2007.12.12

Mythbusters piss off the Interwebs

23.23.52 - Mark

Tonight the Discovery Channel royally pissed off the interwebs. It's been hyped for a couple of months that tonight's episode of Mythbusters would feature "Plane on a Tradmill" which has been an internet meme for a couple years. So like the meme before it the internet took hold of the promised mythbusters episode and has been hyping it for a few weeks. Because of that the Discovery channel probably saw a decent ratings boost tonight, followed by a ratings plummet as the myth turned out to be a no-show. There's a pretty nasty backlash going on right now and will probably go on until Discovery coughs up some plausible explanation for axing the myth and starts offering some profuse appologies.

Until then it looks like Wikipedia is getting vandalized (the main mythbusters article and a few related pages are locked for a week - here's a vandalized copy from of the main article after it was locked), the discovery channel message boards look like they're being swamped (10k+ views on the official PoaT missing myth thread in under an hour), and I got goatse'd when I went to the Discovery sponsored Mythbusters wiki.

I guess the internet is testing the myth of "can a large mob of anonymous people remove a Discovery Channel executive from office"

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2007.04.03

DNS Swindlers Update

17.26.41 - Mark

So, the domain I was hunting for a month ago lapsed last week, so we enter into a whole new realm of DNS hell. Due to the low budget of the site, we opted not to try and play "the drop" with the evil companies that really just DoS whois servers and try and buy the domain name when it becomes available.

You would think that there isn't a profit involved when no one bids on the domains (which is the case here), but as far as I can tell, the main company for domain auctions, Snapnames seems to run a few side business that take part in Domain Kiting (link goes to a blog post by Founder/CEO of GoDaddy.com), so now there are a few domain names I'd like to have that are perpetually being bought and returned so these con artists can run link farms, display popups, and try and sell the domains back at exaggerated prices ($90+).

And to think, my day was going so well before I started looking back into this cursed domain issue.

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2007.03.29

Wonders of the Interwebs

17.51.42 - Mark

I love the interwebs, and despite doing it for years now I'm amazed at how I can find more interesting coverage of regional news from organizations half a world away. The UK version of this regional story, is so much better than the local article (and comes to me via California based WWdN).

The story itself isn't all that interesting except for the involvement of pirates as part of Pastafarianism.

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2007.03.12

Shutdown Day

18.02.15 - Mark

There's a campaign to get thousands of people to shutdown their computers on March 24th. (They're up to 43000 with a week and a half left) The first time I saw it was a few weeks ago, and I initially blew it off as a bunch of geeks daring each other to drop their tech addiction for a day. I don't think I've had to go without a working computer for more than a few hours in years, but I don't find it hard to turn off for a day or sometimes a week. In fact, every few months I find it necessary to get away from computers and recharge my own batteries, which after looking at the Shutdown Day site seems to be the whole point. I already know its going to be extremely easy to not use a computer on the 24th (CRK staff weekend) but I don't know that I'll make a pledge not to. Still, its a more worthwhile cause than I originally thought.

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2007.01.29

Please Stop Streaming My Video

15.40.52 - Mark

While I'm tolerating YouTube and the like more than I was a few months ago, my lingering hatred of streaming video has reemerged in the last week or so.

What's prompted it has been NetFlix's announcement that they're starting to phase in streaming video to it's customers. A couple months ago after realizing that I've been blowing some serious cash on DVDs at the same time I was getting a serious craving for some older slightly obscure movies I signed up for Netflix.

I haven't really blogged about it since I've got mixed feelings about the service. The selection has been good (certainly satisfying my cravings) and after putting in about 120 ratings I've been getting some truly great results from their recommendation engine, but at the same time the turn around isn't always great (I'm starting to run into throttling issues) and I've been seriously annoyed by skips and freezes caused by scratched disks. However the service has allowed me to rent more and varied films without regrets. I've gone from foreign films to documentaries to cheesy blockbuster comedies, and at $2 a film I can even afford to rent a few stinkers.

So when Netflix announced it was starting to add online video I was a bit excited. Among other things more movies. However I'm not using it. Aside from the fact that they don't support Macs or Linux (I don't have a windows box) its streaming video, and my "broadband" internet is far from high speed. One a very good day pages load quickly and without fuss. One normal days I'm painfully reminded of dialup. On a bad day I feel like I would get a faster connection by using an acoustic coupler with my cell phone to dial up an AOL access point in the middle of Alaska.

While my current state of bandwidth maybe a little off the norm (and maybe a bit exaggerated), I have absolutely no problem letting a download sit in the background until it's finished. I'd rather wait a while and watch a video in one go than have it spontaneously freeze of stutter in the middle of a scene. Furthermore, I'd rather be able to move the video around, from a server, to a laptop, to a DVD, or to my iPod

So please, stop streaming my videos, or at least give me an OS independent download option.

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2006.10.04

YouTube

09.32.23 - Mark

For a long time I really hated YouTube. I hate most things that mandate flash, didn't like the forced online viewing, the low video quality, and the hordes of idiots that sites like myspace and youtube can attract. All that said, YouTube is actually growing on me, not as a publishing method (you won't find any of my videos up there) but as a discovery method.

Last August, I was searching the web high and low for some music videos Cartoon Network used to run as bumpers (and still do on occasion), specifically one based on Jabberjaw (see the post I wrote)

After a month or two of on and off searching I found it streaming off of some Yahoo server and managed to hack up a download solution. Of course, now over a year later, the video can be found in seconds and is a lot higher quality than the one I first found (there are a few instances of that video on youtube as I write this)

Of course the problem is that the reasons I'm starting to like youtube isn't because it makes it easier to make and publish videos, but because its a great engine for copyright infringement. Too bad big media is starting to see youtube in the same light.

I'd love it if they allowed it to be used for sharing clips and short videos. A copyright holder could probably make a lot of money off the advertising they could stick next to short videos like the cartoon network shorties and looney toon segments rather than let the old videos waste away in a vault somewhere.

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2006.05.30

Tribe Wanted

03.57.39 - Mark

TribeWanted looks like an insanely neat project. I've talked before about how for the technology geek in me, I love cutting my connection to the net and heading out into the wilderness to recharge. I can't think of anything that twist those two passions better than an hybrid community that use the internet to tie itself together as it builds a sustainable physical presence on an island in Fiji. I would love to be among the first tribe members to hit the beach and build the beach huts.

Hummm...

Via Boing Boing
LA Times Article

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2006.04.03

XXX

10.47.12 - Mark

The whole controversy over the .xxx top level domain is a silly example of clueless people trying to impliment technical changes that will never stick. Porn sites are not going to magically shift from .com addresses to .xxx become some silly little organization wants them to. You're going to need legal and/or financial incentives The first is near impossible to get international support for and the latter will never have enough finacial value to get porn sites sequester themselves in the .xxx domains and only the .xxx domains.

Despite that plain and simple (and overlooked) fact, I'm kind of sad to see that the plans for .xxx domains have been shelved. I'm crazy enough to buy a .xxx domain just to have it on an email address.

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2006.03.27

My Bad

09.27.57 - Mark

Late last week I had about a dozen junk posting find their way into my blog's database. They wern't comment spam, although at first glance they looked like it, with junk email addresses and the poorly spelled messages characteristic all spam seems to contain. What was a bit atypical was the spammer's address which was at my domain. It didn't hit me why this was until this morning when I had another one of these messages pop up.

I was being used to help sleezeballs in Latin America spam some poor fool's email account.

Ooops. My Bad.

The quick patch was a series of rules you need to meet before a comment is posted, and when I get around to it I'll probably put together some IP filters and email verification code as a basic spam filtering system, and then move it over to another "installation" of my blog software before spammers discover it in 3 months.

Other than the measures I can take, I kind of feel bad for the dozen or so people who have been spammed because of an exploited error in my code...

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2006.03.03

Long time coming

19.25.48 - Mark

I've been wondering for several years how long it was going to take for my former high school to get around to complaining about blogs, turnes out several years. They're holding their first informational session about "the internet and your child" next week. Part of me abhors the idea of returning to that wretched stink hole, but another part of me wants to know how much misinformation they'll be feeding parents about the internet. This would be the same computer education department that tried to pass Hypercard off as Apple's less capable answer to Powerpoint. Sure...

The part of me that wants to be tortured wouldn't be doing it just to gain plesure from mass media induced ignorance, its been kicking around the idea of doing a new media workshop like several other communities around NC have done. I'm fairly sure there are a number of people in the area interested in blogging, audio and video podcasts, wikis, etc. it would be nice to shed some light on those subjects and help shave away some of the digital divide.

See, I don't hate all forms of education (just the overly organized I'm right you're wrong model)

Anyways My CDs are burned (I miss the ability to update my iPod with fresh podcasts) I'm going to go see if I can't collect my brother's boat anchor of a laptop from CompUSA.

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2006.03.02

Tag, you're it

11.17.25 - Mark

I'm constitently getting into arguments with teachers about the validity of metadata and keywords in HTML (I think its bull) But I hold a better opinion of tagging because its got a finer resolution. Its the difference between telling someone to describe themselves in 5 words and telling someone to explain their political views in 5 words. It also doesn't hurt that there are search engines that are collecting information by tags, and that there are few if any search engines that put any weight into keywords and metadata.

Unfortunatly I'm the "student" and they're the "teachers" and we're all in one of the less technical parts of North Carolina so I usually get to be "wrong"

However it looks like the non blogging and Web 2.0 internet are starting to adopt tagging. Amazon has had it for a while, and now it looks like Slashdot is putting some tag functionality into its CMS. While the teachers might not read slashdot, amazon is a regular case study for us.


Maybe before I graduate they'll relize I haven't been talking out of my ass (entirely) for the last 2 years

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2006.02.06

Where's the Boardband?

00.10.06 - Mark

A book review of The $200 Billion Broadband Scandal, a book that takes a look into where the promise of true broadband in America went.

I hate to go on and on about bandwidth, and in terms of global perspective bandwidth issues are fairly trivial, but its a topic thats important to me. Not only do I want to be able to get more information, I think everyone will benefit from widely available, low cost, high speed broadband. Anything to narrow the digital divide.

Some people give me flack for thinking DSL is slow, but I remember dial-up, hell I remember dial-up when 14.4kbps over a long distance connection was high end consumer technology. I didn't like those connections either.

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2006.01.30

Incomplete thought of the day

22.54.21 - Mark

While I was writing my rant about online video distribution I started thinking about how much money networks get from commercials compared to selling content online (since we all know they don't put the commercials into the videos). I've been doing some research, but TV finances are a deep dark hole of uncertainty. Especially when you don't want to sign up for Nielsen Reports.

Then I realized I messed up some numbers, and that I didn't have the time to fix those and write it up properly. It's probably for the better that I draft it for a day or two. I'm not sure what my final point is.

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2006.01.03

.er Domain Hacks

15.03.36 - Mark

I'm sure lots of other geeks would love to have access to the .er ccTLD, for domain hacks too bad Eritrea isn't opening it's TLD registry, they're probably make a killing in geeks like me trying to get a nice web2.0 domain name.

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