Sunday, September 30, 2007

Long suffering Lion fans finally have something to cheer about

I used to watch Detroit Lions games on my grandparents TV in Detroit in the early 1950's. Have been rooting for them since, although it has been difficult, for quite a long time. They are finally showing some life, as they are 3-1, after beating the Chicago Bears today.

Carol Anne Gotbaum

The story about Carol Anne Gotbaum is very nasty. She was irate and unruly at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, so she was arrested and handcuffed, because she was struggling. While in a hold cell, she died while trying to free herself from the handcuffs. She was apparently a "progressive" who felt entitled and was determined that she did not have to follow the rules.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ann Althouse has some great photographs of New York and Brooklyn

I have been reading Ann Althouse's blog since 2004 or 2005. Besides being a law professor, she went to art school at the University of Michigan after I did. She has some very artistic photographs of the Manhatten skyline and street scenes in Brooklyn and, I think, Manhatten.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The blonde Berber girl

The Berbers of Morocco have a minority blonde component. The Daily Mail has an article, with a photo, of a Berber family. The father is holding the young blonde girl. This article was pointed out by DavidB, writing at Gene Expression.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Using Google Trends seems to not be an immediate help

Any Google Trend-motivated blog posts seem to not affect the immediate search results. They may show up some days later, but not immediately. Any seeming surge for such posts does not actually show up when I check the "Recent Visitors by Referral Search Words" in Premium SiteMeter.

Monday, September 24, 2007

We're finally able to enjoy football again in Dallas

Bill Parcells did not fit in, in Dallas. He is an East Coast guy. Wade Phillips knows Texas and is a perfect fit. Wade and his staff have reinvigorated a talented Dallas Cowboys team that Bill Parcells couldn't motivate. We have a good quarterback in Tony Romo, and Terrell Owens is liking how things are going and is doing well. Steve Silverman, at MSNBC, has a good analysis.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Are there some technical issues affecting web traffic?

I occasionally check other blogs to see how they are doing for traffic. Most blogs use an open SiteMeter, as I do, so checking is easy. For example, I checked Brian Maloney's "The Radio Equalizer" blog, and his peak day of the last 30 days was also September 13, 2007. His peak was much higher than I have achieved, but the overall pattern is similar. Tom Maguire's JustOneMinute blog has a rather different pattern, although he too had a spike on September 13.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Software engineering concerns: coupling

Back in the dark ages, prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, we used to care about software engineering concerns, such as the degree of coupling "between modules". What that even means, in this day, is a contentious issue, but I found my self successfully arguing about coupling a few weeks ago. A move that was motivated by tidiness lumped some code that had been separate into a common jar file. Now, unrelated modules were suddenly tightly coupled. I can't describe the circumstances, but that coupling recently created a nasty problem, due to the need to not deploy the latest version of one component, while the others needed to be deployed. The tight coupling that had been unwittingly created caused otherwise unnecessary pain.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Yahoo mail

I have been using the new Yahoo mail for the last few days...until tonight. My connection speed is so slow, tonight, the Yahoo Mail AJAX code was killing Firefox. I had to kill the browser, restart and switch to the old Yahoo mail. After that, the connection is poor, but I can use the browser, at least.

Tom Maguire has a good summary of the Jena business

Tom Maguire, writing at JustOneMinute, has an excellent description of events in Jena that have drawn the protestors. His blog post is more illumnating than what was in our local newspaper.

So much for Google Trends

Choosing topics from Google Trends seems to not be a panacea for building traffic. While there seemed to some effect to doing that, something has happened to lessen its value. Part of the problem is that spammers are putting Google Trends hot topics on their pages to (successfully) get picked up on the list of articles that match the topics. That means that Google would react to try to block that sort of thing from being effective. Anyone else, like us, is simply collateral damage. They weren't looking to "take us out", we just got "took out" because we were in the line of fire.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I just got my first Amazon Associates income

At first, it seemed like I was earning a penny or two per month. There has been gradual growth from my Amazon ads to the point that I received my first payment. Brian Maloney, at The Radio Equalizer says that he gets a modest but regular income from Amazon. He puts more work into it, so he sees more in return. I just like the fact that I am seeing enough to get paid.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"How's the Google War going"

The answer to the question about how the war with Google is going is that we are in retreat. I don't understand the reason behind what is happening, but routinely at 2am CDT (Midnight PDT), traffic drops off. I spend the day doing things to build it up, except that every day the peaks are lower. The high water mark of my last offensive in the undeclared war was on September 13, when Former Naval Person hit 2437 vistors on Sitemeter. Page views were 3430 for that day. I am doing the same thing that I have been doing, but Google keeps evolving. One phenomenon that I have observed is that there are more spam web sites and blogs that I have previously noticed. I am trying not to be one, but still using Google Trends to pic topics for blog posts. I have also seen someone put up common search terms in their blog. I am not sure what effect that has, but it has a spam flavor to it. The pure spammers just list hot terms and hope for traffic that might click on their advertising.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I was wrong, thankfully

Ben Bernanke kept us out of trouble and got the Open Market Committee to lower the federal funds rate by 1/2%. The market reacted positively, as you would expect. If they had not done at least 1/4% cut, the market would have tanked. Some people thought that the cut would only be 1/4%, so that was factored into the market prior to the announcement. Yahoo Finance has the story.

I have no confidence in the Fed to act reasonably

The Federal Reserve is expected to lower interest rates today, but if they don't, the market will go deep into the tank. Ben Bernanke seems reasonable, but that is more than I can say about many of the other members of the board. There are many governors on the board who keep trying to keep wages from recovering to where they were in 2000 and early 2001. They view such a recovery as "inflationary". Yet, it would finish the repair job on the economy. We shall see what happens in not too many hours.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The ongoing combat with Google

I am not sure what our benevolent overlords at Google are doing, but they seem to have made another change at midnight, Pacific time, that has knocked traffic down a half-notch. I assume that there is some search topic that they were allowing that is now being censored. The "big one", back in early July, was when they censored Emma Watson fakes out of Google Image Search. I am uncertain what their latest move entails.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

An odd feature of Google Trends

I have noticed, quite a few times, that some topic is hot on Google Trends, but I can't find any news that is the cause. I am seeing that again, today. For example, for Megan Hauserman.

Clayton Cramer on the "Uninsured Problem"

I have been wondering about what should be done about the medicine for the uninsured through emergency rooms problem. On Friday afternoon, I heard an emergency room nurse talk about the problem and the bad response from one hospital, which was to reduce the size of their emergency room to discourage people from using it, due to the wait and many surly staff. Clayton Cramer writes about the subject:

There's a widespread argument that the government needs to do something about health insurance for the uninsured. I'm more sympathetic to these concerns than I used to be, partly because using emergency rooms in place of a doctor's visit is terribly inefficient. What should cost $40 at a doctor's office becomes $150 in an emergency room. Worse, from both a human suffering standpoint, and because of the costs, some poor people, because they have no coverage, wait until a minor problem becomes a major problem.

Is Alan Greenspan living in Fantasy Land?

I was dismayed the Alan Greenspan would write that he thought that Iraq was invaded over oil. If that was the reason, we made a big mistake. You know that was not the reason, however, but because we considered Saddam a security threat who needed to be "taken out". Everyone agreed that was a good idea in early 2002. We just weren't ready, for some reason, until 2003 to start the job.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

"Google Trends" works

I have been picking topics from Google Trends for about 10 days and in that time, I have greatly increased my blog traffic (2.5 to 3 times). If you blog, and not just pictures, you might help your cause by picking hot topics from the latest Google Trends "Hot Trends" list.

Friday, September 14, 2007

While looking for Erykah Badu pics I saw this one

I saw this pic on the "Crate Soul Brother's Radio Show" page, while I was looking for hot Erykah Badu pics (assuming that there is such a thing). I am a sucker for girls in super-short skirts:

InfoWorld is a big SOA promoter

SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture) seems to be much more popular with managers than with developers. InfoWorld seems to be a big SOA promoter, for whatever reason. A company that I have worked for tried to generate some buzz by being semi-SOA compliant, but I don't know that it went anywhere. There are a bunch of related buzzwords, such as Enterprise Service Bus. I will be interested to see if the idea survives the next five years, much less the next decade.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The new Lamborghini

Yahoo Finance has the Reuters story about the new Lamborghini Reventon. This is not a car for everyone, since the price tag is $1.4M. The Reventon debued at the Frankfurt international autoshow.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A hate crime

The rape and murder of Channon Christian and the murder of Christopher Newsom, both University of Tennessee students closely resembles a hate crime. In this case, black on white hate. The national media is ignoring the story, because of that aspect. WVLT has the story and photographs of the victims and killers.

In the last two days, my spam has tripled

Just in the last two days, the volume of spam that I receive through my Yahoo account has tripled. I half-wondered if "we are under attack", for the 9/11 anniversary.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Google seems to be censoring Miley Cyrus pics

Google, and perhaps other search engines, are trying to suppress the Miley Cyrus semi-racy pics. I have them at Former Naval Person, but I had to use Bloglines to find them. Back in June of 2006, when I was looking for the naked Heather Mills pics, I found them with Bloglines, before they showed up anywhere else.

Ann Althouse's picture of New York on September 11, 2007

Ann Althouse is living in Brooklyn for the next year. This morning, she photographed Manhatten, minus the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2007. Six years ago, I was sitting stopped in traffic on eastbound I694, on my way to Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, to work. I was listening to Bob Edwardsd on Minnesota Public Radio talking about an apparent accident in New York, where a twin-engined plane of unknown size had hit a World Trade Center tower. We followed events at work on a radio and on the Internet. When we learned of the second plane, we knew it was terrorism. Bob Edwards was eventually sacked for not being a strident-enough radical leftist.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The "Scott Thomas Beauchamp" story

I am subscriber to The New Republic, although I am not thrilled about their lurch to the left, after the latest staff changes. They seem to be operating in the same way as CBS News, under Dan Rather, where they are trying to promote a narrative with "fake, but accurate" stories. The stories told by "Scott Thomas" Beauchamp seem to fit that pattern. "Hot Air" does some follow up on the story, and Fred Foier, the current editor, doesn't want to talk.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Princess and the Marine

The story about the "princess" from Bahrain has bubbled back to the surface, again. She had sneaked out of Bahrain in 1999, masquerading as a Marine. She married her Marine boy friend, who was demoted a who became a parking lot attendant. I guess that Meriam Al Khalifa thought she could do better, so she divorced Jason Johnson. "48 Hours" has the older part of the story on their website. "Mr. Wave Theory" has the links and a pic of them together.

Chuck Hagel bails

I hate to say it, but I am glad to see Chuck Hagel give up and leave the Senate. The Omaha World Herald has the story. He also says that he is not running for President, which is just as well, as there is little constituency for him and what he has been doing as a senator. He has supported the extension of government power over people and business, has not been firm on defending the country, and has taken action that has infringed on our rights to free speech, in supporting Senator McCain's so-called campaign finance reform initiative.

Michigan was vastly overrated at No.5; now Oregon stomped them

Ahmad Rashad really enjoyed the stomping that Oregon administered on Saturday to Michigan, the pre-season number 5 in the football rankings. Michigan showed again how greatly the number 5 over-ranked them when they were beaten decisively by Oregon, Ahmad Rashad's alma mater. Ahmad Rashad was born in Portland, Oregon, so his times run deep. The Oregonian has the story.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Australian submarine AE2

I will be interested to hear more about the AE2, and Australian 'E-class' submarine lost in the Dardenelles campaign, circa 1915. ABC News, in Australia, had a story on this about 10 days ago. The E-class submarines were sturdy and workhorses in the Great War. has a page about the E-class.

Friday, September 7, 2007


I have been a big Google fan and am a big customer. I use all sorts of Google services, some that actually cost money. The best new thing from Google is "Google Trends", followed by the large Gmail storage for a fee. I tried this morning to find the nude Vanessa Hudgens picture. I tried Google first and gave up and used Altavista. I found it quickly with their search (which I used to use all the time).

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Nancy Siriani (Jackie Martling's ex)

Nancy Siriani is a hot item. Howard Stern plays her song, with the Scoldees, among other things. Dean's Planet has the story.

Kathleen Willey

I find it telling that I had to use Altavista to find a more current Kathleen Willey pic than I could find with Google. Kathleen Willey is in the news because she says that someone stole her manuscript for a tell-all book about the Clintons. Google had better watch out, as if they continue to play games with search results, they will hurt their cause. This pic is of Kathleen Willey (on the right) entering the Clinton Presidential Library, circa 2005. I am chiding Google, but have been a big user of all things Google, and still am.

A spammer with an id that displays as "news"

There is a spammer sending me junk that has an email address that displays as "news" in Yahoo Mail. The subject line is always some provocative thing like " Republicans in Colorado Oppose Counting Each And Every Vote" and "Whoopi Goldberg defends Michael Vick on The View". Another says " Shorter doctor hours don't affect U.S. deaths". I peeked at one mail I remember it being something like a Viagra ad. The Republican thing sounds almost like "push polling".

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Strategies to build blog traffic

There are a number of different strategies that have been suggested and used for building blog traffic. One that I had used in the past was to be a commenter on higher traffic blogs that allowed comments. Another was to cross link by various blogs and websites. One thing that really helps with Google is to be posting frequently. Of course, your posts need to be about topics that people want to read. A colleague of mine suggested that I use Google Trends to help find the current hot topics. Google Trends did not initially give the latest information, but the current incarnation is very helpful. You get real-time indications, with a ranking, of hot search terms. Of ocurse, another technique is to have images in your pages, either with img tags or with text links. Google Image Search started rewarding images with traffic in October 2006. A key point is to have relevant text to your images. You don't need alt tags, or to "hot link" in the usual sense, where someone else's images appear "inline" with img tags. Text links are sufficient. I like to add the 'target="_blank"' to the alt tag so that when the link is clicked, it opens a new window.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I like this: Bill Richardson says that it is "God's will" that Iowa's caucus be first

Ed Morrissey, writing at "Heading Right", has a piece about Bill Richardson's speech saying that it was "God's will" that the Iowa caucus be first, before any other caucus or primary election. Bill probably just disqualified himself with much of the Democratic party and their lefty fellow-travellers.

Getting totally blasted periodically is not healthy

If you periodically get totally blasted or dead drunk, you are taking a big risk. Dallas area musician Carter Albrecht is dead as a result. Well, the result of being drunk, out of control, and a home owner who was a bit quick on the trigger. The KRLD radio website has the story.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The resurgence of rule-based systems

Given our experience in the 1980's with rule-based systems, I am having trouble understanding their resurgence since 2000. From what I can tell, the various products are using the old, weak methods from the past. They are easy to understand and can give explanations for what they decide. They continue to be brittle and inadequate. I keep hearing that some product is being used, despite those facts. "Strong methods" are statistical-based or neural-network based. They can produce impressive results, but are difficult to understand and the results can't be explained easily. My efforts right now are limited to applying weak methods to machine translation. My usual application is translating Dutch to English. Web translators, such as Babelfish, are hampered by lack of vocabulary. Leading edge machine translation is using statistical methods. They have the drawback of depending on having corresponding texts the the source and the destination languages.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

My wife liked 'Nancy Drew'

My wife and her friend saw the movie 'Nancy Drew' yesterday, and she liked it.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Do you think that Michigan might have been overrated at number 5?

Since Michigan got beat today by a team they should have clobbered, we can imagine that their number 5 rating was undeserved. The Canton Repository has the story.

Paul Graham's new essay on "How Not to Die"

Paul Graham's latest essay is about "How Not to Die", in reference to technically-oriented "startups". Paul says, among other things:

So I'll tell you now: bad shit is coming. It always is in a startup. The odds of getting from launch to liquidity without some kind of disaster happening are one in a thousand. So don't get demoralized. When the disaster strikes, just say to yourself, ok, this was what Paul was talking about. What did he say to do? Oh, yeah. Don't give up.