Hi!  I’m Luther Siler.  I’m the author of Skylights and The Benevolence Archives, Vol. 1both available at various ebook retailers easily accessible from whatever magic rectangle you’re using to access this page.  Between Twitter and the blog I’m adding hundreds of new followers a month, so this post is to let the new folks know where to find me.  Regular folks, if you see the STATION IDENTIFICATION tag, feel free to ignore it.

So here’s where to find Luther Siler on the interwebtron:

  • You can follow me on Twitter, @nfinitefreetime, here or just click the “follow” button on the right side of the page.  I am on Twitter pretty frequently; I use it for liveblogging TV, whining about anything that strikes me as whine-worthy, and for short, Facebook-style posts.  I generally follow back if I can tell you’re a human being.  You are not a human being if your profile mentions SEO.
  • My author page on Goodreads is here. I am accepting any and all friend requests at the moment.  As of this week I finally have more friends at Goodreads than my personal account does at Facebook; this makes me happy.
  • My official Author page on Amazon is located here.
  • Feel free to Like the (sadly underutilized) Luther Siler Facebook page here.  It’s mostly used as a reblogger for posts here.
  • And, of course, you’re already at, my blog.  You can click here to be taken to a random post.

Thanks for reading!

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

In which I give #WordPress advice

(Note: I typed this in the old editor, too.)

Dear WordPress:

Let’s talk about your new stats screen for a bit.  I put up a one-sentence post a few hours ago to confirm that other people feel the same way I do, and it’s amassed eighteen comments and twenty likes in that time, so I’m pretty sure I’m not on my own here.  I’ve been actively blogging on your site for about a year and a half, although I’ve had the account for several years longer than that, and I spend a lot of time obsessing about my stats.  An unhealthy amount of time, in fact.

You recently changed your stats page, and by a number of indications you seem to be interested in user feedback on it.  However, using your feedback form really didn’t give me a chance to explain what I actually dislike about it.  It could be that you’re not actually interested, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Here’s the thing, guys: your new stats page sucks.  It sucks a lot.  And it doesn’t have to.  Let’s talk details.  Here’s what I see, on my laptop, when I open the old Stats page:

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 5.52.31 PM

Now, notice a few things: first, daily viewers and page views for several weeks of blogging.  Today’s numbers specifically, and some all-time and best numbers.  I can get specific data about any day on the list simply with a mouseover.  All this without clicking or scrolling.  The stuff underneath is in two columns, so once I scroll down I’m going to see a lot more data.

Here’s what I see in your new, “upgraded” version:

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 5.49.16 PM

Nothing.  Literally no useful data at all.

Okay, that’s not completely fair, because that big advert thing is there and I can get rid of it.  Okay, let’s get rid of it:

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 5.49.32 PM

Right from the jump, guys, you cannot possibly believe this is an upgrade.  Now, I actually do like that I can see Likes and Comments now.  That’s a good thing!  But that’s ten days of data, and there’s no way to make it show me more, and I can’t see views and visitors at the same time, the “Summary” view is entirely gone, and all my records are missing.  There is now no way to get all-time data on my blog.  There’s no way to get daily data that’s older than ten days.  That’s not an improvement, and you’re lying if you pretend that it is.

Look at all the wasted space on this screen:

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 6.05.34 PM

That. Is. Insane.  No school of design anywhere authorizes this much wastage of my screen.  Here’s the exact same data on the old version:

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 6.07.04 PM

You cannot seriously suggest that the “upgraded” version is better.  This is as close to objectively wrong a suggestion as I can imagine.  It’s not better.  It’s huge and wastes enormous amounts of space and makes me waste time with clicking and scrolling around the screen.  And you’ve actually removed things like my search terms!  (Granted: I shoulda  opened up the “Yesterday” view on the search terms.  It’s usually more useful than that.)

A moment of praise: I do appreciate seeing who my new followers are and when they subscribed, which is information that’s available but harder to find in the old version.  But that doesn’t come close to overcoming this abomination:

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 5.49.41 PM

Who the hell decided making the countries view this much worse was a good idea, and why wasn’t that person immediately fired or demoted to emptying trash cans?  In what world is that low-contrast nonsense better than this?:

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 5.50.37 PM

You’ve made this worse.  It’s beyond question.  It’s indefensible.  That light green nonsense is impossible to tell from the background, and anyone with eyes who looks at it knows it, which makes me think that you’re doing it on purpose.  You’ve removed the countries information despite having plenty of room for it.  There is no longer any way to get geographic data from more than a year ago.  Do you guys have any idea how often I look at the “Since February 25, 2012″ screen?  Often enough that I didn’t have to look at that screenshot to remember the date.  And in your “upgraded” version all that information is gone.  I’m normally all about corporate conspiracy theories, guys, but “intentionally screwed their users’ ability to monitor their stats for absolutely no reason” is a really crappy-sounding conspiracy theory.

Keep the Likes and the Comments bar graphs.  Keep the followers data.  But fix the rest of this nonsense, and by “fix” I mean “go directly back to the way it was”.  This is bush-league, crap design and you have to know it.

Posted in Blogwanking | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Question for the #blogwanking nerds

Everyone hates the new stats page as much as I do, right?

Posted in Blogwanking | Tagged , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

REBLOG: World Unknown Review is Here!


I’m published in this! I just ordered it for my Kindle! Go check it out!

Originally posted on L.S. Engler:

The announcement I’ve been chomping at the bit to make is finally here! I might be pushing it out the door a little early (KDP is giving me weird cover issues and the physical book isn’t yet available on Amazon), but I just can’t wait any longer. World Unknown Review is finally here!

World Unknown Review has been an exciting project for me, one I hope to duplicate every year to help put more voices out there in the popular format of our times, independent publishing via Amazon. This first volume brings a lot of really great stories, in a wide variety of genres, from memoir to romance, science fiction and fantasy, adventure and literary. Some of these authors have a hefty list of accomplishments under their belts, some of them have never been published before. There’s a little bit of something for everyone, and, hopefully, everything for someone.


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In which it was almost a REALLY bad day

ICubsLarge spent a good chunk of my day at work yesterday not actually at work, but running various errands around town that took me out of the office– I had to deliver some stuff to another school, to pick up keys from another staff member’s wife (more essential, and also more ridiculous, than it probably sounds) and to drop some stuff off at the administrative offices downtown, because inter-school mail stops working over Winter Break and I needed them have the paperwork before we left.  I probably spent a third of the day in my car or otherwise out.

Our administrative offices are downtown.  South Bend’s downtown is not large, but it is much like other downtowns in that parking can be tricky because there are a lot of one-way streets and a lot of street parking.  I lived in Chicago for long enough that I can confidently declare myself the best parallel parker in the state of Indiana, so that’s not a worry, but there’s still lots of “Is that a space?  Will I fit there?  Wait, which way does this road go?  Can I turn right here?” going on while looking for a spot, and the fact that I can never exactly remember which east-west road forms the northern boundary of our administrative offices doesn’t help.  I tend to turn a block too early, which means I need to turn away from the office when I hit the street it’s on, which is annoying.  And I’ve done it enough times that I have only myself to blame.

Anyway. On one of my various turns and backtrackings I drove past the county courthouse.  The courthouse is directly across the street from the St. Joseph County Democrats’ headquarters.  I assume the mayor’s office is around there somewhere; probably in the same building the courthouse is in, or the County-City building, which is attached.  At any rate, I’m in the right lane, driving north, meaning there are parked cars to my right because it’s a one-way street.  I’m a little distracted in that looking-for-a-parking-space, kinda-not-certain-where-I’m-going way that one gets when looking for a spot in a downtown, slightly unfamiliar driving environment.

And somebody walks out between two parked cars in front of me.

This is less dramatic than it probably sounds; I stepped on the brakes and never got within five feet or so of him, and he realized immediately what he had done and shot me an apologetic little combined head-nod/bow thing.  He was never in any real danger, just one of those “OH SHIT oh we’re okay” sorts of moments that you get sometimes when you’re driving.

But I was close enough to him to recognize him, especially once I noticed that he was wearing a City of South Bend pullover– not exactly a garment I see on a lot of people around town.

I had just nearly run over Mayor Pete.

Who had been jaywalking.

Killing the mayor would probably have really screwed up my weekend.

In searching for an image to use with this post, I came across this parody Twitter account.  Which is not the mayor, obviously, but… well done.


Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments