Ever open your eyes in the morning and just know, for certain, that no good will come out of the day? That you have things to do, but you are going to muddle through your standard procrastinations and find yourself still schlumping around when you notice with confused horror that the sun has already set again?
It can happen. It can even happen when you have the kind of life/job/etc. where you have to go somewhere and interact with people, but if you don’t, it can be even worse.
I see the ShareThis plugin on tons of WordPress blogs — and with reason, because the presentation is quite nice. You don’t have to take up a chunk of the screen listing all of the different social networks (and they keep multiplying…) or offering the option to email this post to a friend; instead you have a simple link that shows all of the useful detail in a little popup.
ShareThis was so popular, in fact, that a business has sprouted up around it — and current versions of the plugin are tightly bound into the ShareThis.com website. They collect data every time anyone even clicks the link to open the ShareThis window, the social networks links all redirect through the ShareThis.com servers, and all that data (associated with your website) is there for detailed reporting if you register with them. They now also encourage your visitors to sign up. I’m sure it has its uses, and they’re supported by advertising revenue, so they want lots of people to sign up and I imagine they use all that data in conjunction with showing those ads.
I had an unpleasant surprise today when I was testing a new site I’m setting up using 1&1 web hosting… I mistyped the URL, and lo and behold, instead of showing any kind of useful error page for the 404, the server neatly redirected my browser to a completely different URL, “domparking.php” at the “sedoparking.com” domain. [I’m carefully not linking, and don’t visit the page; I’m sure they get advertising revenue from it.]
I’ve seen default 404 pages where the host sneaks in a few of their own ads, and that’s kind of annoying. But there’s still a message in there somewhere that tells the person they hit a bad link.
I was googling the word “intractable”, just to make sure I wasn’t misusing it too egregiously in the post I just put up… and right there, the fifth result on the very first page, was a hiccup cure.
Doesn’t everyone who’s ever had the hiccups want to know a cure? And this is not just “my grandma always said breathing into a paper bag would do it, and it seemed to work sometimes”, but an abstract of a paper on the NIH.gov website.
Take one simple conversation with a neighbor, add a few late night walks in the dark, and it develops into a complete utopian/dystopian vision of the not-so-distant future.
First, the conversation: we were talking about everyday marital strife, and she mentioned how her husband wants to redo the roof himself — it’s a relatively straightforward project, he’s retired and has the time, and they’d save a lot of money. Her response is that his life cannot possibly be worth the money saved. Result: intractable argument. How can either side prevail? She spoke about couples taking turns “winning” arguments as a way out.
My thought is that it’s actually a question of data. What’s the actual risk that he’d injure or kill himself? If he takes the proper precautions (like a safety line, ladder spotter, etc.), can he make working on the roof safer than driving the car to the store? If yes, her argument goes away. If not — particularly if amateur roof work is dangerous even if the homeowner believes they’re taking precautions — then she wins.