Category Archives: Internet

June 12th, The Internet, And A Video

Today’s date is June 12th. There were a lot of historical things that occurred on this day that my mind feels are important, or at least interesting, in some fashion. Let’s take a look at some of them, shall we?

Events

1898 – Philippine Declaration of Independence: General Emilio Aguinaldo declares the Philippines’ independence from Spain.

1939 – The Baseball Hall of Fame opens in Cooperstown, New York.

1963 – Civil rights leader Medgar Evers is murdered in front of his home in Jackson, Mississippi

1964 – Anti-apartheid activist and ANC leader Nelson Mandela is sentenced to life in prison for sabotage in South Africa.

1967 – The United States Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia declares all U.S. state laws which prohibit interracial marriage to be unconstitutional.

1978 – David Berkowitz, the “Son of Sam” killer in New York City, is sentenced to 365 years in prison for six killings.

1994 – Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman are murdered outside her home in Los Angeles, California.

Born

1916 – Irwin Allen, American film producer

1924 – George H. W. Bush, 41st President of the United States

1929 – Anne Frank, German-born Dutch Jewish diarist and Holocaust victim

1930 – Jim Nabors, American actor

1941 – Marv Albert, American sportscaster

1941 – Chick Corea, American musician

1971 – Mark Henry, American professional wrestler and World’s Strongest Man winner

Died

1957 – Jimmy Dorsey, American musician

2003 – Gregory Peck, American actor

Holiday

World Day Against Child Labour

Something else happened on this day as well, and that’s the subject of my video. I include this post of mine now on blogging responsibly, modesty, free speech and consequences as further reference.

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Google Really Is Everywhere!

As y’all know, I just got a new smartphone. On Thursday night my wife and I went to a training class on how to use the sucker. We learned a lot of stuff, but one thing in particular has finally convinced me that Google really is everywhere and pretty much owns us; yup, they really do.

To use my particular smartphone to its fullest capability one has to have a Google account. It turns out my wife has a Google email account, which I knew of but she’s never used it. I obviously have a Google account because of Adsense, but it turns out that according to Google I also have an email address, which I never knew because I never set up a Gmail account. They just up and gave me one; I still have no idea how to access it or if I should access it because I’m worried about what might be in there. lol

As I started to think about it I realized that I, and probably a lot of people, are already owned by or used by Google in some fashion. Let’s see how all of this works:

1. Gmail. Okay, that one’s pretty easy to understand.

2. Adsense & Adwords. Once again, pretty easy to understand.

3. Feedburner – many people don’t know that Google owns them as well. So, whenever you create a RSS feed through there you’re working with Google.

4. YouTube – yup, they own YouTube as well. As a matter of fact, I’m now wondering if, when I created my Google account, they gave me the YouTube username that I now “enjoy”, since I don’t ever remember signing up for it.

5. Google Apps – I don’t use any of these, but I know a lot of people do. I’ve read some shared documents that people have stored on Google, and I’m not sure but I think one has to have a Google account to view them, even if they didn’t have a Google account for anything else.

6. Google now has both a browser and its own operating system. And there are still tons of folks using both Google toolbar and Google desktop search; I’m a user of the latter.

7. Of course there’s Google itself, the search engine. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t pony up Google first, or at least at some point during their day if they’re on the computer.

There’s no despair as I write this, just acceptance. There’s also no fear; it seems that, based on the fact that I haven’t played any online poker at all since the government raid, that I’m not really missing it all that much, which means if something happened and Google decided to try to whip my behind I’d survive and find something else to do. Of course they’re not going to do that; who am I to them, other than the fact that they took my page rank away on this blog, as well as the possibility of having Adsense, which I never made any money from here anyway, and they’ve never responded to anything I’ve ever sent them.

I feel like I’m missing something; anyone know what it might be?

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Yelp Reviews And Their Filtering Process

It’s sometimes interesting how things come full circle; well, at least half circle. I’ve been introduced to a concept that I hadn’t really thought would or could occur, but in retrospect I believe I might have thought about it and just didn’t think all that much about it until now. Confused? Let me get more specific.

In yesterday’s post that talked about being positive while pointing out negative things, I shared a review I’d written on a local restaurant. In that article, I mentioned how I found it interesting that the bad reviews for the restaurant had been hidden and only one good review was showing, but that I’d found the bad reviews anyway.

That review site is called Yelp, and truthfully, I’d never heard of them before looking for the reviews on the restaurant in question. It turns out, through another friend mentioning it to me, that they have a process of filtering out reviews and only showing what they believe are “proper reviews”. In essence, I came across this video, which is also on their site, which explains their filtering process.

At the same time another local friend of mine, a lady named Trisha Torrey, sent me an article she wrote on Yelp that explained how not everything you see on their site is accurate either. It seems that, according to her, they’ll contact business and, for a fee, remove the bad stuff in some fashion, only leaving good things. In her case she’d seen some physicians that had received bad reviews and suddenly those things were gone. She also mentioned, in another article, how not seeing all reviews alters a potential consumers perception of whether a physician is good or bad, and of course that argument extends to other types of reviews as well. By the way, the comments on the second article are pretty interesting as well; obviously some folks missed the point of the article.

Whereas I understand Yelp and what it’s trying to do, I think the implications are questionable across the board. Their position is thus:

1) We know some reviews are fake and we want to catch those
2) We know some reviews are spur of the moment and thus are skewed
3) We believe that people who use our website over and over are far more valuable than other reviews because they put up a profile so we know who they are

Not a bad position overall. But here’s the downside:

1) Just because a person only writes one review doesn’t invalidate the bad behavior, nor support the good behavior
2) Filtering leaves you open to be suspected of nefarious behavior, whether you do what people suspect or not
3) You already have a process where people have to create an account so they can leave their review; shouldn’t that be enough?

I’ve been told by a few people that I should write a review on both Yelp and Trip Advisor about what happened. Based on questions about Yelp, I don’t fully know that I can trust them to leave my review up. Trip Advisor is another issue entirely. They don’t even have the restaurant listed, so I’d have to jump through hoops to get them listed, then go back and write a review. Frankly, I’m not that mad, and I think my initial restaurant review stands on its own for now. At least I know I can’t be bought off, and if I’m asked to remove it we all know it ain’t happening.

Now that I’ve written this it begs the question as to what we can believe and trust when we read reviews on sites like this. And that’s too bad, because I’m sure many sites give us the truth, but now they’re all up for being questioned. What do you think?

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When Government Gets Into Our Online Lives

As many of you know, I love playing poker. I love going to the casino when I can and I love playing online as well at Pokerstars. One of the best things about playing online was that I didn’t have to have any money to play, and if I played well I could actually earn real money, which I did if you remember the post where I compared blogging to poker.

Recently I won my way into what’s called a satellite tournament which gave me another nice opportunity to win money, and relatively big money. It wasn’t scheduled to start until May, which shows you how big a deal it is because smaller tournaments start pretty much days after you win your way into one. However, I’m not going to get a chance to play now.

That’s because the U.S. government, via the FBI, did a major raid last week and basically froze the accounts of 3 major online poker sites, as well as confiscated their domain names. Immediately afterwards the site I play at banned all U.S. players from participating in anything that could earn them real money. In essence, even if they were free games that gave you a shot at earning money but you weren’t going to earn any money at that time, they banned you from those games as well, which kind of makes sense since we’re not allowed to earn money from them, but it’s irksome.

Frankly, I’m not saying the government was wrong in this big bust they did because these companies found a way around U.S. laws in tricking credit card companies to process payments geared towards getting around the law. What I’m mad at is that the law was passed in the first place.

In essence, the law was attached as a rider to a bigger law in 2006 that was to help protect our borders at waterways. Since we’re still conscious of terrorism at all ports (except at Mexican borders, but I digress) there wasn’t a politician that wanted to be seen as not voting for this bill. This is how government works in this country unfortunately; things get added to good bills all the time that make no sense and aren’t fair, and then it’s left up to someone to make a major decision as to what’s more important at the time.

I think this all stinks, yet it shows that the U.S. government isn’t all that far removed from other governments we heard about over the past few months that have tried to stifle the internet so that “rebels” could tell the world what was going on in countries such as Egypt, Yemen, China and Iran. Many people said at the time that the U.S. could never do such a thing and wouldn’t even try doing something like that; it hadn’t occurred to me at the time that they already had, just in a small dose.

So, until this law is changed, it looks like I won’t be playing poker online anymore. I never paid for any of it, but that’s not the point. With the government confiscating their domain name it pretty much emasculates much of the online game in all ways. And it’s not that I didn’t play some games that were totally free for “play money”; one would think I’d still enjoy that.

But not having the option to take a chance, to see what I’m made of in competing for actual money… something about that has sapped the steam out of my wanting to play online right now. There’s an action committee that’s being spearheaded by a former senator, oddly enough someone who probably would have voted for the bill when he was a senator because it would have made his particular constituency happy. It’s so funny that Republicans say they want to leave people alone and get government out of our hair, and in this case they decided to make the government the ultimate police in protecting those poor souls that had no control over themselves and spent themselves bankrupt.

Yeah, I’m irked; it stinks. And this type of thing should have us all looking over our shoulders; what will the government take away from us next?

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Revisiting Website Grader

Back in June of 2008 I introduced a site on this blog called Website Grader. Basically what the site will do is review your site, which can be a blog, give you a ranking of some sort, then tell you some things about it that you probably didn’t know to give you the opportunity to improve, if you’re so inclined.

When I did this back then, my rank came out at 84; as you can see, it’s ranked much higher now, and that’s out of 100 so I’m not complaining one bit. It adds that I’m ranked #32,194 out of 3,127,474 websites it’s reviewed; I’ll take that, as it puts me around the top 1%.

The weird part is that it ranks this site as a blog differently, since it is a blog. My ranking there is only 74, which is weird. That must be a new statistic, since I didn’t catalog anything like that in the past. It says I have 1,870 Google indexed pages, which is weird since I only have a bit more than 900 posts, and not tons of pages either. It’s telling me I’m missing out on some SEO because I haven’t put anything in my ALT tags, which is probably true. It says I have 14,206 inbound links, which is pretty neat because back then I only had 837.

And it shows me as having a MOZ rank of 5. I had no idea what that was, so I clicked on the link it provided and it took me to a page called seamoz, where I found a page of all their ranking factors that gives you a rank of something out of 10, like Google page rank. It seems that have all sorts of tools you can play with as well; if you’re interested, take a look around.

It tells you a lot of other stuff as well, but I’m not getting into all of that. I will say that Website Grader will tell you some things that you might want to address if you want your blog being seen in a better light. Or not, since it told me I have too many images on this site, and I’m keeping them! lol For kicks and giggles, go ahead and pop your website’s link in and see what it has to say. And trust me, it has some funny things to say to you while you’re waiting for your results.


Luggageguru.com

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