Archive for the ‘Techie’ Category

My 3rd Blogiversary

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

Today marks three years of blogging for me.  I began blogging on Caden’s Page on the day of Caden’s birth.  I did not know I was blogging at the time, but figured it out in rapid fashion.

Wiki Woes Hit Close to Home

Monday, October 15th, 2007

“Any user can change any entry and if enough other users agree with them then it becomes true.”

This is a quote that was pulled from a Comedy Central snippet that appeared in a Fox News story that ran this past Thursday evening. While the quote above did come from a comedy act, it is unfortunately a part of reality on the Internet.

“Anyone can post information as if it were fact…without any editorial review before the information is posted.”

This was a comment offered by a legal expert who was interviewed during the Fox News story. The story talks about how lives and reputations can get ruined by the activities of people who go to Wikipedia with an ax to grind.

I recently found an entry posted to Wikipedia about a very popular book written by a friend of mine. The sales numbers on this one book run in the millions. The book has nearly 1000 customer reviews on Amazon with 50% of the reviews giving the book a 5 out of 5 rating. Yet, there are a select few Internet users vandals (as described in the Fox News story) who have taken it upon themselves to try to sabotage the success of this book and ruin the reputation of the authors. These people have built web sites dedicated to discrediting the authors going as far as to use the author’s name in their site’s domain name. Some bloggers that I have questioned have openly admitted to never having read the book even though they proudly repeat the lies written by these vandals as if it were fact.

So you are wondering what the title of the book is, who are the authors, and who are these Internet vandals? Man I like the term vandal, especially as the term is defined in the Unabridged Dictonary.com entry.

“Vandal – (2) a person who willfully or ignorantly destroys or mars something beautiful or valuable.”

Vandal was the term used in the Fox News story to describe the folks who participate in activities of spreading lies that can damage the lives and reputations of others. As for who I am talking about, well I am not going to give any more details right now. Some of you will be smart enough to figure it out. Some of you reading this may have even participated in creating and editing the Wikipedia entry in question. I have not touched the entry nor have I ever posted a review on Amazon for the book. I felt that my inexperience with Wikipedia in particular was reason enough to leave the editing to the experts for now. As for the Amazon reviews, I have not wanted there to be any potential for anyone to say that the deck is stacked in terms of customer reviews.

Fortunately some seasoned Wikipedia editors have warned these vandals that they must comply with Neutral Point of View (NPOV) rules. The wiki editors have removed much of the opinionated content, but there’s still way too many links to the lies for me to point you to the article. The entry is simply not reliable and contains way more opinion than fact. The current ratio of negative (criticism) links is 3-to-1 over the number of links to official web sites representing the author and the book that the wiki entry was written about. The vandals have not paid very much attention to the wiki editors. The contributions of the vandals have been far from neutral from the start. In fact, according to the editing history, it took nearly five months before a single positive (supporting) link was added to this Wikipedia entry. There were plenty of external links to the critic’s sites, but not a single link to an official web site representing the author or the book.

Why am I being so mysterious? My goal is not to embarrass these vandals like they so enjoy trying to do with my friend. I certainly have the ammunition to embarrass at least one of them if that were my motive. At least one of the (uhm?) anonymous contributors appearing in the edit history of the wiki entry about my friend’s book has made visits to this site and even left comments. On at least one occasion the IP address shown in a comment on one of my blogs matched exactly what appeared in the Wikipedia editing history for this book’s entry on the same night. I do not find this IP address match up to be a coincidence since several of the comments on my blog from this visitor show them coming from the same IP address consistently for over two months. The IP addresses this visitor has been sourcing from for over two years has changed slightly from time to time. This tells me that their ISP is issuing addresses from a DHCP pool the same way many ISPs do business. However, a majority of the edits in the history of the Wikipedia entry I have been referring to came from the same ISP’s address pool that this visitor has been sourcing from for over two years when visiting this blog. This leads me to believe that this visitor of my site has been one of the primary contributors to this one Wikipedia topic. The majority of contributions to this particular Wikipedia entry were made by people who have no interest in publishing facts. Their message is full of slander and lies.  Why am I making a big deal out of this? Because it can happen to anyone. It can happen to you or someone you love.

In closing I want to make it clear that this is not a critique of Wikipedia but a critique of the people who vandalize Wikipedia and the Internet in general. I find Wikipedia to be a great resource on many subjects. Unfortunately there are a few “Internet Vandals” who try to misuse Wikipedia as a place to vent their frustrations over the success of others.

Lawsuit puts BurnLounge in Hot Water

Monday, June 11th, 2007

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed suit against BurnLounge and former University of South Carolina football player Rob DeBoer has been named in the suit.  BurnLounge and DeBoer are being accused of running a pyramid scheme and misrepresenting the earnings investors made with the company.

My personal experience with BurnLounge is much like that of SC Attorney General Henry McMaster.  According to The State newspaper, “McMaster suspected the company [Burnlounge] of being a pyramid scheme after hearing a sales pitch for the company with his wife.” 

A friend recently tried to recruit me into BurnLounge.  He had asked me to visit a website called yourburnteam.com, call a toll free number for more information, and then attend a presentation by former USC quarterback turned attorney Todd Ellis.  Ellis is mentioned in the article linked above.  I visited the site and called the number.  Then I proceeded to warn my friend via email by saying, “This program is a multi-level marketing (MLM) strategy at the roots.”  

 BurnLounge retailers are expected to get customers simply due to having a personal relationship with folks.  The customer buys music much like they would on iTunes.  This lawsuit is likely resulting from the questions raised from potential retails like reading thins like this:


  • The investment is $430 per year in U.S. dollars, plus $14.95 per month. This may change for different geographies to reflect local economic realities. ($609.40 per year total with no guarantee)
  • The upside is almost unbelievable, and Australia and Canada are the first countries that we are moving into..
  • In the first year, we had over 50 people earn over $100K, and several who earned from $400K to $600K in personal earnings. The amount of personal income that you create is up to you, but the opportunity to achieve life-changing income is real and attainable. (These bullet points were taken from the “Investment vs Return” section of a promotional email I received in late April 2007.  My emphasis added in bold.)
  • Those talking about downloading the most music say they use torrents and P2P solutions.  Those who buy their music fair and square from iTunes or Walmart.com have already busted past the initial impulse music purchase after acquiring a new digital music player for the first time.  After a brief informal survey of friends using services like iTunes, I found that all fell squarely in the middle of the estimates made by David Caulton, a Zune contributer as reported on the Electronics Design Strategy News web site.  David says:


    “iPod owners initially buy 30 tracks in the first three months, but then drop off to one track per month or less on average.”

    Based on the above information and a couple of things that grabbed my attention in the “Back-end Compensation Tutorial Residual Sales”  presentation on the myburnteam.com site, I was led to my decision to not participate

    -Single orders totaling less than $9.90 DO NOT count towards your sales quota
    -A single order with (1) 99 cent track DOES NOT count towards your sales quota
    -A single order with 10 or more 99 cent tracks DOES count towards your sales quota

    These bullets were taken directly from the “Back-end Compensation Tutorial Residual Sales” presentation on the Burn Team site.  To see it for yourself, go to http://www.yourburnteam.com and enter as a Guest.  Click on the menu icon once the Rob DeBoer flash video starts.  You will find a section called “Compensation Training” that includes this “Back-end Compensation Tutorial Residual Sales” presentation.  Oh, this presentation does not play well with Firefox.

    What all this tells me is that if the numbers give by David Caulton are even close, then revenue for a BurnLounge retailer from music downloads will be nonexistent after the first month a person joins.

    As a web site and blog builder, I can not image gambling $430 to see if I might be able to generate some revenue in much the same way I am already doing so with affiliate relationships that are FREE.  I spend less than that per year in total web hosting expenses.  

    I believe that BurnLounge is preying on the ignorance of those who have never built a blog or web site before.  Intensionally? I don’t know.  The amount of revenue a burn page retailer will generate is directly proportional to how effective they are at delivering visitors to their web pages.  Any experienced web site owner will tell you that drawing traffic is not always a cakewalk, unless you are [uhm] something like a former college football celebrity with the name recognition that might be able to immediately draw a ton of Internet traffic. 

    After you run through the references in this story, if you find that you just can not live without becoming a BurnLounge retailer, then I will hook you up with my friend.  On the other hand, if you want to make money on the Internet the old fashion way, then just drop a comment in this post or send me an email (check the about page).  I will be glad to help you get started for way less than $609 per year.

    Understanding Blog Visitors

    Thursday, June 7th, 2007

    Got Jesus Visit Statisitc

    I have been a little bit obsessed with my blog statistics at times in the past. I believe as a serious blogger you need to be concerned about where visitors come from and why they come to your site if you want to understand what your blog is really accomplishing. The visits like the one above help motivate me to stay in the blogging game. This is only one of the interesting visits that came from a search engine recently.

    About one third of all the traffic across all of HOEI.COM (six separate blogs) comes as brand new visitors from search engine results. Most land on this blog or Caden’s Page. I posted a more detailed article on my new front page HOEI blog. I am focusing that blog on blogging tips and other blog related subjects. The new post on HOEI also contains a couple of new acronyms to throw into your bowl of Internet soup.

    Read More

    Edifier – Pastor Jon

    Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

    I have been stewing on a new idea for several months. I finally came up with a name and launched the site. The site is titled The Edifier. I hope that it would not take very much effort for you to realize how much my relationship with God means to me. You can see in the side bar of this blog that I offer guidance on building a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

    What I have found in the blogshpere is that there are plenty of blogrolls and directories containing self proclaimed Christian web sites. There is one big problem with many of the sites that add themselves to these directories and blogrolls. They do not maintain a high standard are Christian values in what they write or with the pictures and videos they plaster on their sites. This in my opinion can confuse the non-believer or seeker who does not understand how a professing Christian can post such filth or anger filled material. I have been as bad as any of blogger at times, but I am working on it. The idea with The Edifier is that it will highlight blog posts, blogs and web sites that have been identified to fall in line with the following scripture from Eph 4:12 (NLT).

    “Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. “

    Hopefully this site can become a trusted source for surfers to identify edifying material on the Internet.  In the beginning I will be tagging posts, blogs and web sites as Edifiers based solely on my own opinion. I do plan to recruit assistance in identifying Edifiers in the future. I have not made contact with any of my perspective recruits just yet.

    Pastor Jon is a friend that I have made over the Internet. I have never met him in person, and he has no idea I am doing this little project. Pastor Jon’s Blog has been identified as the first Edifying Blog on The Edifier blog.

    Congratulations Pastor Jon!

    Google Posts Jobs for Charleston, SC

    Monday, April 23rd, 2007

    Are you a low country super geek? Then Google has a job for you.

    Can you make computers do amazing things? Are you excited about designing and developing new applications that really make a difference? Google is looking for engineers with the programming skills to change the world. Join Google engineering and help us build products that are used by millions everyday.

    Google has posted 4 openings for the up coming Goose Creek, SC data center under the above general category description. The job listings include:

    • A Data Facilities manager
    • A Data Center Facilities Technician
    • A Hardware Operations Manager
    • A Hardware Operations Team Manager

    Read my related posts on the new Google Data Center:

    Computerworld on Goose Creek
    Google Creek, SC
    Is Google Going South?

    Odd week for Ozz

    Monday, April 9th, 2007

    You might be able to hear the gears turning if you listen closely enough. I have several great blog stories churning, but that is not what makes this week odd. Odd item number one was that I got an email from a guy who wants to run an ad on one of my blogs. He offered to pay me to run an ad on a single blog post that is almost two years old. Oh, and the url that he provided is remnants of an old Blogger post that has sense been replace with WordPress.

    The other odd thing that happened is that an editor/writer for a very popular technology publication contacted me today. He is doing a story about Google’s move into Goose Creek, SC and wanted to have me weigh in on the story as a Goose Creek resident and IT professional. My buddy Trace Pupke has the latest on Google’s confirmed plans to move into the creek. I will link to the story when and if it is published online and as long as it does not make me sound like a dweeb.

    Oh yeah. Here is another oddity. Even though my number of blog posts per some amount of time ratio is way down, I have just seen the highest traffic month on this site ever. The number of unique visitors per day is well over 1,000 with March being the highest month ever with 0ver 40,000 visitors.  Not that I am counting or anything. Right?  This blog still gets the highest percentage of the traffic on the hoei.com and the hankosborne.com domains.  The hankosborne.com domain name is currently pointed to the same IP address as hoei.com.

    Google Creek, SC

    Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

    There has been much buzz about the possibility of Google building a data center right here in Goose Creek, SC. This has become a subject of frequent conversations among the engineers where I work. Some have dreams of a better life through Google’s corporate culture. I first heard the story during one of those water cooler style talks in the lab at SPAWAR. Later that say I saw a post on Trace Pupke’s blog. Trace dug up some numbers that say, “…they plan to make a $750 million investment there, employing at least 400 workers who will earn an average of $90,000 a year.” The Post and Courier ran a story last week to give us a taste of what Google might be looking for when filling these 400 positions. Here are my answers to a few questions found in the P&C article:

    What programming languages are you familiar with? C, C++, Basic, Fortran, several markup languages…Does it really matter if I am applying for the Network Engineer position?
    Is your work space messy or neat? Neat, on the surface ;-)
    Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Depends on caffeine level
    What magazines do you subscribe to? AOPA Pilot and what ever techie journals I can get for free
    What pets do you have? None, but I wish I had a Cheeah Pet. Oh, my back yard provides plenty of birds, squirrels, rabbits, and a raccoon from time to time. If that is not enough there are plenty of roadside whitetail deer and opossums in the local area that I have to dodge when driving at night.

    The article goes on to say, “As things turned out, there was no single factor that seemed to find the top workers for every single job title. (And pet ownership did not seem to be a useful predictor of anything.)” Whew! I threw in the backyard and roadside stuff just in case the pet thing was a deal breaker.

    The official word is not yet in on this mysterious Google data center, Possible site of Google data center in Goose Creek, SCbut you can pretty much bet that if it does come to Goose Creek (affectionately known as Duck Ditch by some natives) then it will likely be planted in the Mt Holly industrial park just off of Highway 52 about half way between Goose Creek and Monk’s Corner.

    The local media has covered this story and a few bloggers. One commenter from the Charleston area by the name of Lynwood Hines (hines1957) did a great job of hammering out some criticisms by others leaving comments on a Valleywag post about Google’s consideration of Goose Creek for one of its new data centers. The biggest beef in those comments seemed to center around the possibility of hurricanes hitting the coast of SC and disabling data centers. Hines said, “Keep in mind that other areas of the country are not immune to nature’s energetic tantrums. Google’s headquarters is located in Mountain View CA, which is at considerable risk from earthquakes.”

    A story published by The State newspaper’s web site gave some information about yet another possible data center site in South Carolina. And there is always the Si-Fi version of the story found in the comments of a Slashdot post. My favorite comment on the Slashdot article can be paraphrased as “Google ain’t stupid”. Stay tuned for updates on this developing story from Google Creek, SC.

    UPDATE: In December a company by the “named Maguro Enterprises paid nearly $17 million for about 520 acres in Mount Holly Commerce Park…”
    Source

    These property purchases in mid-December by Maguro Enterprises can be verified by sifting through the Berkeley Country property cards at: http://gis.co.berkeley.sc.us/

    An article by Data Center Knowledge helps sort out whether Goose Creek is still in the running or not.

    MySpace and JCFaith

    Sunday, January 14th, 2007

    I have posted for a while a link to the MySpace page I created some months back. It was initially an exercise to see what the technical capabilities were and how people were using these pages. I also signed up for a Christian alternative to MySpace called JCFaith. The first question to answer is why bother leaving the MySpace page live?

    9 When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. 10 But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that.” 1 Corinthians 5:9-10

    After reading this again recently I remembered a post back in September done by Jay Atkins titled “Why MySpace?” Jay’s post gives a pretty good example of why we as Christians should not be afraid to have a presence on MySpace or any other social networking site. There is nothing wrong with being in this world as long as we do not become conformed to this world and its standards. I continue to leave my page up on MySpace with a copy of the feeds from this blog and Caden’s Page in particular. I feel that my blogs have become much more inspirational and serve as a small ministry tool. I continue to receive emails from people who are encouraged by our family’s attitudes and actions in response to the tricks of the devil.

    The secular social networking scene on the Internet can make you sick if you really get a close look at what is going on in that realm. Social networking is basically an electronic form of the things I remember from the average high school weekend hangout from my teen years. My teen years were way more typical and did not reflect a devotion to serving or following Jesus Christ. I try to keep focused on what I am trying to accomplish on sites like MySpace and not do any browsing around. I treat MySpace much like the folks at XXXChurch treats a porn convention. I go in and set up my both (page) to shine a little of God’s light in a largely dark place on the Internet. A very small majority of secular social networking site members are sharing their desire to serve God. You don’t find much in the way of good Christian influence when you go to searching MySpace for God or Jesus.

    So, what if you are not really wanting to shine light into dark corners of the Internet? What if you just want to have some health Christian conversations and share stories with some folks and rejoice with each other when God blesses you? Maybe you are looking for encouragement from online friends to continue to grow your relationship with Jesus Christ. Is there a place where you can go to set up a free social networking page that is Christian? Is there a Christian alternative to MySpace? There are several that I have found, but only one that stands out so far. JCFaith has proven to me to be a great place for people get the same type of features that secular social networking sites offer without the filthy ads and requests from half naked friends. I have been much more of a spectator than a participant JCFaith, but I can say that I have not yet run into a single profile that I would consider questionable. Here is what JCFaith has to say about themselves:

    Co-founders of JCFaith.com (www.JCFaith.com), saw a glaring omission in this emerging new trend. “I feel young Christians are searching for an online community where they can grow their faith by interacting with other Christians in a social networking environment. Unfortunately there are not many options for Christians that completely filled this gap, so a few of us got together and created one. Co-founders banned together to create a user experience that was uniquely Christian, yet completely social. “We wanted to create a Christian experience for users but maintain all the top aspects of the popular social networking sites. (www.JCFaith.com.)” Source

    Regardless of how “Christian”, clean, pure and innocent a social networking site may seem, there are still opportunities for inappropriate relationships and communications to occur. I want to leave you with a few basic rules for all online activity.

    1. All online activity should be performed in a public place in your home.
    2. All passwords to email accounts, social networking sites, and other personal communication systems should be shared between the husband and wife.
    3. All passwords for children’s email, chat/IM, social networking sites should be known by the parents. And parents should regularly review the content of these accounts while logged in with the child’s user id and password.
    4. Browser history files should never be cleared by anyone other than the parents.

    These basic rules will help create an environment of openness and trust between all of the members of your family. It may be more difficult to implement rules like these if some members of the family have been allowed a certain degree of privacy in some of these areas. These rules also assume a certain degree of respect and trust between husband and wife. If your spouse is not your best friend then voluntarily sharing your user ids and passwords to email, IM, and social networking sites is a good step towards building that relationship. If you don’t know your children’s user ids and passwords to email, instant messaging, and social networking sites, then you should. There are a ton of ways that kids can get around the above rules, but they are a good first step in protecting your children online.