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Improving Consumerist Navigation/Findability: Review

January 4th, 2007 · No Comments

The Consumerist asks for tips on organizing their site better. I stopped by from my feedreader to leave a comment, and guess what, you need to login to comment! (And finding how to create a login is not intuitive).

That is unacceptable to me, and I bet to a lot of people. We all know that comment spam is a problem. Combating it by making it more difficult for folks to leave comments is a lame approach, one which would be justified only if that were the only way to prevent comment spam. Fortunately, that is not the case now. Use Akismet — use a nuclear weapon to toast the spamming vermin! The consumerist, more than any other blog should know that collective power equals nuclear weaponry! Seriously, what you lose when you turn down one valid commenter is worth a lot more that what you gain by using Akismet for free. No brainer.

Now for answering the question they ask:

  1. Add a search form
  2. Use the Sidebar for displaying a list of tags, or categories, or something that enables better navigation.
  3. Cut down on the number of front page posts so that people actually see the fat footer, or add a link on the top to the fat footer.
  4. Use some plugin like the Ultimate Tag Warrior to make tagging easy – and if possible enable us to add tags.
  5. Whatever you do, add a page in the “About” links that details how best to find the info that I am looking for, in simple terms.

The current archives are 100% useless. Who would want to read old posts, purely by their date? Even if I do remember that the consumerist wrote about some company in the past, what are the chances I remember the date that appeared on? So what would I do to find the post? Search on google, and then there is the possibility that I wander away to some other site that seems like a better answer!

Think as someone who lands there for the first time would –
she reads a post, and is impressed. Next, she wants to find out what you have to say about Foo Bar corporation. She looks up an down, looks in the archives, can’t find a way to search, and flails about for a while. Then she throws up her hands and goes away.

Or, she arrives at the site, likes what she sees and wants to read more about something. Thing is, there is no way she can continue reading except down the page – with tags, or categories, or lists of relevant related posts, she’ll probably stay a while, and who knows, maybe click an ad or two.

The sidebar is currently dedicated to ads! Agreed, ads float your boat, and are probably a major reason why you blog, but they should be secondary to my interests. Why? Because I am the consumer – the dude you put your weight behind (and who is the weight behind you!)

I guess the tool used dictates the ease with which the information can be organized, so use something like WordPress or something that is fully featured and that you are good at modifying.
Good Luck!

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LoudLaunch – Superficial Review

January 4th, 2007 · No Comments

LoudLaunch is a budding site, much like Pay Per Post or Review Me that rewards bloggers for blogging reviews about their sponsors. So far, so good.

So what do I think about it? Please note that my opinion does not count, in any way, and that I am not getting paid or anything like that.

I think it won’t succeed. The first reason is that they don’t clearly mention how the bloggers will get paid. They say:

If your blog and interests are aligned with an advertiser’s campaign then you can do your own research and write about them in exchange for pay—not in exchange for a pre-determined outcome but for a fair assessment.

So you expect good bloggers to sign up on uncertain terms? What the heck is “fair assessment” is that based on click-throughs or pageviews or conversions, or just the fact that the review has been posted, and has stayed up for a week/month? You need to be crystal clear if you want someone to put their reputation and resdership behind your business!!

Things like stupid answers in the FAQ don’t help either. Here’s one:

Q. How do I get paid?
A. No, we only use Paypal.

Huh?

I love doing reviews, for free.

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Free Annual Credit Report from Three Major Trackers

January 3rd, 2007 · No Comments

Go to FreeAnnualReport.com to get your credit report from the three major credit monitoring companies.

This new year, I have resolved to get a tighter grip on my finances. The credit report will (hopefully) help me in bargaining with my credit card companies for lower rates.

I also anticiapte having to pitch for a home loan/mortgage later this year – all the more reason why I should see myself as I am seen by lenders.

Everyone is entitled to one free credit report a year, so go get it, and get a grip.

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Apollon: World’s oldest ritual discovered

January 3rd, 2007 · No Comments

Apollon: World’s oldest ritual discovered. Worshipped the python 70,000 years ago

They did not burn the spearheads by chance. They brought them from hundreds of kilometers away and intentionally burned them. So many pieces of the puzzle fit together here. It has to represent a ritual…

Torfinn Ørmen, a zoologist who lectures on human evolutionary history at the University of Oslo, says that this is the biggest archaeological discovery in a long time.

“Sheila Coulson’s discovery is going to garner attention the world over. This is the oldest ritual site that we know of and it was in use before physically modern man left Africa”, Ørmen points out. He explains that the San, who are also referred to as Bushmen, belong to the most ancient race of humans. The San, together with the Khoi (or Khoikhoi), separated from the rest of the worlds people about 70,000 years ago. Today they are commonly refered to as the Khoi-San people. The Khoi and the San are quite similar and were displaced by both the Europeans and the Bantu before and during colonization.

“Some researchers believe that modern man descended from the San. What is certain is that the San are a very old people and that they have a very deep connection to this area of Botswana. The Tsodilo Hills are the San people’s most sacred place; they have had a connection to it for thousands and thousands of years”, says Torfinn Ørmen.

The world’s oldest ritual had to do with destruction – destructing spear heads in the name of “God” or nature. Man has come 70,000+ years, without learning much, I might add. The Africans revered a python, an elephant and a giraffe. We revere other stuff.

Or is it that it is our rituals that define us?

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Levitated for a hour above Flash

January 2nd, 2007 · No Comments

Levitated | Everything – Look at these here flash pieces-of-art if you do nothing else today. Some of them explore symmetry, some science, some the I-ching, and some just let me explore them.

I love it. Time to get back to the levitated gallery…

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Sphere It Plugin for WordPress

January 1st, 2007 · 5 Comments

Why is it that How to add Sphere It function based on number of words in post is the closest I seem to get to a simple wordpress plugin that adds a “sphere it” link to the bottom of each post?

I should think this is quite an easy plugin to develop. Now do I wait for someone to put out a plugin or should I write it myself? The Sphere folks should have put out a plugin for this already!!! Instead all they have is a contact form to get some advanced thingy going. Contact forms scare me, and a lot of others too, I suppose. All I want is a simple plugin that adds a link to the sphereit search results!

Update: There is a plugin now!

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Interactive Periodic Table Table

January 1st, 2007 · No Comments

Periodic Table
PopSci contributing editor Theodore Gray has been fascinated with the Periodic Table of Elements. So much so that he has been spending a few years now collecting real-life samples of the elements, or when that is not available, samples of things that include rare elements.

I read in Oliver Sacks’s Uncle Tungsten that Sacks liked to visit a periodic table at the Kensington Science Museum in London, and I actually thought it was a real table with samples sitting on it for people to look at. Disappointed to learn that it was just a wall display, I resolved that I was going to build a proper periodic-table table.

And so began his journey that ended in it’s current form as an interactive flash periodic table!

How I wish I had this when I was still learning Chemistry…

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Flickr Color Selectr

December 31st, 2006 · No Comments

Flickr Color Selectr

This site enables you to search flickr’s creative commons photos by color. There is a sliding color bar, and depending on where you let it rest, the most wonderful photos in the world, all having that color as a major component will show up at the bottom of the page. Wonderfl!

Check out Creative Commons Licensed Photographs from Flickr!
Find Photos by Their Colors.
and Rate Them!

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It’s Final – The Egg Came First

December 30th, 2006 · No Comments

‘Cause the Beeb says so! Scientists agree that if a kangaroo laid an egg from which an ostrich hatches, then it would be an ostrich egg and not a kangaroo egg. QED.

If you have some time to spend, read this list of 100 things we humans learnt/realized in the last year. The egg-fact comes from the list, as does the following, very interesting fact:

In Bhutan government policy is based on Gross National Happiness; thus most street advertising is banned, as are tobacco and plastic bags.

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Illness of the Day: Sexual Anhedonia

December 30th, 2006 · 1 Comment

Sexual Anhedonia is the condition where you ejaculate while having sex, but don’t have an orgasm — think poker player having sex – straight face and all, all throughout the event.

Sexual anhedonia is known as ‘ejaculatory anhedonia’. This rare condition means that the person will ejaculate with no accompanying sense of pleasure. This condition is most frequently found in males, but women can suffer from lack of pleasure when the body goes through the orgasm process as well.

–From Wikipedia.

This now joins Emphysema among the list of diseases/illnesses I would love NOT to have, please, thank you.

How did I get around to thinking about it, you ask? Check out this guy at Ask Metafilter who suffers from it. Maybe he could start acting in Porn – cause then he’d really be acting, not just cumming as usual.

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