philosophy technology writing

Top 10 posts from the last 10 years – All you need is love!

toddhdow trafficIn my earlier post celebrating 10 years of blogging, I promised to share my top 10 posts from the last 10 years (based on page views). I’m not really surprised by the results. But, that’s because I watch my traffic stats on a regular basis. You might be a bit surprised though. The top results are not what you’d probably expect. In reverse order, here are my top 10 posts from the last 10 years based on page views (with a bit of commentary along the way):

Juravinski Hospital10. I had cancer… Wait… what?
I’m a bit surprised that this post made the top 10 as I just posted it a month ago. But, it was a pretty alarming story and a lot of my friends and family were aware that I was sick, but they didn’t know all of the details. So, this summary post was shared far and wide. (and, everyone loves a good story of doom and gloom, right?) 🙂

The God Solution9. Dawkins Part 4: The Objective Roots of Morality
My Dawkins series has received a lot of traffic over the last few years. Atheism is a popular topic and my objections to Dawkins’ The God Delusion have received a lot of traffic (and hateful comments). And, my book The God Solution has generated a fair amount of traffic as well. It is no surprise that some of my Dawkins writing has made the top 10.

8. Should atheists have children?
This is the most controversial post on my blog. I am not surprised that it made the top 10, but I am a bit surprised that it wasn’t higher on the list.

7. Is there any difference between pacifism and nonresistance?
This post was a response to a reader comment. I do get a fair amount of referral traffic from search engines, and I suspect that this is the source for a lot of the traffic to this post. (I haven’t done an exhaustive analysis of the relationship between referrers and my posts so I can’t say for certain).

6. Dawkins Part 7: The Slippery Slope of Abortion
This is a perfect storm of traffic generated by an interesting blog series (I had plenty of readers during the time when I ran this series) and great SEO. I regularly see high traffic to this post due to the popular keywords associated with this page: Dawkins, abortion & atheism.

5. AGAPE – unconditional love
Here’s where things get interesting. I am constantly surprised by the amount of traffic that my series on love has generated over the years. Although it wasn’t the intent, these posts continue to be huge SEO traffic generators for my site. My site consistently gets listed in the first page of search results for search terms like “philia love”, “examples of eros love”and “types of philia”. I see plenty of traffic to these posts on love on a daily basis.

God Delusion book4. The Atheist Delusion – Why I don’t agree with Richard Dawkins in 10 parts
I dedicated a great deal of time writing a response to Dawkins’ book, “The God Delusion“. I even wrote a book on this subject! Therefore, I’m relieved that my Dawkins posts are listed in the top 10 for my blog.

3. Dawkins Part 3: Problems with Organized Religion
Organized religion is an easy target for atheists and theists alike. There is lots of common ground in this discussion. Thus, this post really resonated with a lot of people. And, I do regularly see some SEO juice via Google referrals coming to the site by people searching for “problems with organized religion”.

2. EROS – romantic love
SEO generates a lot of traffic for this post. I’m the top beneficiary of this search query: “examples of eros love”, which appears to be a very popular search term.

philia love search result1. PHILIA – friendship love
It seems that plenty of people are looking for love on the internet. My series on love has generated a lot of traffic to my site, and my post on “PHILIA – friendship love” has generated over twice as much traffic as the second most trafficked post (EROS – romantic love). Searching for “examples of philia love” delivers this post as the top search result on Google. This wasn’t my intent when I wrote these posts, but it has become clear that these posts are seen by Google as great reference sites for these terms. I won’t complain!

Who would have thought that my posts on love would dominate the top of this list? I’ve been watching my traffic over the long term and my posts on love regularly generate a lot of traffic, so I wasn’t surprised that they came out on top. But, without knowing my stats, I would have been very surprised to see these posts at the top of the list.

What do you think? Any surprises? Any questions? And, more importantly, what can I learn and do differently after examining my top 10 posts from the last 10 years?




personal technology

I’m speaking at Wordcamp Hamilton 2016!

Wordcamp Hamilton 2016Two posts ago, I spoke at length about how I would prefer to write about things other than technology. So, it is kind of ironic that my next two posts are geek-related. But, it can’t be helped. I’ve got some cool news. I’m speaking at an upcoming tech event: Wordcamp Hamilton 2016 on Saturday June 4 2016.

My presentation is entitled, “How to Find Your 1,000 True Fans” and here’s the description of the session:

In 2008, Kevin Kelly argued that creators (authors, musicians, artists, photographers, etc.) can make a living if they have “1,000 True Fans”. A creator blog is key to building such a community. In this fast-paced session, Todd will walk the audience through the critical WordPress-related pieces required to build and maintain a dedicated, engaged and responsive audience.

It’s going to be a fun time. I’ve attended (and presented) at previous Wordcamp Hamilton events. It’s low cost (only $20!), filled with plenty of great content and attended by a lot of super friendly and really talented people. (and there will be lots of free swag!)

Wordpress LogoIf you’ll be in the Hamilton area on June 4 and you’re interested in blogging, writing and WordPress, you should not miss this event.

And, if you want to go, be sure to buy your ticket soon – tickets sell out every year.

Are you going to Wordcamp Hamilton 2016? If so, let me know in the comments or on Twitter and be sure to say hi to me on the day of the conference.

See you then!



personal philosophy technology writing

10 years(ish) of blogging!

I reached a pretty cool milestone in December 2015 – 10 years of blogging! My first official blog post is dated December 29 2005 (Welcome!). My blog, then called Wirepaper, was meant to be my geek home online, but has since shifted to focus more on my writing pursuits.


Over the years, I have talked about religion, politics and IT stuff (Mac vs PC)… I think I’ve covered all of the main topics that you’re supposed to avoid when talking in polite company.

AOL CanadaPostmediaWhen I first started blogging, I had already established my IT career. I had spent time working at AOL Canada as a web geek, I had worked in a couple of internal IT departments (at Celestica and Toronto Rehab Institute) and I had recently returned to the online space when I started working at Postmedia (then called Canwest) in early 2006. When I joined Postmedia, I was just wrapping up my undergrad degree from the University of Toronto (in Philosophy and Religious Studies) and I was beginning a masters degree (Master of Divinity) at McMaster University. I have since put my studies aside and continue to focus (and greatly enjoy!) on my IT career.

And here lies the challenge with my blog: my content spans some very different topics. At times, I write about IT – blogging tips, tricks and techniques, summaries of some geek stuff (especially my beloved Kindle!) and a fair amount of content about IT security (which is my primary career focus). Other times, I have written about Cystic Fibrosis Fundraising. My daughter has CF, so this is a cause that is very close to my heart.

But the bulk of my writing over the last 10 years has been about philosophy and religious studies. And I am kind of happy about this. While I do like writing about geek stuff, I think that my writing habits have highlighted where my interests lean more often than not: faith and reason. I love my IT career. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But I am more fascinated with existential concerns: where do we come from, why are we here and where do we go when we die.

I do remember every piece of tech that I’ve ever had, but I am starting to see all of that stuff as tools that we have to replace every two or three years at great expense.

Macbook AirTools? That’s it? Yes. Some are prettier than others. But at the end of the day, they are tools that we use to communicate. I’m writing this blog post on my wife’s Macbook Air. It’s my favourite writing instrument. It is lighter and faster than my aging Macbook Pro (which I fear may have finally died for good – it’s either got a failed hard drive or a failed logic board). Her Macbook Air has an SSD drive, it’s less than 3 lbs and it has 12 hours of battery life. Oooohhh… Aaaahh… Are you excited yet?

Yeah, me neither. I used to be, but not anymore.

(and this should serve as fair warning to my wife that I might be coveting her laptop on a regular basis until we fix or replace our Macbook Pro)

ChromebookNowadays, these things are commodity devices. Most of us just need a web browser. We keep in touch via webmail, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, . All of this could be done with a Chromebook. If you need MS Office or some other productivity tools, then a full blown laptop is still needed. But Apple has almost replaced laptops with tablets with their latest iteration of the iPad Pro.

But I digress… what was my point here?

Oh yeah – I am happy that my writing is about something other than technology. I can use all that tech that I understand for something outside of the tech community. And I’m really excited about that. That is the dream of the internet, realized. But even bigger than that, this is the dream of technology throughout history: to better our lives and to improve our quality of life.

Or, maybe it was simply to kill other people more efficiently. Yeah, that has been a key driving force for technological improvement over time as well. That and porn.

Printing PressThe internet is this age’s Gutenberg. Anyone with a commodity device is equipped to reach the world. There has never been such a democratization of free speech in history. And I feel fortunate to be able to participate in this free speech.

Looking back over the last 10 years, I’ve shared my thoughts on war and peace, the existence of God, the historical Jesus (did he exist or not?), atheism and more. And this is the important stuff to me. I’ve wrestled with where we came from, where we are and where we’re headed. I’ve interacted with people that agree and disagree with me (and I appreciate both sides of the argument to help me discern my thoughts). And because of this, I feel more centred in my approach to life and in how I continue to live my life.

Do I have more answers because of my writing? Nope. If anything, I only have more questions. But that’s okay. Because I’d rather know what I don’t know than not know what I don’t know (do you remember Rumsfeld’s “unknown unknowns”?).

faithDoes this make me any smarter? Nope. If anything, it makes me feel more foolish for sharing my incomplete and/or inarticulate thoughts with others. But I have made some stronger relationships from my writing. And I have learned how to more clearly state my case as well.

And for that, I don’t regret any of my writing. I’m glad that I’ve done it. If anything, I am sad that I haven’t done more. But, as I said recently, it’s time for me to do more writing. I find it therapeutic, relaxing and fun. So, you can expect lots more of it.

I’m going to spend a couple more posts dwelling on my 10 years of blogging. Stick around. In my next post, I’m going to talk about my top 10 posts from the last 10 years. After that, I’ll geek out a bit and share the technical nuts and bolts for how I’ve maintained my blog over the years (it has been surprisingly simple). And, I’ll wrap things up with a post where I talk about what I am most proud of with my 10 year old blog.

Have you been blogging for a while? Does any of what I’ve said resonate with you? Why did you start blogging? Do you have one topic for your blog or has your focus drifted over time?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

And, let me know if there’s anything else you’d like me to write about pertaining to my 10 years of blogging.

Talk soon!


infosec technology

Sector 2015: Stealth Attack from the Produce Aisle

raspberry piIt’s official: Keith Benedict (@mehtryx) and I will be presenting at Sector 2015 in Toronto. Our topic is called “Stealth Attack from the Produce Aisle”. Here’s a summary of what to expect:

The proliferation of devices like the Raspberry Pi, Pineapple Express, PwnPi and more make it easier (and cheaper) than ever to obtain a complete stealth attack or defense arsenal.

In this session, we’ll take a low-cost, credit-card sized ARM computer, add some freely available software and see what we get. We’ll learn:

  • what options are available to build such a device
  • how to build a working device
  • add-ons including additional network adapters and wireless extenders
  • overview of some commonly available software tools
  • how to conduct attack and defense scenarios

Hardware will include Cubox, Hummingboard, Raspberry Pi and more. Software will include Kali Linux and a multitude of offensive and defensive infosec tools.

You’ll come away from this session with a better understanding of how much you can accomplish with one of these devices and a healthier respect (or greater fear) of tiny computers.

Registration for Sector has begun – hurry now and get your ticket before prices rise!

Let Keith and I know if you’ll be coming to Sector and let us know what you’d like us to touch on during our presentation.

Talk soon!




SC Congress 2015 – update on VIP ticket draw


SC Congress is three weeks away. There are plenty of great sessions planned, a large selection of leading IT security vendors to talk to and a lot of infosec professionals to meet and socialize with.

Last week, I posted an offer that was too good to refuse: register now for a free Expo Only VIP Pass ($150), receive an amazon gift card (for the first 50 registrants) and be entered into a draw for one of two VIP Two-Day Full Conference Passes ($1,095 value).

You’re not too late to get your free Expo Only VIP Pass and amazon gift card. Go to and use promo code TODDHDOWEXPOVIP or click this link to go directly to the conference registration site.

As for the VIP ticket draw, the SC Congress team has asked me to extend the draw for an extra week. So, I’m extending the deadline to register until next Monday May 25 at 9am. So if you haven’t registered yet, don’t delay! You still have time to win a VIP Two-Day Full Conference Pass.

Do you have your ticket yet? Let me know in the comments!

Talk soon!