Why I quit WordPress

reviews,stupid,tech — commander flatus @ 8:46 pm May 21, 2011

I used to run my blog on WordPress and hosted my site at Dreamhost (I would recommend Dreamhost without reservation, BTW). But I found I was spending lots of time doing updates and I really don’t have time for that. I also frequently noticed that my posts would get spam inserted into them to manipulate search engines via SQL injection hacks. Annoying.

So I closed up my WordPress install over there and came to Blogger (who I can bitch about, but they’re free). I’ve also used Google Webmaster Tools (also free) and I have used the webmaster tools since back in the WordPress days. I liked WordPress, it was fun. Learned some CSS skills. I liked Gallery for sharing images too (but now I use Picasa).

Anyway, upon setting up my blog on blogger, I noticed that my traffic logs had some strange guests (Ukraine and Russia? see below – click to zoom):

Weird, right? So doing some digging I checked the webmaster tools site for evidence of stupidity and there it was under my crawl errors (again, click to zoom):

Some script kiddie website had figured out a way to insert their serialz in my Gallery. WTF?

I love free software, I’ve licensed stuff under the GPL that I’ve written. The problems are: difficulty of necessary upgrades being performed regularly by casual users and the lack of commercial impetus to make a proper product.

I’m sticking with big names and commercial software for the foreseeable future.

The false economies of web reviews

books,reviews,tech — commander flatus @ 2:50 am May 17, 2011

Ever wonder why you never really read a negative review of a product on websites? I used to. In fact, I fell victim to purchasing a few less-than-spectacular products based on reviews posted on websites I trusted.

Take, for example (because this is really easy), any of the books by Timothy Ferriss. In particular, the book “The 4-Hour Body” is notable given the large amount of online hype it generated, particularly on high-traffic websites like gizmodo, and lifehacker.com (where it got a full week of excerpts and glowing reviews). Unfortunately, most serious book critics – like the NYT – considered the book to be nothing more than a laughable bad joke. Why, then, the disparity?

First of all, we should acknowledge that in addition to being a confirmed narcissist (based on his own writing), and a likely sociopath, Timothy Ferriss has been called the greatest self-promoter in the world by Wired Magazine in 2008. The guy clearly has a forcible personality which, coupled with nearly delusional lifehacking writings can sell lotsa books.

The bigger issue here is how advertising on the web is structured, particularly as it relates to product reviews. See that link to Amazon to purchase “The 4-Hour Body” (please don’t click it). If you were foolish enough to actually buy this book, I would get a cut of the sale. Big websites like gizmodo and lifehacker make gobs of money this way, so tend to put out positive reviews of products so that people reading will click the linky-link and buy the product.

This is why I wanted to review this book here briefly: don’t buy it, it’s shit. And also to point out that you can’t trust online reviews, even from great sources – they’re all tainted by the almighty dollar.

The Great Blogger Outage of 2011

stupid,tech — commander flatus @ 1:37 pm May 14, 2011

Seems to have eaten two of my greatest posts ever. I am nagging them about getting me back up.

Eye-Fi Connect x2 Card

photography,tech — commander flatus @ 4:01 pm May 6, 2011

I recently purchased a second one of these – they’re relatively inexpensive now. I really liked the one I got for a point-and-shoot camera, and wanted to try on in my Nikon D80.

Setup is pretty easy, though I thought setting up the direct mode access with the new Android and iPhone/iPad apps was a little confusing. The software is OK, could be a bit better – the EyeFi helper app keeps crashing on me. My D80 also seems to be unable to complete and upload of a large batch of photos (about 100 JPG high resolution). I’ve even set the power settings as their support pages suggest. Sometimes, you just have to plug the card into a computer.

The are where it really shines, though, is the ability to instantly put pics on Picasa or other sites to share with other family members.

Find it here at Amazon, about $40 as of this writing. Size is pretty unimportant since the card has a feature that deletes pics off the card after uploading once you’ve hit a user-specified capacity. That’s pretty cool.

Overall I’d give it a reserved recommendation. The software needs some improvement.

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