June 2006 Archives

Today, I was reading a blog that had a link to download a song. The song was available via MegaUpload.

Ok, available is a strong word.

I clicked the link and was taken to MegaUpload. There I saw ads. I scrolled down a bit, looking for the download. I found more ads. I continued to scroll, passing more ads, the remains of Jimmy Hoffa, more ads, and finally landed on a description of just how easy MegaUpload is to use and oh, did we mention we are entirely ad-supported?

No kidding.

So I scrolled back up and finally saw… something. It wasn’t a download link. Instead, it was a CAPTCHA, nestled snugly in the loving arms of the MegaUpload logo.

I proved my humanity and then saw… something else. It wasn’t a download link. Instead, it was a countdown. I had 45 seconds to admire their ads before they would give me the download link. Because, otherwise, I might not have noticed the ads. With about 15 seconds left to go, another ad popped up. You know the kind — JavaScript ads that appear on a page on top of the content. This particular one followed my mouse cursor as I moved it around the page. Remember how that was funny when that one web site did something like that? Yeah, that one, from 1998.

The countdown ended and I saw… a download link! Hooray! I went to click on it, and couldn’t. The little pop-up ad was still following my mouse and blocking my attempts to click the link. Ironically, it was blocking my attempts to click on anything. I couldn’t click the ads on the page — I couldn’t even click the ads in the pop-up because it would move out of the way.

I was finally able to click the download link thanks to the Web Developer toolbar — the Junior Woodchuck Guidebook of Firefox extensions (5 points if you know the reference). I disabled JavaScript and the persistent little window stopped dead in its tracks.

If you’re uploading a file for others to download, please do not use MegaUpload. I’ve successfully used YouSendIt before, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about DropSend. MegaUpload has a lot to learn about usability before they can be considered a useful service.

I’d like to talk for a minute to the goats out there.

You know who you are.

Yours is a long and storied history. For thousands of years goats have stood on snow-covered mountains, died as sacrifices to a variety of gods, and suffered the petting of sticky-handed children. Too often you’re the butt of jokes. Bad jokes. Stupid butting puns, for example.

Yet, despite the indignites you have endured, you could always hold your head high. You could be proud knowing that your kind has a tradition of exemplary service in militaries throughout the world.

That’s why this news item is so disheartening:

A British army regiment’s ceremonial pet goat was demoted in disgrace after it marched out of line before a host of dignitaries during a parade to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday…

How are we suppose to restore the good name of goats when things like this happen? And now poor Billy must live with his disgrace:

Since the goat’s demotion, soldiers of a lower rank are no longer expected to salute Billy as a sign of respect…

Let this be a lesson to goats everywhere: Always be on your hooves. You can’t afford to make a mistake. Let’s hope that Billy overcomes the public humiliation — bucks up, if you will — and re-earns his former rank.

Billy, be a hero. You have a tall mountain to climb, kid, but you can do it.

As I alluded to Wednesday, we are getting close to launching the next member of the Smart Goat family: Gift Goat.

Gift Goat is for wish lists — things you want, and things you want to buy other people. I know there are a ton of gift/wish list sites out there. Angela and I have tried most of them and haven’t found one with the set of features we want. So, instead of complaining about it, we’ve decided to do something about it.

We’ve had this idea for a while now, but various client work and other obligations kept getting in the way. It’s just been in the last couple of months that we’ve been able to find enough extra time to get things moving.

I had originally planned to do a closed beta/soft launch sort of thing. I have a list as long as your arm of “Phase 1” features. I’ve decided to just put it out there as soon as I have the basics done. In my opinion, launching a web site is like buying a house: If you wait till you’re ready, you’ll never do it. If it’s out there and people are using it I’ll have no choice but to keep improving it.

I’ll be talking a lot about Gift Goat over the next few weeks — at least until it has its own blog. If it sounds like something you would like to try please head over there and sign up for the announcement list.

Gift Goat

Get ready…

The LA Times has an article about Tribewanted: They are trying to recruit 5,000 people to “inhabit” a Fijian island. My favorite quote from the artice:

There’s no electricity, but solar energy will provide Internet access.

These are people that have their priorities in order.

(via Boing Boing)