Tag Archives: Internet

Give the Internet a break!

That’s right, please give the Internet a break. Don’t blame it for being slow sometimes, or maybe being broke when you most need it. If you truly understood how the Internet works, I think you’d be amazed that this complex tool actually works.

In today’s podcast I explain why using the Internet is not like turning on the faucet in your home, plus I explain one technical aspect of the Internet that will blow your mind: packets. After listening to the podcast, if you’re looking for a bit more information, here’s a short description of how packets work to deliver information over the Internet.

If you want to learn more about the history of the Internet, here are two books, both of which I’ve read, that should quench your thirst for understanding the Internet.

Have a great day, thanks for listening to the podcast, and take a deep breath the next time the Internet is giving you fits.

Transparancy at whitehouse.gov – look at the robots file

Does this mean more transparancy in our government, the fact that the Obama administration has a one line exclusion for the robots file? What, you don’t remember the infinite robots file Bush had? The robots file, which tells search engines what files or directorys not to index (meaning you would never find that information in search engines), was about 2400 lines under the Bush administration.

Let the searching begin!

Cuil is not cool

cuil screen grab of a search for bill weye
cuil screen grab of a search for bill weye

I didn’t find Cuil cool at all. After reading about this new search engine from alumni from Google, I thought I would take Cuil for a spin by searching for my name, Bill Weye. Well, you can see a screen grab of the search results to the right.

The first thing you’ll notice in these search results are the images. How do they get there? Who knows . . . you would think that Cuil has some cool technology to find an image of me, which it places along side the result for my website, which you’re reading, but that image isn’t me! It doesn’t even look like me. And as for those other images, I don’t know anything about them. They don’t make any sense to me.

Besides the images, the search results are pretty much shit. They’ve got some spam blog that steals my content as one of their top results. In no way do their results come close to searching Google, or Yahoo! for me. Which one is better, Google or Yahoo!? I’d say they’re about the same; the resutls are a little different, but either one works pretty well.

Lieberman campaign clogged its own tubes

stomped
Creative Commons License photo credit: Sluggo

Okay, in 2006 when Joe Lieberman was sucking wind because of all the body blows he was getting from Ned Lamont, his Democrat primary opponent, he blamed the Lamont the campaign of dirty tricks when the Lieberman server died. Lieberman said it was because of a denial of service attack. On August 6, 2006, the day before the primary in Connecticut, the Lieberman server shit the bed, with the Lieberman campaign demanding the matter be investigated by FBI.

Now we have the truth, to which the Lieberman office said . . . never mind! It only took a freedom of information request by The Advocate of Stamford, CT to get the details of the of the long closed investigation. What did the investigation find? The server was misconfigured, only allowing 100 emails an hour to pass threw, and when that limit was reached the server began to tumble.

Oh, well . . . we’re idots . . . let’s blame the other guy!

Would you show your mom 2 girls 1 cup?

In doing research for my post about George Clooney watching the 2 girls 1 cup video (if you really need to know about it, read the Wikipedia article), I found an interesting phenomenon on youTube: sons forcing their mothers to watch this mind altering video. There’s a whole bunch of videos of sons taping their mother’s reaction to watching the video (here’s one, two, three, four), which seems very passive aggressive to me. If you love your mom, why would you show her such a horrible thing? I’m guessing that Freud would have some interesting things to say about sons making their mothers watch 2 girls 1 cup.

I think one of my favorite reactions comes from this French grandmother (!), who appears to be around 90 years old; she acts like “been there, done that . . .”

Craigslist cleans up Erotic Services

craigslist.org
Creative Commons License photo credit: InfoMofo

Craigslist has a new blog that is nearly totally useless. I love Craigslist for everything it is and for everything it isn’t: simple, no frills, with a lot of information; but the Craigslist blog is useless because it really isn’t a blog without permalinks (I don’t care about the comments, really). In fact, when a post rolls off the main page it seems to be gone forever. Because the fine folks at Craigslist can’t pull it together, I’m going to create a permalink to some information they posted a couple of days ago.

Craigslist has created a new phone verification system for the erotic services section of their site, meaning people wanting to post there will have to verify by phone, which is similar to what Google does for Checkout and some other services. Here’s what the blog post says:

In early March we implemented a phone verification system for our “erotic services” category, which taken together with other measures has reduced the volume of ads in this category by 80%, and more importantly has signficantly [sic] improved compliance with our terms of use and other posted guidelines.

This might put a dent in the police work at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who in the past have enjoyed putting ads on Craigslist to entice suspects, then charge them with illegal solicitation. Here are two examples of the fine police work at UMass Amherst.

Hey, I bet cops using Craigslist is against the terms of use! Craigslist should take them to court! What do you think?

Yahoo + Microsoft = Trouble For Flickr?

flickr/microsoftA couple of weeks ago, on my Photo Share Podcast, we talked about the possibility of Microsoft gobbling up Yahoo. It wasn’t hard to see the writing on the wall, if you paid attention to the business news. There was some speculation by analysts that Microsoft would make the offer soon. Little did we know that Microsoft had been courting Yahoo since late 2006, making occasional offers during the past year.

Microsoft needs Yahoo. Despite its dominant position in both the operating system and desktop application realms, the computing world is changing, and if you look closely you too can see it. The web browser is becoming more powerful, designers and programmers using their skills to greater affect to get the most from the browser technology. With this shift to a browser based computer experience, more applications are being ported from the desktop to the web; see Google Docs, Salesforce.com, Flickr, Basecamp, and many more. This shift isn’t unlike the same one that took place when computing world moved from mainframe to personal, desktop based computing.

When Microsoft gets Yahoo, which may take a year or more after regulators in the U.S and Europe finish digging their teeth into the deal, they’ll have to “integrate” Flickr into Microsoft. If they don’t, Microsoft will be wasting their money. When Yahoo bought Flickr they could afford to leave Flickr to its own devices because the two companies operate on a primarily web based business model. Microsoft’s business model is not web based, and when they’ve tried to make the shift the results have been a failure, for the most part. See the latest, Windows Live. That’s why Microsoft needs Yahoo; it’s an admission of failure.

What might the integration of Flickr into the Microsoft world look like? From jump street there are going to be problems: what ID system will you use to login to Flickr? Well, given that Microsoft is buying the Yahoo users, I predict you’ll be moving over to the Microsoft system.

Expect new features to roll out at a much slower pace. More advertising. More integration with Microsoft proprietary technology (fewer implementations of open standards). A new Office program that will integrate the desktop and Flickr (of course, it will be clumsy and crash a lot). A change in the Flickr terms of use that will allow Microsoft to use your photos across its various sites.

Stay tuned. Things will get interesting. We’ll be having a new podcast up by Sunday night or Monday morning, covering all the latest news in the Microsoft/Yahoo mess.

New Gmail Features Make Me Happy

gmail screen shotEvery time I login to Gmail and see that new features have been added, most of the time it makes me happy. This time, with the addition of color labels, I’m really happy. I use Gmail to keep track of over 15 different email accounts, and using labels is the best way to keep track of where this email is coming from. At a glance I can recognize what account is getting an email and whether it needs my immediate attention. For those of us who now use Gmail exclusively for our email client, each new feature makes our decision to ditch a traditional desktop client seem more sensible.

There’s a bunch more new features, including a few in the chat category; check out all the latest Gmail features here.

Blog Action Day: The Environment

When I read that the topic for Blog Action Day was the environment I knew almost immediately that I was going to write about my trip to Germany this past summer. It was my first trip to Europe, my first trip beyond North America, and immensely influential to my environmental consciousness. When comparing the environmental consciousness of the average person in Germany and the United States, there really is no comparison; the people of Germany, either compelled by state policies or through individual belief, consider the environment when making choices.

Baden-Württemberg 1I first had to get used to taking a shower differently. Instead of leaving the water on during an entire shower, in Germany (and I guess all of Europe) people rinse, turn the water off, soap up, then turn the water on again and rinse. I was aware of that method, but thought it was a pain in the ass. It’s not, and I think you might get a better wash. Regardless, it saves a lot of water when you turn it off when it’s not needed.

A valley:  Baden-WürttembergI’ve tried to alter my behavior in other small ways: recycling more, being more conservative when using water, and turning down the temperature on my water heater. But these small actions can’t compare to the policies the German government has instituted to slow the increase in greenhouse gases. Germany produces the most wind turbine electricity in the world, and is rapidly growing its solar power base. Besides direct investment in these technologies, the government has required utilities to pay a competitive rate for solar power generated and put back on the grid. In the real world, this means that it makes sense for people to invest in solar panels. Traveling around the Black Forest, I saw these panels everywhere, even on the smallest farmhouse or factory.

During my trip to Germany, I came up with an idea to increase the environmental consciousness of Americans (who need this the most, it seems): the U.S. government should pay for a two week trip to Europe for every citizen, during which people can get some sense of how others are treating the environment. For me, this trip was an environment changing event.

3 Tools I’m Using To Crank Up My Online Networking

In preparation for launching my new Web sites/businesses, I’ve begun cranking up the amount of energy I spend on using the Web for networking. I guess that means going from no energy to some energy. I have never been very good at putting myself into circulation, so it’s not a big surprise that I struggle doing that online.

Currently I’m concentrating on 3 tools to help build more traffic to this site: my Flickr page, my Facebook profile, and soon I’ll start building an email list using Constant Contact to reach out to potential users of my sites. First I’ll ask people on billweye.com to subscribe then snowball that subscription list from there. As that traffic builds, I’ll introduce new projects to my growing readership, which will hopefull check-out what I’m doing.

The most experience I have so far is with Flickr, and that has been pretty good at driving traffic to this site. I’ve added some relatively popular photos, and with those alone embossed the photos with this website address. If you dig around my Flickr page it shouldn’t be that hard to discover what might be so popular.

Facebook I have just started using, but thus far I’m impressed with the ease of use. In terms of driving traffic, I don’t have any kind of data yet, but I’ll let you know when the numbers come in! Frankly, I’m not sure I would use Facebook if it weren’t the fact that I can post on both this blog and Facebook at the same time; Facebook has an application that hooks into this blog and grabs each post so that my “notes” mirror this site. Nice touch.

So, how have you worked to increase traffic to your websites?