February 24, 2009

"Who Wants to be a Millionaire" ... traffic spike beneficiary

I noticed a big spike in traffic to my Al Gore "Internet" page recently, and was puzzled as to the cause. It turned out to have been from a WWTBAM question:

Roger used his final three lifelines to get to the $250,000. The question was "Al Gore’s famous and oft-ridiculed quote "I took the initiative in creating the Internet" was made in 1999 to what journalist? A: Barbara Walters, B: Larry King, C: Wolf Blitzer, D: Matt Lauer." Not knowing, he first used Ask the Expert, with Ashleigh Banfield of TruTV. She believed it was C but wasn’t too confident. Next he used Ask the Audience; they believed the answer was B. He finally used his Double Dip lifeline to select both answers. Roger first chose B, which was incorrect; after which he chose C which won him $250,000.

(note that was "to what journalist", not "used for a hatch job by what so-called "journalist"").

That was good for around 1,500 hits. Not a million, but all readers gratefully accepted. I didn't seem to get any links out of it though, at least not that I saw.

How do these shows with ask-the-audience or ask-a-friend aspects prevent the surreptitious use of search engines? It seems like there's a cheating scandal waiting to happen there.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:59 PM | Comments (2)
March 16, 2005

Minor website updates

I made some minor content additions on my website, hoping for a little spike in readership today (more on that later, maybe). Mainly updating my press page to have all recent mentions (in theory, I should be better at doing updates, but nobody reads that page anyway ...). Also (just because I had been meaning to do it for some time) finally mirrored my classic debunking a while back of a hyped story concerning supposed mandatory "Klingon Language Interpreter".

Now let's see if the work on the press page was worth it ...

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 09:57 AM
September 01, 2004

Seth Finkelstein Greplaw Interview

Seth Finkelstein Greplaw Interview

[Now mirrored on my site. For explanation as to why, see:]

Peter Junger: Redoing What's Done

A to my mind horrible example--perhaps only because I have a couple of degrees from Harvard and like to believe that it would not condone such unfairness and stupidity, or at least not condone such stupidity--is the recent antics of the editors of a publication, or, as it says in its masthead, ``production,'' of the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School, called, in an apparent effort to repel anyone who might not be familiar with the names of Unix utilities, Greplaw.com.


When Seth complained to the editors of Greplaw and to the authorities at the Berkman center he was met with the ``Who me?'' and the `There Ain't Nobody Here but Us Chickens'' defenses. ...

[Note my chance of ever having a Harvard Berkman Center Fellowship is likely now zero. :-(. So, please, no more "advice" suggesting that.]

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 04:31 PM | Followups
February 24, 2004

Blogging slowdown again

I need to slow down on blogging again. It takes an incredible amount of effort to work one's way up the power-law curve. Blogs are for talkers. I appreciated the recent mention from Lessig. But despite all the blog-punditry I've done recently, despite that mention, I'm still way down at the level of 100 readers or so. Maybe it's 150 now. It's a long way from the A-list (or Slashdot).

Once more, I'm not abandoning this completely. Especially for posting relevant notices and such. But the punditry is very draining and distracting.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:59 PM | Comments (4) | Followups
December 13, 2003

Blogging slowdown

I'm going to slow down on blogging. It's just not working for me. It's taking too much time and thought, for too little return. For more than a year, I've tried to have something worthwhile every single day. But ultimately, I've only gotten to about one level higher than the generic diary. I'm repeating myself too often, regarding pointing out where I'm virtually off ranting in a little corner for all the good that soapboxing does, which is not much.

Real paying work is actually picking up, which is very good. I might finally get back on track from the train-wreck that free-speech activism has proved to be for me. And doing more Google investigations looks to be very attractive. Plus there's some essays I may want to finish.

Fundamentally, blogging is for talkers. The applications for blogging are mainly people doing journalism, commentary, sales, etc. - professional talkers who do it for a living, and diaries, which are nonprofessional talkers, who do it because they enjoy hearing the sound of their own voice (nothing wrong with that, in my view, but that's what it is).

I'm not abandoning this completely. But I need to ease up from a daily grind of doing it every day.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:59 PM | Comments (5) | Followups
May 10, 2003

Crash update, Google insight

It's now been a little less than two weeks from the website crash. The new installation of the blog is debugged, and I've fixed any critical file-not-found errors. Old provider http://www.phpwebhosting.com/ remains very apologetic that they didn't have one bit of backup. But sorry and lost mailing-list data still leaves me with painful loss of mailing-list data. That's another personal discouragement.

The other notable after-effect was that I was no longer being visited by My Friend The Freshbot (the Google crawler which checks certain sites for daily updates). It turns out that the daily Google crawler still thinks that my site is hosted on the old location (http://www.phpwebhosting.com/), even though it's now been moved for many days.

That's interesting, as it indicates that the daily Google crawler is rather slow to update its DNS. I've got a log full of errors. That log shows a pattern which seems to confirm that the highest PR or most-linked pages are what forms the basis of the daily crawl (which makes sense).

I'm seeing a brief daily visit from a Google crawler on my new location (Project Geek). But it's just checking the front page and robots.txt. This is probably Google's general crawler to keep track of what websites exist and what shouldn't be searched on them (robots.txt).

As an interim measure, I put some pages back on the old host, so hopefully Google/Freshbot will find them soon. I'm going to keep track of when Freshbot Comes Home (new home, that is).

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:53 PM | Followups
April 30, 2003


Website crashed ... rebuilding ... more later ...

Not dead yet ...


The Lynx server suffered a hardware failure on April 28th at approximately 7:00 a.m. We have made every attempt to recover data from its drives, but unfortunately some data was lost. ...


I have NO, ZERO, NONE, files restored. My account seems now completely empty. Are you saying everything has been destroyed?!

Reply: (from http://www.phpwebhosting.com/ support)


Unfortunately, this is exactly what we are saying. Again, sorry for the inconvenience.

ARGH! The word "inconvenience" is not exactly what comes to mind!!!

Luckily, I was able to reconstruct the blog and core site files, with substantial effort. I lost some mailing-list address member data, and other operating data, which isn't fun, but at least the basic site survived.

I've been asked if there was foul play involved. No, this wasn't malicious, like the Michael Sims domain-hijacking (search for "shut down"). Though I was indeed trusting someone else, where in retrospect, I shouldn't have. I suppose can look forward to more slams in the future for being "paranoid". But this is the second time where even partially saved information has ameliorated a disaster.

I've had it with the "service" of http://www.phpwebhosting.com/ . Yes, things happen, but there's a limit to how much "inconvenience" one can stand.

I'd like to thank Robert Helmer of Project Geek (and Daily Whirl and Daily Rotation and Shell City ...) for his efforts in expediting site setup for me. Due to his help, I was able to transfer as fast as DNS could propagate.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 03:41 PM | Followups
April 08, 2003

Daily Whirl

Robert Helmer tells me that I've been added to the sites tracked by
Daily Whirl (Headlines from law-related sites)

So, give it a ... whirl

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 07:14 PM | Followups