Saturday, June 30, 2012

DuckDuckGo: New Search Engine

Having a little fun with DuckDuckGo, a new search engine I just learned about. I had searched Google for "unfiltered search results" (kind of ironic, if you think about it). So, I found this DuckDuckGo, which promises to let you escape the search bubble and find all the stuff that Bing and Google have kept hidden from you. First off, let me tell you ~ I love the little duck! What a cutie, cutie, cutie! And perhaps I did get unfiltered results... Anyhow, I got a lot of results, and that's something. The results were different than the ones from Google and Bing. I must say, though, the results page made me flash back to old Jeeves (now All of the results looked suspiciously commercial, which kind of reminded me why Google gave us filtered results in the first place. But the results were relevant, sort of like early Jeeves, before the butler got to be such a greedy pig. A search of a particular city on DuckDuckGo turned up real businesses in that city, not the sell-a-rama that used to come up on Jeeves (or the, ahem, the plethora of broken links that Jeeves retched up after the Y2K crash, which goes to show that favoring paying sites might not be the best idea for configuring a search engine). Bing seems commercial, too. Well, hey. Go figure ~ it's Microsoft. I haven't compared Bing and DuckDuckGo to see who does what, but I'd say the little Duck guy is worth checking out from time to time. Get to see the little duck, anyhow. Besides, I might want to see how my sites compete in unfiltered search... get my drift?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Success with GoDaddy

Having maligned GoDaddy not too long ago (because their DNS manager had gotten harder (yes, harder), I now have to say that I had a bit of success in setting up a couple of my domains. I don't know why it's so difficult. I think GoDaddy saw my multiple domains and stuck me into the "advanced" manager. Go figure! No doubt GoDaddy is meant for techies who know what they're doing, and those techies need lots of complicated stuff to make really fancy websites. But I'm tech-retarded. I just want to try different plans. To me, the DNS manager and Zone Editors still seem tricky. I really had to play hide and seek to find and set up email. I still had nagging doubts about the changing of A names and C names. GoDaddy had some great tutorials, as did Weebly and Google. Once I had the hang of it, changing an A name and a C name wasn't so bad. GoDaddy does do the 'big sell' on their hosting and other plans, but they don't prevent your changing hosts (as some bloggers claimed). One thing's for sure: buying a domain is a heck of a lot easier than managing one once you've bought it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


You know... what's more disturbing than downtime is that GoDaddy seems to have changed their entire DNS interface. Ch-ch-ch changes. The whole thing looks much harder than before. The learning curve is an understatement. Ever seen the W Road up there on Signal Mountain? Yeah, that road. The curve really is a "W." Same here. Forget everything you learned yesterday (and I do mean, literally, yesterday). Today, you gotta relearn it, a whole new way. And now all those tutorials out there (with screen shots) no longer match the screens you see on GoDaddy. They're really pushing hosting these days, so the whole thing may be designed to make it harder to map your domain names to some other hosting site. Can't be sure of that, but ~ looks like a duck; quacks like a duck... We'll see. It's always a scary thing to deal with a whole new interface, unlearn and relearn everything. That, too, seems to happen just about the time you hand over your wallet. Just Murphy's law, I guess. You bought it yesterday; today it's broke. Or, in the case of all things Internet: "upgraded." (Translate: broke).

Par for the Course?

I guess it's par for the course, in the world of website hosting... GoDaddy has gone down for scheduled maintenance, or so it says. Nothing on their blog mentions a scheduled-maintenance period. But this I know, scheduled maintenance seems to happen at those crucial times when you really need to get into your account. Scheduled maintenance never happens when you're just wasting time, surfing the 'Net, playing a game. It always happens just about the time you hand over your wallet. See ya, bye! Scheduled maintenance. Maybe it's just that time of day. Lots of times these websites do maintenance at odd, late hours. Let's hope things look better in the morning. Oh... it is morning.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

John and Yoko Farming Beef

And another thing. Only since the advent of the Internet have we felt compelled to waste countless hours in the trivial pursuit of seeking out trivia ~ seeking the meaning of obscure song lyrics and the like. Take for instance I Do the Rock by Tim Curry. One verse of that song always puzzled me:
John and Yoko farming beef
Raising protein quota
Sometimes they make love and art
Inside their dakota
Rodney's feeling sexy
Mick is really frightfully bold
Me, I do the only thing that'stops me growing old
I do the Rock
I do the Rock Rock
I do the Rock Rock Rock 
Now, the other references weren't that obscure: Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger... pretty obvious. Edith Sitwell (from a previous verse) I'd heard of, and it wasn't hard, from there, to find "Satchie" (Sacheverell Sitwell, her brother). Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, I already knew.  "Baby" (Babe) Ruth, Knute Rockne, and O.J. were easy enough, as people who "wack" balls with great velocity ~ albeit O.J. is more famous, now, for wacking people. Likewise, Solzhenitzin, Nietsche, Einstein, various celebs, and world leaders posed no problem. I didn't bother to look up every ref, I got the drift of it. But somehow, John and Yoko just weren't associated with the farming of beef in my mind. The Dakota, sure; but "farming beef"? And "raising protein quota"? Was it a strange reference to child-getting, I wondered? Checking several sites that analyze obscure or unintelligible lyrics, I found that most of them included the song, but none had answers, or even guesses, about its meaning. Searches for John and Yoko and "beef" or "protein quota" all led to sites that mentioned the song, but had no insight into the lyrics. I learned that the Lennons bought a farm in Virginia and thought that I'd solved the mystery. But looking further into it, it didn't seem to be that kind of farm. It was an historic estate, not a cattle farm. Continuing to search, I found that John Lennon did a song called 'Beef Jerky.' Aha! I thought. But no, it was an instrumental. The one string of lyrics (Beef jerky, beef jerky, beef jerky) provided no enlightenment, and I did find a site which mentioned that Tim Curry dropped that verse in one live performance. Also, oddly enough, I found a father-and-son team, John and Sean Lennon (of no relation, apparently, to the famous ones) who farmed cannabis. And I found a Vanity Fair parody, in which a 70-year-old John Lennon (had he lived) went bounding about a dairy farm with pails of milk.

Not one to give up (and this song nagging, as it did, every time I thought of it), I kept plugging away on Google. And finally, voila! Something clicked. I began to find references to Yoko Ono's investments in cattle, references to a "$250,000" ($250K) cow, and various opinons as to Yoko Ono's genius for investing (or lack thereof); for she was (or wasn't) brilliant as John Lennon's financial manager, and made investments in cattle and organic farming. Thus, the most likely solution to the odd lyrics? Either Michael Kamen or Tim Curry picked up a stray tidbit from the entertainment news of the day.

So, here are the clues that led to my conclusion: 

From Beatles Photo Blog came a forum conversation betwixt "Alex of Bronx," "Tammy," and "Jo." Alex mentioned the Virginia farm, but Tammy and Jo provided my first clue about a $250,000 cow (somehow tied to Yoko Ono). Subsequent searches on Yoko, investments, and $250K cows turned up this: 
While Ono managed John’s money, John becomes a house husband, devoting his time to baking bread and raising his son Sean. John and Ono became worth hundreds of million of dollars, partly because of shrewd investments made Ono, who made a fortune in New York real estate and with dairy cows.
                                                                                                          ~ Facts and Details (Japan)

Ono became Lennon's business manager, and invested his money in real estate and organic farming. 
                                                                                                         ~ John Lennon, from Simple Wiki

His personal fortune was estimated at $150 million by the fall of 1980, before his death; most of his investments were in real estate and organic farming. (Tarot reader John Green asserted in Dakota Days that Lennon's actual fortune was far less, and the rest was hype on Yoko Ono's part.)
                                                                                from What Was Lennon's Net Worth 

And finally, this from a Yoko fan (perhaps her only):

Yoko, by contrast, was and is financially brilliant.  In All We Are Saying, she compares investments and financial transactions with chess.  The woman made millions for the two of them off of investments in cows.  Cows!  Dammit, I want her handling my money, too!
                                                                               from article on

So, regardless of the verity of any information found, the "fact" of the $250K cow obviously got about among Yoko fans, critics, or the general public. And for me, I've solved the mystery of the "John and Yoko farming beef" lyric, at least to my own satisfaction. And yes... we spend w-a-aaa-ay-y-y too much of our life seeking out the significance of obscure song lyrics...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Still Struggling...

I'm still struggling with some of the technical aspects of setting up sites, mapping domains to them, and all that. I always have questions, and they're not always answered by the help section. Slowly but surely, I plug away at it, and am getting another site set up. But even now, my old site could use an extensive overhaul. I just can't do it. Just doing the main pages is hard enough. I mean, I had the danged page w3c compliant, and already, that has changed. I don't think I changed anything. And the page is not completely to my liking. Either I misunderstood certain aspects of HTML 4.01 Transitional, or I understood it, but cannot do what I need to do. Table widths. What, you can't use them now? Or do you just put the width elsewhere, such as within the "colgroup" tribute. I don't want to be doing this at all. I'd rather have WYSIWIG. When I've used those in the past, though, they've either been buggy, terminally slow and sticky, or quickly out-dated and obsolete. You know, those horrid broken pages that worked just yesterday. Or was that ten years ago? I forget. I have spent w-a-aaaa-y too much of my life trying to be w3c compliant. The 4.01 instructions are rather terrifying, by the way. I can't even understand the sentences. Heck, I can't even navigate the outline. I downloaded Amaya today. Not terrible, so far, but not pleasurable, either. Another one of those editors where you have to know the code to use the code. No drag and drop, that's for sure. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Having Done The Deed

"Well, that wasn't so bad," she said, having done the deed. That was before she heard the whistling sound of a two-ton safe hurtling through the air, aimed right at her head. Actually, the safe hasn't fallen, and may not. As it turns out, the instructions for managing DNS and changing a cName record are much more horrifying than the actuality of changing a cName. GoDaddy provided some decent, easy-to-follow instructions for setting up a first alias ~ the "www" alias. Their instructions for adding a second subdomain were more confusing, but I think they were explaining a slightly different scenario than what I wanted to do. I saw other lost souls asking "my" question, but none of the answers hit the nail on the head. My intuition (after reading 100 forums) told me that it should work exactly as it did for setting up that first alias, "www." One guy, "Nitecruzr," had posted instructions that seemed to match my uneducated guess. I was beginning to suspect that a mistake wouldn't be permanent ~ If I messed up, I could delete the record from cPanel (I hoped). So, I went to cPanel, chose "add new record" (cName), pointed it to "" ~ and mapped it to the same host I'd used for my first alias: Then I went into Blogger and used the advanced settings to set the subdomain name for that second blog. Simple. Just had to trust this unknown "Nitecruzr," ditch the complicated instructions, and take the plunge. It seems to have worked. Right now, my subdomain name does point to my second blog. The only confusing thing now is that I have two blogs with similar titles. I'll have to keep 'em straight.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Fearful Geek Looks Under the Hood...

Flash back to the year 2000. Then, I was agonizing over whether to take the plunge and invest in my own domain name. Looking back, "invest" is a poor choice of words. "Splurge" might be a better one. Buy a gold brick. But "invest" I did, and for twelve years now, have been the proud owner of an obscure little site that struggles as I do. Southern Muse is now filled with a big pile of pages, interconnected in a fairly disorganized way. My idea for Southern Muse was way too broad for a first web site, or almost for any website. Some of the subsections would do well to have their own site. So, twelve years later, in an effort to divide and conquer, I found myself in the same position: agonizing over whether to buy a domain. And yes, I bit the bullet. I bought one. Not one, but several. And (sigh) much to my regret, I find that the industry of domain registration hasn't changed that much. Oh, the Web has changed. It boggles the mind to see how far web design, blogging tools, CSS, Flash, scripts, and all the other things have come. But the world of domain-name registration is as horrifying as it ever was. It seems a fraudulent, deceitful industry. Registrars have learned the art of selling, there's no doubt about that. Their front pages cover a full range: begging, pleading, boasting, arm-twisting, flirting, and occasionally professional seeming. Ah, but underneath that front page! Horrors. All roads lead to Hell. Professional? Sweetie, you haven't found out what products and services weren't included in that deceitful oversell. You haven't tried to dial that much-touted but non-existent 24/7 support hotline. Cheap? Ha ha ha! Don't be delusional. Shopping carts are for filling. Yours will quickly fill up with add-ons you hadn't thought necessary, but suddenly realize the scary implications of not buying them. Easy. My dear. Have you gotten a look at cPanel? Domain registration, transfer, and web hosting, my friend... those devices were devised purely to inflict torture. They are still housed in the swampy, stagnant, backwaters of some Tim Burton-cum-Steven Kingish sci-fi nightmare. We never should've let the Web be created by children who grew up reading Swamp Thing.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Dreary World of Missing Drivers

I've decided to dust off the old blog for this one. Tonight, I'm pretty proud of myself. I searched for, found, and installed updates and drivers for two devices and three browser plug-ins all by myself. The missing ones were causing my PC to be unstable. It only took seven hours, twenty searches, six-to-ten websites, six or seven downloads, three installers, and two wizards to do it. I didn't curse or cry, I was that determined. I feel like Annie Sullivan, when Helen Keller finally folded that napkin...

Maintaining an old computer is worse than maintaining an old Ford. In fact, I liked my old Ford. I can't say the same for my old computer.

The Ford was a '72 LTD. I can't even say what the computer is. According to the System Info, it's an MSI. I've been calling it an AMD ('cause that's what's on the label). Call it a sooner or a mutt. One thing's for sure, it's a dinosaur.