How to Save RSS

I love RSS. It is the best technology for reading content on the web. For those that do not know what RSS is, check out this 1 minute video. According to this page RSS popularity started to decline in 2006. Today many people use Facebook, Twitter and newsletters to connect them with their reading content. […]

Learn, Share, Convince

I haven’t been blogging as much this year and I wasn’t sure why until recently. I wrapped up last year by stating that I was likely done posting on some topics. One was getting stronger in the gym and responding to the fitards that dismiss injury risk. I also said goodbye to financial forecasting and disposable content. I noticed […]

Learning to Hate Driving Less

When people ask me why I like Seattle so much more than California my first response is that I drive far less in Seattle. There are other reasons, but that always comes to mind first. Recently I did I calculation where I determined that my average daily mileage in Seattle was half that of San […]

Securing My Email Inbox Part 2

In my last post I used the Dashlane “Inbox Scan” tool to find any emails that I have archived that point to online accounts. Many of these emails also included the saved passwords. This means if someone had gotten access to my email account, they would then be able to run similar code and gain access […]

Securing My Email Inbox

I thought I was done posting about security, but I realized today after using a brand new service that I have a security leak. Before I go into what I found, I want to link to my other three posts related to security. Start there. My Online Password Strategy (2014) Scan, Encrypt, Store, Delete, Shred: […]

Even More Security

A few weeks ago I was getting ready to walk in a coffee shop, so I reached down to pull out my wallet. It wasn’t there. In my rush to leave the house, I grabbed my old cell phone instead of my wallet. Fortunately, I knew my wallet was back home safe. But it got […]

Make and Host Your Own Soundboard

One of the projects I work on is the audio archive site for the late Miami radio host Neil Rogers, which I discussed in the post My Tribute to Radio’s Neil Rogers. Like other radio shows, one of the things Neil did during the show was play sound drops. Last year I created a free soundboard […]

Newsletter #3 – Eliminate

Yesterday I sent out my 3rd newsletter, which I called Eliminate. For those that aren’t signed up, here is a direct link to Newsletter #3: http://eepurl.com/bdt0cL After I sent the newsletter, I noticed an extra word in the first sentence. Unlike a webpage, there is no way for me to go back in time and […]

My Definition of a Good Blog Post

This post is the conclusion of how I answered the questions raised in the post Feeling Destructive. Shortly after that post I deleted 750 blog entries from this site. Mostly they were the type of disposable content you now see on Twitter or Facebook. Nothing of lasting value. Noise. What makes a good blog post? It will vary […]

Disposable Content

Recently someone told me I should write coffee shop reviews. As with most advice prefaced with the word should, it was bad advice. I’ll explain why later, but first a little history. I’ve had a personal website since 1995 and been “blogging” since 1996. Yet if you look at the archives on this site you […]

Newsletter #2 – Chill

Yesterday I sent off my 2nd newsletter, which I called Chill. I was very reluctant to start a newsletter. My thinking is that readers already have RSS, Twitter and can even have each post sent via email. Why should I add more noise and yet another newsletter? It turned out that I really enjoyed putting together […]

My Initial Review of SiteGround Hosting (2014)

I am very hesitant to ever endorse a web hosting company. The reason is the relationship usually starts out strong and then something happens and I am forced to move to another host. SiteGround is the 4th web host I’ve had this year. After leaving Site 5, a few people have asked me how SiteGround is […]

Stop Typography Inflammation With Stylish

This is a topic that I can not drop. I am so sick of websites that use small gray fonts. My theory is that all designers are under 30 years old, have perfect vision and work on the best monitors money can buy. They design webpages primarily to make photographs look better and not to make […]

Podcasts I Listen To (2014)

Another year, another list. I love podcasts. I love them more than I have hours in the day to listen to them. And because new shows or recommendations are coming at me faster than I can keep up, I have to keep pruning my list. For those interested, here were my top 10 podcasts in […]

Brewing Coffee With the Kalita Wave

My latest coffee brewing tutorial is up on INeedCoffee. This one is for the Kalita Wave. Kalita Wave Coffee Brewing Tutorial In the next month, my plan is to replace the espresso tamping article, the french press tutorial and the introduction to tea guide

Newsletter #1 is Out

I finally got around to playing with the MailChimp application long enough to publish the 1st CriticalMAS newsletter. The theme was Summer of Moving. Not sure if I’ll have a theme for every newsletter, but it seemed right for this one. I did not plan to put off sending the first newsletter for almost 4 months. […]

We Need a Browser Extension to Block Those Newsletter Pop-ups!

I am so sick of the trend that every site have a newsletter and that they launch a pop-up window in your face 2 seconds after you visit their page. The pitch is that if you like what you see, you should sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss anything. Well, I can’t see […]

My Online Password Strategy (2014)

My last post Scan, Encrypt, Store, Delete, Shred: Going Paperless! was about physically securing sensitive data in my home. The other half of a security plan is securing your online accounts. I am not an expert on security. My strategy is to be more secure than the vast majority of people on the Internet and […]

Stay Away From Site 5 Web Hosting (2014 Review)

Yesterday I moved this blog off Site 5. My page draws were fast, the server was stable and with one exception the service was excellent. Why did I leave? Because my account exceeded their in house metric of Resource Points. When I signed up for the account, I didn’t even see a mention of Resource […]

Always on the Run

Looks like I will be forced to change web hosts again. Site 5 has turned out to be no better than the rest. In many ways they are worse. More on that in a future post. They claim I am exceeding their resource limits. This is a number they calculate, which I have no way […]

Blog Drafts I Never Finished

Yesterday I deleted about 12 blog post drafts that had been piling up. Most were from early 2014 and late 2013, although one I started back in 2011. As someone who has been blogging since March 2000* or was it July 1996, one thing I’ve learned is that when an idea comes to you, it is usually […]

Blogging and Permalinks

This is a post about my thoughts regarding permalinks and blogging. My opinions are likely different than what you’ll hear from an SEO “guru”. I’m not an SEO “guru”. I’m just a blogger that has been at this since at least July 1996. I am now seeing a majority of blogs, especially new ones, moving to a […]

The Critical MAS Newsletter

For the longest time, I have rejected the idea of having a newsletter for this site. There are too many spammy sites out there that have jumped on the “win the inbox” meme. But there are some people doing it right. They cultivate content and limit the number of emails they send. And although I […]

Masking Your Email Address

This was originally written in May 2002. It was updated in February 2007 and April 2014. Some of you are probably aware of spiders. They are these little programs that surf the internet looking for data. Some spiders assist search engines in helping you find the web page you are looking for. Those are the […]

Shutting Down the CriticalMAS Facebook Page

I have some pretty strong opinions when it comes to the web, especially when it comes to owning and controlling your own work. In recent months I’ve become increasingly frustrated with Facebook. I think it is a fine social network for individuals, but when it comes to Pages, I have some issues. #1 Facebook is […]

Interview on Biohacks

This past weekend I got to meet and spend time with Stephan from Biohacks.net. We are both fans of each others blogs, so I was honored to be interviewed for his site. Interview with CriticalMAS  

Where Seattle Pedestrians are Getting Hit

In June, the Seattle PI put out the article “Where Seattle Walkers Get Hit”. It pulled data across 3 years to show which were the most dangerous intersections. As someone who has been hit by a car in Seattle, this article was of interest to me. However, the data was in a horrible format. Instead of having […]

Why I Post Food Recipes

I love cooking and then food blogging about what I made. As honorable as sharing my kitchen adventure is to others may be, I realized that my primary motivation is selfish. Whenever I take on a new dish, it usually involves looking at several recipes online and then based off my own likes, dislikes and […]

How Web Hosting Tech Support Works

Last night this site was offline sporadically for an hour. I submitted a Support Ticket to my web host and waited. I don’t know why I even bother with the tickets, because I know how it is going to end before I even start typing. My ticket goes into a queue. By the time support […]

Spacing Out on Extra Spaces

One year ago an article I read convinced me that one of my deepest beliefs was wrong. The article was Space Invaders: Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period by Farhad Manjoo. Can I let you in on a secret? Typing two spaces after a period is totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong. […]

Comments About Comments

This site recently passed a great milestone of having over 5,000 comments. I love the comments this site gets. I’ve gotten so many great ideas. Last year I added comments to my coffee site INeedCoffee. It was a disaster. Despite having ten times the traffic this site has – very few readers left comments and […]

Writing Your Own Search Engine Using SQL Server

My coffee site INeedCoffee needed a better search engine. I had thrown some basic SQL together when the site was launched back in 1999. It did an OK job when the site didn’t have much content. Over the years, the quality of the search results got worse and worse. So I did what any coder would do, […]

Nicholas Carr – Information Overload 2011 Speech

If you haven’t read The Shallows by Nicholas Carr and have concerns about the distracting nature of data overload, I highly recommend watching this 15 minute video. The presentation is titled The dark side of the information revolution and took place in June 2011 for The Economist.

DreamHost and the Myth of Unlimited Domains

DreamHost promotes unlimited domain web hosting for $8.95/month.  It seemed like a sweet deal, so I signed up for it.  The reality is that their offer is misleading.  DreamHost offers 100 MB of memory per account.  If you exceed this number – even for a second – they unleash a procwatch to kill the process. At this […]

The Problem With WordPress and How I Would Solve It

I use the WordPress content management system to publish this blog. As much as I love WP and think it is the best blogging software available, there is a problem. Sitting on top of the blogging engine there are plugins, widgets and themes. The code for the plugins, widgets and themes could be clean, fast, secure and […]

How Developers Can Increase Their PayPal Donations

In the last year I have donated money to four developers via PayPal. Their code was of benefit to me and they had established a relationship with PayPal. Putting a few bucks in their tin was easy for me to do. Of the four developers, one did something that I deeply appreciated. He thanked me. […]

Facebook Won. I Surrender.

I tried to go 30 days without connecting to Facebook. I failed. Besides being an agent of distraction, Facebook is the best contact management system ever created. I was receiving emails for events that required a response before September. And I got some new friend requests. It would be rude to leave them hanging for […]

My First Dated Blog Post Was From July 1996

I’m digging through some very old files right now. Although I had a personal website as far back as late 1995, I think I have uncovered my first dated content. Since the term blog had yet to be invented I don’t think this technically qualifies. Or does it? However, I do have a stamped date […]

Design Inspires Content

Since I pulled the plug on Coffee Hero, I have noticed that I am writing less here on CriticalMAS. It should have had no effect, but it has. I think the reason is that both sites use the PressRow theme. When they were both humming along, all was well. Now that Coffee Hero is rusting […]

That Time I Got a Cease and Desist From Starbucks

With all the talk about the new Starbucks location opening up that will serve alcoholic drinks, I think this story is relevant. Way back in 2001, INeedCoffee published a collection of Espresso Martini recipes. One drink recipe used a Starbucks trademarked name in part of the title. Their lawyers discovered the page two years later […]

Windows 8 Wish List

I may be the only Windows user out here that was unimpressed with Windows 7. Sure it was pretty, but so far I have found it slightly less stable than VISTA. Windows 7 turned my working printer/scanner into a stand alone scanner that refuses to print. Oh well, time to discuss the future. Here is […]

Color Career Quiz

I just took the Color Career Counselor Quiz, which tries to match your color preference to a career path. My results are below. (h/t Caffination) BEST OCCUPATIONAL CATEGORY You’re a CREATOR Key Words: Nonconforming, Impulsive, Expressive, Romantic, Intuitive, Sensitive, and Emotional These original types place a high value on aesthetic qualities and have a great […]

What Google Should Have Done With Blogger FTP Accounts

Not that Google cares about what I think or even bugs I’ve found using their products, but I thought of a simple solution to their Blogger FTP problem. Google states they are abandoning support for FTP based Blogger accounts, because few people use them. The reality is their software architecture was flawed. Without getting technical, I am going […]

Who Do I Write This Blog For?

Every now and then someone will tell me what I should blog about. Someday I’ll explain why I detest the word should, but for now I’ll explain who the target audience is for the blog. Only after the target audience is defined can one understand why I rarely take suggestions for blog topics. Who do I […]

The Seattle Times Likes Me

Yesterday I was interviewed by the Seattle Times Coffee City Blog. I wrote about it in the Coffee Hero post Seattle Times Coffee Blog Finds Coffee Hero. I’ve had a mixed record dealing with reporters in the past, so I’m always a little hesitant about doing interviews. Some of you may recall how the New […]

The Email Rant

It is time for a good old fashioned rant. This is not targeted at any one person. This rant is against the increasing trend of not being able to send a proper email response. If I sound like an old man, so be it. I received my first Internet email account in 1992 and —back […]

My Issues With Meetup.com

This post is for members, organizers and employees of Meetup.com. If that doesn’t describe you, you can stop reading now. Go look at this dog licking your monitor screen. Meetup.com is a way to get away from the computer and meet people in your community. The strength of Meetup is you meet around a hobby. […]

whispering Hello to Twitter

After over 1,000 updates on Twitter, I said goodbye to the site last December. Too much noise, not enough signal. From Goodbye Twitter: Im sorry, but I dont care what you had to eat. Or that you just arrived to the office. Or that you are meeting with a vendor. And forgive me if I […]

MichaelAllenSmith – The Sharpie Redesign

Today I got the silly idea to hand draw a web page using a marker. So I took out a piece of paper, grabbed a Sharpie and scribbled out a redesign for MichaelAllenSmith.com. Then I scanned the ditto, chopped it up and added mouseover images with just a splash of color. I give you The […]

Goodbye Twitter

Last March, I read an article in the Economist about the social network site Twitter and decided I’d test it out. It isn’t that I have a love for social networks, but I do think it is important to be aware of the tools being used by your friends and neighbors. Also, ten years from […]

Google Thinks Queen Anne is in Las Vegas

I solved a mystery this week that has been puzzling me for a while. Before heading outside, I would jump onto Google and type “weather 98109″. 98109 is the zip code for the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. As the temperatures started dropping in Seattle, I noticed Google was returning higher temperatures than the other […]

Growing Up During the Pixel Depression

Gather around children, I’ve got a story to tell about the olden days. Way back in the year 1995 AD, I got my first web hosting account and starting making web pages. I was 100% self taught and still am today. One of the first lessons I learned back in the 20th century on my […]

Creating a Filtered RSS Feed Using Yahoo! Pipes

Do you read any blogs that just seem to have too many posts to read? Perhaps you are only interested in reading certain posts. With Yahoo! Pipes you can easily create a custom web page and RSS feed to handle your filtering requests. Go to Yahoo! Pipes. Get an account if you don’t have one. […]

Tampa Bay Satire 1997-1998

Before CriticalMAS existed I had a personal web site hosted with a local ISP in the Tampa Bay area. The site had a very popular local radio guide called What’s the Frequency Tampa?. It listed radio programming schedules much like television schedules are displayed. I built it by writing a program with Visual Basic 3.0 […]

I Hate BlogSpot Too

It amazes me why a talented blogger would use the BlogSpot service provided by Google’s Blogger. A blog is the intellectual property of the writer and yet brilliant writers and photographers will use their time and effort to direct traffic to the Blogspot server instead of getting their own domain and building their own asset. […]

Death to Blogger

I’ve been with Blogger since April 2000 and I’ve finally had enough. It is clear that Google has no intention of repairing the code that runs the FTP accounts. It is slow and buggy. They have no intention of making their code XHTML compliant or conforming to MicroFormat standards. All they care about are the […]

Return HTML Page Source From Web URL in C#

Below is a snippet of code showing how to retrieve the page source of a web page. This code will return the HTML source from the home page on this site. It will then load that HTML into the string myPageSource. using System.Net; using System.Xml; using System.IO; string url = “http://yahoo.com”; HttpWebRequest myWebRequest = (HttpWebRequest)HttpWebRequest.Create(url); myWebRequest.Method […]

Single Line If Statement in C#

Here is a standard if … then statement in C# followed by a single line example. Using a single line if statement will reduce the number of lines of code. if (dayOfTheWeek == “Tuesday”) { lunchLocation = “Fuddruckers”; } else { lunchLocation = “Food Court”; } And the same example as a single line if … then statement. lunchLocation = (dayOfTheWeek […]

Selling RanchoSanPasqual.org

Almost a month ago I announced that I would be selling RanchoSanPasqual.org. I created the RSP site to help sell my house. My house sold. Now it’s time to reduce my commitment to this site. I have other projects that are more important. The problem I discovered is that nobody wants to buy it. The […]

Mixing Photos With Classical Artwork

Today I was having some fun in Photoshop. Take the colors from a classical painting and apply them to a photograph. Below is an autumn photograph from New England, a Monet painting and the resulting mashup.    Using Photoshop CS it is a very easy process. Load the painting and your photograph. Put your photo […]

The Greatest Blog Post Ever Written

If you have a blog and have ever been contacted by a reporter from the real media, head over to Calculated Risk and read Media Inquiries Policy. It’s so brilliant, I have it bookmarked and will just email the link to reporters and tell them to read it. My own story. Way back in 2000 […]

J’accuse!

In an effort to thwart SPAM, many DNS Blacklists have surfaced. They supposedly track which servers are sending SPAM. Email programs or mail servers then check these lists before delivering email to the user. When their right, they are great. When then wrong, it sucks. After an email address is wrongly accused of SPAM, it’s […]