Entries Tagged as 'General'

The Tax Man!

It’s tax day, the deadline to file Federal (and State) Income Tax returns in the United States…

My vote is that we do away with income tax entirely; implement a “wealth” tax and a VAT.

Simplify the tax laws!

Originally posted 2009-04-15 12:00:45.

BLOG Organization

Over the past month I’ve been trying to re-organize the layout of my BLOG to make it a little easier to navigate.

If you have an old link to a page, you might need to update it.

Most notably I’ve done away with my gallery site, and incorporated those pictures into a gallery page on this site.

Secondly, I’ve create a page hierarchy that better organizes related information; like recommenations and price searches.

As always, I welcome your comments and constructive criticism.

Originally posted 2009-02-28 01:00:29.

Blogging Software

I looked at quite a few blogging solutions before I settled on Word Press, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts.

There are a number of free blogging services; indeed Word Press operates one.  Generally when you use a free service you get advertising on your pages (I really didn’t care for that, just like I don’t care for advertising on my web page).  But the one thing that always is the problem with free services is, you get what you get… and you’re stuck with it.

I tend to like to have full control over my information, so I decided to install the software to run my blog so that I could change ANYTHING I wanted to about it.  And Word Press is open source, written in PHP, so it’s realatively straight forward to make any changes you want.  And, of course, the price is right — FREE.

There are tons of addons (widgets, themes, and pluggins); though not all of them are free.  There are commerical addons available for Word Press as well.

I looked at several other solutions, originally ASP based solutions (when I was running Microsoft IIS), but then when I switched to a hosting company something that ran on PHP, PERL, Python became a more practical solution (my hosting company provides more flexible services with a Linux hosting plan than with a Microsoft hosting plan).

Here’s a list blogging software written in PHP (in no particular order) you might want to take a look at:

And here’s a list blogging software written for ASP (in no particular order) you might want to take a look at:

 

You’ll want to evaluate blogging software with your requirements in mind; but one thing to keep in mind is most blogging software supports importing from another system via RSS.  That might not be a requirement for the first blogging system you choose (but I think it shows a level of maturity in the software), it certainly will be for any blogging software after that.

One thing to keep in mind, the information in a blog site is written into a database; and while it wouldn’t be my first choice, you can dump the database to get the text of the ariticles, but it’s unlikely your going to be able to directly import it into another system’s database (without a lot of work).

Originally posted 2008-05-15 11:24:35.

Disclosing Personal Information

I find more and more companies attempt to get as much personal information on me as they can.

I also find more and more companies mishandle the personal information that they have collected.

I just got a letter today from a transfer agent one of my previous employers used; apparently they “lost” a data backup set that contained my personal information, of course they assure me that there’s little chance of any of my personal information being misused.  And offer to reimburse me for any expenses I might incur in obtaining a credit report, monitoring my credit, freezing access to my credit history — but I didn’t see in there any offer to compensate me for my time, or any loses that I might incur.

I think I’m just going to write them back, thank them for advising me of this information, and tell them that they may hire someone to manage and monitor misuse of information which they lost (most likely negligently); but that I will not incur any costs of money or time taking actions to protect myself from this incident, but I will hold them liable for any and all actual, consequential and potentially punitive damages should information they mishandled be used in any illegal activity.

My advice to companies that collect personal data is that they purge any at all personal data they have at the earliest possible time that they can legally do so.  Failing to take such action makes companies that maintain personal data liable for an unauthorized disclosure of information; and I would say potentially criminally negligent.

Originally posted 2009-01-18 01:00:44.

Over One Billion Served

Well, not exactly… but I’m amazed at how the readership of my BLOG continues to grow.

I’ve added a widget that lets me view information on how many hits I get, the frequency, and geographic dispersion.

I would say my BLOG has global appeal, but I haven’t registered a hit from Antarctica (yet)… so that wouldn’t be true.

The vast majority of hits are from the United States, second on the list is Canada (which makes North America the heavy weight for sure); but an amazing number of people read my BLOG from Europe, Australia.  There’s a good number from Asia as well; and I need to talk to my marketing people about South America and Africa.

On a weekly basis (daily it’s all over the map):

  • I see about two hundred feed subscribers downloading posts (some daily, but most seem to do it less frequently).
  • The number of hits in the four weeks I’ve monitored has been between around four hundred and eleven hundred (yeah, pretty wide variation over a month time; but the numbers looked to be generally increasing — to tell more I’d really have to do some statistical analysis).
  • I get about six contact messages (for the month, one of those was from a company wanting to help promote my web site, in rather poor English; one of those contained almost as many explicative as mis-spellings; three of them have been from a vendor; and the rest have been complimentary).

When I decided to do this BLOG it was really a replacement for my mailings to a group of people I knew that focused mainly on technology, I’ve been aware for sometime that the readership has greatly increased (initially it seemed due to the search engine indexing); but I’m continually amazed at the number of people who read my BLOG and keep coming back.

All I can say is THANKS — and that I have no intention of commercializing my BLOG in any way, it will continue to express my views and you need not worry about advertising!

Originally posted 2009-02-06 01:00:10.

It’s my BLOG!

I get comments from people via my contact form fairly frequently… and I’d like to thank those that take time out to send me their thoughts.

One of the most frequent questions I get is asking why I don’t allow comments.  Well, that’s actually a very easy question.  First, this is my BLOG, and it represents my thoughts — if you want to tell the world about your thoughts, start you own BLOG (there are many BLOG sites, and you can certainly look on my BLOG for suggestions).  Second, by not allowing comments I totally avoid the problem of SPAMmers putting up comments that are really nothing but advertisements or scams.

I sadly get an incredible number of people trying to sell me SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services — at a ranking of roughly 2 million and many searches that return my sites on the first page I’m quite happy with my web site and BLOG; and I seriously doubt you know much more than I do about SEO services; so please feel free to try and scam someone more gullible and waste less of my inbox.

I also get a fair number of companies contacting me about taking a look at their product and writing a post (generally they have a similar or competing product to one that I’ve written a post on) — and I assure you that I keep all of those messages in a folder and will get around to looking at most of the products.

I get a few corrections to what I’ve said in my posts — and those I will look at right away and figure out if I’ve in fact made a mistake or I’ve simply been mis-understood.  In either case it’s likely that I’ll correct the post.  While I don’t guarantee the accuracy of anything on my web site or BLOG, I do try very hard to be credible.

And, of course, I get some hate messages — but interestingly enough I get way more people saying something along the lines of “right on” or “thanks” than I do people telling me to go f^(& myself.  You’re welcome to send message of either kind, but I’m not looking for others to validate the way I feel or think (I do recommend if you’re going to send a critical message that you consider at least spell checking it — while that won’t necessarily improve the quality of the content of your rambling… it certainly won’t hurt [though some of the spelling errors are down right hilarious]).

Originally posted 2010-07-13 02:00:29.

Time To Move On…

That would be more precisely time to move my BLOG to another hosting service.

My contract will be up with 1and1 in April, and while I’m not at the limit of my monthly transfers, it’s conceivable in the next twelve months I will be fairly close.

And while I don’t need a great deal of customer service or technical service from a hosting company, I prefer to spend my money with companies who realize that customers can take their business where it’s appreciated, and where they actually get real value for it.

At the moment the two hosting companies that appear most interesting to me are:

The two companies are actually owned by the same individual… and seem to be highly focused on customer service.  Their prices look fair (by no means the cheapest, you can after all get totally free hosting — with no advertisements as long as you’re will to follow all the rules).  More important to me is they offer a set of features I want.

My timeline is that I’ll sign up for hosting around the end of the first week of March and then use the remaining month I have service with 1and1 to move content over.  That might mean that you won’t see as many new posts next month, and of course there may be some slight instability as I move my BLOG.  My expectation is that it will go smoothly and that content will be up and running at my new hosting facility almost immediately (probably before the domains are transferred, but I can override the DNS any time) In the long run this make it much easier for me to update and maintain my sites.

If anyone has personal experience with any of these companies; or has a strong recommendation they would like to share; or has an account at one of these and will get a referral fee please feel free to contact me.

Originally posted 2009-02-21 01:00:25.

Report Fraud

Each and every time you encounter someone trying to defraud you make sure you report it.

Phishing scams, money scams, premium SMS message, suspicious phone calls, un-authorized phone charges, un-authorized credit card charges, etc — go ahead and visit the IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center; a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI], the National White Collar Crime Center [NW3C], and the Bureau of Justice Assistance [BJA]) and file a report.

Take action and let the law enforcement community decide what’s a threat and what’s not – but DO NOT remain silent or these problems will continue.

http://www.ic3.gov/

 

NOTE:  If you have an un-authorized charge on any of your bills you will also want to contact your billing company and dispute the charge with them; the IC3 will not do this for you.

Originally posted 2008-10-24 13:00:38.

eBay & PayPal – Poster Children for Everything Wrong With Corporate America

Several years ago eBay was won litigation in California over whether or not they were an “auction house” — eBay asserted they were a venue, not an auction house.  Why did eBay care?  Well, in California an auction house must stand behind the authenticity of the items it auctions.

While I have no problem with eBay calling themselves a venue — I do have a problem with them continuing to use the word “auction” all over their site.  You’re either a venue or an auction site… one or the other; oh that’s right, you’re a big company and don’t seem to have any problem skirting the law — you’ve got money, you probably feel you don’t have to play by the same rules.

And then there’s PayPal — clearly a financial institution, and clearly should be subject to all the regulations of financial institutions…

Oh yeah, they’re owned by eBay — they have money…

And to make it worse, eBay / PayPal are monopolies.

I’m tired of big companies that feel they need not care about the letter or the intent of the law; that feel they are free to confuse and mislead consumers; that are greedy and have no heart or soul.

I talk with my money, and I don’t spend my money at places I don’t support… each of you need to make your own minds up and decide what the cost of supporting tyranny in the world really is — or is it just something you talk about?

Originally posted 2008-11-06 12:00:21.

Vernal Equinox 2017

March  20 2017 10:28 GMT