Finally got the keyboard fixed

I had a small problem the other day: I spilled a whole cup of coffee on my keyboard and I didn't have the time to make another one. So I left home without a coffee. That was awful. Oh yeah, the keyboard wasn't working anymore when I got back home. And the desk was all sticky.

It was something funny: when I hit a key, any key except <return> (I don't know how that one survived), I would hear a beeping sound coming from the system speaker. At first I didn't know what is going on but then I opened up Notepad and started to type something I realized that there must be a short-circuit somewhere. Every key would print out 3 to 5 symbols, <esc> acted like <f5>, <ctrl> like the Windows key and other stuff like that. It really threw me off track. And provided me with a good laugh. When I had enough I decided that I need to clean it. So I took it apart, removed the electric part, all the buttons, cleaned all the breadcrumbs, hair and dust collected over time then I put everything under the shower. The hardest part was to get them all dried up, so I can put everything back together. Of course I used a hairdryer. Now it's all nice and clean and it even works.

But after all was done, I realized that it would have been faster and not even expensive to buy a new keyboard. At least I had something to do. And something to write about.

A little more tinkering with the layout

After I realized that the way the template is not as complicated as I initially thought, I decided to do a few more modifications. I added two more compartments that spread for two columns. One above the current sidebars, and one below. I'll populate them as soon as I figure out with what. This is what I did in just a few minutes, so it's probably not going to work the way it's supposed to.

There are other things I did last night, but I was to tired to post anything. Here's the list so you can see I was a busy bee:

  • added the widget. You can find it at the bottom of every post and it's very useful if you want to find related posts from other people's blogs or related articles to the post at hand. It's a very useful widget in my opinion, as it provides you with content relevant to a certain post, unlike a search engine, where you are more and more spammed with irrelevant search results
  • this is more like something I wanted to do, I actually did it, and then changed my mind. I wanted to see how much better it would be without the default Blogger Navbar so I removed it. But when I wanted to access my account to modify the layout, I realized that the Navbar was rather useful, so I placed it back. If anyone finds it absolutely useless or wants to remove it for whatever reason here's the code you need to place inside the CSS of your template: #navbar-iframe {display: none !important;}
  • I've also added a few more banners just trying to increase the color spots here and there, add a little life, you know? But that didn't work. I'll have to try different formats so there are not so intrusive, otherwise you won't click them :)

There are a lot of thing that are still unresolved but I have a lot of time to take care of them. There's no rush. Oh, speaking of rush. I've also signed up to Blog Rush , added the widget and now I'm waiting for approval. And that's pretty much all there is. The weekend is here and I'll be terribly busy yet again. Not with work but with having fun. So I'll come back around Monday, or maybe sooner if I have the time, who knows.

I had to mess with it - from 2 to 3 columns

With what you ask? With the layout of this blog. Check it out. It now has 3 columns. Isn't it great? I was sure you would feel the same way. But I never want to do that again. It took me about 3 hours to make heads and tails of the standard XML template and I started messing with it, without to much knowledge of it's inner workings. That was a big mistake. I was lucky I previously saved a back-up of the existing layout. That sort of got me out of banging my head against the walls. Some of the widgets could not be saved in the layout though, so I had to reintroduce them. I tried a few 3-col templates that I've found on the Internet but none of them really felt right. Plus I kinda like this color scheme. And modifying on of those it would have taken me as much time as it would have if I were to start a new template from scratch. So taking a better look at the code of the template, I've realized that all I had to do was to increase the width of the outer wrapper, which is a div. I increased it so it would fit one more column (about 200px, depending on the layout). After that I had to introduce the following code right after the current sidebar:
<div id="sidebar-wrapper1"> <b:section class="sidebar" id="sidebar2" preferred="yes"> </b:section> </div>
That just inserts a new sidebar. It messes up the way things look like in the standard template editor of Blogger, but I don't really mind. I just wanted more space and I think it looks a lot better this way. The problem is you still have to scroll down a lot and that personally annoys me. It reminds me of those pages where you're offered the secret to wealth and fortune totally free. And you start reading and reading and reading and you're like "Wow! This stuff is awesome!" And by the time you reach the end of the page you're hooked. Then you see the line "Just fill in your e-mail address now (... so I can spam you to death of course)!" and you realize you've just wasted 20-30 minutes of your life. But that's another story.

On to Bidvertiser

Today I was surfing the Internet without a particular purpose (yet again). I need to find some sort of a purpose in life, something that would keep me entertained for the rest of my days. Maybe next year.

This year however I'm still looking for methods of increasing my financial income. On that note, I end up talking about What are they? What do they do? Well, as many other companies out there, they sell ads, of course. Content targeted ads. Sounds familiar? Sure it does. They do pretty much the same thing Google with it's AdSense does. So I signed up and I've added yet another ad box in the layout. It's the one close to the top, that says Bidvertiser in it's title. Duh!

One might ask why I signed up for them when I already had AdSense. And it's a good question. A bad answer would be: because I want to hurt everyone's eyes with all sorts of ads. But I won't be giving that answer. No. I will promote this program in a decent way. And here are the reasons:

  • it has a lower payment level, much easier to achieve than Google AdSense. There are not many people that can reach the $100 limit, especially if they're just beginning a new website or blog. How does $10 sound like?
  • payment can be done via PayPal, as well as check, feature that is not implement in AdSense (the PayPal option I mean). This is particularly useful if you want to see your money fast
  • activation of your account is automated and instant so you don't have to wait for someone to review your website, which usually takes a few days
  • the ads on your website are always the highest paying ones, because it's a bid, get it? Like in auction. And these only get higher and higher in time, as more and more advertisers place their ads through them.

Other features are almost similar to every other ad selling program: you can customize the way the ads will look like, you can block different ads from being displayed, have detailed reports and one great feature is the referral program:

  • when a user signs as an advertiser and first spends $10, they credit your account with $5. When that same advertiser spends $50, you will be credited with an additional $20
  • when a user signs as a publisher and first earns $10, they credit your account with $10. When that same publisher earns $50, you will be credited with an additional $40.

That sounds awesome to me. So I've joined and I encourage you to do the same. It's a good alternative to AdWords (for advertisers) and AdSense (for publishers), easy to install and fully customizable. Just give it a try. You can use the following link to do that:

Imagine that - Agloco finally sinks

Yes people, Agloco has finally reached the end of it's life. It seems that all those that considered it a bad deal from the beginning were right. Everything was looking so great: getting huge income just for installing and running a viewbar. It's times like this that make me feel happy I didn't spend too much of my energy on a certain program.

For those of you that still don't know about the great Agloco (where have you been in the last 1.5 years?) here's what it "was" about. You would install and run a small application that would display ads as you surf the Internet. In turn you accumulate hours with a maximum cap of 5 hours per month. To increase these you have to refer others to the program, of course. This way you would win a percentage of their hours. At a certain point, which was never made public, those hours were to be turned into currency. Having a large network would guarantee you a large income for very little effort. The money should have come from the ads that were displayed in the viewbar and from the affiliate revenue on the product one would buy through the viewbar. And everybody's happy. What a perfect world!

Things didn't go the way they planned and after a while the whole thing hit the bottom. And I don't think anyone got even a cent off Agloco. Now that's a big scam, seeing that the network, and the mailing list now has over 1 million members. Imagine the offers the owners of the program are receiving right about now. And boy, the users will sure and up with a lot of "fresh" SPAM (me including). Luckily I provided them with a disposable email :)

I guess all good things must come to an end eventually. I'm just sad that Agloco was not one of the good things. With this (and other thoughts) in mind, I'm wondering how much time it will take for people to remove all their affiliate links from all over the net. And after I've seen all sorts of encouragements to join Agloco, I'm thinking now I'll be seeing a lot of angry people cursing and swearing. Oh well, that's life!

Browser stuff - compatibility

So I came back with a thought. I needed today to add a "snow fall" script to a page. You know, the lame and useless eye-annoying usability-impediment ones. Wow, that almost made me swallow my tongue. I'm sure you've seen them at least once in your life. Most of them appear around this time of year.

For those of you that don't know, most (if not all) of those scripts are made in JavaScript. They simply create new layers (divs) that contain a GIF image representing a snow flake or I've seen some containing just the * symbol (I think it's called asterisk). Move them randomly across the screen and repeat the process over and over again. Until your user's eyes get tired trying to read the content of that page, curses the guy that had the bright idea of inserting the script and leave. And one more guy won't come back to your page. At least until spring comes and you remove the script.

But I didn't want to tell you about that. I had to insert one of those stupid scripts and that's that. Looking for one that would be compatible with all browsers, I got really frustrated. You see, most all JavaScript functions have one problem: browser compatibility. It's not that it can't be achieved, it's just that it's a stupid idea to make a script compatible to a browser that doesn't stick to the standards. Yes, you got it! I'm talking about that blasted Internet Explorer. The browser that makes all web developers sick to their stomach. But what I'm really trying to point out is that it's not just the browsers fault. No, wait, gimme a second to explain what I mean.

For those of you that don't really understand what's wrong with IE (Internet Explorer) here's a short version (the extended version would be enough to fill a few books): there are some things that are called standards. Maybe you heard of them. They're all over the place: cars, PC's, TV's, office equipment, books, furniture and almost anything that is manufactured in this world of ours. The thing is standards have a very important role: they're guidelines that people must follow so everybody can know what someone else used when he tried to do something. To exaggerate a little, if there would be no standards, a Japanese car could only be repaired in Japan, and only by the guy that built it.

The Internet also has to follow certain guidelines set in place at an international level. Web developing, web applications, instant messaging, email, web pages - they all have to respect those standards. Here is where the problems occur. Although most browsers stick to the rules, IE does thing it's own way. And I'm not talking about JavaScript alone. It also has serious problems with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), Adobe Flash and who knows what other issues with the many 3rd party plug-ins. The reason for this, in my opinion anyway, is that it was developed by a company that made a history from keeping most of it's code secret (that's OK, otherwise they would have probably gone out of business), but also tried to take over the market on as many planes as possible. For the Internet browsing branch, they developed IE and they did it in a time when standards were not well implemented. But when they were finally in place, the browser was such widely spread that all the web developers already had to make their pages compatible with it. And this is how the Internet had to shape itself after a crappy browser.

But I was saying that it's not just IE's fault. So it's a lousy browser that doesn't stick to the standards and makes every web developer's life a living hell. But it's not the only one that sucks, there are others. The problem is with it's users. The fact that Microsoft releases it together with it's operating system makes it such a widely used browser. It's the user's fault because he's too lazy to get a proper browser, one that lives in harmony with this world of ours that we call Internet. One that doesn't force it's "way" on everything else. One that follows the guidelines and respects both the user and the web designer.

I think you got the idea. So please people, make everyone's life just a little bit easier and get a "standard compliant browser" as it is called in the industry. Anything you like. There are so many to chose from: Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Apple Safari (even on Windows). I personally use Firefox and I highly recommend it. You can find the link at the bottom of this page. But it's your choice, just try it. Hell, you can try them all. Find one that works for you. You won't regret it, I assure you.

Heard about Gomez?

Hello again. A few days ago I got really bored in front of the computer (imagine that) so I started to jump from web site to web site. Just to see if there is anything interesting that I can find. I haven't had much success, but one good thing came out of all of this.

Have you ever heard about Gomez PEER? If you did, you probably got it installed a long time ago. Probably even reaped some financial benefits from it. Well, I remember I tried to install it a while ago but I can't remember why I didn't keep it up. So I went ahead and downloaded the client and now it's up and running, both at work and at home. I'm counting the minutes :)

For those of you that haven't heard about it, here's a short intro: they pay you for staying online and doing nothing. Sound familiar? Of course it does. It sounds just like those spyware bars that display all sorts of ads on your desktop and install anything you can imagine. Well, it's not exactly like that. First off, this application does not take space on your desktop. It just sits in your tray. Secondly, it does not display anything on your monitor. If you like, it can display something, and even then it shows your statistics, online time, earned income and stuff like that. "So why am I getting paid then?" you might ask. And it's a good question. You see, as you surf the Internet, the application scans for different bottle necks in the network, performance of websites on different connection types and many other parameters. Because this can't be done by a single person or even a single company, they called for the support of the Internet users and in return they offer, well, money. What you have to do is sign up by filling the online form, install the peer and let it run every time you turn on your computer. Don't worry about resources, you won't even feel it. As soon as you are accepted as an Active member, you start earning income.

What happens is the data that is collected and processed on your computer is sent to them every 15 minutes and in turn you get paid. And that's about it. More info can be found on their web site. If you would like to give it a try, just go to this address and sign-up.

And that's all I wanted to tell you for now. Not much, but it's something anyway. I had a few days now without any brain activity. I'll try to find something awesome to post soon.