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Information about or recommendations for web sites.

Written By: Gary on March 15, 2008 No Comment

I’m a huge fan of SpamArrest, a mail program that uses challenge/response CAPTCHAs to only allow mail from humans, instead of from spammers. It works great but the price has gone up from $60 for two years to $90, so I’m checking for other options. It’s only an additional $30 but if the price jump is $30 (or worse, 50%) every 2 years, it’s gonna get kinda pricey in the next few renewal cycles. The price jump is kind of large after a few years especially since I know many of their costs should have gone down (disk space, servers and bandwidth); the software is already written and has had minimal user changes over the last two years.

Honestly, I’m sure it saves me more way than $45 a year worth of time. But can something save me more time, I know in the past MailBlocks saved me more time. So I’m looking for suggestions for some other Challenge/Responce mail system.

There is one thing I really dislike about SpamArrest, while I can use any mail client to read my mail, to check and approve spam I have to go to their web site and that takes a lot of time (and this is a feature I miss from the now deceased MailBlocks). The reason I have to check it is for mailings from new companies that I deal with and for people who don’t pay attention to the e-mail that gets mail back to them immediately to ask them to confirm they are human (I even have info about me and a picture of me in the e-mail so they know it’s really me).

In the meantime, I’m using my free gMail account. I want to see how well that works, they give me all sorts of space for free and it’s pretty fast and it works well on cellphones (their client, their web interface and should work with phone clients). They’ve got a fancy web interface and plain web interface so it works pretty well everywhere. Although, with my client I can’t see the spam folder there either. Google lets you create additional addresses for the same account and have decent filters. Plus, they will let you use your own domain if you’d like to; so if it really works out, I’ll attach my GaryLaPointe.com domain to it and use it for my mail (as long as that supports IMAP). And if it works as well for me, it’s free! There’s some weird mapping between GMail and the Mac Mail.app (I think by default you get duplicates of the mailboxes) but there’s some work arounds, or maybe the new Mail.app in Panther fixes it…

Also, I figure after trying it for a few months, SpamArrest might send me a promo to lure me back. If that’s the case I’ll know I’ve done due diligence to try another option and I’ll have possibly saved a few bucks in the mean time.Actually, I have one other minor complaint about SpamArrest, the interface could be faster. There’s something about the web interface that slows things down. I notice when I travel, it’s unbearably slow and I’m not sure why. But it’s a huge minus when I travel…

I do get some referral dollar$ from SpamArrest (maybe $8.75 a year?), so I figure if I’m sending clients to them, so are others (therefore, they’re likely growing).

Written By: Gary on February 16, 2008 No Comment

So I found a free offer code for CreditKarma. They’re offering free daily credit scores (from TransUnion). Use code CKFRND as invitation code at https://www.CreditKarma.com/ (I’m not certain I should be giving this code out, so I’m not hot-linking the site address) I found this at SlickDeals.net. The site is appears to besponsored by advertising and you will not be required to enter your credit card information or sign up for trial offers, but you will receive relevant partner offers (i.e. junk mail) based on your profile. This will not affect your credit rating (other than you paying attention to it).

I’ve always wondered how much my credit score fluctuates but even when I’ve had free offers before, but I’ve never bothered to log on every day to check. This looks like that on-line they give you a nice progressive graph from when you started (it’s hard to tell since I’m just on day one), hopefully it keeps a daily tally even when I don’t log in. Plus, they rank you to national stats and other members; their community has a some good credit, I actually score better nationally than with their membership (and I’ve got great credit).

UPDATE: So I’ve done this for a few days and it looks like the graph is just going to get me monthly averages, although it appears to pull the score daily (but it hasn’t changed for me yet).

UPDATE 2: I did ask for a credit increase on Wednesday, I was charging a few vacations so I wanted some wiggle room and I noticed my score went down three points today. I’m not sure if that’s for the credit check or the one vacation I already charged and sine it’s raised my debt level a tiny bit…

Written By: Gary on December 15, 2007 3 Comments

I’m sure someone out there can help me with my problem, but I don’t know what to call it so I can’t Google it. I’m trying to create some banners that are 865×180 pixels (the specific size doesn’t matter, that’s just what I’m using today). I’ve got lots of images that are way bigger than that so I need to be able to zoom in and out and see what it’ll look like if I crop it. I’ve been doing it with some other tools, but my zooming scales are limited with Graphic Converter (I need some in-between scales) and with iPhoto (I do want to do this on my Mac) I’ve got no decent way to see what the crop will look like. Graphic Converter almost does it, because if I’m close (but bigger) I can paste it in a smaller window and fine-tune it; but when I want to look at an image at 20% or 30%, it’s not an option,

Obviously, I’d prefer to not have to get an ultra-exspensive tool for this. But there’s got to be a better way than I’ve been experimenting with. I’m hoping a flash tool that I upload my photo to and it zooms around for me. Or maybe just using a tool in a way I haven’t tried it yet…

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Written By: Gary on December 12, 2007 8 Comments

It’s been 4 years today since I started blogging. It wasn’t really a plan. I had just looked into it for a bit and one day I had something to say and kept going

I think this will be post number 1677 (that averages to a little more than 1 posts a day) and 2,299 comments.

Thanks for listening and commenting everyone!!!!! And if you’ve just been listening, speak up and say HII’m also guessing I’ve had about 1,000,000 spam comments deleted with via my different filtering systems (about 30,000+ spams deleted by hand).

I need a better way with MovableType to reply to a comment and also post the reply to the web site at the same time. (Anyone?)

Written By: Gary on December 8, 2007 One Comment

So the last few times I’ve been bouncing around on Amazon I’ve noticed the “add to my WishList” option has disappeared! I’m logged in, but it seems even in the past it was there when you weren’t logged in. This is annoying…

Also, I’ve always thought this link should appear in your cart next to “delete” and “save for later” just in case you change your mind, you can put it in someone else’s mind.

Has anyone else noticed this? Or am I missing something?

Later – Of course now that I’m looking for something else (that’s out of stock) I see the WishList button again….

Written By: Gary on November 29, 2007 One Comment

So a few weeks before I left I subscribed to the TicoTimes. It’s a weekly English nation-wide newspaper about the size of Metro Times or a magazine from the Sunday section of a newspaper that comes out on Fridays in Costa Rica. A month’s subscription included the ability to download the PDF file every week. It’s a little hard to read on the screen, I think I get one more electronic issue, but I’ll probably buy a copy tomorrow.

ticotimesIt was nice to get a feel for what was going on in the country. From a to do list it wasn’t very helpful to me. It comes out on Friday and the calendar generally doesn’t stretch much past the weekend. So I might go somewhere else tomorrow and I should have stayed here for something, but I’ve already made my arrangements. I did find out about some kind of air festival in the northwest but I forgot all about it, I’ll have to check on that…

From a news standpoint I did know the rainy season was dying down early, I know the colon was going to go up in value (their “Greenspan” changed something), that the phone company might go on strike (they didn’t) and a few other things. It’s definitely worth the $8 to get the four issues on-line if you’re considering traveling the country. I recommend this for anywhere, I’ve gone to the bookstore and picked up a newspaper for London, England to get an idea of what’s going on there too (you might have to reserve these in advance).

Written By: Gary on November 18, 2007 No Comment

Has anyone used of any photo sites (like SnapFish, etc.) where I can upload a photo and I can type in some text and address and it’ll mail it to someone as a post card? Just to clarify, they will mail the photo as a single paper postcard (with my text on the back) and it’ll be delivered to their physical mailbox by their mail carrier.

It looks like SnapFish will do it for 99 cents, I’ve never used them. Has anyone tried this? Found anyone they like better?

Written By: Gary on November 12, 2007 17 Comments

On The Big Bang Theory tonight they mentioned “WalletNook.com“. So. of course, I tried to go to the site. Here’s my question: Why would Warner Borthers purchase WalletNook.com and not create a page there at least to redirect you to The Big Bang Theory page? Or even sell that wallet?

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (DOM-1708796)
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522 US

Umm… No, I wasn’t going to buy it if it was available…

Written By: Gary on November 10, 2007 2 Comments

So I’m playing around with some of the social networking sites and I need a few more friends. So, if you use any of the following and you’re looking for a few more people to add, please feel free to add me. In particular I’m trying to get a better feel for FaceBook so I need a few more there so I can see how people are really using it…

  • FaceBook – This is my newest place to test out, so if you use it please add me as a friend so I can explore a little more.
  • iLike – If you don’t use iLike for music you should check it out and I’d like to see what you’re listening to so add me there.
  • Twitter – I’m just experimenting with Twitter, all my blog posts get tweeted and occasionally I’ll tweet if I’m at a concert or event or something like that.
  • MySpace – If you’ve got a MySpace page I’d be interested to see it, especially if you’re a local (Detroit-Area) person.
  • Technorati – Not so much a “social network” but you can favorite blogs that you read (on the left side of the page near the site thumbnail) so if you use it and you like my blog please ‘favorite’ it.
  • Written By: Gary on September 26, 2007 One Comment

    So Amazon opened the Amazon MP3 store which has been getting some good reviews and (most importantly) it semi-integrates by pushing your purchases into your iTunes which is great for automatic syncing with your iPod. They’ve had tracks for download for ages, but this is their big jump into the market (you do need their downloader for this).

    Amazonmp3I actually spotting it yesterday when searching for some music but I didn’t realize the format change of my search results indicated a whole new service. I did notice that the tracks were only 89 cents though!

    Keep in might for 89 cents they are a dime less than the iTunes music store for regular tracks but since there is no encryption (DRM) and it’s encoded at a higher quality (even than Apple I believe) these are 40 cents less than Apple’s $1.29 a song. That’s about 1/3 less if you’ve been getting the DRM-free higher quality songs (and that’s what I’ve been getting lately). And they are MP3s, so they play on just about anything (but higher quality does mean larger songs). Buying whole albums will generally discount the price.There are exceptions to the 89 cent price for the individual songs, but I can’t figure out the rules to tell you. And like the iTunes store I believe there are tracks that can’t be purchased separately from the album, I thought I saw that yesterday but I can’t find an example of that today.

    And to be fair to Apple, their DRM free $1.29 songs are generally much cheaper if you buy the whole album (the 14 track One Cell in the Sea – by A Fine Frenzy is only $7.99 (which I think is the same as the iTunes DRM version) which is the same price as the Amazon mp3 store, except Amazon doesn’t appear to give you the booklet.

    So the end result, IMHO, it’ll never beat the seamlessness of the iTunes Music Store but but with it’s downloader (which does give you a free song), Amazon mp3 might be a good alternative or at least a second place to check when shopping for songs. If you’re not an iPod user it’s probably a great place to consider for your mp3 shopping (I think the downloader will push the tracks to other players but since I don’t have any I”m not certain). The downloader does work pretty good, I did try it. It would be nice if it were smart enough to add it to an “Amazon Playlist”.

    I fully expect to see them selling movies, television, music videos, audio books or distributing podcasts via the same mechanism in the future….

    Written By: Gary on September 24, 2007 2 Comments

    So many times I wish I could call someone late at night or early in the day to leave a message without waking them. THere are some services that delay delivery like this, but they’re (at least in the past) costly and slightly difficult.

    Jott BetaEnter Jott: It lets you set up a list of people on-line. You call Jott say who/what you want to Jott (you put yourself in the list too) and then leave a thirty second message and it sends it to their e-mail. Did I leave out that it very accurately transcribes the audio file into text for you too?!? And it’s free?!? And it includes an audio file link too, just in case the transcription is garbled. Think about that before I tell you what else it does…

    It’ll post it to a blog for you too (Blogger, WordPress (even if self-hosted), TypePad, LiveJournal), it’ll Twitter and Jaiku it for you too and post it to a Yahoo! Group and 30 boxes and you can use it to get Zillow (home value) quotes too. And it’ll set up reminders for you too. It’s all hands-free with your phone. And it’s free!I just posted a sample Jott for you to read, if you listen you can hear a slight mistake but it’s close enough, you’ve never know unless you listened to it. Other than the sentence in bold that says to read this message, it’s just cut and patse. FYI, the sample is a cheat, I really posted it to WordPress and just copied the post here for demonstrations sake. It currently does not work on Movable Type, I think it’s just the way MT handles multiple blogs, but since it uses XMLRPCs pretty close to the other blogs I’m hoping it’s a simple fix (but it’s beyond me).

    You must try this!!! I’ve get it set for a few friends, my work e-mail and my home e-mail so I can just call with reminders for me or to get free 30 second transcriptions of text for e-mail that I need to send back at the office.

    Sometimes it does take a few minutes (no more than 5 minutes, usually 2 minutes) for the Jott to get transcribed.

    Written By: Gary on September 24, 2007 One Comment

    This is a test of Jott. I’m actually talking into my telephone right now and Jott is transcribing my voice. It’s gonna save it and convert it to text and then it’s gonna post it automatically to the blog. Jott is really cool. Give it a try.
    Click here to listen – Powered by Jott

    Warning – For this test to make sense be sure to read the Jott is So Cool! explanation.

    Written By: Gary on September 23, 2007 One Comment

    So I normally don’t put too many topics per post, actually I generally only put one topic per post. But I’ve been sick and all my little post-its on things to blog about are getting too long. So I’ll steal the Bullet Sunday idea from Dave for this week.

  • Sick – I’ve been lousy with a few different things for the last few weeks, I’ve been so fuzzy I pretty much need to wear my reading glasses all the time it’s usually just late at night (and sometimes early mornings). I’m actually think the few different things are fighting it out in my body, or the drugs are now what’s causing a problem. I couldn’t get into the doctor on Saturday (actually she didn’t think another visit would do any good). I’ll have someone look up the drugs and see if I’m having any problems between them it’s the dry mouth and bad taste that popped up in the last 36 hours that’s making me think drug interactions.
  • WordPress – WordPress is one of the larger blogging platforms, lots of plug-ins and looks well supported. For example, on Wednesday Matt (a WP developer) is having a WordPress 2.3 upgrade party in San Francisco

    WordPress 2.3 is coming out on Monday, so come out Wednesday evening and upgrade your blog with the pros. How badly can you screw it up when the developers are right there? If you upgrade your blog before Wednesday come and help out others and make feature requests.

    I think it’s kind of a cool idea I’d go if I were in the area and I don’t even really use it. I’m hoping I can hold off to really using it until after Lisa Sabin-Wilson’s WordPress for Dummies book is published. What I don’t like about WP is that it’s all dynamic (but that’s part of what I do like about it too). The dynamic-ness is just going to slow things down; I liked that in MT you can make some pages static and some dynamic but the cool part is MT will cache the pages once it generates them until the next post so it’s semi-static. Keep in mind you break some important dynamic function, everything is probably going to break. I think my next blog experiments will be with WP….

  • Jott – Way cool I’ll post more on this soon.
  • Legion of Super Heroes – Season one was great but season two (started yesterday) has the Superman from the 41st century (actually a clone of the 21st century Superman) who has traveled back to the 31st(?) to work with Legion and (I’m assuming) the SuperBoy/Man of the 21st century. It seems like it’s going to be a little two complicated. They characters seem liked the characters have gotten a little bit older too (Duo Damsel is so cute).

  • Snakehead – A new Alex Rider novel is coming out. They’ve definitely gotten better as the books went along, I recently re-read the first one and it’s no where near as good as the later ones.
  • Twitter – Mini blog posts that you can read on-line or receive as text messages all day long. I don’t get it but then again, I didn’t get blogging at first either. But personal blogging at that level is too much, IMHO. News might be interesting, weather(?), local bands as to when they are performing (sometimes I just want to know what time they are performing). I did set up a page and grabbed a dozen people to listen too (but I don’t get paged, I actually have to go and look); if I find anything super (probably news/weather or something like that) I might have them go to my cell phone…
  • Season Premiers – I re-watched the season premiers of a few shows, I had a chance to see some early promos of some and they changed them a bit. The Big Bang Theory got edited in a few spots, I actually think it’s less funny for those scenes. Bionic Woman also got changed and I think it flows a little better, I certainly enjoyed it better. The odd part was that they switch out her sister (who lives with her) from a punky deaf girl to a regular rebellious teen; that seemed like a huge strange switch.
  • Written By: Gary on September 10, 2007 One Comment

    Snapshirts.ComI thought this was kinda neat, SnapShirts.com will read your site and create a blog cloud and print you up a shirt. It’s nothing fancy but pretty easy to do.

    They’ll e-mail you the image to use if you want too. If you’ve never done anything to generate your word cloud, it’s easy to do and interesting to see what comes up.

    Written By: Gary on September 3, 2007 2 Comments
    Creativeadvertisements01I thought this was a cool ad, the hand straps on the bus make it look like you’re wearing a watch!

    There are more where I got this one at Creative Advertisements Around the World. I really like the last one with the headlights! And the Duracell one…

    Written By: Gary on August 29, 2007 2 Comments

    So I’m not a big fan of team sports, I go here and there if it’s a group (or I get free tickets) but it’s just never been my thing. Maybe it’s just because there is too much waiting, in line to get in, in the parking lot, between time outs, etc. But I’ve always liked numbers and I really liked the book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game so maybe that’s why I got a message sent to me.

    The message looked like it was directed to me, it might have just been well formed spam (but there appear to be no ads). But I liked the graphics and stats on “your team’s chance of making the playoffs” so I’m linking to the Detroit Tigers page at Sport Club Stats. They’ve got all sorts of teams and leagues and sports so check it out. Be sure to click out the enlarged graphs/charts too.

    Written By: Gary on August 15, 2007 2 Comments

    So Justine from TastyBlogSnack.com got her detailed phone bill from AT&T for her new iPhone. They have detailed billing and she had about 30,000 text messages last month. It cost them $7.12 to mail her the bill in a box.

    Insane that her bill is that long, but it’s also insane that iJustine does a 1,000 messages a day! Of course she has the unlimited plan!

    I’ve never imbedded from “revver” before, in case it doesn’t work here’s the YouTube link and here’s her original post about it. I heard her talking about it on MacBreak Weekly #53 with Leo LaPorte today (but I had no idea she was SO cute)…

    Written By: Gary on July 27, 2007 No Comment

    It went down again. And it took two calls for someone to be able to tell me they are aware and fixing it. They need a way to keep customers all up to date. Have they ever heard of a status page (or a blog)? I wouldn’t mind any downtime if I could check on it in just a few seconds.

    Now it seems as if my permissions are goofed up in some directories.

    I’m not sure why you aren’t/weren’t seeing all the post content all the time…

    I’d get rid of them if they weren’t so awesome when they were working!!

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    Written By: Gary on July 20, 2007 2 Comments

    Found this cool 360 degree panorama of Karnak Temple. It requires Quicktime (I was there last year, BTW).

    (I was actually looking for something on The Moon Landing which was 38 years ago today….)

    Written By: Gary on July 19, 2007 No Comment

    If you use PayPal, this suggestion is for you as an individual (not for the PayPal company itself). PayPal lets you add several e-mail addresses to your account to send/receive money. My suggestion is to add a few other addresses that you use to your account. If someone sends you money to one of these other addresses it’s way easier to claim it!

    And I also think it might be better for you if your current e-mail account ever goes under, the other e-mail will already be on file.

    I just had the first problem, and PayPal phone support resolved it for me pretty quick (if I would have shut up and stopped asking questions they probably would have resolved it even faster).

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    Written By: Gary on July 13, 2007 One Comment

    Over at The Good Human it was mentioned that a “13 year old understands better than most how jeans are made” and so I went over to Simple Living to read it. Madison, the bloggers daughter, wrote it and it’s a great explanation on the resources used to make jeans so go take a quick look at it…

    Written By: Gary on July 13, 2007 2 Comments

    Here is the official 1-18-08 movie preview. It’s so clear it’s hard to feel the amateurish video quality that the preview had in the theater…

    And they added a third image to the 1-18-08.com site.

    If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ve mentioned the 1-18-08 preview before…

    Written By: Gary on April 1, 2007 4 Comments

    So this is a great idea, some have e-mail (gMail) accounts but don’t have printers. They access at internet cafes, off their cell phone or at work (where it’s not appropriate to print personal mail). But how do you get a hardcopy of your messages? This was a problem the first week or two when my Mom got her computer, she didn’t have any way to print.

    GpaperSolution: gMail paper. You click the “paper archive” button and they’ll mail you copies of the messages. “You can read it, sort it, search it, touch it. Or even move it to the trash—the real trash. (Recycling is encouraged)”. Of course it’s free, it’s from Google but I don’t see how they can afford the postage, they say that “The cost of postage is offset with the help of relevant, targeted, unobtrusive advertisements, which will appear on the back of your Gmail Paper prints”. Here’s the FAQs. Obviously I haven’t seen printouts yet (I wish they had some in the FAQ) but I’ll be ordering a few samples later and I’ll post what they look like (although printing an e-mail, then scanning it back in to post it electronically seems a little absurd).

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    Written By: Gary on April 1, 2007 One Comment

    Forget that it lets you create awful looking pages and that it’s ultra slow (partially due to the large quantities of photos and slideshows). We’re just talking about normal software problems that would probably save them bandwidth if they fixed/tweaked things (and make our MySpace lives easier and faster). Let’s get everyone to stop wasting clicks and using it better (which will stop wasting bandwidth!). I might even spend more time there if it wasn’t for all the wasted time…
    So here we go (I hope Tom is listening):

  • If I’m looking at an event it should tell me if I’ve added it to my calendar already when I’m looking at it. It should not make me click it and then add it twice. It should know this already.
  • I need a way to get the calendar out of MySpace. I’ve already got a calendar on my computer, it’s on my phone, it’s every where I go (and it’s all the same calendar). I need a way to get those events from MySpace to my other synchronized calendars. There are standardized protocols for this, if they really want me to see these performers (they really don’t care, IMHO) they need to make sure I know about them.
  • If I add a calendar item from someone’s page it should remember when I got the event from with a link back to the original page.
  • If someone is my friend already say that on the page don’t say “I’m in their extended network”, it says that for everyone. You go to add a band (or someone) and you can’t remember if they’re in your list already and it’s got to go to another page. It should know this already.
  • Artists can set their page to let you download some of their songs (or none) but the filenames are awful (like 89SAD09G89SD0FSDF089SDFS8D00S.mp3) and the songs have none of the tags so you can see who it is when you play it later (on the computer or your mp3 player). Once again, they aren’t helping the artists, it’s whatever they can do to get you to come back to the site for unnecessary things. If you’re hooked your coming back, just let me download something useful.
  • MySpace will send me e-mail reminders and alerts but you can’t choose which ones and it’s hard to get them past your spam filter since they change their e-mail address with every message. If you use some form of disposable address now your friends can’t search for you since they don’t know that address (I only send friends to MySpace to find the links to my bands, I have no real content there).
  • If I go to someone’s page for the first time, I’ll click play if I want to hear their favorite song, don’t start streaming me music I don’t want to hear. I almost want to say the same about a musician’s page too but I can understand that they want it to play (how about a 10 second delay so the page will stop loading first?).
  • They don’t let you subscribe via RSS/Atom to a persons blog, once again, no info unless you go to theirSpace. They could at least let you view an excerpt so then you’d want to come back…
  • If someone has no pics (or videos) it shouldn’t give me an option to view them. There aren’t any there!!
  • There should be a limit of 15 slideshows or 1500 photos per page. That’s sarcasm, have you seen how many photos and slideshows people put on their page? It takes 5 minutes to download them all on a high speed connection!
  • Why can’t I rotate my favorite song? Or my Avatar? Oops, wait those aren’t aesthetic complaints, they’re user wishes. I’ve been spending too much time in theirSpace….

    I really hope I’m not missing an easy calendar solution, I’ll feel kinda silly if I did. If I’m complaining, I suppose it begs the question why am I using MySpace? Because they’ve got my local bands convinced it’s the only place to list their calendars. And occasionally I follow a few other clicks while I’m there…

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    Written By: Gary on March 18, 2007 2 Comments

    I love 1 and 1 web hosting, I really do. Great features, great price, all sorts of configuration options and cheap domains ($5.99 a year). They’ve got decent reports and now they’ll automatically mail me stats. Some of their web interface stuff is a little slow (it’s too fancy) but it’s got lots of options so I can live with it.

    What I hate is their lack of customer communication:

  • They need a blog just to keep us up to date of the cool stuff they are working on.
  • They need a status page to let you know what problems are up.
  • They need their staff to know what problems they are having (it shouldn’t take 3 calls over 3 days to find out they are migrating some servers).
  • The need to let us know when they have problems or in advance when they plan to migrate servers.
  • If thousands of pages are generating 404 errors take a minute and alter to the 404 page and mention to the viewers (my readers) that it’s a temporary problem.
  • Even the utility companies can automate a hold message to say there are problems and they are working on it.
  • They have great up time and I understand that things happen, but had I known there was a major upgrade I could have:

  • Mentioned it on my site (probably wouldn’t have but would have had the chance)
  • Not spent time debugging and wondering if it was my fault
  • Not made 3 calls (waiting on hold each time)
  • Most importantly – Not be pissed about it and blogging about it.
  • I still can’t figure out what took them so long to fix it and I’m only really annoyed because of the lack of communication. An e-mail that apologizes for it either earlier in the process or even after they fixed it would have gone a long way with me…

    FYI: To clarify, they we mostly down for about two-and-a-half days…

    Written By: Gary on March 15, 2007 One Comment

    There are web problems with my host 1 and 1 which is causing 404 errors, these are not my fault, but they are affecting you. I’m sorry for that…

    I love my web host 1and1 but what I hate is they have no kind of status page that customers can look at to see what problems are happening with the network. If they just had a page where they could list something like “many customers are having 404 problems and it may take hours (or days) to fix it” I’d be happy (not if it happened all the time). Then I wouldn’t waste time checking on it (on the chance it is my fault) or bather calling them (or waiting on hold). It seems like customer service common sense to me…

    Written By: Gary on March 3, 2007 No Comment

    Picture 2Wow! This is the Astronomy Picture of the Day today! The above link will get you “today’s” picture whenever today is. This link will get you March, 3rd 2007 which is the one I’m talking about. It’s the moon (our moon) passing in front of the sun using ultraviolet cameras.

    The extra amazing part is once you go to that page you can watch a short animated movie of the 12 hour transition.

    Written By: Gary on March 2, 2007 No Comment

    So every so often I see my site from a computer with a lower screen resolution and the center columns is just way too skinny especially if there are images. So I’ve done some alterations to the main page if you have a screen resolution of 1,000 pixels across (or less) I feed you a different CSS file that pushes the right column off the right of the screen so if you want to see it you’ll have to scroll to the right (I’m thinking the better viewing will make it worth it). JavaScript will have to be enabled for this to work.

    Please let me know if this works better for the lower resolution people (and look the same for the rest of you). I’ll probably move some items from the right to the left if this works out and I’ll do it to more pages on the site (especially the individual ones that you can put the comments on).I used this information from the Movable Type Forums to do this. Everything that you need should be there.

    FYI – Over 10% of my viewers have screen sizes less than 1,000 pixels wide and another 10% are unknown.

    Please give me some feedback on this, I’m only trying to make this better for you…

    Written By: Gary on February 23, 2007 No Comment

    I’ve been using Quantcast to look at some site statistics. As usual noting is perfect, I know it doesn’t count anything from RSS feeds or anywhere else I might have had info pulled some other way from my site (RSS, my PDA version, AvantGo, etc.) and I’m certain I didn’t get their little piece of code on every page on my site. BTW, you don’t need their code to get information from them, I had information already, this just got me a few bits more but I see I still don’t have any on ‘Audience Composition’ and I’m not sure why.

    They have fun data mostly based on the geographic data of the location of people viewing your site. I don’t think I have that many Asian viewers but that out of country viewing has to be allocated to someone. Can we legally get “spammers” declared as an ethnicity?

    Written By: Gary on February 21, 2007 One Comment

    So some different things got me thinking about Roswell: Quite often Grey’s Anatomy does since Katherine Heigl was one of the stars. So that started me thinking about the TV series Roswell and I started surfing around stumbled along THE video clip (to set this clip up, you need to know that Max and Liz didn’t know each other well but secretly had crushes, two men get in an argument in the Crashdown Cafe, a gun goes off, Liz falls to the ground and Max runs to her side) where it all started . It was a great series but it only made it three seasons, which is actually pretty good for sci-fi.
    Roswell60Th
    And then I remembered that the Roswell UFO Festival is this summer (as always) but this year is 60 years since the aliens crashed there. The biggest coverup since well, since anything else. This is the reason as to why they always dismiss UFO sightings as ‘weather balloons’ because that’s what they accused the Air Force guy of doing, of confusing a weather balloon with a spaceship…

    I’m really thinking of going to the festival this summer, has ever anyone gone? Any tips? Anything from someone whose been there but not during a festival? Maybe a not-to-miss place (museum or restaurant)? Or an alien-theme hotel or maybe just a good but cheap hotel?

    Written By: Gary on February 20, 2007 3 Comments

    Do you ever notice that sometimes in the comments you can see an image of the poster? Those are called Avatars. Sometimes they are of the poster and sometimes they are image representing them. Regardless of which one you use anything is more interesting than nothing. It gives a little more recognition / flavor to your post…

    Gravatar has a way to put those on places where you comment. Two cool things about that. One: They’re free!!! Two: They’re retroactive. If you set it up, it’ll automagically show up on any old comments you left on this site and on thousands (and thousands) of sites where you may have already commented! Plus, they’ve just gone back on-line after redesigning their site.

    It’s not a big favor and I never ask you for much so please find a image of yourself (it’ll let you size/crop it) and go sign up! Of course you realize you need to come back here and leave a comment, right? And I’ll need a volunteer or two who already has a Gravatar to leave one so other’s can see how they work…

    Please note: I’ve noticed that after you add an image you have to go to the My Gravatar page and say you want to associate that image with your e-mail address.

    Written By: Gary on February 18, 2007 6 Comments

    Pringles Drivers.Freecarmedia.ComGet a free car or get $400 a month to drive yours. If you get a car from them it looks like it cover maintenance and tires too. I’m not sure how I feel about this but if it was a product I loved and I could make (up to) $400 a month, that doesn’t seem to bad.

    If you are chosen, you will receive a new car, wrapped in an attractive advertisement, to use for two years or you will be given the option to wrap the vehicle that you currently own and get paid up to $400 a month.

    I could drive something like a TiVo, Apple, SixApart, some musical performer I like or a travel costa rica wrapped car. I’ve said before I like my convertible because I can put the top down, not because it’s sporty and I could be happy driving a box. Well, it would definitely take away any considerations of being sporty and getting paid would be nice…I gotta figure if you get paid you have to claim it, if you’re just driving their car it might not count as income (plus you get service) so it just depends on what you’re looking for. I might fill out one of these profiles, it’s not like I have to take it if they offer me.

    They used to do with years ago with VolksWagon Beetles and Kool cigarettes, I’m not sure what the pay-out was then but they were always interesting to see (been googling for a few minutes now, can’t find an image of that to show).

    Written By: Gary on February 14, 2007 One Comment

    I’m always disappointed that I used some other web addresses for my blog (GaryLaPointe.com/blog, GaryLaPointe.com/nice, GaryLaPointe.com/mypointe) before I settled on http://GarySaid.com/. The problem is I’ve been linked by all sorts of sites to the old address and it’s impossible to change them*. Many place on your blogs, search engings, listings in Blogrolls, BlogShares, Techortati, etc. You can’t just delete them since they do point towards you but they’re not correct (and some you can’t even delete if you want). I’ve got good redirects so I’m probably okay with links, but it really bothers the obsessive compulsive part of my brain.

    One of my biggest sets of incorrect links are on other sites where I’ve left comments or trackbacks** to my old URL, well it wasn’t old then, but it doesn’t link back to here (but most times will redirect you to the correct page). I know some of you have changed your address by switching from Blogger to Typepad to your own website, etc. and the old links just go to a redirect, a note that says you moved or sometimes (the worst) an error page. I also know some of you have deleted them on purpose and started over but maybe you’d like that insightful comment you left here 3 years ago to link to your new site…

    Here’s my offer for you: I’ll replace your old comment links on my site with your new site. This will help with people reading the archives and who click on your link so you may get a few new readers since your old dead links will now work (and it’ll probably help with some search engine stats as I get reindexed). Leave me a comment and list some old blog addresses you have posted comments here with (make clear which is the new one) and I’ll see if I can do a search and replace to fix the links. It probably won’t help with any specific page links or trackbacks but at least they’ll point to the correct site (if I see broken ones as such I can redirect to the front page). I’ll fix your blogroll link if I’ve got one too (be sure to point that out). I’ll even fix things like remove/add the WWW if you’ve since settled on one or the other.Obviously, I may have to ask you a few questions if it seems like someone is trying to get me to move your URL to theirs. But it should be straightforward. I’m really hoping it won’t be too chaotic.

    * From a technical standpoint, if you redirect your whole site sometimes you get indexed for each URL. If you set up an error page some people don’t find the site. Different sites treat it different ways. I’ve been playing with Technorati and it’s seems like they index the old sites (if redirected) and the new. Blogrolls that just redirect you never get fixed and other odd issues appear.

    **I’m extra lucky in that while I’ve moved my site around it’s always been my site. So all my posts have the same numbering so most links probably still link back to a specific spot and it’s likely so do the trackbacks.

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