Monthly Archives: August 2008

Gustav evacuation map

People have started to evacuate New Orleans and the Gulf coast.

Here’s a map I’ve been keeping over the course of the afternoon with some information about destinations where people are ending up at.

It’s incomplete (of course) but gives you some idea of scope.  Nancy White has a good list of other web based Gustav resources.   Grace has some details specific to hurricane evacuation planning.

View Larger Map


Warren Easton HS marching band, New Orleans LA

Here’s a video of the Warren Easton HS marching band in New Orleans, LA:

This is a band that was basically wiped out by Hurricane Katrina, and Bart notes their restart in 2006 after Katrina.

Like a lot of people we are watching from afar for the projected path through the Gulf of Gustav to hope it isn’t a repeat.  Unlike Katrina, this time around there’s twitter; see the twitter stream of people talking about Gustav.

Make your web site faster

This blog loads very, very slowly.  (Sorry.)  It’s big, it’s full of weird crap that I like to post because it’s interesting, and sometimes things break because the weird crap is no longer supported.

If you want it to go faster look at this:

Steve Souders book High Performance Web Sites describes the 14 best
practices he developed while working as the Chief Performance Yahoo!.
YSlow, the Firebug extension he created, codified those best practices.
Now working at Google, Steve discusses the next set of best practices
he’s discovered, including the impact of iframes and where to place
(and where not to place) inline script blocks.

and it you want to understand why web sites that are faster are better, more profitable, and more helpful for users see Andy King’s Web Site Optimization

Fast display speed is the key to success with your website. It
increases profits, decreases costs, and improves customer satisfaction
(not to mention search engine rankings, accessibility, and

Here’s Steve Souders talk at Google.

Google AdSense in professional association wikis

Google’s AdSense program is designed to provide relevant targeted advertising content to web pages.  It works, sometimes intermittently, on weblogs – but there’s often enough other non-relevant things on the design of those pages to work only indifferently.  What you do find however is that the appropriately targeted wiki design – especially one where the subject matter expertise of a professional association is involved, and where the words in use a specific to a field of specialty – yields extremely targeted results.

Caution is worthwhile, however, because for every well-targeted advertising stripe you get the occasional horrible, unprofessional blunder.   Some cases in point.

Quimica from the American Chemical Society is running this ad on page one, hosted on Wikispaces:


Now ask yourself, what is to blame here?  There are three ways that you can fix a problem like this of having inappropriate advertising running in your wiki.

1.  Don’t run advertising at all.  Host your wiki yourself, or host it somewhere with an option to turn off advertising.  Remove the risk of the accidental inappropriate Adwords ad by not using Adwords as an ad network.

2.  Sell advertising in-house as sponsorships, or run house ads in the stripe of the page normally designed for external advertising.  This might very reasonably be ads for things like upcoming association events, membership benefits, or other details that look like advertising targeted straight at your members.

3.  Use the Google AdSense ad quality as a measure of the relevance of the pages you have, and edit the wiki until the junk ads don’t show up.  Block advertisers that are inappropriate, remove page text that triggers inappropriate ads, and otherwise optimize for relevance, professionalism, and revenue.  This works best when you are hosting a wiki on a platform and get the revenues for the advertising – some "free" wiki hosting really is paid for by click-throughs on ads that you are running, and if your association members are using Google Adwords to promote themselves they may well be running ads that would be very relevant on your site.

4.  Use Google AdSense quality as a quality check on the professionalism of the AdWords advertising that your association members are running.  From time to time, advertising copy writers at agencies will write ads that are completely inappropriate because of regulation or professional standards that they are blissfully unaware of, and by having a spot which attracts these ads you can build in feedback for professional ethics.

Ed – review for August 2008

I get a lot of hits on this blog for the search term "ed".  Here’s something of a review of what else you would be looking for.

NYSE: ED is Consolidated Edison. When the power goes out around New York City, there’s a Con Ed power outage map with details.

Ed Stevens lives on at, though there are no plans of yet to re-release the 2000-2004 TV series on DVD.

The US Department of Education is to blame for the No Child Left Behind program.

ed is the standard unix line editor.  Ken wrote it, and Dennis wrote a history of it, as An Incomplete History of the QED Text Editor.  It was first written for the PDP-7.

Ed Robertson crashed a float plane in Ontario, but he’s ok.

Ed Felten is offering one term visiting positions at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton.

Finally, if you want monster truck races in Europe, go to Ed, Sweden.

Mercury in Retrograde, The Reverse Engineers

For any of you who run Yahoo Groups, it's well known that Yahoo has problems when Mercury is retrograde.

The Reverse Engineers have a song "Mercury in Retrograde" that's a $0.99 download from Amazon.

The lyrics match the problem.

Mercury in Retrograde
Lyrics by Charles Cote, Daniel Cote, William Cote

It travels round the sun
Six times to our one
What no one else can see
Is plain as day to me

They say its surface is hot as hell
Unwitting servants to its spell
You can’t flee Mercury in retrograde

You can’t flee Mercury
You can’t flee Mercury
You can’t flee Mercury

It’s ten times worse than a full moon
You’re not even safe in your bedroom
Controls more than the rising tides
There’s nowhere to hide
There’s nowhere to hide

The gods must be against me
My shortwave doesn’t work
Lost signal, no connection
Nothing goes right

Imbalance in the system
Rogue planet off its track
All circuits overloaded
Nothing goes right

Damn that planet
Damn that star
Force of disruption from afar
You can’t flee Mercury
You can’t flee Mercury

Free from Mercury
Free from Mercury

© 2004 The Reverse Engineers