Category Archives: Tech

How much is my blog worth?


According to [this][1] it’s worth $1,693.62. Isn’t that funny. I remember checking about three months ago and it was worth $0.00. So at this rate, I’ll be worth millions soon.

It must be the rapier wit, piercing political insights, deep philosophical challenges, and world-moving technology assessments. Or a broken algorithm.

I fixed my WordPress permalink problem

You didn’t even know I had one, did you?

Permalinks are (in part) simply web page links that make a little more sense when you read them than index.php?p=123 does. I’m running my site on a Mac running system 10.4 (Tiger) and Apache, PHP, and MySQL (a combination sometimes referred to as MAMP). Anyway, WordPress 2 wouldn’t operate when I turned Permalinks on. “Access to / is forbidden or not allowed.”

It turns out that I needed to get Options FollowSymLinks in the .htaccess file. WordPress doesn’t add it when turning on Permalinks, but it seems to be required. They must assume it’s a pretty standard default, but it is not default on a Mac, apparently. Indeed, you’ll need to update /etc/httpd/users/(your-user).conf to AllowOverride All (or more secure would be AllowOverride to just the specific things you need) to have Permalinks work, too.



I know my readers include both those who will yawn at this as old news, and those who’ve never heard of such a thing, but in the spirit of [][1], [][2] and similar “social” web offerings, I went ahead and started to set up a [LibraryThing][6] [account][5].

Pretty neat stuff. You’re able to have a very nice catalog of all your books, and you can cross-reference with the other members of LibraryThing, seeing who else has that obscure “Gospel Worship” by Jeremiah Burroughs, and then browsing their library for similar books you might find interesting.

Also, the site uses keywords (or [tags][3]) instead of as well as categories, which means where a book may fall under one major category, you may think of it in more than one context. For example, a book on Fort Sumter may be rigidly classified “history”, but I can keyword it “history, South Carolina, Places I’ve Visited”, “American Revolution” and find it more easily in the ways I think about it.

I can use a barcode scanner (which I got off eBay for less than $20) to enter books into it with one swipe. (The barcode scanner also works with nice, non-web-based software like [Books][4].)

Anyway, [visit and peruse the beginnings of my library][5]. It’s fun. Many of the books that I’ve entered are actually books that I’ve packed away (there were entered by Kenny before they went into the box) so they’re not necessarily my favorite books, but it’s still kinda fun.

The incredible power of Google


Do you have any idea what Google could end up knowing about us?

They offer free web searching, free email, free calendars, free spreadsheets, free word processing, free mapping… and we use them! A lot! And soon, Google Payments.

So what does Google get for this? Ad revenues, to be sure. But what they really get is information. They can know what you email about, when you’ve got plans, where they are, if you know how to get there, and soon what you spend money on. This plus whatever they glean about you by scrounging the web in general.

I dunno… no news here, I guess… just strikes me as awesome, kinda in the old fashioned scary sense.

“Yes, I’ve powered down the modem!”


I was going to chronicle my epic, nearly week long struggle with Qwest and, but I think I just need to let the whole episode slip into fading history. We’re back up and [Helen has posted something about it][1], so I think I’ll leave it lay.

However, I do want to congratulate modern corporate society for the invention and skillful implementation of the Customer Service Moat: a carefully crafted network of automated answering services and half-informed first tier customer “service” staff whose purpose is to ensure that no one penetrate too deeply into the corporate castle. Never have I so clearly and so often heard the auditory equivalent of the blank stare. Modern physics is wrong; energy can be turned into nothing.

Please, someone somewhere… please note that I will always try powering down the modem before I run to the phone for the pleasure of the customer service experience.

Mac keyboard tips

Since I’m a bit busy due to our internet outage, here’s a couple of little keyboard tricks for Mac:

– function-delete deletes forward instead of backwards
– option-delete deletes a whole word backwards

Thrilling, eh? Well, I couldn’t find them online when I wanted them, so there you go.


Not the dance; the CMS.

I am setting up some sites using it, and as I dug in, I found some of the generated html code to be – as I described to my client – hideous. (Sorry Mambo guys… just not my style.)

**But,** I hopped online and posted my woes to their forum, and got a really good answer back. What I would change is something core to the system, which would mean everytime my client would update their Mambo installlation, my changes would get wiped out. But they planned ahead, and allowed a way for me to keep such custom files safely tucked away in the template folder. Very cool. Nice work Mambo guys!

Google bans website? Probably not as evil as it seems.


There’s a little chatter out there concerning a site I’d never heard of called [The People’s Cube][2]. They appear to have been banned by Google. Since they are apparently a politically right-leaning site, conspiracy theories flew and the apparent banning [drew more attention][1]. But it seems most likely they simply got caught doing a sneaky little thing to boost their search engine rankings.

Search engines “read” web pages to see what’s in them. But, in general, they aren’t good readers, and can be fooled by putting words in the page and then “hiding” them using things like CSS. But those words may make the search less effective, so Google sometimes manually removes web sites that do that to help ensure reliable search results.

There’s a good description of what probably happened [here][3]. And a cached version at Yahoo! is [here][4], where my geek friends can look at the source code.

Note to self: No sneaky SEO tricks.



OK, so I don’t even know how I ended up [here][1], but it’s just too cool. “Overunity” is the idea that you get more energy out of a system that you put in. Normally, it’s equal (unity). It’s one of those holy grail ideas; if you can get more out of a system than you’re putting in, then you get surplus energy.

Anyway, you have to sign up to see the videos, but this guy made a machine which almost does that. It’s a small proof of concept. He’s making a larger one which would be completely self-running because it generates enough voltage to run all the ‘bits’ of it.

The site’s forums also point to other similar machines. Some considered hoaxes. Some the jury is still out on. There’s even one from a Christian communal group in Switzerland called [“Methernitha”][2]. For many years they’ve run their [“Thestatika”][3], generating 3KW. From apparently nothing.

I dunno. Everyone wants to believe something like this is possible. I wonder if it is. And whether I file this under “Tech” or “Religion”.