July 03, 2007
That June Experiment Thing
So, we now have the results from our little experiment at chasing blog traffic.
Yes, by chasing Google like a dog chasing a car with clean hub caps it is indeed possible to raise the traffic coming to a blog.
Numbers went from the 60k-80k visits and 100 k odd page views per month to 180 k and 230 k respectively.
However, not noticeably worth it on any financial level. Google Adsense went up a bit, BlogAds went down, MessageSpace stayed the same.
Unless there's some higher level at which it does all make sense, don't think I would recommend chasing traffic through the search engines in this manner.
June 30, 2007
Unlock Your iPhone
The iPhone has only been on sale for a few hours and already there are people scouring the internet looking for a way to unlock an iPhone.
There are rumours that in India some grey market dealers claim to be able to unlock an iPhone for about $25. That does leave you with the problem of precisely how to get your iPhone to and from India, of course.
Further, even if you do get it unlocked, there's no guarantee that it'll actually work, or at least that the more advanced features will, anywhere except on AT&T's network.
As to activate the iPhone you've got to use iTunes, in fact, I can't see how unlocking it will provide any benefit at all.
Those who know better are entirely at liberty to correct me here, of course: but I think you're stuck with AT&T as your service provider.
Some press reaction to the iPhone:
And a video on the possible financial effects upon Apple:
June 25, 2007
Myisha Lynne Ferrell, Bobby Cutts and Jessie Davis
This story of Myisha Lynne Ferrell, Bobby Cutts and the murdered pregnant woman Jessie Davis does seem to be a little weird.
The basic background: Jessie Davis was Bobby Cutts girlfriend. He was married but was either divorced or separated. He had a two year old son with Davis. He also has another child by another woman, and, after they split up he tried to enter her house while she was there with yet another: leading to three years probation.
With me so far? Then, Jessie Davis is found murdered, with her 9 month old fetus (due July 3) dead inside her. Bobby gets arrested: and so does his high school classmate, Myisha Lynne Ferrell, for obstruction of justice.
Just another everyday story of America's underbelly perhaps? About the only thing that does make it unusual is Davis' pregnancy: and thus the double murder charge that Cutts is facing.
The AP report:
A police officer is accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend in her home, where furniture was found overturned and bleach spilled on the floor, a day after her mother last heard from her, a sheriff's complaint said.
Jessie Davis' body was found Saturday in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, still carrying her dead, nearly full-term fetus, a girl she planned to name Chloe.
Davis' boyfriend, Bobby Cutts Jr., the father of her 2-year-old son, was charged with two counts of murder and due in court Monday. Davis' relatives have said they believed Cutts also was the father of her fetus.
Ohio law allows a murder charge against someone accused of killing a fetus that would be able to live outside the womb.
A sheriff department sergeant's affidavit filed Sunday describes the allegations against him. It says he is accused of killing Davis and the fetus June 14 at Davis' home in nearby Lake Township. The document does not say how they were killed.
Davis' mother last spoke to her by phone a day before.
Davis, 26, of Lake Township near Canton, was reported missing after her mother found her grandson home alone, with bedroom furniture toppled and bleach spilled on the floor. The boy, Blake, gave investigators some of their first clues, saying: ``Mommy was crying. Mommy broke the table. Mommy's in rug.''
Messages left Monday for Davis' family and Cutts' attorney were not returned.
One of Cutts' former high school classmates, Myisha Ferrell, was jailed for allegedly hindering the investigation and also due in court Monday. She is accused of giving false statements to investigators, according to an inmate biography form.
One tiny moment of amusement in a Google News headline (quickly changed on the actual piece, presumably after a sub read it for the second time):
Yes, autopsies do tend to confirm death. Something to do with ripping the heart, lungs and brains out, no doubt.
The Katie Holmes Experiment
So, here's a fairly silly way to spend an hour or two.
I've noticed that over on Yahoo Buzz, Katie Holmes is currently responsible for some 0.1% of all searches on Yahoo. Hmm. I also seem to recall (old figure) that Google gets 3 billion search requests a month.
Yes, now, I am aware that who searches for what on the different engines are, well, different. But just pretending for a moment, making a guess, let's say that they're the same. And that the Google number is the number of all searches.
So that would mean that there are 100,000 people a day searching for Katie Holmes. That's a fair old bundle of traffic really.
So, would throwing together an almost random bundle of stories about Katie Holmes' wedding to Tom Cruise, add a few photos and so on, will that get some of that traffic?
In fact, given that according to the link: operator on Google, the number 1 result has only 38 links to it, is it possible to get a lot of that traffic?
I'll let you know in due course.
June 22, 2007
Windy Hager and Brenton Wuchae
Windy Hager and an interesting example of how they do things differently over there: the 16 year old Hager has just got married to her 40 year old cross-country coach, Brenton Wuchae.
An interesting way of dealing with an "inappropriate relationship" between a teacher and a pupil, don't you think?
Monday, Brent Wuchae, a 40-year-old cross-country coach and science teacher, married 16-year-old South Brunswick student Windy Hager shortly before, or after, formally resigning from the school district.
A marriage license on record at the Brunswick County Register of Deeds office notes the time of license approval as 12:02 p.m. Superintendent Dr. Katie McGee said Wuchae hand-delivered his resignation to the district’s central office “around noon.”
Wuchae had been on paid administrative leave since May 3 following an undisclosed incident on campus.
As Windy Hager is 16, her parents, Dennis and Betty Hager had to give their consent. Not, particularly, willingly it seems:
Since October, Betty and her husband, Dennis, have fought school leaders on what the couple called an unwillingness to take action against Wuchae.
The Hagers claimed then, and have maintained, that Wuchae, a nearby neighbor, had developed an inappropriate friendship with their daughter.
They contend the school system failed them when they asked administrators to intervene and help keep Wuchea away from their teenager.
The Hagers signed a consent form Monday to allow Windy to marry Wuchae. Under North Carolina law, a person under the age of 18 must have parents’ written permission to wed.
Betty said Tuesday that Windy’s intention to marry Wuchae came as a shock, but she and Dennis agreed to sign a consent form because they didn’t know what else to do.
“We have tried everything. We have contacted every agency – the Oak Island police department, the sheriff’s department, the school system. We couldn’t get a temporary restraining order against him. The school board wasn’t going to help or wasn’t going to tell us anything,” Betty said. “This man was not going to stay away from our child and she wasn’t going to stay away from him.”
One interesting side effect of the marriage is that, if there had indeed been anything improper going on (like statutory rape for example), as his now wife Windy Hager cannot be forced to testify against Brenton Wuchae.
Family "friends" seem to think that it was all rather creepy:
Longtime friends of the Hager family Kim and
Scott Sutton of Catawba County said Windy's association with Wuchae
began shortly after Wuchae moved to South Brunswick High School in 2004
and began coaching the girls cross country team. Wendy was 14 at the
time and had just recently moved with her family from Catawba County
and attended South Brunswick Middle School.
Kim said that when she and her husband came from Catawba County to visit the Hagers on several occasions they were often disturbed by how Windy and Wuchae behaved around each other.
During visits with the Hagers, Kim said she saw Windy and Wuchae jogging together alone on the weekends and flirting on the beach in a manner that made Kim feel repulsed and skeptical about behavior she described as inappropriate.
"She didn't have a lot of friends and that's what he took advantage of," Kim said of how Wuchae interacted with Windy.
There is a certain amusement to be had from this report from last November:
Windy Hager understands the strength to finish the race comes from within, yet she attributes much of her motivation to South Brunswick cross country coach Brent Wuchae.
“He’s very encouraging. He’s always telling us how proud he is,” the South Brunswick sophomore said. “I’m proud of where I finished but he seems to be even more proud of me. He’s always been encouraging.
That’s what makes him a great coach. He’s always motivated us; he’s always out there helping us.”
And for those interested, here's a photograph of Windy
Hager Wuchae. Slightly unfortunate that this is the only one I could find as the photographer really doesn't seem to have done her any favours with that light.
Still, here's to the happy couple, eh? Many happy returns and all that.
June 20, 2007
Thomas Ravenel, the State Treasurer of South Carolina, has been indicted on federal drug charges:
South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel, a former real estate developer and rising political star, was indicted Tuesday on federal cocaine charges.
The millionaire is accused of buying less than 500 grams of cocaine to share with other people in late 2005, U.S. Attorney Reggie Lloyd said. Mr. Ravenel, 44, is charged with distribution of cocaine, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.
Mr. Ravenel is also the state chairman for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign.
Mr. Giuliani's campaign sent out a prepared statement saying Mr. Ravenel had stepped down. Giuliani spokesman Elliott Bundy said he did not know when Mr. Ravenel stepped aside.
The investigation into Mr. Ravenel arose from a drug case last year in Charleston, Lloyd said. State Law Enforcement Division Chief Robert Stewart said his agents were aware of the allegations before Mr. Ravenel was elected in November. The case was turned over to the FBI on April 1 "when the investigation reached a certain level," Mr. Stewart said.
South Carolina agents turned the investigation over to the FBI because Mr. Ravenel is in charge of handling state financial decisions, Mr. Stewart said.
Half a kilo? But, but, that's enough to keep the entire Shadow Cabinet going for, well, weeks! Heavy duty stuff, eh?
I doubt very much there'll be any blow back on the Giuliani campaign although it does make one wonder a little about the State Republican machine. Surely people knew not just that this case was in the works but also that he was distributing cocaine? It's a long time since I was involved in such stuff but aren't we talking about 4,000 or so hits here (1/8 th of a gramme being the usual?)...if some wannabe politician is handing out that much nose candy wouldn't you expect, or at least hope that, those checking candidates running for a political party would pick that up?
Actually, re Giuliani, something for those who look to prediction markets.
As Ravenel was very close to the Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, this scandal could influence the betting odds on Giuliani's campaign. The British online betting website Bet365 has been offering odds on Rudy Giuliani to win the 2008 Presidential Elections at 4/1, making him the favorite among the Republican candidates to win. Although there is no word yet from the oddsmaker, it is most likely that the Ravenel cocaine scandal would change the odds negatively for Giuliani.
Anyone who is a member there want to check and see if the odds have moved?
Something from within the State about Ravenel's background:
Welcome to the machine. Thomas Ravenel, state treasurer and big-time connected Republican in South Carolina, has been indicted for cocaine trafficking.
Nevermind that Ravenel has more money than God, and never had to sell drugs. His family has been in high cotton for the past 200 years. But he did it, and SLED (State Law Enforcement Division) has been tailing his ass since 2005, gathering enough information to put him in federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison.
What does this mean? I would hope it means that the leadership of the South Carolina GOP is taken to task for letting this shit slide. For those in the inner circle of the powerful, you know what guys are doing. To think that top people in the state party didn’t know what was happening is a joke. But, he was a Ravenel. You have to let it go, right? Nevermind that other people are going to jail for the same thing, but he’s a wealthy, white, male, politically powerful Republican.
I can't think what he could possibly be referring to, politicians not being subject to the same rules as the rest of us. Never happen here, would it?
Here's how the newspapers reported it:
And a photo:
On Tuesday 26th his father reported that Thomas Ravenel is a cocaine addict:
The father of indicted South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel says his son has a drug problem and is in "pretty bad shape."
June 19, 2007
Elin Woods, Tiger and Baby Make Three
Elin Woods (Elin Nordegren before her marriage to Tiger Woods) gave birth on Monday to a baby girl, Sam Alexis Woods.
The day after Father's Day and the day after he came second in the US Open:
One day after he finished second in the U.S. Open on Father's Day, Tiger Woods became a father himself for the first time.
His wife, known as Elin Nordegren before they married, gave birth early Monday morning at Orlando's Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies to the couple's first child, a daughter named Sam Alexis Woods.
Still, Jack Niklaus thinks that one of his records is safe:
Jack Nicklaus figures at least one of his major championship records is safe.
Tiger Woods left Oakmont having squandered another chance to win a major while playing in the last group, unable to make but one birdie in the final round of the U.S. Open despite having a short iron for his approach to the green on a half-dozen occasions.
The next opportunity - maybe - will be at Carnoustie for the British Open, where he is the two-time defending champion. If he does show up, it will be his first major as a father. His wife, Elin, gave birth Monday to a daughter, Sam Alexis Woods.
"Both Elin and Sam are doing well and resting peacefully," Woods wrote on his Web site - www.tigerwoods.com.
Nicklaus had his first child when he was an amateur, so he won all 18 majors with children.
"I think that (record) is probably in pretty good shape," Nicklaus said earlier this year.
I'm not wholly convinced actually. Tiger Woods is 31. A reasonable retirement age for a golfer is mid to late 40s (Colin Montgomerie is a couple of months younger than I am which is disturbing) which gives Woods another 15 years or so, or 60 Majors to play. Anyone really want to bet that at his strike rate he won't get 18 as a father?
Anyway, Sam Alexis Woods, a Swedish/Afro-American/Native American/Chinese/Thai and Dutch child, or as we say, American, welcome.
June 18, 2007
Kristy Swanson and Lloyd Eisler
Kristy Swanson and Lloyd Eisler, what a wonderful example of how the other half live, eh?
To set the scene. Swanson and Eisler met when they were both on a show called "Skating with Celebrities". Eisler was married but separated, his wife four months pregnant with their second child.
It might only feature minor celebrities rather than world class Olympic athletes, however Fox's Skating With Celebrities reality series has ended up with a skating scandal of its own, with the then-pregnant wife of Lloyd Eisler, the professional skating partner of Skating finalist Kristy Swanson, blaming an affair between the skating pair for breaking up her marriage.
The pre-taped Fox reality show, which ironically began with show judge Dorothy Hamell criticizing the pair for not "having more of a connection" after a Skating With Celebrities premiere episode performance that left Kristy and Lloyd in last place, was filmed last year.
"I was shocked, upset and betrayed," Marcie Eisler, Lloyd's 31-year-old wife, told Star magazine about her husband's relationship with the 36-year-old former Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie star. "I should have trusted my instincts."
Isn't this just the most delightful little detail?
But according to the Star, Marcie began to suspect that the her husband was having an affair with Kristy when she flew out to Los Angeles to visit him while the show was taping. Kristy reportedly made sure that Lloyd's wife knew the truth by late October, when she forwarded Marcie a "steamy e-mail" that Lloyd had sent Kristy. "It basically talked about how much he loved her," a source told Star.
Let us move the story on a few months:
Lloyd Eisler and his amazing sperm strike again. Nine months after the
former Olympic figure skater's ex-wife gave birth to the former
couple's second child, Eisler and his former Skating With Celebrities
According to the couple -- who had previously denied rumors that they were expecting -- Swanson is due around Valentine's Day. "We wanted to wait until I completed the first trimester to officially announce our pregnancy," Swanson told partner and current girlfriend Kristy Swanson have announced that they are expecting their first child. People in a statement released by Cheryl Kagan, the couple's publicist. "Lloyd and I are thrilled and wanted to share the wonderful news."
The first will be Swanson's first and Eisler's third. In addition to his 8-month-old son Seth, Eisler also has a 2-year-old son, Ethan, from his three-year marriage to Marcie O'Brien.
I guess it's one way for Eisler to win the Darwinian race. So, that last baby should have appeared in February this year. The reason for the headlines today is that Kristy Swanson was arrested over the wekend for attacking the ex-wife, Marcia O'Brien.
"Skating with Celebrities" star Kristy Swanson was arrested last night for allegedly assaulting the ex-wife of her current boyfriend and "Skating" partner Lloyd Eisler. People magazine reports that Swanson claims she was attacked by Eisler's ex Marcia O'Brien, though no charges have been filed against O'Brien.
Note, no charges have been filed against O'Brien...well, that's not quite true, they have, but by Swanson:
Kristy Swanson pressed assault charges Sunday against the ex-wife of her companion and former "Skating With Celebrities" partner, Lloyd Eisler, the actress' representative said.
Police took pictures of
bruises on her back and other parts of her body to document injuries
Swanson claimed she got during a scuffle with Eisler's ex-wife, Marcia
O'Brien, on Friday in Canada, said Swanson spokesman Michael Sands.
Anyway, what fun eh? The story with everything. Blondes, babes, film stars, violence, infidelity and betrayal and even a catfight.
You just knew that with this many cliches fighting for room in a story that the Canadian in it was going to be an ice skater, didn't you?
Phoenix Feeley (Jill Coccaro)
Phoenix Feeley (who has previously been known as Jill Coccaro) has just accepted a $29,000 payment from the City authorities in New York. Feeley was arrested two years ago during a topless stroll in the park and it's been held that her civil rights were violated:
A New York artist arrested by police when she went on a topless stroll
two years ago has accepted a $29,000 settlement from the
city, her lawyer says.
Jill Coccaro, 27, was charged briefly with indecent exposure.
There's a very good piece here explaining one of the later instances.
Here is an image of the event (no, this is a family blog).
The reason her rights were violated? If men are allowed to appear in public unclothed from the waist up then so are women.
To be honest, I'm really not sure whether that is an example of a welcome equality between the sexes or an absurd overlooking of the differences between them.
So, enough of Feeley/Coccaro. This gives me a chance to retell the story of one of my favourite legal defences of all time. One of those stories that is simply far too good to ever want to check whether it's true or not.
Somewhere up there in the blue states in the top right hand corner of the map two young women decided to go jogging nude (well, with shoes on I think). Arrested, yes, charged with indecent exposure.
Their defence was that indecent exposure, the way the statute was written, was defined as the exposure of genitalia. As female gentalia are internal and not exposed in the act of jogging, despite their nudity they were not guilty of indecent exposure. Case dismissed on all counts.
No, that is much too good a story to actually check out, isn't it?
June 17, 2007
So, Lewis Hamilton wins the American Grand Prix (or are we supposed to call it the Indianapolis Grand Prix?) making it an interesting season for the young Englishman.
Hamilton might well have won the Monaco Grand Prix if it wasn't for team tactics. He did win hte Canadian.
Some statistics about Lewis Hamilton for you. He's the first rookie to finish in the top three (so three podium places) in his first three races. Hamilton is also the first rookie to finish in hte top three in his first six races (well, obviously, Lewis couldn't have done that if he hadn't done the first three, but you know what I mean).
His teamate is Fernando Alonso, the defending F1 Champion.....meaning that Lewis Hamilton is actually driving the number two car and would, in more normal circumstances, be expected to defer to his more senior colleague. This, err, does not seem to be happening.
He's the youngest driver ever to lead the World Championship.
So, will Hamilton win the Championship in his first season? Depending upon the odds it might be worth having a small flutter on it, judging by the performance so far.
Now all we need is someone as good as this at tennis and we might actually have a chance of a Brit winning Wimbledon for the first time since 1977.