Category Archives: General

If I don’t know where else to put an article, or if I simply forget to categorize it, here it winds up.

A Quick Note About The Blog’s Design

Hey everyone, I know the blog looks pretty 1996 right now, and some stuff just plain looks like crap. That’s because I’ve decided I’m going to put together my own theme.

To get things started, I have gone with Sandbox, since it lays a strong, style-hooks-heavy base, which means about 90 percent of the design work can be done in CSS alone. But, like all things on this blog, I get to them when I have a moment, and at the moment, I am in the middle of the holidays and blizzard clean-up.

Anyway, things will get better soon, I promise. Please bear with me and thanks for stopping by.

All links in this post on delicious: http://www.delicious.com/dougvdotcom/a-quick-note-about-the-blogs-design

RIP, Facebook Page

Well, it was an interesting experiment. But my Facebook Page was a wonder of how not to do social media. It was little better than a bookmarking service, and I already use several of those.

On the other hand, Twitter is a far better option for communicating about my business and this blog, and is actually resulting in two-way communication. So I’m going to focus my energies there.

My Facebook page is no more. Long live my personal Facebook profile.

‘Behind Every Great Fortune Is A Great Crime’

Federal postal authorities with Vitaly Borker after they arrested him on Monday at his home in Brooklyn.

Federal postal authorities with Vitaly Borker after they arrested him on Monday at his home in Brooklyn. Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

The headline to this post is via Chris Rock, who repeats that line during his “Never Scared” comedy special (link very NSFW!), speaking about the difference between being rich and being wealthy.

It means that significant, lasting wealth is often created by exploiting something new, or using some means to circumvent the kind of behavior most people would consider fair or reasonable. The patron of the exhaulted Kennedy clan made his fortune from bootlegging and insider trading before the 1929 stock market crash. Rockerfeller, Vanderbilt and Morgan were the great robber barons of the U.S. industrial revolution.

I mention this because Vitaly Borker, proprietor of decormyeyes, was arrested today on federal charges of “mail fraud, wire fraud, making interstate threats and cyberstalking.”

Borker, as you will remember from this blog, discovered some time ago that Google’s PageRank algorithm didn’t consider whether the mentioning of an online store was positive or negative. (Google claims this is no longer the case.) Therefore, Borker took a extremely combative approach to customer complaints, intentionally stoking animosity, so that his online store would appear in multiple online complaints, often at very reputable, PageRank-enhancing Web sites, such as Get Satisfaction.

It seemed to work well, and I admired the ingenuity behind it, if not the tactic itself. Seems now, however, that Borker will be a test case as to whether anti-service, and preying upon the gullible / lazy, is at an end. (I might also note that this is further proof that for all the caterwauling, good journalism isn’t dead; if anything, it’s more valuable than ever.)

All links in this post on delicious: http://www.delicious.com/dougvdotcom/behind-every-great-fortune-is-a-great-crime

Giving Disqus A Trial Run

No sooner did I note that I had closed comments on posts older than 60 days than was I reminded that Disqus is a fairly powerful comment management tool, and one generally adequate for fighting comment spam.

So I’m going to give it a trial run, starting now. Your feedback on your experience with Disqus — primarily here, but anywhere else, if it’s directly relevant — would be most welcome.

Update, 10 March 2012: I don’t like Disqus. I’ve gone back to a combination of built-in WordPress comments (premoderated for new commenters, postmoderated otherwise, spam filtered by WP Hashcash and Akismet, comments closed on older posts) and Formspring.

Comments Now Closed On Posts Older Than 60 Days

Hey everyone — wanted to let you know that effective immediately, I have closed comments on posts older than 60 days.

That’s because older posts are largely comment spam bait. Yes, once in a while I get a legitimate comment for an older post; but the significant majority of old-post comments are from spambots / meat puppets.

If you’d like to comment on an older post, go ahead and send me an e-mail via the About Me / Contact Me page. Thanks!