Almost an hour ago (or maybe more) one of the worlds most popular blogs, mashable, posted about Google Ads for Terrorism. Basically, Googles automated ad server, which picks up on keywords and displays ads based on those words, seems to advertise a lot of bad stuff.
eBay had this problem for a long time. A Google search for 'live slaves' would bring up eBay ads for 'Cheap Live Slaves!'. Fortunately, they have now been removed and the only ads for 'Live Slaves' now are for women. Phew.
Anyway, so I was thinking to myself, that if one of the worlds largest, most popular blogs posts about something that is very offensive to a lot of people and being perpetrated by the worlds largest and most respected internet behemoth, they are likely to fix it quick smart, right? Wrong. The thing is, this has been happening for a while A quick search on Google reveals hundreds of thousands of results. Interestingly, the first link I clicked on that criticised Google was apparently a malware site.
I continued to the site anyway despite the multiple full page warnings. There were a bunch of great examples of this approach to automated ad campaigns;
Surely, in this extreme technological period. The worlds largest online company can come up with an algorithm that would stop this from happening. I personally, having never been directly affected by terrorism, dont find it very offensive, more surprising. Still, I find it very odd.
A judge has let a bunch of Greenpeace activists off the hook after they did 35,000 pounds damage to a coal plant. In their defence, they stated that the plant will do much more damage than that in the future and were all found not guilty.
grep is a file content searching tool for Linux. It is loved by programmers for its ease of use and swift search results (with customisable output). For example, if you forgot where you left your debug code, you can quickly display a list of the files that contain the code like so;
grep -ril 'var_dump' *
But, the problem with grep is that it is not possible to limit the subdirectories it searches within based on a pattern. A lot of people misunderstand the "-exclude" option, thinking that they can stop grep from returning results from SVN directories using it like so;
grep -ril --exclude=".svn/*" 'var_dump' *
Little do they realise that exclude is for file names only and grep has no functionality for restricting search based on directory names. grep can invert the found rows and only show the non-matching lines using the '-v' parameter and can remove the .svn directories but it is very slow;
grep -ril "'var_dump' * | grep -v svn
So, in comes ack. ack is much faster than grep (it uses perl regular expressions) and searches recursively and ignores revision control subdirectories (.svn) by default. Also, it displays the found code in a much easier to read format (if you opt to display the lines as opposed to just the file names);
sudo apt-get install ack
Done. Its also available as a perl script incase you cannot install it due to dictator sys admins (you know the type.).
If you code and use grep for your line-level searching, do yourself a favour and get ack.
A lot of people these days use graphical clients for creating their database schema's and therefor start with the Entity Relationship diagram and then have it generate the SQL for them. I prefer to write SQL directly as I seem to have an ongoing misunderstanding with most graphical clients but then I would need to somehow create an ER diagram for the SQL I wrote and this meant I'd double up on work a little bit. Today while searching for another application to do just what I want (and not cost me a cent) I found a post about something that will be extremely handy.
SQL Fairy is an ER Diagram creator for Mysql and other databases but uses the raw SQL files and includes relationships (like foreign keys etc).
Its not perfect by any means, but its easy and gives a great representation of the database relationships. The lines representing relationships actually go over the tables which is a bugger and as it outputs directly to an image, you cant edit it. But, for a quick and easy ER, its bloody good.
As noted in the post I found this little gem at, its super simple to install and use, particularly if you are using Linux. I am on Kubuntu (for the record, my distro of choice is Fedora) and installed it as easy as this;
sudo apt-get install sqlfairy
Then, to generate the diagram was as easy as this;
sqlt-diagram -d=MySQL -o=sample_schema.png schema.sql --color
Unfortunately, it did fall over when my schema contained a SOURCE within the SQL, but apart from that it was quick and simple enough for me.
Now, if I can find an app that does the same thing but allows me to edit my ER first and give me multiple saving options (XML, SQL, etc) then I'd be extremely happy.
EDIT: About a year ago, MySQL released an application named 'Workbench' for this very purpose. An ER diagram program with reverse engineering capabilities from .sql files. The application was used by me on Windows for a while before a Linux friendly version was released. But, when Sun bought MySQL earlier this year, they made most of the MySQL applications commercial and were charging for licenses. Thats why Workbench was not mentioned above.
This is the same schema as the above diagram done in Workbench using reverse engineering from an SQL file.
About a year ago I came up with a funny idea to replace the finger cursor on links to a slightly modified version that I like to call 'The Bird'.
I drafted my friend Lauren to do the work as I am not as useful behind a Photoshop enabled pc as she is.
Anyway as I am not using the cursor (I will put it as a mouse cursor on one of my sites at some stage), I feel it is wasting away. So, I present to you, my loyal readers, 'The Bird'.
Its as beautiful today as the night it came to me in a dream after many-a-drink at the pub.
My hero, Captain Paul Watson has landed in Brisbane and will start preparing the Steve Irwin for the 2008/09 whaling season. He has also said that the current Australian government is weaker than the previous on the grounds of whaling in Australian and International waters.
I'm really upset with this government because they have reneged on every single promise they have made to protect the whales
Japan has reduced is whaling target this year by 20 percent and includes 700 southern Minke whales and 50 Fin whales. Apparently thats 'an encouraging sign' to Peter Garrett.
I understand that this blog isn't exactly artsy and crafty and to be honest, while I appreciate nice home made stuff, I'm more inclined to build myself a mulcher and vege garden with rain water drip irrigation than I am to say, sew something. But, when its all said and done, I do dig nice DIY stuff.
Anyway, there is a point to this post. My sister is running a competition on her blog to win some home made birds for a Christmas tree. They are super nice and all you need to do is post a comment in this post. She has a fantastic blog that even the non artsy andn crafties like myself can appreciate it. At only 100 posts old, it already has a strong following of readers which is just awesome. Anyway. Thats it. So, get commenting!
Thats right folks. Breaking news! Ferrari's are greener than Prius' according to Ferrari's CEO Amedeo Felisa. He states;
"The combined emissions of all Ferraris sold in a year are less than those of all Toyota Prius sold in a year. So the net effect of Ferrari on global warming is less than a Prius."
That means that I can go and buy my GTR back and rest assured that because I don't drive it much, its better than the majority of Prius'.
The short answer is no. The internet will not do everything for you. It will not work for you.
You will only get out of the internet what you want to and it will be directly related to how much you put into it.
Businesses consistently believe that by simply having a site with products and / or services on it that suddenly their sales will increase and this, for the most part, is simply untrue.
In Australia, the e-boom is taking a lot longer to gain momentum in comparison with America. Australian businesses simply do not consider the internet to be a vital marketing resource and are unwilling to invest into it. This causes a lot of businesses to do more damage to their brand image than good.
If you come across two websites with the same product or service and the first website is professionally designed with a good logo, easy navigation and fully functional, you will likely pick that business over the one that has a site that looks like it was designed by the neighbours 10 year old for his school project. In fewer words, cheap looking sites make the company look unprofessional, also, cheap looking sites do not build confidence with visitors who are being offered products to purchase online.
In addition to this is the lack of time being invested into email correspondence. Whether you like it or not, most communication derived from your website will be email. Its easy, its fast and people can use it in their own time. The problem with this is the amount of businesses that do not treat emails with any sufficient level of priority. Emails go unanswered. A lot. People get frustrated and angry and your brand damage continues to grow. Its not a bad thing to only offer phone details on your site if thats the only method of contact you are willing to accept. Fewer potential customers will contact you, but thats better than more potential customers going unanswered via email.
Small business in Australia need to get out of the mentality that the internet will be everything to them and all they need is a 'presence'. There is a very new feeling the the net these days and as much as I hate using buzz words, its 'web 2.0' and because of 'web 2.0' there is this new surge of competition in both design/development and site owning businesses to outdo each other. Simply, if you cannot devote them time and money required into your 'web 2.0' presence, stay offline. You will do less damage.