ˈvər-chə-wəlˈdā-vəs Serial storyteller, poetry pusher, digital doodler, flâneur.

Geek Tweak: How to Find Broken Links

How to Fix Broken Links

How to Fix Broken Links

How do you find broken links on your WordPress blog? For a couple of years I was a fan of Broken Link Checker. This plugin works like a charm. Plug it in, activate it and rest assured that it will chug away in the background digging through your website’s links and identifying “link rot” so that your digital domain can be as tidy and user-friendly as your white picket fence domain. It’s a simple set-and-forget way to find broken links.

Broken Link Checker is a good plugin to monitor and remove or nofollow dead links in your website. It has the ability to monitor almost any part of your website, including your posts, pages, comments, blogroll and the custom fields. The plugin is not only limited to links that doesn’t work but also detects missing images and redirects. Broken Link Checker can even prevent search engines from following broken links and let’s you edit the link directly from the plugin’s page without manually updating the posts. (

Sounds perfect! In many ways it is/was. While I remain a fan of this simple and reliable way to find broken links, I’ve deactivated it across all of my WordPress sites on the advice of my developer. Why? It turns out that same diligence that makes it a dependable and thorough tool to find broken links also strains our server. Big time. After being throttled repeatedly by my hosting company for overwhelming the server, my developer narrowed down the problem to the plugin.

You have a plugin installed called Broken Link Checker. It spams your domain with HTTP requests and can cause worker processes to be spawned. ~ Zach Russell

Tools to Find Broken Links

We disabled the plugin and the problems have (apparently) abated. But we still needed to be able to find broken links, so Zach proposed these alternatives:

  1. Online Broken Link Checker We recommend that you… [this] tool to check for your broken links. It’s not a plugin, and won’t make the server unhappy.
  2. Integrity (for Mac OSX) An even better solution… would be an application that you install on your computer.

I’ve been trial testing the Online Broken Link Checker and it certainly works well. But it’s self-initiated (read easily overlooked, postponed, etc.) which is obviously less desirable than a diligent digital gone working away in the background. But it also doesn’t overwhelm the server which is good, er, essential. I haven’t experimented with Integrity (now that’s a funny phrase taken out of context!) or its premium cousin, Scrutiny yet. Soon perhaps. Unless I can divine a better solution to find broken links?

Root Out Link Rot

I know I’m not alone with this blogger challenge. How do you find broken links on your blog? Do you use a website-based plugin to monitor and mend link rot? An independent web-based service like Or maybe a standalone application like Integrity or Scrutiny?

Embrace Transparency

Watch Morgan Spurlock’s TED Talk, “Embrace Transparency” (aka “The greatest TED Talk ever sold”). No editorial needed… Enjoy!

Dancing in the Snow

“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass… it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” ~ Vivian Greene

Dancing in the Snow (despite a wind chill warning)It’s been a bumpy transition from 2013 to 2014. Storms, proverbial and otherwise, have dampened the celebratory season for me. There’s no sense in airing out dirty laundry (how many metaphors have I mixed so far?) So I’ll hop, skip, jump forward. After all, there’s no guarantee that the storms will pass. It’s January in the North Country, after all! Blizzards are supposed to be the norm.

So I invite you to join me in dancing in the rain, er, snow.

Apparently the whole Northeast is getting snowed under. It’s cold as blazes here, but there’s actually relatively little new snow. Fine, dusty powder. Maybe 3–4 inches. No more.

Thousands of flights have been canceled including my sister’s and parents’ return-home flights after holidays in the Adirondacks. A “wind chill warning” popped up on my mobile phone an hour or two ago, and the old school thermometer outside my bedroom window appears to have frozen…

So at this stage dancing is as much a survival technique as anything else. Crank up the melody, and enjoy your evening!

Caffeinated Comics and Quirky Cars

Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee (with Jerry Seinfeld)

Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee (with Jerry Seinfeld)

[Note: If you’re a linguistic puritan, please excuse the liberty I took in my title for this post. Caffeinated Comics is actually a misnomer given that Jerry Seinfeld’s latest project involves more than just standup comedians, but it conjures up a droll image that I couldn’t resist. Sorry.]

Are you ready for season three of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee? I am. And despite

I’ve never been much of a television guy, but as a bartender in graduate school I developed an appetite for Jerry Seinfeld, pretty much the only personality in the perennially-on glow box over my head that cut through the bar buzz. He’s funny. He’s smart. He’s articulate. And he’s a great storyteller.

Jerry Seinfeld Doodle

Jerry Seinfeld Doodle

If you haven’t caught up with him lately, you’re due for a welcome surprise. Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee is a web-based project described by its creators as follows:

Jerry Seinfeld is joined by friends for a drive in a classic car and having coffee, sharing stories all along the way. (Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee)

Caffeinated comics and [mostly] caffeinated cars. It’s goofy, laid back and revealing. Entertaining but un-airbrushed. It’s candid. It’s unrehearsed (so far as I can tell), and it offers up an endearing angle on what makes some of the funny businesses’ stars tick. On the Facebook page Seinfeld offered this explanation to the question “Why are you doing this?”

Well, I’ve been doing it my whole life. But talk shows and interviews can’t let you see this other side of the comedy world. To me, one of the best parts. I just thought it might be a fun thing for fans. (FAQ: Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee)

Tune in for the new season which launches on January 2, 2014.

Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

Most of my best blog discoveries over the years have come through recommendations from other bloggers. Peer-to-peer, the power of the interwebs! It’s time for me to pass along my best blogs 2013. I know, it’s already mid-March, but  “posting on time” was not one of my 2014 New Year’s resolutions… Better late than never!

Caveat emptor: This collection is totally personal (read esoteric), guided only by my limitless curiosity. In other words, don’t expect a tidy “Top 10 Author Blogs” or my “Secret Sauces Stash”. These are inspiring, timely blogs that I currently frequent, and recommend check them out.

Best Blogs 2013: Storytelling & Writing

  • This American Life Ira Glass. Storytelling 101 all the way up through post-doc!
  • Positive Writer Bryan Hutchinson: “I’m a positive writer and when that doesn’t work, I eat chocolate. I encourage writers and all artists to slay the beast of doubt within and create work that matters.” A friend of chocolate (and optimism) is a friend of mine…

Best Blogs 2013: [Self] Publishing

  • Jane Friedman’s Blog One of the sharpest tools in the “brave new world of publishing” shed (along with a long list of smarties drawn to her glow!)
  • The Book Designer Joel Friedlander’s practical advice to help self-publishers build better books. Really!
  • The Creative Penn London based Joanna Penn’s from-the-trenches guidance for writing, publishing and marketing your book.
  • Media Bistro More smart people saying smart things about the smart new world of publishing.
  • Audiobook Creation Exchange Blog Audiobooks are going to be a big, bigger, maybe even the biggest part of tomorrow’s publishing world. So many reasons, and I’ve blogged about them elsewhere so I’ll spare you now.
  • FutureBook Explores “how the digital revolution will re-shape publishing in the 21st Century…”
  • Digital Book World’s Daily Daily dose of ebook and digital publishing news address “the radically changing commercial publishing environment…”

Best Blogs 2013: Inspiration

  • Brain Pickings Maria Popova’s “Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are…”
  • The Airship “Surveying literature, art and culture from an altitude of 5k feet while traveling at 53 mph.”
Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

Best Blogs 2013: Doodling

  • Keri Smith Illustrator, author, book builder and self proclaimed guerrilla artist. I own everything she’s permitted into print, and her blog offers great in-between-books nourishment.
  • Mike Lowery Playful illustrator who misses nothing and doodles everything!
  • Elizabeth Graeber Artist, illustrator with the quirky-but-addictive vision of the world and its many little pieces.
  • Doodlers Anonymous Sort of like a big block party for doodlers.
  • Doodlebomb! A sparse but ace tumble of inspiring doodle bombs from the Doodlers Anonymous team.

Best Blogs 2013: Creativity

  • Medium A newbie but goodie where interesting, usually articulate “people share ideas and… little stories that make your day better and manifestos that change the world.”
  • Picture Correct Tip-top photography information and techniques.
  • TEDx I’m a longtime fan and ambassador for this nexus of creative thinking, innovation and bravery. It’s about as close as I come to “watching television”…

Best Blogs 2013: Home & Garden

  • Cabin Porn Inspiration for your quiet place somewhere. Few words needed. Photos tell the stories.
  • Gardenista and Remodelista (joined at the hip, so to speak) describe themselves respectively as, “the sourcebook for cultivated living” and “the sourcebook for considered living”… Lofty goals, but worthy reads. Clean, classic aesthetics and intelligent, well-edited design.

Best Blogs 2013: Simplicity

  • The Minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff. Can you imagine? Aaahhh…
  • Zen Habits Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness… Zen Habits features a couple powerful articles a week on: simplicity, health & fitness, motivation and inspiration, frugality, family life, happiness, goals, getting great things done, and living in the moment.

Best Blogs 2013: Adventure? Habitat? Culture? Wander Wider! Meander Marginalia…

Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

  • Atlas Obscura “The definitive guide to the world’s wondrous and curious places. In an age where everything seems to have been explored and there is nothing new to be found, we celebrate a different way of looking at the world.”
  • Adventure Journal “The deeper you get, the deeper you get… Adventure Journal is an online magazine devoted to outdoor adventure in all its forms.”
  • 70 Degrees West “70 Degrees West is a photo-documentary project… [created by Michelle Stauffer and Justin Lewis that explores] the impact our modern world has on eight unique regions and the people who connect with these environments. Realizing the vulnerability of habitats and cultures along a line of longitude demonstrates a fraction of a larger truth: the natural world and cultural ways of life are endangered on a global level.”

Best Blogs 2013: Blogging? WordPress?

  • WordPress Tavern Wonky WordPress hangout that’s good for keeping abreast of the latest community news, updates, themes, goals, etc.
  • WPBeginner Syed Balkhi’s site is a veritable WordPress clearinghouse that I’ve followed since it was launched back in 2009. Lots of resource intro/comparison and how-to posts.

Best Blogs 2013: Miscellaneous

  • The Burning House If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It’s a conflict between what’s practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question.
  • Uncrate Digs up the best men’s gear with spot-on recommendations and daily updates. 9k+ items to date and over 1.5 million monthly readers.
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