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Showing posts from May, 2005

"iPhoto is making changes that I don't ask it to..."

Came across some Apple Discussions and I just have to say -- stay away from iPhoto! Yikes!

One of the links gives a stunning example of the problem.

Hey, software has bugs; I understand that. But since Apple fans keep insisting that their computers are the best thing since sliced bread, sometimes we need to realize that they're as error-prone as any other piece of technology. (We've already established that for their leadership...)

"Home-schooling lets kids realize their potential"

Times have changed since my homeschooling days, according to Katherine Kersten: Home-schooling lets kids realize their potential. But what hasn't changed is the driving principle behind it: "What Jessica loved most about home-schooling was the opportunity to pursue her interests avidly. Her mother puts it this way: 'We didn't have to close the history book at 11:45.' "

Google hates me again...

The AdSense ads on my main page are now a steady stream of Public Service announcements. Not that I have anything against them (though the ones that show don't relate to my blog content in any way, shape or form, which defeats the whole point of putting ads on your site so you have additional "relevant content", but I digress.)

The only logical explanation at this point is that, because of my complaint about Blogger stats, I've now developed bad Google Karma and I have to pay that off by doing some unknown series of actions before my "real ads" will come back. That makes about as much sense as anything else.

I feel really, really sorry for people who are trying to make any sort of living off of their ads! Playing the stock market is more reliable than this!

(Now that I've said all that, I'm sure that brilliantly appropriate ads are right around the corner for me... right?)

Watch your kids!!!

Here's the tragic story of a 4-Year-Old Boy Shot and Killed in Minnesota; file this quote under in the "Famous Last Words" department: "'They thought they had the kids under control,' said Sgt. James McKenzie of the St. Louis County Sheriff's Department."

Something tells me that dressing a four-year-old up in camouflage clothes and letting him run around a shooting range isn't the best thing to do?

Apparently, I've done nothing since 2002...

I thought I was the only person frustrated with the totally hosed Blogger "post count" -- the thing that says I've posted nothing (zip, zilch, nada) since I started this thing -- but I'm not alone, according to Blogger Blog: Possible Blogger enhancements: "Blogger should get the present kinks out before they proceed to more SUPER new features. I would like to see the 'post count' brought back to life or else erased from view. It's a misleading lie to say I have 200 posts when I probably have twice as many. But is Blogger embarrassed? No, they're adding new features that will probably also never work properly!"

"Gagged, But Not Dead"

It's a long story as to how I came across this, but read the article Gagged, But Not Dead and then Google around for "Sibel Edmonds" to get the scoop (or lack thereof) on a really interesting story.

Longing for "This is only a test..."

Remember those Emergency Broadcast System alerts on the radio? Here's a story about the day when the "test" came across as real. There's more colorful version of one jock's experience out on the web as well...

What happens when you're told to do the wrong thing?

So I was reading the news story Military Was Set To Down Cessna - Yahoo! News and came across the following quote: "(T)he pilots said they had trouble communicating on the radio frequency that a customs helicopter crew signaled for them to use. Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and Customs and Border Protection confirmed the communications problems cited by the Cessna pilots. ... Sheaffer's (The pilot's) attorney, Mark McDermott...said Sheaffer would have left the restricted airspace sooner if the radio frequency were working. "

Now, I'm not a pilot, I don't know about FAA regulations, and I'm not going to get into that. But I'm just wondering -- what's "the right thing to do" when you're doing what you think is okay, an official from the government directs you to do something else, you do the very thing they instruct you to do, and that thing is dead wrong (and makes you look stupid, and, in this particular case,…

The best music ever, ever, ever!

Just FYI, Heaven isn't full of cherubs and harps; it's this music, 24/7/365/infinity: EuroDanceHis.com presents EURO DIGEST - Current Euro In The Mix

(Okay, maybe not, but if I had my way...)

A "statement" that's a really brilliant idea!

INDEX: - PARASITE: NEW YORK CITY VARIANT (2000-PRESENT): "paraSITE is an ongoing project that consists of the construction and distribution of custom-built inflatable shelters for homeless people that attach to the exterior ventilation ports on buildings during the winter. The warm air exhausted from the building's HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system simultaneously inflates and heats the double membrane structures."

The article describes how these "tents" (which actually aren't tents) are an anti-establishment statement, which is fine... but they're just a darn good idea! This is great environmentalism! Use waste heat to keep people from freezing to death -- good plan!

The origin of the term "podcasting"

A lot of people -- including Adam Curry -- credit Danny Gregoire with coining the term "podcasting". But here's a reference ("prior art"?) from much earlier, in the Guardian Unlimited | Online | Audible revolution

Lindane Kills!

HeadLice.Org - Jesse's Project was one of those "back of my mind" kinds of things, and for some reason it popped to the front of my mind today. So, if you plan on dipping your child in poison to eliminate head lice, DON'T DO IT! Google "lindane" for plenty of scary information.

I HATE REBATES!

You'd think I'd have learned by now. But here I am, wasting my evening filling out rebates for a webcam I bought my folks. And I love my folks, so I'm glad I got them the camera... but the fact I'm stuck filling out rebates is due to my own cheapness. ("Frugality," I guess I should say.)

And what's killing me is the fact that I have to photocopy EVERYTHING because you just know that somewhere, somehow, these companies are going to manage to "lose" your paperwork.

As I told Ruth moments ago, "I never thought I could have such burning hatred for pieces of paper." Now, to be fair, I'm really not experiencing "hatred"... but a whole lot of frustration! Ick!

The joys of retail sales!

If you have a few minutes to read through a long-but-interesting thread, check the post of Is this a common practice/scam....? | this WEEK in TECH. I went there looking at the CMS that they use (and I do listen to their podcast, so it made sense) and bumbled onto this post.

Gee, I wonder... if I use "bumbled" enough in my posts, can I get ads about beekeepers?

WCCO: Faith Helps Families Find Purpose In Wake Of Tragedies

WCCO: Faith Helps Families Find Purpose In Wake Of Tragedies -- an excellent story; I'm sorry I missed the video (but it's nice that they put raw footage on the web -- a good use for a web site!). I know I'd never get an interview with Don Shelby for seeker.TV (of course, I said the same thing about Fred Phelps...) but I'd really like to know more about the "faith" he talks about when he says, "'I have three daughters and faith,' Shelby began, 'but if they were taken from me, I'd need to know why.'"

AdSense: 1, Human: 0

I give up. AdSense wins. I told my wife about my AdSense angst, and when I got home she said, "I took a look your blog, and the ads look fine". Lo and behold, she was right.

In fact, as I dug around a bit, all my ancient posts in my archive are picking up appropriate ads! Unbelievable! Google doesn't have them in its "standard archive" when you do a web search, and none of the posts have titles (not that it matters on the monthly aggregate screen), and I highly doubt that they have some way of live-checking the page as the JavaScript is called to pull the ad... so, in short, I have no idea how AdSense works on blogs. No idea. None.

ARGGGGG! AdSense "creates low atmospheric pressure"

educating eric: Coupons are the key? Coupons have nothing to do with "True Religion Jeans"!!! Why is it that when my wife posts to her blog (which is now has the exact same template as mine, she gets adds for coupon sites (and even one to "kill crabgrass"!!!) and the only break I get from a "start your own blog" ad is one for True Religion Jeans?!?

Something is seriously, seriously messed up with Google's AdSense! I'm very happy for my wife, and I know how these get-rich-quick people make their money (becuase they can argue that, with the right Title tags and such, AdSense is a wonderful thing by using sites like my wife's as an example) but, for my site, it doesn't work at all! NOT AT ALL!

Same, exact site... totally different behavior. What's that all about?!?

Any thoughts out there? Enjoying my angst? :)

Coupons are the key?

My wife, prolific poster that she is, has another post up. And while I still struggle, she has links galore to coupon sites. So, will my coupon post get the same reaction? The coupon reference in my title is different than hers, so I know it won't pull the absolutely identical results, but I wonder if I'll get anything at all?

I use PCs!

Despite the fact that I use a Dell and Compaq, my loyal readers at the moment are being bombarded by advertising for a certain brand of cute, white computers. I could make the argument that those ads are appearing because of a certain post I made here a few days ago... but the same company that serves the ads hasn't indexed the site at all.

I suppose I should feel lucky about the ads for cute white computers, because all the other ads are related to "how to blog", which is pretty much useless for my audience.

So far, changing the blog name to something more topical hasn't helped, either... but maybe I should give it a few days for caches to clear?

At least I'm having fun, right! :)

Short-term Makeover

So I tried applying Ruth's site design, and my savings account post now pulls savings account ads. Good start. But my "Make Money at Home!" (which is intentionally provocative, yet still relavant to my Google Ad issues) is pulling up ads on how to blog. Believe me, there are lots of "how to make money" ads out there, so I don't know why it's not grabbing those.

I might try one more site name change, to see if that modifies anything. And it's an appropriate name, too...

Sleeping Toddler: My favorite savings account

The thing that triggered my insight about page titles was a post (Sleeping Toddler: My favorite savings account) that Ruth made. When you're on the main page, you get references to sleep-aids for toddlers (usually). But when you click this link and see just the savings account post, you'll get ads for savings accounts.

The deal is, the post title is populated into the page title. That's the secret to getting the proper ads served... I think.

So why isn't it working for me? Either it takes awhile for the servers to catch onto the new title, or there's a difference in the ad block style between her site and mine, or my site title really is confusing things, or my template is hosed. If I cared, I'd be frustrated, but I don't, so it's getting to be entertaining at this point.

(It does explain, BTW, why the Ericast blog was constantly putting up ads for people to download television shows; every post begins with the word "Episode".)

Making Money at Home!

Okay, that's something of a cheezy title, but I'm trying an experiment. Ruth has set up her blog, and it immediately started getting painfully relavant ads served up by Google. My blog, on the other hand, languishes in the world of obscure blog-related advertising. There are a few differences between her template and mine, but one of the big ones is that her posts have titles.

Now, the other thing is, the title of a post is used to populate the title of a blog page, so Google might just be looking at titles alone.

And I fear that maybe my page is blacklisted entirely because it's linked from a full-screen framed page at emlarson.com... but I'm not going to worry about that just yet.

So, I'm off to check how my title tag is written and see if it needs a tweak or two...
A Biblical Lens in a Secular World... not only is the content interesting... but, man, what a great site template!
Web Detective Work Nabs Burglary Suspect -- Yay! Score one for the little guy (or "gal", in this case)!
BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Picture power: Death of an Iraqi soldier -- once again, war is bad. Bad, bad thing. Of course, so is a dictator's regime doing the exact same thing to his own people.
Newsweek says Koran desecration report is wrong - Yahoo! News: "'We believed our story was newsworthy because a U.S. official said government investigators turned up this evidence. So we published the item,' Whitaker said. "

Only one comment among (or "amid") the thousands that could be made: This exemplifies the problem with "anonymous sources" and the journalists who use them.
Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music... I always had trouble explaining the kinds of music I like -- because "dance" doesn't really capture it -- and now I have a vocabulary! YAY!

So, my interests seem to be "synthpop" and "technodance"/"eurodance" (of which "freestyle" is basically a subset).

Fascinating, no?

BTW, if you visit this site, watch out for inappropriate language and/or lyrics. (And, in this case, it's not only obscene but also truly inappropriate.)

Berean Baptist Sermon for May 8 -- didn't catch this sermon, but I'm sure it's a good one. :) And, now that I've posted it here, it'll pull down to iPodder, move to my iRiver, and I'll get to hear it!
Philadelphia Daily News | 04/18/2005 | Ebony Smith was victim of a 'straw-bought' gun On the heels of the news that "A New Brighton, Minn. teenager who drove his car into three snowball-throwing youths has pleaded guilty to a felony assault charge" is this follow-up to a story out of Philadelphia.

I just can't make the snowball -> daughter -> frustration -> shoot-innocent-girl-in-head connection.

Man, people suck. That's my deep thought for today.
zestyping: alt.chi rundown: This page contains a fascinating reference to "a gaze tracking system that examines video feeds to detect where everyone is looking so it can automatically edit the video together."

What a cool idea! Cool, cool, cool!
QuickTime 7 (Part 2):
More examples of Apple becoming a "big, bad company". Sorry for the messed up line breaks in the quote, but I don't have time to fix them all. Of course, Apple isn't going to give a refund because they can't invalidate a key, which is why they can get away with advertising features that aren't going to work for their buyers. Sad.

"Christopher Thomas
I spent an hour and a half on the phone with Apple Tiger, QuickTime, and Pro support
on Friday and they were not able to understand why under the A/V Control I do
not have access to the Video controls for Brightness, Color, Contrast, and Tint.
Today I came across a web page with developer documentation for QuickTime Pro
7...

My machine does not have a video card that supports Core Image.
I contacted Apple again today to request a refund. I was told I was out of
luck, no refunds. I have a valid key, I have all the features supported on my
system. I submitted that my system meets…
Mini Parma Violets - delicately flavoured perfumed violet sweets. - traditional, old-fashioned sweets - uk online sweetshop -- I have to figure out how to get some of these. (Not a crate of them... just a few.) I'm sure these were the candies that our Scottish friends brought on their trip to the 'States in... 1984? 1983? "The early '80s". They look like our "Smarties", but they're all the same -- "violet".

I figure I should find them and enjoy the memory before my teeth rot and the act of eating pure sugar is more excruciating that it already is.
Look who's talking: Gadget promises to translate baby babbling - Yahoo! News -- note that The Simpsons featured just such a device years and years ago. Never thought I should be watching a cartoon to get insight into technological trends...
The Miles Todd Crash Video -- My brother-in-law showed me this video today, and, MAN, you won't believe it! What's more amazing is that the guy is basically fine. (Broke up his hands pretty well, but after you see you the video you'll understand why that still counts as "basically fine.")

Ever wonder why I don't do "extreme sports"? Watch this. Duh.
Creative News - Brand Republic -- A very funny ad, in a very disturbing sort of way.
CVS Red PV2 mods -- okay, I'm a cheap guy, so I like the idea of picking up a $20 CVS pharmacy camera (or "$15 with card", but for the life of me I can't figure out what "card" they're talking about!) and hacking it so I can download the photos myself... but this seems like too much work. Not going to stop pondering it, though!
Daddy Dobson - Newsweek Politics - MSNBC.com: So Jim Dobson is a supposed to be a champion for human life, and is sure to be upset by the 1.3+ million children aborted every year in this country. So that topic is bound to come up when a reporter interviews him, right?

Wrong.

"I asked him what his top priority was in public life, and was astonished to hear him answer: ending the filibuster rule."

[sound of head hitting desk]

(And, yes, I know that if the filibuster rule is ended it will mean that judges will actually get appointed rather than being tied up in political games, and those judges are conservative ones -- which is why Democrats are filibustering them -- and that conservative judges are more likely to uphold reasonable parameters around abortion in this country rather than abandoning common sense in favor of political ideology. But, come on, do you really think Jim is connecting those dots when he decides that his number one priority at the moment is the filibust…
Classroom device really clicks with profs -- I've seen these devices in action (both at work and at Berean), and they're a really interesting tool. Lets people interact with the content while staying anonymous.

Unfortunately, in Berean's case, I had a "friend" who liked giving bogus answers to their little "instant survey" on parking, travel distance, etc. So you need ethical people using the tools!
As I'm watching my old 1980s video flicker by, I'm realizing something really interesting: The commercials don't have any computer generated effects. I guess I shouldn't say they have none; there was one page-flip effect, and a car commercial that used a couple video inset effects. But I'm serious -- there are entire national-level productions (like for Bounce fabric softener) without a single CG effect. It's just good shooting. Cuts only. Wow!
Welcome to the Future | Ourmedia -- this one clip sums up everything you ever needed to know about the internet/blog/podcast revolution. Good luck to all of us, and way to go, Chuck!
Berean Baptist sermon for April 24 -- I don't think I ever blogged this one, and I'd better get it up here before this week's comes out!

BTW, if you're curious, I do this not only because it makes it really easy for me to get them into my own MP3 player, but I've got friends who can pull my blog feed and get them automatically as well. So, I'm helping others by helping myself, I guess.