Monthly Archives: July 2008

Hacking Vs. Troubleshooting

When I was in grade 11, I bought an old VW bug. Occasionally things went wrong with it. Did I complaint to VW or blog about it?
Of course not, the car was 26 years old, and there was no world-wide-web in 1989. If something went wrong with the car, I just looked for cheap solutions to fix it… Like when the gas tank rusted through, pulling a gas tank from a similar beetle in an auto-scrap yard. Or when the steering went, re-attaching it by bending and tying a coat hanger around the steering shaft.
Fast forward 7 years to 1996. When some software package wouldn’t work just right on my Mac, did I complain or blog about it? Basically same answers to the VW… On one occasion I contacted Apple Canada to mail me some printer drivers on floppy disc. The most public complaining I might have done would be at a Mac Users group.
Fast forward to the 2000s. When personal hacks, troubleshooting fail to resolve issues, where do I go?
I Google error codes/messages and find solutions other people have gone to the trouble of posting to the web.

I am grateful for this, and yet don’t take part in the online community as much as I think I should. I don’t have a high enough rank on Yahoo Answers to rate others’ answers, don’t have trackbacks linking my WordPress blog to others, and most times can’t even bother finding the right online Forum/BBS to post my questions to.

Despite that I do occasionally post technical issues, like bugs, or just usability issues with web-applications/software in my blog or some where.

Why do I do this?
I do this with the hope that someone from the company that owns that site/software will address the issue in future releases, and that people with similar issues will stumble across my posting and perhaps offer useful work-arounds. But I stress occasionally. Most times, I just look for the hack or work-around or even just giving up using the software for awhile, hoping that others will complain about it and it will get fixed the next time I come back. And I think this “pragmatic” method of letting the next person worry about an issue is how most people handle the perceived problems with computer software or life. So I guess the reason I titled this Hacking Vs. Troubleshooting was that I find myself seeing the need for more “trouble-shooting” and “fixing” in the world and yet realizing the economic realities that in 99% of the cases, I have to leave issues/pass the buck and let it be “somebody else’s problem”.

Windows Messenger – Phishing Attack?

This Indian programmer friend of mine who I haven’t spoken to in ages sent this URL:

http://<my MSN log in-ID>

I clicked on it and there’s this cute screen asking me to log in with MSN messenger info.  I thought it was a Flash Client for MSN Messenger.  I have seen them for AOL and ICQ.  But there was something odd about it.  And considering I was already logged in, I thought “why bother”.  The my friend logged off instantenious.  Most likely it wasn’t him sending me that URL, but he had inadvertently been suckered in by it, and logged in where after the site sent out URLs to all the people on his contact list…

I Googled this morning it only to fine one German web site on it.  Now I see a Hebrew page for it too.

Can’t tell yet, but I wouldn’t log into that if I where you…

cPanel/WHM plug-in for Facebook

I think it would be cool to have a little Facebook application which would give you key stats from your cPanel or other web-server. It could give statistics on things like: disk space, bandwidth and access hits for every day over the last week; just a basic summary. It would also of course give you links to key areas in cPanel like email management etc.
Just looking up

There is a very basic one now, called Server Monitor, but it basically just shows if your server is up/down, and some basic stats on up-time.

Advertising on Facebook-Improvement Idea

I’ve done some Facebook advertising for some non-profit organizations in Japan. I’irrelevant Facebook adve been impressed with it. Mind you it’s very much based on the kind of stuff that Overture (Yahoo! Search Marketing) and Google-Ad Words do. But it allows for better demographic targeting as Facebook knows so much about its members. 😉 (I’m not scared, are you?)

Actually I’m so not-scared of Facebook knowing my info, that I wish it would not show me ads for regional events, when I’ve already posted that I’m going to be out of the country…. With that said, that location stuff isn’t really working yet. Lots of third-party FB apps, but nothing that Facebook can really use to even better direct its advertising to me.

On the other hand, Gmail ads are probably the most relevant and helpful advertising I get. Like it knows I’m going to New York and Halifax soon, and recommends all kinds of helpful services for these areas. But even then Gmail can only be as relavent as the email I send and receive, and 80% of the advertising there is also un-interersting.

I think Facebook should know I’m a native speaker of English and stop advertising ESL classes, and also know I’m going to be out of the country on July 19th and not tell me about some “Elections in America” seminar in Tokyo at that time.