October 31, 2005

Civilization IV

Filed under: Culture,Technology — mmrobins @ 5:06 pm

Civ 4 is here and I’ve had most of a weekend to play with it.  The most obvious improvement is the graphics.  I’m pleased that with Civ games, graphics improvements add to the gameplay and aren’t just there for show, like they are with most games. (more…)

Halloween Party at Deborahs

October 30th, 2005
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October 29, 2005

Flock – Firefox Based Social Networking Browser

Filed under: Technology — mmrobins @ 3:58 am
Flickr Photo

I’m making this post with the del.icio.us (how I store my bookmarks/favorites), Flickr (where I store my photos).  So far I like Flock, and am going to keep playing with it.  You can drag your public Flickr photos into a blog post, which is kinda cool so I’m going to do that right now (a picture of me looking SOOO cool).  There’s things that could be slicker (able to login to flickr to drag private photos, better formatting of the picture you drag into your post, spellcheck in the blog post would be huge), but it’s already pretty slick.

UpdateOkay, after posting that last bit I went to look at it and it’s not so slick. It converted all my html so that it displayed as text. I guess this is cool if you only write text, but I’m used to doing some html formatting. There doesn’t seem to be a setting to let you type in html. It also very badly aligned the photos, so I had to go back in and fix that up. It’s got potential though.

I haven’t tried the rss aggregator, but I really like using BlogLines so far. With Bloglines I can check my feeds from anywhere and don’t need an installed program other than a web browser.

October 28, 2005

Google Adsense Day Fourish – Sense of Blog Worth

Filed under: General,Technology — mmrobins @ 12:30 pm

I haven’t made a cent since the first day. If anything this AdSense experiment has shown me that writing almost completely for myself, unless I have people reading this using RSS feeds that don’t register as a page view in the AdSense stats. Of course, I started of mostly writing this blog for myself, followed by friends and family, so I’m not surprised that my traffic is so low.

I think to make AdSense worthwhile and effective I would need a blog about a specific topic, and then I would have to do some work to get links to the blog, join networks, maybe have some sort of marketing campaign. In other words a lot of work.

You can get an interesting comparative sort of idea of how much your blog might be worth in advertising based on some numbers from AOL’s purchase of the Weblogs, Inc blog network. I was surprised that my former political blog www.ministryotruth.com was worth about $5000 according to them. Of course, it really isn’t worth that if nobody will pay me for it, but it goes to show me that I had a few more links than I thought. It was too much work though and it didn’t turn out to be as collaborative as I had hoped.

October 25, 2005

Google Adsense Day Two

Filed under: Technology — mmrobins @ 11:42 am

I think I found out a small part of how Google prevents you from just going to your own website and clicking ads: they just ignore a bunch of clicks all coming from the same source. I’m sure this is obvious, and I wasn’t trying to run up my ad revenue by clicking my own ads, but in testing my ads I did click on them a lot, and my revenue for yesterday was nada. Zilch. Zip. Not even the 7 whole cents that I made the first day. I think I was the only one visiting my blog though.

It seems like they don’t update your daily earnings until the end of the day. I’m sure there’s forums or guides out there that explain all this, and I may invest the time to read one if I ever get serious about using this kind of advertising, but for now I just want to get a feel for how it works.

October 24, 2005

Trying Out Google AdSense

Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 6:55 am

I never wanted to have ads on my website, but I’ve become a big fan of Google’s AdSense ads. I’ve actually found the targeted advertising to be sometimes useful instead of being a distraction – like advertising normally is. (more…)

October 23, 2005

The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century

Filed under: Culture,Technology — mmrobins @ 7:46 am

My coworker Dennis and I frequently have discussions about politics, business, and technology and where all are heading. Dennis raised a good point to me the other day: since he and I are so constantly exposed to ways technology is being used, why aren’t we thinking up some new way to use the internet as a business platform. The main driving force behind this questioning was the book “The World is Flat” by Thomas L. Friedman. (more…)

Pumpkin Carving Party

October 23rd, 2005
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October 20, 2005

Statewide Windows

Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 8:51 am

Someone knocked on our door tonight for a free window audit from Statewide Windows. In addition to the free audit we get a $25 gasoline card. Sounds like a good deal to me since I spend nothing, get someone to tell me about energy efficiency, and they give me $25 in free gas. The company looks reputable online, so we’ll see how it turns out when they come to do the audit. I’ll update here.

Update October 22nd, 2005. A sales lady named Cindy came to the house and measured our windows and gave us a presentation on windows. The UniFrame window that only Statewide sells was very impressive in the demo, blocking a ton of heat (supposedly R10 value), and being very well made. We have a window in our downstairs bedroom that is too small to make code since it’s a slider, which only allows half the window opening to be used as an egress and the whole opening just barely would be big enough for code. We wanted to replace that anyway, but Cindy told us our upstairs bedrooms weren’t big enough for code. So we got price quotes to replace all those windows and expand our downstairs bathroom window. The quote looked really, really good, so Kim and I talked about it and decided to just get it done, especially since they offer a “success discount” of 11% if you place your order that night. However, she messed up her math. The quote ended up being about 70% more than the original. We were exhausted at this point as we had been talking windows for 4 hours and just wanted to go to bed so we agreed to the price knowing that we had three days to cancel the contract, so we just signed it and went to bed.

The next morning I measured the upstairs windows and found that they were just barely code. One of them had an opening that was just over 5.7 sq feet and the other was less than 5.7, but was on the ground floor and more than 5 sq ft. This code mistake and lack of knowledge, combined with the higher price that changed on us gave us a bad feeling and we decided to cancel the order. Kim called and said that we wanted to cancel and Cindy said okay, but didn’t bother to tell us that we had to send a notice of cancellation in by certified mail. It’s a good thing I read that before the date that I needed to make the decision.

Overall it seems like Statewide has a good product and is a good company, but the make a decision now sales tactics and pricing raising math errors were enough to make us reconsider doing business. Perhaps in the future after we’ve done some more research we’d consider statewide, but I have a feeling that their prices may be a little higher than I’m willing to spend.

Update October 25th, 2005 Despite calling Cindy twice to say that we wanted to cancel, faxing in a copy of the request to cancel, and sending a certified letter yesterday (which to be fair I doubt they’ve received until today), someone from Statewide today stopped by and put their sign in our yard and wants to setup a time to do the precision measuring of the windows. I’m hoping this is just a mistake in the paperwork and not another pushy business tactic.

Update November 1st, 2005 My money was all refunded no problem. I’m planning to shop around and get some more bids before I go any further with this project. I don’t know enough to make a good decision yet.

Birthday Weekend

October 17th, 2005
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