I am Jack's Smirking Revenge

little, yappy dogs

Friday, July 21, 2006

Click Here, Sucker!

It's funny how many lessons of my youth are re-lived each day by millions of people here online. The old adage "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" might be a helpful to keep in mind when clicking on things.

"Make up to $300 an hour taking online surveys!!! click here! [moron!]"

How does this work? How can someone fall for this? Well, they have to WANT TO BELIEVE that they can get the $300. Their want has to outweigh their good sense. This is the gateway.

At some point you're going to find out that before you can get the $300, you'll have to pay them $49 'discounted! today only!'.

Someone is paying to put up an ad which you will click on- if you really made $300 off of the survey, what do they need your $49 for? They could just take a cut of your $300 after the survey, right?

That'd be too easy, though.

The unfortunate truth is the people who need be saved by warnings like this will not be saved- because they will not bother to search beforehand. If they had the foresight to do so, they would not need my warning. If they were able to yank themselves out of their loop for a second, they wouldn't get duped.

Oh well.

It's funny that people have little appreciation of how finely tuned advertising is becoming. How perfectly focused. When a chair maker studies the way a person sits in a chair, they gain information which will allow them to possibly create a more comfortable chair. When advertisers make online ads, they learn who will click on what, and when, and why, and how long attention can be held.

The psychology of what kinds of ads work on the target audience is getting more and more precise. Like a dog that can't help but chase a ball, YOU, hapless clicker, are being forced to click on things because you can't help yourself.

Where is this all going? What is the end result? A paradigm shift in user mentality, an advertising-proof user? A constant train of fools, all learning the same lesson over and over? Is the 100-year old saying, "There's a sucker born every minute" going to remin true- is it a truism of human behavior, or something which just happened to fit back then?

See also: "FNG"
See also: "Firefox + AdBlocker"

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Sonique player's Rabbithole viz

In the world of software MP3 players for your PC, there once lived Sonique. Cute, fairly stable, and much nicer to interact with than many similar apps, Sonique showed promise.

And as such, some dorks somewhere bought it up, underfunded and then delayed its development, they were in turn bought out, and finally the little program died. You can still get it and install it, but in a world of 2-3 year newer apps, well, it feels a bit like downgrading.

There is one reason you might do it, though.

Rabbithole, a visualization (pretty moving-picture thing that responds to the music as it plays), was only written for Sonique, and nobody has ever made a version that would work with other players. The author, 'Feldspar', is nowhere to be found.

I'm a big fan, obviously. Feldspar- where did you go? Won't you come make a plugin for us?

Update: Feldspar, aka Alec Bellanca, and CoR, aka Robert Wenzel, are the two names associated with Rabbithole. Maybe now I can find them...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Deathstyles of the Rich and Powerful

In the past month we have seen two very rich, powerful and influential people turn up dead- Philip Merrill and Kenneth Lay.

From a news article on Merrill:

"Washington GOP insider Philip Merrill's body was dragged from Chesapeake Bay on Monday, 11 miles from where his sailboat was found last week, an anchor tied around his ankles and his head disfigured from a shotgun blast.

It now appears the multimillionaire publisher who held top Bush Family appointments at NATO and the Pentagon mysteriously "committed suicide" in exactly the same fashion as CIA-Watergate operative and JFK-assassination figure John Paisley."

Kenneth Lay never seemed to relent once from his stance that he had done nothing wrong at Enron, and so it seems unlikely that he was knocked off because he was just about to go public with aything related to that. However, considering his connections to the Bush family, and the connections between Merril and the Bush family, there could possibly have been some OTHER internal strife between... someone.

I'm not suggesting anything specific, just that it might be interesting to see what other famous, powerful and also connected to the Bush family characters turn up dead in the next few months.

For a curious parallel, see the 'anthrax attacks', circa just after 9/11. The curious link here is that in conjunction with the attacks, for some reason, in various countries, eleven microbiologists mysteriously turned up dead over the span of just five months. These people were experts in the field of anthrax and related very-bad-teeny-things. Strangely, the anthrax which showed up in all of the 'attacks' was shown to be a strain only available at a government lab in the USA. The deaths were all almost immediately written off to various and non-suspicious causes. The 'leak' of the anthrax was pinned on some troubled-history employee at said lab. Very convinient.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Microsoft Updates: SuckFest 2006

There's a problem with MS updates, and while you can find various references to it on their website, what you can't find is the problem addressed directly, moreover, in the bigger picture, this issue has existed for some time now and MS has done nothing to correct it or make sure people know about it.

The problem lies in the original install, the service packs, the programs you install, your hardware drivers, and the updates. Nice specific area, huh?

Well, various discussion threads out there reference different solutions, but it seems to come down to:

You run updates,
You reboot,
The computer has a blue-screen error before the login box comes up, and won't ever go beyond that until you remove the problem update. You get error codes like "C000021a", "0XC0000018" and "0X000000", which, when googled, will bring you to all sorts of discussion groups wherein you may or may not find a solution.

Which update is the problem? Well, that hinges upon "Where the problem lies", from paragraph two, above- everyone's PCs are different, so, it's impossible to tell exactly.

My solution? Build the PC, put SP2 on it, install a good antivirus app, turn automatic updates off, make a drive image for later restoration, and call that good. Don't put the 50-something 'security updates' on.

Don't worry kids. Within the next couple years there will be free versions of Linux which will replace the need for windows. [or so I keep dreaming]