In desperate need of a new laser printer, I found the HL-4070CDW printer on Amazon on sale for like $420 with free shipping. My last laser printer was a free one from Dell that I got with a new computer. Stupid thing always sucked but lately it’s been sucking more than normal.

So I check out the specs on this thing. Color laser. Eh? I remember when color laser printers were like $5,000. Built in wireless? This is even possible? Man, I’m old! Sounds to good to be true but I order it anyways. Free shipping. How can I lose.

So I get the thing out of the box. It’s pretty large and heavy. I install the 4 toner cartridges (3 color, 1 black) and turn it on. It is a little noisy when it’s powering up and when it’s printing something. But totally quiet in sleep mode.

I get the printer working from my primary computer, then I remember it has a wireless feature. Oh mama, I gotta try that. So I follow the instructions – which are a little confusing as most Brother products are but the wireless setup happens within minutes, working with my wireless router. I get an IP address on it, the computer finds it on the network and it prints. No real delay in printing either so now I can quickly give any computer access to a printer without having to use cables. It’s the 21st century around here!

The printer is pretty fast, I’d guess it around 20 pages per minute or so. There isn’t much of a delay when it prints either. You send the job and it’s printing in seconds – unlike my Dell, which took about 3 minutes for it to wakeup and start its job.

I’m very impressed with the printer. A very good buy, I believe, all in all. The noise while printing is a little much but expected from a printer. Looks like I can also buy a lower paper tray so it can hold 1,000 sheets instead of 500 sheets of paper. Very nice.

I’d definitely recommend this printer to anyone looking for a new laser printer. Very impressive.

A new study in the December 2007 edition of International Journal of Climatology will conclude that Global Warming(tm) is naturally caused and shows no human influence.

What I have been telling you people?

Climate scientists at the University of Rochester, the University of Alabama, and the University of Virginia report that observed patterns of temperature changes (‘fingerprints’) over the last thirty years are not in accord with what greenhouse models predict and can better be explained by natural factors, such as solar variability.

I’ve also mentioned solar variability before. The sun is a star, its energy output is not constant. It goes up and down. Changes in our climate more closely match the frequency of Sunspots than anything else and it certainly does not match CO2.

Lead author David Douglass said: “The observed pattern of warming, comparing surface and atmospheric temperature trends, does not show the characteristic fingerprint associated with greenhouse warming. The inescapable conclusion is that the human contribution is not significant and that observed increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases make only a negligible contribution to climate warming.”

Can we end this debate now? Peer reviewed papers on the Global Warming(tm) side are hard to find and Al Gore’s movie has been proven wrong on countless occasions and has even been proven to be lies by a UK court.

I’m sure the neo-communists who back this movement will continue to blame humans for global warming and wish we were back in the stone age, but it’s really time to stop the self hate and live our lives like we always have.

By killing polar bears and clubbing seals. Enjoy!

As a follow-up to yesterday’s Google rant, I wanted to follow-up and show you how Google is breaking it’s own definition of quality scoring. And filling its natural results with sites that it wouldn’t even accept for Adwords bidding.

Let’s go through this slowly.

According to Adwords help:

 The following website types will sometimes merit low landing page quality scores and may be difficult to advertise affordably. If you choose to advertise one of these website types, be particularly careful to adhere to our landing page quality guidelines – especially the rule about offering unique content.

  • eBooks that show frequent ads
  • ‘Get rich quick’ sites
  • Comparison shopping sites
  • Travel aggregators
  • Affiliates that don’t comply with our affiliate guidelines

So, google is saying that if you are a comparison shopping engine and you want to bid on Adwords, your money isn’t welcome because the site is of “low quality” to searchers. But apparently, the main index falls under no such restraints. This usually involves paying about $10 per click instead of 30 cents or whatever as punishment for having a “low quality” site. Hence the fact that not many of comparison sites buy keywords any longer.

Let’s take a search for a product I carry -  Flip Flop Stepping Stones – since I carry about it. I do not pretend to be the #1 search for the item but if someone is searching for “flip flop stepping stones” – I carry them and sell them and always have them in stock. Also, apparently do many other sites (copycats! LOL)

But let’s see what Google think. You’ll need to click this picture to get the full effect, I’m sure:

Google Low Quality Searches

As you can see, more than half of the google results for this relatively minor product search are comparison shopping engines. Does Google really think that people use their engine to go to other engines to find what they want to find? Or does Google think that searches use them to reach the most relevant results – and buy their product or get the information they requested? Judging by this search, Google thinks people love searching without finding any actual results. I suppose, next, we’ll have Google indexing MSN results and Yahoo results as an attempt to further “improve” the results.

Well, yesterday we did discover that Google just recently realized that people talk out of their ass most of the time; so I guess we can forgive them of not understanding the internet or its users; again.

Also, what this tells me is that Google is putting more thought into their paid listings than their natural listings; which it continues to pretend is their number one priority. I think these types of searches tell us that this is not even close to the case.

I, for one, do not believe that: Amazon, E-Bay, Walmart, Target, etal should ever appear in search results. People know these brands – and will go right to them first, anyways. Google should be profiling smaller sites when it comes to many non-academic and non-informational searches.  But, let’s say that Google disagrees and thinks that comparison shopping searches are relevant to their users. 10 out of the 16 entries here are comparison sites (or EBay) – each, I’ll guarantee you – are 90-95% similar to each other.

Once more, Answers is #1. Answers uses Dealtime’s data for the page. So it’s content isn’t even unique. It’s ripped off of Dealtime. Even the main site of Answers rips most of its content from Wikipedia and other sources as well. Yet ranks #1, while providing nothing unique to the world at all? Is this what Google has come to? The site which Answers gets its content from is buried at 17 or something, while it ranks #1? Shame. Google. Shame.

These sites wouldn’t even pass a quality control of your Adwords program, yet are perfectly acceptable to your natural listings. Shameful.  Thanks for a further understanding as to where your priorities lie.

I’m catching up a little bit on this, but decided to make a post out of sheer frustration. I’ll preface this by saying that one of my sites has been dumped by Google, in what I suspect is a crackdown on (something). I dropped on October 16th. Came back December 14th. Dropped again today, December 18th. Merry Christmas to me! That is irrelevant to this post, and is just a disclaimer.

On Dec 1st, Matt Cutts made a post about paid links and it clearly shows that Google is absolutely clueless about the workings of the internet.

In his post, he commits a major logical error, reductio ad absurdum, in which he talks about a “brain tumor” paid blog entry that is obviously a paid link. Painfully obvious that it’s paid. He goes on to say that since google doesn’t want this site ranking for “brain tumor” that all sorts of paid blogs and links are evil. The example is ridiculous in that of course you can’t compare paying bloggers to rank a site for “cure for cancer” and “fuzzy bunny slippers” It’s a leap of logic that you simply cannot make.

And it’s besides the point, anyways – which is where my “Google being clueless” comes into play. Matt then goes on to wonder:

If you’ve just learned that you or a family member have a tumor, would you prefer that radiosurgery overview article from the Mayo Clinic, or from a site which appears to be promoting a specific manufacturer of medical equipment via paid posts? My guess is that you’d prefer the Mayo Clinic.

The point of that paid post isn’t to get this paid entry (found here) to rank. It is to get the target site to rank. The target site, in this instance isn’t even optimized for the phrase linked from the blog entry so would probably never rank anyways. Clearly, the site is designed to rank for the phrase “brain tumor treatment” – well, let’s look and see if it does. And, why, yes it does. #3, in fact, as of this post. So the paid post has had its desired effect, despite being specifically pointed out by Matt. Is Google really this clueless as to the point of these paid posts?

What I’d like to see is Matt/Google make the case that the target site should drop from the SERPs for having these inbound links. Then we’d have an interesting discussion. Google does not know, for sure, that the target site even paid for that blog entry – it is merely a supposition – a good one; but lack of proof is a big issue here, don’t you think? My site(s) get links from paid bloggers all the time that I have not paid for. Usually they want content that keeps them within the TOS of the paid blogging sites – and random sites get put onto their blog, why should any site spend time worrying “who is linking to me today?”. I’ve also had products featured on HGTV, which result in links from blogs. Should my site(s) be punished for that as well? I’ve also tested paid blogging services to see what traffic they deliver (it’s relative to PRWeb, but cheaper, so you get more visitors for less money). The paid blogger Matt references also links to many other sites in its blog roll. Are these sites to be punished as well for having links from this blogger? You see how far this could really go and the implications there-in. It’s a dangerous road Google is traveling down and I do not believe they are prepared for it.

Secondly, apparently Google came to this startling realization on December 1, 2007:

it’s troubling if someone is getting paid to review and link to a site, especially if it appears that they weren’t aware of this treatment until they were paid to write about the subject. In researching this incident, we saw lots of people doing paid posts about brain tumors who admitted that they weren’t familiar with the subject beforehand. Sometimes posts were even more inaccurate:

Google has finally realized, after over a decade online, that people online are talking out of their ass and sometimes do not have a clue as to what they are writing about? I’m overcome with the vapors! I’m shocked and stunned. This is an incredibly stunning realization. 10 years. Billions and billions of dollars. Mind boggling. Apparently, before paid blogging, everyone was an expert on whatever they chose to write about.

What’s my point? It’s that if this blog entry did not have a suspicious outbound link, Matt would not have a problem with Google attempting to rank this entry for the keyword phrase. Would they? It may not rank well or it may rank #1. But without the link, it wouldn’t raise a flag at all. So, in Google’s eyes; writing content that you are clueless about (but do it for free) is wonderful; but getting paid for it is evil.

Is Google going to start policing all content online to make sure that sites have content it deems worthy of ranking? Not in terms of relevance (the historical measure) but worthiness (in someone’s eyes). That is the end result, here and Matt’s point, isn’t it? The link is of far less concern here than the poorly written content – that’s the jist I’ve gotten from the post. It’s a reasonable point to make. The content is not in question if the link isn’t there.

I do understand Google’s need to keep the results pure and not allow paid links to manipulate the search results. That’s not the point here. The point is Google’s handling of these posts (remove them from the index and don’t let them pass juice – which would be the common sense way to handle it) which, currently, seems to be shoddy at best.

Google, lately, seems to be flailing around trying to figure out how to fight the spammers/link buyers, that they have forgotten what made them great – relevance. Google’s job as a search engine is to decide if the paid blogger is relevant to to the topic being written about and rank it on that merit. If its not relevant, the associated link, of course, should not benefit the target site. But punishing sites based upon perceived breaking of rules (that seem to change at will) is just going to cause more problems.

More discussion here. Another post missing the point here.

On Sunday December 16th 2007, for the first time in their history the Tampa Bay Buccaneers returned a kickoff for a touchdown. As a long time Bucs fan, I can tell you the event brought tears to my eyes – second biggest touchdown in Bucs history. Next to Ronde Barber returning an interception for a TD against the Eagles in the 2002 NFC Championship game, which propelled the team to a Superbowl (which it won handily).

Never, you sum-bitch announcers, can you say that the Bucs have never done it. Before now, every Bucs game, it was obligatory to say “The Bucs have never run a kickoff back for a touchdown”. Well. Suck it. Asses.

Every 32 years, it’ll happen. Much like snow in Florida. It’ll happen. And the Bucs will win that game, by 34 points. At home. In the winter. To win the NFC South title.

Atlanta, Buffalo, Detroit, Minnesota, Philadelphia, San Diego, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Houston, and Seattle have not won Superbowls in 32 years (if they’ve won one at all in Detroit, Cleveland and Houston’s cases). If any of those teams win the superbowl this year (unlikely); it’ll be like clockwork that, when the Bucs run a kickoff back for a touchdown that other team wins a Superbowl.

Anyone remember the episode of Seinfeld, where George decides to embrace Festivus?

GEORGE: (Reading the card from Whatley) “This holiday season a donation has been made in your name to the Children’s Alliance.”?

JERRY: Oh, that’s nice.

GEORGE: I got him Yankee’s tickets! He got me a piece of paper saying “I’ve given your gift to someone else!”

JERRY: To a children’s charity!

GEORGE: Don’t you see how wrong that is?! Where’s your Christmas spirit? And eye for an eye!

Well, our yearly Google gift came today.  They sent a USB card with 2 gigabytes of storage (pretty cool) but along with it, they sent this letter:

Thank you for your partnership with Google this year. To show our appreciation, Google would like you to support a public school classroom of your choosing through is a non-profit organization where you can choose a classroom project to bring to life – a reading corner, a field trip, a computer lab, or whatever inspires you.

When you redeem the enclosed gift card, you will give books, art supplies, technology, or other resources to students in low-income communities.

Thank you for taking the time to help us give back.

As I said in my previous post, I gave to a charity this year (and do every year these days) as well and I think this is a great idea. I just think it’s funny how life imitates Seinfeld in this situation.

This year, we decided to donate goods to a good charity in the area. Mainly, we donated products that had not sold very well over the course of the year and are overstocked or items that needed to move out of here for space reasons. This year we chose Metropolitan Ministries as our charity of choice. This charity provides toys and personal items for children and adults in need. We gave mainly toys this time, probably about 200 items in total. I hope it helps the kids have a good Christmas – or at least better than they would have otherwise.

Our warehouse employee will be dropping them off over the weekend, as he volunteers there this time of year to help distribute items. Seems like a good cause to me and since it’s not cash, you can always be sure that it reaches the people who need it.

We also offered a promotion to give free gifts to the troops this year as well, which worked out pretty well. I think we sent out quite a few free trees and reindeer to troops and their families. I won’t have a final tally until the new year, but I’m sure we made quite a few people happy!

It’s almost Christmas time and I hope everyone has a great holiday. Here’s a video in this blog that is a great rendition of several christmas (and non-christmas) songs in just a few minutes. Very creative. (H/T: Hotair)

ABA Journal has released its choice as the 2007 lawyer of the year. I’ll let you click the link to figure out who it was. But the runners-up says everything you need to know about a lawyer. They are Michael Nifong and Howard K Stern. I totally agree with the ABA that these 2 guys are the pre-eminent face of lawyers that most people have.

Michael Nifong attempted to railroad innocent college kids by hiding evidence only to have his licence taken away and serve a year in prison – or something like that. You can read up on the entire Duke Lacrosse case here.

Howard K Stern is a virtual saint in comparison. He only violated ethics and slept with his client and had a non-binding marriage to the client. He was also, apparently, in the room when her son died and may have given him drugs. He was also hanging around with her when she finally died as well. And he’s alleged to have an affair with the father of Anna Nicole’s child – not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Yes, the ABA has much to be proud of in 2007.

Is the new Indiana Jones movie going to have an alien theme to it? Quite possibly. Take a look at the first poster that has come out for it. I’ve outlined the skull to highlight what looks way too similar to your prototypical alien skull:

Indiana Jones Poster

Here’s the common form of what an alien skull looks like:

Alien Skull

Looks a little too similar doesn’t it? The lack of pronounced nasal cavities. The eye sockets that are too far off to the left and too large for the face itself? Starting to sound an awful lot like an alien isn’t it?

The USA Today story even gives it away a little bit:

The artifact of the title is inspired by real quartz sculptures of disputed origins that are carved in a way that defies the natural structure of the crystal.

“The theory is they are shaped by higher powers or alien powers or came from another world, or an ancient Mayan civilization had the powers,” Marshall says.

Indiana Jones fighting communists and aliens in the newest flick? Say it ain’t so, Indy. Say it ain’t so. If you thought Shortround and that annoying blond chick were bad in Temple of Doom, wait till the aliens give a politically correct speech about how humans are ruining the planet and Indiana commiserating with the Communists in sad agreement.

Thanks to Hotair for linking me to the original movie poster.

You may or may not know that Google has made a recent change to their Search Engine Reults (SERPs) to show Site Links. If Google likes your site, it’ll show up to 8 extra links to your site, to important pages within your site to help users find stuff if they are searching for your Site Linked keywords. In theory, this is a great idea. In practice, it’s a disaster and I’ll show how so and out a few websites in the process (sorry in advance).

Google Site Links seem to only happen to the homepage of a given site; apparently under some poorly formed theory that the homepage of a site contains far more information than the subpage of any other website on the planet. Google, errantly, believes that a site focused on “mortgage” for example, is going to have more information and be more relevant than a site that focuses on “real estate” as well. Does this really make sense? Of course not.

Google Site Links also reward bad behavior. In order to push Site Links out there, Google has apparently decided that domain name relevance is a primary factor for ranking. You’ll notice, more and more, than homepages rank top 10 for important keywords. The unintended result is that Google is filled with poorly designed sites (spam usually), doorway pages, and duplicated content, just to fulfill the mission of pushing Site Links.

Let’s take some examples of this. Searching for “growing tips” at Google.

Growing Tips search at Google

Notice the SERPs that I’ve highlighted. Each of these domains are doorway pages to a third site and contain very little (if any) useful content of their own. They are simply designed to gain inbound links to a third website. And now, these domains (probably owned by the same person, I’m too lazy to check) dominate the top 10 on this result because each contains “growing tips” in their domain name.

Let’s do another search. “Kitchen Gadgets” at Google.

Kitchen Gadgets at Google

Notice the two domains I’ve highlighted here. Each of these domains are identical content. The linked title is the same. The websites are the same when you visit as well. Why are two domains, same content, being rewarded? Because they have kitchen gadgets in the domain name, it’d seem.

I could go on with hundreds of other searches showing questionable content like this; but I think the point is quite clear. Google, with their Site Links are rewarding:

  • Spam/Doorway Pages
  • Domain Squatters
  • Cobwebbed Sites

You can also peruse the Google results and see that sites that haven’t been updated since 2004 are ranking top 10 because of their domain name as well. All this, while Google wields a 950 hammer on sites that have violated some arbitrary (and sometimes unknown) law at Google. Real webmasters are being hurt by a penalty that isn’t understood, isn’t fixable (in many cases) while sites that have no apparent value are rising to the top on a whim. When you add the apparent lack of communication from Google these days, and their stream of buying businesses that are out of their scope, you are forced to wonder, “What is going on down at the Googleplex?” Google still hasn’t fixed its problems in regards to duplicate content (it still cannot reliably figure out who posted content first and who stole it), it has not figured a way to keep proxies from hijacking domains from the SERPs, nor has it been able to even get malware sites delisted from its index. Yet, it’s added a cute feature that has further detiorated its index and elevated questionable sites for a little eye candy.

Google’s priorities are seriously out of whack.