Ryan Jones Blog – dotCULT.com Ryan Jones Blogs About Internet Culture, Marketing, SEO, & Social Media

July 29, 2008

Another Reason I Rarely Use Twitter:

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 10:44 am

It’s down again. The site 404’ed for me for a while, then gave me the whale “be back in about an hour” image.

Unacceptable for a service like Twitter.

July 23, 2008

Companies Claim to Support OpenID, Only Support Free PR.

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 1:23 pm

Before I started at Identity.net I had only vaguely heard of OpenID and what it was. I knew it was out there, but I also knew it wasn’t very widely used. For most people, that’s still the case. This is also a good place to remind people that the opinions in this blog are mine and mine alone and do not reflect my company in any way.

The main problem with OpenID is that currently not enough places support it. It’s a great idea but it’s just not widespread enough yet.

That’s slowly starting to change, but it’s changing wrongly. At least once a week I come across an article like this one where a company is claiming OpenID support. In this case, it’s MySpace. At first, I thought “yay this is a great step in accomplishing our vision for Identity.net” – but then I read the article.

Myspace, like Google, AOL, Yahoo, Vox, Livejournal, and countless other companies, is only going to be an OpenID provider. You can’t actually log in to MySpace with an OpenID you created elsewhere. And that’s the main problem. (Yes, I know they say they plan on supporing log in, but I plan on being a millionaire too. Actually doing it is something else entirely.)

Right now, almost every company under the sun is bragging about being an OpenID provider while totally shunning the real concept of OpenID. I have about 200 OpenIDs right now from all of these big companies, but I still can’t just use one of them. That’s something we’re aiming to change, but it would be a lot easier if all of the companies claiming to support OpenID actually supported OpenID.

I once had a college professor include “when is XML always the correct choice?” on a test question. The only answer that made sense was “when you need a Buzz Word for your Resume.” That was a few years ago. A better question should be “When should you use OpenID?” A: When you want free PR.

For once, I’d like to see some big companies stop throwing around buzz words and actually do what their press releases claim that they’re doing. OpenID is a great idea, it just needs to be supported. Who’s going to be one of the first major companies to actually do it? (FYI, I know wordpress supports it, but their support is currently very lacking and takes a lot of customization to be able to do anything significant)

July 21, 2008

Business Idea: A UPS that emails me

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 12:45 pm

As somebody who owns tons of computers I also own tons of battery backups. As one of their many features, my battery backup can save some files and shutdown my computer for me as soon s the power goes it. It’s really neat… but I want more.

I’m envisioning a battery backup that alerts me when my power is out. It can simply use my email program to fire off an email to me, or send me a twitter, or text message, or whatever – or it can be more advanced and not require a computer at all.

One could build in an ethernet port and a simply linux operating system with sendmail and boom – it can alert me without a computer. And if you are having a hard time installing mysql on centos 7, you can try this out.

This would be very useful for businesses. When I worked at Wendys in college our power went out a few times and we lost thousands of dollars of food that spoiled overnight. If we had a system to alert us to the power outage we could have driven the food to another store before it spoiled.

I know some alarm companies do this, but they generally only call 1 person. An email list would be more efficient here.

Another use is for old people who have medical equipment. My friend Chuck often leaves his grandmother at home – and she’s on a breathing machine. I’m sure he’d buy one of these too.

Does this product exist already? If not, why doesn’t it?

If you ever think about investing in a school vending machine, check out Royal vending machines today!

He’s Actually A Creative Identity Thief

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 12:14 pm

Previously I mentioned that one of my credit card numbers had been compromised. I quickly took care of that (here’s how) but not until I called to send back some recent purchases did I realize what they were up to.

I couldn’t figure out why I kept receiving book clubs, blockbuster accounts, and weird facial cremes in the mail. I thought surely that this had to be the dumbest identity thief ever. They’ve purchased 6 things and have yet to hit $100, and everything keeps showing up at my house. FAIL…

Or not.

See, what I didn’t realize is that everything they ordered was through a commission junction banner. So the person who has my credit card number simply created a commission junction account and then clicked his own banners and signed me up for the products. There’s almost no way they’re going to get caught. The credit card company has to trace it back to the book clubs, who trace it back to commission junction, and it probably dies there. By then, the person’s account is probably closed up and they’ve already cashed their check. By keeping the purchases under $100 they avoid any likelihood of being charged with a crime – as it’s not profitable for the credit card company to go after them.

Hats off to you [email protected] – it’s a pretty nice scam you’ve got going there for you. May the fleas of 1000 camels infest your genitals.

On a plus note, Scholastic simply told me to donate the books I received to a local library instead of sending them back. Most companies would want their $5 shipment back and threaten to charge me for it if I didn’t send it back within so many days. I know, a few have done so. Let me tell you it’s a pain in the ass to have to go and buy a box to put crap in that you didn’t order. (since most had the packing slip inside the box, so it had to be opened to call them)

My library is about to get a bunch of Disney books though, so at least somebody other than [email protected] wins here.

July 16, 2008

Cleaning Up A Stolen Credit Card

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 12:46 pm

Looking over my credit card statement today on mint.com I noticed a few charges that I didn’t make. Notably, charges to Scholastic books, Disney DVD, and Blockbuster. Those suspicions were confirmed when UPS delivered a package of Disney DVDs to my door shortly thereafter.

Somebody has stolen my credit card number. I’m not really sure how this happened, as I only used this card for GoDaddy, Amazon, Netflix, Paypal, and iTunes. (basically, everything with recurring billing) Everything else I put on a different card.

Cleaning up the mess can be a bit tricky, but it can all be done within an hour or 2.

Embalse Here’s what you should do if you suspect your credit card has been stolen:

  1. Call the credit card company and tell them. Make sure you tell them all the charges you didn’t make, and then ask to cancel the card. They should send you a new card with a new number in the mail, as well as a form to sign about the fraud.
  2. Place a fraud alert on your credit report. This will require them to call you anytime somebody opens credit in your name.
  3. Order your credit report and check it for any accounts that you didn’t open. This is free once per year from each bureau – more on this later.
  4. Contact your financial institutions and put a phone password on your account. This way, when you call them they’ll ask you for the password. This stops the person from posing as you and getting even more of your information.

This may seem like a lot, but it’s all very simple to do. In fact, one of my company’s websites: freeIDENTITYprotect.com can do most of it for you for free. Free members can place fraud alerts and order their credit reports for free (honestly free, none of this monthly fee crap or other enrollment required stuff.)

Of course, you shouldn’t wait until you think your card has been stolen to place a fraud alert. It’s a good idea to do that anyway just in case.

July 14, 2008

Mahalo Still Sucks

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 2:10 pm

First, the big news: Jason Calcanis has retired from blogging. To those on the west coast, this is big news. Those of us on the east coast or midwest simply just don’t care.

While reading his announcement though, I saw the mahalo search box next to it. So I typed in a few queries. One of the ones I did was “send a text message

The results just don’t suck, they double plus suck.

Let’s take a look:

#1: How to make a signature in Gmail
#2: How to m ake an ecard.
#3: Yahoo mail tips
#4: Send your Christmas Cards From Bethlehem
#5: How to use Twitter
#6: Amazon Textbuyit
#7: How to use Flickr
#8: Elizabeth Shoaf

#9 is a result from google called “send a text message”

and #10 is my former site (txt2day) that allows the sending of text messages.

So, the first 8 results (and everything shown above the fold) is completely useless crap that’s not related to my search.

The only relevant results here are pulled in from Google.

Why would anybody use this? It seems like they’d be better served just showing Google results and plastering the top half of the page with ads instead.

Sure, there’s a nice page for Calcanis – but nothing I couldn’t have gotten off of wikipedia.

On the flipside, Mahalo hasn’t heard of me – instead asking if I mean’t “Stan Jones” and showing me results for “Lakisha Jones”

I may not be the most popular “Ryan Jones” but at least Google shows me in the first page.

July 11, 2008

Don’t Update Your iPhone Yet

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 10:03 am

When I plugged my iPhone into my mac this morning and started working it told me there was a software update. I know this because I’ve been expecting it along with the new iPhone 2.0 release.

Anyway, I updated it as I checked my email. After the update though, I got this message:

It seems the itunes store can’t handle the traffic with everybody worldwide buying new iPhones and updating.

So until then, I’m stuck without a phone.

Thanks Apple!

July 7, 2008

Conservapedia – A Very Amusing Read

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 2:15 pm

I just stumbled upon a site called Conservapedia. It’s basically wikipedia for conservatives. I’ve been reading it whenever I have some free time, and it’s quite amusing. I didn’t even know conservatives needed their own encyclopedia. Us non conservatives do just fine using wikipedia.

Firstly, it’s funny that it’s set up like a wiki but that I can’t actually edit any pages. Beyond that, the actual articles are hilarious. I’m shocked that some people actually hold some of these world views.

Some of my favorite topics there include:

the homosexual origins of nazism
atheists and communists
and the homosexual agenda

According to conservatives, homosexuals are all about restricting free speech, obtaining special treatment, distorting science, and interfering with freedom. And here all I thought they wanted was social acceptance and the right not to be killed. Man was I off.

I also love the wording of some of the claims. Here’s a good example:

“Hume is well known for arguing that it is always more probable that the testimony of a miracle is false than that the miracle occurred.[56] Christian apologists William Lane Craig, Norman Geisler, C.S. Lewis, JP Holding, and others have shown the inadequacy and unreasonableness of Hume’s position”

As a philosophy minor, I’ve actually read both Hume’s and Craig’s papers on this topic. Hume’s statement is represented correctly. Craig’s argument goes like this: “if we assume there’s an all powerful god who can do whatever he wants, then miracles are very probable.”

I’m sorry, but that sounds a lot like begging the question – a phil101 error. Craig’s argument basically reduces to “if we assume Hume’s wrong, then he’s wrong and I’m right.”

Perhaps the most fun part of conservapedia though is the statistics page. Here, we clearly see the things that most interest conservatives are gays, gays, and more gays. Looking at the site, it would seem that the biggest problem America is facing right now is a bunch of freedom hating, nazi, athiest gays who want to abolish free speech and force everybody else to be gay.

I honestly can’t read/write anymore right now, I’m laughing way too hard.

July 2, 2008

1080p or 720p? What’s the difference?

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 11:56 am

I’m in the market for a new TV set. I’ve decided that I want a plasma, and that I want something around 48 or 50″ (no bigger than 50″ I don’t have the room)

Other than that, I know it has to be HD. What I don’t know about is 1080p and 720p. It’s obvious to me that 1080p is higher, but how much higher? The 720p seem to entail a lot of cost savings. Is it worth it for the 1080p?

I’ve heard that if you have an upscaling DVD player it doesn’t really matter. I’ve also heard that you really only get the benefits of 1080p if you have a blu-ray player. Is that true?

If anybody here has input, please help me decide on a TV. It’s all about picture quality (especially for hockey, baseball and football games). I have a BOSE system, so sound doesn’t really matter as I won’t be using it.

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