu to me) architect, living in New York who designed the local Cinema City complex (he wanted some photos of it, as his current ones weren’t too good).
I’m hopefully passing the vodka on to an American friend, so the plane builder can celebrate the flight with a suitably named drink, we’re looking forward to meeting some new faces here in Astana at some point, and the architect has been put in touch with Tom, who has better camera skills than me, so should have some better shots than those captured last night at Tiflis.
Anyway, they all made contact through finding this blog, so a big thanks to the search engines out there who are spidering away 🙂

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Jul 14 2007

How Did You Get Here?

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 9:07 pm

No, not a request for people to leave comments involving various birds & the bees, under the cabbage patch or stork stories…

I have recently been researching (doesn’t that phrase sound so much better than ‘trawling through my boring server logs 🙂 ? ) which terms people have been using when they arrive at my site from various search engines.

Most of them could be easily explained, for example…
Chris Merriman , Christopher Merriman , ???? ??????? & ????????? ??????? are all variants of my name that have appeared on this blog at one time or another. (I must remember to ask Ira to check my Russian spelling on those.)

Due to the way Russian people will attempt to translate my name from the Cyillic alphabet back to the latin original however, Kristofer Meryman is also a possibility. (Unfortunately, my Kazakh ID card is testament to this, so if anyone ever directly compares it to my passport, the christian names do not actually match up!) Also, I occasionally see people arriving here from using SilentlyScreaming or AntiSceptic as search terms, as these are my most often used forum/digg/social bookmarking membership nicknames.

Anyway, Kazakhstan Blog , Kazakh Blog and Astana Blog also were used, as well as Presents For Nick and I still seem to be indexed somewhere with my old blog title ( I Never Could Get The Hang Of Thursdays ), as a few searches still trickle in from variants of that Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy phrase, from search engines I have not come across before.

However, rabbit sreviews , 17 screen blockers and acid ran pictures really have me confused. The last one even more than the rest, as I can’t find any reference to those terms in any of my previous posts!

Oh, and yes, some of the above is a blatent attempt to rank a little better on some search terms, but I hope my readers forgive me, even if they do not find this information of particular interest. If you do find it interesting, first go and take a short nap, and see if you have recovered, if not, you may want to head over to my I Got Lucky page, which lists all the search terms that this site has (at some point in the past, if not currently) been at #1 when searched for through google!

Finally, if you have never left a comment on this blog before, I would be genuinely interested to hear from you, and especially how you found this site in the first place. Thanks…

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Jun 17 2007

Another Kazakh-Based Blog

Category: KazakhstanChrisM @ 8:53 pm

I was checking how this blog was doing in the search engines, for terms such as Kazakhstan Blog , Astana Blog , and of course Chris Merriman, when I came across a site written by an American who lives in Almaty.
She is a Peace Corps volunteer, and has recently found out she is to stay in Kazakhstan a little longer than originally planned. For anyone who has not come across the Peace Corp before, they work in almost 140 countries, trying help out local people with global issues.

Anyway, enough of the intro, check out the Kazakhstani Extravaganza blog for another look at life over here in Kazakhstan.

This post is not sponsored, nor did she ask for the link, I just thought it might be of use to some people. Which reminds me, I need to add this site to the links page – check the menu at the top to get there.

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May 14 2007

Chinese English Russian Translator

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 9:35 pm

Ira’s Dad has returned from China, and we went to see him and mum-in-law this evening. As well a nice silk duvet, Igor (Lorsha’s Dad) bought me a little electronic translator.
The model is REC-3510V. Just as soon as I figure out how to change the MENU language from Chinese to English, it will be even easier to use 🙂 It has pretty large vocab, and reads out the words if you tell it to. I’ve played around with it a little, but until I know what I’m actually clicking on, it is a bit hit and miss.

If anyone out there has one of these, and can tell me how to change the interface language, I’d be really grateful. There is a manual for it, but the English section is a little shorter than the rest, and the instructions tell you to click a button to use English instead. However, you need to already be in a certain sub-menu for this to work…

By the way, no this isn’t a really convoluted sponsored post, I really would like some help 🙂

OK, update on the situation, I’ve now figured out how to do it. For the purposes of any search engines ever finding this, and therefore hopefully helping other owners out, this is
How to change the language on a REC-3510V from Chinese to English or Russian
(without having to be able to read Chinese 😉 )
Turn Power on, if not at the root menu, click the ‘Return’ key (bottom left on keyboard) until you are.
Select the bottom right icon with the cursors, and press Enter
Press Enter again, to select the 1st item
Scroll down to item 5 (bottom of this particular screen) and press Enter
Select the 3rd option and Enter for English menus, or the 2nd option and Enter for Russian menus.
Thats it all done 🙂

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