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|Saturday, March 3rd, 2012|
|GreenReaper live on FurCast
I'm going to be interviewed on tonight's FurCast
. The show starts at 8PM Eastern (in about four hours), though my interview's around 9PM. Wish me luck!
(If you have any burning questions that you want answered, you can ask them here
The show is over now, but my answers to the above questions are up, and you can catch the actual interview (with more details) at 73:16 into show FC-76
. Current Mood: pensive
|Sunday, February 19th, 2012|
|Wednesday, February 15th, 2012|
|Friday, February 3rd, 2012|
|Amazon trying to reduce associates' income
Here's some recent changes in Amazon's associate agreement
(for people who earn money off links pointing to Amazon's products).
Amazon's announcement of these changes
focused on the benefit to associates who used a link to myhabitat.com
, who have 30 days to earn rather than the usual 24 hours. They failed to highlight the change that stops you earning if a user who clicked your link follows any
other link to Amazon, not just that of another associate. (Update (late June):
This has now changed
to "any Special Link", i.e. another referral.)
Is this reasonable? Arguable. I suspect they've run the numbers and found quite a few people look around before putting an item in their cart, and in that case you might well lose out on what would otherwise have been a valid sale.
They are also forcing all non-small-claims disputes to go through arbitration. Wonder which lawsuit that was inspired by. Current Mood: annoyed
|Tuesday, January 31st, 2012|
|Post to Google+ via email
Did you know you can hack together Google Voice and Gmail to post to Google+ via email
? I tried it
and it works.
Now, if only it worked for Pages! I already have an email trigger that fires when people submit to Flayrah
- I could easily do one that had the post teaser in it as well. (Of course, if G+ supported RSS import, this wouldn't be an issue . . .) Current Mood: geeky
|Saturday, January 28th, 2012|
|Friday, January 6th, 2012|
|Saturday, November 26th, 2011|
|Monday, November 14th, 2011|
|Pre-publication pitfall for contextual advertising
The idea of contextual advertising
used by Google AdSense/AdWords is great - match ads to the content, and readers are more likely to be interested.
Of course, you'll only get relevant ads if Google can see your content - and this goes beyond robots.txt. For example, many content-based sites have some kind of review process. The editors and submitter may be able to see the submitted piece, but anyone else trying to view the page it's on will get a 403 error - including the 'Mediapartners-Google' AdSense bot.
This doesn't work so well if that page is at the same URL as the one your readers access. The bot will try to crawl the piece when it's first submitted, fail, and won't try again until it's "old news", leaving your users with ads irrelevant to the page content. Whoops. The solution is not to show the ad block until the article is published - or provide a crawler login, but do you really want it basing ads off the first draft? Current Mood: nerdy
|Monday, October 24th, 2011|
|Thursday, October 20th, 2011|
|Saturday, October 15th, 2011|
|Vanguard for small-business 401k plans? Interesting.
This is interesting: Vanguard just announced
the launch of their own 401k management service
for small businesses. Unfortunately they aren't giving away enough details to tell how competitive their offering is - but if their index funds are anything to go by, it may tempt many small fry in - especially those who are tired of high fees from others, or who have experience with them for their personal accounts.
You don't often see Vanguard funds available in your 401k, because they don't do the whole "marketing fee" thing that makes money for financial intermediaries that provide such plans. Presumably they're hoping to make a little money off the small-business market, but a lot more on those which grow into larger businesses - a policy which seems to have served them well with individuals. Current Mood: curious
|Thursday, October 13th, 2011|
|Wednesday, October 12th, 2011|
|Has your furry spending changed in recent years?
Many people have had less disposable income in recent years. Have you stopped buying, or are you just more selective about what you spend on?
Do you buy fewer prints and trinkets vs. commissions, because they're less personal and can't waste the money; or more, because they're cheaper? Are you pickier about fursuit builders - paying only for quality - or will you take whatever you can get? Have you cut your fandom budget, or would you cut cable first?
Bonus question for artists/builders: Have you seen a change in what people are buying?
Inquiring minds wish to know! Current Mood: curious
|Wednesday, October 5th, 2011|
|I've got a Golden Ticket!
Today was one of my employer's mass meetings. They run one every year for store managers; this year they had one for the support staff. As with all good company events, attendance was mandatory. The presentations varied; some I liked were probably boring to others. Suffice it to say, I didn't feel it was a waste of my time – even without the swag. ;-)
And the swag was substantial - no poker sets
, but there was
a flyweight rucksack stuffed with:
* a Spyro figurine
(sans rocky stand) which doubles as a game
* a code for four downloadable PC games (at least two of which I might actually play - yes, relee
, that includes Tropico 3
* a copy of Hello Kitty Online
(which I probably won't play
* NBA 2K12
for the XBox 360 (perhaps likewise, though maybe I should
* a Pirates of the Caribbean minifig, and
* a case
for something called a "DSi" with a camera zoom lens
(Plus a pen, notepad, trinkets and numerous t-shirts, one of which arrived at high velocity from the stage.)
Even better, we each got a golden-wrapped bar of chocolate with a flyer promoting a new initiative, which was to be our "golden ticket". Unwrapping the bar, I found I was one of twelve lucky winners! I haven't found out what
the prize is, yet, though I'm not sure those giving it know either. (If that's not enough, they held a raffle with substantial prizes, though I had tapped out my luck by this point.)
The food wasn't bad, either - and you can't argue with free. I also got to stand up and ask the CFO if he thought the company was a buy; naturally, he said the stock was undervalued, as evidenced by their continued buyback
(which has been public knowledge for a while). Overall, a good day!
Oh, and an amusing addendum to my dealership's mild car loan shenanigans
- apparently SunTrust and CapitalOne (two of their three brokers) actually turned me down
over lack of a prior vehicle loan, despite my score. Of course, that didn't stop the dealership trying to sell their loans to me before underwriting completed. Fortunately my credit union is now reporting my loan with them, so that shouldn't be an issue in the future. Current Mood: bouncy
|Saturday, September 24th, 2011|
|Landing in the Lone Star State
I've been very busy setting myself up in Texas; my apologies to anyone I've neglected.
High points from the last couple of weeks:
* Finding a safe place to live in Dallas, four miles from the office, for just $595/month including utilities and an enclosed garage spot (when other options worked out at $900+)
* Discovering nothing was open on the Sunday of my relocation trip, and spending it at a local furmeet
* Thinking I was crazy for hiring a truck just to move myself, then filling it to its entire length (without a bed)
* Experiencing beautiful weather on the two-day drive down, only to be received in Dallas with a violent hailstorm that drove most other cars off the road
* GEICO saving me almost 20% on their own
insurance quote, reducing my purchased rate to $357 for 6 months
* The disappointment on the F&I guy's face as I said "no" to his extended warranty plans, and pointed out that he had "mistakenly" left the dealership's own lender on the purchase order (which charged 2.6%, as opposed to the 2.24% from my credit union; admittedly for a longer period)
On that last point . . . I bought my first car - a shiny silver Fiesta SE
). I hope it's worth it! Current Mood: moved
|Tuesday, September 13th, 2011|
|Thursday, September 8th, 2011|
|Oh right, it's *that* weekend . . .
I really hope nobody screws up the aviation system. I'm flying out to Dallas on Friday for a house-hunting trip; if I can't get back on Monday, I will not
be pleased. Current Mood: hyper
|Sunday, September 4th, 2011|
|Tuesday, August 30th, 2011|
|A 0.2% expense ratio is better than a corkscrew any day
One part of changing jobs (at least, the kind with benefits
- no, not that kind, get your head out of the gutter) is figuring out where to put the various pots of money you end up with.
Often, you can leave them were they are, or roll them into your new job's plans, but these tend not to be the best options for a variety of reasons. For starters, do you really want to be paying for those glossy fund brochures and benefits presentations? Cashing them out is also a bad idea
(unless you do it slowly
). The best plan in most cases is to find someone cheaper.
The 401k is going to Vanguard
as a Rollover IRA + contribution to my existing Roth IRA, but since they don't handle HSA
s directly, I'm trying out HSA Bank
; you can apparently use their TD Ameritrade option and flick a switch for zero-commission investments in certain funds, including some Vanguard ETFs
In both cases, I'm looking to avoid the 1.3-1.5% expense ratio
mutual funds that I'm currently invested in; while better than leaving the money in a bank account, there's little excuse to throw hundreds or thousands of dollars a year into what's essentially a glorified stock-picking process (usually advised or controlled entirely by a computer algorithm nowadays).
The forms are a little tedious, and often require follow-ups; but it's fun to get a taste of real
customer service when calling the people hoping to get your money. Of course, words are cheap - but then that's why I'm talking to these guys, not the firms
who send you executive corkscrew sets for Christmas. Current Mood: calm