And I’m back

Ah, that was a nice vacation. For the first time I can remember, I went off-the-web-grid for a week. I didn’t check email, read feeds, or do any blog posts. In fact, I turned my computer off and didn’t do anything online for a week. Normally on a vacation, I spend an hour or two each day triaging email and handling short-fuse situations. The benefit of that is that you’re not quite as behind when you return to work, but the flip side is that work-related stress can seep into your vacation.

What did I do on vacation? I decided to stretch from my normal habits and keep busy so I wouldn’t miss being online quite as much. I did an intro session of horseback riding, a couple hours of mountain biking, and climbed a rock wall. I took a 35mm photography lesson and I jumped off a telephone pole (not to worry, I was attached to a safety harness). I tried pilates (not as bad as I thought), yoga (the mondo-beginner class that I took was fun), an Abhyanga massage (oily, but relaxing), and acupuncture, which was not really my cup of tea. At all. I tried a couple meditation classes; I enjoyed one and fell asleep in the other, which was still nice. :) I went on 2-3 hikes and watched 4-5 movies with my wife. I took a drumming class (it turns out that I suck) and generally did non-computer things.

This vacation tested my personal theory that I’m primarily just a security blanket for webmasters at this point, and I’m happy that the SEO world seemed to go on just fine without me. :) Of course all that off-line time meant that I’m now *way* behind on what I missed. Looks like I’ve got about 400 new email threads, which is probably 750-800 emails. Google Reader just shows “100+” for the number of items in my bucket o’ feeds, but I’m guesstimating that I came back to 500-600 unread blog posts. I’ve cleared out all the feeds except the 5-10 “high-volume” search feeds. In the next day or so, I’ll post the web tidbits that caught my eye while catching up.

61 Responses to And I’m back (Leave a comment)

  1. The next evolution of THE INTERNET & THE WEB & PCs will alleviate the need to be near a physical computer.

    Although, the current Human Race is privileged to get a peek into the virtual future that will completely change Human interaction in future centuries – our technology is still very very very primitive, when one thinks how it will probably evolve in future centuries.

    Vitural communication will be so much a part of the daily routine, that it will not seem like a chore or task – or something to take a break from.

    This Blog is NOT a security blanket for Webmasters, it allows them to directly communicate with Google; no one knows what happens to emails, but everyone knows that most posts will be read by many of importance in Google.

    Which is why it is worth consideration to have GUEST bloggers when there is a void in topics – so that at least important news are immediately addressed.

    Continuous communication is essential.

  2. Harith

    Matt

    Welcome back from that very busy vacation.

    “…SEO world seemed to go on just fine without me”

    SEO world diidn’t go just as fine as expected. In fact GrayWolf and few other SEO’s were “hacked” while you were on that “acupuncture” vacation ;)

  3. welcome back Matt. Glad you took time off. The net is not the be all and end all.

    Did I just say that? Well, it’s not really. Looking forward to the new posts when they come.

  4. I wish i could spend that much time without my laptop, though studies and work requires me to be online as much as possible.

    I wouldn’t mind taking photography lessons as well, since it’s my second biggest interest after CS && Programming.

  5. Welcome back, I’m glad you had some fun with non-computer vacation.

    I usually go on fishing when I need some off computer fun :-)

  6. Hi Matt

    Welcome back – nothing beats a few days ‘off the grid’…

    ..except when you come back to a pain in the neck (meaning: me!) asking if there’s any news on the “.coms vanishing from ‘pages from the UK’” searches? You mentioned a couple of weeks ago that a fix should be filtering through “in the next 4-5 days”. And it did! And we were grateful! But now it seems to have returned… cue tearing out of remaining hair.

    Anyway – sorry to bother you, I’m sure there are more important things to catch up on your first day back…

    BR

    P

  7. Welcome back… :D

    [avalanche of questions will follow this comment I am sure ;)]

    Did something go wrong with the toolbar export for newer sites?

    A couple of my internal pages gained something visible, but most gained nothing.

    I do have sites that it worked partially well on after a 301 redirect to a new domain, but that only transferred front page PR, and didn’t filter down at all.

  8. Dyce

    Welcome back Matt :D

    Sounds like a very busy but fulfilling holiday! Reminding us there is life outside the web ;) lol

    I, like Paul have noticed the .coms creeping back.. though I still say its much better than before.

  9. That is so funny!

    For me, I spend all of my time doing things with people, and when I finally had my week of vacation over Christmas, I was on my machine every day, Computing in Vegas, Computing across the Nevada Desert, Computing in Mammoth, Tahoe, San Francisco, etc.

    One of the Google elves responded to a post I left and was very nice, and thoughtful, so that worked out great!

    Now that we have you back in our clutches, on your site you have that neat trick where we have to do math to get our comment posted. Now that I have followed your excellent advice and added a blog to my site, which google seems to love, how do I get the math quiz for each comment to keep out the spammers?

    I am glad you had a good vacation. Next time maybe surfing? Mavericks http://video.google.com.au/videosearch?q=mavericks
    is only a short drive away in Half Moon Bay :)

  10. “SEO world diidn’t go just as fine as expected. In fact GrayWolf and few other SEO’s were “hacked” while you were on that “acupuncture” vacation”

    And you where on the list the guy was targeting :-) a register globals problem “sincker” – i would ahve been disapointed in you if you site had been owned.

    The google promoting its own product thing came up again checkout this time.

  11. Welcome back sir Matt, it’s great to have you back. Hope the catching up doesn’t leave you so tired that you need another holiday!!

    Henry

  12. Cue conspiracy theorists and their “now that Matt has seen the outside of the Googleplex, he’s going to be quitting” posts ;)

  13. Jacques

    Welcome :)

    I hope is time to read around different forums, webmasterworld, digitalpoint, etc, there is PANIC, many website and pages drop in Google, can you explain what is happening :). Thanks
    Jacques

  14. Matt.

    You deserve more breaks as you work far too hard. In fact all of the spam team work too hard. May I suggest that you all take a break, every month for a week at a time :D

  15. Glad you were able to take some down-time.

    Since it’s been over a month now, I was hoping you would address something that affects many SEOs (and web researchers like me) in a very negative way: Google’s deprecating the SOAP-based web search API. The AJAX API is not a suitable replacement for programmatically accessing search results. Is Google expecting everyone to go back to page-scraping?

    Frank

  16. Acupuncture is creepy.

    Welcome back Matt.

    You are more than “just a security blanket for webmasters” BTW, thanks for remaining humble.

  17. Nice to have you back, and nice to hear that you have had some great time for you self.

  18. Im suprised you managed to get that much stuff done in a week. That stuff would take me about 3 months to do. Im impressed.

    On a side now, does anybody know how to fix that firefox bug that makes the find box pop up whenever I try to type an apostrophe? Its really starting to bug me. (and the reason i typed im)

  19. Dude…. Matt…. Acupuncture is “the bomb!” You have to give it a “second go!” It’s really very good for you. And the needles don’t hurt.

  20. Tom

    Welcome back! I took a vacation once where the main criteria was they had no phones and I couldn’t get cell coverage. I went to a dude ranch in Texas. They did have a golf course – life was good.

  21. Matt,

    Congratulations on your time away from the GRID… it sounds like you were able to pack a whole lot in… !

    Right on!

    -Sean

  22. BillyS

    Your vacation sounded very relaxing. I think it’s a great idea to try new things. I’m into photography myself. And my idea of a great vacation is hiking in the great outdoors (Yosemite…) not a visit to a sandy beach.

    >>My personal theory that I’m primarily just a security blanket for webmasters at this point

    Yahoo posted a weather report late last week, so that kept us entertained. Anyway, I’m more concerned about our lack of ranking on MSN right now. Once that’s over with, it’s back to figuring out why Google isn’t sending us five times more traffic.

    Welcome back!

  23. * looks down at his thumb *

    * looks at Matt *

    * looks back down at his thumb *

    * looks at Matt again *

    Sorry, dude. Can’t use you as the blue security blanket. That’s just too creepy.

    Can I just use you as a place to make random comments from out in left field to break up the monotony of common webmaster SEO complaints instead?

  24. Harith

    BillyS

    “Once that’s over with, it’s back to figuring out why Google isn’t sending us five times more traffic.”

    During those Holy Days of Data Push & Data Refresh, you better to keep watching your grass grow or your paint dary than figuring out why GOOG isn’t sending more traffic your way :)

  25. “Welcome to the real world!”

  26. Joe

    The pilates wasn’t too bad? I tried it once and it was undercooked.

  27. You know, sometimes this online / seo stuff just gets far to much! Holidays are definatly the answere.

  28. Hey Matty,

    Welcome back to the global village :) Tell us where you went on vacation?

  29. I have an old Pentax k1000, but developing costs too much and takes up too much time, I picked up the k100d, and soon the k10d. That is a lot to do in a week, and someone beat me to the SEOs got hacked comment. You were on the list, good thing you didn’t go down while on vacation. I have had the happen, and it creates a bad image.

  30. David

    Matt,

    Don’t worry about the drumming, most of them had that problem when they started and a lot of them still do ;-).

  31. Paul Carpenter, if you know of sample sites, please post them and I’ll take them to the crawl group. I’ve got 1-2 to test myself now that I’m back.

    Simon Heseltine, I’m very excited to be back at work. There’s just a lot to do to catch up. :)

    Aw, Multi-Worded Adam, c’mon over here and give me a hug! ;)

    I don’t want to give too much attention to the guy that defaced 3-4 SEO blogs; I saw the trackback attempt on my site in my logs from a TOR node. Looks like he used a script/attack that someone else wrote as a proof-of-concept.

  32. Hi Matt,

    Pleased to have you back and look forward to the refreshed posting.

  33. Welcome back Matt,

    I had to live like that too for a while. I hardly had any internet and no phone what so ever. When I stayed in a few different countries I called people on the phone every other week. I had no internet, it was pretty difficult. Right when I came back I hated television with a passion. I figure when I leave again and come back i should just throw away my television. Well I hope you enjoyed your trip Matt.

  34. Rudi

    Hi Matt,

    Good to hear you did spend an nice vacation! Can you do us a favour and look ASAP into that “Google 950 phantom”? Whitch is highly appreciated!
    Thanks & best regards from Zurich, Switzerland
    Rudi

  35. I dunno how you managed to stay off the grid for an entire week; we were down for three days without power after an ice storm (and Michigan in January without power or heat or internet is not fun) and I just about went outa my mind.

    I’m looking into maybe getting a USB implant into the back of my neck. Eliminate some middle steps that way.

  36. Hey mate, congrats on pulling yourself away from all this, good work. Interested to hear what books you plowed through while on vacation, but obviously you have a little catching up to do.

    Personally I find it so stressful to try and get back on track after time off (and believe me its a hundred times worse for you) that I simply don’t :). I’m also one of the slackest cell ph users of all time – you gotta get that peace and quiet away from everybody every now and then.

  37. Hey Matt:

    Glad you are back.

    Hey! I really miss the videos. Just a passing fad?

    Cheers,
    Ted

  38. My blanky’s back! Whew. Everything is going to be OK……

  39. 35 mm photography lessons? Geez, you mean digital cameras have not replaced those old dinosaurs….

  40. Andy

    You didn’t check email for a week?

    I’m breaking out in a cold sweat just reading that!

    Glad you had a good break. Sounds like a lt of fun. :)

    Andy

  41. You did better than me! I have just got one of them Nokia 9300i mobile phones, cant help myself not to check email on my last holiday.

  42. thas good tha you are back. because Google lost a Domain. by denic.de (the german domain registry) changed the owner of google.de … no its a guy from wiesbaden! His server is now a little bit to small ;-) you can see screenshoots at: http://www.media-mind.de/seo/google-forum/google-verliert-domain-martin-rusteberg-558.html

  43. I’m sorry, Matt. I like and respect you, but I really think our relationship should be strictly platonic. Your wife would get jealous, and then my girlfriend would get jealous, and then Audrey would get all jealous, and we’d just have a really big situation on our hands.

    Don’t worry though…we can still be friends.

    (I can’t believe I just dumped a Google engineer and tried to let him down easy.)

  44. Sounds like you need a vacation from your vacation. Welcome back.

    Darwin

  45. Jose

    Sounds like you had a great busy week. We should all be brave enough to leave the laptop behind.

    And now that you are back, what’s up with the Wikipedia? Is it reasonable for it to say to the world “I don’t trust any of my links?” I mean, how is an encyclopedia not supposed to vouch for its own content?
    I read their discussion pages and the subject that “Google recommends” the nofollow for the Wikipedia keeps coming up. I think they are misunderstanding the concept. It is one thing to label some links in conflictive areas, but, the whole site?

  46. George

    Wonder why every time you go on vacation everything breaks in Google?
    You should check our the threads about cob-web.org and the problems(?) many people think it is. It might NOT be a problem but we need some information from Google about it.
    Are we boing penalized for duplicate content or not?
    PLEASE have a look at it as soon as possible.

  47. I bet it was nice to spend some down-time with your wife :) Hope you had a good vacation Matt!

  48. Hi Matt,

    I am jealous with you that you have such a nice time, everybody is looking for a nice time but work pressure and family pressure and specially bill pressure create whole lot of problem. I know working in your capacity is tough and some tough decision to take and with those decision millions affected. You deserve a tension free vacation away from a bit of daily routine. Hopefully you will get another one in next 6 months and which will give you some fresh idea to keep the spammer away from our internet world.

  49. Dempsey

    Yeah, don’t give up on the drumming if you enjoy it. Physicallly and emotionally fulfilling. Starting late in life doesn’t mean you suck, just behind the curve. When I get a crib with a spare room, definitely getting one of those electronic pads drumsets. With headphones, I’ll be the only one who knows I suck.

  50. Matt, it is good to have you back! Is there any update regarding the new google DC in North Carolina? Please advise us :)

    Pratheep

  51. Nice try, Jason Duke. You wouldn’t know anything about those malformed urls + trackbacks that Carsten wrote about, would you? :)

    Google 950 phantom? I think I missed the context on that one, Rudi. Or I haven’t read all my feeds yet. :)

    Ted Z, I’m mondo swamped right now. If things cool down in (say) 2-3 months, I might make more. But not for a while at least, I’m sad to say.

    Jeff, it was a digital SLR. I’m not a complete dinosaur. ;)

    Pratheep, that’s not really my side of things, but I spent time in North Carolina. That area of the state is really pretty..

  52. In 2004 I went off the radar for one month. I went to my cousins place, no computer. It was o.k. because I went there to help him out with some work, so even if he had a computer, my time would have been limited to the evening hours. . . but the computer is not the computer, if you know what I mean. It’s not the same to do some giberish things on someone elses computer or do what you have to do on your own computer. Anyway, I enjoyed it, this peace, no computer noise, no spams in the inbox etc etc.

    I think back in 2004 it wasn’t a big deal to have some non-computer time, I haven’t done that much online that time, mostly I spent my online time at deviantART. Now . . . if I’m off for the weekend, well, Monday can look like the living hell. The problem is the lack of control. I have no idea what’s happening to my websites, is there anybody trying to hack it, what new spammers are attacking it, do I miss something in the “online community”, is there a subject on a website I might be interested in and I can’t be one of the firsts to reply to it etc etc etc. I know this sounds crazy and it is crazy because there are other more important things to think about. I have to say that this community part isn’t such an important thing when being online, I do care more about my websites.

    Back in October I had a talk with my host admin about some problems with the backend system. All problems got solved over the weekend. Before this fix I had a slightly different mod_rewrite rule in the htaccess file than I should have had normally. The fixes made this rule stop working properly so my website was offline for about 36 hours. Well the URL’s were not accessible. Not a big deal, but it was the time where the site started getting some traffic so it was a small catastrophe. Google decided to crawl my website in this 36 hours aswell, so you can imagine what was going on in the diagnostic section of the webmaster tools. I lost control here and this is the problem, losing control about things while being away. These weekend being aways are the worst cos you can’t get the computer off the mind. To free the mind from all those bits and bytes you have to do a trip millions of miles away from a computer, the best is to go on a Safari trip, but I guess I would met someone who has a sattelite phone and some uber high tech equipment which allows internet connection . . . anyway, such trips can free your mind and when coming back from it, this makes the computer/interent and whatever look as unimportant as to know what kinda underwear Britney Spears has on at this moment. But then, after the safari-computer-lag is gone, we’re back in deep waters

  53. Hi Matt

    The site I’m aware of being affected is: http://www.polarisgolfpropertyuk.com

    Many thanks…

    Cheers

    Paul

  54. Rudi

    Hi Matt
    …Or I haven’t read all my feeds yet… dont worry! You did spend your vacations without computers! That’s the right thing! Anyhow… there is BIG discussion going on WMW and as well on other Forums around the world!
    About that “950 or end of SERP’s penalty! And of coooooourse I am part of that community!
    http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/3215939.htm
    So get back to your daily routines an we are looking forward to the NEWS!
    Thanks & best regards
    Rudi

  55. Regarding SEO Company UK above. I just can’t beleive that you are link stack spaming matt cutts blog. To be fair their is probably some trust there but I mean come one its a bit of a cheap shot. I like your style though :) LOL

  56. Hi Matt,

    Welcome back, the site I am working for had the same problem as polarisgolfpropertyuk.com. Thank the crawl group guys for fixing it, for us anyway!

    We are about to relaunch our site – don’t worry 301s will be in place and there will be a proper heirarchy!

    We are going to add digg, del.icio.us, RSS, link to us, link to this page across the site and I am slightly concerned that we could get dramatic increases very fast and your dear engine could see this as us spamming it – I don’t expect a direct answer :), but in principle can sudden “real linking” cause any penalties to be invoked?

    Many thanks,

    Richard
    PS I was searching your blog earlier and the inability to search by date was a little frustrating (British understatement…).

  57. Sorry Matt – there is another site I believe to be affected: http://www.agudoo.com – certainly the homepage doesn’t show up on a site: search.

    Apologies if these are already in hand.

    Cheers

    Paul

  58. Nikhil Jogia

    http://www.diamondsandopals.com is also affected! (though in Australia)

  59. econwriter5

    Hey Matt,

    I didn’t start drumming (set drumming) until I was in a junior in college. My drumming didn’t really take off until I joined the Shannon Rovers as a pipe snare drummer. Nothing quite beats leading the Chicago Downtown St. Patrick’s Day parade, and playing the number of shows in 2 weekends what regular touring bands play in a year.

    Music opens up a whole new world, new set of experiences, new people.

    I wouldn’t give it up dude! And I’ll tell ya, after a hard day, nothing feels quite as satisfying as beating the crap out of something for an hour or so at the end of the day, and knowing you won’t get arrested for it.

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