Solid state drives: holy crap!!!

November 6th, 2009

I’ve always been an advocate of investing in faster hard drives. Typically, when someone is looking for a new laptop and starts talking about how they want a faster processor or more RAM or whatever, I’m the first person to say that they should go for the 7200 hard drive upgrades if available because few things will result in as noticeable an increase in speed as upgrading the system’s biggest bottleneck. All my HD’s on my home computer are 10k and I’d never go back. But I never had a chance to look at a system with a solid state drive until now.

And good God, the difference is profound! Everything the system does, it does noticeably faster. Of course it boots much faster, installs applications and updates faster, and shuts down faster. But even innocuous, not terribly demanding things like opening the control panel or launching Internet Explorer… they feel almost instantaneous.

If you’re looking for a new laptop anytime soon and you take speed very seriously, save on the processor and get a SSD drive. You won’t regret it.

Links with www and without

October 23rd, 2008

On Feb. 27, 2004 I was just beginning to understand that search engines were dumb enough to consider to identical sites to be different sites if they had different urls:

Here’s a good explanation of the problems that can arise from having links to “” and “”. 

The problem arises because search engines think they’re looking at different URLs and therefore different sites. Most webmasters can use a .htaccess file to solve the problem. It’s all here.

The answer is a bit of htaccess:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R=301,L]

The new version of that old article is here: Canonicalization Errors

Now, of course, duplicate content is a huge issue. Webmasters with content have trouble protecting it from those who want to steal it. Search engines don’t know which sites to point to because they don’t know who the content really belongs to.

The old issues are, as far as I know, still problematic. I haven’t heard that having links to and will combine their link popularity – if they don’t then you need all the links pointing to just one site in order not to dilute link juice. Since you don’t control the links on other people’s sites, the htaccess code is the way to go.

DMOZ directory not being updated

September 11th, 2008

Feb. 16th 2004 was a very big day – my first dmoz complaint:

When I first submitted ESL to DMOZ, I submitted it as a student resource. I’ve added over 250 pages since then including a good number of teacher resources. For the past few months I’ve been submitting changes to DMOZ; I want to be in the “English as a second language” category rather than the “student resources” sub category.

The main reason I care is that this might boost my link popularity; the sub category pages have lower page ranks. The other thing is that I want my sight to be listed appropriately. It’s no longer strictly a student resource. However, DMOZ has been ignoring me for a while now.

Anyway, get your category right the first time when you submit to DMOZ (and I suppose this holds true for the Yahoo! directory as well) because you may never get a second chance.

What can I say about the last 4.5 years? Dmoz still sucks horribly. Submit your sites anyway, but don’t expect much.

I even offered to help edit the ESL section since obviously the editors there are falling behind. They turned down my application because it was too big a category for a new editor. I may not know much, but I do know that you are f*cking up if you ask people to volunteer and then you tell the volunteers you are not accepting applications for the position. I have no problem if they want you to apply to a smaller category first as long as they tell you. Idiots.

The problem with doing business on the web

September 9th, 2008

The problem with doing business on the web is that any idiot can make a website. And then these idiots interact with other webmasters.

If you look at my directory, you can see fairly easily that it is a paid inclusion directory. It says so on the homepage. It says so in the add site info. It says so on the link submission page.

So anyway, business as usual, I send out a PayPal money request to sales (at) because they submitted to my directory. My typical money request message says something like ‘thanks for the submission; it was approved and will be added to the directory after payment.’ I sometimes add a not about how approval is actually somewhat rare since I reject most submissions.

I get a response today: “We don’t know you, nor does or company owe you any money. Don’t email us again or we’ll have our attorney’s contact you.”

I’m not in the mood for idiocy so I reply:

Actually, you submitted your website to I have this email as well as the IP you submitted from on file. When you submitted your site you agreed to our terms of service.

Now if you don’t want to be listed in, that’s fine. If you threaten me with your lawyers one more time I will be contacting your web host and domain registrar to report you for spamming my directory.

So here’s a question: do you want to pay for a listing in Here’s another question: do you want me to reject your submission because you are unwilling to pay? Here’s my last question: do you want to continue being a jackass by making stupid threats?

For a company that claims to be a bunch of advertising pros, they sure seem lacking in both professionalism and smarts (not that my response is a lesson in professionalism). I’ll let you know if I hear from his lawyers :)

Also, I resisted the temptation to point out this guy’s grammar error. Can anyone find an error in his email?

Google search engine rankings for

August 29th, 2008

Naturally, I want people to see my website. It’s certainly one of the better resources for English teachers and students, but being good doesn’t get you search engine rankings. Obviously Googlebot can’t tell the difference between a well designed online ESL class or a bad one. Heck, most ESL teachers are as lost as Googlebot… Now I’ve mostly ignored my site’s rankings for the past 2 years. Yet, the SERPs seem not to have changed:

#22 for ESL
#11 for English as a second language
#1 for free ESL
#2 for free English as a second language

Downtime, back in business

August 20th, 2008

Not really business but I am doing some volunteer SEO work so should have something interesting to share on occasion.

If you noticed the downtime, my apologies. V7ninc is shutting down and the programmar I hired to transfer my sites to Lunarpages screwed this one up royally. Turns out Lunarpages and Movable Type (my previous blogging platform) don’t get along real well so we switched to WordPress.

I have a fresh install ov Movable Type on my account – it’s the addon domain. The files created by movable type should have 666 permissions but these are giving the site a 500 error. If I change the permissions to 644 than the 500 error goes away.

Is it impossible to host a Movable Type blog on lunarpages or is there a way we can make these 666 files display correctly?

And the answer:

At Lunarpages, our servers are setup to use suPHP to parse php pages as CGI instead of an Apache module. If you are running a PHP-based script on your site and are receiving a 500 and/or 404 errors on your pages, it is likely you have one or more of the following occurring: 1. The permissions on some of the folders or files are 777 or 666. If this is the case, change them to either 755 or 644

Somewhere in the screwup my old database disappeared so I’ll be using the waybackmachine to try to add the old posts back – this blog is 4 years old – hopefully it will look that way again!

Yahoo and Google results

February 6th, 2004

Well this entry from Feb. 6, 2004 wasn’t very informative, but considering my more recent rankings I think it does show that I’ve made progress over the years. I’d like to say That I’ve learned a lot, but SEO is more about resources than brains. A little bit of mind power helps I guess, but not as much as deep pockets…

So ESL is #51 on Yahoo and #66 on Google for ESL. That’s a bigger discrepancy than I would have expected. Clearly Google is the more important search engine however; In the 5 dyas of February so far, I have over 1,000 hits from Google and around 400 (a bit more) from Yahoo!.

Click your way to higher SERPs?

February 1st, 2004

Here’s one I wrote Feb. 1, 2004:

In my previous entry and comment I mentioned that I seemed to have settled at 80, but then “ESL go” went to 78 for the search term ESL on Google. Now, I’ve gone to 69. Now maybe the google dance hadn’t really finished and it’s still winding down, or maybe the time visitors spend on a site is really important in Google’s formula for determining rankings.

I read somewhere that if you click on a web site after doing a search, the engine monitors to see if you come back to the search results. If you do, then the site you clicked on didn’t have the information you needed; it was a bad search result. If you don’t come back, then you must have found what you were looking for; it’s a good search result. I wonder if I moved up 12 spaces by clicking on my domain (I only did it 3 or 4 times) and not going back to the listings? Probably not; seems too good to be true. But I think clicking and not going back to the listings can certainly help.

4+ years later and I don’t think I’ve learned much about this since then. I’m guessing that since it’s fairly easy to manipulate search engines will either not consider this or give it very little weight. I know it has been many years since I did a search, clicked on my site, and then waited for an update…

If you were evil and had way too much time, you could click on sites belonging to people you don’t like and then hit the back button to return to the search results… Not that you’d be having a huge impact…

Key words in the title

January 30th, 2004

My last January 2004 post:

Previosly, the keyword “ESL” was mentioned once in my ESL site’s title and heading. I recently changed the title so that it’s now mentioned 3 times: ESL go – free English as a second language: learning ESL + teaching ESL.

What kind of affect has this had? Not as significant an effect as I would have hoped. I seem to have moved up about 15 spots, from the mid-nineties to #80. Google has also registerd about 40 new links to my site (though my page rank is still 6) so link popularity may have also fueled the increase.

It’s not too different 4+ years later: “ESL – English as a second language learning & teaching ESL”

I haven’t looked at the title in years so it’s probably time to reevaluate. The site is #5 for ‘teaching ESL’ and I bet that if I remove that from the title I will lose a few spots. I like the learning, because I need people to know that the site is for both teachers and students when they see it listed in the serps. I may not change the title at all.

Anyway, SEO tip for choosing a title. Make it keywords or phrases you want to and can rank for. Also make sure it gives people a reason to click on your site when they do find it in the SERPs.

Time and link popularity

January 28th, 2004

Originally from January 28, 2004

My reciprocal links page for ESL go has 4 links (all from other pages). and a page rank of 5. The links: – page rank 6 (5 external, many internal links) – page rank 5 (no external, many internal links) – page rank 5 (about 50 external and a few internal links) – page rank 5 (about 50 external and a few internal links)

It used to have a page rank of 4 with the same exact links (none of which have changed rank or (substantially) the number of outbound links (which increased a little bit). It seems like the page rank increased over time.

My ESL blog has a rank of 4 with these 5 links: – page rank 6 – page rank 5 – just itself LinksESLBilingualMulticultural.html – page rank 4 (5 external links) – at one point this was the only page google recognized linking to my site. ESL blog had a rank of 1 at that time. LinksESLMulticulturalBilingual.html – page rank 4 (6 external links)

I would have guessed that ESL blog would have a better rank (due to the external links). I wonder if (supposing the links stayed exactly the same), the page rank would increase after a month or so.

I was trying to figure out why my reciprocal links page on had higher PR than my site. I thought that in time, if the links stayed the same, PR on the esl-blog would meet or exceed the reciprocal links page. While we do know that old links are good, I don’t think that line of thoguht ever led anywhere.

I’ve since given up on Google PageRank and reciprocal link pages.