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Tag: Internet

Picture the scene. You have spent all afternoon trying to figure out how to install a must-have app onto your smartphone, but get nowhere.

With defeat unhappily accepted, you jump onto Google to search for help. The results arrive milliseconds later promising to aid you in your quest, only to find that instead of finding a nice explanation of what to do, you are instead confronted with some stranger prattling on for 10 minutes in a YouTube video telling you how it should be done.

This scenario is not too bad if there are lots of regular text-based tutorials or webpages telling you what you need to know, since then you can just ignore the videos, but it gets really frustrating if there are no other results, and you are forced to sit through the agony of listening to this self-important guy drone on and on.

Video tutorials are very useful for practical demononstration of what they are talking about that. I think those are a great idea, and serve a purpose, so I not saying all video tutorials are a bad idea. It is just the ones that show a guy talking for however long you have to endure the video that add no value, so for anyone thinking of posting a video tutorial, here are the pros and cons to consider


  • Great for demonstrations (doesn’t count if you are just standing there talking)
  • Useful for people with nothing better to do


  • Take up a LOT more bandwidth than text tutorials (important especially for smartphone users)
  • Takes longer to find info you are looking for – you need to listen through the entire thing, including all the rambling. A text tutorial can be skimmed through
  • Difficult to jump around like in a text tutorial where you can refer to any part at any time.
  • Written text is often easier to understand than spoken text, especially for second-language speakers
  • Do you really think that people want to listen to your voice?

So, in conclusion, unless you think it could actually add value over a simple text tutorial, please don’t post a video tutorial. Write it down instead!


Much to my shame, I first came across a feature of web-browsers that had been developed way back in 2001 – the bookmarklet.

What a bookmarklet is, is a regular browser bookmark that has a piece of javascript for its address instead of the usual url, by using the javascript: prefix instead of the usual http: or http:. I had known for a long time that the address bar of most browsers support this, but did not even think that this functionality extended to bookmarks.

What this means though, is that you are able to insert almost any imaginable script into a bookmark.

Here is an example, which I found on the Wikipedia page on bookmarklets, which opens up the relevant Wikipedia article based on the selected text within your current document, which can be a great timesaver.

javascript:function se(d) {return d.selection ? d.selection.createRange().text : d.getSelection()} s = se(document); for (i=0; i<frames.length && !s; i++) s = se(frames[i].document); if (!s || s=='') s = prompt('Enter%20search%20terms%20for%20Wikipedia',''); open('' + (s ? '/w/index.php?title=Special:Search&search=' + encodeURIComponent(s) : '')).focus();

Hackers (of the cracker kind – not the geeky kind) usually get a lot of bad press. Noone likes to have their computer systems broken into, and with the proliferation of the internet and cloud computing, data security has become an even bigger issue.

Google has taken a positive approach though. On their site, they published an article detailing how Google is offering a reward for anyone who finds a vulnerability in their applications.

This is good for everybody. The hackers get paid to do what would normally get them into serious trouble, and Google ends up with some remarkably safe applications.

Everybody wins.


I hate spam with a passion. As a blogger, people will spam my comments, which is why I am very glad I got my spam blocker in place to keep things sane.

I found a most interesting comment the other day, sitting in my spam list. A spammer had posted a comment a few days earlier, and now the same spammer had reposted the comment, and also asked why the spam comment was removed.

Well, Mr. Spammer, the reason the comment was removed is because I do not want spammy comments on my site.

I just do not understand why bloggers (and other website promoters) are willing to post spam comments on blog posts just to push up links to their site and drive a little traffic.

I am not against bloggers putting links to their site on comments when it is applicable, and the person shows that they actually responding appropiately to the article, but it is definitely not right to just comment everywhere saying things like “Love what you have done with your site!”.

I actually found a site that promotes this. On, the vast majority of tasks to do (for a small payment) are to post comments linking to some site, so the spammers are outsourcing their spamming as well.

Who knows, maybe those spammers asking why I removed their comments are the ones who get paid per link, and I am making them lose some earnings. Well, that is their problem, not mine…


If you are a programmer, then it is highly likely that you are aware of Stack Overflow. You might even be aware that Stack Overflow has a bunch of sister sites, which can be found at Stack Exchange.

One of these, which I found particularly interesting has just gone out of beta.

Like Stack Overflow, this site is a Q and A site, but instead of focusing on programming, it focuses on mathematical questions.

No doubt that this site will be a lot of help to programmers as well as mathematicians.


A few days ago, I was having a look at whether or not online surveys could be a viable source of a little extra cash. The result of my investigations – don’t believe the hype. It borders on being a scam.

First off, after spending an entire evening just finding as many survey sites to list myself on I was feeling a little frustrated. If you are living in the Netherlands, there are not all that many that will allow you to register, and of those that do, they are not all they are cracked up to be.

For one thing, for all of the sites I found, there is a minimum level at which they will pay you out , usually set to around $50. This might not sound terribly high, until you find out how much you are likely to earn.

For each survey you fill in, you are likely to get anything from $0.50 to $5. The real kicker here is, the survey companies do not pile hundreds of surveys on you, enabling you to rake in the cash.

For me, after 2 weeks, only ONE site, out of about half a dozen that I joined, sent me any surveys to complete at all, and even then this site has only sent me 3 surveys.

From these 3 surveys I have so far earned 25 “points”, but need 1000 points to cash out and get $50 – making those 25 points worth roughly $1.25. The entire amount of money I have been able to earn in 2 weeks is $1.25.

Frankly, I have much better things I can waste my free time on than fill in online surveys.


You don’t have to tell me. I know that since I have set up my blog again at my new host, things have not been perfect.

Currently my blog is on a free hosting, so speeds are slow, and request failures common. This is not exactly something I am terribly happy about, but it cannot be helped for now.

As soon as I can afford it, I am going to upgrade to a paid hosting. It is just that since my arrival in the Netherlands, all available money has gone into getting settled in our new home country.

I will make sure things improve as soon as I can…