Distributed Computing

From PC World: 11 Uses for an Old PC

Distributed Computing.

Want to do a little good for humanity? How about dedicating your old PC to one of the various public distributed computing projects?

The best known is probably Folding@Home. Folding@Home uses computing resources from all over the world to help study protein folding, an essential element to understanding how many diseases operate. If your old PC has a fairly new graphics card, that hardware can often pitch in as well, and offer up even more computing resources. Other distributed computing ventures include:

My Seven Links

MyTripBase started the My 7 Links project. It’s a blog meme but you can just pick your seven links and pass the idea along, or not. On Twitter, search for the #My7Links hashtag.

To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

1) Blogger is nominated to take part
2) Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category.

This shouldn’t take you long to do – don’t over-think it!
– Your most beautiful post
– Your most popular post
– Your most controversial post
– Your most helpful post
– A post whose success surprised you
– A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved
– The post that you are most proud of

I have way too many posts over more than ten years of blogging and writing online. Just the thought of going through and picking out seven is daunting.  I put this aside to get done (sometime last year) and did not get anywhere with it. But, I don’t want to leave it in drafts so here it is for others to take up the project. Good luck!

Good Bye iGoogle Start Page

I like having a start page when I open my web browser. I’ve been using iGoogle from the start because I liked it. I didn’t really need or use much of the features. Mainly, it was a welcome each time I started up the Internet. I could check the weather, I could use the bookmarks I had created to quickly get onto whatever I was planning to do. Or, I could search for anything on Google and open a new window to check Gmail at the same time.

I will miss iGoogle, not because it was especially useful but just because it was there.

Someone has started a petition to keep iGoogle, if you want to get in on that. I won’t. It’s progress of some sort for Google I guess. But, I think they have under used the start page aspect of iGoogle and now it’s being abandoned entirely.

De-Lurking Day/ Week

Traditionally in January but… I’m posting about it today.

BlogHer: National Delurking Day 2011: Say Hello to your Favorite Bloggers

Amid Life’s Crises: Did I Miss National Delurking Week?

Rude Cactus: Delurking Day 2011

The oldest post I could find about Delurking Day was from 2003 and even that post attributes the idea to another blog on LiveJournal (which comes up 404). We may never know for sure where it came from. I remember posting about it years ago but I can’t find my original post. I’ve searched my own blogs with every version of ‘lurk and delurk’. Just proves the fallibility of the search versus my own human brain.

Schmutzie started The Great MoFo Delurk in 2007 but I don’t know if she kept it going. (No search feature on her blog).

Judging Criteria

HubPages is having a writing contest. But, the judging criteria aren’t all about writing a good post, for readers. They want a crappy SEO title. Not a title that might interest or intrigue readers, no… just something spammy for search engines. This bugs me! Plus, they want people to use their own photos yet HubPages doesn’t want people to retain copyrights to their images. A bit backwards then to suggest people use their own photos. They also like video in posts. I very much hate video posts, or video in post, so that just won’t be happening on any post of mine.

Mainly, I admit, the SEO stuff irks me. It always has. It’s so artificial and phony. I did change my title to something boring and bullshitty, just to give my post a touch more chance. I don’t really have much chance. There is only so much artificial junk I can stand. Besides, the idea was to answer a question posed on the site. So, unless I pretty much ignore the original question and go spinning off on a tangent of my own… I’m doomed to be writing about a topic that has been written about before, frequently.

Don’t knock tangent spinning though. At least that wouldn’t be a boring blah blah blah SEO post.


  • The extent to which the entry accurately answers the Question asked
  • The presence and quality of original photos and video
  • Whether the entry is on a long-tail, niche topic that has not been extensively covered online
  • Whether the entry has a search-friendly title (mirrors common search terms)
  • Excellent writing (proper use of grammar, capitalization)
  • The entry’s uniqueness (not copied or paraphrased from elsewhere online, full of details, examples, names, and figures)
  • Attractive formatting (avoidance of excessive link, eBay, or Amazon capsule clutter, excessive bolding or italics, and all-caps)
  • Judicious use of relevant capsules (original photos [especially your own], video, maps, tables, links, etc.)

Verifying for Technorati: 7HJRKVU9FTCE

Are Workshops Any Good?

Are Workshops Any Good? – Reprinted from the WordCraft newsletter on BackWash.com

If you can find the right Workshop group, it can be invaluable. These are people who care about you. They are people who want you to succeed. They are people who will honestly tell you what you have done well and what needs improvement. They will never attack you personally.

A writer’s group can provide you with the essential feedback that you need. For many years I made the trip from the Outback of Nevada to Carson City to attend Ash Canyon Poets weekly poetry workshop. There were a few rules:
1. Bring a copy of your poem for everyone in the group.
2. Read your poem aloud to the group as they follow along.
3. Comment on the poem.
4. If is your poem, listen to the comments.
5. There are no personal attacks.
6. You have the option to accept or reject the comments given.
7. Everyone has a right to be heard.

There were a few unspoken rules. Everyone is at a different stage of development, and we respect that. The youngest were in their teens and the oldest were in their 80’s. Some were published, and some were just beginning to write.

Ash Canyon Poets is a support group for poets. It is a group who encourages poetry in all venus. It respects all forms of poetry. And it does encourage writers to publish when they are ready. Ash Canyon saw me through the first years of writing. They were there and cheered for me when the first publication came. They are still there encouraging poets in Northern Nevada. That group is one of the few groups of people I sorely miss after having moved to the Midwest.

Today I quit two online groups. One group was supposedly a support group for writers. I never saw one critique but I did see a lot of publishing to the list. The other was a list I had belonged to for a number of years, but recently comments had degenerated to “it sucks” and “the poetry here is monumentally underwhelming.” Neither group was supportive. One was a ego group and the other became a group where, if you posted something that was a “work in progress” you were personally slammed and/or received nothing but negative criticism, if any.

Do I still believe in the value of workshops? Of course I do. The lessons learned at Ash Canyon Poets serve me well even today. And they are a model against which I will judge all other groups.

Will I continue to search for a group? Yes. I value the support and interaction between writers who have a common goal: becoming better writers and helping others do the same.

Thinking of my Archives at the End of the Old Year

“Blog archives are the heart and history of your blog.”

Quoted from About Blogging Guide (Twitter link), Susan Gunelius. This is how I feel about my blog archives and the very reason I keep them rather than weeding through or deleting them as some popular bloggers recommend.

This blog is almost 6 years old (anniversary January 2, 2006). This blog has over 1750 posts. The archives for this blog are extensive. Very few people would want to look back and try to find anything in particular in the archives. It would take awhile. Instead people search using words, not dates.

But, here we have all these nice archives. Built up over years, something to look back on with pride. It’s a shame to waste them.

I’ve been feeling I need to make changes with this blog. A new outlook, something to make it more personal for me again and something that focuses on what I really do know about and experience versus what I think I should be and do. I don’t give myself credit for anything I can do well, instead I pick on myself for anything I’m not great at. So too much of my focus goes into trying to become someone else. Meanwhile, the great things I already have get pushed to the back.

Looking into my own archives, everything I’ve been doing these past 6 years in this blog, is a way to reconnect with myself and figure out how to get where I want to be and how I can change and create something fresh.

Resources to Read:

Confident Writing: What’s Hiding in your Archives and How to Find the Treasure in your Archives

ProBlogger: Updating Old Posts on your Blog

Franklin Bishop: 6 WordPress Archive Plugins

Has your Content been Scraped?

3. Your Website’s Content Got “Scraped”

If your rankings suddenly deteriorate, that could be because someone has stolen (or “scraped”) the content from your site and posted it somewhere else on the Web. In this case, search engines sometimes lower both sites’ rankings – then look deeper into the matter. Eventually, they are likely to start ranking your site as high as they used to before the incident, once they realize who copied whose content. However, this may take some time.

The Way Out

Dealing with content thieves normally involves locating the site that posted your content, contacting their webmaster, emailing their host, filing a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) request or taking the matter to court – whatever helps. It’s recommended to start with contacting the scrapers. If this does not help – take the other measures mentioned here.

via Rankings Dropped? 9 Possible Reasons and 9 Ways Out | The Ad Master – Advertise Everywhere.

Wikipedia: Web Scraping
Blue Glass: Content Scraping: Prevention, Repercussions, and… Benefits (Good information but has some link rot).
Perishable Press: How to Deal with Content Scrapers
The Blog Herald: The Six Steps to Stop Content Theft
Magnet4Marketing: 4 Ways to Help Prevent Content Scraping from Happening on your Blog

Don’t Behave with Cold Manners

I like Chinese fortune cookie fortunes. I’ve posted those I get a few times here. This is unique among them. What fortune writer wrote this? It’s fabulous. Not the meaning, but the language. I love the phrase ‘cold manners’. So descriptive and yet so simple. Who could fail to understand that meaning? (Yes, no doubt there is someone, somewhere…)

Don’t behave with cold manners.

Someone else must have had my same fortune, I found it mentioned on Your Dictionary: Funny Fortune Cookie Sayings. I don’t see it used anywhere else, in my web search at least. That was interesting. It’s such a good phrase.

Can you invent a great, simple and descriptive phrase to describe someone who is cool towards you, a typical ice queen or king?

I found a site where you can create and send fortune cookies online. You write the fortune yourself.

The Invisible Deep, Dark Web

The invisible web is what you can’t find using the usual search engines or web directories. The search engines have adapted so they can find some of the invisible web. Pages not created with standard HTML, sites created with other software or scripts didn’t always show up in searches.

So what’s still unavailable? Databases which use passwords or choose to block or restrict search access in some way. Anything which requires user interaction in order to use the site, becomes unavailable or invisible to standard searches.

You probably think this hidden content doesn’t really matter. You’ve found the information you need online and don’t see anything lacking. But, not everyone uses the web the same way. Those who want to research a topic or find detailed information may want a peek at the resources in the deep web. There is a report stating the invisible/ deep web is 500 times bigger than the standard web. Doesn’t that make you at least a bit curious?

You can investigate some of these extra resources yourself, even using a standard surface search. When you type in your search terms add words like: database, portal, directory to it. You may land at some page in a larger site and need to do some backtracking or know a bit about mining a site for it’s resources. However, it could be interesting to explore what’s out there in the deep, dark, invisible land of the WWW.

About.com: The Invisible Web
Internet Tutorials: The Deep Web
JEP: White Paper: The Deep Web: Surfacing Hidden Value
Wikipedia: Invisible Web
Wikipedia: Dark Internet
Those Dark Hiding Places: The Invisible Web Revealed (No longer being kept updated).
Search Engine Watch

Resources for Searching the Deep Web: