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November 28, 2007

"Flick" Your ISP

On Mintshot, an ISP named Slingshot has an auction titled "Flick your ISP", which gets you a 12 month package. Possibly a bit of an odd name until you see the graphic they use to represent the auction:


Interesting choice of font... :)

Posted at 11:18 PM | Comments (5)

September 28, 2007

Monday the 23rd

I got an email from Whitcoulls this week with the following graphic in it:
PLUS: Double Points on every purchase you make between Monday 23rd - Sunday 30th September 2007!

Pop quiz: do they mean Sunday the 23rd or Monday the 24th?

Also, why does Amazon send me emails advertising the specials in their toys and games section when they know my delivery address is outside the US, and they only ship toys nationally? It's not nice to taunt.

Posted at 8:24 PM | Comments (2)

May 18, 2007

Doctor Who plus Google Trends 2

Around about a year ago, I wrote about Google trends, and posted a graph showing the trend for the search term "Doctor Who", and mapping it to the screenings of the show. I thought it might be interesting to revisit that now that the data for 2006 is in. Here's 2005 again for comparison:

[2005 trends]

The positions of the episode screenings are approximate, since Google only marks down as far as the months. You might also notice that the end-of-series spike seems to be a lot bigger than on the graph I posted last year. What's up with that, Google?

Here's 2006:

[2006 trends]

Interestingly there's a huge peak right when "Army of Ghosts" was screening, though if you compare the two graphs, it looks like there were less searches for series 2. However this is entirely due to the fact that Google doesn't label their Y axis. If you look at the combined graph for 2005/2006, you can see the line's a lot higher for most of series 2 than it was for series 1, with the "Army of Ghosts" peak almost twice as high as series 1 got.


Unfortunately Google Trends only has search data up to February this year, so no series 3 indicators yet...

Posted at 8:40 PM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2007

Great new feature: type URLs yourself!

Actual text from the Network Solutions whois page: [screenshot]

Announcing a great NEW feature for WHOIS users -- you can now start a WHOIS query directly in your browser!

Use the format: and you'll come directly to our results page. Stay tuned for more useful features coming soon to WHOIS!!!

So... typing a URL manually into your browser is a "great NEW feature"? Man, the boffins at Mozilla are going to be fuming that they didn't think of THAT one....

Posted at 2:17 AM | Comments (1)

March 24, 2007

Gmail says what?!

I've been missing a few emails (mostly from mailing lists) sent to my gmail account. Now, at the bottom of the page whenever I access my gmail account is something like "You are currently using 33 MB (1%) of your 2831 MB." so you'd assume by that that there isn't a problem with disk space, however Yahoo groups says that the emails have been bouncing with the following error:
Remote host said: 552 5.2.2 User over quota 26si6202460aga [RCPT_TO]

There's a Gmail help center but I couldn't find anything relevant (even searching for "over quota" didn't help). I've reported it to Gmail support, so we'll see what happens...

Mind you, it looks like this is a common problem. Yahoo blogged that they're working on it with Google, but that was several days ago now...

Posted at 12:35 PM | Comments (1)

January 27, 2007


The latest Google Webmaster Central blog entry A Quick Word About Googlebombs announces that Google has solved the whole Googlebomb problem, which was typified most famously by the "Miserable failure" bomb. And sure enough, miserable failure doesn't work any more.

However, French Military Victories still does, at least for now. :)

Posted at 7:38 PM | Comments (0)

November 6, 2006

Just to clarify things... the Xtra Broadband sucking department:
[Speed graph]

Xtra! Taking the "Broad" and the "Band" out of "Broadband"!

Posted at 10:15 PM | Comments (6)

May 30, 2006

Hey Yahoo, WTF?

Results "1 - 100 of about 87"? You printed 100 right there! You know there's more than 87! WTF?

Posted at 9:07 PM | Comments (1)

May 15, 2006

Latest Xtra Sucks rant

Xtra are so great, right now their DNS server is buggered. I can't resolve any domain names at all. To even post this, I had to get someone overseas to do a dnslookup on DNS Stuff so I could stick it in my hosts file, and then use DNS stuff to lookup the IP address for Worst ISP ever.

Edit: I stuck some public DNS servers into the router and can surf the net again!

Posted at 6:29 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2006

Doctor Who + Google Trends

Google launched Google Trends today, allowing you to see the popularity of particular searches over time. If there are relevant news items it displays a position on the graph, as you can see on their results for V for Vendetta.

Unfortunately in the case of "Doctor Who", there aren't any, and for Doctor Who they don't match up well with what's going on in the graph. I've therefore taken the liberty of marking on the graph below the screening dates of Series 1 to make it more obvious what's happening where:

Doctor Who graph

The first pre-series spike is, of course, the leaking of Rose onto the Internet. There's another high peak when the episode actually airs, then it tapers off a bit with spikes when Dalek, Father's Day and The Empty Child, and the last three stories screen. Later in the year there's a spike in November (for the Red Nose day special) and one in December for The Christmas Invasion. The graph ends in April short of the New Earth screening, but you can see it's leading up to another spike there. I'm interested to see if it matches the Rose spike. :)

And, coincidentally, the new Full Frontal Nerdity is Doctor Who related!

Posted at 10:46 PM | Comments (1)

May 1, 2006

Losing Usenet

Back in '92, when I was attending Victoria University in Wellington, my very first contact with the Internet was reading a feed of rec.arts.drwho on the University's BBS system. A year later in the newer labs, I was finally able to post to the newsgroup, and find other newsgroups to read. Before the web, Usenet was the first time I was able to read the thoughts of people on the other side of the world.

I was a bit of a terror on rec.arts.drwho during the early-mid 90s, and at one point even went to the trouble of writing a program to calculate weekly posting stats for the group. I stopped that after it became clear it was encouraging people to post large amounts of noise, though the "Weekly Stats 03/08" thread became a RADW legend. I've seen a few people from that period turn up again, especially on LiveJournal.

Fast foward to, well, now, and my ISP, Xtra, have announced that they're going to ditch their Usenet server. I haven't really read the newsgroups regularly for a while now. Occasionally I fire up Forte Agent (no relation to the annoying Microsoft characters) to see what's being talked about, but with the new Doctor Who series I've been avoiding rec.arts.drwho.moderated to avoid spoilers and many of the other groups I read are pretty quiet.

Still, I'll miss it when it's gone, even though I can theoretically read it through Google Groups. Usenet is, after all, one of the Internet's oldest services.

(See previously: Xtra Broadband speeds, and I'd like to reiterate that they should change their name from 'Xtra' to 'Less')

Posted at 11:36 PM | Comments (0)

April 2, 2006

Xtra Broadband speeds

Xtra here in NZ have been making a big fuss over how they've finally brought their broadband service speeds up to a 1/3 of world standard instead of only 1/30th. Of course, I'm not seeing any difference at all, because we've burned through the paltry 10GB data cap which Xtra insists on placing on accounts. Our connection (shared between three computers) is therefore currently choked back to worse than dial-up speeds, and web pages are taking 5 minute or so to load. An online transaction I was attempting to make timed out because the connection was so slow.

So, will the extra speed which Xtra has provided just mean we burn through the 10GB monthly allowance faster?

Perhaps they should change their name from 'Xtra' to 'Less'.

Posted at 5:18 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2006

This advert is trying to guilt me

Every time I got to check my Yahoo! mail now, this advert is totally trying to guilt me. It's like:

<advert> If you love animals, help free them from cruelty.
* Alden ignores the advertising as usual.
<Alden> WARGH! WTF?
<Alden> *mutter*

I don't hate animals, and I'm sure the WSPA is a great charity, but since I'm in NZ, I'm more likely to donate to the NZ SPCA...

No, stop looking at me with puppy-dog eyes.

(BTW, why is the Auckland SPCA bogarting the domain?)

Posted at 5:56 PM | Comments (1)

February 9, 2006

Alexa needs to do garbage collection

The reason for the title up there is a bit of a story. Several years ago now, I noticed that Alexa didn't have any "Related Sites" listed for Tetrapyriarbus. There was a link to suggest some sites, so I did, and Alexa dutifully added them to the list, which you can see here. Fast-forward to now, and three of the sites are now defunct.

So I looked around to see if there was any way to take, say, Flying Pig off the list, or even notify them the site's no longer there, but it doesn't seem like there is... Perhaps Alexa should look at going through their database and checking which sites are still there and which aren't?

Posted at 9:53 PM | Comments (6)

January 15, 2006

Yahoo! Group's bouncing policy sucks

It seems to be that on occasion Yahoo! Groups tries to send a mailing list message to me and it bounces (probably because the mailing server is temporarily down). Any sane person would just wait a bit and try again, but from what I can tell, Y!G simply suspends all mailing list emails to that address, waits four or five days, then sends a "reactivate your subscriptions" email. Which is fine, except that way you unnecessarily miss a whole pile of emails.

Come on, Yahoo! Try again! It's not like bouncing emails are cosing you money.

I suppose I should have noticed I wasn't getting any emails from Yahoo! Groups.

Posted at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

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