Squeeky Wheel

Something I haven’t mentioned all that much, is the importance of getting your site linked on other sites. Especially popular ones. Not only do they directly drive traffic to your site, but they can help you with your page ranking on various search engines and aggegators. The problem is, the web servants of these pages are not going to do it until you do one of three things to get their attention and affection:

  1. Engage the target web servant with some correspondence that is interesting and useful them, e.g. Glen & Paula Davis regarding some spam tactics;
  2. Come up with something useful and/or unusual such as Dave King’s Who Links Who aggregator, which I really need to move over to blogs4God.com;
  3. Or bug &/or beg your target until they relent, such as Bene Diction who is laying a guilt trip on me for not reciprocating his link to my site (and rightfully so !-).

Okay, you have marching orders, now be implementers of this blog instead of just spectators.

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When is Syndication Stealing?

To the right of this blog’s front page, down a scroll or four, you’ll see a link in gray entitled “Syndicate this site (XML)“. Click on this link, and depending on your browser, you might see a hierarchical break-down of my most recent articles.

I’ve provided this file, not for human consumption, but for tools known as ‘aggregators.’ Hopefully they pick up my titles and abstracts, and publish them with links back to this site. In a sense, they’re advertising my site for free. This entire process is referred to as ‘syndication.’

However, after reading a current discussion over at BlogRoots entitled “Rethinking Syndication?” – it seems to me that if you provide TOO much information in your RSS/XML files, then you give opportunity for what is called stealing.

Such is the fuss raised on John H. Farr’s FarrFeed blog. Personally, I’m not sure if its an issue with the default RSS mechanism that comes ‘out-of-the-box’ with RadioUserLand’s excellent blog tool, or perhaps just to generous a template. The point is, if you consider the ‘heart of the law’ and not just the letter, then I think Señor Farr’s is right to complain when NuZee mirrored his articles in their entirety without his consent. Provided one doesn’t consider an RSS/XML file implied consent. Hence the swirling controversy.

Yeah, I know. Like we need yet another legal issue for the internet!

So my advice to those of you who prefer liturgical issues over legal, know your software, and figure out whether or not it syndicates. If you discover (or already know) that your system syndicates via an RSS/RDF/XML file, then take time to look a that file and make sure you’re saying enough, without saying too much.

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A selective list of the 7 Deadly Sins

Since Heal Your Church Website has everything to do with churches and web design, I thought it fun to compile a list of the ‘Seven Deadly Sins of Web Design.’ However, being such a catchy phrase, I figured surely there would be one or two sites out there bearing the same title and simlar content. So to avoid confusion and accusations of plagiarism I decided to check it out. WOW. I was wrong. There aren’t one or two, but dozen such sites. Each unique, each having something useful to say.

While I have every good intention of developing my own list sometime in the future, I figured I would give you some of these links on order of preference (on my part). Most are useful. Some are ironic. I’ve found most, if not all, the regular readers here to be really, really smart people. So I figure … well … you’ll figure it out which end is what and what end is up:

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Whatta Waste

I found this picture via a referrer … it may not be obscene to you-non geeks, but for someone who’s always wanted to build a Beowulf Cluster as a fun, non-sensical project with the youth at Church … it brought tears to my eyes … oh, the humanity!

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Apple: Burn DVDs–and we’ll burn you

C|Net’s Tech News.com reports Apple: Burn DVDs–and we’ll burn you

“WASHINGTON–Apple Computer has invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to prevent its customers from burning DVDs on external drives.

Earlier this month, the company’s lawyers sent a stiff warning to an Apple dealer, warning that a patch to Apple’s iDVD burning software ran afoul of the controversial 1998 copyright law.

Again, yet another situation where I’m being accused falsely because it is assumed that if I want to burn a CD, it must be for something illegal. Forget the fact that I might want to create a DVD of my 2.75 year old daughter to mail down to YiaYia and Popou. Forget that I’d like to scan my dated legal documents and archive them on a single slot on my bookshelf. Obviously, I’m a no good crook.

I’ve never owned an Apple computer, though I got intimate with them when I worked for the now long aquired Falcon MicroSystems back in the early 90’s. I always admired the machines multi-media capabilities. What has kept me from ever owning one was Apple’s closed architecture.

Another opinion I personally came to was that I percieved an attitude that if you wanted to upgrade, you need to buy a whole new platform. Something that I think is really behind this flap over their DVD Enabler’s capability to write to external Mercury Pro DVD-R/RW FireWire drive. Yet another personal reason why I have yet to own an Apple Computer.

My point? Hardware, software or web sites – do NOT assume your joe average users/customers to be guilty. Even if it is merely a guise to sell more stuff.

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Windows 2000 Catch 22 Redux!

Jeff Drummond, who runs the HIPAA Blog has been incredibly generous with his time and energy responding to an email based upon a previous blog of mine on the same topic.

Go there. Read it. Enjoy it. Scratch your head several times and realize this is why one should always seek the advice of a legal professional on such issues.

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Disabling the Right Click

Please open your copy of ‘The Book‘ to pages 264 and 265. There you will see me disparaging those persons who break my browser by using Javascript to disable my right key click. You may also notice a link to a web service I wrote for Vincent’s site that gets around this stupidity.

Any web servant who has taken the time to read Mark Pilgrim’s Dive Into Accessibility should understand the evils of breaking your user’s browsers by disabling various functions they expect. For example, I expect to be able to right click so I can open a new window. Yet there are those web servants out there who’s ego and/or paranoia are such that they just assume everyone who right clicks is out to steal. Well thank you very much for bearing a false testimony against your brother!

What I personally find ironic is that most, if not all such sites are so poorly coded, it’s not even worth looking at the source or right-clicking the links using the SamSpade Safe Browser. Nor is it worth a second trip back to the site.

About the only thing worse than this are those right-click nazis who also use the target= argument for their hyperlinks to throw open a new window – which inadvertently breaks the functionality of the back button.

Not convinced? Perhaps an article entitled ‘Don’t Disable Right Click!‘ by Rosemarie Wise will change your mind.

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Windows 2000 Catch 22?

Is Win2k SP3 HIPAA Compliant? This is the question posed on /. by an individual working with medical records who is bound by the HIPAA to keep the data secure.

Essentially he asks if the intrusive EULA associated with the install of the Windows 2k Service Pack 3 doesn’t compromise the security of this sensitive data just as much as the leaky unpatched versions?

Wow, talk about darned if you do, darned if you don’t! I wonder what Ernie the Attorney thinks about all this?

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PHP and the ADODB

We’ve been discussing language and databases over that the Meta Blog Initiative Discussion Board. One suggestion I offered was in response to someone who preferred Postgres over MySQL. I suggested we avoid such a potentially explosive religious debate altogether by using a code library that is all things to all database. Basically what I suggested was that if blogMD goes PHP, then we should consider the ADOdb Database Library for PHP.

With my Verizon DSL still down, my blogging time is limited. So allow me to direct you to a good article on how the ADOdb will allow you to add database connectivity to your data-driven web pages without concerning yourself too much over the variety of vernaculars implemented by the milieu of RDBMS offerings:
          The Melonfire Community: PHP Application Development With ADODB

Is it possible to do the same with Perl? Yes. But I’ve got work-work to do so I’ll cover that later today/tonight.

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