January 29, 2005

No downside to nofollow

Martin G Brown came by my site for a visit and asked:

There is a flip side to this rel="nofollow" attribute.
This is that genuine commenters will not make their way up the google rankings either.
If someone goes to the trouble of comenting about your post, don't you owe it to them to help them up the rankings a bit?

(see: The beggining of the end of comment spam?)

Well Martin you are absolutely right - genuine commenters will not rise up the google rank by posting comments on people's blogs. But, to answer your question: No - I don't owe commenters a bump in page rank just because they went 'to the trouble' of commenting.

I find this sort of thinking to be a general problem in the world today. People feel that the world owes them something every time they do the simplest things. People used to do things out of common courtacy. Now many people expect a reward for being decent. It is as if being a kind, considerate, friendly person is such a burden, that if one does decide to exhibit these traits they damn well better get a prize for it.

Sorry - I won't organize a parade in your honour because you held the door open for me. I won't nominate you for person of the year because you covered your mouth when you sneezed. I won't hand out trophies to people that let me merge into their lane during rush hour. The most anyone will get from me is the most they should realistically expect: A genuine "thank you," "bless you," or courtacy wave respectively.

So Martin, thank you for your comment. At the time of this post I have not yet implemented rel='nofollow' on this site so you may still be getting a bump from me. Eventually, when I do implement the feature the bump will end. But, there will still be a link from my site to yours telling the world that Martin Brown appears to be a friendly VB.net Programmer from somewhere in the ether. Why not vist his site.


Posted by andre at 11:03 PM | Comments (2)

January 21, 2005

Open Source TV with Open Source Code

Zed.cbc.ca has gone open source.

Seems natural.


Posted by andre at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)

Mac Mini

They say a picture is worth a thousand words - so these should be worth 5 grand.

Now digest Cringely's words on the mac mini and you begin to see a whole new picture.

Will this really be the iPod for movies?

A few days ago I started looking into building a mini system of my own. The microATX and miniITX boards and cases available now are really quite cool. Teeny Weeny little desktop computers with all the horsepower of a full tower. (plus they're quieter).


Posted by andre at 12:31 AM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2005

Beginning of the end of Comment spam?

I meant to post this yesterday - but better late than never - the story is already all over the blogsphere - but in case you haven't caught it:

Google, Yahoo, and MSN team up to fight comment spam.

You can now add rel="nofollow" to your anchor tags - and the 3 major search engines will not follow those links. So go ahead and update your blogging software to add this rel="nofollow" to links in comments that get posted to your site. Comment spammers are trying to improve their page rank - and this stops that from happening.

The Drupal community has been quick to act - and there are patches available to update your drupal site to implement this functionality.


Note to self - install patches for movable type - or actually move my blog over to drupal one of these days.

Posted by andre at 12:28 AM | Comments (1)

We are who we are

Derek somewhere in the voodoo ether said:

"I don't think that one can change who one is; nor should one.
If you are untrue to who you are, you are doomed to fail, because someone will love you for something you're not."

I'm not so sure about that.

I am who I am when I am where I am. Before you get too puzzled by what that is supposed to mean, I'll try and explain.

I don't think we can look at ourselves as static objects (and I know that isn't what Derek meant to imply - but follow along anyway for fun). Everything affects us and we are in a constant state of change. From one moment to the next we can be different people - and I don't mean wildly different - and I certainly don't mean to suggest split personalities or anything - but at any given moment something inside of us can change and we can view the world in a completely different way. It could be as simple as a mood - changing us from happy go lucky to blah... Or it could be more fundimental - like reading or seeing something that completely changes our understanding of everything we thought we knew.

The only time we are who we are is where and when we are when we are. Like right now - we are not the us of 5 minutes ago or the us of 5 minutes from now - we are the us that we are at this moment.

This is exactly the sort of thing about me that drives my girlfriend bonkers. I can like something one day - and be 'ennnh' about it another - and like it fine again a week from then. I could be completely stoked about doing something for months and suddenly loose interest and move on to something else. I REALLY like to eat peppers in the summer - and raspberrys taste best to me in Hungary - but if you ask me about those things at other times and places - they won't mean nearly as much to me. Everything is relative.

I reserve the right to change. Change my mind, Change my appearance, Change my tastes, Change my attitude, Change my life. I also reserve the right to change back for any reason.

I am who I am when I am where I am


Posted by andre at 12:11 AM | Comments (1)

January 18, 2005

Microsoft Media Center

Alex was kind enough to send along a link to Bill Gate's keynote talk at a big consumer electronics trade show.

Done watching? Good. Uhhhh.... Microsoft just doesn't quite get it...

But, many consumers are even farther behind in their understanding of convergence - and in the end the that may mean that the masses of ignorant ludites will swallow whatever Microsoft feeds them.

Its not so much that Microsoft doesn't get the technology. After all, they do have enough highly educated engineers and uber-nerds on their payroll. Its that the corporate culture of Microsoft is defined by a model of controlling the 'platform'. They focus so much energy on doing just that that they completely ignore what early adopters are telling them. i.e. "We want to control our own media our own way."

Instead of listening to these consumers, Microsoft is making DRM - or digital rights management - their priority. If they control the DRM - they control the flow of media. If they control the platform - consumers are stuck depending on redmond for their digital content. Its a nice strategy for future revenue - but remember - we didn't ask for DRM and I think Microsoft gets enough of our money anyway.

On a different note:
One thought I had when they were introducing one feature (the ability to remotely set your microsoft media center pc to record anything): its only a matter of time until we read the headline:

"Internet worm sets everyone's PVR to record porn"

We are talking about Microsoft security here - and a whole whack of people that have a lot of time on their hands to write such a bug.

But, my girlfriend quickly made another prediction that was much more evil than that - PVR SPAM - unscrupulous marketing folk hacking systems and setting a PVR to record infomercials - ingenious because there would be plausible deniability on the spammer's part. "We didn't do it - this is a work of an evil H4X0R"


Posted by andre at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

January 17, 2005

Full Disclosure

This story (including a bunch of links)
was brought to my attention on one of my mailing lists. Basically The Washington Post broke a story telling the world that the guy behind theDaily Kos and some other blogger were paid by the howard dean campaign.

Done reading? Good. I won't bore you on my take of the whole thing - beyond saying that it is pretty much a non story. But, it does bring up the point that all bloggers should fully disclose how they pay the bills and what funds their blog.

I wouldn't call what I do on this blog journalism - but just in case I do write something that might one day win me a PulitzerŪ I don't want to be taken out of the running on a technicality.

So in the interest of full disclosure I want the world to know:
I pay for my own hosting. I generated a tiny amount of revenue from the Google Ad Words that are clearly marked as such on this site. I do not, and have not and will not receive or accept any money to write a story or blog entry about anyone or anything or anyplace. The views expressed on this site are my own. In the event that a view expressed here is not my own an attribution to the holder of the view being presented will be made.

<smartass>In the unlikely event that someone would offer to pay me $1,000,000.00 to write an article about something, someone or some place, I will write the article - and cease to write anything else (as I will be too busy spending $1,000,000.00). Any offer to whore myself for less than $1,000,000.00 will be rejected.</smartass>


Posted by andre at 04:32 PM | Comments (1)

January 13, 2005

Thoughts on Internet Broadcast

This was originally going to be an e-mail - but it got long so I decided to share it with the entire world.

I won't include the original stuff that this was in response to but it was mainly about broadcasting over the internet - and some misconceptions that I wanted to address (to the best of my knowledge).

1) A few years ago, a couple of enterprising young persons attempted to stream broadcast television over the internet. The US networks didn't like this much. "But we're only serving it to canadian citizens" they protested since there is no law prohibiting the redistribution of unaltered content that you pull freely from the air (remember the bunny ears that you used to wiggle when you were a child to get a show to come in clearer - or have I just dated myself). "Making people insert a Canadian postal code is not enough to limit viewers - besides - its our content and you don't have the right to re-distribute it" they shot back - and eventually shut them down by the weight of the legal costs associated with defending themselves.

2) Music copyright in canada (a favorite topic of mine). The law says that anyone can make a copy of any musical work for their own personal use. The law actually makes the special case for music vs. [say] television, a play or any other creative IP. The law does not allow you to make a copy for someone else. (e.g. I buy a CD and burn you a copy. BAD. But, if you come over to my house and you click 'burn cd' - that makes it OK).

3) P2P sharing in Canada: Because its okay to make a copy of a song for yourself - there is nothing wrong with downloading music (p2p or otherwise) - this has been long established in court. In a recent ruling regarding the sharing portion of the transaction the judge said: Anyone can share their library of music - simply having an open port on your computer doesn't mean you are breaking any laws. There is no evidence of distribution - you aren't pushing the files down anyone's throat. Nor are you actively telling people "hey come get my latest Avril Levine album - I sure as heck don't need it" (ed. I do not own, nor have ever owned an Avril Levine album). And the technology itself he likened to a photocopier in a library - (Paraphrasing the judge) "Just because there are the means to violate copyright doesn't mean the technology should be restricted in any way - that's not the court's job" (Which everyone interpreted to be a hint to the Feds to change the law if they thought this was a problem - but the court's hands are tied in the matter).

3.1) Minority government = This law change not even on the radar screen - free sharing for all (Canadians) until the next election.

4) The guy that's doing the same sort of thing as derek suggests with Myth TV and even VoIP gets around the whole broadcast issue by legally paying for the right to sell the broadcasts to others. Its actually surprisingly cheap (I looked into it out of curiosity) - like a few bucks per subscriber.

5) Rogers and other Cable companies are offering free programming on-demand now. But they are doing it with their existing infrastructure. My favorite cable feature right now is Movie Network On-Demand. I can watch episodes of Huff or Dead Like Me whenever I like - and being sans PVR at the moment this makes me happy. No its not cable over the web - but it does that the cable companies are doing something to address viewer's changing demands for content (i.e. I want to see it now - not when you normally air it). (And don't get me wrong I would prefer the cheaper option - but this works for me NOW)

6) CBC has a massive archive of programming available over the web. cbc.ca. Not only is it there - but its presented in a very interesting way... browsing the archives is a pleasure - You end up watching things you never knew you would be interested in.

7) BBC will (last i heard) be making their entire multibillion hour catalogue of programming available on-demand via the web. (After they clear some hurdles - none technical mind you)


Posted by andre at 03:22 AM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2005

How many times do I have to say it?

Really. How many times do I have to curse internet explorer. Same thing as usual. I'm working on a site design and IE keeps breaking it. IE just does not implement CSS properly. And I suppose since redmond doesn't currently see IE as strategic technology it can leverage to continue domination of the world (they've moved on), there isn't likely going to be a release of a fixed IE any time soon.

Yes yes - there are work arounds to my CSS issues- but there is no reason I should have to do an ugly f*&king hack just to make something look right.

f*&k. F^%k. F!$K!!!


p.s. that last one says FUCK not FISK.

Posted by andre at 11:04 PM | Comments (3)

January 09, 2005

Sex Education

I don't usually do this, but here's a cutnpaste from wordlab. You just can't make stories like these up. A more moral sounding number???

Sex Education: A couple of first-graders were caught trying to have sex at school. According to reports in the Indianapolis Star, the boy and girl somehow slipped off unnoticed and ducked underneath a stairwell. There, they were interrupted when older students walking up the stairs heard noises and investigated. The two had removed some clothing but weren't engaged in sexual intercourse, district officials said.

The names of the two children have not been made public. But the girl and boy, who were released to their parents, received five-day suspensions and could be booted from classes at School 69 for the rest of the year.

"It's extremely troubling because of their young ages. I have never in my life experienced anything like this," said School 69 Principal Gary W. Davis, a 22-year educator.
John Hostettler, the Congressman representing the 8th district of Indiana, has been convinced by local religious groups to introduce legislation in the House that would change the name of School 69 to a more moral sounding number. Wordlab scooped the Hoosier Gazette by getting this story first!
p.s. RIGHT - the name of the school made the kids do it. Leave it to some religeous group to make that connection. Back when I was in the first grade what the kids were doing was called playing doctor. And back then, the number 69 was known as the number that came after 68 (assuming you could count that high).


Posted by andre at 11:22 PM | Comments (0)

Dollar Store iPod?

A thought crossed my mind today.

What year will you find a bin full of refurbished iPods in a dollar store?

Or will iPods be picked up at a retro tech boutiques for outlandish prices?


Posted by andre at 07:09 AM | Comments (1)

Am I everyone's Bitch?

Derek pointed out that I don't blog for blogging sake... I blog because I'm his bitch.

Well, I'm not sure that I entirely agree with that, but it does raise the question that every blogger asks once and a while. Who am I doing this for?

Am I doing this just for me - or am I doing this for a mostly faceless and mainly unknown audience that may or may not be paying attention. A little from column A) and a little from column B).

For Vanity - To Be the World's Bitch - Which is it today?


Posted by andre at 07:03 AM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2005

First Post in a New Year

So, I've been keeping myself busy for the last little while working on a few projects.

One is a Drupal theme design for 2020democrats.org. Its not live yet, but will be soon.

The other has been some coding for Drupal. I've become wholely swallowed up by this open source thing. I've been working on some changes to the book module. Hopefully the community likes the ideas and they will be incorporated into core for the next release or the one thereafter.

I haven't had any time to work on the radar application based on 10x10, but once I have other things off my plate I am going back to it.

On the art side of things, I've been doing some leg work on creating some of my own toys. The name on the street for this type of thing is urban vinyl. (I was about to create a link to wikipedia, but it turns out that nobody has created a page for the term. Wondering does that mean its still sufficiently underground?) At any rate, I've doodled some designs and have some concepts, but this would be a time consuming project that I don't see being completed too soon. But, we'll see.

I'm also finishing off one of my christmas books... William Gibson's Pattern Recognition. Its been on my 'to read' list for ever, but I've finally got a copy and have happily been plowing through it. Man do I ever dig reading Gibson. The man oozes cool. Not unlike say a David Bowie. Certainly the sort of person I think I would dig having a conversation with.

At any rate, I felt like blogging for the sake of blogging... hmmm... that's not enitrely true - its a way to unwind for a second before plunging back into my work. Procrastination? No - more like a brain break.


Posted by andre at 04:31 AM | Comments (1)