Blogging Archives

YouTube Exempted From White House Web Privacy Rules

The new privacy policy at the White House website says, among other things, that it doesn’t use long term tracking cookies in accordance with a ruling prohibiting the use of long term “persistent” cookies by federal agencies.

In and of itself, that’s great.  There’s more than enough websites trying to track users over the long term as it is without adding government sites to the list.  Unfortunately, there’s been one not-so-tiny change in this recently.

With absolutely no fanfare, Obama’s legal people have quietly given YouTube an exemption from this rule.

This means that when anyone visits the official White House blog, if they load a page that has an embedded YouTube video on it, they’ll get treated to a long term tracking cookie.  Even if you don’t play the video.

According to a CNet article, YouTube is the only site that’s gotten treated to such an exemption.

For that matter, YouTube apparently sets this long term tracking cookie anytime you’re on any page that has one of their players embedded, whether you play the video or not.

Fortunately, you can recover (some of) your privacy by deleting cookies.  Just be aware that anytime you load a page with a YouTube video on it, that a fresh cookie will be set.

My personal way to deal with this is to set my browser to delete *ALL* cookies when I close the browser.  Yes, it means having to log on to sites more often but I think that’s a reasonable trade-off for even slightly improved privacy.

Technorati Tags: long term cookies, privacy, tracking, delete cookies, cookies, white house blog, obama, youtube video, tracking cookies, youtube, persistent cookies

It’s Been A LONG Month

I just had a look and the last time I posted here was back on Dec 11th 2008.  It feels to me like it was a lifetime ago on another world.  Shortly after writing that post my wife had to be admitted to the hospital to get treatment for cellulitis, a truly nasty bugger if ever there was one.

I went with her.  Not only to keep her company but also to help out in whatever ways that I could.  Being in the hospital is bad enough without having to do it alone.  I stayed with her until late Dec. when I had to go home for a while.  That was the last time I saw her.  I’m not going to repeat all the details here, that link will go to a post that I wrote on one of her blogs to tell the story.

The long and short of it is that, in addition to having to deal with the terrible news, I’ve also been trying to pull myself together enough to get on with the business of beefing up my income to make up for the fact that we were totally un-prepared for this.  Oh, we’d talked about it but we hadn’t ever come up with any kind of plan for what to do “in the event of”.  Take it from one who knows.  If there is ANY way that you can make some kind of plans for this nasty possibility, including setting aside finances for the survivor, then I strongly advise you to do so.  This is NOT the time to have to scramble to make up for a lost income and no savings!

Therefore I’m turning my efforts to something I’ve been learning about for several years now, only now it’s time to jump in for all it’s worth and squeeze ’til it bursts.  I’ve actually got several projects in the works, one of which is an SEO friendly web directory.  Inclusion is actually free for those who agree to placing a reciprocal link on their site.  It also offers featured listings that are exempt from the reciprocal requirement and are displayed more prominently for 90 days for only $5.99.  (btw- I’ve seen a LOT of directories like this and MOST of them charge $10.00 or more for the featured listings!)

I’ve also been re-evaluating money making efforts that I’ve been trying out.  The Widgetbucks thing in the sidebar has been removed because since I put it in last fall it’s made a little over a dollar.  The Bidvertiser blocks have also been removed because of only making less than a quarter in all the time they’ve been running.  Other efforts with Google Adsense have shown me a bit over $50.00 which, while it’s nothing to write home about, there’s at least a chance that it could get a lot better.  Therefore Adsense is now in the sidebar and I’ll probably be adding a few more blocks over time.

What’s really fun is trying to get all that and a bunch more I haven’t mentioned worked on at the same time and at as close to breakneck speed as I can manage.  All things considered, the next few months are going to be interesting to say the least.

Technorati Tags: Squeeze, life sucks, Last Time, Directories, Inclusion, seo, Blogs, insurance, Reciprocal Link, Web Directory, Featured Listings

We Really Need Laptops In This House

There aren’t enough computers in our house.  Granted, we’ve been blessed enough to have three desktop machines on a home LAN with enough bandwidth for all of them to be online at the same time, there is still a shortage however.

This shortage makes itself felt once in a while when it’s just not possible to get home to use the desktop machines.  It’s also not practical to break down and move even one of them to take them elsewhere.  No, what we need is some kind of reasonably new notebook computers that have enough memory, hard drive space and CPU to run all of our usual apps when we’re away from home.

My wife & I have both done some looking around and there’s a few pretty good candidates out there that have everything either of us want (and in some cases, need) in a laptop.  Granted, most of these are infected from the factory with veeesta but a good round of “format and reinstall” can have them up and running with XP or Linux in reasonable time.  Besides, I figure that if a machine is able to stand running veesta then it ought to just about scream with Linux.

Technorati Tags: laptop, notebook, portable computer, wishlist

Comment Spam

I’ve been noticing an increase in the amount of comment spam in recent weeks.  Usually the Akismet and Bad behavior plugins do most of the work of keeping the crap out of the comments but there’s been a higher than normal level of sewage backing up in the comment queue and, to continue the analogy, I’ve had to do something of a power flush and turn the bathroom faucets full open to hose out the crap left in some comments.

A good example one that somebody singing themselves as “Ground Info” left on “Random Redirect WordPress Plugin” where they wrote this fine bit of wit:

I just want to say that it is very fine posting. Keep it up thanks

I suppose that could be taken as an encouraging type comment that’s meant to be generally supportive etc…  Thing is, “Ground Info” turns out to have something to do with the game of Cricket, which the url they left so conveniently pointed to.

It’s like this, You want links, I’m fine with that, that’s why I’ve got the Lucia’s Linky Love plugin to allow regular commentors to get ‘do-follow’ links after a certain number of comments using the same name, email and url combination.  That’s why I have the CommentLuv plugin that tries to fetch a link to their most recent blog posting at the url they use in the comment form.  However I have a problem with people expecting me to believe that their name or handle is “Ground Info”.

That’s a baldfaced shot at using my blog for SEO and if that’s what you want, then I’d appreciate it a whole lot if you’d be honest and contact me about it and we’ll see what arrangements can be made.  I’m quite open to selling a bit of advertising space on this blog for what I believe are reasonable rates.  However attempts like this one to just game the comment system aren’t going to work.  Most stuff like that is automatically tagged as spam by Akismet and what it misses, I mark manually.

Technorati Tags: lucias linky love, advertising, comment spam, comment luv, plugins spam, akismet, seo

Random Redirect WordPress Plugin

I ran across a cool WordPress plugin.  It’s called “Random Redirect“.  What it does is allow visitors to don their virtual swimsuits and take a dip in your blog’s postings.  All you need to do is provide a link to your blog with ?random added to the url.  For example, since I have it installed here, http://blog.peculiarplace.com/?random will cause WordPress to load one of the 1059 entries that exist on this blog as of this writing (this post is number 1060).

In a Stumbleupon kind of way people get a different random entry every time they use the random url, which allows them to get a look at more of your blog than they ordinarily would, probably finding interesting stuff along the way that they would otherwise have missed.

Technorati Tags: random surf, random redirect, plugin, stumble, redirect, wordpress

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