Posts tagged ‘FAQ’

What Is It About California Shepherds?

I saw this by accident on the California FAQ on the state minimum wage.

1. Q. What is the minimum wage?
A. Effective January 1, 2008, the minimum wage in California is $8.00 per hour. It will increase to $9.00 per hour effective July 1, 2014, and to $10.00 per hour effective January 1, 2016.

For sheepherders, however, effective July 1, 2002, the minimum wage was set at $1,200.00 per month. On January 1, 2007, this wage increased to a minimum monthly salary of $1,333.20, and on January 1, 2008, it increased again to a minimum monthly salary of $1,422.52. Effective July 1, 2014, the minimum monthly salary for sheepherders will be $1600.34. Effective January 1, 2016, the minimum monthly salary for sheepherders will be $1777.98. Wages paid to sheepherders may not be offset by meals or lodging provided by the employer. Instead, there are provisions in IWC Order 14-2007, Sections 10(F), (G) and (H) that apply to sheepherders with respect to monthly meal and lodging benefits required to be provided by the employer.

 

What the hell?  The new minimum wage is absolutely appropriate to every industry in California except sheepherding?  It would be interesting to see the political process that led to this one narrow special rule.  The state Speaker of the House's brother-in-law is probably in the sheep business.

This kind of crap is frustrating as hell for me.  We have a labor model that is generally not even considered when politicians are setting labor law, and thus compliance causes us fits.  I would love special labor exemptions for my workers as well, but I don't have any pull in Sacramento.

Postscript:  While most folks think of the minimum wage as a restriction on employers, it is just as much a restriction on workers as well.  I am glad to see the California site acknowledge this:

3. Q. May an employee agree to work for less than the minimum wage?
A. No.

Windows 8 Even Worse Than I Thought

Up to this point, after some initial bad impressions trying Windows 8 briefly, I have avoided it like the plague.  However, my son needed a new laptop and the only ones that really met our requirements only came in Windows 8 flavors, so we bought one.

What an awful mess.  The system boots up into a tiled mess that looks like some cheesy website covered in moving gifs and viagra ads.  To make matters worse, nothing on this tablet-based interface is organized at all logically.  The interface is like the room of an ADD child that dropped all of his toys and books in random spots.  I am sure these tiles have some sort of navigation paradigm, but it is completely different from any used in past windows versions.  I could not, for example, figure out how to easily exit the store except to alt-tab out (there is no exit or quit option and right-click context menus which are one of the great advantages of windows over mac don't seem to work a lot of the time).  Again, I am sure there is some way to do it, but I have no idea what it is and no desire to learn new navigation commands.  Perhaps Microsoft intends that one use a gamepad instead of a mouse -- I would not be surprised at this point.

Unlike older versions of windows, windows update did not run automatically at first bootup.  I knew from past experience there were likely dozens of security patches I needed to install right away.  I hunted for quite a while just to find the windows control panel (so I could run windows update).  It was buried in a sub-menu of a toolbar on the right side of the screen that only pops up if you find a tiny (unmarked) spot in the corner of the screen with your mouse.   It amazes me that anyone thought replacing the start button with an unmarked spot on the screen was a good idea.

Of course, the control panel is called something entirely different now, but I did eventually find windows update and there were, as expected, over 70 security patches that needed to be installed.  But for some reason they would not download immediately, but kept giving me a message that they would be downloaded at some future indeterminate date.  I finally found a way to force them to download.

My next step was to get rid of the stupid application tile interface and get the computer to boot directly to desktop and get the old start button back.  This requires a free upgrade to windows 8.1, but there is no obvious way to do this, even through windows update.  I finally had to search the internet to find the link.  This sent me into the windows 8 app store.  What a total mess that is!  If anything, it is more poorly organized than the Apple app store.  Like the Apple store, it seems aimed at people who want to browse applications virtually at random rather than find something specific.  Incredibly, there is no search function.  Yes, I know, I have to be wrong about that, but I scrolled all over that damn storefront and cannot find a search box.

So I cannot actually find the Windows 8.1 upgrade.  The web site tells me that I should be presented with a prominent option to download it in the store, but I am not.  It is nowhere to be found.  I found an FAQ somewhere that suggested that I would not be offered the 8.1 upgrade if my 8.0 installation is missing certain patches, so I am going back to windows update to see if there is something I am still missing.

I was wrong about windows 8 -- I once wrote it was bad but perhaps not as bad as Vista or ME.  But it is.  This is the worst thing I have ever seen come out of Microsoft.  It is inexplicable that this company with such a strong market share in the business world could saddle its flagship OS with an interface more appropriate to an XBOX.

In the past, I have said that I would not want a desktop with a tablet interface.  But at the end of the day, I would not want a tablet with this interface.  Perhaps with hours of work, I will make this computer usable.  Who would have ever thought I would have longed for the day when I had to spend an hour with a new computer removing bloatware.  Now I have to spend a day trying to emulate the windows 7 experience on windows 8.

People have developed many hypotheses for the lingering recession.  Some say it was too small a stimulus.  Some blame the sequester.  I blame the Windows 8 launch, which I think has a lot to do with suppressing PC sales and thus much of the electronics and retailing sector.

A Proposal to Keep Arizona State Parks Open

Due to budget cuts, Arizona State Parks is closing 13 of its 22 state parks.  This last week, I have been making the rounds of the state government, from the state legislature to the head of Arizona State Parks, with a proposal to keep the 7 largest of these closed parks open, and pay the state money for the privilege.  Unfortunately, we have had only mixed success with a proposal that seems to me to be a win-win for everyone.  Our local newspaper editorialized against my proposal, without even knowing the details  (my response here).  So in this post, I am going to give the details of our proposal, and solicit your feedback, especially those of you in Arizona.  All I ask is that you read the whole thing, and not just leap into the comments section having just read and reacted to (positive or negative) this first paragraph about private operation of public parks.

Background

Our company, Recreation Resource Management (RRM), is over 20 year old, and we operate over a hundred public parks under concession agreement for the US Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Tennessee Valley Authority, California State Parks, and many others.  Traditionally, park concessions used to be limited to private companies running the gift shop or the bike rental inside a park.  And we do some of that (for example we run the store and marina at Slide Rock and Patagonia Lake State parks).  But our preferred niche has always been to run entire parks on a turnkey basis.  We run a huge variety of facilities that largely parallel anything we might find in the Arizona State Parks system -- including campgrounds, day use and picnic areas, boat ramps, hiking trails, wilderness areas and historic buildings.  The largest parks we run are twice as busy as Slide Rock or Lake Havasu and four times as busy as any of the parks we are proposing to manage.  We currently run parks today literally right beside some of these Arizona State parks.  All of this is to say that the parks in Arizona are absolutely normal and typical resources that we manage.

A concession contract works much like a commercial lease.  We sign a contract allowing us to run the park for profit, and then pay the state a rent in the form of a percentage of fee revenues.  The typical operating agreement includes over 100 pages of standards we must conform to, from fee collection to uniforms to customer service to bathroom cleaning frequency to operating hours.

Our Proposal

At all of my meetings this week I made three offers, each of which we were willing to commit to immediately  (we could actually be up and running with about 21 days notice):

  1. RRM offered to keep some or all of six parks open out of thirteen on the current closure list.  These parks are Alamo Lake, Roper Lake, Tonto Natural Bridge, Lost Dutchman, Picacho Peak and Red Rocks (park but not the environmental center).  Not only could these stay open, but we could pay rent as a percentage of fee revenues to the state, money that could be used to keep other operations open.  While these parks represent about half of the closure list by number, by visitation they represent well over 90% of the closure list.  Combined these parks had a net operating loss of $659,000 to ASP, which we propose to turn into a net gain for the parks organization.
  2. RRM offered to operate five parks that are currently slated to stay open but where we could pay rents that are higher than the net revenue figure ASP showed for FY2009.  These parks are Patagonia Lake, Buckskin Mountain, Dead Horse Ranch, Fool Hollow and Cattail Cove.  Combined, this group of parks lost money for ASP in 2009 which we propose to turn into a solid net gain.
  3. While we would need to do more study, RRM suggested it might take on some of the smaller, money-losing parks beyond those mentioned above if they were packaged in a contract with some of the other parks listed above

To avoid problems with the procurement process, we offered to take as short as a 1-year contract to give ASP time to prepare a longer-term bid process.  We also agreed to maintain all current park fees for the next year without change (in contrast to ASP current plans to raise fees), and agreed that no fee could be changed without ASP approval.  The only help we asked for was

  • We perform rules enforcement, but we need law enforcement backup form time to time
  • We perform routine maintenance and keep the park safe and attractive, but many of these parks have substantial deferred maintenance problems that we cannot take on with only a 1-year contract  (but would be willing to invest capital to repair under a longer term arrangement)

And if the ability to keep almost half the parks slated for closure open was not enough of a value proposition, we proposed one additional benefit.  Any parks that are put under private concession management immediately cease to be a political football.  For years, parks organizations have closed and opened parks in a game of chicken with legislators, with the public as the victim.  Parks under private concession management no longer are subject to such pressures, as they are off the budget.  Back in the 1990's, when the new Republican Congress squared off with President Clinton over the budget, the government was shut down for a while, including all federal recreation facilities -- EXCEPT those under private concession management.  We got calls from the media saying, why are you open?  To which we replied -- hey, you have now discovered one benefit of private concession management -- the parks we manage are no longer political pawns.

Reactions

So far we have had really good and positive reactions from Arizona legislators  (I have not been able to see any of the Governor's staff).

The reaction from Arizona State Parks has been more muted.  While they are publicly open to all proposals, in reality this is the absolute last thing most of their organization wants to do  (you should see the body language in some of our meetings, it is a lot like trying to sell beer at a Baptist picnic).  They have not said so explicitly, but from long history with this and other parks organizations I can guess at some of the issues they have:

  1. Distrust of and distaste for private management runs deep in the DNA of the organization.  Many join parks with a sense of mission, seeing unique value to public ownership of parks and lands.  I attempt to explain that this value still exists, that what they are turning over is operations, not management and control, but I don't get very far.  I try hard to give the new management of Arizona State Parks a clean slate, but I can't help but be affected by something I saw their previous director say.  Back in about 2004 we hosted a breakfast at a convention of state parks directors up in Michigan, I believe.  Someone must have forgotten to throw us out of the room, because we witnessed the head of Arizona State Parks stand up in front of his peers and demand that they all hold the line against private management as one of their highest priorities.  It was made clear that state organizations that stepped out of line would incur the wrath of other states.  This summer we participated in a series of meetings in California called by Ruth Coleman, who is the head of the parks organization there and someone I admire.  She was trying to break the organization out of its old culture, but it was very clear in roundtable discussions that the rank and file would rather see the parks closed to the public than kept open using private concession management.
  2. I mentioned earlier that private management brings a benefit to the public of keeping the parks from being a political football.  But the parks organization feels like it needs that football.  Without the threat of park closures, it feels like its budget will be gutted like a fish.  And, now that its budget has been gutted, it still holds out hope its money will be restored and needs the park closures to keep up the pressure.  As long as there is even the slightest hope of budget restoration, a hope which I am pretty sure will "spring eternal," my proposal, no matter how much it makes sense for the people of Arizona, will never be adopted.

Again, these are just guesses.  Renee Bahl of Arizona State Parks has told me they are open to all new ideas, and I will take her at her word.

Libertarian Concerns

Those of you who know me to be a libertarian might wonder how I function in this environment.  The answer is, "with difficulty."  I have a strong philosophic passion to bring quality private management to public services, and this opportunity is a good one.  And I am not adverse to making money while doing so.  But I am adverse to rent-seeking, and there is admittedly a thin line between trying to make positive change and rent-seeking in this case.

I generally avoid this by insisting on short initial contracts (in this case 1 year) to prove out the concept and to allow time for the public agency to figure out how to put this beast through a procurement process that probably was not well designed for this type of thing.   This is what I did when the US Forest Service approached us with an idea to bring private management to the snow play area at Wing Mountain near Flagstaff.  We took it on a one-year contract (which grew to 2 years) and then the contract went out for public bid  - which we won - for 10 years.  We are very good at what we do and are not at all afraid to compete.  The only time I will not compete is when I perceive someone has a political connection that gives them an inside track.  After two or three losses in Florida counties to a company with no experience but a brother-in-law on the County commission, I realized it was just a waste of time to bid on these situations.

Conclusion

Please give your reactions and concerns in the comment section.  For those who disagree with private management of public resources, I will be honest and say you are unlikely to change my mind, as I have dedicated all my time and my life savings to the proposition.  But you may help me better understand and tailor our service to address public concerns.  I will try to keep the FAQ below updated based on what I am seeing in the comments.  If you are in Arizona and know someone you think I should be talking to, drop me an email at the link above.

FAQ

Does your company take ownership of the park? No.  The parks and all the facilities remain the property of Arizona State Parks.  We merely sign an operating lease, with strict rules, wherein we operate the park, keep the fees paid by the public, and pay the state a "rent" based on a percentage of the fee collections.  Even when we invest in facilities, like this store building and cabins, they become the property of the public at the end of the contract.

How can the state afford to pay you if they have no budget? We are not paid by the state, and receive no subsidy.  100% of our revenue is from fees paid by visitors to the park we operate.  If we don't run a good operation that is attractive to visitors, we don' t make any money.

Doesn't the state lose out if you keep all the fees? No.  Mainly because in all the parks we have proposed to take over, the state has net operating losses of up to $200,000 or more a year.  By taking over the park, their losses go away AND they receive extra money in the form of rents we pay.  We are able to do so because we have developed efficient processes for managing campgrounds and have a flexible and dedicated work force.

Are you going to build condos and a McDonald's? No.  The fact that this is such a common question is amazing to me, as we operate over 100 parks in this manner across the country and you would not be able to tell the difference between the facilities we manage and any other public park.  Under the terms of our operating contract, we cannot change fees, facilities, operating hours, or even cut down a tree without written approval form the parks organization.

Are you going to just jack up fees? No.  We have committed in our offers to keep fees flat for the next year.  We cannot raise fees without state approval, and we work hard to keep public recreation affordable.  Last year was a very good year for us because, in a recession, our low-cost recreation options gave many families on a budget a chance to have a quality recreation experience.

Why just a one year contract? We would actually prefer a longer contract, as this allows us to actually make approved capital improvements to parks (for example, we have installed many cabins in public parks we operate).  However, we have offered to take these under an initial contract that is just long enough to allow longer-term contracts to be fairly offered on a competitive bid basis.

Maybe no one trusts you because you are small and unproven? Well, perhaps.  But last year our total fee revenue was nearly $11 million, making us slightly larger than the Arizona State Parks system.  We have a proven record with decades of positive performance reviews from government agencies around the country.   For example, for those of you form Arizona, if you have stayed at a US Forest Service developed campground near Flagstaff, Sedona, Payson, or Tucson,  or sledded at Wing Mountain, you probably have stayed in a facility we operated.  We already operate two concessions in Arizona State Parks, and have a great record working with the organization.

FAQ of the Day

This is perhaps my favorite FAQ question that I have ever seen, in a Popular Mechanics article on 9/11:

But
why didn't you talk about U.S. foreign policy, corporate imperialism,
oil empire, Bush family ties, Halliburton, the Mossad, the CIA, the
Freemasons, the Illuminati or Opus Dei?

Denier vs. Skeptic

We all know why Newsweek and many others (like Kevin Drum) choose to use the term "denier" for those of us who are skeptical of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming:  These media folks, who are hesitant to use the word "terrorist" because of its emotional content, want to imply that we skeptics are somehow similar to Holocaust deniers.

But beyond just the issues of false emotional content, the word denier is incorrect as applied to most skeptics, including myself, and helps man-made warming hawks avoid a difficult argument.  I try to be careful to say that I am a skeptic of "catastrophic man-made (or anthropogenic) global warming theory." 

  • So, does that mean I think the world is not warming?  In fact, the evidence is pretty clear that it is warming (though perhaps not by as much as shown in current surface temperature databases).
  • So does this mean that I think that human activities are not causing some warming?  In fact, I do think man-made CO2 is causing some, but not all the current 20th century warming trend.  I also think that man's land use  (urbanization, irrigated agriculture, etc) has effects on climate.

Where I really get skeptical is the next proposition -- that man's burning of fossil fuels is going to cause warming in the next century that will carry catastrophic impacts, and that these negative effects will justify massive current spending and government interventions (that will have their own negative consequences in terms of lost economic growth, increased poverty, and reduction in freedoms). 

Strong supporters of catastrophic man-made global warming theory do not usually want to argue this last point.  It is much easier to argue points 1 and 2, because the science is pretty good that the earth has warmed (though the magnitude is in question) and that CO2 greenhouse effect does cause warming (though the magnitude is in question).  That is why skeptics are called deniers.  It is in effect a straw man that allows greenhouse supporters to stay on 1 and 2 without getting into the real meat of the question.

Here is a quick example to prove my point.  Follow me for three paragraphs, then ask yourself if you have ever heard any of this in the media or on any RealClimate-type site's FAQ.

Anthropogenic global warming hawks admit that the warming solely from the CO2 greenhouse effect will likely NOT rise to catastrophic levels.  So how do they get such big, scary forecasts?  The answer is positive feedback.

Almost every process you can think of in nature operates by negative
feedback, meaning that an input to a system is damped.  Roll a ball, and eventually friction and wind resistance
bring
it to a stop.    Positive feedback means that an input to the system is multiplied and increased.  Negative feedback is a ball in the bottom of a bowl, always returning to the center; positive feedback is a ball perched precariously at the top of a
mountain that will run faster and faster downhill with a tiny push. Positive feedback
breeds instability, and processes that operate by positive feedback are
dangerous, and usually end up in extreme states -- these processes tend
to
"run away" like the ball rolling down the hill.  Nuclear fission, for
example, is a positive feedback process. 

Current catastrophic man-made global warming theory asserts that our climate is dominated
by positive feedback.  The last UN IPCC report posits that a small increase in
temperature from CO2 is multiplied 2,3,4 times or more by positive
feedbacks like humidity and ice albedo.   So a modest degree or degree and a half of warming from the greenhouse effect becomes a scary five or eight degrees of warming in the next century once any number of hypothesized positive feedbacks are applied.  Add to this exaggerated, sometimes over-the-top visions of possible negative consequences, and that is how global warming hawks justify massive government action.

OK, that is a very brief description of what I consider a sophisticated reason to be skeptical:  Most catastrophic warming forecasts depend on positive feedback loops, feedbacks for which we have little or no evidence and which don't tend to dominate in other stable systems.  So how many times have you seen this issue discussed?  Zero?  Yeah, its so much easier just to call us deniers.

If you are interested, here is slightly longer version of my skeptic's point of view.  Here is my much longer version.  Here is the specific chapter that discusses feedback loops.  Here is Roy Spencer discussing problems with studies trying to measure these feedbacks.

Postscript:  By the way, it is in this context that the discussions about restating temperatures and problems with historical surface temperature measurements are important.  Exaggerated historical warming numbers leave more room to posit positive feedback loops.  Lower historical numbers, or evidence past warming is driven by non-man-made sources (e.g. solar activity), leave less room to justify positive feedback loops.

Update:  RealClimate has posted their six steps to explain catastrophic warming from CO2.  Seems have buried the feedback issue.  Note that forcings mentioned here include feedbacks, they are not from CO2 alone but from CO2 + positive feedback.  Strange they didn't mention this.

Free Camping

Running for-fee campgrounds on public lands often gets us into some controversy.  For example, many people wonder, sometimes in a fairly excitable manner, why they have to pay for camping on public lands when they have already paid their taxes.  The simple answer to this is that Congress and administrations of all flavors have consistently ruled for years that fees rather than taxes should support developed campgrounds.  Read this post for more, or call your Congressman if you don't agree.  Also, here is my company's FAQ on camping fees and private companies operating on public lands.

However, there ARE many free camping opportunities on public lands, but because of Forest Service terminology, these are sometimes missed by the public.  In most cases, when the Forest Service has a named campground, it requires a fee because it has a number of minimum features for the facility:

  • Graded, and sometimes paved, roads and spurs
  • Bathrooms, and sometimes showers
  • Picnic table, tent pad, and fire ring / grill at each site
  • On-site host / security to enforce rules (e.g. quite time)
  • On-site operator with property and liability insurance
  • Water supply that is frequently tested and treated when necessary
  • Hazard tree removal
  • Trash and (for campgrounds not on a sewer system) sewage removal
  • Leaf blowing from trails and roads, site raking, painting, etc.

This stuff does cost money, and so the typical campground we run charges $12-14 a night, with 50% off for Golden Access patrons (i.e. senior citizens).  Heck, the insurance alone costs about $1.50 per night's stay, thanks to our friends in the tort bar.

However, most National Forests offer what is called dispersed camping.  This is camping out in the wilderness, without any amenities, and, at least in most cases, is totally free.  Most of these camping areas don't have names, just locations and boundaries.   Expect to give up all of the above amenities, and be ready to pack your trash out, but you can still pitch your tent out in nature without charge.  And in many of these locations, you can get far away from other campers.  Just call the local ranger district (contact info here) and ask them for information on dispersed camping.

One proviso - the biggest problem with these dispersed, non-hosted areas is, if they are heavily used, they can be a worse experience than the paid campgrounds.  They can accumulate trash from thoughtless patrons, and they can get very rowdy.  Dispersed campgrounds attract the best of campers - those truly trying to get a natural experience; and the worst of campers - those who don't want to follow rules, don't clean up after themselves, and who don't want to shut down their loud partying just because it is two in the morning.  Many people who initially opposed paid camping are now big believers, since they have learned to value campgrounds with rules and security after a few late nights listening to loud generators and drunken parties.  Talk to the ranger district to know what you are getting into at a particular site.

Thought on Hosting the Carnivals

I have had a lot of questions about my experience hosting both the Carnival of the Vanities (COTV) and the Carnival of the Capitalists (COTC) in February.  For aspiring hosts, here is an FAQ:

What are these Carnival things?

In 2002 Silfray Hraka was looking for a way for smaller blogs to get more attention - kindof like rural electrification for the Blogosphere.  He came up with the idea of the Carnival of the Vanities, a weekly roundup of posts from smaller bloggers, hosted each week at a different site.  Today, the COTV is in its 128th week and dozens of other spin-offs have been created.

How much of a traffic spike did you see?

This seems to be the number one question.  As a submitter each week to both the COTC and COTV, I usually see between 100-300 new visitors for the post I submitted, depending on how compelling the post's description looks.

For hosting the Carnival, of course, the traffic spike is more dramatic:

My normal mon-tue-wed traffic (unique visits): 300

Day of COTC: 1680

Day after: 500

2 days after: 325

Note that I actually got a bit more traffic from the Carnival of the Vanities:

Day of COTV: 2400

Day after: 600

2 day after: 325

The key of course is Glenn Reynolds linking.  Glenn can't read every small blogger that would like him to link to them, but he does a good job of publicizing various Carnivals that highlight smaller bloggers.   Glenn deserves all of our thanks for this.  By the way, I am pretty sure I got more non-Instapundit traffic for the COTC than the COTV.

I think that I leave my Sitemeter stats un-password protected and that you can view them here (link is to the monthly page but you can navigate around).  Here are the hourly stats for the COTV.  Below you can see my daily visits and page views for February.  I will leave it as an exercises for the reader to figure out when I hosted the Carnivals (COTV was first):

Febt

I do not really know how to track RSS feed traffic, but I think that the above numbers do not include RSS traffic. I do know that in the month I hosted these two carnivals my Bloglines subscribers have gone from 2 to 25.

The only other traffic related observation I can add is that my page views went up even higher on these days.  I generally run at 1.6 page views per visit but on these two days I went well over 2.  Hopefully that means that new visitors were looking around.

Is it hard to host a Carnival?

No, not really, it just takes some time.  I probably spent about 6 hours each to host the carnivals.  The COTC is very easy - submissions end up in a Gmail account in relatively standard format.  About 6 days before the publish date, the COTC folks will send the host an email telling them how to get into the Gmail account.  The COTV doesn't have this submission system, and relies more on the host providing an email contact in advance that people can send submissions to.  Make sure at least a week in advance of COTV that you post on your web site, preferably sticky at the top or with a link high in the margin, instructions for bloggers who want to submit to the Carnival you are hosting.  (Here is my post - I fiddled with the date in Typepad so that it would stay on top of the page for the whole week).

When hosting, do you need a theme?  How about Categories?

Both are optional.  I did a theme for my COTC just for fun, but did not have time, or any good ideas, for my COTV.  I highly recommend categorizing the entries because it makes the reading experience so much easier.  It is not hard to do as long as you put them in categories as you are building the post.

When Hosting, how do you keep up with all of the submissions?

I had 50 submissions for the COTC and 47 for the COTV.  I took everything, by the way, even if the post was a little out of bounds of the rules.  It is not too hard to keep up with the submissions as long as you:

  1. Create a draft template a week in advance and
  2. Add submissions every day rather than waiting to the last minute. The COTC submissions were easier to handle than COTV - COTC submissions came spread out through the week whereas COTV all came in the last 2 days.

A lot of my time was spent reading all the posts.  Not only was this fun, but I preferred to create my own summary of the post rather than just using the submitter's summary (which was often waaaaaay too long).  I tried to be fair as possible to everyone, particularly those I disagreed with.  I will say there were a couple of submissions I just did not understand or get what they were saying in their post -- in these cases, I used their description.  By the way - after you publish your post, check the links!  No matter how careful you were, you will have made some mistakes.

When Hosting, what did you do to publicize the Carnival?

First, I was careful to collect as many trackbacks as I could.  Some submitters included these in their email, but some did not.  Since I read every post, I always skimmed down to the bottom to see if there was a trackback.

Second, I sent every submitter a reply email saying that their post was included and giving them the link and trackback where they would find it on my site.  This did not take as long as you would imagine, since I copied the first one I wrote and just hit reply-paste-send on all the others.  This also let submitters check their links to make sure everything worked.  By the way, you may have a different policy, but I claimed editorial privilege and did not accept an requests to change my summary of their post.

All the submitters will generally send you traffic, as well as a number of regular readers.  As mentioned before, Glenn will generally link as well, and you can send him a brief reminder with the link, though both times I hosted he had the post linked before I thought to email him.

How do I sign up?

Instructions for hosting the COTV are here.  To submit to the COTV, go to Silfray Hraka's main page, scroll down for the list of hosts, and visit the host site for instructions.  Instructions for hosting the COTC are here.  You can submit to the COTC by filling in this form.  A list of other Carnival spin-offs is here.

Good luck

Apology to NZ Bear

I sent this email to NZ Bear today:

From reading the FAQ's, I guess I am not the only one, but in moving my blog from my Typepad address http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog to a dedicated address www.coyoteblog.com I have managed to grossly inflate my ranking, since my link score has been credited with cross-links between these two sites.  I am not actually a "Large Mammal" "“ I am actually small and weak and survive by hiding among the rocks from the larger beasts.  When you work up your "merge" code, please add these sites to your list of targets.

Warren Meyer "Coyote"