Older blog entries for criswell (starting at number 295)

Year in Review
Welp, been a busy year. A very busy year. Some might say too busy. Hell, I'd say too busy. But let's review anyway, shall we?
  • Top Games of 2005 : Before I start, I would be remiss if I didn't point out my list of top games in 2005. I do these every year, and they seem to be the only thing I ever use my wiki for anymore.
  • Wedding/Honeymoon : Got married this year (wife #2, although wife #1's stuff is still strewn around my site). Simply wonderful to be with such a mentally well person.
  • Gaming Clan Success : My word, too much success. This is probably the most demanding thing in my life now.
  • Kicked Maat's Ass : If you don't know what this is, don't worry about it. Let's just say it was nearly two years in coming for me, and was kind of a big deal.
  • Vain attempt to restart Tux4Kids : Once again, my life has been too busy for T4K. This next year I really hope to have more time for it again. What I really need is some way that I can earn enough money to live and yet still have time for T4K... of course... how the hell is that going to happen unless someone plops some fat cash in my lap..
  • Work, work, and more work : Honestly, the majority of my time has been spent trying to make ends meet. Sure, I've had more financial success than in years past, but it has come at a pretty severe cost. I just never have time to work on my FLOSS projects anymore.
I need a new drug
Welp, as I said a few posts ago, Google is a Nazi with their Adsense program. Somehow, they idiotically invalidated all of my clicks because of something stupid like NAT. Something that has only been a part of the net since at least 1994... but we'll forgive them for not being up on the latest bleeding edge technology.

Anyway... I need an alternative. But I can't find one that doesn't, superficially at least, seem just as Nazi as Google is. Here's a few I have looked at, if anyone has anything to say about them, track me down in #tfug, #clanam, or whatever (I'm criswell, criswel1, or criswe11) in freenode.net. Don't email me, I get too damned much email.
Sam, World's Ugliest Dog, Dead
...No relation....

And, for posterity (since I don't trust that "10news.com" adheres to the same stuff I do), here is Sam, the World's Ugliest Dog.... who is now dead...
<center> <img src="http://files.samhart.net/humor/sam_worlds_ugliest_dog_dead.jpg" border=1>
(Feeds of my website probably wont get that image, I'm sorry, can't be helped) </center>

First of all... who determines that this was, in fact, the World's Ugliest Dog. As far as I know, there is no metric for such things. I mean, there is absolutely no denying that this was a truly gruesome beast... but there are certainly other oddities in the running.

Second of all... this is news? I can certainly think of other topics far more interesting and important.
More bullshit
I have been Googling (hah, the irony) for people who have had similar things happen, and it looks like this happens far more often than you might know. It seems like a lot of people have been banned or disabled without any specific reasons or warning. In fact, I found this:

How To Get Banned From Google Adsense In Just 2 Clicks

This is the only thing I can think that may have happened... and even this isn't really against their Terms & Conditions. Let me explain...

See, there's this thing called "NAT". NAT allows you to have many internal computers which all have the same IP address to the outside world. This means if I am using a system inside of my work, or at a Starbucks wifi, or at a public library, or even on certain ISPs, I will have the same IP address as many, many, many other people. If some of those other people just so happen to be users on my sites (for example, if they played in my gaming clan) they will have the same IP as me.

So, if I log in from one of these NAT systems to my AdSense account to check on the current totals, and they browse the sites and potentially even click on the ads, BOOM! According to Google's idiotically designed software, I have just violated their Terms & Conditions. Wonderful, no?

What's that you say? Wouldn't it be smarter to just ignore the clicks from those IPs? Probably... but it seems that Google's shite code that runs behind the scenes at AdSense wasn't designed that way... It seems that the developers overlooked one of the most fucking common ways people browse the fucking web!

They haven't replied to my request for information as to what they think I did wrong, so I don't know if my theory here is correct... But I bet it is.

Well, fuck them, I'll take my traffic elsewhere...
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.

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