February 14th, 2013
I’ve had a website online for a long time, longer than most corporations, and for the last ten or so years it has been at Muschamp.ca hosted mostly by a company that called DixieSys. There are a lot of crappy webhosts out there, the first cheap one I tried basically sold more bandwidth than he purchased and decided to get out of business in the middle of the night, ever since I’ve been with DixieSys. It isn’t expensive web hosting, perhaps there are some features or programs or languages I can’t use that other web hosts provide, but overall I’m pretty happy.
Then out of the blue someone tells me that Norton is saying my website is dangerous, like I’m some sort of online scam artist or malicious hacker. Symantec didn’t inform me, but apparently it was telling all it’s customers this and I only found out when someone who uses Norton to protect their computer told me. So I immediately file a support request with DixieSys, then when I find out it is Norton flagging my site I do some Googling. Sure enough if you use Norton’s testing tools they flag Muschamp.ca as not safe at least last night, this morning everything is A-OK.
I did nothing, I certainly didn’t take down or put up any malicious code. I’ve given away some Excel spreadsheets, some of which use VBA. Microsoft warns people not to run VBA from people and websites you don’t trust when you start up an Excel spreadsheet you download online. I’m OK with that, I acknowledge that before people download the spreadsheets. I’m just a blogger. I don’t have a criminal enterprise or a botnet or any other reason to give away Excel spreadsheets except to help people. I don’t even know if Excel or VBA has anything to do with why Norton was flagging Muschamp.ca, but what gives them the right to flag my website without informing me?
I’ve since verified I own this website by adding in a little meta tag to my HTML, just like Pinterest made me do. I can’t help think it is all a big scam run by Norton to get my contact information, lord knows I get enough spam already. Did some vindictive person flag my website because of something I wrote they didn’t like? I wouldn’t put that past some people.
So in conclusion if you run your own website you have to put up with a lot of annoyances if not outright threats, scams, and thieves. I can’t be the first to have my website inexplicably flagged by Norton as malicious only to be unflagged immediately after inquiring why. I’m not sure if DixieSys did anything at all to expedite this, sometimes when you’re on shared webhosting another website on the same box/IP address as yours can do something illegal or immoral and negatively affect say your Google rankings, but having a corporation saying my website is malicious and dangerous without even informing me as to what I did seems a bit much. Just because you use the word “porn” or “malicious code” doesn’t mean your website is full of it.
Posted in Internet |
Tagged: dixiesys, Norton, phishing, scam, spam, Symantec, threat, virus, web hosting |
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February 4th, 2013
I wasn’t the first to say it, but it is something I’ve noticed for a long time in my own social media usage, Twitter is #winning. Twitter has gotten a lot of credit for breaking news stories, for helping activists and rebels organize, and now it has become the favourite of marketers and sports fans.
During the big game and especially during the blackout Twitter exploded both in number of tweets and in people giving credit to the micro blogging service as the place to go for immediate information and entertainment. They key word is immediate. Facebook is still more popular with people who post pictures of their kids and pets. Facebook is also a platform for online gaming. Facebook still has more registered users, but Twitter has more engaged users. When something is happening in real time, it happens simultaneously on Twitter:
- During the blackout the company that provides power to the stadium tweeted.
- Rival sports leagues tweeted.
- Brands and marketers attempted to capitalize during the extended break in the action.
- Comedians both amateur and professional tried their best one liners.
- Coke tweeted so much their account was suspended.
The long prophesied second screen was very much in evidence, though I don’t know how many people were using their smart TVs to tweet in preference to their smart phones. The numbers released this morning confirmed it, Twitter got more mentions during the TV broadcast than all the other social networks combined. Athletes took to their Twitter accounts to express their feelings along with fans. The immediacy of Twitter along with the ability to be part of the event along with those actually present, irregardless of fame and resources, is appealing.
On Facebook supposedly a maximum of 20% of your fans will see your message unless you pay Facebook money. On Twitter every one of your followers sees your Tweets immediately. On the Facebook iPhone app the second update on my timeline is always an ad for something I don’t give a shit about. On Twitter I can choose which iPhone client I want to use and customize it to display the information I want first. On Facebook if even one of my friends likes Molson Genuine Draft I get encouraged to ‘like’ MGD over and over and over. Molson, Facebook, it is never going to happen!
Twitter is just a better medium for following news that interests you. It is a better medium for brands, celebrities, and organizations to interact with their fans/followers in a timely manner. Twitter has also proven useful in emergency situations and the Superbowl proved that advertisers have also noticed its superiority and appeal to Joe Sixpack who has now incorporated Tweeting and hashtagging into their televised sports watching routine.
On micro blogging services like Twitter, Quality can trump popularity. Demonstrating your expertise and wit is rewarded though I still don’t believe you can tweet your way to a better career. When writing anywhere online the two most important qualities to strive for are timeliness and timelessness. Twitter rewards timeliness much more than say Google whose search algorithm is supposed to reward authoritative posts/sites.
- When someone retweets you that is a vote for the timeliness, but also the interestingness of your writing.
- When someone favourites one of your tweet that is a vote for the timelessness of your writing.
I’m not sure Klout and others who seek to measure social media prowess see things the same way. Sample size of one evidence, I checked Twitter regularly throughout the game and made many, many tweets. I checked Facebook once or twice and made one update commenting on how “Twitter is better.”
Posted in Beer, Internet, NFL, Online Social Networks |
Tagged: app, authority, Facebook, Google, iPhone, Klout, micro blogging, popularity, Quality, smart phone, Superbowl, timelessness, timeliness, Twitter |
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February 3rd, 2013
I actually joined Twitter fairly early on, but not early enough to secure @Muskie for myself or @BOB for my then employer, short Twitter handles are advantageous just like short domain names. I never seem to capitalize my on my early adopter status… I actually used a work BlackBerry to tweet back when I had a full time job, but when I got my iPhone I was convinced to try TwitBird and despite changes in Twitter’s policy and the relative stagnation of the App I’ve stuck with TwitBird.
One feature of Twitter that people need to take advantage of is Lists. I’ve used them from the beginning. I used them categorically like I use Folders/Groups in my news reader. I have grouped the accounts that Tweet about Venture Capital together just like I grouped the blogs together that write about Venture Capital. One major problem is, people go off topic. On Twitter some people will tweet just about anything. Finding good Twitter accounts to follow that don’t have horrible wheat to chaff ratios can be difficult, especially for certain niches. So after hitting up against a bug/limitation in how many Twitter lists I could follow using TwitBird I rethought how I group Twitter accounts.
Some people have multiple accounts, they have a professional account and a personal account. People cross post or auto retweet. I prefer to follow people not corporations and/or PR flacks on Twitter. All this cross posting and off topic tweets leads to some seriously uninteresting stuff on my Twitter feed sometimes. I unsubscribe from feeds and Twitter accounts that don’t maintain some quality control.
I also prefer to check Twitter on my iPhone using TwitBird. I don’t mind Tweeting from my laptop’s browser, but I prefer to check Twitter on my phone. I then save Tweets and articles by forwarding them to myself and then using MailSmith to route these mails to a special mailbox for later in depth reading. I’ve been online a long time, I’ve got some tricks up my sleeves, one of which I may have to abandon as Topsy is requiring an API key to create an RSS feed of a keyword search, something you can actually do with Google Alerts without needing an API key… But Topsy let you search just tweets.
In my RSS reader I often let stories go unread for hours if not days. My computer can download and store 100s of RSS feeds no problem, but on my phone, in Twitter, I don’t want to follow accounts that I can’t keep up with and that don’t add value to my time spent using Twitter. Most Twitter accounts are not worth following. I still try following new accounts but I use my lists to get to the best stuff quickly, however sorting accounts by topic is fairly futile. So I created three new private lists and I tried putting each account I regularly follow into just one list. I still maintained two topical lists for my job search, but these private lists which I called A-List, B-List, and C-List allow me to quickly read the most important stuff recently posted to Twitter.
If I’m pressed for time, I just check for new job postings. If I have more time I read my A-List of Twitter accounts. If I have more time I’ll read my B-List. And if I want to read everything on Twitter I’ll then read my C-List. Retweets and accounts that I just started following are in no lists, so I read them last. Twitter accounts have to prove their worth if they want me to become an active follower. If the number of new Tweets is small say 30 or 40 I just read everything in “Home” on TwitBird starting with the oldest Tweet by timestamp.
It is definitely possible to miss something on Twitter, unlike RSS feeds which will stay on my computer indefinitely or at least for a very, very long time. Twitter clients only can show the most recent 200 (or so) tweets. Twitter.com only lets you search back a few days. Maybe the official Twitter iPhone client can show more tweets/lists, but it hasn’t proven as usable as TwitBird IMHO. Plus tweets that are more than 12 or 24 hours old aren’t really news anymore. I made this change to my lists a couple days ago and so far I’m happy with it. Do you have any clever Twitter tricks? How do you use the Twitter list functionality? Do you maintain public lists? Do you follow public lists maintained by other people?
Posted in Internet, Online Social Networks |
Tagged: API key, feeds, Google, lists, Mailsmith, NewsFire, RSS, social media, Topsy, TwitBird, Twitter |
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January 25th, 2013
Some people like quotations. Some people collect quotations. Some people use the hashtag “quotation” to share quotations on social networks like Twitter. Some other people use #quotation to spam Twitter with ads for knickknacks. Zazzle.com a website I’d never heard of has been rewarding people for relentlessly spamming Twitter using the hashtag quotation as part of an advertising campaign for trinkets. To quote Chuck Palahniuk:
You are not your fucking khakis.
This has been going on for an extended period of time. I asked them to stop on Twitter but the folks behind @zazzle and the following accounts don’t care about the people who use Twitter to share quotations:
It appears people also spam #quotation to try and get you to buy from Amazon.com too. 100′s of near identical tweets tagged #quotation have been made by the above the accounts in the last few days. Not one of the tweets actually contained a quotation.
@13quotations retweets most anything tagged #quotation including spam. Associated with the spam accounts are the following other Twitter accounts:
And the following URLs:
Don’t support spammers!
Rick London and Lee Hiller-London are a married couple who apparently enjoy spamming Twitter and fans of quotations.
Rick London is the creator and founder of London’s Times and Panel Hollywood Cartoons. He creates all concepts and writes all text. He was born in Hattiesburg, MS and now makes his home in Arkansas. He has worked as a standup comedian, a playwright and tv/radio producer in Washington, D.C., New York, and Los Angeles.
Other domains in Rick’s empire include:
Lee Hiller “who is (according to Google) America’s favorite Love Columnist” has additional Twitter accounts:
And the following domains:
The technical contact for those domains include:
- Benjamin Cohen : email@example.com
- Richard Stetelman : firstname.lastname@example.org
- Aimee Foyil : email@example.com
Eli Zbar is apparently a student in Vancouver with aspirations to become a professional spammer. His website (www.elizbar.com) is temporarily unavailable.
Please help me to encourage Rick London and Lee Hiller-London to stop spamming #quotation so it can go back to being used by fans of quotations to actually share quotations on online social networks such as Twitter.
Zazzle.com and Amazon.com are rewarding these spammers with a means to monetize their spam. Twitter has mechanisms to fight spam, I will be reporting theTwitter accounts listed above for spamming. I encourage other fans of quotations to do the same.
I’m not the only one who has had issues with hashtag spam. Apparently major conferences have been overrun with deliberate and often pornographic spam. This spam isn’t pornographic but it is repetitive, unwanted, and has overwhelmed a previously useful hashtag for finding quotations.
Posted in Internet, Online Social Networks |
Tagged: Aimee Foyil, Amazon.com, Benjamin Cohen, Chuck Palahniuk, Eli Zbar, hashtag, hashtag spam, Lee Hiller-London, quotation, Richard Stetelman, Rick London, spam, spamming, Twitter, Zazzle, Zazzle.com |
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January 22nd, 2013
During my lengthy job search (I’m available) I’ve written and collected a lot of blog postings. Despite experts continuing to insist, you can blog your way to a new job, I’m not convinced that will work for everyone. So I’ve collected together in one place the best advice and resources both on my website and elsewhere.
One of the most important tools for jobseekers is RSS and Atom feeds. I’ve written on how they can be leveraged and sourced, but I also found a video clip explaining how I and others use them in our job search.
You have to fill your time while unemployed in a positive way. Volunteer or learn a new skill. Demonstrate you are talented and hardworking. I ended up doing a lot of reading plus collecting a lot of quotations. I eventually made a web mashup, some of them are a source of motivation, insight, and inspiration. One book I read was “Rework” from which I previously posted the following excerpt:
Hire great writers
If you are trying to decide among a few people to fill a position, hire the best writer. It doesn’t matter if that person is a marketer, salesperson, designer, programmer, or whatever; their writing skills pay off.
That’s because being a good writer is about more than writing. Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand. They can put themselves in some else’s shoes. They know what to omit. And those qualities you want in any candidate.
Writing is making a comeback all over our society. Look at how much people e-mail and text-message now rather than talk on the phone. Look at how much communication happens via instant messaging and blogging. Writing is today’s currency of good ideas.
Posted in Blogging, Online Social Networks, Self Marketing, Vancouver |
Tagged: advice, agents, blog, career, cover letter, expert, Facebook, feeds, insight, inspiration, interview, job, job search, jobseeker, LinkedIn, motivation, online, personal brand, personal branding, quotation, reputation, resume, RSS, social media, Twitter |
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