This Blog

Upcoming Posts

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I will be posting a number of new posts this weekend, and also a whole series on one topic in the next week or two.

These include:

  • Christchurch Mayor Candidates (the main two anyway) and why its a no-brainier who to vote for
  • iPad – 3 months on – how good/useful is it
  • AirNZ - comment on their new Trans-Tasman fair structure and service in the air
  • A biggie – a whole series on exercise and nutrition tips (suggested by Rhys Smith).  This will include tips for 1st time exercisers trying to lose weight right through to current committed exercisers trying to get better results.

That is all, watch this space.

Black and White Version: More posts coming!

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yingyang

A black and white world – by Richard

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Anyone that hasn’t picked up the theme of this blog being black and white must be living under a rock or something.  But anyway, I realise that at times my posts are far from black and white, so here is my attempt to make up for it with a black and white, good and bad, hero vs villain wrap up of the world.  I will resit adding any footnotes to explain anything I say here, if ya wanna know more – Google it :-)   Here goes, in no particular order or grouping:

Richard’s Black and White commentary on the world’s (sometimes not so big) issues:

Stuff people say (which isn’t true)

The real deal…

Fat is bad for you Sugar is bad for you
Alcohol makes you fat All the crap food you eat at 3am when you are drunk makes you fat
Margarine is better for you that butter Butter is better for you that margarine
Focus on calories Focus on eating well (i.e nutrition)
People love Apple (macs) coz they look pretty People love Apple (macs) coz they work well (Oh, and they look pretty too!).
For good signal quality, buy expensive digital cables Digital either works or it doesn’t. There is no such thing as “quality digital”.  Cheap digital that works is just fine.
Right wing (politically) greedy capitalists are bad Right wing (politically) conservative greedy capitalists are bad
Greenies are out of touch and wrong Left wing Greenies are out of touch and wrong
You have to do {insert exercise of your choice} to lose weight You have to do SOME exercise to lose weight – and more often, and at a higher intensity
Eating {insert food} helps me gain muscle Protein PLUS resistance training helps grow muscle
The rich get all the tax cuts in NZ The rich pay most of the taxes in NZ
Any extreme religious group is bad Any extreme religious group that expects anyone else to follow their way of life is bad
Global warming is a major issue for the planet Global warming is a major issue for HUMANS, the planet will survive just fine without us.
CEOs/Politicians with big credit card bills are bad Personal expenses paid for by an employer, no matter what payment method, is bad.
On global scale, screwing the environment is the major issue for the future On a global scale, over consumption is the major issue for humans for the future.   The environment is just where we see its effects most.
Justin Bieber is gay Justin should be held under water till he stops struggling, but he’s not gay.
One should never joke about {insert politically incorrect thing} Humour, used appropriately, is a powerful way of getting a message across, especially for sensitive subjects
Right and left wing political supporters want different things Right and left wing political supporters want quite SIMILAR things, but disagree on how to achieve it
Jetstar in NZ is crap Oh wait, that was is true, JetStar is crap.

Black and White Version: Some stuff just have to be said, some stuff not.  But I just say it anyway :-)

Disclaimer: Most of this is serious advice.  There is one joke in it – and its either the JetStar or the Justin Bieber one – you can guess which I think is a joke :-)


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69

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Yep – 69.  Well 69th.  Not bad for a new boy, even if I do say so myself.

Back in May I picked up I was the 287th highest red blog in NZ. Unfortunately that list is no longer running, but there is a all NEW list that shows sites that have public site stats only, so more robust and reliable.

Anyway, last month (July) I managed a respectable 69th from this cool list at openparachute.

Actually my actual  result is well above 69th, since I only added the public meter in the last week of July, so I am aiming for a “sub 30″ in August.   Let’s see how I go.

(You can track the last 7 days here – at it shows me as 28th as of today).

Black and White Version: See, 69 isn’t always rude :-)

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Typos

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In the last two days, two good friends (I have to call them that since they helped me) pointed out (quite politely I might add) rather obvious typos on this site.

Now I have typos ALL the time, I spot them almost daily, on posts I just did, and ones I made months ago, and normally just correct them (I note them as an update if it changes the message, but generally this isn’t needed). Anyway .. these two are kinda biggies – one I made every time I posted, and one was in the web page header!

One was that I said Bloging not Blogging a lot – in fact every time I did a status update on FaceBook1 to say there was a new post Richard’s been blogging again had a missing G (Thanks Robin!)

The other was that I mis-spelt simplifying (I had it as simplifing) in the header of this page: Richard Beddie’s take on simplifying the world we live in (Thanks Rob!) Oh, and Rob also pointed out I didn’t need a full stop at the end of that line since it wasn’t a sentence.  I didn’t quite understand that, but I followed his advice anyway, coz I am a good boy like that.

Note 1: For those that read this blog and are not coming from my FaceBook page, I have a wee FaceBook plug in that auto-posts a status update as well as a wall post with a summary of any new blog posts (via a cool wee WordPress plug-in WordBooker).  It also does the same thing with Twitter, so anyone can follow me on Twitter and get updates when I post (or an RSS feed if you wanna do it that way).

Black and White Version: Most typos are itty-bitty ones.  I made some biggies.  Thanks to my anally retentive friends, (said with love of course!) they are now fixed.

PS: I was EXTRA careful to have no typos in this post, as that would just be ironic now wouldn’t it? (or maybe it would just be par for the course!) :-)

PPS (update): My mate Charlie (and I use the “mate” term more loosely here) tells me the line above has a typo in it.  He claims the question mark should be at the end of the sentence since the or maybe … bit is all part of the same sentence.  I disagree, so left it where it is.  Besides, it’s not a typo, it’s a grammatical error, that’s an entirely different thing. Hell, if I had to fix all of those I would be here all day.  I am calling it BLOGGERS LICENSE (note two Gs Robin).  The End.  (Now I better not have stuffed up this line!)

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no-scams

Google Ads (adsense) – my 1st block

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One of the nice features about AdSense by Google is that it allows certain ads to be blocked, either by type, or, in my case below, from a particular domain.

I have just blocked www.bidrivals.com (I don’t want to link to them since that’s really an ad isn’t it?), because, well IMHO opinion it’s a scam site.  Advertising an iPad with an auction closing in 10 seconds for $2.50 may SEEM like an amazing deal, but to me it has all the hallmarks of a scam.  I just read some of their fine print, and it looks like you buy bids (@ 90c each), and then bid on what looks like super cheap stuff.  So they make their money from the BIDS not the sale, so, well yeah – SCAM (IMHO).   So yeah, I either just said some bad stuff about a legit site, or more likely, I just expressed my correct opinion about a scam site, and as a result blocked them from showing on any Google Ads on this blog.

I may not be able to vet each ad that comes from Google, but I will be sure to block the real bad ones that I spot!

PS: Looks like the changes take a few hours, so if you are reading this on Thur 29th July, ignore any ads offering iPads for $2 :-)

Black and White Version: Google AdSense allows for ad blocking – I just blocked my 1st one.  BYE BYE Scammers!

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buyme

Advertising (to Google or not to Google).

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I've decided to test some Google Ads on this site.

I did this for a couple of reasons, but getting money wasn’t actually one of them.

I am of two minds whether advertising actually enhances the look of a blog or detracts from it.  I personally think a small amount CAN enhance it if done the right way.  I would be interested to hear what others think though, so share your thoughts!

For this blog, I have added a small ad on the right hand col, a banner ad in the footer, and an add every 5 comments (only shows if you are viewing the comments).  Too much?  Too little?

Based on my calculations I should only have to wait 429 years for my 1st $10 cheque from Google.  (Actually I have no idea how long it will take, it’s not amount the money, so I haven’t even worked it out).

I’m also contemplating having one or two non Google ads on the site, permanent ads for companies/products,  But I would CHOOSE those, so they are kinda “I like these .. ” as opposed to “Google says these are OK”.  I think most people get that ads are not endorsed by the site they are on, but maybe blogs are different.  Again comments most welcome!

I can say setting up a Google AdSense account was easy peasy (as most things with Google are).

As an aside, I remember I used to get excited when 10 people read my blog in one day.  And to reach that I had to have made a post (on non post days I often got no, or one hit).  Now I get 100/day even when I don’t post new stuff.  In fact the other day hit 400 on a day I didn’t post anything new.  Hopefully I will look back on these numbers in time like I do now at the “10 a day” thing and smile.  In the meantime I go Woowhooo! when I hit 100 in a day (I told you it would be a while till I got my $10!)

Black and White Version: Ads or no ads?

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Click here to read my blog

This Blog 287th in NZ

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Was checking through the incoming links to this blog and spotted this one from NZ Blog Stats for May. Turns out the name says it all, and it’s a listing of blogs in NZ and their rankings via various measures (including Alexa, which seams to be one of the more robust measures out there).

Anyway .. 287th in May 2010 of NZ blogs.  I am actually surprised that it was even listed, let alone around 1/2 way in the list.  Guess one has to compare it with the fact that there are 576 listed, plus around 100 or so that look like they cant be calculated. So around 1/2 way, that will do for now I think.  Oh, and I get a wee mouse thingie next to the blog name, which I can only but guess means I talk about techie/geekie stuff (I couldn’t find it in the key anywhere).

I thought I would post this now so that in a year or so I can look back and compare.

KiwiBlog continues to top the list (one of my daily reads), with a lot of those in the top 10 very recognisable to anyone who reads NZ based blogs.

Black and White Version: This blog was the 287th NZ blog in May 2010.

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Golf-R Search1

ISPs in NZ filtering Google Search Results?

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Something strange happened today.  A mate of mine told me one of my blog posts rated at the top of Google’s search list (it was for Telecom Micro Sim, click on the link to see).  WOOWHOO! I thought. I mean, ‘thanks for letting me know’ I said.

Anyway, I mentioned that I often got quite high up in google rankings, even beating regular media or web site of a product I reviewed.  I used the Golf-R (a car for anyone that doesn’t know) as an example.   I told him on Google.co.nz I was the second to top term for Golf-R, beating even the AA review, and also Volkswagen’s own NZ web site (they make the car).  My friend changed and said “No you don’t, you don’t even come in the top five (it comes in no 8 – although the article he found was not the same that was #2 on my list).

What’s going on?

Auckland, Telecom ISP

Christchurch, TelstraClear ISP

This is the search we both used.  Click on the images above to see the enlarged version.  You will see on the right the blackandwhite.co.nz post is #2.  On the left a DIFFERENT blackandwhite.co.nz post is #8.

A couple of things to confirm:

  • Both searches used google.co.nz (you can see the “Pages from New Zealand” at the top of both)
  • Both searches used Mozilla
  • Both were made at the same time (and repeated several times)
  • One was made in Auckland through a Telecom ISP, one through Christchurch on Telstra Clear ISP
  • One was on a PC (Auckland), one on a Mac (Christchurch) – the only other difference perhaps?
  • Interesting the Telstra Search gets 47850 compared to 47600 on Telecom.

So this is WEIRD.  I couldn’t think what it could be.  Then I remembered seeing an article on TechDirt about ISP filtering search results, redirecting search terms etc.  That article is an interesting read!

I then further checked with my mate in Auckland and sent him the exact link I used for my Golf-R search over MSN so he just clicked on it.  I thought this would fix it, but no, he still got the same result (i.e. different from me).  So SOMETHING is modifying the Google results he gets (or something is modifying mine).

Try it yourself – which one to you get, or do you get a third result? Comment away please! (Use this link if you like to check - make sure you use google.co.nz too and select “pages from NZ”)!).  Let me know what ISP you used, and what results you get.

I THINK .. and I could be wrong here that Telecom is filtering things.  They shouldn’t, but they do. But I cant prove this (not yet anyway!).  Well I can prove something – they get LESS search results (you can see from the # of searches it shows), so there is SOME filtering going on here.

UPDATE 1: Confirmed now from someone that they get the “Telecom” result when either connected to Telecom through Xtra, or connected to the Telecom LAN (yes they work for Telecom).

Black and White Version: New Zealand based ISPs (Telecom in particular) may be filtering Google Search results.  BASTARDS!

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Woman holding finger to lip

Cool images – where does one get ‘em from?

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I was recently asked where I got all the cool images for my blog.

I come from the method acting school of learning.  You know, total immersion.  So for example the last post I made about Vodafone being busted (again) I needed a pic of a broken phone, so yes, I smashed my iPhone, and took a pic of it.  I make these kind of sacrifices every day for this blog.  Believe me?  Don’t.

If you prefer to hear the truth, here it is: I use two main sources

  • Google (just click on images section from the std Google page).  The trick is knowing what to type in the search box though!
  • iStockPhoto – these images need to be paid for (a buck or two for most images), but are worth it.  I especially like using them in my conference presentations, coz the images are SUPER professional and you can find almost ANYTHING you want.  They also have audio files, videos, cartoons etc, you name it.  The thumbnail image in this post is from istock.
  • I also have a number of images I have as stock images that I place text over – like the one on the right.

Now that you know, you are sworn to secrecy OK?   You can tell them about the method acting thing though – people like that kinda urban myth.

Black and White Version: I steel stuff from other people. I find cool sources of stuff and use them for public good.

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Click here to read my blog

Blog update

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I have recently updated the way this blog shows posts.  So rather than /archives/123 it now shows the topic title in the post eg /blog-update.

I have also tidied up some old posts, and added images, reformatted (for consistency) and generally made it all pretty (and remember pretty is good!).

I have started to write some of the longer more significant posts I am planning on things like Exercise, running, weight loss, and why global warming is NOT the big issue for the planet (IMHO) but over consumption is.  All will be reviled in time …

Black and White Version: New stuff.  More coming too.

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