Making Virily Better

Well, based on today’s poll, polls are partially fixed! Thank you to everyone that commented on the previous post in this series and to everyone that voted in the poll! Your participation is welcomed, and I thank you. As promised, the first iteration was sent this morning to the admin team, and I am doing this the same way I did it in July when we connected on several of our asks. Also, please note that add anything you wish to have included in the comments. The list today is in order. By that, I mean that the top question is the top response by the community (most yes votes) three new questions and then ending with the remaining original asks in voting order.

Please note that all of these were and have been sent or expressed in comments by community members.

I did want to point out one issue that was raised yesterday. Why don’t we get guest view credit anymore? We did get credit for guest views for a while on the site. In the original version of Virily, we got credit for all the views we generated on our posts, and when sharing to Social media, the posts of other authors. You would see it in your Virily list as a guest view. Around three years ago, the site was so slow you couldn’t use it. Part of the reason for removing that credit was to reduce wear and tear on the site itself. The analogy I shared in the comments is now shared below.

The issue is complexity. Consider a city street. It is managed by stop signs and by crosswalks. What if they had to manage every single person that ever went across the crosswalk and also, once they crossed, they had to be tracked forever. It would create a database of people, cross-referenced and almost impossible to manage. Imagine how slow a system would be if it had to provide the location of every human being that ever walked across a specific crosswalk. While that is an exaggeration it does show the issue the site had when it tried to connect user, post, and social share. You see, people don’t respond to social shares at the same every day. If I share something on twitter, people see it all day long. But sometimes people see it one day, two days or even two years later.

We did, for time, get credit for sharing (1 Viril per share) via social media. One for Facebook, one for twitter and one for Pinterest. That was removed earlier in 2019 or late 2018.

Please choose the things that would impact you as an author. I will recompile the list and publish it tomorrow.


Making Virily better

I know that many of you are still struggling with the new Virily. There are minor inconveniences and frustrating things going on. Some users had their September Virils revamped during the transition to the new site. I have notified the admins for everyone that reached out to me. I also went through the list of things we asked for back in July and realized we got all of our original asks except, for one thing, the ability to edit comments. Based on that, I am going to do a polling/what does the community want list. Here is the way it works; I put out poll questions based on the response from the community. I then share them with the admin team. They read them, and since we got all but one last time, they make changes to the site based on our feedback!

Let’s be crisp – posts are up, there are new users, but views overall are down. People sometimes get confused – on the right side, when you are reading a post is the most commented posts on the site. Honestly, 30 comments normally get you on that list. I will tell you that replying to your comment is a little suspect in terms of your motivation. But, for the site and the health of Virily, we don’t need to worry about the most commented list. The trending list, which is found under the left menu, is the list we need to pay attention to. If you are on the trending list, that means your post is one of the top read or viewed posts on Virily. Virily is a view driven site. The more views we get per post, the more money Virily makes from Google AdSense.

Comments are awesome, and I am in any way saying comments are not awesome. I love and respond to the vast majority of comments left on my posts. I was noting that in terms of site health, look to the trending list. The other thing that is a little alarming is the impact of edited posts. When you edit a post, it returns to where it had been previously in terms of views (trending) and comments (most commented), but it doesn’t help either the author or the site as much. I love that we can edit posts and I would like to applaud Carol DM personally, she edited a post and realized that it doesn’t reset the post in terms comments and reviews, her post leaped to the top of the most commented section, and she asked the admins to take it down.

Be careful when editing posts; there is an impact.

Poll questions to submit to the admin team below!


small screen to big screen!

Screen sharing is an interesting thing today.  First of all, what it means and second what and how you can share your screen. Apple now includes Airplay, Carplay and other applications in the iOS solution. Those allow you to operate portable projectors and automobile screens as extensions of your iPhone. I won’t argue the reality of cell phones. What you will be carrying with you tomorrow is most likely only a cell phone. All those years I traveled, first with a 12 pound and slowly a lighter and lighter laptop is going way. So the ability to plug your phone into a projector and have it mirror the screen is critical. Let’s dive a little into the overall concept, expanding a post I made more than four years ago now, The Screen as a Service.

Chromecast plugs into an open HDMI slot on your computer and allows you to share your phone, tablet, or computer screen on the device that has the Chromecast plugged in. Prijector is a device that also plugs into HDMI ports and allows you to quickly share your computer screen, iPhone, Android, or another device right on the drive Prijector is plugged into. Another device in this screen sharing world is AirTame. AirTame again uses an open HDMI port on your TV and allows any device on the same network to broadcast anything on your receiving device. I have one in my office television. I can stream live TV, recorded TV, Netflix, Hulu, and any other service to your Television. The last device to consider is the FireTV system from Amazon or the AppleTV system from Apple. Both allow you to mirror your mobile screen on your TV.

But all of this doesn’t help anyone without why. One of the things you can do with Chromecast or AirTame, or for that matter connected projectors and Prijector turns a TV or projector into an advertising wall. Or if you are entertaining friends you can turn your wall into a picture display! It also allows you to create a two-monitor system quickly for your phone, tablet or computer.  The last thing is that many of these devices are continuing to drop in price. You can get a Chromecast for around 40 US right now.  I enjoy using these systems in some ways. AppleTV lets you program what you are going to watch on your TV from your device. AirTame and Prijector let you put anything you are looking at on the larger screen.

I do understand this is probably something most of you aren’t interested in. This is more of an art of the possible post, in case you ever have the need!


Chasing Dory – review

Chasing Dory is a cute name for an ROV. ROVs or remotely operated vehicles focused on exploring underwater. Drones are also a form of ROV, but drones are normally associated with flying above you in the air. Or next to you in the case of a selfie drone. ROV”s as the market defines them today work underwater. Many include a handset to operate them, and some use your tablet or cell phone.

Chasing Dory is much smaller (just over 3 pounds) and comes in a brilliant yellow. The base system includes a 150-foot teether and a buoy. What that means is you can go down 150 feet if the body of water is that deep!

  1. Wifi doesn’t work through the water. It works above the water, but once you start moving below the water level, wifi signals dissipate quickly. So with a drone in the air, you can use WIFI because WIFI works up to 10000 feet away from the receiver. With an ROV underwater, the device has to be tethered. Chasing Dory is a new system that has a tether, but the tether connects to the wifi-enabled buoy.
  2. These ROVs can go easily as deep as 1000 feet. However, the recommended depth is around 300 feet. Remember that water pressure is quickly greater than air pressure.

Chasing Dory has a set of headlights that allows the camera to see below water level. It takes a couple of times using an underwater ROV to get the orientation. Where Drones are a little less control specific, you have up, down, and side to side. With the ROV you have the same up, down, side to side, but the reality is you can’t physically see the ROV underwater. So what you see is what you are responding to with an ROV.

We haven’t had a chance to put Dory in the water yet. That will come after the end of winter! It is hard to operate controls when you have to wear gloves!

Chasing Dory has a nice software package, for either Android of IoS devices. The system can operate around 200 feet away from your phone. What that means is that the buoy, with Dory can be placed in the water, and then you can move your boat away from the area. You will get to see more without the shadow of a boat overhead!

I won’t do a rating for this ROV until I get it in the water and see what they video and still, pictures look like.

So, for now, it is an introduction review!


Climate change smart devices

Power vampires can be frustrating when you are trying to manage your home’s power consumption. First, like here on Virily it is what you can measure. How much power a device “draws” when it is on and how much it “draws” when it is off can be difficult. In the US, there is the Energy Star rating that tells you how much power the device draws when on. What it doesn’t do is tell you how much power it sips when the device is off. One of the things you have to consider is the nature of the device first, do you need it to be available. Most people would argue that refrigerators have to be on all the time. The freezer and refrigerator can cycle all day long and not impact the good. You have to make sure your refrigerator and freezer are well insulated. They can maintain an on/off cycle most of the day and reduce the overall power drain of the device.

In my last series of posts on this topic, Alex Levante and I started talking about the concept of a smart device.  In the world of appliances, a smart device is one that is internet-connected. For example, I have a friend who is as big a weather geek as I am. She has an interest connected toaster that burns the weather forecast for the day onto the toast. Burns is the process, not the result in that case. The toast during the toasting process has the imprint of today’s weather on it when done. The device is always on and always connected to the internet. But that is an advertising label, and the device isn’t any smarter it is just connected to the internet. The definition of a smart device going forward might be a little different.

First, the device would shut off when it wasn’t used. In fact, if it were really smart it would watch you. (for me, the coffee pot goes on at 330 am and off around 4 am and not on the rest of the day).  My coffee pot gets unplugged today because it is not smart and sips power all day if I don’t unplug it. The other side of a smart device should be, when am I used. If I am used at 5 am every day (to toast something), only turn on five minutes before that. Turn on, and truly means do not draw power until 2 minutes before you are on. Do whatever download you have to do but only draw power when you are getting ready to be used. The value of appliances is they reduce the time to complete a task (masking mashed potatoes with a mixer versus by hand is a great example). But in the modern age of Climate Awareness, we also need to make sure we are not making the world a worse place for the convenience of whipped potatoes! The concept I would propose is a smart device that pays attention to when it is used. When it is not used, to shut itself off and only run its internal clock off a rechargeable battery. That way it comes on at the right time, but doesn’t consume power when it is off!


Virily the good, the bad and the ugly

The Good the Bad and the Ugly for those who have never seen it is a great Clint Eastwood movie.


Things we asked for:

  • Ability to edit posts was grated.
  • The ability to block specific Virily users was granted.
  • Notifications were fixed!
  • Maximum posts per day limit

New interesting things added beyond what we asked for:

  • New look and feel

The Bad:

  • Who knows the impact of blocking users.
  • Notifications are a big change (fixed the amount, but now you have to do a little more work). Overall this one is very interesting.
  • The site is slower overall
  • Views are down
  • Profile views don’t always match, Virils are the same but harder to see what is trending. (when someone comments 12 times instead of one, it inflates the comment list without increasing the views of the post). I would love to see them swap the most commented for most viewed. Viewed is a much more important and critical measure than tracking comments (some users comment multiple times, some users only comment once in a longer comment)
  • There is now a maximum number of posts allowed in a day.
  • Everyone appears to have been reset to Newbie for Virily 2.0

The Ugly:

  • When you edit a post, it appears as if a brand new post. That makes it easy to abuse the system.

There are some things that still aren’t working as projected. The site is slower, and honestly, views are down because it is harder to do what you used to do; people are struggling. Let’s see where we are in a couple of days! I think, as a community, we need to watch the impact of editing posts. If you consider that there are things that bother you in a post, go ahead and edit it. But if it is something you can live with, consider not editing the post for now.

To block a user go to their profile page.

Thanks all!!!!


First off, I wanted to make sure that a couple of questions over the past few days got answered!

  1. The ability to edit our posts was the number one ask from the community way back when we did that
  2. The second most asked for change was the ability to edit comments
  3. The third most asked for change was fixing notifications. By fixing the community wanted fewer notifications for us to go through each day, week, month or so when we logged onto Virily.

Two of those three ask are functioning now! The new asks that I have sent have to do with the right of an author to delete comments on their posts — plus continuing the quest to get all of us the ability to edit comments.  I wanted to combat some misinformation that I have seen on the site. The ask by authors was that we wouldn’t see all the extra notifications as it made it longer to go through notifications overall.

The site is much slower than it was. I like many other authors have set a limit on the amount of time I am willing to spend on Virily. I find with the new site slowness that I struggled to get done in 2 hours what I had been able to do in 1 hour previously. Some of it is a learning curve, and I am willing to assume that as I get faster in using the new platform I will reduce the currently doubled time. Otherwise, I am going to have to cut down to reading 15 posts a day or less.

I also wanted to make sure that everyone knows a couple of alarming facts:

  1. The embedded ads are back (actually put into the text of your blog post) those have come and gone several times, But if you copy your Virily posts to create a backup copy, it can be frustrating to have to remove the embedded ads. FYI!
  2. Views are down; part of that I suspect is that most people like me are spending the same amount of time on the site, but because the site is slower, you cannot do as much at the same time. I am hoping that as the code base stabilizes we will see some speed improvements.

Views being down are bad, though. The more views the site generates, the more revenue they get. The “new Virily” interface probably cost 200 or more hours of developer time to build. The overall site views need to move up if possible quickly!

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