Older blog entries for criswell (starting at number 291)

Google AdSense
I have suspicions that Google AdSense may be a racket. I had been using it on several of my higher traffics sites (such as my gaming clan site and my old classnotes). Well, just as soon as I started approaching $100 (when they will actually pay me) they sent me a nasty letter:
It has come to our attention that invalid clicks have been generated on
the Google ads on your site(s). We have therefore disabled your Google
AdSense account. Please understand that this step was taken in an
effort to protect the interest of the AdWords advertisers.

A publisher's site may not have invalid clicks on any ad(s), including but not limited to clicks generated by:

- a publisher on his own web pages - a publisher encouraging others to click on his ads - automated clicking programs or any other deceptive software - a publisher altering any portion of the ad code or changing the layout, behavior, targeting, or delivery of ads for any reason

Practices such as these are in violation of the Google AdSense Terms and Conditions and program polices, which can be viewed at:

https://www.google.com/adsense/localized-terms?hl=en_US https://www.google.com/adsense/policies?hl=en_US

Publishers disabled for invalid click activity are not allowed further participation in AdSense and do not receive any further payment. The earnings on your account will be properly returned to the affected advertisers.

Well, first of all, I did not do any of the things they say here. I have no scripts or software that inflates clicks on my sites (Drupal, which I use on several sites, has a cron job that runs, but does not generate any HTML and certainly not the Google AdSense Javascript). I personally haven't encouraged people to click on my links (if anything, I've appologized for using obtrusive ads). Additionally, I've not altered their code in any way, I've just taken the code as it came from their code generation system (really, there's no need to alter it for layout or design, they have a very versatile tool for generating the Adsense code).

So this is how they work? You give them advertising on your site(s) and just before they pay you they disable your account without appeals or even any indication why your account is disabled (just this vague list that I know I didn't violate). Hey thanks for the free advertising, now fuck you, Mr. AdSense User!

This makes me wonder the following things:
  • 1: How often does this occur? How often does Google suddenly rescind their deal with users just before they are about to get paid?
  • 2: Did they really refund the money? I get a lot of traffic on my sites, and I've been monitoring my AdSense results daily. I know my sites have generated a lot of traffic and probably many sales for the advertisers. Has Google really refunded them the money, or are they just effectively cutting me out of the deal.
  • 3: What alternatives to Google AdSense are there? AdSense was/is nice because it doesn't look too bad integrated with your website. It isn't some nasty horrible pop-up ad, or piece of flash-shit that is going to detract from the content of your site. Hell, it even was context based and would generate ads that your viewers might be interested in.
Well... in the end all I can say is this is bullshit. I've done nothing to violate Google's AdSense "Terms and Conditions". I've not done anything wrong. In fact, after putting the ads on my site I just ignored them (hell, I even disabled their display in my personal browser, so I very rarely even saw them except when looking at the site from someone else's computer.) If this is how Google treats their AdSense users, then their customers need to know about it.

I have sent them a request for specific information about what they think I've done. We'll see if they even reply to me.
Server back up
The bad RAM has been replaced on samhart.net and all the sites hosted therein are now working again.

Sorry for the trouble.
Fangs for the Memories...
Looks like the server that all of my samhart.net sites is hosting on has some bad memory. So.. until things get resolved, it's gonna be dog slow due to a major reduction in memory

Sorry for any inconvenience, folks.
A 40 for the Homies...
I'm sure some people have seen this. I really cannot comment on it at this point... someday I will be able to... but today is not the day. In the interim, I'd just like to poor a 40 oz'er into the street to remember all my Homies.... Peace bro's.

On a semi-related note, Tim's got a wonderful little entry on self-masturbatory nonesense. I know what he is referring to, and, once again, someday I may talk about it. Or I may just forget about it as I do so many other things... who knows.

One thing I can comment on is that I have personally worked with many people like this, and it's always difficult. It doesn't just apply to software, it really applies everywhere.

In previous jobs I've had people who (even now) I'd consider very good friends who have been like this. It's always very hard when people's egos get involved in business. It's even harder when their ego doesn't necessarily match the size of their abilities or even contributions.

That's one of the reasons I personally love Free-Software and Open-Source development so much. In true FLOSS development, such people generally get culled out due to rather stringent meritocracies.

Anyway... I've got no real update other than that. I've been extremely busy and very stressed out with all the junk I've been trying to keep up with in my life right now. Expect a real update once things settle down a bit and I have a chance to breath.
Projects that kack ass
Just wanted to point out two projects that I've become acquainted with lately that kind of kack ass. If you haven't seen these before, you should check them out.
  • Gobby: Gobby is this fancy little editor that has a built in IRC-like client and a distributed developmental scheme. Bah... it's complicated... check the website, read up on it, and take a look at this image for an example. Needless to say, Gobby kicks ass.
  • Silky: Silky is a secure chat client. Think secure IRC and you get the idea (though, it doesn't use IRC of course but SILC as the protocol). Very cool stuff.
Server Migration
Several servers, including my SVN, Trac, and mail gateway, have been moved recently. Please bear with me as the DNS updates for them. I think I've pointed everything from the old IPs to the new ones, but if I've missed any and someone catches it, please let me know.
Man-handling Fruppencies
Welp, rpmstrap (mirror) version 0.5 has been released. Yay! Yippee! Hooray! ..... ahem....

Anyway, here's the new features over the last release:
  • AMD64 support for CentOS 4
  • Support for Scientific Linux
  • Support for PDK (see this)
  • Addition of some of my rpmdiff utils
  • Pre and post scripting abilities
Thanks to all those who contributed to make this an even better tool.

BTW, don't know what fruppencies are? Well, they are knockers... hoots.... melons... jugs... And the title of this post actually comes from the punchline to one of my more obscure comics.
Wanda and the Colossus?
Games.... feh... You know I used to play them to avoid excessive drama caused by jerks. Stupid online gaming ruined all that. At least I am getting pretty good at diffusing it.

However, there is one game coming out soon that I am really looking forward to: Shadow of the Colossus by Sony for the PS2.

Just got the demo last night in my OPM and played through it a dozen or so times. Damn, I am excited for this game to come out finally.

For those who don't know, Shadow of the Colossus is made by the creators of Ico. For those who have been stuck under a rock for the last five years, Ico is the landmark title that really redefined story-telling and emotional content in videogames. Ico also failed commercially primarily because it was released amidst a large number of blockbuster titles (GTA3, MGS:SoL, etc.)

Now, Shadow of the Colossus is actually very much a different beast than Ico was. For one, the controls are much more complex. For another, the game really seems to be more of a sequence of intense boss battles. Even still, I am certainly very excited for it from what I've played thus far.... and I cannot wait until it is released.
Correction
It's been pointed out that a post I made a little over a year ago concerning my brother was not entirely accurate. When he passed away, everyone assumed it was an overdose (because of his history of substance abuse) however it was not. He actually had died of heart complications (which is something that us Hart men have a tendency towards). Everyone assumed it was an overdose becuase of his past, but an atopsy proved otherwise. Unbeknownst to most in my family at the time, he had actually confided in one of my brothers that he had been clean and sober for quite a while before his death. This is why the autopsy was requested, because everyone wanted to know the truth. Thankfully, the truth was very good news (not that he had passed away, but that he hadn't overdosed).

I also mentioned that he was a racist in life. I'll admit I hadn't seen him in roughly 5-8 years before his death, so I have no idea if he later on turned around on this subject. All that I do know is tha last time I personally saw him I helped bail him out of jail for getting into a knife fight with a hispanic gentleman over a racial issue. Additionally, growing up I recall seeing swastikas on at least one of his motorcycles and actually getting into a discussion with him over african americans when I either was about to serve or had just returned from my mission to Mississippi.

Now, I want to assume the best with respect to him. I want to assume that he did see the error in his logic concerning racial biases as he saw the problems substance abuse had caused him. I don't know if he did, but I would like to think he did. He ultimately was a very smart man (honestly, everyone in my family is quite smart, just in different ways) and I should think that if he hadn't seen the error in his thinking about racism, he certainly has where-ever he is now.

I want to assume the best about him, as I want to assume the best about everyone (even though I usually wind up being disappointed and angry at people).

There is, however, one thing about my brother that I can honestly and truthfully relate to. He was someone who everyone assumed the worse for. When he passed away, everyone assumed it was an overdose. Like him, I am someone who everyone assumes is unwell.

The simple fact is this: I've never been terribly close with anyone in my family. I grew up an only child with 6 brothers and sisters. And because of this, none of them really understand me, or even can relate to me.

I am liberal-LDS. I am someone who values logic and scientific fact and has managed to reconcile these things with his religion. I have arrived at the amazing conclusion that there is not one scientific fact (or even strong theories, as there really isn't such a thing as scientific "fact" ;-) that contradicts the teachings of the gospel. I have found that when you really look at both science and my religion, and you really understand them, the two are extremely complimentary. In fact, there's more scientific evidence supporting my religion than anyone inside my religion would allow themselves to see.

So, in being liberal-LDS I can relate to my family on the "LDS" level, but very rarely on the "liberal" level. So many of them are indocturnated by their cohorts into thinking that the two mean starkly different things. And while it is by no means the teachings of the church, many of the members misunderstand and think that "liberal" is somehow evil and abhorent. Many members are part of the conservative right... thinking that this is what makes a person Christian... even though the church leadership has really done their best to extoll the fact that this isn't true.

Many of them fail to realize that, if you look back through the scriptures and especially at the life of Jesus, there are some extremely liberal teachings there. I'll not bore you with many quotes, primarily because this isn't the forum for such a thing, however, I can share with you my favorite passage.

It's in John, Chapter 8. Jesus is on the mount of Olives (also known as Mount Olivet, and it is actually a pretty big place). Scribes and Pharisees bring a woman before him and say:
Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned; but what sayest thou?
Jesus instead ignores them and stoops down to write on the ground (method of teaching). They continue to ask him. He finally stands and says to them:
He who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her
He then stooped back down and continues to write on the ground.

Now, he was the only person there who was without sin. Every other person there had sinned (everyone sins, it's a freaking fact, none of us are perfect). However, he was the only one completely free from it. He said that the person without sin there should cast the first stone. He was that person... and yet he did not cast the stone at her. Instead, he stooped back down and continued his teachings.

What he was telling them was that none of them were without sins, and none of them were in a position to condem this woman.

Is it me, or does this not seem like a very conservative line of thought? From what I read and hear this sure seems contradictory of conservative mantra to me. As near as I can tell (and, not to toot my own horn, but I'm a pretty smart guy) the conservative right is as far away from Christianity as taught by Christ as they can be.

So, at the end of the day, I am left quite alone and often misunderstood by my own family. Because they don't really understand me, and they somehow cannot relate, they assume the worse for me, very much like my brother who everyone assumed had overdosed, even though he had not.

However, I am fine with this. I have managed to work though those issues that had been preventing me from reaching happiness and contentment. I have achieved inner peace and am satisfied with where I am in my life. I've even found someone else who is liberal-LDS to be my helpmate. I continue to love my family in spite of the fact that they may not understand me, and might even be confused about things.

At any rate, I apologize for the introspective rant I just gave. I had something on my mind and I had to get it out before it consumed me.
Fartface Meringue
Sorry folks, the Pimpscript, SVN, and a couple of other things I run are down right now. Turns out the hoster has also changed their support system so I can no longer force a reboot remotely.

These should be back up sometime soon.

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