Archive for the ‘Web/Tech’ Category

I’m a little burned out on networking websites. I Twitter, I’m active on Facebook, I have a LinkedIn account, and at some point I’ve at least set myself up on plenty of others. I am a maniac on Active Rain. I have a YouTube channel. I have a Technocrati profile. Digg. Reddit. In real estate I’m on Zillow and Trulia, and that is just the tip of the iceburg. If you think I do this because it’s fun, you’re nuts. It is all about search engine optimization, or getting found and fostering readership, some of whom will eventually become clientèle. Writing the blog is fun; I love to write. It is enjoyable, therapeutic, and relaxing. The other stuff is work.

Which brings me to Plaxo. They’ve been spamming emailing me for years, and today I broke down and linked Plaxo with my Facebook to minimize my efforts (I hope). I must admit that when I see other people who seem to have the whole networking site universe set up with aplomb I get a little jealous. I just don’t want to do all the work. And don’t get me started on Typekey, WordPress, signing into things with my Yahoo!, Google, AOL, or other established account. I know the importance of this stuff, but I have to earn a living.

Of course, when I finally get my act together with all this stuff, it will go the way of MySpace. A pimp’s work is never done.


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Gmail is very good at filtering out spam, but they leave something to be desired in preventing spam from coming from a Gmail account. Here was their response when I forwarded their abuse department an unsolicited email that came from a Gmail account:

Thank you for the abuse report. To help us process your request quickly, please fill out the form specific to your situation.

– If you believe that your account may have been compromised, please
visit: https://services.google.com/inquiry/gmail_security1

– To report a message that violates the Gmail Terms of Use or Program
Policies, please visit:

– To report an established account for sale, please visit:

– To report all other security and/or abuse-related issues, please visit:

Reports entered through the form are given our highest priority. Google takes abuse situations like this very seriously. As appropriate, we may warn users or discontinue Gmail service for the account(s) in question.
For privacy and security reasons, we may not reveal the final outcome of an abuse case to the person who reported it. To read the Gmail Terms of Use, please visit: http://gmail.google.com/gmail/help/terms_of_use.html.

If your issue is not related to abuse, you may want to visit our Help
Center at http://gmail.google.com/support/, or by clicking ‘Help’ at the top of any Gmail page within your account.

We appreciate the urgent nature of your message, and thank you for your cooperation.


The Gmail Team

Dear Gmail team:
Ah…no. I forwarded you the offending email. You deal with it. I’m not filling out any form. Your job. If I have to fill out a form, even more of my time is wasted. The point of avoiding spam is to save time. Get one of your tech guys on it.

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The Times Magazine has an article on the accuracy issues of Wikipedia.

ACCORDING to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, John Seigenthaler Sr. is 78 years old and the former editor of The Tennessean in Nashville. But is that information, or anything else in Mr. Seigenthaler’s biography, true?

The question arises because Mr. Seigenthaler recently read about himself on Wikipedia and was shocked to learn that he "was thought to have been directly involved in the Kennedy assassinations of both John and his brother Bobby."

"Nothing was ever proven," the biography added.

Mr. Seigenthaler discovered that the false information had been on the site for several months and that an unknown number of people had read it, and possibly posted it on or linked it to other sites.

If any assassination was going on, Mr. Seigenthaler (who is 78 and did edit The Tennessean) wrote last week in an op-ed article in USA Today, it was of his character.

The case triggered extensive debate on the Internet over the value and reliability of Wikipedia, and more broadly, over the nature of online information.

Wikipedia is a kind of collective brain, a repository of knowledge, maintained on servers in various countries and built by anyone in the world with a computer and an Internet connection who wants to share knowledge about a subject. Literally hundreds of thousands of people have written Wikipedia entries.

Mistakes are expected to be caught and corrected by later contributors and users.

The whole nonprofit enterprise began in January 2001, the brainchild of Jimmy Wales, 39, a former futures and options trader who lives in St. Petersburg, Fla. He said he had hoped to advance the promise of the Internet as a place for sharing information.

It has, by most measures, been a spectacular success. Wikipedia is now the biggest encyclopedia in the history of the world. As of Friday, it was receiving 2.5 billion page views a month, and offering at least 1,000 articles in 82 languages. The number of articles, already close to two million, is growing by 7 percent a month. And Mr. Wales said that traffic doubles every four months.

Still, the question of Wikipedia, as of so much of what you find online, is: Can you trust it?

By and large, my answer is "yes." However, anything as open and huge as Wikipedia is bound to have a certain number of vandals who post garbage. As the article points out, the project is so overwhelmingly gigantic you cannot have adequate oversight. I love Wikipedia for the fast answers but it seems to me that they should begin some sort of registration mechanism so that your right to contribute is revoked if you cause problems. Allowing people to contribute anonymously at this level only invites trouble.

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Good Gawd. 
eBay Verification Request – ID CODE: 00915731

It has come to our attention that your eBay billing information are out of date. This require you to update billing information as soon as possible. This billing update is also a new eBay security statement which goes according to the established norms on the User Agreement to reduce the instance of fraud on our website.

Please update your records on or before Nov 5, 2005. A failure to update your records may result on a suspension of your account.

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What He Said

Please send this link to the person who forwards you every stupid thing (chain letter, internet rumor, scam, quiz, and other garbage) that passes their inbox.

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For You AIM Users

Cute. See who gets the most IMs. Utterly frivolous. http://www.aimfight.com/

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This article in the Times highlights the extent to which AOL’s constant efforts to "reinvent" itself will continue to be fruitless. Like millions of others, AOL was my first Internet experience. It was a phenomenal service on many levels, and the instant messenger alone allowed me to "speak" with family and friends more in one week than I had the previous decade. I was a Community Leader. I met my wife through AOL. I had two accounts. Any shortcomings with spam and poor interfaces with other services due to proprietary programming was a small price to pay for the virtual 24 hour "Cheers" tavern we enjoyed. This was all due to Steve Case, who envisioned more than just an Internet portal, but thousands of specialized online communities where a guy in New York could BS about the Yankees with someone in LA, or even Asia.
Around 2001, as Case became more of a hands off executive, the erosion began. Online communities, where one could go to read and post messages on anything from baseball to dogs to gardening, went from well moderated destinations to cesspools of trolls and spam. Terms of Service was watered down to the point where trolls members who would have previously been banned from the boards became regulars. Community Leadership’s hands were tied. The experience we thought nothing of paying twenty bucks a month for no longer seemed like such a bargain. Then they raised the price. What a formula! More money for less in return.
When those online communities became less of a value (or none at all), previously loyal members were left with icons, spam filled inboxes, and an application that slowed their computers down. AOL decided that more bells and whistles were the answer (instead of the obvious, which was to keep the things that kept members loyal at a high quality), although spam controls never seemed to be a priority until it was far too late. I wasn’t an AOL member for bells and whistles, especially when my two biggest issues, security and spam, were not addressed. So since 2002, members have been leaving in droves.

All the while, AOL has kept shrinking – to 21.2 million subscribers in January from 26.5 million in 2002 – as the dial-up customers it brought online shift increasingly to high-speed access from their phone and cable companies.

It isn’t just dial up, however. I still have two AOL accounts, but I never use them. I had some hope that things might improve, but only a week or so ago I received an email informing me that the Community Leader program was to be discontinued. The thousands of volunteers who moderated the online communities, exchanging hours of time for a waived monthly fee, are to be no more. It makes sense; our hands have been tied for years anyway. It marks the official end of an era that began dying 4 years ago. In my view, it is no coincidence that AOL’s stock has been a literal match of the quality of member’s experience. What was "Cheers" is now an overcrowded subway restroom. AOL doesn’t need more features. It needs Steve Case.

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