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Ramblings from the Marginalized » 2007 » February

February 2007

Links and Programming February 28th, 2007 by Digg

Both refer to their clients as 'users', offer the first one for 'free' and have 'Asian' connections. Hmmm... is there some cross-over here?

I found this by using StumbleUpon and thought I might Digg it as well. There are some similar entries on Digg but this one is a little bit longer.

If you like it Digg it or leave a comment. If not you can always bury it.

As a software developer I get a kick out of this, mostly because it's all true!

read more | digg story

Games and General and Internet February 28th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

Right after I converted my blog from Serendipity to WordPress I announced a top commentator contest. The time has now come to announce the winner!

If you look over to the right you will see that the winner (with 16 comments posted at 12:01 PM EST on Feb 28, 2007) is Ms. Q!

If Ms. Q would kindly get in touch with me I can mail her prize out to her.

Now, I know Ms. Q is not much of a gamer but the game in question is a good four player game and is known as a gateway game. What that means is that it is a game that allows people to enter the world of board gaming. The game is Simply Catan which is a repackage of the very good Settlers of Catan game.

Congratulations Ms. Q!

Internet February 28th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

Several days ago I wrote a blog post about a new site called Million Dollar Avatar. Before writing that post I signed up for an account and added my avatar to their system.

It has now been one week since they went live so I went back.

After logging in I went to my 'home' page on their site and found a long list of information.

Overall Stats

Statistic Total
Profile Views 47
Profile Comments 0
Profile URL Clicks 1
Profile Avatar Clicks 0
Homepage Avatar Clicks 7
Homepage Username Clicks 7
Badge Clicks 0
Random Member Avatar Clicks 1
Random Member Username Clicks 2
Tag Avatar Clicks 0
Tag Username Clicks 0
Search Avatar Clicks 1
Search Username Clicks 1
New Member Avatar Clicks 0
New Members Username Clicks 1
Backpage Avatar Clicks 1
Backpage Username Clicks 1

Remember, this site has just been up for a week and it was several days before they hit 100 members. With that said it looks like I have benefited from ten clicks. Ten clicks from people who may (or may not) be new readers of my blog.

Be sure to check back at the end of March when I show you what 30 days has done for me.

Internet and Investing February 27th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

Anyone who has an email account has gotten at least one email from someone who is trying to get millions of dollars out of a troubled African country. Usually it is the daughter of an oil minister or a poor lawyer trying to funnel funds from a dead family.

Today I got this in my email. I talk to a lot of army folks so I was almost caught off guard...

My name is Jean Hossan, employed to work in Iraq as a language translator. I am attached to 1st BN, 68th Amour Reg, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry and I worked directly under Staff Sergeant Sanchez Virrueta A as an interpreter. As you aware, we are being attacked everyday by insurgents through hostile fire and car bombs.


In April 2003, I and some other crew members in my team discovered $650M USD in Saddam Hussein's palace. The discovery was immediately assigned to Staff Sergeant Sanchez under whom I was serving for inspection and verification. In the process of cross-checking the

funds, I and my unit head managed to move away a total sum of US$12 Million dollars cash out of the $650MUSD, mostly 100-dollar bills and was quickly flown out of the war zone as a military cargo. The cargo was later disguised and declared as personal military effects before

it was flown to Europe where it is now deposited in an undisclosed FINANCE, SECURITY & TRUST COMPANY in Europe.

The arrangement was handled by me and Staff Sergeant Sanchez Virrueta A. You can as well click on the site below for more details about the source of the funds. The site will give you a bit of idea of our operation and how I came about the fund though the security & finance company where the cash consignments are deposited is not aware of all this information.


Unfortunately, Staff Sergeant Sanchez Virrueta A lost his dear life through hostile fire from the wicked Iraqi insurgents. I therefore seek your partnership in claiming and receiving the cash consignments from the finance and security firm where the cash consignments are

deposited for safety for possible investments on viable businesses of mutual beneficial interest.

I will take 60% while you are going to be entitled to 40% for your participation and assistance. . Upon your response, I will send you the full details of the Security & Trust Company in whose custody the funds are lodged as well as the modalities of claiming and receiving the cash consignments.

But you must assure me and demonstrate it that you can be trusted as I need your unwavering assurances.Please reconfirm your full names, address and direct phone number immediately so that I can submit the information to the finance firm where the cash consignments are deposited for change/transfer of ownership in your favor to enable you claim and receive the funds. I

promise you that there is no risk on both sides as far as you follow my instructions and take my advice. The transaction will be concluded under a legitimate arrangement.I want to assure you that this is going to be very confidential and strictly between both of us.

Respectfully yours,

Jean V.Hossan

Everyone has heard all the stories by now of lost millions over in Iraq. Big pallets of shrink-wrapped $100 bills! Be prepared for more of these letters to begin circulating around the Internet.

You might notice some of the interesting dates and the mash-up of facts.

  • Money discovered in April 2003 in a Saddam palace.
  • Money was shrink-wrapped $100 bills.

    The airlifts of shrink-wrapped cash occurred long after April 2003. The writer has cleverly taken two high profile events and attempted to merge them together, if only they had a calendar!

    Also, for a language translator this guy's English is worse than mine!

  • Internet February 27th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

    One problem many people are begining to face is that of Alexa. Alexa is not exactly the problem itself, the problem is that many advertisers will look at your Alexa rating and make a judgement based on it.

    The problem with Alexa is that it only tracks information gathered from people who use the Alexa toolbar with Internet Explorer.

    Most of my traffic comes from people who use FireFox. These hits will never be counted by Alexa, or will they?

    If you look at the traffic details for hmtk.com You will see one huge spike in the beginning followed by a shorter spike. These are the result of my blog being 'dugg'. My 3 month average has been hovering about 225K and you can see that my traffic is fairly steady.

    My traffic is not earth-shattering but it is steady and you would think an advertiser would like steady traffic rather than tall peaks and low valleys. Sadly, they look at the Alexa ranking (225K) and that is all they see.

    Also, this blog is Page Rank 5 according to Google. Google must know something Alexa does not?

    I would also like to cast your eyes on this:

    The traffic data are based on the set of toolbars that use Alexa data, which may not be a representative sample of the global Internet population. Known biases include (but are likely not limited to) the following:

  • Our users are disproportionately likely to visit sites that are featured on alexa.com such as amazon.com and archive.org, and traffic to these sites may be overcounted.
  • The extent to which our sample may overcount or undercount users of the various browsers is unknown. Alexa's sample includes users of Internet Explorer, Firefox and Mozilla browsers. The AOL/Netscape and Opera browser is not supported, which means that sites operated by these companies may be undercounted.
  • The extent to which our sample may overcount or undercount users of various operating systems is unknown. Alexa sample includes toolbars built for Windows, Macintosh and Linux.
    The rate of adoption of Alexa software in different parts of the world may vary widely due to advertising locality, language, and other geographic and cultural factors. For example, to some extent the prominence of Chinese sites among our top-ranked sites reflects known high rates of general Internet usage in China, but there may also be a disproportionate number of Chinese Alexa users.

  • In some cases traffic data may also be adversely affected by our "site" definitions. With tens of millions of hosts on the Internet, our automated procedures for determining which hosts are serving the "same" content may be incorrect and/or out-of-date. Similarly, the determinations of domains and home pages may not always be accurate. When these determinations change (as they do periodically), there may be sudden artificial changes in the Alexa traffic rankings for some sites as a consequence.
  • The Alexa Toolbar turns itself off on secure pages (https:). Sites with secure page views will be under-represented in the Alexa traffic data.
  • Source - Alexa Disclaimer

    You might be begining to wonder what this has to do with the title of this post. Fear not for I will now tell you how to make Alexa like you.

    If someone does not have the Alexa toolbar installed there is still a way to make the hits on your site count by using a redirect.


    If you create a link to your site with the above redirect code the visit will be counted by Alexa. It will not, however, be counted by Google when figuring page rank.

    So, which do you want? A better Google Page Rank or a better Alexa rating?

    UPDATE: After running this for a little over two months (and some nefarious versions of it) I have come to the conclussion that this is no way helps you. Just going to your own site from three different Alexa enabled computers (or changing your dynamic IP address often) gives you far more benefit than this does.

    If you want to help me increase my Alexa rating click this link -> HMTK.com deserves a better Alexa rating

    Stories February 27th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

    Let me preface this post by saying, "Do not try this at home. Trained professionals took part in the making of this story."

    Back when I was stationed in Germany my buddies and I used to frequent a club called the Green Goose. There were many locations in the country that sported a Green Goose club but the one I spent the most time in was the one in Nuremburg.

    The Green Goose was a club that catered to white American G.I.'s. There were other clubs that catered to black American G.I.'s (yes, I have stories about them too) and some that just catered to American G.I.'s of all persuasions. What made the Green Goose particularly a favorite of us white boys was their penchant for playing rock music.

    When you go to a club you are going to be drinking one of two things; beer or mixed drinks. I do not think there is a 'beer' drinking age in Germany but I do recall the drinking age for harder stuff was 16. The age of consent was also 16, need I say more?

    When you order a beer at the Goose you always had it in a glass, unless you were ordering one of the few American beers they sold. German beers were always served in glasses because of the way they are made. A very good German beer as a certain amount of sediment at the bottom of the bottle and you do not want to drink that part! By pouring it into a glass you are able to keep the sediment in the bottle and produce a very nice head on your drink.

    If you wanted something harder, say a Long Island Ice Tea for example, then you had a few more interesting options. Namely you got to pick just how big of a drink you wanted to get.

    Yes, how big!

    Sit down for this because some of you may not be prepared for what follows.

    The average drink size was the same size as your beer. Nothing special there but wait, it gets better!

    If you were willing to spend a little bit more money you could buy a bucket of your drink. What's a bucket you say? The first level of bucket (and most common) was an ice bucket filled with your drink and a ton of straws.

    See, the bucket concept led to sharing and socializing. It was not uncommon to purchase a small bucket of something tasty and then saunter around the club letting various ladies (whom you found attractive) drink from the bucket. There was much goodness and happiness to be found with someone who had purchased a bucket. This size bucket was about eight times the price of a regular drink and held about that much.

    The next size bucket was a wonder to behold! It was a half barrel! Yep, a 25 gallon bucket!

    Oh, it did not hold 25 gallons as you had to leave some room near the top so you could carry the thing without spilling it all over but it held close to 22 gallons when ordered. This would cost you several hundred dollars to buy. It also guaranteed companionship.

    If you had a barrel at your table a few things were true:

  • This was your table, all night long
  • Girls would come to you
  • Everyone would be your friend
  • You had too much money

    I never purchased a barrel on my own but one night that involved a barrel ended with me waking up in a place with padded walls.

    I did purchase smaller buckets on many occasions and I had a lot of fun at the Green Goose clubs. Stay tuned, I may post more of these stories!

  • Internet and Links February 27th, 2007 by Digg

    I could not believe this when I found it. It reminds me of the ten evil toys list you see every Christmas.

    Take a few minutes to look it over. If you like it Digg it, if not don't! Feel free to leave comments as well.

    UPDATE: This made the Digg homepage

    The Peekaboo Dance Pole at number one on the list is very strange...

    read more | digg story

    Links and Technology February 26th, 2007 by Digg

    And you thought calculators were just for doing math!

    I put this up on Digg this morning. Yeah, I know I'm not much of a Digger anymore but this picture was interesting.

    The submission made it all the way to the home page so feel free to Digg it!

    This post was generated using Digg's Blog This feature. I have long wanted to try out that feature but my old blogging platform did not support it very well.

    UPDATE: This was buried within ten minutes of being on the home page. Oh well...

    read more | digg story

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