GEICO Mobile App

I watched a commercial where traffic enforcement officer pulled over a pig in a convertible who hands over his phone when requested for identification. The officer questions it. The pig explains. The officer remains skeptical.

Personally, I think it should continue with the officer saying, “Since you’ve unlocked your phone and handed to me, I will just check your text messaging and phone logs. Oh, you received one while you were driving. Here’s a ticket for texting while driving. More people should just let us know when they are breaking out silly laws this way.”

Also.

Maybe the kids making commercials these days have forgotten the offensive use of “pig” to refer to a police officer. Having a pig and police officer talking to each other seems like skirting really close.

Curious Traffic Spike

I glanced at my Google Analytics stats for this site and noticed a huge traffic spike. Somehow my TED Talk: We Are All Cyborgs post landed Bing’s number two spot and Google’s number three spot for “ted talk we are all cyborgs” a couple days ago. Normal for a Tuesday is something like 650 visits. That Tuesday I got 2,578. It kind of reminds me of the Made Stumbleupon.com? post.

The actual We Are All Cyborgs talk was the number one spot for both search engines. Why would anyone come to my site for the same video?

(Glad I turned back on WP-Cache again.)

DDoS of Social Media

Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal and other sites all admitted to suffering from a DDoS attack. It seem to me the purpose of a Denial-of-Service attack (DoS) against a web site is to flood it with so much traffic the site becomes unusable. The DDoS is where multiple other computers are coordinated into launching the attack.

All three of the above mentioned sites have had recent issues keeping up with growing usage. The USA inauguration and Iran demonstrations peaked traffic so much the sites seemed like they suffered from a DoS. Already at the edge, an attack tipped the barely making it social media sites over it. Some users abandon them for less popular (so more stable sites). Those who stick around suffer from learned helplessness.

Causing all this hullabaloo over a single user seems odd to me. I don’t speak Russian, so I don’t know if this guy from Georgia (the country) deserved it. Also, it is almost the one year anniversary since Russia invaded Georgia. During the invasion, DDoS attacks disabled Georgian web sites. So, maybe this is to show Georgia the Russians are still capable of causing problems? This is why security evangelists want us to be able to deal with threats.

Various computer viruses over the years have turned millions of computers into zombies for botnets. So… If you are upset about your favorite social media site getting taken down, then maybe you should act on ensuring your computer and others in your social network were not enlisted into a botnet?

Expression Costs

(This started out as a blog comment for Sania’s post Facebook Killed Your Blog. I’m posting it here first.)

We share blogs with the whole world. So our blogs get lost in the noise, bolstering the need for a whole industry optimizing getting found in search engines. Its a concerted effort just get noticed. That’s because blog readers have to seek out blogs to follow, subscribe to the feed, and follow. Finding the best blogs to read is sometimes difficult and more from word of mouth than anything search engines provide.

Blogs also tend to have a lot of information to digest. Social networks have just a line or two with maybe a link to more information. Blog readers typically are designed around the idea of collecting all the posts and letting the user pick which to read. Social networks typically are designed around the idea of just showing recent posts and letting the users choose how far back in time to read.

As technologies lower the costs to express ideas (aka get easier), blogs will get left behind as they have become upside down in value. The costs of writings, reading, subscribing, and commenting on blogs are more expensive compared to micro-blogging or status updates.

Why blog when hanging out on social networks are so much easier? Blogs can only survive as long as they have information worthy.

Why blog when readers are no longer reading? Posting blog entries on social networks does help keep traffic levels somewhat by getting exposure.

As bloggers providing valuable expression leave blogging, the value of blogs decrease. People will still blog. It just won’t be the popular thing to do.

Made Stumbleupon.com?

Traffic to this web site “spiked” yesterday. It only tripled to about 300 page views in a day. Nothing compared to what we get at work.
🙂

I was curious why the sudden burst almost exclusively to the Quotes to Make You Think page. The referrer for 108 of the 168 visitors that day was stumbleupon.com. Good visitors found other pages as they looked around a bit. Best I can figure, MochiMochii bookmarked my site and five others have indicated they like it.

Wow, if a single review and just a bookmark drives this much traffic, then maybe I am fortunate this page has not hit a top ranking? That could means thousands of hits daily.

UPDATE 2007-JAN-27: Today, the traffic from these… uh… Stumblers… is over 600 page views and we have over 6 hours left in the day. I am impressed people are coming. This quotes page has always been the most popular since I created it back in 2000 or 2001. Will it hit 1,200 Monday, 20,000 Friday? Where is the ceiling? I should have remembered the principles from work…

UPDATE 2007-JAN-27 b: Ha… Topped out at 4,892. That’ll teach me to think maybe it will slow.

Suck It Up And Pay the Price

Doesn’t it always look like this?

  1. User runs script against service.
  2. Script operates so quickly and sucks so much traffic its obvious its a script.
  3. Service’s automates systems detects the abuse.
  4. User gets automated notice about violation of Terms of Use and prevention from accessing the site.
  5. User pitches a fit because he is “famous”.

Services lock out abusive users because people conducting this kind of activity cause slowness. I’ve personally caught people doing this. How I got them to stop usually depended on my ability to contact them. People I knew or others directly knew, a phone call was enough to resolve it.

People outside of my social circle usually got an email and found their account locked. Doing so prevented their scripts from working. At Valdosta State, I would leave instructions at the Helpdesk for the offender to have to contact me in order to regain access to the account. Tyrrannical, I know.

UPDATE: So, it turns out Scoble was using an alpha of Plaxo Pulse. The ideas was to download ~5,000 images of Scoble’s contacts’ email addresses, text names, and text birthdays. Then the software would match them against people in Plaxo. He could then sync Plaxo with his Outlook address book for a good contact list.

He accuses Facebook of singling him out as others have not been caught. (Were the others trying to download and push 5,000 in a few seconds?) He also accuses Facebook of being hypocritical… They import contact information from other sources, but they do not allow anyone to export the same information.

I still think a user hitting 5,000 images for email addresses look like a spammer. Of course, I think Scoble is a spammer … Maybe its confirmation bias? 😀

Who Is Lurking In the Shadows?

Since you readers seem not to comment much, I took it upon myself to check on you by other means. 😀

More of my visitors come from Washington, DC, than any other US locale. Interesting…. All of them are from a certain publicly traded company. \Why would I be surprised, considering I mentioned them and their product and their conference recently?. Some came to me through Laura‘s blog. Most got to me by by typing the address directly.

Its more interesting that so little of the traffic here is from work. I don’t really overtly talk about work so much. Of course, I don’t know this blog is sanctioned. Not have I really asked. Given all the trouble other bloggers I know have encountered by talking about things they should not, I’m fairly conservative. Me? Not talk much? Odd, right?

links for 2007-07-18

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What is a Super Speeder?

There is a bill in the GA legislature to additionally fine people for excessive speeding. Fine. Good even. However, it disturbs me that people quote the wrong statistics as rationale and tie it to emotional cues.

Slowing down ‘super speeders’ on Georgia highways is a super idea – gainesvilletimes.com:

Last year in Georgia, 1,700 people lost their lives in traffic accidents; that averages to about one person every five hours. These aren’t benign statistics, folks. These are real people — mommas and daddies and sons and daughters, friends and neighbors — people who could and should still be with us.

People losing their lives in traffic accidents is quite serious. However, this isn’t 1,700 people who lost their lives because of excessive speeding. According to Weitz & Luxenberg (for 2003), speed was a factor in only about 20% of these traffic accident deaths. This is at the same level as deaths associated with alcohol (MADD for 2005 claims it higher: 35% and 30% in 2005). W&L also claim people were not wearing a seatbelt in half of these deaths? If that is true, then let’s raise the fine on not wearing a seat belt by $100 a year until this goes down to less than 5%.

Airbags are associated with an increase in deaths?

This map of crash deaths in GA is scary: 1) the map is unreadable unless you take the picture and look at the original JPG, 2) the lack of understanding of greater than vs less than. Plus, I’d rather it be deaths by percentage of amount of traffic than just deaths. More cars = more opprtunities for people to do stupid things. For example, I am impressed by the low numbers of deaths in certain counties along I-75 and I-85.