Posts filed under ‘Blog News’

Blog Update – Thanks, Inspiration and Helping Out

By Chad Upton | Editor

I want to start by thanking everyone for all of the great secrets you have suggested, there are many — we hope to validate and feature many of them.

Also, I want to thank everyone for reading and spreading the word. We’ve now got thousands of daily readers and nearly 1500 fans on facebook. Last but not least, a big thanks to Kaye, Kyle and Terry for writing great secrets for you guys to read.

I also want to thank someone who doesn’t have a visible contribution to this blog, but whom this blog owes a lot: Neil Pasricha (Author of and The Book of Awesome). Back in mid 1995, Neil and I started a tiny website that racked up just over 100 hits in the year that it lived on geocities.

Although it wasn’t a popular website, it was a good website and it gave us a thirst for building great websites. We both went on to bigger and better sites before we eventually found our current place on the internet. Neil has been a big supporter of this site, providing lots of input and advice.

Neil has a book coming out in a couple weeks, The Book of (Even More) Awesome, and I’d love it if we could help him out by ordering the book before it comes out. You see, all US pre-orders count toward the first week of sales, which gives him a good shot at the NY Times best sellers list, which can really make a book successful. Neither of us charge a dime for our website, have banner ads, or ask for anything in return. But, sometimes people do ask how they can help out or how they can donate money. I’m not asking you to, but if you want to give back then this is a great way you can help out and get an Awesome book in return. Click the book in the top right corner of the blog and you’ll be taken to Amazon.

Also, if you’re in the Toronto area, I’ll be going to Toronto for Neil’s book launch on April 26th (7pm, Indigo @ Bay/Bloor) if you want to drop by and say hi.

Before I wrap this up, I want to mention a new development at Broken Secrets too. I recently began contributing secrets to the Yahoo Answers blog. The Yahoo Answers team and community have been very welcoming and this is a great chance to further spread our enlightening secrets.

Thanks again for your continued support.

Broken Secrets

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April 16, 2011 at 4:25 pm 1 comment

New Contributors are Joining the Team

When I started this blog in 2009, I was writing five days per week. I was doing that in the evenings after my day job and was able to keep it up until August of 2010.

In a summer blog update, I asked for others to contact me if they wanted to contribute to the site. One of the first people to contact me was Kaye Nemec; she was already writing great content for other sites, so it was a perfect fit. Since then, she’s contributed some very popular posts:

Today, I’m happy to announce that we’ve got two more contributors joining the team. Kyle Kurpinski and Terry D. Johnson. They’re co-authors of the educational, yet satirical, book, How to Defeat Your Own Clone. Kyle has a PhD in Bioengineering (among other degrees) and works at a medical device startup in the Bay Area. Terry has a Masters in chemical engineering from MIT and teaches bioengineering at Berkeley. You can checkout more detailed bios of everyone on the about page.

Kyle’s first post, Standard Keyboards are Designed to Slow You Down,will be online tomorrow. We’re excited to be working with these guys and I know you’ll enjoy their work too.

Chad Upton, Editor

January 23, 2011 at 2:43 pm 1 comment

Birthdays Were Not Always Celebrations

By Chad Upton | Editor

Although traditions can vary widely, annual birthday celebrations are pretty common around the world.

In the beginning, only Kings and other royalty were thought to be important enough to have birthday celebrations. At the time, birthdays were not celebrations for common people. They believed that evil spirits searched for people on their birthday, so friends and family would gather to protect the birthday person from the evil spirits. Singing songs and using noise makers was thought to scare the spirits away and gifts were given for good luck.

Of course, modern birthdays are much different. One of the highlights is the cake and the tradition of serving birthday cake comes from Ancient Rome. Originally, cakes were much like bread, the only difference being that cakes were sweeter.

With culinary advancements in the 17th century, cakes began to look more like their contemporary counterparts. At the time, they were a privilege of the wealthy and not until the industrial revolution were the materials and tools affordable and widely available enough for commoners to have birthday cakes too.

Although candles originated in China around 200 BC, it was the Europeans who popularized decorative candles. Candles made their way onto birthday cakes around the 18th century in Germany. Many cultures put enough candles on the cake to equal the age of the person, some cultures adding one more for good luck.

Some cultures also celebrate the birthday of a historical leader or religious figure. One of the most popular is Christmas, which commemorates the birth of Jesus. In the United States we also celebrate Presidents Day on the third Monday of February, which honors George Washington’s birthday (February 22, 1732). Although most people celebrate the day they were born, there are some cultures in Europe and Latin America that also celebrate one’s name day. In that case, if you were named after a Saint, you would celebrate on that Saint’s name day (sometimes in addition to your birthday, other times in place of it — depending on the country).

There are many other birthday traditions from around the globe, some are current and others have long passed. In some South American cultures, it was tradition to pull on the earlobes of birthday children, once for each year they have lived. In India, icing from the cake is sometimes rubbed on the face of the birthday person.

In Mexico, a Piñata is a colorful container, often shaped like a star or an animal, that is filled with treats. The birthday person, usually a child, is given a stick to break the piñata or in some countries there are strings to pull open a trap door. Although this is well known, there are many other countries, such as Denmark, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Argentina, Brazil, Japan and others who have similar traditions involving clay pots or other containers that are broken to release treasures.

PS – Today, we are celebrating a very special birthday. Exactly one year and 235 secrets ago, I posted the first secret on — You Can Use Foil in the Microwave.

Broken Secrets

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Photos: Omer Wzir (cc), Joe Gray (cc)

Sources:, Wikipedia (Birthday, Birthday Cake, Candles, Pinata)

November 19, 2010 at 1:00 am 9 comments

Broken Secrets: Phase 2

Today, I want to talk about Broken Secrets — where we’ve been and where we’re going.

I started this site back in November of 2009. The first post was You CAN Use Foil in the Microwave. In fact, if you want to see a list of all the secrets, checkout The Secret Archive.

For those who don’t know, my name is Chad Upton and I’m the creator of Broken Secrets. I’m a 31 year old guy, living in the Midwestern United States. I have a pretty normal day job and I write this site in the evenings, usually after dinner or when my wife Kristen goes to bed.

A lot of people ask me if I make money from Broken Secrets. The answer is a vague, but accurate, “not really.” Technically, the blog generates a small amount of money through amazon referrals (if you buy something) and through kindle subscriptions. Frankly, I’ve spent more on the site than it has brought in, so I think it’s fair to say that I don’t “make” money from the site. Which is fine, I didn’t start the site because I need the money — it’s a hobby.

I don’t believe most people think about the time it takes to research, write, edit and find photos or videos to make a single entry come together. But, most posts take 2-3 hours to create. There are some exceptions, a few posts were created in less than 2 hours and a few took more than 3 hours (especially some of the videos).

Creating content and promoting the blog is a lot of work, but I’ve been lucky. The site quickly gained in popularity. It now gets more visitors each day than it got in the first month of operation.

All of the readers have different tastes and expectations. Some people love the really long, very detailed posts. Others prefer the short, sweet and glossy ones. Therefore, the topics and lengths of posts vary widely. What some readers find useful, others find elementary. What some find informative, others find useless. It all depends on your perspective, and everyone’s is different.

It’s tough to please everybody and that’s OK, the response has still been overwhelming. Up until now, I’ve written every post and delivered one every weekday for the past 9 months (166 posts). That makes for a long workday, every day.

Although the pay is negligible, the rewards are priceless.

Broken Secrets recently won a Webby Award for best personal blog/website. It has been featured by local and national media around the globe. It’s highly ranked in the Amazon Kindle store for blogs and between Facebook, Twitter, Kindle and email, there are thousands of people who subscribe and read daily. Frankly, it has exceeded all of my expectations and passed all of the milestones more quickly than I could have imagined.

The Webby Awards are by far the biggest compliment, they’re like the Oscars of the Internet. They’re the highest award a website can win; I’m honored to have won and had the support of so many of you. At the award ceremony, I got to meet Jimmy Fallon, Buzz Alrdin, Jason Bateman and many other great people.

All of this success means that it’s time to make the site bigger and better. The first step: more high quality content. As I concentrate on more quality content, the site will continue to get updated several times per week, but I may have some other contributors helping out. This will be great, we’ll have some fresh ideas.

I appreciate all your feedback, suggestions and support. You can always contact me by clicking here.

As always, thanks for reading.

Broken Secrets | Chad Upton

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Photo: zagatbuzz (cc)

July 8, 2010 at 5:00 am 10 comments

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