Friday, September 28, 2007

Old browsers and computers

Need an upgrade? Is your computer 7 or 8 years old but still extremely functional like my Mac Powerbook G3 that I purchased in 1998 (Geez, it will be 10 in 6 months)?

I run two websites, six blogs and do all my record-keeping on this ancient relic. It's only broken down once and cost me an entire $142.00 to repair. It's been one of the best investments I've ever made and one of the most reliable products - like most things from Apple - I've ever owned.

The trouble is that the processing speed is not what it could be and there are some web sites that simply don't respond well to my Mozilla 7.6 or IE 5.3 browsers. It's time for an upgrade, though, as I cannot upgrade Flash or some other products, but what's really going to cost me are all the programs that I will have to purchase new.

Technology. Love it AND loathe it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Super Stats in PHP

Recently, the hosting provider for another of my sites, crashed the stats program attached to my hosting package and I was left without any reliable stats to track.

Now, my displeasure with hosting providers runs from extreme to lawsuit, but this particular bozo continues to operate with outdated systems on shared hosting facilities. The only reason I stay with him is because the hosting is part of a trade deal, for which I get hosting for free.

So, I looked around for some stats packages and found this great, easy-to-install, free PHP program called TraceWatch, which provides real-time stats and traffic analysis for any web site.

I found the program through another excellent resource, the PHP resource index a site which lists and rates thousands of PHP programs in various categories.

If you need a reliable stats program that operates silently within your site (you just need to paste the code on your pages), TraceWatch is an elegant solution.

Best Sports Week Just Ahead

The first week of October is one of the best of the year for sports fans. Not only are college football and the NFL in full swing, but the baseball playoffs get started on Tuesday, this year on October 2.

One wonders how much work actually gets done in this week. It's probably comparable to the first week of the NCAA basketball tournament in March, when people everywhere are paying more attention to their picks in the brackets than to their workload.

Just a reminder to readers that they can catch all the playoff and World Series action at Baseball On Deck and weekly football picks on the main site, starting with updates at Snap Central

Friday, September 14, 2007

Talking to Google

I simply had to write about this experience from today.

Frustrated that my ads from Google Adsense were delivering clicks paying less than 2 cents each, I decided, after penning an extensive email to Google support, that I would find Google's phone number and try to talk sense to somebody about my need to make a decent living.

Guess what? Google's phone numbers are a pretty well-kept secret. I couldn't even find one on Google itself. Finally, I resorted to an old trick I've known for years, and came up with an 800 number for the internet search giant.

Much to my surprise, I was connected not to some corporate office, but a fellow by the name of Billy who answered the phone with, "hello" rather than a customary "thank you for calling Google" or something of that order.

Billy, I learned was full of information about the company and actually revealed some insider search and ranking secrets to me. Don't ask me why or what they are, he just did.

It was one of the strangest phone calls I've ever made.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What you get when you're not looking

I just copied a word at random (photograph) and plugged it into Google. As usual, there was the spammy links Google likes to throw at you, a Wikipedia entry, but further down the page an interesting link to The First Photograph, an online exhibition from the University of Texas at Austin.

To say I am constantly amazed at the depth and scope of the online experience produced by this august community of scholars - in a place such as Texas, no less - would be an understatement.

The exhibition begins with a discussion of one Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, who began experimenting with photography in 1813, according to the text. There's also a timeline, an exposition on the term "heliography" and exceptional illustrations and photos, nicely displayed.

That's what makes the web so wonderful. Even when you're not even looking for anything, you can learn.