Saturday, April 25, 2015

a milestone

This blog is now ten years old. A full decade. The first post has an official date of 8 May 2005, but I know that it's actually earlier than that. That's because when I first got into this blogging thing with Blogger, I was fooling around with some of the Blogger settings and managed to wipe out the original blog along with about a half dozen posts. Fortunately for me I still had all that content in a cache and thus reposted it all a second time. So when folks ask how old This Old Blog is (a.k.a. BlogBeebe) I just say a decade and then move on.

Some folks, like Kirk Tuck, look at a lot of posts over a long period of time and announce that they're trimming the posts back a bit because they're old and as a consequence they're a burden on moving forward. I look at This Old Blog as a living historical document that shows my attitudes and the times they were shaped in over the last 10 or so years. Are some (many to be honest) of them embarrassing? Obsolete? Sure. But that's due to the passing of time.

In a way, to understand me is to understand my blog.

The biggest problem with old posts is unfortunately stale links to referenced articles and photos. You can tell because there's just a lot of text and within the text references to images, especially screen shots. Clicking on old links takes you to empty pages. Oh well. That in itself is illustrative of the impermanence and overall fragility of the web. Many of those missing images were hosted in server space on my even earlier website at Geocities. Remember Geocities? I did that because in the very early days of Blogger, Blogger downsampled all images and they looked like crap. So I moved them off to my Geocities account and added a link in my Blogger posts back to them. But then Yahoo closed down Geocities and all those screen shots just went away. I backed up the Geocities site with the idea of rehosting and relinking, but I never did get around to that, and that's that. Oh well...

No, the blog exists as is, with only one deletion out of thousands of posts (read the post right before this one). This blog stands as a living monument to my past ten years living in this part of the internet, however incomplete that may seem to you. In a way it's living up to what a web log was originally meant to do, and that's be a digital recording of life about the world on the web. It's incomplete and certainly imperfect, a reflection of life itself.

Hail to This Old Blog. May the next 10 years be as interesting as the last.

still over the line

Not sure why, but a few a-hole sites out of Russia decided to ping my original post about referrer spam. So I removed the original post from back in late November 2013, right before I stopped posting to this blog for a good long year in 2014. I've waited about a week to see if the numbers would drop, and sure enough they did. A lot. Now that they're gone I decided to put it back up, more or less, with updates.

And while I'm at it I decided to freshen up the content a bit, with a Youtube clip from where the lead photo came from.

Referrer Spam

What Is It?

Referrer spam (also known as log spam or referrer bombing) is a kind of spamdexing (spamming aimed at search engines). The technique involves making repeated web site requests using a fake referer URL to the site the spammer wishes to advertise. Sites that publish their access logs, including referer statistics, will then inadvertently link back to the spammer's site. These links will be indexed by search engines as they crawl the access logs.

This benefits the spammer because the free link improves the spammer site's search engine ranking owing to link-counting algorithms that search engines use.


What Can I Do To Combat It?

Guide to Removing Referrer Spam in Google Analytics

More Google search results:

So go ahead my fine Russian friends, refer away. I don't publish any of those statistics. Watch more from The Dude (Nobody Fucks With The Jesus):

Monday, February 16, 2015

that didn't last long

gas prices 16 feb 2015

Two weeks ago gas was $1.91 at this gas station. Today when I filled up the price was back up 37¢. Even diesel hasn't risen this much, only 15¢ during the same period. Yeah, those speculator-driven free markets are so wonderful.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

the sudden collapse of gasoline prices

gas price 30 january 2015

On Friday 30 January I stopped by a local Orlando BP gas station (rather rare these days) and filled up my 2012 Prius with $1.91/gallon gas. Spending nearly $2/gallon is still a lot of money to pay for gas, coming of age as I did in the 1960s when gas was around 25¢/gallon (that's a quarter). As a middle-schooler I can remember filling up my gas can for my neighborhood mowing service for $1 (four gallons in a five gallon container), then spending the weekend earning that back at roughly $2/yard.

That low price stayed pretty much the same when I bought my first car in 1971 before I graduated from high school. Gas stayed relatively cheap through 2003, when I purchased my first and only mini-SUV, the Kia Sorento. When I bought it gas was 88¢/gallon due to a local gas war (remember when gas wars were only about selling cheap gas?) Gas mileage on the Kia was round 20-22mpg, and filling its 20 gallon tank cost me less than $20/week.

Then in August 2004 Hurricane Charlie hit central Florida, and the price of gas spiked above $2/gallon. That was a shock to me. Charlie was followed later that year by Francis and then Jeanne. After Jeanne gas prices began to slowly drift downward toward $2/gallon.

But 2004 was just a rehearsal for 2005. That was the year Hurricane Katrina first hit Florida around Miami/Dade, traveled across the peninsula to the Gulf, re-intensified, headed north, and tore the hell up out of New Orleans. And in the process made a mess of Gulf petroleum and gasoline refining. And that's when the price of gas rode well north of $2 and stayed there. The price of gas would rise slowly, unstoppably, until 2008, when I payed $4.14/gallon near Labor Day. While it would eventually drop back below $4/gallon, it never dropped below $3, and I made a promise to the wife to buy my first Prius. I finally bought that first Prius for the family in 2009.

Orlando Gas Prices 7 April 2012

In 2012 gasoline was making another surge to $4/gallon and higher. I took the photo above in early April, and wrote about how high it had gotten yet again. In the blog post that included this photo I thought that gas would hit $5/gallon that year. Fortunately for me and many others, it never did. But it always hovered between $3 and $4/gallon.

Then in a rather dramatic turn of events starting in November 2014, the price of crude began a huge drop, followed by drops in the price of gas. It has now been below $2/gallon since mid-January here in central Florida. I have even seen the price as low as $1.89. One of those gas stations where it's that low is where I once paid 88¢/gallon twelve years ago.

Just as the high cost of gas seems to have had a dramatic negative effect on the Orlando economy, the impact of dropping gas prices has been equally, if more positively, dramatic. A lot more people are out driving these days, resulting in heavier traffic everywhere. I see a lot more people out shopping everywhere. I can't quote any economic statistics, but from what I see I believe that the region is prospering again. I see a lot of construction these days, especially huge apartment complexes, which I equate with affordable housing.

I never saw this drop coming. I'm now paying less to fill the Prius every week than I did when I first bought my Kia Sorento, even at 88¢/gallon. The Prius holds 10 gallons, half what the Kia did. When I fill up I only have to fill six to seven gallons. I'm still commuting the same distance from where I live near Universal Studios across town to where I work near the University of Central Florida. It's taken a decade of car technological advancement (I now drive a 2012 Prius), as well as a change in driving habits (I'm no hyper-miler, but I don't lead foot it any more either) for me to realize these kinds of savings.

I had to go through a lot of economic pain to get to this point. Hell will freeze over before I go get another gas-guzzling car like the Kia Sorento. In spite of gas being less than half the price it was back in 2012, I doubt a lot of other folks will buy a big car again, in spite of a reported surge in larger vehicle sales. No, I'm on my way towards a totally electric vehicle, or perhaps I'll move back into the city and just give up the car. Gas, maintenance, insurance and other expenses have made the modern car so unpalatable in the 21st century. I no longer enjoy owning and driving a car like I did when I was a teenage driver. The automotive thrill is truly dead and gone in me.