Friday, March 11, 2011

Unexpected Audiences


So, I posted up an article on doing Active Directory based authentication on Linux systems. Specifically, I discussed how to get around issues encountered with using the LikeWise product in a complex (messy) Active Directory environment. I figured that maybe some Linux geek that had to use this product in a complex environment might run into issues such as I had. When I had run into those issues, since it was a "free" version of a commercial product, there was no support to fall back on beyond the product's forums and Google. Neither resource was useful to me. So, in the spirit of "giving back", I wrote my article.

Today, I got an unsolicited email from someone (possibly just a bot) at Centrify. Apparently, they've got web-scrubbers out there either searching for articles on competing products or just the Linux/AD topic, in general. At any rate, they apparently found my article and sent me an email. Basically, it was some sales person trying to elicit interest in their product (Centrify). Since the authentication product chosen wasn't my choice (I just had to get it working outside of the lab), I'm not exactly the best person to spam. I'm just a tech who has to figure out how to make the various steaming piles of technology work.

Now, I get that these guys are trying to move product, and all, but, still... It's a touch creepy when these kinds of things happen. I mean, it's nice to think that someone's reading my tech blog, but it would be much nicer if people were finding it useful and not just as an avenue for trying to sell me stuff.

Oh well: life on the modern web, I suppose.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Death of the "X" O'clock News Teaser?

So, I'm sitting at home, alone, tonight, watching TV. Well, to be more honest, I'm sitting around using StumbleUpon to kill time and periodically checking in on FaceBook. The TV's mostly on for background noise At any rate, as I sit here, tapping away at my laptop, one of the local TV stations has a blurb for their 11 o'clock local news show. It's like a 15-second blurb, so, all they really say is "we'll check out story 'X' on tonight's news hour."

Now, this is something that I've heard, in one form or another, since I was a kid. I'm sure it wasn't a new way to entice viewers, even in the 1970s. For some reason, though, tonight it occurred to me, "what's the point of the news teaser?" I mean, it did make sense even as recently as 5-10 years ago, but why bother, any more. I mean, if I haven't already been alerted to this story by FaceBook, Twitter, some other social media outlet or just general reading of news sites, hitting me with the teaser isn't going to make me wait around until whatever time you want to put that news story on. No: I'll hit up my favorite search engine and see if I can find out what you were hinting at. When you finally get your new hour on the air, it will be old news to me. Either it will be of little interest to me, by which point, the Internet-as-spoiler will have removed my desire to tune in, or I will have already read extensively about it from a variety of sources. Either way, waiting for your new show is pointless.

In other words, at this point in the game, the news show "teaser" does more to discourage viewership than it does to entice viewership. Besides: your news show conflicts with other programming (like Adult Swim) that I won't need to miss, thanks to you alerting me to the need to do an Internet-search.

Blogging as Mental Barometer?

Mood/mental state definitely effects my writing output. Throughout 2010, with the exception of the week that I was at sea, I was averaging nearly 40 posts to my BlogSpot per week (with some weeks producing as much as 60-80 posts). My production, this year seems to be less than ten per week (with last week being completely post-free).


Dunno how much of the current mental state is related to the loss of our dog Lana; how much is related to the terminal cancer diagnosis for my dog, Puckett (though, the week following that diagnosis was a "no posts" week); or, how much is related to other "life-pressures". Clearly, however, 2011 is, thus far, not a good year for expressing myself (I believe my already low spoken-word and other types of output are markedly down, as well).


Interesting. I'll have to keep a watch on things and see how closely it tracks.

Dear Microsoft...

Please stop back-revving my video drivers on Patch Tuesdays. It's really distressing to come down on a Wednesday morning to the sound of the fan whining on my laptop because the system is so busy having to restart crashed video drivers every few seconds. It's really distressing to discover that what you thought was plenty of time to get up, get showered, get breakfast and get out the door to be in the office early is actually going to result in being late because you have to re-find working video drivers (all while coping with a system made mind-bendingly slow by the constantly crashing, back-revved video drivers).

The really interesting thing about all this, however, is that, my auto-update settings seem to get overwritten, every so often. As a rule, whenever I get a new computer, I specifically change my "recommended settings" from auto-update to the "auto-download but manually apply" option (so as to avoid these kinds of morning debacles). If I'm going to have to deal with a potentially unusable computer - particularly one I use for work - I want it to risk becoming unusable at a time that's convenient to me, not just whenever Microsoft wishes to push out patches that fuck me over.