Archive for the ‘annoying’ Category

Block ‘Download Now’ Advertisers in AdSense?

Monday, March 19th, 2012

We’ve been fighting (not literally) to keep various “Download Now” ads off of print-bingo.com because they confuse many end users. I would gladly block them all as a category in AdSense, if I could figure out which subcategory to block without losing too many “good” ads. But, until we have a good way to do that, we are blocking unwanted advertisers by their domain name.

I’ve searched the web briefly for a list of web sites to block… without luck. So, I’m posting our own list of misleading AdSense advertisers in this post.

This is strictly a list of misleading advertisers that have a big “Download” or “Download Now” button and a small amount of semi-relevant text. Many of these are offering 7-zip, PDFCreator, and other open source packages, presumably bundled with some sort of advertising.

If you find this list useful, please post your additions to the list in the comments, or at least post a comment.  If we know that there is interest in this list, it’s more likely that we’ll update it!

I believe that the owners of these websites continually register new domains, so this list will probably need constant updates.

  • wiseconvert.com
  • coolpdfcreator.com
  • facemoods.com
  • downlopedia.com
  • ultimatepdfconverter.com
  • wisedownloads.com
  • go-downloads.com
  • pchealthdoc.com
  • soft.foxtab.com
  • alwaysdownloads.com
  • vgamenetwork.com
  • adlsoft.net

We haven’t done it yet, but I suggest adding a border around your AdSense ad units in the future. I can’t see this problem going away, we’ve already purged these ads once.

Ironically, it was fashionable to color-match borders from AdSense so that the ads blend in just a few years ago!

Once again, please comment if you find this useful… and post your additions.

Update 2014-01-15: After trying to maintain a list, I gave up. These ads keep showing up for new domains and new AdWords accounts. My current practice is to log in once a week and block the entire AdWords accounts via the Review Center. I’ve probably blocked a couple hundred over the last 2 years.

iPhone Camera Stopped Working… so it’s not a perfect phone afterall.

Monday, January 30th, 2012

It took 6 months, but I have finally had what I would consider a non-minor problem with my iPhone 4. The camera stopped saving photos. It would focus, snap the photo, but crash before it actually saved.

Ugh.

It’s surprising how often I use the camera on the phone.

I found this blog post about deleting the thumbnail cache on an iPhone, and it seems to have worked. Also, it links to a neat program to browse the files on your phone. It took a couple restarts of the phone to rebuild the thumbnails, and then the Albums in the Photos app. Perhaps it would have only taken one restart if I had been more patient on the first boot.

I guess it’s time I back up those photos again.

Stolen FedEx Package?!

Friday, October 28th, 2011

After a long hiatus due to an extremely busy period, it’s time to catch up on some blog posts.

A couple months ago I helped someone return their Gateway netbook to Acer for repairs. Acer repaired the machine and sent it back by FedEx Ground Service.

At the delivery, someone dutifully signed for the package.  There’s only one catch, whoever signed for it, walked off with the machine. Yes, the netbook was stolen. It could have been a neighbour, or one of the contractors at the house next door, or one of the city workers who happened to be working on the street that day. Whoever it was, the FedEx driver let some random person who happened to be near the property sign for the package.

The rest of this story took over a month to play out slot games for android.

Initially, Acer was not very helpful, they told us to deal with FedEx for a claim.  FedEx “ran a trace” to try and find the package.  Eventually, a FedEx loss claim was filed; however, it required Acer to relinquish their rights making their own claim. The whole situation was a mess, and it took several calls to Acer support to keep things moving along. Further, I suspect that FedEx would only pay out the minimum $100 coverage that is included with each delivery.  Acer self-insures (i.e. doesn’t buy insurance) on their shipments (this actually make sense given their shipping volume).

In the end, Acer finally took responsibility and dealt with the FedEx claim and shipped a replacement machine (with arguably better specs).

This isn’t an exclusively FedEx problem.  By coincidence, a couple weeks later, a  UPS delivery person let me sign for a package after I got out of my car and started walking towards the house. And no, the UPS delivery person couldn’t have recognized me, I’m rarely the one to receive deliveries.

I’m surprised that stolen packages don’t happen more often – or maybe they do.

The moral of the story? Avoid shipping items to a residential address. Couriers hate residences – they’re widely spaced out (relative to business districts), and often, no one is home.

Free way to trim a WMV File

Friday, August 12th, 2011

The other day I wanted a 5 minute segment from a WMV, Windows Media Video, file. To be more precise, the codecs used are WMA2 for audio and WMV3 for video, according to VLC.

My normal tools of choice for taking clips from video are VirtualDub, and Avidemux. Unfortunately, both of these tools failed on the WMV file. Both could preview the input file, but neither was able to create a new video file that worked. I tried both the fast “copy” method, and the full re-compress method. This didn’t surprise me too much, neither application is known to work very well with Microsoft WMV files, and I think I’ve run into this issue in the past. Both work great for AVI, MP4, and various other files that I’ve worked with over the years.

I really wanted this video clip, so I did some searching for some new tools to use.  I found AsfBin, which is free for non-commercial use. It worked like a charm.  The preview window seems a bit quirky for me, but the resulting file works fine, so I’m happy.

 

 

Disappointing Out of Box Experience of Gateway Netbook… in 2011!?

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Every once in a while I get a reminder of why Apple is able to make 10 times as much money per computer than everyone else.  The end user experience is incomparable. From the moment you walk into an Apple store, through to the point where you use the device, someone has thought about your experience.

I just had the opportunity to setup a brand new (entry level) Gateway netbook.  There’s nothing special about it. It has an Atom processor and Windows 7 Starter edition. After opening the box, plugging it in, and following the on screen prompts, things seemed pretty good.  Then, it required a reboot to finalize the settings.

It took literally 30 minutes from reboot until I was able to login.  Literally.  It felt like 10 times that long.  I wasn’t really watching what it was trying to do, but whatever it is, it is embarrassingly long.  There aren’t any install options, this netbook is exactly the same as the  rest in the pile, so virtually all of this time should have been done before it left the factory.

So, that’s my first impression of that computer, and Gateway. Sitting around and waiting.  And no, this didn’t include the Windows updates that I did later in the evening.  Actually, this reminds me of the time I setup a Gateway laptop for a client – that was a disaster also, IIRC, I had to drive around the neighbourhood trying to find blank CDRs in order to get past the required initial backup – they had included some low end blank CD’s, one or two of them were bad!

First impressions count.