Politics and Advertising should not mix

There’s an interesting boycott war going on out there right now, all over Glenn Beck.   It all started (I believe) with this video.

Apparently it has had some success as some advertisers are pulling out of the Beck program, because many people are offended by the guy or something. These offended people set up other websites to push the boycott.

This has lead to other groups and websites, like defendglenn.com to get involved and promise to boycott any advertiser that caves in and removes their advertising from the Beck program.

So what is an advertiser to do?   Seems like they can’t win no matter what they do.  No matter what they are going to lose customers by advertising on these programs instead of gaining customers.

The answer is simple. Any sane advertiser will simply stay away from anything remotely controversial in the first place and hence we’ll all end up with boring mushy non-controversial programming.    I think the entire “boycott because I’m offended” movement is ridiculous. There should be a wall between editorial content and advertising, otherwise the latter will influence the former, and then everyone loses.

Hike report: Northern Delaware Greenway Trail

On Saturday, July 25 I hiked about 8 miles of the Northern Delaware Greenway trail from downtown Wilmington out to Cauffiel Parkway at Gov Printz Blvd.  I had hope to get to Fox Point Park but despite what the Greenway map says, doesn’t look like it’s doable.   This is my report and review of the trail and a few difficulties along the way.  This trail is also part of the East Coast Greenway, but unfortunately nothing on the trail is marked as such.

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Review: Bride by Lone Wolf Tribe

I had the displeasure of wasting 90 minutes of my life in Atlanta on July 18, 2009 watching this production. It was hosted by the National Puppetry Festival.

In short, this play was crap. No adjectives, no modifiers, just crap.   Of course, who am I to say such a thing?  The production has gotten rave reviews. To be fair, this was presented to a group of a few hundred people who practice the art of puppeteering at a week-long conference they had this week in Atlanta. I was along for the ride with my wife, it was late, I just sat through 90 minutes of boring awards, and I just wanted to go back to our hotel room and get some sleep. But after reflecting on the play over night, I still think it’s crap.

Read on to find out why.

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Installing Diablo 2 on an Intel Mac

Back in the day (2000-2003) I played Diablo 2 — a lot.   A bit of nostalgia and the upcoming release of Diablo 3 meant it was time to give it another shot — but I couldn’t find my CDs anywhere. No problem, I went out and purchased the Diablo 2 Battle Chest which includes the original game plus the expansion pack — Lord of Destruction.

But would it work on my Intel-based Mac.  My backup plan was to install it on an old PC, but ideally I wanted it to work on my Mac.  There’s a few roadblocks to that plan though.  1) It was written for the old Mac OS, not “OS X” which is based on Unix.  It was also written to run on a different processor, not the Intel I have in my Mac. It was a bit of a hassle to get it working, and tech notes on how to do so were lacking, but in the end it works. You just can’t expect to pull out the CDs from the box and get it working though.

This blog entry is meant to document first how to do it, then the pitfalls I hit along the way.

Continue reading Installing Diablo 2 on an Intel Mac

How to Save on Mobile Me

I like Mobile Me from Apple. I use many of its features, like syncing between my iPhone and lots of Macs and PCs, the iDisk storage, publishing of web pages, etc.  I’ve had it for years, and each year it auto-renews for $99.00.   Over those years I’ve purchased two different Macs. Each time there’s a special where you can get a year of Mobile Me for $69.  I always decline because I have it already.   I-D-I-O-T!

Tonight I was purchasing a new iPhone 3GS and the Apple rep asked me if I wanted to add Mobile Me to it for just $69.  I said “I already have it.”  She mumbled something, and I repeated it. Finally she said “You can extend your current subscription for another year for $69.”


Yeah, I’ll take that.  I’m going to spend it anyway, so why not.

So I got the box for $69.  Inside the box is an activation code.  I just went to the Mobile Me Activation Page and entered the code while choosing to renew. Even though my current subscription was good through 2010, it allowed me to extend it to 2011.

Shows extension of subscription

So anyone who already uses Mobile Me and you have an opportunity due to purchase of Apple hardware to get Mobile Me for $69 — grab it. You’re going to renew it anyway, might as well save $30.

Removing backups from Apple’s Time Machine

Apple’s Time Capsule is a neat device that provides both wireless access, router functions, and a hard drive for doing automated backups from one or more Macs in the same network.

It’s very easy to use and “just works.” If it runs short on disk space it starts to automatically trim the oldest backups automatically. No intervention needed.

But ease of use often means functionality can suffer, and in one area that this is true with Time Capsule and Time Machine is when it comes time to add another machine to it and there’s not enough space on it to do the first backup.

Which is what happened to me. I purchased a new Mac and wanted to add it to my Time Capsule without reformatting it and removing all my old backups from the two other computers on it.   Pruning it manually is a bit of a bear.  Hence this blog post.

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Automating WordPress uploads using SSH

WordPress allows automated updates of plugins and the program itself, but it requires FTP or FTPS on the server. I did not want to add an FTP server to my host, and didn’t want to be sending my id/password to my shell account over the net in clear text either.

But then I found out through a few web pages that one can add SSH access to PHP on the server and use that.

All seemed straight forward except my host has password logins via SSH disabled. Must use a private/public key. I tried to carefully follow the instructions in each of the pages above and kept hitting failures.

So this blog entry is to rehash how to do this using private/public keys and how to work around an apparent bug in WordPress 2.7.1 with specifics for Centos 5.

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Using the Linksys SPA-3102 as a VOIP ATA

In other blog entries I’ve been discussing a larger project of setting up a personal Voice over IP (VOIP) Asterisk server using the Linksys SPA-3102 VOIP gateway device.

An ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) allows one to use old fashioned phones on a voice over IP network, or you can just use IP phones. An ATA like the SPA-3102  does not have to connect to an Asterisk PBX though. In a simple form, it can connect to any SIP VOIP provider for cheap Internet calls.   This is the same idea as other Internet phone plans like Vonage, Comcast, and Verizon, but you pay for only what you use, which can be as low as $0.00 a month.

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Getting around Comcast port 25 block

Comcast started blocking outbound port 25 on my cable modem yesterday. I can understand why — it stops a lot of infected machines from spamming the world. But it also broke the ability of my security webcam from sending me pictures to my server whenever it detects movement, and the cam firmware has no option to use the alternate authenticated port 587.

So this blog entry talks about how I got around the port 25 block so my webcam can continue to email images.

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BCBSDE website stupidity

BCBSDE advertisement

In this morning’s News-Journal  paper I see an advertisement for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware’s website where it lists all the wonderful things you can do on it, like order a replacement ID card. 

When reading this, I had to let out a little chortle because last Sunday my wife and I were looking all over for her ID card and couldn’t find it. So we decided to go onto the BCBSDE.com website to get a replacement card ordered. 

After traversing their site, it left me shaking my head in disbelief. Do people who design websites ever try to use them?

Below I’ll show you the steps to go through to get a new ID card so you too can witness the stupidity. Just three steps will leave you too going “Huh?”

Continue reading BCBSDE website stupidity

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