Archives for November 2005


I am a Kentuckian. In fact, I grew up in Eastern Kentucky. I therefore have a certain weakness for things like neon license plate holders, neon undercarriages, and any other glowing bling you can use to pimp your ride. But it’s also important to remember that some of the best gadgets don’t cost a lot of money. My fave gadget in terms of bang-for-the-buck are Tireflys. They replace the valve stems on your bicycle or car wheels. Whenever you and your posse start rolling, the force of the rotation causes bright LEDs to start blinking. I recommend the multicolor LEDs, which cascade through blue, red, and white. You can tell your signficant other that you’re putting them on your bike for safety reasons, but you and I will know the real reason: it starts with “B” and ends with “ling” (and bonus points if it looks like neon and blinks).


Okey doke, I think I plowed through most/all comments. I just promised myself that I wouldn’t head to bed until I was done. 🙂 A few people assumed that I’d deleted their comments. Nope, I was just really slammed and didn’t get to approve comments since before Pubcon a couple weeks ago. When I started my blog, I approved every comment. That didn’t scale well, so now I think I require an approval for a person’s first comment, but after that they can comment without approval. I lean toward allowing people to comment even if they’re being negative, unless they’re just trolling or suggesting something that’s not anatomically possible. 😉 Here’s an example of a comment that came in that I didn’t bother to approve:

Name: William Gates | E-mail: | URI: | IP:

Well Matt,
I’ve been playing around with the big 3 engines. It is pretty obvious that Google now ranks 3rd and relevance is a joke. When is Google going to get back to providing end users with relevant content? or is it about getting searchers to click on the right hand side? Update before the holidays again, nice. I guess it is all about money now for Google which is fine. Remember people have a choice and slowly you will loose market share. It may take a while but it will happen. Content is king, that’s now a joke. We are seeing graphical sites with few backlinks ranking very high, do you care to explain this? or are you going to laugh all the way to the bank?

I don’t think that the real billg would bother to stop by and post that, ya know? Anyway, I’ll try to keep up now. 🙂

Good Magazines

“Remind me to write a popular article on the compulsive reading of news. The theme will be that most neuroses and some psychoses can be traced to the unnecessary and unhealthy habit of daily wallowing in the troubles and sins of five billion strangers.” – Jubal Harshaw, Stranger in a Strange Land

Lately I’ve been playing with magazine subscriptions. There’s stuff like Maximum PC, CPU, and Wired, and I’ve also enjoyed Make, the new magazine/book from O’Reilly. But the most fun to read lately are Linux magazines. For some reason, I don’t enjoy the U.S. magazines (Linux Journal and Linux Magazine) quite as much, although they’re quite good. My favorite are the magazines from Europe, which often come with a DVD or CD. They’re just a lot of fun. They range from sassy to opinionated as all hell, and have great features like “software projects on the move” or descriptions of Linux kernel controversies. I’ve subscribed to Linux Pro magazine, Linux Format, and just recently I added Linux User and Developer. Highly recommended.

One magazine has an article on building your own Linux distro. You want to get links? Making your own Linux distribution is a great way to get links. 🙂

P.S. I’m up to 473 comments that I need to approve. Apologies for getting snowed under on that..

Review: Elektra

BAAAAAAAAD. Really baaaaad. If you have a TiVo, this is a watch-on-triple-fast-forward movie. I give it 0.3 (on a 0.0 to 1.0 scale) on the Mortal Kombat: The Movie scale.

Sketchy testimonials

This is kinda fun. In our last post, we saw software that was being sold without even modifying an HTML template. Let’s play with that some more. Do an exact search for [“then delete this pink text”]. You can find lots of software packages where no one has bothered to update a template:

Someone is spitting out all sorts of software. Here’s one to teach you how to blog and ping:

Learn to blog and ping!

But my favorite has to be all those testimonials. Are they real? Here’s one with testimonials “for example purposes only”:

Supply your own testimonials!

These testimonials are for “example purposes only,” but are they real? I have no idea. But here’s a web page where the same people wax enthusiastic about a different product:

Your stuff is the bomb!

Humph. David Crow apparently thinks everything is a killer ap [sic]. He probably looks at faucets and goes “Amazing! I turn this thing, and water flows out! This is an absolute, killer ap!” Weird, wild stuff. Okay, now let’s take a completely different example. Here’s one where the testimonial is left blank except for a default of “Monterey, CA”:

Empty testimonial

Now let’s find that software package template on other sites. Hey, there’s a couple! Testimonial #1:

Testimonial #1

And now here’s testimonial #2:

Testimonial #2

Wow, what a coincidence that the empty template has a default of Monterey, CA, and both Ryan Smith and Ross Obrian also live in Monterey, CA! Did Ryan really double his money in 48 hours, and just happen to live in Monterey? Maybe, but I’m skeptical.

My point is that you should always use your critical thinking skills, whether you’re evaluating an e-book, a magazine article, an informercial, or what some random person is saying in a blog post. Librarians have been thinking about this stuff for a good long time; here’s a page with advice about evaluating web pages.