Friday, December 05, 2008

Urchin Link Generator Missing

I noticed this morning that the urchin link generator available from Google is now replaced with a blank page. It makes me wonder what is going on? I cannot find any information about the change at Search Engine Land. I know that the older Urchin software was only going to be supported for a while, but I could swear that the tracking codes were going to have continued support as it was only the javascript which was changing (urchin.js vs ga.js).

I have posted a clean version of the tracking code generator at my site as a mirror. This is not intended to challenge the rights of Google or Urchin, it is simply there because I use the tool.

Perhaps it is just an outage or perhaps they are restructuring the urchin support tabs. The use of this tool reduces the amount of human error though and I would be really surprised at its removal.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sun xVM Virtual Box

So once again I needed to access shell scripts for reporting purposes on my XP box at work. Recently the Ubuntu server I was using died horribly and I have not had a chance to setup another one. Today is absolutely no different, I have too many things to do to worry about the hardware.

I tried for about 20 min to get Microsoft VM 2007 to take an Ubuntu 8.04 load. After 20 min of VM errors I downloaded Sun xVM Virtual Box. Talk about working right out of the box. This was intuitive and straight forward.

So now I'm running, without having to pay $189 to VMWare, and without my blood pressure spiking at high levels over MS software that doesn't play well with the other children.

Straight up - get Sun xVM Virtual Box - it works without the headache.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Mojave Experiment

So I finally sat down and went through the "" website, one of Microsoft's many PR campaigns to challenge the "preconceived notions about Vista".

"Mr. McKittrick, after very careful consideration, sir, I've come to the conclusion that your new computer system sucks." -- Wargames

Ok so the researcher in me would like to point out a few things about this "open discussion"

1. (Con) They never took a user through the process of an actual upgrade. They didn't show them what it takes to get Vista to share directories, or printers, or how to manage older hardware with a new OS. They didn't take a user through how to switch from XP.

2. As far as I can tell, they never let the user ask questions, or say "hey - how do I do this in Vista"? Show me something real. Show me a game. Show me voice chat with well known programs like Ventrillo or Skype. Show me interoperability by using the main stay of applications everyone uses like Office or photoshop or gimp or firefox. Show me something other than gadgets

3. None of those people in the videos were IT professionals. It's all fine to have regular people in the videos, but where do you think they heard all of the negativity? From their neighbor, or from an IT professional? Somewhere, the information came from a "trusted" source. That means a geek/nerd/it wizard/guru said something to the effect of "this sucks - go back to XP". When you start to have sys admins and security professionals and hardcore it professionals say "yes this is a stable and usable operating system" you will see the negativity decrease. This worked fine when Microsoft got their act together for Windows 2000, and XP. Once they became stable, geeks praised it. Geeks are not praising Vista (yet), now why could that be?

4. They didn't show you how you have to tell Vista "ok" every time you run an application that has not had it's security certificate setup by the manufacturer.

5. They claim that 60% of Vista users are less likely to get a virus or malware infection than those running XPSP2. Really? Only 60%? That is a little better than half. So by upgrading to Vista, you are increasing your chances of not getting infected by (maybe) 50%. Does anyone else feel this is inadequate?

6. They didn't mention also what the 5 different versions of Vista will do? Which one did they show the users in the video? I can almost guarantee you it was Vista Ultimate. Did they explain the tier system? I doubt it.

7. Hardware, I bet you almost anything, they didn't just run down there and buy a laptop from they local store and install vista on it. Did they tell the video guinea pigs what was needed to run Vista/Mojave?

"where's the beef"?

Show me the meat. Instead of hiring Jerry Seinfeld to market to me, why doesn't Microsoft pony up, say hey, yeah we made a few mistakes, here is the fix. XP is an almost 8 year old operating system. We will have to move on eventually. I get that. No problem. I get that the world (for some silly reason) is driven by MS products and that no matter how much I want it to live in a world with OSX at the core, it will probably never happen.

So since I, as a geek, am forced to use multiple operating system, stop making my life more difficult. Geeks are by nature lazy. We don't like "more" work. We like to automate things and do things once. Vista is causing issues in this regard and people depend on us to fix it and make it better, so help us help you for crying out loud.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lego CAD - LDraw

When I stared dating my wife, I stated up front that I am a geek and a dork. I have a firm grasp on reality (most of the time) but that I am not afraid to let my inner-child out to play. I explained that I still play and work with Legos.

After a while you give up on the large tub of legos and you try to organize. I am currently in this process at home, endless sorting, endless....The results are wonderful. There is one trick though - LDraw. If you have not used Ldraw, go get it. It's a free, community supported application that allows you to digitally layout your lego designs and then have a good idea of the parts and instructions when you are ready to build.

The new versions now have all the Star Wars items as well. This is really nice since I like creating extended universe items in lego. Check it out, it's hours of fun and no more scraping the bottom of a tun for that one piece.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ubuntu 8.04 Issues

I have installed Ubuntu 8.04 well over a dozen times now and I can honestly say for the first time, I am really sad for having moved off 7.10. My first real beef is the complete lack of basic application support at installation. Yes yes yes, I know, you want to be able to customize your linus install the way you want to, and I agree. I have a few issues primarily though which should be no-brainers for any disto installation...

1. No JRE option at Install: So far I have not been given an opportunity to install any JRE (from any provider) at install. This is serious. The JRE is a fundamental software core which should be loaded at install. Give me options, give me a toggle, give me a checkbox, hell anything other than me firing up some of the best applications around only to get thread exceptions in the console. There is absolutely no reason what so ever that some form of the JRE is not installed by default.

2. Emacs not installed. I'm a little old fashioned. I use emacs. I'm not ashamed. Emacs has been around for at least 21 versions, more if you count GNU. In my humble opinion, emacs and vi should be default installations for those early conf edits you will always have to do after an install. It is so much easier to configure applications in a terminal when you don't have to do a sudo apt-get blah blah blah. There are certain applications which should just BE THERE, by default, without question. Emacs and vi should be in this list.

3. SSHd. Oooook. Who forgot this one? At what point did someone say "hey, I think leaving out the ssh server is probably the best way to go by default"? Imagine (if you will) my surprise when I could not configure the sshd conf file. Why? Simple - it wasn't there in the file system. I thought I had gone crazy. I realized after each subsequent install, that I was not crazy, sshd simply wasn't installed by default. No you have to run sudo apt-get install openssh-server. I'm almost positive this was a standard software dependency in linux. I know that it came standard on RH6-9, SuSE, and Knoppix. I can almost say for certain that I never had to install it on my Ubuntu 6 or 7 installations. Why now? What changed. I can understand having the service turned off by default for security reasons, but not installed?

4. Samba: (I need to breathe on this one)...SMB services were annoyingly simple in 7.04. You simply stated what dir to share and shared it (of course you had to set the user to have a smb password - man smbpasswd for more info). This was a 3 hour headache in 8.04. Heck half the reasons I use linux in the first place is that I usually do not have the financial resources to have a 100 user windows server or the unlimited version of OSX (which I like better anyway). What is this noise? I had to edit the smb.conf file. This is Ubuntu folks. You are not supposed to edit a conf file starting out. What happened? My shares worked fine in 7.10.

Needless to say I am disturbed at southward trend on a great linux distro. BTW, when in doubt, use apt-get install, the updater doesn't always work.

Apparently I'm not the only one thinking this way.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Style Master

I went looking to make some CSS landing pages for several ads running and I realized something. In general, I know absolutely nothing about CSS or good layout using XHTML and CSS together.

I tried running through some W3C tutorials on CSS using Syn as my editor (primarily because I was too lazy to downl0ad the Visual Studio Web Express Edtion), but syn has some serious limitations (especially when it comes to line length).

Enter Style Master 4.6 by Western Civilization Software. The interface is very visual studio-like, but available for both Windows and Mac (YAY). It allows me to get very detailed down to multiple descendant elements and still see what it looks like. It is a paid application but at $60 is blows GoLive away period. Multiple browser support is built in and you can add browsers from a menu option. I really like seeing how my style sheets are going to display in Safari for Windows, primarily because Safari is very unforgiving, but if it shows up correctly there, it will be fine in the other browsers without much issue. Style Master did it without question.

There is a tutorial available with the application to instruct the basics of CSS/XHTML which I thought were pretty good for basics (explained what DTD were - that's not basic, that's theory, I like it). The tutprial showed you how to do it in code as well as how to use the style master application.

Over all I am mucho impressed. Style Master did receive 4.5 ratings from Macworld too, so I'm not the only one. Check it out, if you are wanting div based html with CSS driving the entire design, you will want this cheap but effective and intuitive application.

Friday, May 30, 2008

New Google Fav Icon

This morning I logged into gmail only to notice a new favicon for Google. Instead of the Branded "G", it is now the branded little "g".

I cannot help but wonder if this is a temporary marketing ploy, a test, or a shift towards a newer , sleeker, more trendy Google.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Ulteo for Windows

I decided to try something new. Since I need some basic Linux functionality at my office, but I am locked in to using Windows, I was pleasantly surprised at Ulteo.

I have the need to run and cron several scripts which I wrote for SEO and SEM purposes. These are custom scripts which I really want to have running with the need (or cost) of an additional server. Normally I would just purchase a Mac and be done with the whole issue. Since the company needed to reduce the costs I decided (with a whimper in my heart) to get a XP machine.

Enter Uleto. The installation was easy, although I do recommend the machine have a good pipe to download either installer. I would also suggest that you have at least 2GB ram, as the installer runs in a virtual machine instance. It also requires you to have registered at the website for their web services, which I didn't mind.

Ulteo links flawlessly (so far) with the windows environment. I get my wonderful bash, python 2.4.3 (kind wished to see at least 2.5 on the install, but I will test upgrading the python core later). The really nice part is that I didn't have to purchase VMware. I like VMware, but for small business, when you need to cut corners, free is better.

Give it a look, you might like it. Here is the link for the windows environment. You want the Ulteo Virtual Desktop. A torrent file is also available although I haven't checked to see how seeded the torrent was in my bit torrent utility.

Have fun!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Outlook 2007, Yep Still Sucks

I have just spent near an hour trying to figure out how to auto save my incoming Google Adwords pdf report attachments into a folder located on my drive. After rummaging through a lot of people's attempts at VB scripting, I am left with the same thought as before.....

Shouldn't a "Premiere Application" of the order and magnitude of Outlook 2007, do this already?

The answer is YES.

I'm not sure that I understand this lack of functionality on the part of Outlook. If I were discussing some other mail applications, like Entourage, Thunderbird, Apple's Mail, or some other smaller email client, I could understand, but this is Outlook folks....the "killer mail application". This is the mail application that is supposed to put all other in their place and make them cry. Yet for me to accomplish something very simple, I need to learn VB or worse just run the VB as a macro?

What? Macro? I thought those days were over....This is the new internet, Web 2.0, fast machines, fast CPU cycles, abundant ram, intelligent UIs, sleek design. Macro? Really?

This just makes me want to weep.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

VMWare running XP

So it's 1:15am Saturday morning. I'm sitting here patiently waiting for my XP license to finish installing on vmware server so that I can test the true nature of an absolutely useless install.

Yes I'm trying to run XP in Ubuntu so that I don't have to leave the Ubuntu environment to play Guild Wars...which is about as sad as the 6 hour beer I'm still sipping on at the moment.

Here is my reasoning though. I assume that the 12GB partition I set up in VMWare Server will be taken up by the XP install files (mostly), leaving me just enough room to have the 3gb file and the exe in the directory necessary to play. At the same time I want my cron jobs to keep running, most importantly the script I wrote which tags a keepalive file on several of my dot net nuke installations.

I should probably be running something more than a P4 for all this, but that's just not in the cards atm.

Next Stop is Solaris

Update - Ok so I guess in the early hours of the morning I don't think straight. I walked in to find that all the XP updates had completed. Then I remembered, there is no hardware acceleration for the game.....duh. I don't know why I didn't remember this early this morning.

Silly. On the other hand - I have a really nice XP instance running in Ubuntu now. I could use more ram as I did notice small stability issues when processing large applications.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Google Toolbar 5 - No Firefox Support

I have always been a fan of Google's uniqueness. They astounded me in the late 90's with specific search engines for mac and linux. I found they were browser independent and really didn't cater to one operating system or another. I was happy then....

Later Firefox came out, and once again I could abandon the browsers default in the operating system, and run what I wanted, how I wanted, with whatever functionality I wanted. I was happy again....

I am not happy now....

I find it almost insulting that Google released what is probably the most flexible toolbar in the world, in a IE 6+ only format. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? What happened to the independence Google is known for? Where is my ability to run Firefox 2-3 on Ubuntu and still have all the functionality I need? Why am I finding less and less buttons from the Google gallery for earlier versions of the toolbar?

I wouldn't mind so much if I didn't find my own buttons gradually being taken out of the gallery. I like gadgets too, I use them on my iGoogle page almost entirely, but I run Ubuntu at home and Mac OS X at my work. I am not about to run WINE or Crossover just to run a browser so I can have the newer version of the toolbar.

I guess this means I will have to go back and create buttons for my own needs, and host them, again.

Uncompleted Things

As you can tell, I never did get around to writing about Macworld. Between a job change, home repairs, and just general fence mending, I have been unable to complete several things. I will simply chalk it up to a combination of my ADD as well as general life issues getting in the way.

I see there are still people subscribed to this blog, and I thank you for sticking it out with me. I promise to return to writing about search engines, software, scripting, and seo. I hope to write another one today.

Thanks for not giving up on me. - Chris

Monday, January 14, 2008

Macworld 08

So like every other mac fan, I am eagerly waiting for the bloggers to post the keynote tomorrow as well as new products from the vendors. Macworld San Fran always brings back memories of my first Macworld 1997. Of course I had never been to San Francisco before and was in a six car wreck on 101 after being in the state only 40 min. California certainly has a way of welcoming people....(jk). When I was there, the most promising things were Umax making clones, the BeOS running on Apple hardware, and the announcement of the first Radeon chipset. Wow have things changed since then.

I will post here what I think of new products and services as they come out of the expo this week. I am hoping that some of the announcements will relate to the iTunes store and the recent changes at I really want Apple to stay competitive and on top of the download market, they seem to drive innovation here and I'm looking forward to the Big Four learning a thing or two. I would also love to see a revamp of the AppleTV, I think that Apple has something there, but it has kinda been disregarded. This is really the era of video on demand, and I really really want to digitize my movie collection to a device.

I will update as I learn, but I will probably start with the Bento announcement from Filemaker and a few others.