The Ten Most Popular Posts of 2011

In 2011 Rickety received 114,610 visits from 192 countries, generating 191,044 pageviews. I published 195 posts in 2011 but only two of them made it into the top ten. The remainder were written in 2010 (3) and 2009 (5). Here are the ten most popular:


Defense spendingDefense Spending by Country
In the latter half of 2011, talk of spending cuts increased traffic to my defense spending posts. This is the first of three posts on the subject in the top ten.

The wide gap between U.S. and world defense expenditures is of concern to many citizens.

This post, written in 2009, placed #5 that year and #8 in 2010.

Cowboys Stadium big screen


Cowboys Stadium Tour
Whenever the Cowboys were playing, this post received more hits. Written in 2010, it is one of only a few posts I have written about sports.

I found the tour of the stadium very interesting, considering I don’t watch any football and thought the Cowboys referred to some ranchers in Wyoming.


Laying Permastone tileInstalling a PermaStone Modular Vinyl Tile Floor
I have not written many how-to posts but this article has gradually risen in popularity until finally breaking into the top ten this year.

The flooring has stood up to wear very well and over two and a half years later looks like it was installed yesterday.

Of course it helps that it was installed after the children were grown.

Defense Spending by Country


2009 Defense Spending by Country
In 2009, U.S defense spending was more than the next fifteen countries combined. The chart graphically illustrates the huge gap, which has been widening annually.


Jacob Encountering RachelTen Artists Paint Old Testament Women
I put together this small collection of paintings in 2010 when the Old Testament was being studied in Sunday School. It reached the top ten that year at #5.

Of the ten paintings, one of my favorites is of Huldah in Treasure the Word, by Elspeth Young. Huldah is the woman who authenticated a book of the Law for King Josiah. Another favorite is Rebekah At The Well, by Michael Deas.

Woman with an issue of blood


Seven Artists Paint New Testament Women
2011 saw the New Testament as the scripture of study in Sunday School. These paintings depict seven different women but we only know two of them by name – Mary and Lydia.

My favorite is Lydia in She Worketh Willingly With Her Hands, by Elspeth Young. As Paul preached, the Lord opened the heart of Lydia. She believed Paul’s words and she and the members of her household were baptized.


Bryson and GrandpaUnited States Total Fertility Rate Increases
This is the first post I wrote about U.S. total fertility rate (TFR). It was #1 in 2009 and #2 in 2010. Surprised at its popularity I wrote another post on world TFR which then became just as popular.

The U.S. has a higher TFR than Europe and many Asian countries and will be much more able to the weather the demographic winter that will shortly befall many nations.

Aurora in an egg


World Total Fertility Rate Declines
Since 1950 the world TFR has been decreasing steadily and by 2050, according to the United Nation, the world TFR is projected to drop below replacement levels.

This post has been as popular as my post on U.S. TFR and reached #3 in 2010 with pageviews numbering 5,239 in 2011.


Where Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan, and Russia meet 12 Beautiful Mongolian Landscape Photographs
Written in 2009, this post was #1 in 2010. Its popularity surprised me, especially as it is just a collection of photographs garnered from Flickr.

I have many posts and photographs about Daniel’s Mongolian mission on my blog and this attracts a fair number of Mongolian visitors.

There were 5,578 pageviews of this post during 2011, of which 415 were viewed from Mongolia.

Defense Spending by Country 2010


2010 Defense Spending by Country
This post was written in June of 2011 and shot to #1 as talk of The-Mother-Of-All-Defense-Cuts increased.

In 2011 the post captured 7,312 pageviews.

Also see the Best of Rickety.
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Closed For The Season

Closed for the seasonRickety was primarily created to keep family and friends informed about Daniel’s missionary experiences. But Daniel’s mission ended in December 2010.

Just like many government programs that have grown beyond their original scope and should be retired (or at least scaled back), Rickety is being mothballed for a season so that resources can be utilized elsewhere.

Rickety is not going away but posts will be sparse or non-existent for several months.

Photo by teofilo
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The Ten Most Popular Posts of 2010

Merged photos

Merged photographs from #1, #3, and #9 listed posts

Around the blogosphere I have noticed that a few bloggers have published their top ten posts of 2010. For example, consider the Harvard Business Review, Parents as Teachers, and the Washington Area Women’s Foundation. I decided my top ten list could be just as interesting — or boring.

In 2010 Rickety received 56,309 visits from 168 countries, generating 99,368 pageviews. Of my 248 posts published in 2010, these were the ten most popular:

  1. 12 Beautiful Mongolian Landscape Photographs
  2. United States Total Fertility Rate Increases (#1 in 2009)
  3. World Total Fertility Rate Declines
  4. Bank Rewards Checking (#4 in 2009)
  5. Ten Artists Paint Old Testament Women
  6. Mongolia (#2 in 2009)
  7. Build an Arc Welder from Microwave Ovens (#7 in 2009)
  8. Defense Spending by Country (#5 in 2009)
  9. Updated LDS Church Membership Statistics
  10. Build an Arc Welder from Microwave Ovens: Part 2

Judging by the above list you would think my blog was about Mongolia, fertility, and arc welders with a little finance and religion thrown in. Well it is — with the addition of posts about my family and a pinch of politics.

Follow the link for more Rickety statistics.
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Rick Needs

Rick needs

Rick Needs

I last tried this in 2008 and it never fails to amuse me. It seems to work for almost any name. The idea is to search on Google with the words Rick needs, but substituting in your name. Then examine the first ten hits and extract the essence of the results and compile a list of what you supposedly need.
Here are the first ten Rick needs that Google listed when I searched tonight:

  1. What Rick needs. [This is my 2008 post.]
  2. Rick needs a massage.
  3. Rick needs a sparring pal.
  4. Rick needs to get his own show on Oprah.
  5. Rick needs numbers. [Rick went swimming with his phone and needs to rebuild his phone list.]
  6. Rick needs chord inversions.
  7. Rick needs an expert weapon smith.
  8. Rick needs moral support. [After rotator cuff surgery.]
  9. Rick needs more babies in Connecticut.
  10. Rick needs solid breath.

Interestingly, one of the commenters on the original 2008 post made a prediction that did indeed come about:

Over time, the browser will shift and new needs will appear…perhaps listing the rick’s needs sets about filling needs? (Galveston Wizard Comment)

Comparing the August 2008 results with today’s it looks like the only thing I still need from 2008 is a massage.

Try your name and see what you need. Then share the results.
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Google Plots Fertility Rate

If you cannot see the graph click here or here.

Google recently added the World Bank’s World Development Indicators to their existing US unemployment and US population data sets. The World Development Indicators consist of 17 data sets that Google plots as an interactive graph using their public data search. The graphs can be linked or embedded on a web page as I have done above. Note that in some data sets, a few countries do not have data, for example Andorran GDP growth rate.

In my graph I included the countries with the highest fertility rate (Niger, 7.0) and the lowest fertility rate (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1.2). I show the U.S. at exactly the 2.1 replacement rate. The World fertility rate has dropped to 2.5.

Links to Data Sets

I found that I could not easily access the public data sets. I had to display them using the right words in a search. Once I discovered the URLs I could save the links and go directly to the graphs. The links are listed below that have the World Development Indicators made available through Google’s public statistical data search. Clicking a link will bring up a blank chart, allowing you to select one or more country’s data to display. I have included the U.S. population and unemployment public data sets for completeness.

External Articles

This list is updated occasionally, with newer additions listed first.


Google now has a Public Data Explorer with a lot more data sets available. Andorra now has a GDP growth rate.
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Top 10 Favorite WordPress Plugins

WordPress Plugin Directory

I consider some plugins mandatory, or more accurately the function of certain plugins to be indispensable. Plugins such as Askimet, All in One SEO Pack, and Google XML Sitemaps. The plugin, Featured Content Gallery, is essentially part of my blog theme so I consider that mandatory also.

Listed below are my Top 10 Favorite WordPress Plugins, in alphabetical order. My purpose is not to demonstrate how they work but to bring their existence to your attention. I have used all of these plugins for quite some time and have had them function correctly and consistently.

1. AZIndex

A highly customizable and user friendly plugin to create one or more alphabetical indexes of selected posts in your WordPress blog.

Get Plugin: AZIndex
Author plugin site: English Mike
Plugin use example: Rickety and Rickety
Related article: How to Create An Index For Your WordPress Blog

2. Broken Link Checker

Broken Link Checker screenshotChecks your blog for broken links and missing images and notifies you by email or on the dashboard if any are found.

Get Plugin: Broken Link Checker
Author plugin site: Janis Elsts
Plugin use example: See adjacent screenshot.

3. Do Follow

The dofollow plugin for WordPress lets you remove the evil nofollow attribute from your comments.

Get Plugin: Do Follow
Author plugin site: Denis de Bernardy
Plugin use example: View source on this comment page. You will not find the rel='nofollow' attribute inserted after
Related article: How to not NoFollow

4. Exclude Pages

Exclude pages checkboxProvides a checkbox on the editing page which you can check to exclude pages from the primary navigation.

Get Plugin: Exclude Pages
Author plugin site: Simon Wheatley
Plugin use example: See adjacent screenshot.

5. Tabbed Widgets

Place widgets into tabbed and accordion type interface.

Get Plugin: Tabbed Widgets
Author plugin site: Kaspars Dambis
Plugin use example: In the sidebar see the accordion interface holding Recent Comments, Today’s Popular Posts etc.

6. Top 10

Count daily and total visits per post and display the most popular posts based on the number of views.

Get Plugin: Top 10
Author plugin site: Ajay D’Souza
Plugin use example: In the sidebar see Today’s Popular Posts and Most Popular (Since April 1st).

7. WP-DB-Backup

Database backup by emailWP-DB-Backup allows you easily to backup your core WordPress database tables. You may also backup other tables in the same database. Backups can be delivered by email.

Get Plugin: WP-DB-Backup
Author plugin site: Austin Matzko
Plugin use example: See adjacent screenshot.

8. WP-Polls

Adds an AJAX poll system to your WordPress blog. You can easily include a poll into your WordPress’s blog post/page. WP-Polls is extremely customizable via templates and css styles and there are tons of options for you to choose to ensure that WP-Polls runs the way you wanted. It now supports multiple selection of answers.

Get Plugin: WP-Polls
Author plugin site: Lester ‘GaMerZ’ Chan
Plugin use example: See poll in sidebar.

9. WP-Stats

Display your WordPress blog statistics. Ranging from general total statistics, to Most Commented Posts.

Get Plugin: WP-Stats
Author plugin site: Lester ‘GaMerZ’ Chan
Plugin use example: See Most Commented Posts in sidebar.

10. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

Returns a list of related entries based on a unique algorithm for display on your blog and RSS feeds. A templating feature allows customization of the display.

Get Plugin: Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
Author plugin site: Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine
Plugin use example: See Related Posts (Auto Generated) at end of this post.
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Rickety: Top Ten Blog Posts of 2009

Weekly visitors graphThere may be one other blogger out there, besides me, who is interested in my top ten posts of 2009. Maybe not. Anyway, here are my top ten from 1 January 2009 to 30 December 2009. Total pageviews, as measured by Google Analytics, are in parentheses.

  1. Home Page (7,814)
  2. United States Total Fertility Rate Increases (3,414)
  3. Bank Rewards Checking (2,518)
  4. Mongolia (1,551)
  5. The Falling Fertility of Europe (1,290)
  6. Past Pictures: 15 Free Dual Screen Wallpapers (957)
  7. Rewards Checking (938)
  8. Build an Arc Welder from Microwave Ovens: Part 2 (924)
  9. Build an Arc Welder from Microwave Ovens (896)
  10. Updated LDS Membership Statistics (871)

In 2009 there were visitors from 142 countries/territories. Mongolia made the top ten because I post weekly about my son’s Mongolian mission.

  1. United States (20,256)
  2. United Kingdom (741)
  3. Canada (698)
  4. India (451)
  5. Australia (309)
  6. Philippines (286)
  7. Germany (264)
  8. Mongolia (255)
  9. France (174)
  10. Poland (156)

Visitors came from all 50 states. I live in Utah and blog about the state so nothing unusual about the number one spot.

  1. Utah (5,547)
  2. California (2,109)
  3. Texas (1,438)
  4. New York (981)
  5. Florida (648)
  6. Washington (608)
  7. Illinois (597)
  8. Pennsylvania (475)
  9. Arizona (465)
  10. Georgia (444)
City visitors to blog

2009 world-wide city visitors to Rickety

I blog about Kaysville, where I live, which explains its number one position as the city with the most visitors. Ulaanbaatar is in there because of my posts about Mongolia. Hill Air Force Base is my employer though I don’t access my blog from work (it’s blocked). Keller is where my daughter lives.

  1. Kaysville, Utah (1,829)
  2. Salt Lake City, Utah (1,133)
  3. Midvale, Utah (544)
  4. New York, New York (478)
  5. Provo, Utah (420)
  6. London, U.K. (269)
  7. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (253)
  8. Hill Air Force Base, Utah (245)
  9. Keller, Texas (227)
  10. San Francisco, California (198)

Google images is my top referring site because I use so many photographs in my posts. I make the file names descriptive which helps referrals. I send my feed to my Facebook page and I am listed with the Mormon Mission blog. The other non-Google sites are where I have left comments.

  1. Google Images (3,207)
  2. Google (629)
  3. Lazy Man and Money (518)
  4. Site no longer in operation (262)
  5. Wisebread (228)
  6. Google Images Canada (209)
  7. Google Images U.K. (200)
  8. Facebook (159)
  9. Google Images Mongolia (159)
  10. Mormon Mission (157)

Trackbacks from blogs with a higher homepage pagerank than mine (greater than 3):

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How to Create An Index For Your WordPress Blog

Rickety block index.

Blog Indexes

An index? Indexes are for books, right? But I rather think they are useful for blogs also. When I started blogging at the end of May I never dreamed I would need such a thing. But 175 rickety posts later an index would seem to be a useful addition. I haven’t noticed many blogs that have an index but there is a WordPress plugin that takes care of the construction exceedingly well.

[Read more…]

WordCamp Utah 2008

Derek, Matt Mullenweg, and Rick

WordCamp Utah

Today I attended WordCamp Utah 2008. I would have felt a little rickety going by myself so I asked my son-in-law Derek to come along. Rather than report what was said at WordCamp I will tell you my impressions. I will provide links to blogs that reported on the speakers.
Mandatory photograph time.

I didn’t know what to expect as this was my first time at a blog gathering. As I stood in line to register I felt a little out of place because everyone else had brought their laptops. We all tend to notice the financial aspects of attending events and in this I am like all of you. The cost was $20 which is a small sum for an all day event. But that bought lunch, a WordCamp tee shirt, a snack, and all the bottled water you cared to drink. I’m used to having to pay exorbitant prices for food at the events I attend, for example the movies. I’d better mention the free stickers though they didn’t do anything for me. The free Bluehost tee shirt was cool though.


There were about 200 people attending. The speakers were interesting and kept to their topic. One of the co-founders of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, was the keynote speaker. I tracked him down later in the day and got his photograph that you see above.

The next speaker was Richard K. Miller from the More Good Foundation. He did especially well in interacting with the audience. I have communicated with Richard by email on various topics, mostly in conjunction with to which I have contributed several articles. Last year he invited me to be an administrator on the site which turned out to be a fun assignment, especially when vandals decided to attack late one night. I caught up with Richard and got my photograph taken with him which is at the end of this article.


Our fellow bloggers were friendly and listened attentively to the presentations. We didn’t stay to listen to the last speaker but I think all the presenters did very well to keep our attention all day. The building was comfortable and I was told that the bandwidth was huge, which I would have known all by myself if I hadn’t have left my laptop at home. I would definitely recommend that if you have the opportunity to go to a WordCamp that you do so. But don’t forget your laptop.


Using WordPress as a CMS (also see related articles links).
SEO Tips Ash Buckles (also see his other posts).
UStream TV
Laura Moncur WordCamp Photos
WordCamp Utah Highlights

Richard K. Miller and Rick
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