It’s Official: Facebook Causes Divorce

You Just Can’t Make Up Stuff this Fun

An article published today in The Tech Journal had this solemn headline…
“Facebook is the new cause of divorce”
.

The story leads off as follows:

The number of divorces occurring because of Facebook and other social networking sites has been on the rise since these sites have become increasingly popular, research claims. ~ Published in The Tech Journal – 5/13/2011

They may have a point
After all, I keep seeing a box on the other side of my FB page that shows a very attractive girl (about the age of my own kid) with a skimpy outfit and a caption that says “Guess who’s looking for you!”.

I suppose it *could* be true, but most likely it’d either mean  (*a) daddy issues are really getting outta hand at colleges or (*b) collection agencies have started using people we might really let find us.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
Seriously folks. Did the number of deaths by plane crash climb when people started using air travel? Did football injuries mysteriously rise when schools added the game to their athletic program? Heck, I’ll bet gunshot accidents rose significantly after the invention of firearms.

If they look REALLY close they’ll also find an increase in the number of people that got married as a result of Facebook since people started using it, not to mention a shocking (!) increase in the number of people who got unfriended on Facebook, and yes… a dramatic jump in meaningless statistics about people who do things as a result of using Facebook. Somebody needs to check into these things too, there’s a good chance we’re onto something.

On the bright side, the number killed in buggies powered by horses continues to decline in a figure inversely related to automobile sales.

There had to be government grant money involved in this powerful research project. Surely nobody came up with such an amazing statistical correlation without a considerable endowment with which to ponder such deep thoughts.

Obligatory Mention of Daily Trivia Challenge on Facebook
As you might guess, the only correlation that is totally escaping me is how to tie this all to internet directories, but it was just too classic to pass up. Guess I could say I put it here to plug the daily contests we’re doing on BOTW’s Facebook page. Yeah, that’s it. Go win some easy money on our Trivia Challenge… you may need it to pay the lawyer later.

Gotta love the internet. You guys have a great weekend, and for those that are married, behave yourselves on Facebook or I’m telling. :)

BOTW to Acquire DMOZ

Finally Happening…
Best of the Web is happy to announce they’ve reached an agreement in principle to purchase the DMOZ Directory (Aka – ODP) for an undisclosed sum.

Though a nondisclosure clause prohibits the parties from disclosing details prior to finalization, discussion of some facets of future plans for the venerable directory product are still an open topic.

The New Dmoz to take on Google?
There will be massive changes on the user side, including a highly functional state of the art search interface that offers an option to search the Dmoz database only or to combine results with a metasearch of major search engines. It is hoped this will evolve into dmoz going head to head as a competitor in the search engine field.

New Dmoz Logo Contest
In celebration of the move to compete as a major search apparatus as well as a directory, there will be a makeover of the external appearance, with a green and blue color scheme and a new logo. The logo will be selected in a contest (open to he public) after closing of the transaction. Those that want to get a headstart need to be working with ideas that incorporate a monkey, a tree, and the letters Dmoz.

Things We Cannot Yet Discuss
Though plans for managing and monetizing the new acquisition are already settled, these are subject to the aforementioned nondisclosure clause and cannot be announced until after the sale is complete.

It is known that the sale only includes the assets including the name, the database, and the interface… but does not involve the existing volunteers that work the database. Unconfirmed rumors indicate they may be sold to Yahoo, though the legality of selling humans in a post 14th amendment world may limit that transaction to those outside the continental US.

Stay tuned to this space or Twitter… http://twitter.com/botw/
We’ll use this blog and Twitter to provide additional news as it develops. Please be sure to take into account the date of this announcement when discussing it with anyone (as in Happy “April Fools Day”) , and for those of you that just read headlines and skim… fellas, you’re on your own.

Hope you guys have a great weekend. ~ Rob

The day THE tool dies

Techs v Chimps
While working on something years ago I saw an email from a tech pop up and I read it. Mostly I look out of curiosity, like a chimpanzee armed with a copy of Moby Dick. I really don’t know what I’m reading, but it’s fun to look. Us non-techish types just depend on guys that DID get the tech gene to grease the machine as needed and magically keep the various operations we depend on daily going.

How they do it I don’t know…
…because absolute ignorance of their methods is a requirement of the non-compete agreement I signed long ago with the powerful Tech Union… the ISPWCDS (International Society of People Who Can Do Stuff). For all I know there are magic wands and bloody rituals involving volcano virgins.

If so, probably just as well that I don’t know, cause finding a virgin to sacrifice in this part of Texas is not gonna be an easy task. Apparently nobody’s willing to take one for the team these days.

Striking Terror into the Un-Backed-Up Heart
Anyway, while reading the note from the tech about some system that had gone down I saw a reference to him having rebuilt the database with a year old backup. It occurred to me I have no idea how often the wizards back up stuff cause it isn’t part of my job to watch theirs. My blood ran cold.

WHICH system did he just do that to? The mind begins to race.

  • - Did I lose the cool new payroll tool, without which I’m lost?
  • - Do I still have the supporting tools to do it manually?
  • - Was it the directory? Did I lose a years edits & submissions?
  • - Did we lose billing information from that period?
  • - Did I turn off the coffeepot? (sorry… ADHD)

Spit it out man! Hurry, translate the techese lingo into something to set me at ease. I’m scared and I don’t even know where volcano virgins hang out!

False Alarm… THAT Time
Turned out it was some minor system that didn’t affect my life… but then and there I learned two valuable lessons.

  • -1- Back up EVERYTHING… frequently
  • -2- Always have an extra set of trousers at the office

Losing THE Tool
Is there any one tool or database that you’d freeze in terror the day it quits working? If you’re in a role that is heavily dependent on computers, the answer has to be “Yes”.

What happens when there is a glitch? Most of us in the web world remember when Dmoz went down half a decade back due to a random “oops”… someone accidentally overwrote their database with an op system and didn’t have systematic backups of a nature to quickly repair it. The site was down for months while a brave few cobbled it back together from scraps of backups and RDF dumps wrapped in duct tape. It was the nightmare lesson of all time. Had the operation been a for-profit setup how would they have fared?

Bottom line, there are tools you use every day. Sure, you back up your data religiously, but how about the other things you rely on? Do you have them covered too, or would you be in terror when a glitch hits?

Avoiding the ‘Comfort Zone’ Trap
As systems get more and more reliable, it is easy to get complacent about backups and system redundancy. I know the guys we have here do a great job watching these things, and am glad it isn’t up to me… but everyone needs to think about it. Is there data on a laptop that is ONLY on that laptop? How bout the iPad, or the smart phone? Is the data therein synced with another device?

Just food for thought. And to paraphrase… God Bless Techses.

Hope everyone’s having a great week. ~ Rob

Holiday Break-in at BOTW

Police Seek “Person of interest” in Crime
Dateline: Jericho NY, 12-27-2010

Reports indicate authorities were summoned to Best of the Web corporate headquarters in Jericho NY this weekend to investigate a holiday break-in. Spokesperson for the Jericho Police Department said they cannot yet tell if this incident is related to a string of breakins that took place over the holiday weekend, but that similarities of method appear to be consistent and could point to the work of the same gang that struck the same time last year.

BOTW Vice President Robert Schmid says so far the staff has been unable to determine what if anything may have been taken, though it has been discovered a quantity of milk and cookies left unsecured near a Christmas tree appear to be missing.

As of this report there are few clues to the identity of the perpetrator(s), but authorities have asked the public to be on the lookout for a “person of interest” who according to multiple sources may have clues relating to the breakins. He is described as an elderly white male with a full beard who appears “jolly” and has a midsection that “shakes when he laughs like a bowl full of jelly”.

Though not officially declared a suspect in this case, he has reportedly been served previously with temporary restraining orders in various jurisdictions in conjunction with stalking charges after numerous minors claimed “he sees them when they’re sleeping and knows when they’re awake”. Charges were later dropped, and though he is not considered dangerous, police do want to verify whether he is in fact keeping a list of naughty children, possibly for purposes of retribution.

The individual was last seen on Dec 25 wearing a red suit with white trim and driving a late model miniature sleigh led by eight tiny reindeer. As of newstime no license number for the vehicle has been made available.

—–
Happy Holidays from Best of the Web. :)

Hmm, Alek’s Controllable Lights Email: Must Be December

Having been a proud member of the boy’s email list for somewhere close to a decade, I’ve learned to tell the seasons by his announcements of the seasonal changes on his website.

Anybody that’s been around directories or webmaster forums long enough eventually runs into Alek Komarnitsky, or as he’s known at Digitalpoint and a stack of other forums, Hulkster. Trust me, it’s hard NOT to notice a guy that posts in character with the web persona of a large green mutant who eschews the words of puny humans and claims to be running for President.

Even if you haven’t met him, you’ve probably seen his work. Alek has a Christmas light display (and a Halloween corrollary) that’d cause a blackout in the average city power grid, complete with 20,000+ lights, the Santa Plane, Santa Helicopter, Santa Skiing down his roof, and a host of other characters.

He also has a webcam hooked up to possibly the last remaining fully Web 1.0 looking site on the planet. It’s like stepping back in time… when’s the last time you visited an award winning website and your cursor changed into a holiday figure while you watched dancing spinning gifs at play?

There you can actually control  the whole display… play with the lights, make the figures deflate/reinflate, and generally sap the neighborhood of power to run a blender.

[Ok, before anyone starts writing letters... I'm kidding about the power disruption. This is the 7th year he's using Wind Power... and even still he made a Carbon Offset contribution for the 0.6 Tons of CO2 for the ~MegaWatt-Hour of power consumed. He's so environmentally conscious trees probably hug HIM.]

The campy site is a ruse to disguise a fine marketing mind, since the fun-to-use and free-to-use site has generated over $50,000 for his dedicated charity, the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research. Alek has two children dealing with Celiac Disease, and this is his way of raising awareness and funds for research. [How many puny humans have done THAT?]

So, if you find yourself in need a little holiday cheer, make a virtual stop and go play to your heart’s content with the Hulkster’s handiwork… aka Alek’s Controllable Christmas Lights.

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