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Here's a summary of what seems to have happened:

LJ hired a service called "Driving Revenue" that inserts javascript code into most of the LJ web pages in order to edit ecommerce URLs to add an LJ-specific affiliate link and get paid for the traffic that LJ drives to the ecommerce sites. HTTPS URLs seem to be unaffected.

Only the service they hired is also editing non-ecommerce URLs, is replacing existing affiliate codes as well as adding them to URLs that lack them entirely, and goes through a third-party server that had an outage recently.

LJ has announced they are dropping this third-party service.

Details here. Including a method of opting-out, although it also disables HitBox and possibly other LJ-inserted scripts. It's not clear to me how well this works, nor whether it works for logged-out users.

Do I really need to say how dumb this was? How bad it looks for LJ? Or how this is another way for LJ to lose its users trust, and with that, its users?

Nov. 16th, 2009

Clay Shirky wrote:
Algorithmic authority is the decision to regard as authoritative an unmanaged process of extracting value from diverse, untrustworthy sources, without any human standing beside the result saying “Trust this because you trust me.”

Algorithmic authority is not an unmanaged process, contrary to this claim. Humans manage the algorithm through writing and adjusting it: Google's search algorithms in 2009 and those of 2001 are not the same algorithms. Humans pick between alternative algorithms, e.g., Google 2009 vs. Bing 2009, which in turn affects the human management decisions about how to adjust (Google 2008 vs. 2009) or replace (Bing 2009 vs. Live Search 2008) the algorithm.

Experiments showing the brand power of Google reveal that a substantial portion of the preference for Google-branded search results comes from Google brand. And that brand power is simply Google, personified in the mind of the user, saying "Trust this because you trust me".

The dynamic he's talking about is fascinating, but the perspective of this essay is too narrow to capture what's really going on. That's unfortunate, as many of his other essays have been very insightful.

PSA: please confirm it's me

My cell phone was stolen today.

If the stuff I found in a websearch is correct--and really, who can tell?--phone thefts are being used for identity theft. If someone contacts you claiming to be me, please confirm it's actually me, and not someone doing social hacking.

Sep. 15th, 2009

 What would you like me to write about?

ETA: I'm looking to write more here, and I'd like your suggestions, requests, and ideas for inspiration. As such, specific open-ended questions would be great.

too many blueberries

We have homemade blueberry sorbet in the freezer, and something around 4 lbs of fresh blueberries in the kitchen. I like blueberries as much as the next guy, maybe a little more, but that's a bit much for me to eat fresh.

What else should I do with blueberries?

I guess if nothing else they'll freeze well.

Feb. 4th, 2009


These are surprisingly good.

ETA: I like the Reverend best, and Miss Broadway Dork the least, of the final picks, and the Steward best of the runners up.
Some people are partially or entirely color-blind. Others have an extra color receptor, usually in the green range. So are there artists' pigments specifically for different color sensitivities? It seems like there should be.

Nov. 21st, 2008


There's been an abuse of process tort against the RIAA for their intimidation tactics. And the same case argues that the law the RIAA is using for the intimidation is itself unconstitutional.

This is going to be interesting!