I was interested to see that Facebook has released a WordPress plugin. This would allow me to easily share content from this blog to my Facebook page.
I installed the plugin, and went to configure it, and, after creating an “app” on Facebook, saw the following:
Seriously? My mobile phone number? MY CREDIT CARD? WTF? Facebook, do you really think I’m giving you my credit card number?
Needless to say, I have deleted the plugin.
Posted: 6/13/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Miscellanea Tags: Facebook, social media, WordPress | 3 Comments »
We all know it happens; companies and authors post bogus reviews of their products and books on Amazon. Generally, this is not a big deal, but there are times when it’s obvious that a concerted effort has been made to submit a number of 5-star reviews to make an item look better than it is, or at least to get more attention.
It started with last night’s Daily SHow, where the guest was one Edward Conard, former partner at Bain Capital, and author of Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong. As is sometimes the case with wonky subjects, Jon Stewart had the interview continue after the show, and the entire interview is available on the web; some 40 minutes. I found Conard interesting; while I don’t agree with a lot of what he said, at least he was trying to explain some of his opinions on the economy from the point of view of a member of the 1%.
So I went to Amazon to look at the book, and saw there were many 5-star reviews. When I read them, however, they all had the same vapid, vague contents, that said the book was good, but without saying very much. If you run a blog, you certainly see this type of comment spam; comments that are designed just to create user accounts, while saying nothing of substance, but being vague enough so that you might think they are real. These reviews were similar. Here’s one example:
You can’t always believe what you hear on the news. Unintended Consequences confirms this by supplying the type of wisdom needed when it comes to the economy. It is a remarkable view of what has happened to get us to this point, and where we go from here.
I found Unintended Consequences to be a challenging look at the current opinion of America’s financial crisis. There are some very interesting views on how we arrived at this point, and they are bound cause a stir. Whether you agree with these view or not, they are going to get people talking!
These reviews could be blurbs on the book’s jacket. They say nothing substantial, and are clearly just fluff.
Looking further – clicking the “See all my reviews” links for some of the authors – I saw how all of these people had only ever written one or two reviews, all equally vague, and all around the same date.
So for this book, the publisher – Portfolio Books, an imprint of Penguin – didn’t want to let the market do its thing. No, they wanted to game the system, just like this author probably did in has work with Bain Capital. I certainly hope that Amazon will do something about these reviews.
As it turns out, Mr. Conard lives up to his name. (At least, what that name means in French, with a double n. I’ll let my readers look that up.)
Posted: 6/8/2012 by kirk | Filed under: books, Miscellanea Tags: Amazon, books | 3 Comments »
As of today, I am taking over as editor of Mac OS X Hints. This isn’t the first time I’ve been an editor on this site: over the years, I filled in for founder Rob Griffiths when he was on vacation, or when his children were born. The Mac OS X Hints website belongs to Macworld now, and has for several years, and as a senior contributor to Macworld, I’ll be working both on the Hints site itself, and providing hints to Macworld’s Mac OS X Hints blog.
So, I invite you to stop by the Mac OS X Hints website, and contribute your own tips and tricks to share with other Mac and iOS users.
Posted: 3/1/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, Miscellanea | 3 Comments »
Dropbox is testing a new photo and video upload feature, and as looking for people to help. In exchange, they’ll give you some extra free space: 500 MB just for trying, and up to 5 GB in free space depending on how much you upload. Go to the forum post linked above and download the new beta, then connect your iPhone or camera. The free space is credited to your account immediately.
If you don’t have a Dropbox account, you can get a free account with 2 GB storage that you can sync across computers and access from mobile devices. To get an account, click this link. In addition, if you sign up through my link, I’ll get some additional free space as well: 250 MB per user.
Posted: 2/3/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Miscellanea | No Comments »
I’m moving house in two days, and in the past week, as I’ve been packing, I’ve realized that I’d accumulated an alarming amount of stuff. I’m not a hoarder, or a collector, but I read a lot, and listen to a lot of music. The amount of books in the house is astounding, and I’ve decided to toss about half of them. While I have a lot of CDs and DVDs, they don’t take up a lot of space: there are three big movers’ cartons of DVDs, and about 8 smaller cartons of CDs. A lot of my music is digital, and that doesn’t take up any space.
So, I’ve decided to buy less. And I’ve come up with a way to (try to) limit my purchases of recreational stuff: books, CDs and DVDs. I sell some stuff on Amazon.fr – used books and CDs, mostly, though books in English don’t sell often. I also make some money from readers to this website who click through to my Amazon affiliate links; that comes to several hundred dollars a year. So, my idea is this: I’m going to keep a ledger (well, a spreadsheet) of what I sell, and what I earn in affiliate income, and will only buy new things with that money. I’m planning to sell off a large share of my CD collection – mostly classical CDs – so that should turn out to be enough money for me to buy a bunch of new stuff. And I won’t count any digital purchases, as they don’t take up space. (Remember, you can help by clicking on one of my Amazon affiliate links before you shop at Amazon!) Fortunately – or unfortunately – I got off to a good start, selling some €500 of used go books, including some that are very rare. So my ledger currently has a nice credit…
Uncluttering your home can be a way of simplifying your life, and I’m going to try to do so this year. Rather than buy a lot of new books and CDs, I’m going to re-read my favorite books, and listen more to a lot of the music I already have. (Since I review classical CDs for MusicWeb International, I’ll get some new CDs that way.)
My main goal is to not use up any more space than what I already have for these things. (Which, for books, is frighteningly large.) I’ll let you know in a year how it works out.
Bonus: for some comic relief, here’s George Carlin talking about “stuff”:
Posted: 1/8/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Miscellanea | 2 Comments »
I would like to wish my readers a very Happy New Year. I hope 2012 will be a wonderful year for you. Thank you for reading and supporting Kirkville.
Posted: 1/1/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Miscellanea | No Comments »
I’d like to welcome my new sponsor, Moom. Or, more correctly, Many Tricks Software, whose useful window-organizing utility for Mac OS X, Moom, is a hugely popular Mac utility. With Moom, you can resize, organize and manage windows using the mouse or keyboard, setting up windows to fill your screen, or choosing specific sizes and forms for the windows of different applications.
Moom is hard to explain in words, but once you try it out, you quickly understand what it does and why you need it. For just $5, Moom gives you powerful features to manage your windows. Try or buy Moom on the Many Tricks website.
Posted: 9/21/2011 by kirk | Filed under: Miscellanea Tags: Mac OS X, software | No Comments »
If you’re a regular reader of this site, you’ll know that I’ve never run ads, with the exception of Amazon affiliate links, and, recently, an Amazon ad at the end of each article, only when it is viewed on its own page. I’ve decided to try to sell a few ads, to see if I can monetize the work I spend on this site.
I’m a freelance writer, and make my living from my writing. I write this blog to not only promote my writings – linking to my books or articles, for example – but also to say things I want to say. While I have outlets for articles about Macs, iTunes and the iPod, and I review classical CDs, there are still things I am interested in writing about that I simply don’t have the time to try to sell.
My interests are varied, and this site has always been eclectic. On the main page today are posts about recent Macworld articles, Macs, iTunes, classical music, the Grateful Dead, and some DVDs I liked. I also write a lot about books that interest me, but there’s nothing on the front page right now about my favorite authors. I understand that there are a number of different types of people who visit this site, some of whom are Mac users, other who are classical music fans, and so on.
In selling ads, I’m essentially targeting the Mac market, as my main activity is writing about Macs. However, this doesn’t mean that there couldn’t be ads from, say, classical record labels, publishers or iPod accessory vendors. I will only approve ads that fit with the site, and will be careful to ensure that they don’t become a nuisance. I don’t expect to make a lot, but getting some compensation for the time I spend working on this site would be nice. And, if I get a few advertisers, that will pay for me to spend more time writing for this site.
If you want to advertise, click on the box to the right, or below, that says Advertise Here. If you wish to discuss ads different from what is available via that link, contact me by e-mail by clicking on the envelope icon in the sidebar.
What do you think? Will a few ads on this site bother you?
Posted: 9/20/2011 by kirk | Filed under: Miscellanea | 3 Comments »