1800 Posts and All Is Well!

Yeah I looked at the blog info and noticed that I had a nice round number and thought, why not?

It’s been four years, 1800 posts.  Some good, some I could have done better.

How does that sound, could have done better.  Code word for “What was I thinking?”!

At any rate, I had a four year run and only missed one day recently. I’m still a little embarrassed about that.  I looked at the site that morning very early, got up to do “other things” and got into a shiny object.   Since I try to have something on here by 10AM I simply forgot.

I’m also doing some of these in advance, some of these on the seat of my pants.  Depends on how full my head is at.

I’ve been told that I can write about just about anything if I have a mind to.  That came from my own training in High School.  I was hard pressed for a book report, remember those?  I went up into our attic.  Back in the 1950s would be my guess, someone had been on that Book Of The Month Club thing.  The books got collected and the box ended up in our attic.  I can’t even say it was my own parents that were members of the club, the box may have been given to them.

Taking that box, I found the most obscure novel I could find.  I remember it was titled “Gestapo”.  I opened the book up and saw the chapter titles.   Writing a paragraph on each chapter would be easy, I never actually read the book.

Got an A Minus on that report too.  I guess I can tell a story if I put my mind to it.

Those who return here seem to think so.  According to Google Analytics, 27 percent of the people who read this blog on a given day have been here before.   That was over the last year or so.

(Waves hands)  Hi and welcome back!

On a planet of almost 8 billion, that’s not a bad percentage.

It’s not a big blog, I don’t have all THAT many readers, and if someone were to send me some money saying thanks… it would be the first.

Writing helps keep my mind clear, and it is something that given a topic, is easy for me.

I guess though to close this out, I’ll give you that David Letterman Top Ten List for the last month only.

  1. Puns and One Liner Weekend
  2. Hotmail Annoyance – Turn Off Keyboard Shortcuts
  3. Parking hours discussed at the Commission Meeting
  4. Gold Medal Flour – Extraordinary Buttermilk Biscuits
  5. The Roof is Evil, and Must Die!
  6. Goodbye Lisa
  7. A Parrot and a Magician on a Ship
  8. Three Men Are Walking in a Desert – Humor
  9. Gnome 3 in Debian Jessie Using VMWare Workstation
  10. I-95 North, Deerfield Beach, Florida

Most of those are older even if it is over this month only, and surprisingly people are coming to this blog for those jokes.  I guess I shouldn’t be embarrassed at posting them.  I find them in various places.   If you want to send me some, feel free.  My own rules are that I have to be able to tell them in a business meeting – no swears, no bigotry, and not too controversial.

The other thing that got me is that there are quite a few people coming to this blog directly.  They must have bookmarked the URL.  They are also using google, specifically, and searching for it.  That’s a bit circuitous, but hey knock yourself out.

You will note that number 9 is very much the tech that I know that my local readers tend not to read.  It’s kind of esoteric.  I use Linux every day without fail, on the desktop, along with Windows.  It’s an environment that I’m as comfortable in as my Mac OSX or Windows.  As I find things, I will let  you know.

So enough of this patting myself on the back.  The dryer is beeping, and the dog is begging for more yogurt!

I’m not going away just yet… I’ll be back tomorrow.  No, really, that one is already in the can.  I pushed it aside just to do this one when I noticed that it was a round number.

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Weird Browser Stats

There are Lies and then there are Statistics.

I’m sure we’ve all heard that before.  I was going through statistics on this blog.  Not really sure why, but occasionally I do check it.  Other than realizing that people in far flung parts of the US, China, The Ukraine, and others like to look at recipes, pictures from the Florida Keys, and read cute stories about cute dogs, it does help inform me as to whether I should continue this exercise of writing something each day.

Even if it is a copy and paste exercise on the weekends.   Bad Joke Saturday and Bad Joke Sunday have to get their Bad Jokes somewhere!

All statistics are approximations, your mileage may vary…

Some of the hits are obviously false, such as those from crawlers and the like.  I’ve been told to ignore those, and I won’t be even saying who they are here because I don’t want to encourage them.

Yes, it’s like the misbehaving child at the family table – ignore your bots and they’ll behave.

If you do look at your statistics and see something coming from a Vampire or a Zombie site, ignore it or you’ll get spiked as well.  Google Analytics is correct, Blogger is not.

But within that stat page, I also get reports on what kind of technologies that are being used to look at the blog.  

Someone is using something called “NS8” to get here.  I had to follow that one up.  I mean, it’s not like it’s one of my Linux readers, or someone using their iPhone or Mac to surf here, I can tell what that is.  I know that when someone surfs me with Iceweasel, they’re on Debian Linux since that is what I use on my Linux Machine.  Stability, thy name is Debian.  They really should use the slogan “Debian, It Just Works!”.  Even on your 10 year old computer…

Anyway…

Not having ever heard of NS8 I looked it up.   NS8 is “most likely” a copy of the old Netscape Browser version 8.   To give you an idea, that’s equivalent to Firefox 1.0.   Firefox is on version 25 at this date. 

Congrats, you are using the latest version of Firefox!  is what you should see when you click on that Firefox link.

PSA – Upgrade your software when you can.   Or some blogger will be waggling a finger at you for not doing so.

I’m looking at you Windows XP People.   You’re almost as bad as I was when I got my Mac – it had OSX Leopard on it, and I immediately upgraded a month later to Snow Leopard.

My Mac Peeps will know what I’m talking about.   How’s your Mavericks?  Kewl?

Immediately, a month later.   Er… well they do say that Macs have no viruses and well…

Not content to just wonder about this NS8 thing, I also got a visit from someone using something called “OS;FBSV”.

Er, wha?

The best I can tell is that somehow, someone, is using their iPhone in Facebook to follow through. 

Hey, it may not matter to you, but I am a curious type.

I did after all have a person surf my blog from something called “Windows NT 6.1”.  Most likely someone got bored while working on a server somewhere in a noisy server room and surfed my page.

I just hope I didn’t bore them or the rest of you too much with all that.

Google’s Privacy Changed, Worried Yet?

On March 1, today, Google unified it’s policies toward privacy.

Basically, if you use any of their sites, they’re going to use that information to build a “better profile” of you so they can serve ads that are better targeted to your experience.

From their side of things, it makes sense.  If you’re worried about that, then stop using their sites.  All of them.

Go ahead, we’ll wait.

You see they’ve got quite a few of them.  This blog is hosted on Blogger, and that is one of their sites.  Obviously, I’m not moving this along any time soon, so there are a few things you should be aware of.

First you’re too late.  If you do searches on Google, you have a web history.  I don’t that I know of since I turned mine off ages ago.  You can do that by surfing http://www.google.com/history and poking around.  Mine is empty, and I did that by clicking the box to pause web history.

Why do I say it’s too late?   Think of it this way.  You have an “IP Address”.  Don’t switch off here, think of it as your “Internet Telephone Number”.  Every time you use that desktop computer your number says “Hi, here I am, Gimme Stuff”.  Web pages for example.  You surf, then the page starts to load.  If you’re like 99% of us out there, you don’t have much security enabled.

Second: Consider your cookies.

Most of us don’t understand what a Cookie is.   Simple, it’s a little file with your preferences.  Some people think it’s a good idea to use a cookie to remember their passwords.   Do you shop online?  It’s helpful not to have to remember your passwords and the cookie will do that.

Now, lets see, most of us will get broken into at some time in their lives.  That PC you’re reading me on right now?  It’s one of the most likely things to get stolen.   Your cookies will let that person get into your favorite websites and buy up a lot of crap for you… er them.  You really don’t want to have cookies stick around.

Now there are two types of cookies.  One is from that web page.  You go to a website, and it saves your preferences.  Most people have ads show up on their pages.  I block that as a rule, ads are distracting, but they also give you something called a Third Party Cookie.

That is a cookie that is not from you, it’s not from the website, but it is from the company that puts ads up on the screen.  That company puts ads up on many web pages, it’s just the way it’s done… but they can read those cookies on the second and third and fifth website that you hit and build a profile of what you’re doing.

How to fix that?  Well I use Firefox.  There are ways to set it on Internet Explorer and Chrome, but I’ll leave those browsers to you.   The steps are simple on Firefox:

  1. Start Firefox
  2. Click on Tools, Options, Privacy
  3. Un-Check the box under “Tracking” that says “Tell websites I do not want to be tracked”
  4. Un-Check the box that says “Remember Search and Form History”
  5. Un-Check the box that says “Allow Third Party Cookies”
  6. Check the box that says “Clear History when Firefox Closes”

It will be less convenient for you to use Firefox now, but it won’t remember what you did basically forever.

Mind you, that internet “telephone number” thing?  You really can’t stop people from saving information on their own servers that say that “you” came to their site.  It is Their Site after all, it isn’t yours.  Anything you type into Their Site is basically Their Property.

All that cookie stuff?  Well it’s only going to slow them down.  It’s also good practice for you not to have that info stored on your PC.  Write your passwords down if you can’t remember them – but don’t put the web site name next to the password, it is just as bad as storing the passwords.   Stick that piece of paper somewhere nobody will look like in the “Family Bible” or inside an old VHS tape of “The Speeches of Estes Kefauver” or something like that.  Much safer.

Now if you really are concerned about having all your searches show up in a database somewhere linked to your “Internet Telephone Number”, there are other things you can do.

Install an ad blocker like Adblock Plus and use it.   It speeds up your surfing too.

Make your home page a different search page that doesn’t use Google.  Use that new one to search.  Suggestions are:


http://www.startingpage.com
http://www.msn.com
http://www.msnbc.com
http://www.yahoo.com
http://www.bing.com

I’m still using Google for now.  That may change, but since I use Gmail, google sites for web development, Google Analytics, and other sites I may as well.  They’re going to get you one way or another but at least you know to think before you type.

After all, you really didn’t mean to go to that X Rated Site did you?

Tap, Tap, is this thing on?

Is there anyone out there?

I write these things from my comfy chair.   I bang them out a couple weeks early, and write away.  I guess, its one of those things you get to do, and if you like it you keep it up.   I’m finding that I do like to do it, but wonder who is reading this.

To my sister Pat in NJ, thanks!  You’re my most reliable reader.  You hit this almost every day, and hardly miss a day.  I know this because Google Analytics tells me that I get a hit from your city daily, and that it is always someone who has been here before.

Other than that, According to Google Analytics, I usually get one or two random hits.  Not always from the same folks, so I know it is due to one or two posts that I have written in the past.   Specifically the couple of posts about this Poang Chair and the Ikea shopping trips as well as the other comfy chair, the Barnet from La-z-boy.  I know that because Google Analytics tells me the string that someone uses to find this in Google.

I have been told that someone who reads this on an “RSS Feed” will not show on Google Analytics.   A good friend here, Kevin, reads it when he gets notice in the late day saying this has a new article.  I have a habit of setting these posts ahead of time by about two weeks, and always at 8AM so as not to raise questions at work.

I have a favor of you folks.. if you are reading this via a Feed, drop me a comment.   I’m curious to know how many of you are out there!

Thanks!

Welcome Readers!

At this point I’ve been doing this a whole month give or take a couple of days.  Yeah big deal huh?

One thing that I had to do when I started this was to make sure I’ve got enough to read.  Ok, I’ve got a big mouth and talk way too long on things.   Great qualifications for a blog.   Another is that I can write a coherent sentence, even if I do run on a bit.  My British friends might say “You do bang on a bit don’t you?”.

Think of this as a view under the hood.  When you clicked on my blog you see my writings, my pictures, and Google‘s Advertisements.   I did the ad bit with Google Adsense and Google Analytics because I see the results of the Tip Jar get from a website I work on.   Practically nil.   But if you see something you like in the sidebars… I’ll appreciate it greatly if you click.

But never mind that.   More importantly its interesting to see that already I’m getting trends.   My readers, most of whom are family, some may become family if I don’t get boring, tend to hit this blog at certain times of day.   Go to work, open a browser, do a search and stumble upon … Me.   The 9AM hour is the most popular time for all you folks to pay a visit.   So if you’re sitting in an office, reading this, have a bit of coffee for me and I’ll try to keep it interesting.

Otherwise I get another peak in the evening hours.   6 to 9pm or 1800 to 2100 if you use that notation.  Settle in for dinner, have some TV on in background or perhaps music, and read.

It all sounds rather normal to me.   Thats when I do my own surfing so I’ll try to keep things interesting for you.   For now, I’m doing one post a day.   If that changes, you’ll notice and I’ll try to let you know.

Thanks for listening, I do appreciate it!