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Giving a Talk on Fighting Site Abuse at the NAGW National Conference

DSC_0724 I’ll be traveling to St. Louis this week for the National Association of Government Webmasters 2010 Conference. I’m giving a presentation there on Fighting Site Abuse with Webmaster Tools. It should be fun – I have a lot of info to share and some (hopefully) interesting demos to show everyone along the way.

I’m also very excited to talk to as many webmasters of government sites as possible over the course of the conference. We try to serve everyone who builds and maintains websites but I worry that we hear more from SEO-knowledgeable commercial sites than government, non-profit, and small business sites. I can’t wait to get more perspectives on how Google can help them, what their major challenges are, and even what their goals are in building sites. If you’re going to be there, feel free to chat with me.

If you can’t make it to St. Louis this week, and aren’t a webmaster for a government site, no worries – much of my material comes from Google Help Center articles and Webmaster Central blog posts that you can read right now:

On a personal note, it will be great to get back to the midwest again.

Which lens should I buy for my Nikon D60?

I have an important question for all the experienced photographers who happen to read my blog. I just spent a couple of weeks working with my colleagues in the Google Dublin office. Everyone there is great, and it’s really impressive how they cover so many different languages and help webmasters in so many different markets.


Despite Ireland’s rainy reputation I had plenty of opportunities to take photos, and you can see a picture from the top floor of one of the Google Dublin buildings at the beginning of this post. I also managed to drop my camera, a Nikon D60, lens-first to the pavement. This was right before a trip to Ireland’s beautiful west coast, including Connemara. My 18-55mm Nikon kit lens wasn’t completely smashed, but zooming is painful, autofocus doesn’t always work, and something is out-of-plane because I get annoying directional blur in the sides and bottom corners of most shots.

So I need to replace the 18-55mm. I don’t have a lot of budget for cameras and equipment, hence the D60. I have a few ideas about what I might get, but between the experienced photographers I know and rest of the web I hope to get some suggestions, pointers, and other wisdom.


Here’s what I’m thinking about:

Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM. I keep wanting more telephoto than my kit lens, and I’d like to have one versatile lens that I can leave on the camera for entire trips. It’s got decent reviews, and more importantly, it looks like I can pick it up for under $500, compared to $750+ for the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR II. One drawback with any super zoom lens is weight, and this one clocks in at 628 g. I might also consider the older Sigma 18-200mm is it’s significantly cheaper.

The Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR ED Nikkor Lens is tempting too, but Ken Rockwell isn’t a fan and I’ve had luck with his recommendations in the past. It looks like I can pick it up for $360 and probably get a lightly used one for even cheaper – this is the kit lens for some cameras so a lot of people sell it when they upgrade. Not as much zoom as the Sigma but also not as much weight – only 420 g.

I’m also really interested in picking up a prime lens at some point. I take a lot of photos of my kid, and she’s moving faster every day. Any recommendations on 55mm vs 35mm? Should I pick up a used 18-105mm and use the savings to pick up a prime lens too, or is buying used a big risk with these kinds of lenses?

Please tell me what you think (or that I’m crazy and should pick up something completely different instead) in the comments below.

Walking around with a time bomb in my gut

Normally I reserve this space for techie topics, feel free to skip this post if you’re not interested in personal blogging. Or skip to the end for two points about Twitter, Facebook and Google.

Three weeks ago I found out I had a time bomb in my gut. The timer on this metaphorical bomb wasn’t set to an exact hour, and there were no ominous red digits ticking down, but my viscera were rigged on a hair trigger. My gall bladder was filled with stones, and it was just a matter of time before they would be ejected, painfully squeezing down my bile duct. With luck they would jam their way through and into my duodenum, but some could back up into pancreas, causing pancreatitis, or create a blockage and infection, cholangitis.

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