Thursday, March 31, 2005

Yahoo! 360 Account!

Yay! I have a Yahoo 360 account now thanks to Uday Patadia who was kind enough to invite me yesterday. I'm just getting started and haven't done anything with it yet, but if you want an invitation just leave a comment and I'll invite you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A Yahoo! 360 Blog

I found a Yahoo 360 blog of a Yahoo employee but didn't try to get an invite. At least I got a chance to see what the service looks like and get some initial impressions. One major thing I don't like is the blog addresses. Randy's site address is What is that? How am I supposed to give people my Yahoo blog address when I can't even remember it! Also, I don't like the standard template and the three column layout on the front page looks way too cluttered. It doesn't look like a good place to be anonymous and be private either. I was expecting a lot more from the service, but I don't have an account yet so I really haven't gotten a good look at it yet. Now I just have to figure out who's arm I'll have to twist to get an invite.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Gmail Going Live April 1

Gmail will finally be released to the public on April 1, one year after it debuted. If you desperately want an account but don't want to buy one on eBay or give your email address to a website you should just wait until April Fool's Day. The past few weeks Google's upgraded the number of invites to 50 for every member, so it's been easier than ever to get an account. For some reason I kept my invites to myself because I felt they were a status calculator, besides having an account itself. Soon they'll be worthless! Oh well, there's still Orkut, but who wants that anymore?

Link via Waxy.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

China, Still Blocking Websites

It's been a long time since I've talked about China blocking websites because it goes on all the time without many people complaining. The last time the Chinese government blocked websites and caused controversy was when two Chinese blogging sites were shut down and the Typepad domain was blocked one year ago. That blockage got lots of attention and a few days later the Chinese blogging sites were back up. In January Typepad was quietly unblocked, making it accessible from China, though SixApart hasn't responded let alone many other people. Over the last year the government has been shutting down thousands of internet cafes to stop "immoral net use."

But just two weeks ago students started protesting a message board crackdown allowing only university students to access the Shuimu forum (now this site says the domain has been sold and plays some Japanese/English song). There's even a photo album of the protest with images of paper cranes participants made in memory of Shuimu. No word yet on what happened to these people or if there were any encounters with authorities at all. Since the domain has been sold, I doubt the board will be back, but a new one may be created that will be limited to students from the very start. Because the protest did get some international attention the government may be wary of blocking university bulletin boards in the future.

Update: Here's the song "first love" that is playing.

Gravatar Size Change

I've updated some settings in Haloscan so gravatars should be larger and readable now.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Neat Bookmarklet

zwocent found a bookmarklet that lets you see if the website you're visiting is linked in and who is linking, along with their descriptions and tags. It's called delicious linkbacks. There's no software to install and you don't need a account. All you have to do is put the bookmarklet in your linkbar. So easy.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Sluggish Orkut

Is it just me or is Orkut way too slow to even consider logging in anymore? The last time I logged in was the first time in awhile, and on each page I visited there were errors (white question marks in Safari) of member photos that didn't load. Sometimes profile pages didn't work at all and went to a 404 page instead. This is not the kind of service I expected from Google, especially since Orkut's been around for over a year and they've had plenty of time to improve the service. At least the spam messages have stopped, but I still want the service to change for the better. I think the invite-only appeal has worn off long ago and people have lost interest. If Google doesn't plan on adding new features soon they should try to make to site faster so it won't be such a pain to navigate.

Getting Less Sleep

Even though I've always had a love affair with sleep and can't seem to get enough of it, I've had a change of heart and decided that it's cutting too much into my living time. There's so much going on in the world that I don't want to miss anything just because I was asleep. But no matter how hard I try to stay awake I eventually fall asleep and can't get up until I've had at least eight hours rest. Eight hours is too much sleep for me because that only leaves 16 hours of active living per day, which clearly hasn't been enough as I can't get things done.

So how does one get less sleep? I can try setting an alarm clock, but I have a feeling I'll succumb to the temptation to nap for three hours. Maybe I can chug more fruit energy drinks, but they're starting to make my stomach feel bloated. Caffeine comes to mind also, but the last time I had a caffeinated beverage I got cramps in my feet and started seeing ghost-like images at night, so I'm going to pass on that. I'm really not sure what else to try, but I'll start with the alarm clock first.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Message Boards as News

I did a Google News search for Bill Maher to find more information as to why Real Time with Bill Maher won't show a new episode on Friday, breaking my heart, and found that Google counts message boards as news. Part of me feels that message boards shouldn't count as news because anybody can post message without any hassle, like leaving a comment on a blog. Another part feels that like blogs, message boards can provide useful information. Maybe it's just because I've looked at too many Yahoo message boards and became so discouraged by the medium that I refuse to post on one. Will message boards erode the quality of news more than blogs or will people just ignore them?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Yahoo 360

Yesterday Yahoo announced that it was going to launch a blogging service called Yahoo 360 sometime this month. I didn't think that was a big deal until I read the news articles today and discovered that it was going to be invite-only for awhile. It's also going to have a social networking system blended in so people can connect to each other like with Friendster and Orkut. These are the only features that interest me and everybody's going to want an account early on to prove they've got good connections. It's up to Yahoo to make a good product or else people will get bored quickly and Brazilians will take over.

Nobody Wants Your Film

Nobody Wants Your Film is about making an independent film that nobody wants. At least I think that's what it's about. I was just interested in the part where you put in your email address and then if the film gets in theaters your the screen name from your email account will be in the credits. You'll feel like you helped produce a Hollywood movie when all you really did is sign up for a newsletter.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


After reading a post about a guy who got a free Mac Mini from the Free Mac Mini scheme, I got inspired yesterday to try one of these services out so I could get something free too. My plan was to get a free iMac G5 and sell it on eBay so I could by a new phone (on eBay), the Tiger OS, CDs from Amazon, and a new iPod. The rest I would use to sign up for more offers. I was really excited and did a Google search for free iMac and found Product Test Panel. To avoid being inundated with spam on the email accounts I use regularly I signed into Yahoo with an old ID and reactivated my email account. Then I signed up for an account with the Product Test Panel and answered some survey questions.

Then the offers came. I was given a page with six offers, two of which I had to participate in to get my free iMac. I chose the Blockbuster DVD service and Literary Guild book club. Blockbuster DVDs cost $9.99 for the first month and the Literary Guild offered two books for $4. That didn't seem too bad, just sign up for two services for 15 bucks then get a $1200 computer.

Well, it was too good to be true because after clicking the "Next" button there were more offers. These six offers were slightly more expensive, the cigars were $24.99 and there was something else for $19.99. At this point I didn't bother to participate in two of these new offers, so I clicked on the "Next" button and there were three more offers. These final three offers were much more expensive and I still had to choose two. One was Direct TV for $59.99 for the first month, the other was an auto loan, and the last was Vonage VOIP.

This all was way too expensive for just one computer that I was just going to sell. I thought all I'd be doing was receiving spam and referring my friends and family. I get spam all the time why not get something in return? I should've did my homework on the company though. Others know about Product Test Panel and have written about their experiences before me. But my mom says they've been paid to say these things. Why can't I be paid too? I've cancelled my Blockbuster account and am trying to stop Literary Guild from sending me those books.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Pop-Under Problem

Advertisers have gotten smarter and figured out ways to bypass pop-ups blockers with the pop-under ads. They aren't new but before the last few months Safari and Mozilla could easily block pop-under ads. Now, I'm getting pop-under ads each session with Safari and Mozilla. Why is this happening now? What's different about these pop-under ads that they're defeating my browsers' blockers? Is anybody else having this problem?

Pop-Under Problem

Advertisers have gotten smarter and figured out ways to bypass pop-ups blockers with the pop-under ads. They aren't new but before the last few months Safari and Mozilla could easily block pop-under ads. Now, I'm getting pop-under ads each session with Safari and Mozilla. Why is this happening now? What's different about these pop-under ads that they're defeating my browsers' blockers? Is anybody else having this problem?

Friday, March 11, 2005

Tired of Michael Jackson

Today I finally watched some of E!'s reenactment of the Michael Jackson trial to see what all the fuss was about. Also, I really wanted to see what the actor playing Michael looked like and was impressed with the resemblance, especially the drawn-on black nose holes. Seeing the reenactment reaffirmed my stance on this whole issue: I don't care. I didn't care when the allegations were made, the court date set, the jury was being selected, Michael danced for fans, he got sick, he wore pajamas, he was late, etc. I was tired of hearing about this case ever since it started and am baffled that most of the country isn't either. I remember a few years back when there were three Michael Jackson primetime specials in one week, including the one with Martin Bashir, and I was really sick of that. Now I would rather have a week of Michael Jackson documentaries than months of molestation cases.

The documentaries really annoyed people but this molestation trial is being shoved down our throats and not many seemed bothered by it. Everyday I look at the Google News front page and there's hundreds of news sources talking about the Michael Jackson trial. It is a computer-generated news engine and can't decide what we're sick of, but I look at the Yahoo most emailed news stories and this trial is always on the list. Why do people want to hear about this trial?

I am a fan of Michael's music and think he's one of the best entertainers alive, but the constant media coverage of his life is antagonizing. If he's not singing, dancing, or dying I don't want to hear about him.

Chinese Google

While I was browsing for an mp3 I found a Chinese search engine called Baidu. Not sure what Baidu means or what anything else on the site says, but the mp3 search works pretty well, much better than Altavista's mp3 search. Baidu's planning on going public soon and hopefully they'll have an English version besides this section.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Noise is Not Her Biggest Problem

roanoker worried, originally uploaded by shelliphied.

What? Pregnant woman smoking cigarette worried about the effect loud noise has on her unborn child.

Bad News For Downloaders

Parvin Dhaliwal became the first person in America to be convicted for downloading movies and songs. That's not good for those of us who just download but don't share. What I want to know is how they figured out how he downloaded illegally. With movies it's pretty clear if you have something that's illegal, especially when the film is still in theaters. With music it's harder to prove since you can easily rip your own mp3s from music you have, download them from the artists directly (like Wilco), or download it from a service like iTunes. It was probably the movies that got him in trouble. He should've just got a Netflix subscription (or Walmart) and waited for those movies to come out on DVD instead of downloading screeners and telesyncs.

via BoingBoing.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Disrespectful Link

Today BoingBoing posted a link to a North Korean government flash movie advertising trips to N. Korea. When I clicked on the link the movie it wasn't there. Instead this message was in it's place:
Access to the requested object was denied.

Due to some inconsiderate people linking directly to our multimedia we were forced to take the content offline since it generated too much traffic.

This kind of careless linking to high-profile sites is typical of the internet where people no longer respect that such links could make free content less available.

We will never charge money to pay for the bandwidth, so if people are going to expect high-quality content they should make their own copy of the large file and share it from their own server.

Questions can be sent to for technical advice.

Thank you and have a nice day
What? The official website of North Korea doesn't have enough money to pay for bandwidth so it's disrespectful for another site to link to their's? Most people would be happy if a large site linked to their own, even if they couldn't afford the bandwidth charge. After that happens another person (or people) offers to host the content to share with others.

Turns out the site is not what it claims to be. It's government approved, but it's run by a guy in Barcelona. He changed the error message and the copyright notice at the bottom to one that allows others to copy and distribute their work.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


I've just discovered a new blog service called Blogsome after John mentioned it and I immediately signed up for an account. It uses WordPress, it's free, and the domain I wanted was available so I couldn't resist. All I really want to do is play around with WP, so I won't even bother to update it. It also lets you host photos, but I don't know what the limit is. This is a good service to use if you're planning on using WordPress on your own space and want to get a feel for the software before you start spending money on hosts and domains.