thinktank affiliate buttons, vista experience, computer woes resolved, and other stuff

so we got a new client for thinktank.  it’s a wordpress blog, and it’s mostly maintenance and updates, but it’s still pretty cool.  our client wants to build/integrate a social networking component, so i did some researching and found KickApps Social Networking Software.  the more i read into it and compared the alternatives, the cooler (and more KickAss) KickApps became.  they run a SaaS — Software as a Service, an intriguing concept Wired wrote an article about a while back.  what it means in this case is that the social networking software is provided by and hosted on KickApps’ servers.  you setup the gateway, and everything else lives on their side.  which means less twiddling, infinitely easier setup, no maintenance (other than cosmetic stuff) and also means, for them, that they get to control the flow of traffic and how things work monitarily.  you see, as a free service, they control 2/3 of the ads that show up on the site.  1 of the 3 ad banners you control and can set up as you please.  there’s an option to buy out the ads, but according to the video on their site, it starts at $100/month for 5000 clicks — not a small-scale deal.  they have an impressive client list though; professional sports teams, vibe, npr, universal music, etc.  and it plugs right into the standard cms apps.  not just joomla! and drupal but also wordpress.  it’s exciting enough of a concept to tempt me to create an account and set one up here.  even though, you know, no one visits me, really.

i also just finished optimizing this blog for search engines.  from which i learned a few things about seo-friendly coding, and hopefully does something to counter the last part of the paragraph above.  all this seo’izing and working on a new blog made me think of making affiliate buttons for thinktank.  well, the other thing that made me think of that was the email i got that said that firefox set the world record for most downloads in a 24 hour period for the firefox 3 download day campaign.  it all made me think that creating more ways for people to link back to thinktank couldn’t hurt, and the buttons are prettier than my cleverly unobtrusive “website designed by thinktank” tag at the bottom of our sites.  oh, the other thing the seo stuff taught me (or reminded me, really, i already knew it, but i wasn’t implementing it) was that it’s better to link the whole phrase “website designed by thinktank” than just the “thinktank” which is what i was doing before.

in other news, i got my computer working again, although i haven’t had a chance to look at the old hard drive, see if it’s usable, and figure out wtf happened.  for, you know, fun, and because i wanted to figure out what hardware i should get, or more accurately, if the hardware i was planning on getting would be comparable, i downloaded 3Dmark06 — the standard benchmarking tool that gaming magazines use to rate.  it seemed kind of silly to be using this benchmarking tool that i’ve read about in computer gaming world, but i wanted to see how erin’s system (roughly the equivalent of my broken system) compared with the media center which i was using (roughly the estimated equivalent of what i would be using).  i made a fatal error in doing this — while the mainboard and processors would be comparable (the mainboard i got was a mini version of the one i’m using in the media center) the fantastic graphics i was experiencing in guild wars on the media center was not due to a highly advanced onboard graphics processor which was my assumption at the time.  in fact, it was from the graphics card i got for the media center specifically because i needed s-video out to go to the tv.  as such, erin’s computer with an nvidia geforce 6600 ranked about a 600 and some change on the 3Dmark06 test.  the media center (not designed as a gaming computer by any means and only holding 1gb ram) ranked a 300.  these were, of course, piddly compared to the high scores of people who actually cared to build a gaming system and uploaded their scores to futuremark’s database.  so my plan was to get 4gb ram to overcompensate.  but, as i wrote in one more to file under “it’s always something”, i only had 2 ram slots and my power supply wasn’t spiff enough anyway.  so, having to order a new power supply, i also ordered a new graphics card as well, an off-brand nvidia geforce 8400gs.  it was the cheapest and most powerful solution.   when the power supply came, i started installing vista ultimate, and when the graphics card arrived a couple days later i started transitioning over to my new/old system.  in all, it’s performing well.  my new 3Dmark06 score is around 1600, and guild wars nightfall looks gorgeous — pretty much like the screenshots on their site.  so i’m a fairly happy camper and using a mostly functional operating system again.  while vista isn’t as simple and intuitive as osx and the start menu is all fuXX0red — seriously more messed up than previous versions imo — it works, the glass effects are pretty and it is better than XP and it’s no 95/98 by any means.   it’s definately an advance, albeit not a ground-breaking one.  there are a couple issues:

when i started using vista on the media center i discovered a problem — while i could create new folders (and new files through the right-click option) i could not NAME them.  i.e. New Folder.  New Folder (1).  New Folder (2).  etc. etc.  no matter what i did, i couldn’t get it to work.  apparently, after googling a bit, i discovered this was fairly common and required a registry hack to fix.  annoying, and a waste of a couple hours of banging my head on the computer screen.

random lockups and freezes in explorer, especially when accessing files on a shared network drive.  both vista computers do this so i can only assume this is fairly normal as well.  also, having to log in to the network drive after every reboot is obnoxious and i’m still trying to figure out how to save my password.  :/

so that’s the scoop.  a few quick, final closing remarks:

to answer the comment in my last post: avatars are user icon things for social apps like blogs and forums and messaging programs, but also are used by microsoft to visually represent different users.  it’s sort of the digitized representation of yourself to the world.

i’m planning on sending off my 8mm reels to get transferred to dvd in the next couple weeks.  once i get the dvd back i will rip the video, add new soundtracks and post them here (possibly to youtube as well).  i’m also going to do something about the gavin video and the guy in a hat video (guy in a hat might need to move to youtube also, just for kicks).

i want a google phone.

yes, i’m playing guild wars again.

look for joss whedon’s Dr. Horrible in a couple weeks.  it’s gonna be aweX0me.

it’s still download day…

still haven’t downloaded firefox 3?  /sigh

okay, well my first impressions are — it’s supercool.  i was always turned off by the default firefox look in 2.0.  3.0 installed and used the skin i was already using and it wasn’t until i installed it on erin’s computer that i saw how hot the new look was.  additionally, it changes depending on the look of your operating system.  i.e. i’ve got a crazy dark gray and black windows theme going on, so my firefox is gray, but erin’s is a lighter gray with a gradient which is what her windows theme is doing.  i imagine this means vista users will have black and mac users will have silver/granite and deviantart trolls will have crazy deviantart theme colors.

i haven’t explored everything yet, but all my plug-ins from 2.0 work, and the web history is a lot nicer and easier to use.  some of my bookmarks got lost on my install but on erin’s everything stayed — i think mine might’ve been saved on a network drive or something wack.

tabbed browsing is still tabbed browsing, which is to say awesome.  3.0 does seem somewhat faster, but it might be psychological.  still, i tend to have 8 million tabs open simultaneously and that does tend to cause my ‘fox to lag, and i’m less laggy these days.  the other bonus is one of the sites i use for work refused, no matter what, to remember my password and 2.0 firefox kept asking but could never keep it.  it’s a common problem and it’s a bug of the app.  well, 3.0 remembers my pw and that is awesome — i think that the overall password saving stuff is managed better and less intrusively.

so what are y’all waiting for?  you have until 10am PST tomorrow morning to at least download this thing.  c’mon, it’s free.

he’s a half-blinker

just a quick update for those who care about my crazy eye issues…

i went back for my followup appt. for my contacts. if you’re just joining us, previously i had talked about my keratoconus and that i will be wearing contacts for forever (or until it’s down to eye surgery or nothing) to counter the pointy-ness of my eyeballs.

fast-forward >> i went in for my followup. my left eye had been bothering me when i was wearing the contacts, but overall, my vision seems better when i’m wearing them (read: when i can stand to wear them). i tell the doc that it’s been bothering me so we do another exam for the prescription and tweak it a bit and try a different style lens, which feels better. but it’s as i’m wearing this and he’s staring at my eyeball through the crazy contraption thingie and he says to the student who’s in the room observing “oh, he’s a half-blinker.”


“i’m a half-blinker, eh?” i say, amused. apparently part of my problem is that i am a half-blinker. he tells me a lot of new contact wearers will blink halfway thinking (probably subconsiously that it will hurt/bother them less and apparently i’m one of these people. the fact that there’s a term for this, and that that term is “half-blinker” still strikes me as incredibly odd. but it explains a lot about why my eyes have felt like they dry out really fast and why the eyedrops only help temporarily.

the good news is that my right eye is 20/20 again with the contact with not much distortion

so i’m getting one new lens with a (hopefully) better prescription.

also, this is a reminder that TOMORROW IS DOWNLOAD DAY! so get your download fingers ready and go to