Archive for: March 2008

March 31, 2008

RSS Tutorial – what browsers?

Filed under: Technology,Website — Les Bain @ 11:03 am

What browsers are using used to access the RSS Tutorial?


I was not familiar with two of the browsers and had to look them up.

  • Camino is a Mac OS X-native browser built on Mozilla’s Gecko rendering engine.
  • Konqueror is an Open Source web browser with HTML 4.01 compliance

The second thing of interest is that Firefox has such a high percentage. Firefox is approximately 10% of the Internet Population. It is no surprise that a Technical Tutorial would have a higher percentage for Firefox, but I am surprised it is that high.

March 30, 2008

Upgraded to WordPress 2.5

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 7:27 pm

I upgraded today to WordPress 2.5. It went very smoothly. In fact, it was incredibly smooth.

I had read posts of others that had upgraded, and they had to reactivate all plugins, but I did not even have to do that. I only have a couple of active plugins: maybe that was the reason.

No changes to the template or the presentation was required.

Everything so far seems to be in order.

The changes are significant enough to have to look for things that are in new places, but it is a clean design.

I published this post which was the last test.

I had problems with some plugins with the previous version, so I will try them again with the new version in the next week.

March 29, 2008

WordPress tables using plugin wp-table

Filed under: Blogging,Internet,Technology — Les Bain @ 3:36 pm

I like to use tables. I use them in Word frequently. Word Press has a new plugin called wp-table that helps define tables in WordPress.  Table can be completely controlled using CSS.

March 28, 2008

Political Pundits

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 2:47 pm

I have not had the news channels on for a few weeks, but I have them on today. I think that without too much difficulty, we should be able to create robotic talking political pundits.

When we watch the talking heads, we first of all want to know who they support.

  • Do they support the Democratic or Republican party?
  • If Democratic, do they support Senator Obama or Senator Clinton

Once we know that, we can predict much of what they are going to say.

There are some people on the national scene that are not predictable: Chelsea Clinton, Senator Obama, and Senator McCain.

  • Could anyone have predicted what Senator Obama would say about race?
  • Could anyone have predicted that Senator McCain would say we might need to stay in Iraq for 100 years.
  • Could anyone have predicted that Chelsea would say that Senator Clinton would make the better president than her father.

They are all three authentic voices.

March 26, 2008


Filed under: Blogging,Personal — Les Bain @ 3:33 pm

I am delighted to have any readers to this blog.  The earlier post was unclear on that concept.  I am surprised, but I am delighted.

Most people that write want readers.  There are exceptions of course.  J.D. Salinger comes to mind.  But there is a class of writers, those that write personal diaries, that do not seek readers.  This blog is the closest I have ever come to a personal diary.

I know for many that this is not even close to a revealing blog, but for me, it is revealing.

But the bottom line is I welcome any and all readers.


Filed under: Blogging,Personal — Les Bain @ 4:11 am

When I started this blog, I did not promote it. I did not register on directories or publicize. I did not use this blog on my signature even, using the home page of my website instead. I wrote about various things, some far more personal that I would have imagined I would have written about.

Now there are some people reading this blog according to the Feedburner stats and the Google Analytics. It makes me self conscious. When I first started writing it was for myself, now I find that there are readers.

Now what do I do? 🙂

Writing Code

Filed under: Personal,Technology — Les Bain @ 4:03 am

I was up late tonight writing PHP code.  I have spent many late nights writing code.  It is an immensely enjoyable activity.

  • It is a mental challenge – the ultimate puzzle if you will.
  • It is an effort to bring organization to chaos.  Writing clean code that automates a process helps define the process.
  • It is a creative effort.  Creating a system or a process that is a elegant solution to a problem is a creative act.
  • It is a constant reminder that big problems can be solved if they are broken down into bite size pieces and tackled one at a time.
  • And at this point in time in my life, it is a reminder that when an idea comes, it has to be immediately written down if it is to be remembered.  That is not a problem, it just requires a process to capture thoughts as I work.

Tonight was particularly rewarding because the script I wrote automates a process that I do with some regularity.

March 22, 2008

RSS Tutorial

Filed under: Internet,Technology — Les Bain @ 9:30 pm

I wrote and maintain an RSS Tutorial. I save RSS articles, products and services into an RSS link blog. Periodically, I review the articles and update the tutorial. I do not claim to be an expert; I wrote the tutorial so that I could learn RSS.

I am going through the update process now. The tutorial was written in 2005.

In 2005, the RSS issue that everyone was writing about was:

  • How to get people to use RSS.

In 2008, the issues are different.

  • How to control the influx of information that RSS provides. The products and services are RSS pipes, filters, and mashups.
  • How to expand RSS to multiple platforms. Products and services send RSS to Instant Messengers, iPhones, SMS, and email.
  • How to use RSS for more types of information. Use RSS to subscribe to calendar information, books, and friend information.
  • How RSS being used to increase Internet spam. Products and services scrape websites into RSS feeds to create spam websites. Ah well.

I have a cold – the common cold

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 8:22 pm

I have a cold. It is often called the common cold. Even though I am working every day, it is certainly affecting my productivity.

I have noticed something however, and that is a general feeling that a cold should not stop one from being productive. If I say I have a cold and that I have been unable to get to everything, the general response is to help me out and suggest that I probably have a virus, or the flu, or a bug, or a particularly nasty cold. The general feeling is that it has to be more than a cold or one could soldier through.

But I have not taken the help, and continue to say I have a cold, the common cold. That is enough. We all know the symptoms – sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, and cough.

We all know that the medications only help with the symptoms. It normally takes 7-14 days to get over a cold. It is the same whether you take medications or not.

My priority is not to pass it along. I try to do all the things to prevent that. I wash my hands. I am very careful not to touch things the rest of the family touches without wiping with a sterile wipe.

So far so good, my cold is going through the normal progression, and no one else in the family has it.

March 18, 2008


Filed under: Personal,Technology — Les Bain @ 8:59 pm

I gave up on my experiment to backup to my Web Hosting site using an FTP backup.  I registered for Mozy and the first long backup has started.  It should take 10 days or so.

What I like about Mozy.

  • You can pay by the month
  • You can backup an unlimited amount
  • You can backup an external drive (which Carbonite would not do)

I will have some vulnerability for a few days, but then I should be ok again.  I do have onsite backups using an external drive.

Out of the Fog

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 5:34 am

There are periods in my life when even though I am being productive, I feel like I am in a fog.  Things are just not crisp and clear.  I manage to get through everything, but only because I follow lists and consistently remind myself to stay on task and especially stay on priority task.

Then one day I wake up and all is clear and crisp.  I probably do not look any different to the outside world, but everything in the world is more vivid.  Things get done effortlessly, I get up without an alarm clock, and I look around and see some tasks that seemed so difficult are easily completed or canceled.

There are always minor things that were not done.  The desk is dusty, the monitor is dirty, and the wires are tangled.  As I talk on the phone and do other tasks, these things will be quickly completed.

I never notice when I am going into the fog, but I always notice when I start to leave.

March 16, 2008

Affiliate Marketing

Filed under: Affiliates — Les Bain @ 7:16 pm

I am spending a fair amount of time reading about affiliate marketing.  I am starting to investigate getting into affiliate marketing.

  • I am reading blogs of Affiliate Marketers.
  • I listened to the podcasts from the Affiliate Summit 2008.
  • I am surfing Affiliate Marketing sites.

It is certainly the sort of business where the few at the top make a significant percentage of the profits.

March 13, 2008

Eliot Spitzer and the Internet

Filed under: Internet,Politics — Les Bain @ 5:42 pm

The Internet is such a part of our lives, that when a story like the Eliot Spitzer scandal breaks, the Internet parts of the story are just the normal background.

  • Of course Google news and other services had the stories.
  • Of course the bloggers wrote about the story. Podcasters talked about the story. Hundreds of videos were uploaded to YouTube.
  • The wikipedia entry for Eliot Spitzer was updated. An entry for the alleged prostitution ring named in the story, the Emperors Club VIP, is created.
  • The website of the escort service, The Emperors Club, is taken down. It is rescued from the Internet Archive WayBack Machine. Webmasters review the rescued website and find it is not very sophisticated, proving one again that a good product is better then good marketing.
  • Eliot Spitzer supposedly was called Client9. Someone immediately registered the client9 domain name and put it up for sale.  The speculation about Client1 through Client8 started.
  • The alleged prostitute is named Kristen. People searched the Internet looking for Kristen. Women named Kristen went on record as saying it was not them.
  • Fox News created a blog post where anyone could leave a comment for Eliot’s wife Silda. Most offered prayers and advice. A few men offered a chance for revenge.

In other words, business as usual on the Internet.

A Quote

Filed under: Personal,Politics — Les Bain @ 5:20 pm

“All charming people have something to conceal, usually their total dependence on the appreciation of others.” Cyril Connolly

I saw this quote today, and in the midst of zipping through the email and RSS feeds it brought me up short. I started thinking about Politicians who are charming.

  • Bill Clinton
  • John Kennedy

Perhaps their dependence on the appreciation of others was their downfall. President Clinton certainly seems to be able to stretch any story to suit himself, and I say that as a President Clinton admirer. Both seemed to depend on the appreciation of women.

On the other hand, we have politicians who are more often described as forceful, confident and sometimes arrogant:

  • Eliot Spitzer

When they get in trouble, it is usually associated with being overly confident.

With politicians, no matter what sort of personality, it is good judgment that matters most in the end. In the debate about experience versus judgment, I side with judgment.

March 11, 2008

Jason Calacanis and the Affiliate Summit

Filed under: Internet,Technology — Les Bain @ 10:11 pm

I had a chance today to listen to the recording of Jason Calacanis giving the keynote address at the Affiliate Summit. Then I read the blog posts from those that were there. Jason generated a lot of controversy. That is nothing new. I think there are times when the heat obscures the light Jason shines on a topic.

I pay attention to Jason Calacanis.

  • I read Jason’s blog.
  • When Jason was at AOL, Netscape was my homepage.
  • I listen to Jason when he is on TWIT.
  • I listen when Jason is on the Gillmor gang and the other gangs.
  • I follow Jason on Twitter.
  • I pay attention to Mahalo.
  • I listen online to his keynotes at various summits.

Understand that this is not an obsessive following, I just think he is right a good deal of the time. I lived in a major East Coast city before I moved to California, so his style is very familiar.

Here is my little secret. I take what I learn from Jason and use it in my business and with my clients. I have a much different style than Jason, so I am seen as insightful but not controversial. There is of course a downside also; I do not have nearly the publicity. But I am ok with that.

Thanks Jason.

How Many Blogs do you Have?

Filed under: Blogging,Personal — Les Bain @ 8:51 pm

It often happens that when I am discussing something with a friend or colleague, they will mention they blogged about a particular subject.  If I respond and say that I read their blog and did not see it, they reply that is must have been on their one of their other blogs.

I find many people have a public blog, a more private blog, and a very private blog under an assumed name.  Some have more.  I never ask for one of the other blogs, respecting their privacy.

But it makes me wonder how prevalent it is.  Some of the popular bloggers seem to share everything on their public blogs, but they might indeed have private blogs for family, or just a blog they never share for a sort of private diary.

March 9, 2008

Sharing Tips and Techniques

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 7:34 pm

I have been working with computers for decades. I remember when the mainframe monitors were so expensive that everyone did not have one. To use a monitor, you went to the monitor area which was typically a table with a row of monitors placed in a line.

To use the monitor, one sat elbow to elbow with other programmers. It was very typical that while you were working, you would share information with the programmer sitting next to you.

  • Often it happened when you discovered a new technique which you shared with those sitting next to you.
  • It also happened when there were questions about the best way to accomplish a task.

It was unplanned but very beneficial to the organization. Soon however, everyone had a monitor on their desk and that sharing stopped. Many of us do not have the opportunity to share techniques with others in that way. Today we use forums, websites, and blogs to share techniques.

Over the last week, I have had the opportunity to work with another technician while we were both working on websites and other Internet projects. There was lots of sharing of techniques and tools. It was a most productive time. I learned a lot, and shared a lot.

It reminded me of the sharing from so long ago. I miss those days.

March 7, 2008

RSS Tutorial Work

Filed under: Internet,Personal — Les Bain @ 6:49 pm

I am working on my RSS Tutorial.

  • Set up the htaccess file so that each .htm file processes as a .php file.
  • Change all the includes to PHP server side includes.
  • Enhance the page footer.
    • Set automatic update of copyright date.
    • Set page footer is a server side include.
  • Enhance the header
    • Set the title as a PHP variable to be used in both the title and header information
    • Add Google adsense to header
  • Clean up the CSS. Make sure the pages will print correctly.

After the standard code is all set, I want to through the Tutorial and make all changes and updates.

March 5, 2008

My son and his collarbone

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 8:09 pm

I spent a good deal of time over the last week with my son.  He had surgery to repair a broken collar bone.  One arm is immobile and in a big sling, and he has pain from both the break and the surgery.

He needed help getting through the first couple of days, and now seems to be doing ok on his own.  He is documenting on his blog at

My son found a computer game he can play with one hand.  He can type almost 50 words a minute with one hand.

I am behind on everything else.  Today I am back in the office and starting through the pile of stuff.  Not every RSS feed will be read, many will be deleted straight away.  The emails I will read.

A trip to the library

Filed under: Internet,Personal — Les Bain @ 8:01 pm

My daughter and I went to the local library.  She and I both spend a significant amount of time online, and had lost of habit of going to the local library.

It was fun to be there, to browse the books, to see the people, and to chat with the library workers or volunteers about book selections.

It is slightly amusing that the book I checked out is one that is about the Internet and is freely available online. It is a book I wanted to read with my feet propped up without the laptop cooking my lap.  The book is The Cluetrain Manifesto.  

March 3, 2008

Affiliate Program

Filed under: Internet,Marketing — Les Bain @ 3:17 pm

I am continuing to research affiliate programs. To be a good affiliate marketer, it takes a wide range of skills, including

  • Website planning, design, construction, promotion, and maintenance
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Keyword Research
  • Copy writing

When I read the blogs of affiliates, most of them have a team of people, because it is so difficult for one person to have all those skills. I think perhaps the most important skill of all is process improvement. The ability to understand that what you are doing is a process, and that a process needs constant improvement. Most of the affiliate marketers I read have this skill because they talk about improving their processes and techniques.