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January 31, 2005

Web Survey Software

Jim Rapoza, Labs Director for eWeek, recently published a review of phpESP. phpESP means Php Easy Survey Package which is an open source Php/MySQL program you can add to your site to survey your website visitors. His review is based on actual experience using it as he says:

And because we occasionally needed to conduct our own Web-based surveys, we adopted phpESP for many Labs and eWEEK surveys.

You can demo the software here and learn more about this project from http://sourceforge.net/projects/phpesp.

Considering the cost of some of these survey programs, open source is the way to go for any small business owner.

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 09:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 29, 2005

Paul Short's New Blog Consulting Company

I've known Paul for years. He's a very honest and ethical business person. He has several fields of expertise and he is drawing on this expertise and experience to bring you a new Blog Consulting Service. He is offering blog Consulting, Blog Promotion, Blog Set Up, Business Blogging for both personal and business bloggers who are serious.

If you read his about Paul page you will see mention of his wide range of experience. In '97 or '98 I was a subscriber of the Motiv8 Online newsletter he published back then. Few newsletters from that many years ago can be remembered as having any value. Paul Short's, Bob Serling and Marty Foley are three newsletters I recall receiving in the late '90's as having outstanding value.

I also took advantage of recommending his SEO business to a few clients of mine, who marveled at the way he over-delivered and when he says, he became:

"widely known as one of the best in the business."

... he is being modest. He was the best!

If you feel your company has some questions on blogs or need a blog consultant, this is the man to hire.

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 09:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 28, 2005

THINK and GROW RICH and Workbook

A free copy of THINK and GROW RICH By Napoleon Hill can be viewed online and to accompany it a workbook (PDF) has been created by By Pat O’Bryan, President and Founder, Milagro Research Institute with Dr. Joe Vitale President, Hypnotic Marketing, Inc., Author of Spiritual Marketing, etc.

Jim Straw who has sold over two-hundred & fifty-million dollars ($250,000,000) worth of products and services by mail says there is a secret buried in the book.

He says:

"Once you truly learn the "secret" in "Think and Grow Rich" you will be unable to tell it to anyone. When you are ready, IT will appear to you as if my magic."

Isn't that what we are all looking for? The secret to success in our personal and business lives? It is unfortunate that the true secret eludes me. Alas! Perhaps I'm not ready...

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 07:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 27, 2005

Hands On CSS Tutorial

Westciv offers a hands on CSS tutorial. They say:

This tutorial teaches CSS using both hand-coding and Style Master for Windows. If you want to learn CSS by hand-coding alone, simply work through all the exercises and code examples and skip all the specially styled Style Master instructions.

It seems with the popularity of blogs, most which use Xhtml and CSS, that there is a lot more people interested in CSS these days. I'm not familiar with all of the blog software programs out there, but I know editing the MT templates for this blog was all done by hand. Understanding how to hand-code CSS isn't that hard, and it is something that will immensely benefit you in the years to come.

So if you are looking for a good tutorial to brush up on your CSS, check it out!

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 09:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Firefox and the United States largest ISP

Charles Cooper from his Cnet reports that SpeakEasy, the United States largest independent broadband services provider, will be offering a customized version of Firefox and:

"...will be distributed as part of Speakeasy's self-install broadband service kits to its residential customers starting this month. It will also be available as a free download to anyone from www.speakeasy.net/firefox."

According to a recent post by Seth Godin he says:

"Microsoft has botched their ownership of IE, because they think like bullies, and you can't bully consumers into doing what they don't want to do."

While Seth's post is related to the Google browser rumors, it still speaks of how consumers are beginning to change some of their views, especially related to the Internet and browsers.

Who knows? Maybe Microsoft will be good enough to include Firefox in their next version of Windows. I wouldn't count on it though... I expect they will include enhancements to rival Firefox's increased popularity, but it may be a little too late.

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 06:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 26, 2005

widgEditor

Cameron Adams has released widgEditor: A simple, standards-compliant WYSIWYG HTML editor which he says:

"...is an easily installed, easily customisable WYSIWYG editor for simple content. It replaces existing textareas with an improved editing pane using JavaScript, therefore if you don't have JavaScript (or your browser doesn't support HTML editing) it degrades gracefully."

You can read his blog post about it or jump to the download page and give it a try.

He also offers the instructions:

"Just put in one line of JavaScript at the head of the HTML page, attach a class to whichever textareas you wish to convert, and they're converted! Style the interface purely through CSS and configure all the options in one place in the code — right at the top"

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 07:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 25, 2005

Google Hires Mozilla Firefox Engineer

There has been a lot of speculation the last few months about the possibility that Google may produce its own browser, It is well known that Google has already registered the domain name gbrowser.com Google has hired the lead engineer behind the Mozilla Firefox Web browser.

Matt Hicks for eWeek reports:

Ben Goodger, who helped shepherd the Firefox 1.0 release that has dug into Microsoft Corp.'s browser dominance, joined Google as a full-time employee earlier this month. While Goodger is a full-time Google employee, Google also is donating half of his time back to the Mozilla Foundation, Google spokesman Steve Langdon said.

What do you think? Will we see a Google browser based on Firefox?

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 08:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

This Post is A Joke.

Here on the HomeBusiness Blog most of the conversations are mostly of a business nature. I thought it would be a good idea to take a break and have a little fun. This isn't meant to be degrading to either sex... it is just fun.

Anyway...

whipped-magazine.jpg 360x470Since I moved two years ago pending a divorce, I noticed there were a few boxes laying around that hadn't been unpacked yet. I just happened to open one today when I saw what used to be my favorite magazine when I was married. Well... I don't know that it was my favorite, but it was the only one, other then eWeek, I was allowed to have a subscription to...

There was a joke in the magazine I wanted to share with you.

LE COMPUTER

A French teacher was explaining to her class that in French, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine. "House" for instance, is feminine-"la maison." "Pencil", however, is masculine-"le crayon."

A student asked, "What gender is computer?"

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether "computer" should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for their recommendation.

The men's group decided that "computer" should definitely be of the feminine gender ("la computer"), because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic.

2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else.


3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for possible later retrieval.

4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.


(No chuckling guys...this gets worse!!!)

The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine (le computer), because:

1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on.

2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves.

3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem.

4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

The women won!

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 07:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 24, 2005

Using Carpe with WordPress

Someone sent me a question last week wondering how to use Carpe in their side panel/column with Wordpress. Wordpress is an open source blogging program and recognized as one of the top blog software programs available today. If you are unfamiliar with it you can learn more about it here:
http://wordpress.org

>
> Given that wordpress cannot cope with Javascript I need to convert
> the RSS feeds to HTML, I understand that "Carp" is the best to use
> http://www.geckotribe.com/rss/carp/
>
> Do you know anything about this?, Is there another solution perhaps?

I haven't installed Wordpress for anyone but I understand all of the pages are based on PHP templates... and so is Carpe

The install for Carpe isn't that hard, but you need to know how to set permissions on directories. The instructions seem pretty clear if I recall.

Just to see what all of the fuss was about I installed Carpe on my site, but after I installed it and saw what it was all about, I didn't do anything with it. You can see my test page here.


If you re-size your browser you can imagine what it might look like in your side column.

If you use your browser view source you will see the html mark-up is very generic... no font tags headings or style information.

That makes it perfect for people to syndicate or include into the blog. Here is why:

You put the content into a new DIV tag that you add to your wordpress template. Let's say you call it like this:

<div id="carpe">
<?php
require_once '/home/yoursite/carp/carp.php';
CarpCacheShow('http://www.yoursite.com/mt/index.xml');
?>
</div>

Now that you have an ID assigned to the tag you can style the tags within that DIV... example

#carpe {

background-color: #ffffff;
width:200px;
height:425px;
overflow: auto;
}

#carpe p {
font-family: arial, verdana, sans-serif;
font-size: 10pt;
}
#carpe a:hover {
background-color: yellow;
text-decoration: underline;
}

See? The tags relating to that DIV ID can be styled separate from anything else. (This is only an example) This is what I would do if I wanted to include my carpe syndicated page within the body of my blog.

So.. example any <p></p> elements inside this unique DIV will inherit the styles specified for the correct ID.

They have some examples on the Carpe website about adding style but I don't like their idea as well as my own ;-)


>
> I don't want to call my
> techie every five minutes if you understand!!!

The only thing you might have trouble with that I can think of is setting permissions for directories. But it is done the exact same way you set permissions for a file. About 7 years ago (I think) I wrote a tutorial on using WS_FTP and in the tutorial on page 16, I show how to set permissions on a file. You would follow the exact same procedure by highlighting a directory in WS_FTP rather then a file. You can see the tutorial here.

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 07:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 22, 2005

Don't Believe the Browser Stats You Hear of

eWeek author Matt Hicks published an article titled "Internet Explorer Use Keeps Falling" and says:

"Mozilla Foundation's Firefox browser rose 0.9 percentage points to reach 5 percent, Web analytics provider WebSideStory Inc. confirmed Thursday."

Cnet staff writer Jim Hu pusblished an article this week and in "FireFox continues gains against IE" quoted similar statistics also taken from WebsSideStory.

These facts shouldn't matter to you.

Using some of these sites that offer stats is good enough to get an over-all view but you can't expect the same results on your site. You need to check you own logs. And just to be sure you are getting the full picture, you need to check for Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox and other less known Mozilla based browsers such as Kazehakase, Galeon, Epiphany, and K-Meleon. The heart of all of these browsers is the Gecko rendering engine.

I still see a lot of websites that have been designed for IE users with no thought to any other browser. To some this might be acceptable, and relying on information like the Stats published by WebsSideStory, you understand that one of these days... when you get "a round tuit" you might have to look at your site in some other browser... but it's only 5%... and you're sure everything will be fine anyway.

Thom Meyer, entreprenuer, operator of three websites recently shared his stats on my discussion forum On Friday, 17 December 2004, he posted:

Well Steve here's the stats from 3 of my sites. I am just showing IE, Mozilla, and FireFox here.

Site 1:
I.E. 49.4%
Mozilla 23.2%
FireFox 20.4%

Site 2:
I.E. 60.4%
FireFox 23%
Mozilla 8.6%

Site 3:
I.E. 51.9%
Mozilla 19.3%
FireFox 10.1%

Last month Mozilla beat out I.E. by the end of the month on two out of the three sites

I was quite surprised to learn of these results, but my stats show a higher usage too. In the middle of January, this year, 15.15% of the people visiting this site used a Gecko based browser.

I'd like to suggest something to anyone building websites this year. Don't rely on statistics that publish browser stats as a gauge to whether you need to make the site cross-browser friendly. You don't know what percentage of your users will be using something other then Internet Explorer. It would be wise to take this into account.

If anyone would care to comment on this or let us know the percentage of Gecko based browser users that frequent their site, please feel free...

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 07:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 19, 2005

Update on Noteworthy Newsreader

My blog post Saturday was about Lektora, a noteworthy newsreader, that Tris Hussey was trying out to manage 290 RSS feeds.

Tris has updated this story today by offering his review of Lektora.

In the review Tris says:

The search and bookmarked searches are great. I know that I've been saving serious time gathering content using Lektora. Sage was pretty close, but with Sage I still had to scroll through all my feeds, regardless of where there was new content or now. With Lektora only feeds with new content are shown. The two pane design and opening content in tabs (Firefox) makes the info very skimable.

Now, all is not perfect. It would be great to be able to look at archives of content in increments larger than a day. Week? Month for sure. I know that I'll need to go looking for something and clicking every single day to find it will drive me nuts. Sure a good search bookmarked might speed it up, but clicking 30 or more days to find one item...nope.

Tris now reports to having 320 RSS feeds to sort through and feels Lektora showing only feeds with new content is a feature, but having far less feeds to sort through then Tris, I don't see this as a feature but more of a bug. Rather, I see it as an annoyance. Enough so... that I won't be downloading the software to try it out.

Of course everyone has an opinion, and if you would like to share yours you can download Lektora and post a comment or review to this post or my discussion forum.

Thanks goes to Tris for trying the software and following up with his review.

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 08:09 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Got a Blog Question?

From Blog Business World I saw mention of two good forums to post your blogging questions to.

There has been the odd discussion on my message forum about blogs but I must confess... I'm a web developer who can install, modify and add blogs to your website but I'm not a blogging expert.

Wayne's post mentions a few forums but the two I liked and saw as being active are www.forum4bloggers.com and www.bloggertalk.com. Check them out. There are some good discussions going on there.

If you have another favorite, please post it here.

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 07:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Search engines fight comment spam

Google, MSN, Six Apart and Yahoo plan to support an HTML tag to keep comment-spam postings out of search engines.

Read the story here.

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 07:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 18, 2005

Newsletter format

I've noted a lot more people read this blog, then subscribe to my newsletter. Blog readership seems to keep increasing.

It seems every time I send my newsletter out there are always a few people who choose to unsubscribe. That's to be expected of course. Ya' can't please everyone!

When I started blogging again this year after my brief hiatus since 2001, I thought I should make the blog something like my newsletter... but that didn't happen.

So as an experiment this week I decided to format my newsletter differently to make it more like my blog. It was similar to the main blog page where you get an introduction to the article, and a link to click on for more information.

Funny thing happened. There weren't any unsubscribe requests.

Maybe the new format is a keeper, maybe it is too early to tell.

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 03:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 17, 2005

Smart CSS multi-element rollovers

Found a nice article by Simon Collison called Smart CSS multi-element rollovers which not only provides a tutorial on how to build your own, but links to a generator to help you build your own.

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 08:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 16, 2005

What is an exclusive offer?

Liz Tomey recently asked on a discussion forum:

When someone tells you that they have an exclusive offer, what does that mean to you?

My reply....

It means they are unsure about the quality of their offering, and don't want too many charge backs.

If the exclusive offer is a success without too many charge backs, then they can offer it to the general "Internet marketing get rich quick crowd" at a slightly higher price.

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 11:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 15, 2005

My Google Site Map

I've read a lot of discussion about how one should create a site map for their site. Many software download sites and script repositories offer to sell you software there will index everything on your site and then automatically create the map for you.

What follows is strictly my opinion...

You don't need to do this!

I know this goes against conventional thinking. People that tell you this, and encourage you to do this, are wrong.

Most of the software available not only indexes everything you want it to index, but it also indexes everything you don't want it to index.

Let me explain:

There are a lot of pages (in fact the majority of pages) on this site I don't really want to make availible to the general public. These are pages where I've uploaded scripts, programs and examples for potential clients to view. They aren't linked to the main site. Any automatic software used would have to have the results edited so these were not included.

Surprisingly enough! Google seems to know what to index and what not to index. Google doesn't seem to index pages that are not linked to other parts of the main website. As a matter of fact... it does a decent job of providing a site map. You can see my Google Site Map of HomeBusiness Websites here.

When you click that link it says 1 - 10 of about 434 and then links to the others. I didn't go through the whole list but I expect there must be some outside links mixed in there too. I can't imagine I've created 434 pages on this site that are meant to be viewed by the public — yet in the results I did search through I didn't find access to any pages I don't want the general public to have.

I was even able to find recent blog posts in there as recent as last week. Amazing!

What do you think? If I were to add a site map to my site... why wouldn't I just point it to this Google URL?

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 09:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Newsworthy Newsreader

Tris Hussey, a fellow Canadian, web consultant and avid blogger is also the first non-founding staffer hired by Jeremy Wright's new company "InsideBlogging.com". Tris is also an avid Firefox user and also uses Sage (a Firefox extension) for keeping updated on the RSS feeds he subscribes to. I couldn't imagine being without it. This is how I manage my newsfeeds too. Tris is cosidering a switch...

His recent post titled Lektora: A new RSS reader and it looks like a great one certainly caught my attention. He will be trying it out to manage 290 RSS feeds he subscribes to. I would think that would be a lot of feeds to import into the program but he says:

Customization was easy. You create groups that can be viewed by feed or all at once, you can even delete whole groups and feeds at once. I just dragged feeds to the appropriate groups. You can select multiple feeds so it didn't take me too long.

I can't imagine trying to keep up with 290 newsfeeds and then still trying to get any work done during the day. Tris must have found a "day stretcher" under the Christmas tree for him. At any rate... it will be interesting to see updates to this story. Who knows? Maybe it will be one of the best products for 2005. Two open source products that made eWeek's list for top products of 2004 were Firefox and Plone 2.0

Have you tried Lektora? What was your experience?

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 08:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 14, 2005

Built in Computer Systems

I ran across a column on Cnet today, written by Steven Musil, called This week in gadget news which talks about a company that specializes in building high-end PCs into handcrafted furniture. The downside is the company, Truvia, charges $55,000 for one of their creations.

Something like this would be a good idea for a small business startup too. I would think someone who was crafty working with wood and gadgetry could probably buy small quantities of desks and customize them so they wrap around a computer system. You could probably charge a lot less, and reach a far greater market.


Mr Musil says:

The movement has attracted interest from companies such as Microsoft that are looking to popularize PCs as living-room objects.

A few comments can be found relating to this article — not all favorable, but like anything else you would have to do your own market research, perhaps build a prototype, and see who is the market, at the price you decide you can deliver for.

A lot of businesses fail simply because they fall in love with their project, go ahead with it, without finding out first if there is a market for it. You need to find out who your customers will be and create a profile of the ideal customer. For those who might consider this, or any other business, you just need to make sure you've done your market research.

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 05:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 13, 2005

105 real-life marketing lessons

MarketingSherpa is offering a free download of an eBook titled Marketing Wisdom for 2005 which is a 51 page pdf report. It includes 105 real-life marketing lessons learned from MarketingSherpa readers including the folks at Timberland, Pacific Shaving, and ING Direct:

I learned of this from Brian Carroll's Blog where he says:

"I contributed lesson #52 (on lead generation of course) in the B-to-B Marketing section."

You can get access to this eBook and others at wisdom.marketingsherpa.com. I think for those of you unfamiliar with this source, you will find these a valuable resource. Over the years I have saved many case-studies published by MarketingSherpa and used this information to help build my business.

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 08:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 11, 2005

Taking Aim at Macromedia Flash

The W3C started developing an open format called Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) in 1999 that is open source, based on XML and can be used in many ways to replace Flash.

An article at DevShed explains how this could one day take the place of Flash, but it can't yet.

I wanted to try one of the W3C test suites offered by the W3C and Firefox (my default browser) could not find a suitable plugin. Further searching found that Mozilla is offering a SVG enabled browser, but I decided not to overwrite my current browser.

It might not be ready for "prime time" yet, but it is coming.

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 01:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Beginner's Guide to Business Blogging

Debbie Weil said:

"My quick guide to the "what, why ∓ how of business blogging" went live moments ago on Seth Godin's ChangeThis site. Download my "Beginner's Guide to Business Blogging" as one of the new manifestos. It's FREE... until Jan. 25, 2005 so don't wait!

Click here to read the announcement and get your copy.

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 08:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 10, 2005

The Internet Evolution

In a survey, released by Pew Internet & American Life Project, technology experts and scholars evaluate where the network is headed in the next ten years.

They believe the dawning of the blog era will bring radical change to the news and publishing industry and they think the internet will have the least impact on religious institutions.

The report is a 62 page pdf, and from the link above you can view the questionnaire.

I think a good percentage of these people involved in bringing us this radical change will either be self-employed or unemployed.

Dana VanDen Heuvel has published a list of companies that are purported to have fired employees for blogging "fired, threatened, disciplined, fined or not hired people because of their blog."

What does this say about free speech?

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 08:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 07, 2005

More Business on the Horizon

BusinessWeek Online recently published an article, Tech Startup 2.0 that says:

Everywhere you look, signs of life are emerging in startup land. Entrepreneurs are huddling in their garages and dens, tapping out software code. Venture capitalists prowl Stanford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, checkbooks in hand.

Some people don't necessarily think this is true. Charlie Wood, who refers to himself as "a Bubble 1.0 survivor" suggests we shouldn't read too much into this.

In his blog post quoting Techdirt it says:

"The fact is that startups never went away. And, some of these startups they're talking about aren't exactly new. They've just been around and quiet over the past few years. About the only thing that's clearly back is... the buzz. That can be fun, but it's also ridiculously distracting."

Business Week author, Robert D. Hof, goes on to say about these star ups that "the good news is they're stepping up to the challenge. From Silicon Valley to Boston, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are rethinking everything they do. This generation of startups is more organized and aggressive than ever."

Whether it is a buzz or a fact might mean we will have to wait to find out, but the buzz being generated may be enough to start smaller businesses spending more cash.

See... when the bubble broke, it wasn't only the larger companies going "belly-up," it had an adverse affect on the mindset of small business owners and entrepreneurs. There was a stretch of time during this period that small business people were scared to spend money on the web. After a relatively short period of time, these people realized that this wasn't going to affect them, and they could still prosper online.

My point being: the buzz generated from the BIG boys, being funded by venture capitalists, will be enough to excite the small business sector and they will likewise... start spending more money.

This means for those of us who cater to small businesses, we may find ourselves a little busier then the last couple of years.

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 12:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Moreover Technologies Gives Bloggers Free Tools To Significantly Increase Content Distribution

After I built this blog I promoted it to the RSSTop55 - Best Blog Directory And RSS Submission Sites and of course my blog is set-up to automatically ping a handful of sites each time a new article is added.

Another one to automatically ping, announced on December 09, 2004, is Moreover.

If you are not familiar with them Moreover has been involved for years in syndicating content. They say:

Moreover's sophisticated technology continually scours the Internet to capture breaking news and business information from thousands of qualified, handpicked sources. Headline links to relevant information are filtered according to clients' specific business needs, and delivered in real time to any platform or business application through one of Moreover's customizable Connected Intelligence™ solutions.

Now to automatically notify Moreover when new content has been published, you can set your blog software to automatically ping their servers. This ensures that your content is entered into the vast Moreover distribution network as quickly and as accurately as possible.

Here are the instructions from the Moreover website that show how to configure your software.

If you're using MovableTyoe as I am, you can just enter the special URL from your control panel after clicking on Configuration/preferences. Add this URL: URL: http://api.moreover.com/ping

They show an example using this method like this:

The REST interface:

URL: http://api.moreover.com/ping
Parameters: u=
HTTP method: GET

Example:
http://api.moreover.com/ping?u=http://moreoaa1.miniserver.com/weblogs/stevesfirstweblog/index.rdf

I'm not sure if MovableType users need to do all of this or if the program automatically includes these parameters. I have a hunch it includes them, but I will need to find out.

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 11:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 05, 2005

Spammers Missing the Mark

Isn't the idea of spamming to send your message to thousands of people in order to sell something? Or do spammers send these messages because a) they can, and b) they just want to annoy as many people as possible?

I've noticed a lot of spam lately with intentional miss-spellings, but this one I received yesterday takes the cake. Have a look:

ÿFFFFC1ÿFFFFA4ÿFFFFBAÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFC5ÿFFFFEBÿFFFFBDÿFFFFC5ÿFFFFBAÿFFFFCE ÿFFFFB1ÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFB0ÿFFFFEDÿFFFFBBÿFFFFE7ÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFD7ÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFCE ÿFFFFB1ÿFFFFA4ÿFFFFB0ÿFFFFED ÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFDEÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFCFÿFFFFB7ÿFFFFCEÿFFFFBCÿFFFFAD (ÿFFFFB1ÿFFFFA4ÿFFFFB0ÿFFFFED)ÿFFFFB9ÿFFFFD7 @ÿFFFFB7ÿFFFFCE ÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFA5ÿFFFFB1ÿFFFFE2ÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFD1 ÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFDEÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFCFÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFD4ÿFFFFB4ÿFFFFCFÿFFFFB4ÿFFFFD9. ÿFFFFBAÿFFFFBB ÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFDEÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFCFÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFBA ÿFFFFB0ÿFFFFF8ÿFFFFB0ÿFFFFB3ÿFFFFB5ÿFFFFC8 ÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFDAÿFFFFB7ÿFFFFE1ÿFFFFC1ÿFFFFDFÿFFFFBFÿFFFFA1ÿFFFFBCÿFFFFAD ÿFFFFB5ÿFFFFEEÿFFFFBFÿFFFFA1ÿFFFFBCÿFFFFAD ÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFDEÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFCF ÿFFFFBCÿFFFFF6ÿFFFFC1ÿFFFFFDÿFFFFC1ÿFFFFA4ÿFFFFC3ÿFFFFA5ÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFCCÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFFCÿFFFFBFÿFFFFA1 ÿFFFFB9ÿFFFFDFÿFFFFC3ÿFFFFEBÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFD1 ÿFFFFB0ÿFFFFCDÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFD4ÿFFFFB4ÿFFFFCFÿFFFFB4ÿFFFFD9. ÿFFFFB0ÿFFFFEDÿFFFFB0ÿFFFFB4ÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFC7 ÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFDEÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFCF ÿFFFFC1ÿFFFFD6ÿFFFFBCÿFFFFD2 ÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFCCÿFFFFBFÿFFFFDCÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFC7 ÿFFFFBEÿFFFFEEÿFFFFB6ÿFFFFB0ÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFD1 ÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFDAÿFFFFB7ÿFFFFE1ÿFFFFB5ÿFFFFB5 ÿFFFFB0ÿFFFFAEÿFFFFB0ÿFFFFED ÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFD6ÿFFFFC1ÿFFFFF6 ÿFFFFBEÿFFFFCAÿFFFFBDÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFB4ÿFFFFCFÿFFFFB4ÿFFFFD9. ÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFDEÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFCF ÿFFFFBCÿFFFFF6ÿFFFFBDÿFFFFC5ÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFBB ÿFFFFBFÿFFFFF8ÿFFFFC4ÿFFFFA1 ÿFFFFBEÿFFFFCAÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFE9 ÿFFFFBCÿFFFFF6ÿFFFFBDÿFFFFC5ÿFFFFB0ÿFFFFC5ÿFFFFBAÿFFFFCE ÿFFFFB4ÿFFFFADÿFFFFB7ÿFFFFAF ÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFCCÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFDEÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFCFÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFBB ÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFD4ÿFFFFB7ÿFFFFC2ÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFD8 ÿFFFFC1ÿFFFFD6ÿFFFFBCÿFFFFBCÿFFFFBFÿFFFFE4. ÿFFFFBCÿFFFFF6ÿFFFFBDÿFFFFC5ÿFFFFB0ÿFFFFC5ÿFFFFBAÿFFFFCEÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFA6 ÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFD8ÿFFFFC1ÿFFFFD6ÿFFFFBDÿFFFFC3ÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFE9 ÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFE7 ÿFFFFB9ÿFFFFDFÿFFFFBCÿFFFFDBÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFBB ÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFCFÿFFFFC1ÿFFFFF6ÿFFFFBEÿFFFFCAÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFE7 ÿFFFFB6ÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFD1 ÿFFFFBCÿFFFFF6ÿFFFFBDÿFFFFC5ÿFFFFB0ÿFFFFC5ÿFFFFBAÿFFFFCEÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFD1 ÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFDEÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFCFÿFFFFC1ÿFFFFD6ÿFFFFBCÿFFFFD2ÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFA6 ÿFFFFBFÿFFFFB5ÿFFFFB1ÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFBBÿFFFFE8ÿFFFFC1ÿFFFFA6ÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFCFÿFFFFBFÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFB4ÿFFFFCF ÿFFFFB4ÿFFFFD9ÿFFFFBCÿFFFFD2 ÿFFFFBAÿFFFFD2ÿFFFFC6ÿFFFFEDÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFCFÿFFFFBDÿFFFFC3ÿFFFFB4ÿFFFFF5ÿFFFFB6ÿFFFFF3ÿFFFFB5ÿFFFFB5 ÿFFFFBEÿFFFFE7ÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFD8ÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFA6 ÿFFFFBAÿFFFFCEÿFFFFC5ÿFFFFB9ÿFFFFB5ÿFFFFE5ÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFAEÿFFFFB0ÿFFFFDAÿFFFFBDÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFB4ÿFFFFCFÿFFFFB4ÿFFFFD9 ÿFFFFB0ÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFFCÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFD1 ÿFFFFBDÿFFFFBAÿFFFFC6ÿFFFFD4ÿFFFFC1ÿFFFFA4ÿFFFFC3ÿFFFFA5ÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFBB ÿFFFFC1ÿFFFFD8ÿFFFFBCÿFFFFF6ÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFCFÿFFFFB8ÿFFFFE7 ÿFFFFB3ÿFFFFEBÿFFFFB7ÿFFFFC2ÿFFFFC7ÿFFFFCFÿFFFFB0ÿFFFFDAÿFFFFBDÿFFFFC0ÿFFFFB4ÿFFFFCFÿFFFFB4ÿFFFFD9. We do not have any personal information except your E-mail address. This is sent only one time. If you do not wish to receive this email click "Receiving Reject " and send me your E-mail address.

LOL...glad they claim it is a one time mailing. If I receive it a second time I doubt that I will understand it any better. Maybe this spammer is having a bad day. What do you think?

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 08:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 04, 2005

Microsoft will thrive on new bugs & worms

David Coursey from eWeek writes Microsoft's "A-1" Should Be Free. This is Microsoft's anti-virus/anti-spyware subscription service, code-named "A1."

Yes... Microsoft is going to start charging people a subscription fee for this software to remove bugs and worms that their software is susceptible to.

LOL... now don't that just beat all?

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 04:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 02, 2005

62% of Internet Users Do Not Know What a Blog is

Lee Rainie is the founding Director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. In a survey by her organization she says 62% of internet users do not know what a blog is.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project produces reports that explore the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life. The Project aims to be an authoritative source on the evolution of the Internet through collection of data and analysis of real-world developments as they affect the virtual world.

In a summary of two surveys (4 page PDF file) she states:

8 million American adults say they have created blogs; blog readership jumped 58% in 2004 and now stands at 27% of internet users; 5% of internet users say they use RSS aggregators or XML readers to get the news and other information delivered from blogs and content-rich Web sites as it is posted online; and 12% of internet users have posted comments or other material on blogs. Still, 62% of internet users do not know what a blog is.

There seems to be some growing indications that once again the technology maybe ahead of the knowledge. It isn't any secret that many online businesses are adapting blogs for their own use, but there is a question there on whether they are putting this technology to good use.

As Kevin Robb suggests:

"A lot of items relevant to having a successful website also apply to Blogs, don’t get caught up in the hype and think that a Blog is the answer to all your problems, they are not a magic solution."

Many of you may have already clicking a link to read a blog only to have Google Adsense embedded into one side (that is acceptable) and then on the other side you can see more Google ads except these are flashing and bouncing around the screen in a mis-matched colored coordination with the animated or FLASH banner at the top, and then when the page finally loads, you have a paragraph written by someone other then the blog owner and the rest of the page is consists of affiliate links and more advertising.

The good news is that at least it is easy to un-subscribe from an RSS feed (if that is how you keep track of the blogs you read) and you don't have to bother clicking an un-subscribe link that will remove you from a mailing list only if it pleases the publisher.

How much of your blog is advertising?

Posted by Steve MacLellan at 06:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack