Domainating: Brands, Art & Content

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Everyone!

I hope you enjoyed or are still enjoying your Christmas Holidays.  I’m back at work, so I’m just puting up this note because I had been enjoying my holiday season up til now, and just realized that I had forgotten to say anything until now.

I am currently working on some new How-To articles and videos and learning how to use Flash to my advantage in my website designs.  Since Google is now able to spider Flash, it can no longer be ignored.  Certainly it requires a little extra effort from designers to make the material helpful to the search engines, but no more than alt tags for images.  Heck, Google could never spider images, either.

Also note that Google’s YouTube allows you to add textual content to video, now.  So if you help it along, Google can index your videos as well.

And this is going to change everything.  So I am trying to get caught-up on all of this.

Take Care!
Happy Christmas & Merry New Year!

-Doug

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December 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

GoshDarnIt, What Would YOU do with GoshDarn.Net?

After I was hacked a few days ago, I found a domain name that I really liked whish seemed to describe my ‘GoshDarn’ mood well… GoshDarn.Net.  I really like it because it you say it, it sounds like “Gosh Darn It”, if you leave out the dot.

But I am not quite sure what to do with it.  LOL.  Maybe use it to publish horror stories about the net?

What might your idea be?

I’m open to your suggestions.  I like the domain and want to keep it, but it really needs to have a purpose.  What would you build on a site called GoshDarn.Net?

Thanks in advance for any and all comments.
-Doug

December 20, 2008 Posted by | Domain Names, Web Design & Development | Leave a comment

The Sioux Falls SkyForce puts away the LA D-Fense

It was actually quite a strange game.  The LA D-Fense kept pulling about 10 points ahead of the Sioux Falls SkyForce, and then the SkyForce would just catch-up and tie them, every once in a while they went a point or two ahead, but then LA would surge again.

I kept thinking, “They should know how to handle the ball better than that.”, and “Why can’t Sioux Falls sink a free-throw?”  And although it was a good game, it’s not actually all that much fun when your team is mostly losing, most of the time. But at the half, it was all tied-up at 46.

My friend went to the bathroom in the 4th quarter when Sioux Falls was yet again 10 points behind.  They had actually pretty much stayed there, as well.  So it was getting a little depressing because they weren’t bouncing back like usual and just stayed there at about 10-12 points back.  But by the time he returned from the can, it was all tied-up again. It happened so quick I felt sorry for Bill because he missed some good action, Sioux Falls had come back strong and very quickly.

Actually, in the 4th period, the SkyForce really woke-up and poured it on once they started coming back.  They kind of just ran-over LA, really.  In the end we won the game 90 to 98 and were quite happy we came out to watch the game.

On the way out of the arena My son and I hit the head.  Suddenly I looked down at his shoes and realized he was wearing his house slippers.  That boy is going to catch a death of a cold for not listening to me, one day.  Why would anyone think that house slippers would suffice after a fresh snow storm?  Especially when we had just discussed this a few short days ago and I told him that he was never to wear his house slippers outside the house.  Heck, we had to trudge through snow to get from the parking lot to the arena.  So, I gave him a stern warning about leaving the house with his slippers on.

This was My 8 year-old son’s first basketball game. He was wearing his Taekwondo lesson outfit under some pants and sweatshirt, and still never took of his coat.  Now I know why, because when your feet are cold, you are cold.

At least the SkyForce won and we had a good time enjoying the game.  Heck, now that SkyForce has won, was it because he was in his Taekwondo get-up and slippers?   LOL…  I’m glad I’m not superstitious.

December 19, 2008 Posted by | Parenting, Sports | 2 Comments

Hacked Yesterday

I was hacked.  It’s so discouraging. So insulting.  It hurts.  It really does.  Imagine what this does to a person when he/she really gives a crap about the website?

It is really hard for me to understand why malicious hackers and spammers aren’t shot or at least strung-up by their thumbs.  These are criminals in every sense of the word.  Most of us go through life trying to be a good person, treating others as we would want to be treated, and trying to give back to the world in thankfulness for our good fortune.  And others will just try to take advantage of us, constantly and relentlessly.

The effort required to screw your fellow man is actually quite phenomenal.  Think of it, a website probably gets a little traffic when its promoted correctly.  But the malicious hackers (commonly referred to as “crackers”) seem to find my fresh domain with no promotion just as I tried out a new open source web application.  WTF?  Are developers hacking their own crap after getting some sort of notification that their backdoor is wide open?  I mean, this has happened all too often, now.

Luckily, I am usually just trying out some new software in the hopes that it might work for something I have in mind, or as a mere matter of research for a client. Although, I have had profitable and reputable websites hacked, as well.  Usually this happens right as I miss the security update notice that I signed-up for and never got.

This is not to say that there aren’t some great web application scripts out there.  I have had great luck with phpLinkDirectory, SkaLinksDomain Name Portfolio,

I strongly warn against anything such as phpBB, phpWebSite & SSL Directory (Site Sift Listings Directory), though.

WordPress often does have its problems and issues, as well.  Which is why I prefer using their service at their WordPress.com service so that they can keep me up-to-date.  Part of the problem is that I am just to busy to stop everything and update these high-risk open software packages.  Of course, the flop side of the hosted WordPress blog is that you lose control over the design and user interface, so this hosted method blogging is extremely restrictive.

I know that you can pay for upgrades on most of this hosted service stuff, but remember that I sell top level domains for less than $8 or $9 a pop (some for as little as $2) at 8TLD.com & 9TLD.com.  I will be grabbing the $1o.oo hosted domain name option after I have caught-up with the Christmas season spending and payments thing, though.

There are some great commercial programs out there I would love to get my hands on.  But for the life of me I cannot see the benefit of forking over $150 or more for each program, like vBulletin, WSNLinks, eSyndicat Directory, and others that are even more outrageously priced.  Well, until I was hacked, yesterday.  Now I am reconsidering.  Afterall, it seems as if I install the free open source content management system Typo3 I will probably have to pay for additional add-ons to expand it, as well.

Getting hacked is SO damn discouraging.  What did I ever do to you, cracker?  Unfortunately, we don’t have a government that is worth even the slightest damn bit.  Our U.S. officials are always taking a vacation or looking for deals and corrupting themselves.  It seems that Spiro Agnew & then Tricky Dick Nixon set the standard for all administrations to follow and there is no longer any honor in the American presidency, or the U.S. goverment.

Will we actually have a leader that will turn the nation around in Obama?  Or will it even matter?  If Chrysler fails, if GM fails, so will a large network of independent auto parts suppliers. And these auto industry executives are not quick minded enough to deal with the loss of a few suppliers (evidenced by them crying out that they will not survive if another one of the 3 American corporations goes under).

We blame the automaker executives for being too slow, too leader-less, too stupid, and completely lax of any real vision or mission, and this is all very correct.  But the fact remains that there was some external help giving them the push into debtor’s prison when OPEC raised the price of fuel to legal theft while years of financial system deregulation, corruption and greed crushed the American people and killed the credit system.

It is this very lack of vision and creativity that has plagued the American system which has rejected schooling its youth properly using mere excuses.     What have we been doing, eating our young?  India has more honours kids than we have kids.  The future is going to be so damn competitive that we aren’t even throwing our children a life-line.  China will soon be the largest English speaking country in the world. The amount of technical information for our higher education schools is doubling every 2 years.

Do you remember a little company called Commodore Business Machines from Canada? It completely stopped developing and adjusting for tommorrow’s technology and market.  Even though it had the Amiga platform which was a great little art, animation and video computer that outsold all other computer and gaming platforms combined, once it stopped researching and advancing technology it quickly went belly-up and Microsoft has since written them completely out of the history of the computer even though they were introducing fisrts such as the PET, the Vic 20, the C64, the Amiga A500 & A4000 which were well ahead of the current technology upon their release.

What I am saying is that we have been sitting on our lazy derriares long enough.  Perhaps too long.  It may already be too late for Barack Obama, too late for us.  Because the mess that the Bush administration has left has been left well too long.

Sure, I know that Pres. Clinton left a trade surplus, but there was also a deficit.  And he didn’t do squat for rebuilding our education system.  And my whole point is that the ones that know how to fix this stuff are usually smart people and we have been gang-banging while the Chinese and India have been learning and leading.

President Elect Barack Obama will have so much more important problems than dealing with the hackers and spammers that are ripping off our elderly, messing up our systems, flooding our inboxes, crippling our businesses and corrupting our youth.  And that is sad.

The whole mess is extremely sad and depressing.  When did you give up, America?

Yeah, I’m mad.  I was hacked yesterday.  But if we don’t get it together, and I mean real F’n soon, we will be in for much tougher times and we won’t know how to fix it or even catch up with it.

But for God Sakes, we have to criminalize hackers and spammers by improving our technology so that we can close those back doors and make each and every internet packet traceable and verifiable by default.  We need to get a handle on all this white collar crime and corruption, people.  And we need to do it now.

If we don’t, I promise you, we will be driving Chinese cars with American name plates using Arab oil with no chance at electric cars or alternative fuels.  Hell, we will be making nuclear power and shipping it overseas and not dealing wvery well with the waste and by-products.

What, don’t tell me that you are waiting for England and the queen mum to put it right.  We didn’t even scold AIG for F’n up, at least twice, now?

WTF.

I’ve been hacked.

It was actually a failed installation of a registered program that had become extremely outdated and kind of useless after I had spend all sorts of time designing it just the way I wanted and the developer overwrote my templates and made it look like crap.

I lost interest.

The developer couldn’t design a railroad crossing sign in a year even if he had foresight knowledge from beyond that his mother’s life would depended upon it.

The program looked like such crap and I had spend so much time getting the application to look just so and fuction exactly right.  And then the developer’s upgrade wiped it all out.  The templates were no longer any good in the new format, he said.  I had actually found another program or two that I liked better to replace it.  But I had these three licenses and I tried to install it on another server.

I knew I had botched the install, but the domain was not ever promoted, and the MySQL databse was inaccessible.  So I left it some time ago and figured I might get back to it when I had more time.  I have so little time, these days.

The wesite has sat there for months and months.  I wonder if it has been years? And yesterday it was hacked.  And it was useless.  Why?  To put up a redirect to a pharmacy scam?

And even though it was a totally worthless, shouldn’t really be a big deal, it still hurts.  OUCH, it really does hurt.  Because all I do is fight this type of crap.  Hackers and spammers, spammers and hackers.  Security! Security!  Keep the site secure!  What do I want to with a million imaginary dollars?  I don’t want a lover who doesn’t know my name.  No, my penis is fine and those things don’t work.  I didn’t enter any lotto in Canada (or England, or Europe).  I have insurance.  No, my name is not Christina.  I don’t want larger breasts, as if that would work on a female, much less a man.  Why am I always getting the same exact email from 423 guys who can’t spell (or type at all) ?

What is enough?  When will it stop?  When will this sh** be illegal? EVER?

I was hacked.  It’s so insulting.

I need to go buy myself a nice domain name.

December 19, 2008 Posted by | The Human Condition, Web Design & Development | 1 Comment

The Skinny on the Groups List View Bug in Google Groups

Do you use GMail (Google Mail)?

Google had gotten so good at spotting spam and hiding it for a while that a bunch of us who were internet industry professionals that are sick to death of spam (and malicious hackers), that we wound-up using Gmail more often than our own business email.  Heck, I hardly ever send any email from my business account, anymore.  That said, Google has since gotten so radical on the spam that my business address was somehow blacklisted as a spammer.  Now, we have a love/hate relationship.  As I said, I barely even use my business address anymore.  How in the world would they even know it?

I’ve tried to address the situation, but every “Google Help Group” post falls on deaf ears.  Matt Cutts doesn’t even acknowledge My existence on Twitter, at all. I have asked him LOTS of stuff to no avail.  The dude probably has Me blocked for all I know.

But that is neither here nor there.  Like it or not I am already stuck with Gmail as my choice “avoid spam” webmail client since I am already running quite a few groups out of Google Groups.  Especially since Yahoo has absolutely no concept of spam/scam protection at all.  I think the Nigerians are camped-out at Yahoo!

Anyways, I do run quite a few Google groups, but please don’t take my word for it, here’s a list:

The Web Design related Google Groups:

With so many groups to manage, I need a decent free email/webmail service and Gmail has proven itself top notch.  So I was really miffed when the Google Groups index page list view stopped listing all the tasks I needed to to to administerate my groups effectively.

I couldn’t figure out what the problem, and as true to form, Google still has no technical support for all these kick-ass free services that they are providing in order to have an audience for their advertising.  And despite the fact that the services are free, make no mistake that this business model works a very effective profit for them.  It really isn’t like they are doing us any favors, because if they didn’t provide these free services someone else would (and does).  But Google does do it well, usually.

After posting to more Google Help Forums, trying to contact Matt Cutts on Twitter, contacting a member of Google through Twitter that didn’t have any help for me, I pondered this problem long and hard.

The reason that I wasn’t getting the management task notification links in the list view of the groups index is because I was suddenly listed as a member in some of these groups.

You probably wouldn’t understand why this is a big problem for me if you don’t run a couple  of Google Groups on your own.  But it really is simple, I’ve actually been running these groups for several years.  Although I do get email notifications of new membership requests,  once I click on the link and go to a group to view the requests and aprove or deny them (based on whether or not they actually included a personal message that was relevant to the group and their email address lacks words like “spam”, “crap”, “junk”, “bot”, “data”, or “miner”), I then usually head to my groups list index and handle all the rest of the tasks listed.

After doing that for so many years, this becomes a habit.  And always upon returning to Gmail I immediately delete that email which got me started.  But no matter what I did I could not break that good habit and I wound-up deleting the whole thread of all my member requests from all the Google Groups.  Of course, without the index not working right and listing all tasks at hand, I had just deleted the info I needed.

Yes, I could go back and forth through the trash, but that was a waste of time, as well.

Finally, I figured it out.  It came to me as I kept pondering what had changed at my Google account.  A while back, because Google had blacklisted my business email address, I thought I would show Google I was actually a good steward and added my business email address as a secondary address to my account through my profile.  This primary email address also sarted with a “D”, and my current gmail address starts with an “S”.  The fact that it was positionally more advanced in the alphabet than my Gmail address may or may not have anything to do with the bug.  But although I was logged in with an @Gmail.com address, the system seemed to be picking up on my @SymbioticDesign.com address.

So, The skinny on the Google Groups index list view bug is simple, if you have an alternate email address listed on your Gmail account it ALSO has to be listed in each group as an owner or manager. Else, especially if the alt email address precedes the current gmail address alphabetically, you will be listed as a member in the groups index when you go to check on your groups.  And of course you won’t se that there are required tasks to address.

Luckily it is a simple fix, go add the alt address as a member or group owner and you will restore the functionality of your groups index.

December 19, 2008 Posted by | Google, Social Communities | Leave a comment

Getting Started…

This is my first post. Whoopie!

I’ve inserted and twisted the key.  The blog is alive, watch out! 😉

I’m setting everything up at the moment. Give me a bit, I was actually headed to bed when I decided to sign-up and started configuring and customizing the basic blog to my liking.

December 18, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments