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Mother of All Mashups

March 16th, 2009  · stk

I have John of wow-factor.com to thank for turning me on to an amazing mashup of music by an Israeli named "Kutiman". Kutiman has mixed a variety of disparate YouTube videos, creating amazing new music. Rarely does something cross my desk that astounds me. This did.

Israeli Musician "Kutiman" Mixes YouTube Videos to Make a New Vibe

Every once in a while, you run across something on the Internet that blows your socks off and redefines your very understanding of the world. So it was for me, when my Australian mate turned me onto Thru-You, an online album of recycled YouTube music.

"Wow," Scott said, replaying the music again and again, in an effort to digest and fully comprehend the creative genius at work.

"The vision, patience, technical and musical knowledge that's required [to pull together unrelated YouTube videos and mix them into a completely new sound] is just astounding," Scott claimed, upon watching (and hearing) "The Mother of All Funk Chords", which is the first of seven songs contained in this online album.

See if you agree. Watch Kutiman's YouTube mix and learn more about the controversy that it created!

Listen & Watch in Amazement

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Updated: 21-Mar-2009
Web View Count: 24394 viewsLast Web Update: 21-Mar-2009

Ghost in the Machine

January 9th, 2009  · stk

For the second time in five years, my computer bit the dust. This time, however, armed with a "Ghosted" image of my operating system, it was a snap to start over with a clean install of Win XP Home Edition. Learn how Norton Ghost can allow you to laugh at viruses, corrupted system files, driver problems, malware and software conflict. Reimage your system drive in 10 minutes flat.

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A new computer is a bit like the attic in a new home - shiny, clean and empty. You are happy. You begin to fill it with your belongings and life is good.

As time passes, you store more items into your now, not-as-new attic. Finding things becomes more difficult. The attic is filling up and you're running out of storage space. Bugs, water leaks, the kids and other things are randomly damaging some of the items you've stored. Tools and appliances no longer function properly when you pull them from storage and try to use them.

"It worked last time," you think, "What happened?" Frustrated, you throw the item away, go down to the store and buy a newer version, perhaps by a different manufacturer. At least this new one works.

More time goes by. You take a Saturday and instead of having fun playing with your family, or going golfing, you spend the entire day cleaning the attic and organizing it. You throw away some items, reorganize contents of boxes, re-label others and generally shuffle things about. You feel good about it, in the end, and the result is that the attic functions better.

More time trickles by and you now realize that the attic is getting cluttered again. You think, "Didn't I give up a weekend to organize it, not so long ago?" Discouraged, you devote another weekend. Soon, "organizing the attic" becomes a regular, unwanted and unrewarding chore.

"Couldn't I just throw this out?" you ask yourself, looking at some loose parts to the dim light. "Better not, they might be an important part of a favorite game, useful tool or something. I might need it later."

Bugs, dust, mildew and chaos creep into your, now old, attic. You pull out your hair. The attic isn't even much good for storage anymore. It's messy, you can't find stuff and you can barely walk around. Most of what you pull out, no longer functions properly. Aaargh!

You realize you need to start over and you fantasize about a new, clean storage space. "Wouldn't a clean, new attic, filled with things like my (now old, moth-eaten) vinyl record collection, be great? (Since it's your fantasy, the record albums aren't old any more, they're in the same condition they were when you first stored them).

This scenario may be a fantasy for your attic, but it can be reality for your - similarly afflicted - computer.

Unlike your attic, you can start over with your computer's operating system. Just like it was 'brand new'. Remember? Bug-free, clean and functioning? Better still, you can also have spanking new copies of the programs you use, the settings you've tweaked, your bookmarked favorites, special fonts, treasured pictures, important documents and other precious data.

Best of all ... you don't have to spend days laboring to reinstall Windows (and the billion updates that came after). Nor do you have to reinstall every program, re-tweak the settings (if you can even remember where they are), or installing hardware and their pesky drivers. In less than an half an hour, in most cases, you can 'start over' with a 'brand new' computer!

Sound too good to be true? I'm here to say it's possible. All you have to do is purchase and use a disk imaging back-up program by Symantec called "Norton Ghost".

Reimage using Norton Ghost

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Updated: 30-Mar-2009
Web View Count: 73679 viewsLast Web Update: 30-Mar-2009

Shout Outs

October 30th, 2008  · stk

Randsco is "published" in a French textbook, a Florida reader sent Scott a Penn State baseball hat and Oklahoma's Red Dirt Emporium donated generously to Randsco. (Hmmm ... maybe it's time I find a way to say "thanks" to everyone that's helped Randsco ... here's a start)

Some Recent Kudos

October has been another milestone month for Randsco.com. In addition to setting new records for visitation and Google AdSense revenue, there have been a number of other, off-site developments.

Two of those arrived by mail. First, we received a hard-back book. Randsco.com is now "published"! (One of our online photos was used in the book). Second, just yesterday, Scott received a surprise package. (No, it wasn't a bomb ... it was a Penn State baseball cap! We surmise that it's a "thank you" for the Geographically Challenged article, since it arrived without a note).

The other recent event was an generous, unsolicited donation - (donations of any kind, are a rare event) - by a company in Oklahoma, for the use of the Photo-caption Zoom technique.

Over the years, we've received a variety of unsolicited, creative "thank you's" for helping with HTML code, PHP scripts and/or our CSS techniques. Two that come to mind are a hand-made Afghan rug, which we received from a U.S. Army helicopter pilot stationed in Afghanistan and the other, an Opera CD sent by a Dane, living in Spain, who's wife is a singer.

We've had it on our "to-do" list to add a section that says "thanks" for all the people that have donated, contributed or helped Randsco.com in a meaningful way. This post is a way of biting the bullet and just "starting", though it will take some time to construct something more finalized and formal.

To find out more about our plans for "thank you's" and the story behind the book, the hat and the Oklahoma PZ3 donation ... carry on

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Views: 16019 views
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Updated: 11-Apr-2010
Web View Count: 16019 viewsLast Web Update: 11-Apr-2010

Hack Attack

September 12th, 2008  · stk

Randsco Hacked - Hackers gained FTP access and uploaded two .htaccess files, both attempted to redirect search engine visitors to another website. One failed, the other was successful. Read the postmortem on how approximately 15,000 Randsco visitors were hijacked over 5 full days, last month.

Hackers Hijack Search Engine Visitors for Five Days

This wasn't the first time our web server has been hacked. Last year, while we were hiking the West Coast Trail, Randsco was hacked, along with everyone else on our (then) shared server.

What is it about hackers? They seem to know when you're away on vacation and nowhere near a computer! Grrr.

Fast forward a year and we're now on a VPS host. This time, (as far as I know), it was only Randsco that was hacked.

For five full days in August - and a couple of partial days - all visitors clicking through to Randsco from a search engine, weren't connected to Randsco. Instead, they were automatically redirected to a spammy website that was selling "anti-virus software". The site loaded a "virus scanner" and a JavaScript alert window, which popped up in the middle of the screen. Closing these pop-ups was also difficult, as they spawned further pop-ups.

Visitors typing in a Randsco address into their address bar, weren't affected. The hackers were targeting major search engine visitors only (Google, Yahoo, AOL, etc.)

I don't know if that website was legitimately selling marginalized software or if it was a ploy to get unwary visitors to download something malicious. One is definitely worse than the other, but for me, a moot point. The fact that hackers were successfully able to redirect search engine visitors, was an egregious violation of our privacy and goal of providing helpful, relevant content and a positive visitor experience.

To learn more about how hackers gained access and what they did (a postmortem, if you will) ... carry on.

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Updated: 13-Sep-2008
Web View Count: 16544 viewsLast Web Update: 13-Sep-2008
Filed in:The Web
Web Dev

Internally Yours

August 8th, 2008  · stk

When it comes to finding which websites link to your domain, or to a specific URL within your domain, Yahoo!Search beats the pants off of Google search. Find out why.

Who Links to Your Internal Web Pages?
Why Yahoo Search Soars Over Google

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One measure of the relevancy ("success" or contribution) of a website, is to find how many other people reference (link to) its pages. To answer this question, until now anyway, I've headed to the search engine I usually use - Google.

By typing link:randsco.com into a Google search box, it spits back a list of sites that link to this domain. (Instructions for this - and other - advanced Google operators).

Doing the above yields about 200 results and going down the list, one can see which sites link to our domain. Unfortunately, many of the results are actually randsco webpages or they are sites where I have placed a link (e.g., comments I've made on other blogs, newsgroups or forums). It sure would be nice to eliminate those and see only other people linking in. (Particularly useful tracking down folks violating our copyright policy, by using our CSS techniques and PHP scripts for commercial purposes and bypassing the "donation required" step). :|

Step aside Google, because this is where Yahoo beats the pants off of your - very simple - "link:" search. Yahoo!Search is more powerful, more accurate and more comprehensive.

To learn about the power of Yahoo's inbound link searching and how to stretch your link-searching muscles .... read on ...

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Updated: 8-Aug-2008
Web View Count: 21520 viewsLast Web Update: 8-Aug-2008