2:48PM Weekly Roundup

Posted by Mark

Here are some of my favorite posts on 2:48PM from last week:

Face Subsitution
The McGurk Effect
‘The Office’ Skit from the Emmys
Chinese Bike Couriers
Bakery that sells gruesome human body parts

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The Events Section

Posted by Mark

Just a minor note. I’ve gone ahead and separated the events section so that it can function by itself. What this will allow me to do is post more events in that section without over running the main blog with random event posts. I will continue to post events on the main page here but only ones that I think should be highlighted. You can access the events section by clicking on the events tab in the navigation strip on top.

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A minor change

Posted by Mark

I recently updated and rearranged the categories on top. I used to have the link to 248PM (PM not AM) all the way on the right but I thought it was more appropriate to have it next to the main 248AM link on the left. It makes more sense since 248PM is similar to 248AM except instead of the posts being related to Kuwait they’re more generic. So if you come here and don’t find any updates, you might find something there instead. [248PM]

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Forum now works with Tapatalk

Posted by Mark

The 248AM Forum now works with the mobile application Tapatalk. The application allows you to browse and participate in the forum using your phone but it makes it really easy since it uses the Tapatalk interface. What’s also cool about Tapatalk is the fact you can add all your favorite forums to it which makes things very convenient. The application is currently available for the iPhone, Android devices and BlackBerry and you can find out more information [Here]

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I won the lawsuit!!!

Posted by Mark

I’m really not a good writer neither am I great in speeches which is what I believe this verdict deserves. I was extremely nervous today waiting to find out the outcome as you can imagine and it was such an incredible relief to find out I won.

I’m really not sure what to say other than the fact this ruling goes to show how much freedom of speech is highly respected in Kuwait. I love living here and I love having the right to state my personal opinion on this blog. I really want to thank EVERYONE for all the support that you gave me. Seriously what you guys did was just incredible and really gave me the courage to fight this out till the end. I also want to thank my lawyer Khaled Al Shamali from The Group Law Firm for taking this case and doing an amazing job. And most importantly I want to thank the judge and the court for their ruling.

I hope no other blogger will have to go through what I did and I hope the result of this case will serve as an example that you can’t stop people from stating their personal opinions.

Thanks again everyone!

PS: If you have no idea what lawsuit I am talking about click [Here]

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Kuwait Blogs update coming soon

Posted by Mark

I’ve been meaning to update the Kuwait Blogs app for awhile now but due to the fact I do all the work on my iMac I haven’t been able to do so. My iMac had a problem with the screen and I sent it in to get repaired under warranty which took around a month to get done. I just finally picked up my iMac today so will most probably be working on an update for the app this weekend.

I’m aware that the current build of the app is unstable with iOS4.3 and it’s my priority fix. I already know whats wrong I just need to work on it. What I also want to do if I have time is update the blogs in the app. I can’t add any more apps since I’ve hit the limit, but I can swap out blogs that aren’t active anymore or aren’t as active as they used to be. So if you have any recommendation on what blog I should add to the app leave it as a comment below.

If you want to download the current app here is the [Link]

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Some interesting numbers

Posted by Mark

A couple of days back the blog was listed with 9 others on CNN’s “Top ten must read blogs in the Middle East“. Automatically when that happened I went into red alert mode, I made sure the blogs cache plugins were up and running and I double checked my servers bandwidth and memory usage to make sure nothing was out of the ordinary so that once this large wave of visitors arrive, the blog wouldn’t crash and I wouldn’t lose or disappoint any potential new visitors. Imagine opening a restaurant and having enough food to serve 10 people but then 100 show up, I didn’t want that to happen to me. I was of course expecting it to be a temporary rush, my 15 seconds of fame before the majority of the new visitors disappear forever. So how much traffic came from that article?

I’m not really sure what to think about this. This was an article on CNN and so my expectations were high of course and I was predicting around 5,000 visitors to come in and easily 10,000+. But somehow I overshot my estimates by a considerable amount as you can see. I have a few theories on why this must be the case:

– Maybe the majority of their readers only read their main news and not other none news related articles
– Maybe their readers aren’t used to clicking links in their articles and so never thought about clicking any of the blog links mentioned
– Maybe no one was interested in finding out more about my blog
– Maybe majority of the people who read the article already knew my blog and didn’t see a reason to click it
– The article went up at the start of the weekend which is when based on my blogs stats the daily readership dwindles down considerably
– Maybe the article wasn’t publicized enough on CNN and so not many people ended up reading it
– Or maybe their readership base are serious businessmen or older people who don’t think blogs are interesting enough or even newsworthy

Those of course are just my theories and I’m sure CNN themselves have a better idea of who reads what on their site and why this article might not have transitioned into a large quantity of clicks. But this got me thinking… How much traffic did the Benihana lawsuit really send my way? I went digging for the numbers and here are the top referrers:

Slashdot.org 4,957
BoingBoing.net 757
electrony.net 469
fakeplasticsouks.blogspot.com 437
AmericanBlog.com 303
FastCompany.com 285
Zagat.com 184
eConsultancy.com 166
techania.com 171
LAWeekly.com 139
TheNextWeb.com 127

By the looks of it that’s not a lot but at the peak of interest and because of the fact that it was picked up by a ton of bloggers and news sites (here is the full list) it was enough to bring in around 20,000 visitors in a single day which is slightly less than double what I usually get. On January 31st when the story first started picking up my readership for that day increased to 16,748 visitors followed by an increase to 19,610 on February 1st until going back down to 15,672 on February 2nd and then things went back to normal on February 3rd when it went back to 12,030 which is what the blog usually gets per day.

In comparison, on March 29th the rumor of Jackie Chan being dead started spreading again and a search for Jackie Chan is dead on that day resulted in my blog being one of the first results on Google so I got a sudden influx of over 10,000 visitors coming in to check out my old post on that rumor. That sudden surge actually brought down the blog a few times during that day which resulted in me permanently removing some memory intensive plugin as well as having the Super Cache plugin permanently on so that in the future no matter what happens the site can handle it.

Anyway I’ve never shared detailed numbers like this on the blog before so hopefully you found the above interesting, it’s just a small behind the scenes glimpse.

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248PM is now dead

Posted by Mark

248PM was an idea I had where anyone could come in and post whatever they wanted but it just didn’t take off the way I wanted it to. So for now 248PM will redirect everyone to this blog until I can think of another idea for it.

Update: Actually I think I will just turn it into a blog where I post stuff that I don’t think is good enough for this blog. That way I can keep the A-Side / B-Side thing going on just without the community aspect.

Update2: Ok 248PM is back now except it’s no longer a community blog, it’s just a normal blog that’s only mine with random posts that are not related to Kuwait. Check it out [Here]

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Ten must-read blogs from the Middle East

Posted by Mark

CNN have put together a list of the 10 must-read blogs from the Middle East and my blog made it to the list! This is what they had to say about me:

Want a break from politics? Try 248am for a slice of Kuwaiti life

Mark Makhoul, 32, a creative director at an advertising agency, began his current blog, 248am, in 2005. Mark’s wife Nataly Tawil, a designer, makes occasional contributions to the blog. The pair are both Lebanese and live in Kuwait.

While it may not offer the political insight of some of the other blogs on the list, it does present a slice of life in Kuwait, covering art, technology and more, with lots of reader contributions.

And it’s not entirely without controversy … Makhoul is apparently being sued by a Japanese restaurant chain over a negative review.

Check out the full list and article by clicking [Here]

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Posted by Mark

Some of you might noticed the blog went down and up a few times today. The reason for that is I had a problem with the server. I’ve actually been having a problem for around a month now, the site was feeling sluggish and it was going down often for a few minutes at a time. Well thanks to the Rackspace technicians where my server is hosted, they managed to find the problem.

Because the blog gets so many visitors a day small issues are big issues and in my case it turned out my “Related Posts” plugin was the small issue that turned big. You might have noticed before that when you click on a post, right below it you would find a section called “Related Posts” which would contain links to previous posts on a similar subject. Well the previous plugin I had that created those links stopped working so I installed another one around a month or so back. Turns out the new plugin I installed wasn’t programmed properly which resulted in the plugin using all my server resources to the point where the server was becoming unresponsive and required a reboot every so often hence the down times.

How bad was the plugin? The server resource utilization dropped from 121.82 load average down to 0.60 load average just by disabling it! That’s a humongous difference. So now the server is back to normal, it’s a lot faster and more responsive. I’ve also installed Super Cache as well so that should also take the load off from the server.

Everything should now be better than normal.

Update: Just realized why the server went to hell all of a sudden today and not earlier. Turns out the rumor about Jackie Chan passing away came back to life today. Since I’ve previously posted about it I got around 10,000 people come in from google using the search term jackie chan passed away since my link comes up first.

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