Category: Other

Lots of posts

You may have noticed a lot of backdated posts showing up here (or maybe not, it’s not a high-volume site, lol). I decided to take ownership of some content posted elsewhere… first pass, Facebook. I used their data download tool to get a copy of all my posts. Ran a few passes to eliminate some junk – things posted by others to my wall, Foursquare checkins, Candy Crush updates (there were a lot of these, and for that, I apologize). However, the archive doesn’t include the links I posted – just my comments in the post. So I also went back through the past 4 years or so of link posts and added those links. A little Applescript to move it from Excel to MarsEdit and it posted up to here. 

Next up, Twitter. Wish me luck. 

If you steal second safely the first time, don’t push your luck and do it again.

Jean Segura Stole Second Base, Then Got Caught Trying To Steal Second:

“he tried to steal third and wound up taking first instead.”

What is this… I don’t even… huh? Even watching the video makes very little sense. In short, he stole second, tried to steal third and ended up back at first, then got thrown out stealing second the second time. 

No, that doesn’t really help, does it. Just watch the video. 

Buzz, Twitter, Facebook

I see a lot of posts asking how to crosspost between all the various social networks – “How do I get Buzz posts to show up on my Facebook status?” “Can I make it so my MySpace updates when I put something on Twitter?”

You know what? I don’t want that. I have it set up so most of my stuff feeds back to here – that’s because I want one place to have everything. But think about it for a second – let’s say one of my friends has achieved this holy grail of everything gets updated simultaneously. I’m connected to them on Twitter, Facebook and Buzz. They post something… I get it three times. Moreover, I can’t necessarily stop following them on two feeds… how do I choose? Maybe the response I was interested will be from someone on a feed I opted out of.

So no, I’m not looking for a way to update everything at once. And I wish the rest of you would stop filling my inboxes with triplicate messages when you figure out how to do it.

Not Going Postal

The other day I had to ship a package – stuff my mother-in-law left here from her visit. We had it all boxed up and ready to go, so I took it with me to run some errands. At first, I thought I’d just go to the post office – but when I walked in, I changed my mind. Instead, I went to the UPS Store which was somewhat out of the way for the day’s itinerary.

First thing was that the post office wasn’t clear on whether I could just use the box I had or would I have to buy a new box? I know from previous experience, what would happen if I had to buy a new box – back to the end of the line. I also noticed there wasn’t any tape out there, although they had some to sell. So again, not sure if they would help me out or make me buy a roll. (I’ve had experiences both ways, so it was a bit of a crapshoot). Third was just the general look of the Post Office – it looked like no one actually cared. Industrial grey walls, superficially organized but not really once you actually went into depth, and employees who didn’t really seem to care. I know that not every post office is like this, but this one was on that day.

So I went off to the less convenient UPS store. Walked in, gave my unsealed box to the guy, he took the address information and gave me a price. Done. I didn’t have to worry about boxing it up, supplies, or anything. They just took care of it. Needless to say, I’m not planning to bother with trying the Post Office next time I have to send something out.

When I got home, I went to the USPS website. Turns out that it would have cost me a buck more to ship it with them.

This isn’t meant as a criticism of the Post Office specifically. Honestly, it didn’t matter to me which way I sent it – it’s all about what is going to require the least effort for me. In that light, the message is probably this:

Don’t make it harder for me to want to give your business money.

It’s no surprise to me that the post office is considering dropping a day of delivery and raising rates. Their roots are government based, and it shows – there’s no effort to be customer-service oriented. At least not that day at that location.

The Sinking of the Titanics of Newsprint

? Pay Walls:

“The fundamental problem facing the news industry is simple: As the shift from print to the web accelerates, their revenues are no longer covering the cost of their operations. It’s not that they aren’t making money online, it’s that they aren’t making enough to cover their operations.

The potential solutions are, at a fundamental level, obvious: (a) generate more revenue from the web; (b) cut operating costs; or (c) both. Small measures will not do the job. And things are getting worse as more readers shift from print to the web.”

As usual, Gruber is dead-on right [1]. At Want Ad, we took down the online pay wall too late. Once we did, web traffic took off and we needed to have a way to generate additional revenue from that traffic. We didn’t do that quick enough either. The David Simon essay he links to has one piece right – act quickly. But putting up an obstacle to getting to your product? Wrong action.

Figure out how to make ends meet with the traffic you get. Figure out how to increase your traffic. Figure out how to get more money for the traffic you get. Whatever you do, don’t make it more difficult for people to get to your content.

[1] Well, except for being a New York fan.

Update: More discussion of the same subject at MetaFilter, which is interesting as they are actually a closer model to what I believe the papers need – pay-to-contribute, small staff, open access to content. They don’t have ads for people who paid for an account.

Cleanup on aisle 9

Now that the highway stuff has been moved over to northeasthighways.com (at least, the stuff I’m still interested in), it’s time to purge the crud out of this site.

Gone are the posts about how I’m redesigning the site again…whether it’s the layout or how I’m working hard on doing something or other. No one cares about that. Right behind them are the uncommented links to other sites that came from Del.icio.us. If you want to know what sites I think are worth remembering, just go to del.icio.us. Maybe at some point I’ll hack up some kind of RSS feed from there into a page here. It’ll only work occasionally, and I’ll forget it exists and it’ll lie there broken for 6 months. Which is fine because that’s about how often I post to del.icio.us. (And yes, I’m aware Yahoo owns it and has taken away its dots. Don’t care.) And all the other posts that don’t really seem to matter to me two years later? Gone too.

What’s left is the kind of stuff I’ll post here in the future. It’ll still probably be about every 3 months (which is better) but you’ll see the stuff I do via the lifestream thing off to the right there. (And if someone can explain to me using small words how to get my Facebook updates & postings there, that would be awesome. I’m getting real annoyed with Facebook’s assertion of control over stuff I generate.)

End Stages of the content shift

The Mass Route Log move is complete – there shouldn’t be anything going on with the pages on neilbert.com anymore and they’ll probably go away in the coming weeks.

The photos have all been moved from Flickr into the new site – about half are up and tagged now and the other half should be done soon.

That really only leaves the exit lists, which I’m struggling to wrap my head around the CSS within the CMS and how to put tables in that don’t cause exit 47 to appear way out in the middle of nowhere. Funny thing is, I know they’re pretty outdated but they have a special place for me since that’s really where this whole site started. I might at least go through and clean them up a little after I struggle with the stylesheets.

Then, what’s going here? I plan to make neilbert.com about the things I think are interesting. Right now, I’m playing with twitter (@neil_), Facebook, LinkedIn and tying them all together so I can easily update them in combination or individually… then figure out why I would want to do that afterwards (right now, “because I can” is enough justification for me.) This will probably mean neilbert.com will be more a series of posts of whatever happens to interest me at the time, links to whatever I’m reading, bits of geekery I’m trying out, etc.

I still don’t know what to do with insurgia.com. Someday.

Old Folks: Yes, everyone is out to get you.

A few days ago, a manhole explosion in Boston cut power to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, which caused their main server to go down, which in turn caused them to close all their branch offices for the day.

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette ran this story. The highlight for me was this line:

David Brodeur of Southbridge said the closing was another example of how “the elderly are always getting the short end of the stick.”

Right. The Registry must have known that old folks always come out Mondays, so they called up their friends at NStar, asked them to knock out the server for the day, just for the sake of screwing over old people.

Kitty Talk

We have three cats. Cheshire, George and Sunny.

We were talking about what they would say if they could talk. We decided that Cheshire refers to us as “bitch” and “bastard,” as in “Fill my food bowl, bastard.” George… well, George has the mouth of a sailor. “George,” we’d say. “Fuck you” would be the response. Sunny, being the kitten (8 months old) is more of a “whatchya doin guys? huh? huh? whatchya doin’? can I come? wanna play? ” at which point George would swat at her and say “Fuck off.”

Cheshire also wouldn’t refer to the other cats by name – they would be “the other one” (George) and “the little thing” (Sunny).