Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Subscribe to blog posts by John Hunter

I have added an RSS feed to the blog posts I add to I add items there for some, but not all of my posts, from my various blogs.

There is a list of blogs I author on my Curious Cat blog site. I write on several topics including

  • Management and Leadership
  • Money, Investing, Lifestyle and Personal Finance
  • Travel
  • Technology, Computer Programming, Engineering and Science
  • Society

I am currently in the process of adding items for the past few years (as I stopped updating this part of the website for awhile).

I believe RSS feed readers are one of the most valuable tools for those learning online. I wrote about what RSS feed readers are and how to use them previously.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Worst Aspect of TPP That Gets Nearly No Attention

Sadly among the worst aspects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership TPP (and also the TTIP) is the promotion of the copyright cartel's agenda along with very bad patent policy. Almost no one with political power is even talking about these huge problems with it.

I support free trade. I don't support the politically motivated trade agreements that impose the USA political donors' wishes on citizens of the USA and other countries.

The point that I most agree with, that those with power who are opposing the TPP mention, is the ludicrous abdication of national rights expressed in the trade deals (allowing companies to sue countries, say for enforcing their reasonable patent rules that the company doesn't like and has bought differing rules from the USA political parties).

It is true that we have to work together, and in doing so we need to reach agreements between countries that require making compromises. The TPP just has many horrible provisions paid for by USA political donors that are being imposed on other countries (and those countries are being paid to give the USA donors the favors via promises of USA military protection, access to USA markets etc.). It is a bad deal for nearly everyone. But the favors create a few huge winners that can pay to grease the wheels to buy passage in the USA (and elsewhere).

We need free trade that removes barriers to trade not that gives payoffs to USA political donors. Along with removing barriers a few conditions are justified but they should be kept as small as possible (things like no child labor, no slave labor, environmental requirements, safety requirements on exported material, etc.).

Related: Money Is Corrupting Our Political Process - Why Copyright Extension is a Very Bad Idea - We Need to be More Capitalist and Less Cronyist - I Can Spy on You, But You Can't Spy on Me

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Active Photos

I don't know how I did this but I am looking through some photos I took a few weeks ago and I have a video that is a string of photos with a few seconds of video on each side. I believe some version of Apple iPhones have added this active photo mode with a second of video or something. I managed to do it with my Canon PowerShot SX60 HS Digital Camera.

I have occasionally managed to turn on the video without noticing so I get a bit of video instead of a photo. But this is weird it is a video that jumps from place to place. It is really weird. I have no idea how I would make it do this if I tried. If it was one long video I could understand but it isn't it is like it started and stopped when I tried to focus for a photo and then a bit after the photo was taken.

In addition to that video I have the individual photos that I took while the video was recording.

See Curious Cat photos.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Netflix Throws Users Under the Bus

First Netflix was an awesome streaming service that just worked and was focused on providing users a great experience.

Even at the beginning (or at least my beginning) they through Ubuntu users under the bus and just said we won't serve you. So I didn't use it. Later I got a Mac and then I decided to give it a try and it was wonderful, it just worked (well after requiring you install Microsoft Silverlight).

But most large companies just expect users to fit themselves into whatever constraints the big companies wish to impose (see Comcast, United Airlines, Verizon etc.). So compared to these really bad companies using Netflix was wonderful.

There are many issues with bad connections etc. and Netflix while not perfect (they would often only buffer a short amount and fail when the bad connection failed or got to slow) but they were much better than others at just working.

The last 6 months though it is more and more like the typical experience of some huge company that just expects you to cope with whatever they force you to do.

They continually won't work when I forget I have to sign off my vpn to use them. They blame others for this bad service (blaming others for treating customer badly is of course what all the companies people originally sought to escape the Time Warners, AT&T, etc. of the world by using Netflix. Oh well so one more time Netflix is selling us out.

Then then continually degraded the usability of the website. They seem intent on reducing the usability so that they can only bother to design as if we all were limited to smart phones. So if you have a computer and want to have more information available on your screen too bad, we are going to force you to pretend you are limited to a smart phone interface.

I found it frustrating. Netflix had gone from one of the few companies I really enjoyed dealing with (Trader Joes's is one on that short list) to the typical company that I could tolerate. Instead of the joy of it just working it became a relief when it just worked and if I was surprised it wasn't because of something good but yet another annoyance as they moved from a company that was a joy to yet another Comcast of the world.

And the latest disgrace from Netflix they won't play the show at all. They break the playback with one of their typical "we are treating you now just like Microsoft treated people in 1995" you are doing something we decided to not allow you to do. We now have the market power where we can just have you jump through whatever hoops we want and you can't do anything about it.

The latest message "Please ensure your monitor is HDCP compliant and is not mirrored using Airplay."

Why am I being bothered with this junk. Just like dealing with Microsoft decades ago when they would just have you jump through hoops try and figure out what they would let you do in order to use what you paid for. Netflix now justing just not "just work" it is constantly a struggle for how they are going to break things now.

I have never had a company I found to be really good fall so fast and completely lose any concern for their customers experience.

The shows they pay others for (including most of those they brand as Netflix but many of which they don't even own - they just are licensing certain rights to them) are decent. A few are really good. And Netflix is cheap for what you get. But I am very disappointed I now have to feel like I do using the typical disaster customer service companies (Comcast, any USA airline, Verizon, etc.). Every time it isn't a disaster I feel relieved (but having anxiety every time I use a service that the company is going to annoy me is not what I want). My expectations are just please don't torture me or completely block my ability to use what I pay for since you do that so often all I can hope for is the absence of lousy treatment. Actually getting good treatment is a distant illusion.

It is so sad. As I say the content isn't bad if you can fight through the lousy roadblocks they have put in the way of getting to it in the last few years. And the price is cheap. I would gladly pay double the price to just go back to the "it just works" Netflix instead of the current we are going to make it hard for you to do what you want Netflix we have now. And while I wouldn't be as happy I would pay 3 or even 4 times to get that back.

But this lousy treatment is moving me closer and closer to just dropping them. Something I never thought would be possible 2 or 3 years ago.

I actually tried to get a preview of Amazon Video (or whatever they call their thing) but couldn't find how to do it. I tried to use their help system but it failed (I know from experience they have a poorly coded website that has fragile code and breaks in the help area and that happened again so I gave up. I might try HBO. I really am amazed Netflix has managed to make using their service so annoying I don't want to put up with it.

I hardly see any commercials anymore (only when watching sports) but there is one where one company makes fun of the takeover by some horrible cable company making all sorts of idiotic steps. I know that didn't happen to Netflix but as a customer that is exactly what it feels like. Some bozos took over and just decided to drop any care about the customer experience.

It is annoying that so many companies have this attitude but often I can just avoid dealing with them. Though sometimes you have no real choice - you need to fly someone there is a good chance Southwest Airlines [the only non-horrible USA airline in my experience) might not fly there or you have to choose Verizon or Comcast or even have no choice for an ISP... But Netflix was something I had really grown to enjoy. I fear Amazon's isn't likely to be very good for Ux. But I think I will try it. And even if that doesn't work I may still drop Netflix just to avoid the pitiful Ux practices they have adopted in the last few years.

Related: Utopia (Dreamland in the USA) is an Amazing TV Program (2015) - Netflix is Well Managed - People are Overreacting to Short Term Issues (2011) - Curious Cat List of Super Useful Websites (2012), Netflix wouldn't make the list now, but it did then

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Moz Page Authority and MozRank History for Some of My Web Sites (April 2016)

MozRank compares to the previous interesting Google pagerank (a measure of the pages linking to the page, with greater value given to links from high ranking pages). Moz Page Authority is meant to more closely measure the importance of links by considering not just the number but also the quality of the links. This is oversimplified but essentially can be seen as if a page had a high number of links (even from other pages with high numbers of links to them) but those links were not deemed to be high quality the Moz Page Authority would be lower. So things like having links from trusted authority sites would pass on that trusted authority (a bit) to the linked site. And things that are seen as lower quality (could be lots of different things: poor links from that page, text that seems spammy or not of high quality, lots of pages without much content, slow loading site or things like Moz detailed in the Spam Flag Score, etc.) would harm the Moz Page Authority number.

Therefore, the Moz Page Authority number is more important than MozRank. MozRank however is closer Google pagerank.

In the chart below the MozRank is shown inside ( ) after Aug 2014. [] indicate Google PageRank measures. Those without parenthesis are Moz Page Authority divided by 10 (because SEO Moz also decided to scale MozPA up to 100 while Google PageRank tops out at 10 and I already been listing the data listed in the 10 scale the last few years).

SiteApr 2016Sep 2015Aug 2014 (MozRank)Dec 2013
Oct 2011 Dec 2010
MozPA > 5
The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog5.7 [6.6]6.4 (6.2)5.2 (6.0)5.5 [5]--
Curious Cat Management Blog6.1 (5.8)6.0 (6.1)5.9 (6.0)6.1 [5] 5.5 [5] [4]
Curious Cat Engineering and Science Blog5.8 (5.7)5.6 (6.0)5.5 (6.0)5.8 [5] 5.3 [6]4
Curious Cat Investing and Economics Blog5.7 (5.9)5.5 (6.1)5.5 (6.1)4 [5.7]5.3 [4][3]
@CuriousCat_com5.6 (4.3)5.8 (4.4)5.8 (4.6)
My Kiva page5.5 (4.4)5.8 (5.1)5.6 (4.7)5.8 [-]4.0 [-][3]
Curiouscat.com5.1 (5.8)4.9 (6.1)5.0 (6.0)**5.6 [4][3]
Curious Cat Travel Photo Blog5.3 (5.8)5.1 (5.9)5.0 (5.9)4 [5.0]3 [4.9]-
John Hunter5.0 (6.1)6.2 (6.1)4.8 (6.1)5.0 [5]5.4 [4][4]
MozPA > 4
Curious Cat Management Improvement Connections*4.7 (5.5)4.6 (5.7)4.6 (5.6)3.3 [**]5.5 [5][4]
Six Sigma Management Resources*4.6 (5.3)4.8 (5.7)4.7 (5.6)4.9 [**][4]
Investment Dictionary*4.5 (5.5)4.7 (6.0)4.6 (5.9)4.8 [**]5.2 [4]
The Aim Should be the Best Life – Not Work v. Life Balance*4.5 (5.2)4.3 (5.3)new
Living in Singapore4.4 (5.7)5.1 (5.8)4.0 (5.7)4 [4.1]3 [4.0]
Curious Cat Gadgets4.4 (5.6)4.7 (5.7)3.9 (5.5)4.1 [4]
Management Dictionary*4.4 (5.4)4.3 (5.6)4.0 (5.4)2.6 [**]5.4 [5][4]
Curious Cat Travel Blog4.3 (5.9)4.0 (5.8)New
Living in Malaysia4.3 (5.7)5.2 (5.8)3.9 (5.8)4.0 [4]4.1 [3]
Curious Cat Code (programming)4.3 (5.4)4.8 (5.6)3.8 (5.5)4.1 [4]4.2 [4]--
Architecture and home design inspiration4.2 (5.6)4.5 (5.6)3.9 (5.5)4.0 [3]--
Curious Cat Management Comments4.2 (5.3)4.2 (5.3)4.1 (5.0)3.9 [3]4.5 [3]
Multi Site PageRank Checker4.2 (5.2)4.2 (5.2)4.1 (4.9)4.1 [4]4.7 [3][2]
Management Articles*4.1 (5.5)4.0 (5.6)4.1 (5.5)3.9 [3]
The Future is Engineering*4.1 (5.2)4.2 (5.8)4.3 (5.7)4.3 [4]
Life and Legacy of William Hunter4.0 (5.4)3.9 (5.6)3.7 (5.5)4.0 [4]4.5 [4][4]
Management Matters (my book)*4.0 (5.3)3.8 (5.6)3.5 (4.6)3.8 (5.4)3.5 [4]---
Economic Strength Through Technology Leadership*4.0 (5.4)4.1 (5.8)4.1 [5.8]4.2 [-]4.7 [4][4]
Curious Cat Comments (this blog)4.0 (5.3)3.9 (5.3)3.8 (5.1)3.9 [3]3.8 [-][3]
SiteMay 2015 (MozRank)Aug 2014 (MozRank)Dec 2013
Feb 2013Oct 2011 Dec 2010
MozPA > 3.5
W. Edwards Deming quotes3.9 (6.5)3.3 (5.7)new
Curious Cat Travel Destinations3.9 (5.7)3.6 (5.8)3.4 (5.7)3.2 [3]-
Good Process Improvement Practices*3.9 (5.2)4.0 (5.2)4.2 (5.2)4.0 [3]4.1 [3]
Management and Leadership Quotes3.8 (5.4)3.7 (5.8)3.6 (5.7)3.7 [4]5.2 [2][2]
Statistics for Experimenters3.8 (5.3)3.6 (5.7)3.7 (5.7)3.9 [4]4.5 [3][3]
Curious Cat Travel Photos3.7 (5.2)3.2 (4.7)New
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: Marina Bay Sands (Singapore)3.6 (5.3)3.2 (5.3)2.9 (5.3)2.9 [2]--
The Engineer That Made Your Cat a Photographer3.5 (5.2)3.8 (5.8)3.9 (5.7)4.1 [3]4.7 [4][4]
Freelance Lifestyle, Finance and Entrepreneurship Blog3.5 (5.1)4.5 (5.2)new
MozPA > 3
Justin Hunter (my brother)3.4 (5.1)3.4 (5.4)3.3 (4.8)3.4 [-]2.9 [2][2]
CuriousCat Wordpress3.4 (3.9)3.6 (4.4)3.4 (3.8)3.5 [1][-]
Improving Your Search Engine Ranking Blog3.3 (5.3)3.1 (4.1)New
Management Improvement Resources3.0 (5.1)3.1 (5.1)3.0 (4.7)3.1 [3]3.8 [3][3]
Johor Bahru Real Estate3.0 (5.0)3.0 (5.4)2.8 (5.3)3.0 [2]-
MozPA < 3
Public Sector Continuous Improvement Site*2.9 (4.8)4.8 (5.5)4.8 (5.4)5.0 [**]5.0 [5][4]
Hexawise.tv2.4 (5.3)2.8 (5.4)2.8 (4.9)2.8 [2]-
W. Edwards Deming on Management*2.0 (4.4)4.7 (5.5)4.7 (5.3)4.9 [**]4.5 [4][4]
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: France1.9 (5.2)2.0 (5.2)1.4 (5.1)1.3 [-][-]
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: Australia1.9 (5.0)2.1 (5.1)1.5 (4.9)1.3 [-][-]

* internal pages
** new url or old url forwarded (so Google losses track of the page rank for awhile)
- didn't exist yet or google didn't rank it for some reason
[blank] I don't know what the pagerank was, sometimes the site didn't exist yet.

Related: Moz Page Authority for Various Sites (August 2014) - Historic PageRank and MozPageAuthority for Various Sites (December 2013)

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Stopping Selfish Jerks From Abusing Society

Fake service animals would be criminalized under a bill that just passed the Colorado House

It has taken decades, Walpole said, for service animals to be respected and understood by society. He fears any trust that has developed is in the process of crumbling due to posers who slap a vest and phony credential on their animal to sneak it into restaurants, shops and other public places.

Exactly right. If you allow selfish people to abuse society you risk society deciding that accomadations for those with needs isn't worth the costs of selfish people.

In a similar way those that abuse handicaped parking have resulted in handicapped parking being seen by many people as just parking for selfish bozos. Most people in society want to provide accomadations for those that need service animals, special parking etc.. But if what happens is society is taken advantage of by selfish people society will eventually just decide the accomodations are mainly just for selfish bozos and eliminate them.

What we need to do instead is stop selfish jerks from screwing over society and those with real needs.

Sadly, while the number of people so obnoxious they would abuse the idea of service animals is very small. The abuse those few jerks subject society to is so great their selfishness risks the tolerance of society for those with real needs.

Related: Appeasing Rude Selfish People Just Makes them Behave Even More Selfishly - Reasonable Accommodations Becoming Unreasonable - Acting Considerately

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Prioritizing the Important over the Urgent

I put a priority on blocking all time grabbing activities that I don't place a high value on. That way I make sure I have plenty of time for what I most care about.

But I see most people get overwhelmed with what they feel is urgent and fail to do the things they talk about being important to them. They would benefit greatly from making sure they don't allow the "urgent" items to crowd out those items that are most important to them (non-negotiables).

If I did look at things as non-negotiables one would be the NCAA basketball tournament and another would be hiking and also using the internet.

response to: Do you think a non negotiable list could help you?

Related: The Aim Should be the Best Life – Not Work v. Life Balance - Working Less: Better Lives and Less Unemployment - Chomphet Hike, Luang Prabang, Laos - Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) and Location Independent Working

Sunday, February 28, 2016

An Advocate for Open Access and Privacy Has Been Nominated to be the Librarian Of Congress

The Librarian Of Congress sounds like an unimportant position but it actually is very important for the influence they have over copyright policy in the USA (and the world because of how the USA prioritizes copyright over important national interests).

President Obama Nominates New Librarian Of Congress Who Supports Open Access, Fights Against Surveillance

Hayden was one of the leading voices speaking out against surveillance. As President of the American Library Association at the time when the PATRIOT Act was being debated, she was vocal in opposition, especially to Section 215, which was used to create the phone metadata program that Ed Snowden revealed. What many people forget is that it was the librarians who were most vocal about Section 215 when it was first proposed, as many people thought it would be used to demand things like library records to see what was being checked out -- and librarians are big supporters of privacy.

She's also spoken out for years about the value of free access to information. Here's a 2003 profile of Hayden in Ms. Magazine (where she was named Woman of the Year) in which she notes:
“Libraries are a cornerstone of democracy—where information is free and equally available to everyone. People tend to take that for granted,” says Hayden. “And they don’t realize what is at stake when that is put at risk.”

This is very good news. The broken copyright system is a deadly diseases for the USA economy and has done great damage for a long time. This is a one small step that could reduce the damage that is done. It is good to see President Obama taking a good step in this direction given how much damage he has done with his many other policy decisions, including Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and TTIP.

Not blackballing someone because they believe in privacy is also somewhat remarkable given the consistent efforts of President Obama to greatly enhance the survailence state in the USA.

In President Obama's statement he says

Her understanding of the pivotal role that emerging technologies play in libraries will be essential in leading the Library of Congress as it continues to modernize its infrastructure and promote open access and full participation in today's digital world.

This is a good step. I hope she is confirmed. But it is one decision moving the right direction compared to a huge number of initiatives making copyright more damaging to the USA and globaly economy. So while I am glad for this one step, it doesn't come close to erasing all the damage his adminstration has done.

Related: Why Copyright Extension is a Very Bad Idea (2009) - Librarians Standing Up to the Madness (2009) - Library of Congress in Washington DC - I Strongly Support Elizabeth Warren and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Agony of Dealing with Lyft

Lyft messed up my ride, which was annoying but tolerable. I care about helping companies improve so I try to provide feedback when they do a lousy job. Many companies treat you so disrespectfully that they throw out your email without reading it. I even had a health plan send me an email that said: add us to your white list because otherwise you might not see the emails we send you. In the same email they said they would throw away any replies to the email they sent me.

It is very common for companies to treat customers that disrespectfully. Last week I replied to an email from Uber and they provided a reply that was not only not disrespectful (such as throwing the email away unread) but was actually great customer service.

Well anyway, I still didn't like the numerous reports on how Uber treats drivers. I believe that companies should show respect for people, both employees and customers. So I continued to try Lyft (that seems to treat employees better). Anyway with a bunch of hassle then sent me an email so I wrote my reply and right at the end noticed even after all the extra work they put me through by disrespectfully throwing away my first email they were going to do the same again this time. So I'll post here what I wrote, both because I really dislike them treating with with such disrespect and so I can point them to my actual email reply in Twitter (which of course is a stupid way to provide support when more detail is needed than 140 characters but is the only way they have responded to me):

Thanks. I don't know why the gps map showing the cars movement isn't shown, maybe only Uber does that? But if it was it would obvious how crazy it was.

We went 15 minutes out of the way due to GPS failures. Finally the gps went the right place. I don't think it is appropriate to bill me for the GPS added miles. I don't think the driver did anything wrong I think the gps was just totally lame for some reason.

Using the Dulles toll road was my request as it goes right by the location. I am fine with those tolls. Uber cost within a $1 of $25 the 3 times I have taken the trip (not the $38 you charged). This was the first time I tried you all (for this trip) so I don't know exactly what the cost is suppose to be if GPS didn't take us way out of the way.

I wanted to try you all out not because I have had any problem with Uber but because I believe (though really what do I know?) that you all treat your drivers better and I care about how employees are treated. I figured I would at least try you all out some.

This wasn't a great experience. First, I was scheduled to get there 20 minutes early (because it was an important meeting), instead I got there 1 minute late. Second, I didn't get any reply to my earlier emails... oh holy hell after all this I see you failed to give me an email reply here either and are just going to throw my email away again. I can't believe how poorly you treat my responses...

Lyft did follow the tweet to here to read about what they threw away when I emailed them and address the issue with more Tweets. Significantly better than nothing, but still their policy is extremely disrepectful and the time it took to deal with a lousy interface for addressing it due to them throwing away email while claiming to be friends is ludicras. We need competition so that customers have options to avoid companies that provide such disrepectful service - sadly we rarely do: Monopolies and Oligopolies do not a Free Market Make. Even if Lyft manages to survive it will be at most an oligoplistic market (most likely).

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Alternative to Proof of Onward Travel

It seems to me that a business should step into the desire of countries for proof of onward travel. There are many times an onward ticket is not sensible. The countries are worried about people staying and/or become drains on the economy it isn't that they care about having a piece of paper saying you have a ticket out. A business could step in to aid travelers and vouch for people's financial well-being. A long time ago I believe American Express offices were actually used a great deal by travelers. It could start with companies like American Express.

They could provide a financial guarantee. Countries mostly would be thrilled to encourage visitors who are "wealthy" (globally wealthy people may well not think they are wealthy). Credit card companies could make it a feature of gold cards for example...

Digital nomads and location-independent workers often travel one country at a time, without onward travel confirmed. When I was I didn't know how long I would want to stay or where I would go next. The way things normally work, they are much looser with passports from rich countries, and since I have one, I didn't have problems. But as rules get more demanding it could become more annoying and it already is if you have a passport that isn't desired.

Related: Location Independent Living Can Be In Your Comfort Zone and a Good Experience - Economics: Digital Nomads, Visas, Foreign Currency - Transfer Money Between Currencies Using New Providers Not Banks And Save