Revenge of the Estonians

I’m just kidding about the title. It just seemed like a good title for a third installment (see Episode 1 and Episode 2).

Arni, Madis, and Martti have been staying with me now for 6 weeks and have another 6 weeks to go so we are halfway. They continue to work like crazy: out the door before I wake up and home around 10 PM. Though they asked to borrow my car again the weekend after I let them use it for a Sunday get together (in Part 2), I have decided not to let them use it anymore. Here’s the reason why:

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Mega bucks

After Jeb’s success with ads on mac.fiveforks.com I thought I would try it out on the only page on my website that seems to get any traffic, the Dejumbler page. Of course as soon as I put an ad on there traffic dropped off sharply and I wonder if Ask Jeeves knocked me down in the rankings when they saw a Google ad? All my referrals come from Ask Jeeves which for some reason ranks the Dejumble page very high when you enter “unscramble” in its search engine.

Anyway, after 4 days I’ve had one click-through which was me seeing if it would really work and I guess they knew that because I didn’t make any money on that one. That’s out of 90 page views. Since you only get paid once you’ve reached $100 it could be a long wait.

What bugs me about the whole thing is that I could tell Google what kind of ads they should put on my page: puzzles, Scrabble, games, crosswords, etc. But instead they are reading the text on my page and putting stuff in there about programming and coding. I couldn’t see a way to give Google any hints on what to advertise.

JP1 Programming

I got the JP1 cable (to connect my universal remote to my computer; see earlier blog) a week or so ago. Then I had to learn how to use it. There are a whole host of programs that do different things, all written by a community of people who aren’t making a dime on any of this. The main program is called IR which actually talks to the remote and can store settings in files on your computer. It has a graphical interface like a typical Windows program and presents a ton of information though you can ignore most of it.

Another program is called KeyMaster and is actually an Excel spreadsheet with tons of macros attached to it. It is used to handle “upgrades” which are the settings for operating a particular device by remote. A lot of devices are built in to the remote, but others have to be added via these upgrades because 1. the devices are newer than the remote, 2. so old no one thought they would be needed, or 3. so obscure the manufacturers of the remote didn’t include them. You can find thousands of upgrade files on the internet, but you get what you pay for. Some work okay and some don’t.

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Bridge Bats

I just found out about this today. One of the bridges I’ve been working on for years that finally got underway on construction is now being put on hold because they have found hundreds of bats on the existing bridge raising their young. Somehow the story was put out on the wire by AP and immediately picked up by all kinds of newspapers and websites across the country. It looks like once the babies grow up the bats will move on. Then we will have to tear down the old bridge because the new one goes in the same place. For now the traffic has been diverted to a temporary bridge across the creek. I’m not mentioned or quoted in the article (in the extended entry).

Though the text of the articles is the same as the AP release, the headlines varied:

Bridge man, don’t touch those bats (Kansas City Star)

Bat Season Delays Ga. Bridge Demolition (Yahoo and most others)

Bat babies delay bridge demolition (CNN)

Bat maternity season delays bridge demolition in Georgia (WCCO – Minneapolis)

Make way for baby bats (MSNBC)

Bats at Work: Georgia DOT yields to helpful critters (Winston-Salem Journal)

Baby bat season delays bridge work (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Quand les chauves-souris stoppent les démolisseurs (Sympatico – Quebec)

Most of the stories didn’t have pictures, but

MSNBC and CNN did.

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