I got this email from GoDaddy saying that the transfer of lesjones.com to GoDaddy failed. I didn’t try to transfer my domain. So what happened – did someone try to hijack the domain? Continue reading
ANNOUNCER: The Mystery Stone contains indecipherable symbols and the letter G carved inside a box. Could this be a sign of the Masons?
ME: So the Masons buried the treasure on Oak Island?
MELISSA: It’s always the Masons doing stuff like that.
ME: Or the Knights Templar.
MELISSA: Or the Secret Society of Weirdos.
Secret Society of Weirdos is the funniest thing Melissa has ever said. It’s like something Calvin would invent.
P.S. Fun show. I read about Oak Island in the third grade and thought it was fascinating. Now I’m getting my 9 year old interested. The season finale is tonight.
The kid in me doesn’t want to admit it, but there’s a good chance there’s nothing to the Money Pit. Occam’s Razor says it’s just a sinkhole that stuff fell into over the centuries. When people excavated the pit, they found that stuff, jumped to the conclusion that someone had buried it there, and let their imaginations run wild with dreams of pirate treasure.
From there, the stories got embellished and exaggerated as they were re-told and passed down. If you want to see an example of the embellishments, watch the episode “The Mystery of Smith’s Cove.” It shows underwater video that supposedly proves the presence of a miner’s pick, a human body, and a treasure chest. When the video is shown they overlay blue computer graphics to enhance what they say is there. The graphics look nothing like the description in any way, shape or form. You could take out a blue felt tip pen and draw a treasure chest on your cat and your cat would look as much like the treasure chest in that video. It isn’t evidence. It’s a Rorschach test.
The whole “boobytrap” flooding is the goofiest part. Burying treasure that far down with pre-1795 technology is a stretch by itself, but constructing a diagonal shaft to flood it with seawater as a boobytrap if someone enters the pit? That’s stoned TV writer stuff right there. Sometimes flooding in a pit 100 feet below sea level on a small island in the ocean is just flooding, not a clever trap set by the cunning Captain Kidd.
I’d love to be proven wrong, though. It would thrill third grade me if they found treasure down there.
I had an advertiser who wanted his link to appear in the right sidebar of the site, but only on the home page of site. Sidebar widgets usually appear throughout the site, so I had to figure out how to make it work.
I knew WordPress supported an
is_home() conditional statement, but PHP code can only be executed in themes and plugins, not in free text/HTML. I tried inserting the code into the functions.php code, but never got it to work exactly right.
It turns out there’s a WordPress plugin called PHP Code Widget that lets you execute PHP code inside a widget. Just type it in along with your text and HTML and it works. Here’s the code:
<?php if( is_home() ) : ?>
Text and HTML go here and will appear only on the home page.
My first blog post was 11 years ago tomorrow.
In the past 11 years sometimes I’ve blogged more and sometimes less. It’s been almost two months since my last post, which is a personal record.
There are lots of reasons for the lack of blogging, all of them good. I started a new job in July and I still have consulting work coming in from the time I was unemployed last year and turned to consulting. Having three kids keeps me busy and I’m trying some new hobbies, like learning the ukulele with the kids.
So I’m still around and thanks to everyone who emailed to make sure everything was OK. I’ll still blog from time to time, so keep me in your RSS reader.
Things change, including where people buy stuff that people want. From downtown shops to the strip mall. Strip mall to indoor mall. Indoor mall to big box store. Big box store to online store.
People not only change where they shop, but when. Besides Black Friday and Cyber Monday there are new super dooper holiday sales days. I knew about Gray Thursday from my wife. She took our oldest daughter out to shop at 8 PM Thanksgiving night and didn’t come back until 3:00 AM.
In recent years, retailers have been trending towards opening on Black Thursday, occurring Thanksgiving evening. In 2011, Walmart began its holiday sale at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day for the first time. In 2012, Walmart began its Black Friday sales at 8 p.m. the day before on Thanksgiving; stores that are normally open 24 hours a day on a regular basis started their sales at this time, while stores that do not have round-the-clock shopping hours opened at 8 p.m. Competitors Sears and Kmart will also be opening at 8 p.m. on Thursday night, while Target and Toys “R” Us will be opening at 9 p.m.
A number of media sources began referring to this instead by either the name Gray Thursday or Brown Thursday.
Green Monday on the other hand was a new one on me until the news started covering it this morning.
Green Monday is an online retail industry term similar to Cyber Monday. The term was coined by eBay to describe its best sales day in December, usually the second Monday of December. Green Monday is defined more specifically by business research organization comScore as the Monday with at least 10 days prior to Christmas. In 2009, $854 million was spent online in the US on Green Monday, with sales in 2011 reaching $1.133 billion. In 2012, Green Monday topped out at $1.27 billion, up 13% from 2011 and the third heaviest online sales day for the season behind Cyber Monday and, randomly, Dec. 4, 2012, according to comScore.
Here’s a fine infographic on Cyber Monday. Thanks, Roger.
Stuff I’ve been posting on my Facebook. I remember the days when posting this stuff to a website you owned made you a blogger. Good times.
Google for “sons or anarchy recap.” I wonder if anyone died in this week’s episode?
OK, sure. Now I know who died. But who killed him is still a mystery, right?
That’s some mighty fine spoiler alertin’ there, Cletus.
Some fool has asked me to prostitute my art for money and I agreed. Now we’re just haggling over the price. If I get what I’m asking for it’s a wide angle lens for daddy.
Joke’s on them. This is a 6 megapixel, handheld snapshot I took in 2008 on a family daytrip to Franklin, TN. The digital camera that took this picture just recently passed its 7th birthday and is Nikon’s smallest and cheapest DSLR ever. Nikon D40 FTW.
“I work for an art concepts company located in Nashville. We select art for use in hospitals. I am currently working on a clinic in Franklin, in which they are requesting I use all local photos. I came across your photo (link below to specific photo) and was wondering if you sell hi-res jpegs for one time use?”
And that was the last time I ever saw that cell phone. Natalie (in pink) insisted on playing with it, and that was all she wrote. I had turned it off just before that because the battery was low. Right after that I tried to call it to find it. Didn’t work.
No time to blog about the news, so here’s a nice pic of Natalie. For a long time I’ve been been doing the conventional thing of chasing sharpness. Now I’m playing around with soft focus.
“My argument is not that QE was not at all useful,” he said on CNBC’s “Fast Money.”
“I believe that at the time, it was just one more tool that the Fed introduced to try to help the economy,” he said. “My point, ultimately, is the idea that very quickly into QE, it started becoming obvious that it wasn’t working in the way that it was supposed to.”
The article quotes someone from Rutgers Business School, who wonders what the end game for QE is going to be. The stock market – particularly the banks buying stock – is addicted to the easy money of QE. When can the Fed withdraw the money without crashing the markets?
One other point from the article – the rise in the stock market mostly benefited the already wealthy, including the banks. That was the indirect transfer of wealth.
Other transfers were more direct. The Fed bought up hundreds of billions in the banks’ bad mortgages (as opposed to underwater mortgages from the little guy). The Fed loaned money to banks at a low rate and banks used the money to buy Treasuries that paid a higher rate of interest. Some of that may have been by design, to repair the damage done by years of bad lending, but the net result was moral hazard and a massive transfer of wealth to the wealthiest.
7 YEAR OLD NATALIE: Can I?
ME: Nope. Sorry.
7 YEAR OLD NATALIE: Can I pleeease?
7 YEAR OLD NATALIE: Today is Opposite Day. If you say I can’t, that means I can.
ME: It’s Opposite Day?
7 YEAR OLD NATALIE: Uh huh.
ME: If it’s Opposite Day then if you say it’s Opposite Day that means it isn’t Opposite Day.
7 YEAR OLD NATALIE: That’s not fair.
“Nobody is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart, for his purity, by definition, is unassailable.”
— James Baldwin
Nine year old Katie has discovered the Beatles. Now she can listen to my Beatles albums and we can talk about those together. Beatlemania sure beats the heck out of Bieber Fever.
Last week saw a 17% increase in page speed compared to the control period before using Cloudflare. I had a feeling I wasn’t seeing the full speed boost. Because lesjones.com has so many pages and images, it seemed likely that Cloudflare hadn’t seen them yet, so it hadn’t cached them.
To solve that problem I ran a linkchecker that accessed every linked page and embedded image on the site. That seems to have helped. Compared to the control period, performance has improved 34%. For my site that’s an average load time that’s about 2.3 seconds faster. Not bad at all considering it took almost no effort.
One thing that concerns me is that the page load sample for last week was extremely small – just seven pages compared to 24 for the control period. For various reasons Google Analytics can’t* and doesn’t** collect page timings for all pages.
Both of those page load samples are very small as a percentage of traffic – just 0.45 for last week. At work the number is about 16%. I’m really not sure why the sample here is so small, but I’m going to continue the test for another week to be sure the results aren’t a fluke.
* From Google Analytics Help: “Site speed tracking occurs only for visits from those browsers that support the HTML5
Navigation Timing interface or have the Google Toolbar installed. Typically this includes: Chrome, Firefox 7 and above, Internet Explorer 9 and above, Android 4.0 browser and above, as well as earlier versions of Internet Explorer with the Google Toolbar installed.”
** That same help section says that “By default, a fixed 1% sampling of your site visitors make up the data pool from which the page timing metrics are derived.” However, that doesn’t match the numbers on this site or the one I manage at work.
In sailing, a brigantine or hermaphrodite brig is a vessel with two masts, only the forward of which is square rigged.
Origins of the term
Originally the brigantine was a small ship carrying both oars and sails. It was a favorite of Mediterranean pirates and its name comes from the Italian word brigantino, meaning brigand, and applied by extension to his ship. By the 17th century the term meant a two-masted ship. In the late 17th century, the Royal Navy used the term brigantine to refer to small two-masted vessels designed to be rowed as well as sailed, rigged with square rigs on the foremast and fore-and-aft rigging on the mainmast.
By the first half of the 18th century the word had evolved to refer not to a ship type name, but rather to a particular type of rigging: square rigged on the foremast and fore-and-aft rigged on the mainmast.[Note 1] The word “brig” is an 18th-century shortening of the word brigantine, which came to mean a vessel square-rigged on both masts. The early Oxford English Dictionary (with citations from 1720 to 1854) still defined brig as being either identical to a brigantine, or alternatively, a vessel of similar sail plan to a modern brig. By the middle of the 19th century modern meanings had more or less stabilised, although purists continue to debate the exact differences, or lack of them, between brig, brigantine, and hermaphrodite brig in both English and American usage.
I ran across this one in the lyrics of The Stone Roses’ “Waterfall.”
Previous WOTD – Image Macro