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June 1, 2010 1:25 PM

I will be implementing Google AdSense very soon as a way to pay the costs for this blog. It's been ad free for over 8 years, but now I'd like to recover some (likely a tiny fraction) of the costs.

A massive percentage of the traffic to my site is coming from search engines and most of that traffic goes to only a few pages. I'm considering only placing AdSense on individual archive pages and not on the home page (and probably not in my RSS feed either). This would effectively only target those random people who arrived here via search and not those who regularly read the site.

So, here's heads up to those who read this blog. Ads are coming soon. If you don't like ads then disable cookies and Javascript or just don't come to the site. Feel free to yell at me via Twitter.

March 23, 2010 11:07 AM

We Rule logo.

More often I'm hearing people describing Twitter as the place to get all of your news and to connect to everything and everyone. More than a few times I've heard people say RSS is dead and Twitter now owns the empty hole in your soul that can only be filled with up to the second news. They may be right, but there's one hole in my soul that Twitter couldn't fill and that a good old fashioned blog could.

I've been playing We Rule on the iPhone, which is a Farmville clone (cue the moans and groans). Anyway, there's a social component to the game and I posted up my Plus+ name (which We Rule uses to connect players) and got only one reply. I then posted my name on a We Rule story on and got 20 replies that night (and they continue to come in as I type). So, maybe it's not a shocker that a specific story and a comment posted on it would garner more results, but consider the fact that I posted my name on Twitter in a standardized format.

There's an in-game feature that spams Twitter saying you're looking for people to play with. It's done in the same format every time and only the name in the post is different. You can do a search for that right now and you'll see tons of people looking for each other. Now, I'm just one person, but it's worth pointing out that a blog comment in the right place can be far more productive than shouting into the Twitter abyss.

Oh yeah, add Circk on Plus+ when you get a chance. :D

November 24, 2009 3:35 PM

51042v3-max-250x250.pngWhen I started this blog in 2001 I had comments turned on and received very little spam, but of course, that didn't last. Even trackback entries were spam, so I turned it all off. It looks like the folks at TypePad have put effort into dealing with that issue, but I'm not ready to turn comments back on yet.

For now, if you have something to say, then say it via Twitter/Tweetboard. You can use the Tweetboard on the left side of the page. Just click the "tweets" tab and figure it out. If you can't make it over that low barrier, then chances are I don't need to know what you had to say anyway. Also, you get to say what you want, without me having any control.

November 19, 2009 11:19 AM

textPlus-app-icon_large.pngI'm talking about the 2.0 version of textPlus, which I use daily. Paying for texting makes me feel like I'm actually burning my money, so textPlus saves the day since it's free to use (but has a generally sluggish user experience).

Should you pay money for something better or deal with some frustration so you don't have to pay? Like I said, I'm using the app everyday, so I've come down on the side of "free is more important than performance" but that's not going to work for everyone.

These issues really need to be resolved before I'd recommend the app to everyone.

  • It's sluggish! Almost everything you do requires some sort of loading or syncing that takes time, and texting is an inherently "NOW!" activity. While syncing and loading whatever, the app locks up, even if you are typing. You can keep typing tho and the iPhone's buffer will hold your keystrokes until the app becomes responsive.
  • When you start up the app to read or respond to a text, it has to load up an advert, and sync your current convo from the server. Even if you've received a text and saw it on screen, it usually won't immediately show up in the app since the app is syncing with the server. I just saw the message as an alert, and a preview when I loaded the app, but when I click the person's name who sent the message, it doesn't show up until the app syncs.
  • Somewhat often it will glitch in one of two ways, it will fail to connect to the servers (I usually blame AT&T for that) or the UI won't update correctly. The UI will show two texts overlapping and you have to back out and start back up to see everything correctly.
  • New in 2.0 is a bug where you'll see the app has a number badge on it indicating unread texts AFTER you've read all texts. You can reset that by opening the app, reading the unread texts from each conversation and then going back to the conversation list before quitting the app.
  • I think this might be unfixable, but the user experience from people receiving texts from you is less than optimal. The message isn't sent from your phone number, so they have to send the name you put in the app. Most phones use the phone number together with the phone book on the phone to show who sent the text. That gets broken and the result is a fairly verbose message. My wife told me to not send texts to her from the app because of this.

Everything actually works though, so it's worth giving it a try. Hopefully, over time, the app will become a lot snappier.

April 1, 2004 1:28 AM

The first day of April brings out the inner dork of many content producers on the Internet, and to be honest, I think it's just a wasted day out there on the net with April Fools jokes that aren't even worth a "heh"... Please be funny instead of bitter (savor the recursive irony please), obvious or annoyingly incoherent.

January 13, 2004 1:50 AM

Back in July I signed up for the only broadband option available (at the time) in my community. It was a bit of a pricey endeavor, but when you are a crack head, you'll pay anything, and so I went ahead and signed the one year contract. I knew not the mistake I was making.

After three months from the time I faxed my contract to the company, the wireless gear I need to receive the signal was installed in my attic. The connection was an 2.4 ghz signal blasted in my direction from a high powered antenna a couple of miles away. From my home I actually have pretty good line-of-sight to the antenna, so the promise of a megabit was believable, but I was really just drinking the Kool-Aid.

After the initial set-up, I was getting seriously slow connection speeds, and had to endure a couple of weeks of configuring, tweaking, re-aligning and hour long phone conversations to get nowhere, then one day, everything worked, and worked well enough (never reaching a megabit in speed though) to play games online and check my email and work from home sometimes. Sporadic outages were the norm though, and most phone calls to the support line went unheeded.

Two weeks ago the connection died with the destruction of my provider's gear by a crane installing the gear of a competitor. They were unable to get everything back up in working order within two weeks which provided me the right to end my contract. Two weeks. That's a long fucking time to be without connectivity at home, and the whole experience has soured me on fixed wireless connectivity. Even though modems are slow, they are RELIABLE, and a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

It took me hundreds of dollars to learn that lesson.

December 2, 2003 4:42 AM

This post is the virtual version of me whining about something. Disregard as you see fit.

Anyway, this site is hosted at, who have been a great host for the 2+ years I have been here, and one of the great things I can do is run my own CGI's and other apps on the host (assuming I don't do bad things like gobble up ton's of processing cycles). One of the things I do is run my email thru SpamAssasin (which can be a processor gobbler) when I connect with my mail client (ie, Apple's client).

In I have spam filtering turned on, and I have a static "rule" set up that catches spam as well. In spite of this triple filtering, about 20 messages a day, that I consider spam, are getting thru, and almost all of them are for drugs (ie, drugs that either stiffen certain things or make other stuff less aware of it's surroundings).

I think one of the things I don't like about the spam I get is how insulting it can be.

September 25, 2003 10:03 AM

Wi-FiLong distance wireless connectivity is an art as much as it is a science. Such is the case at my house in Northern Virginia where the tech flies high and the stock crashes go so very deep. AOL is 5 miles away, PSInet and Alcatel used to be down the street from here, and now I'm getting my last mile solution from a local no name.

I spent two hours the other night re-aiming and positioning my pizza-box-like Wi-Fi transmitter in hopes of squeezing more bits out of the air. It's installed in the attic, and the guy who installed it there placed it behind the air ducts (big, insulated, round hoses) and low enough to be behind the brick facing of my house. No wonder he placed it there really due to the sweat laden efforts I put into moving it to a place where no duct work or bricks would be between it and the base station 2 miles away.

I'm supposed to be getting a full megabit downstream and 128 up, which isn't so bad when you consider my alternative is my AOL dialup account. I've been getting ~285 kilobits/sec for the last week, and have tweaked as many TCP settings as I am willing to fiddle with. Nothing really worked, but if I took the antenna, pointed it out a window, aimed it real well and connected my Powerbook directly to the antenna, I sometimes got 800 kilobits/second. That's almost triple what I was getting, and almost all of what I should be getting.

Back to the attic, which has no flooring. The "floor" is rafters and the drywall that makes the ceiling below and there's insulation everywhere, covering the floor beams, so walking around is nearly impossible. My wife insists I'm a monkey, so I took that to heart and swung around the lattice of roofing trusses carrying my wireless drill/screwdriver, Leatherman and Cat5 with me. After getting the antenna free from it's original 2x4 (one screw was bent) and attached to it's new home a few meters away, tests revealed an average 500 kilobits/second.

Aiming the thing was pretty easy. When I had the antenna in the window blazing ahead at 800k k/sec, I put it next to the vertical window sill, put a piece of paper on the horizontal sill, and drew in the angle. Back up in the attic, I did the same using the vertical truss the antenna it's attached to. I'm assuming the english-is-my-second-language-migrant-workers who built my house did a good job keep their angles straight. For the most part, I think they did, and that's helping me get better thru-put.

Just this week Adelphia started rolling out cable modems in my neighborhood. :^P

July 3, 2003 1:19 AM

Rueters reports that "the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica are refusing to make their music available as individual downloads on Apple's iTunes Music Store." And here's the reason...

"Our artists would rather not contribute to the demise of the album format"
IMHO, this should probably read, 'our artists are only able to write one or two good songs, and then produce some other filler tracks, and then want to sell the whole thing as a bundled batch that costs way too much.' I mean, if I were an artist, and thought that only one or two of my tracks were worth buying, and that sales of those two tracks would necessarily result in lower net revenue, then I would resist Apple's method (of allowing album and single tracks sales for all music available on the iTunes music service).

[And, for the record, I listen to all of my music on my iPod as a full album, from beginning to end.]

The only point they make that I agree with is that "[They] can't let a distributor dictate the way our artists sell their music." Control is definitely an issue, and I can totally respect that. However, the snarky comments like the one above exemplifies the fact that the Chili Peppers and Metallica can't write a full albums worth of material for which I would pay $17.99. Commercial radio certainly agrees, because they don't play albums. If you want to blame someone for the demise of the album, blame pop stars, radio and MTV, not a distribution channel that offers you another outlet to make some extra cash.

Diametrically opposed to this is the Fischerspooner record on the iTunes service (entitled "#1") that is so good that you are penalizing yourself if you don't buy the whole record.

The bottom line is this: Apple probably needs to be more flexible, everyone wants control, and most bands can't write an hour's worth of good music. Market forces will sort this all out one way or another. Until then, I like to go direct to the artist.


March 14, 2003 2:41 AM

This work week has been a long one with strategic shifts, personelle changes and personal (family) drama. Regular posts will resume next week.

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