How to promote your website without being evil

For web nerds, I have revived my long-defunct web development blog with a post about non-spammy website promotion that will hopefully be useful. It includes the phrase "Social Media Optimization" but other than that it is relatively free of douchebaggery.
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It's never cool to not know something

The details are fuzzy. I think I was about eight years old at the time. I was in the car with my mother, in Trinidad, driving from our house on the hill in Curepe towards the junction with the Eastern Main Road. We were just passing the corner where a hand-painted sign advertising "BROILERS $5.00"*. My mother had the radio tuned to the cricket. Somebody else was in the car -- I think it was my best friend at the time, Dari -- and he asked what the score was. I'm not a fan of cricket, or indeed of any sport. Something fundamental about being a spectator to those sorts of activities escapes me. Coming from a family of sports fan, and already in possession of my gleeful contrarian streak, I quickly announced that I didn't know. In fact, I said, I didn't even understand what the scores meant -- runs and overs and wickets and things. My mother told Dari the score, and then gave me a very mild rebuke for being so forcefully ignorant of the sport -- this was not the first time I'd done something like this. "It's...
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Are spot instances killing the performance of Amazon EC2?

First Alan Williamson asked if Amazon EC2 has become oversubscribed. Then Cloudkick jumped in with graphs illustrating the increased latency seen by spot instances. Amazon has denied there's any fundamental issue. But let's look at that graph: Something struck me about the timing: the trouble all seems to kick off round the 12th of December: that's the day Amazon announced EC2 spot instances. The way spot instances work is simple: Amazon puts its spare capacity up for auction. Instead of paying a set price, you bid for an instance, and the highest bids that fill up available instances win. If more people turn up demanding instances, the price should rise. But there's a side effect: assuming spot instances are popular, then we can assume that no matter what the price is, all of EC2 capacity is now being used. What would you expect to happen if that were the case? Well, you'd expect them to start hitting capacity limits -- which is what the ping times seem to suggest is happening. At the moment this is...
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Wells Fargo are running a "free credit report" scam

A ridiculously misleading letter from Wells Fargo is trying to scam their own customers out of $156/year under the pretect of a "free" credit report. I expect better from a reputable national bank.
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Obligatory iTablet speculation post

So the iTablet is coming, or so it seems, and everyone is reading tea-leaves, so here's my own swing: I know this is ridiculous, but the moment I saw this invitation and this tweet from Ricky, I thought: what if the tablet isn't a device on its own? What if it is more like a Wacom tablet -- not a full device on its own, but more of a peripheral? Imagine a device the size of a mousepad. It sits on your desk, replacing the mouse itself. It syncs to your mac, and displays a picture of the screen itself -- or a portion of the screen. It acts like a touch screen, or if you want it to, a drawing tablet (it would let you "zoom in" on the drawing area, like Mobile Safari does). In addition to ordinary clicks, you'd be able to use a variety of gestures to simplify various tasks. Applications that were compatible with the device could send dedicated UI to the tablet itself, giving you a range of buttons and tools within a fingertip's reach -- this would be pretty useful in Photoshop, for instance, but other apps as...

Corporations are not people, and should not be

The US supreme court, in a split decision, has ruled that corporations are people, free to spend on political campaign advertising as a form of free speech. This is a terrible decision that threatens the foundation of democracy. Corporations have different goals to people. They are about their own survival, and act in nobody's interests but their own. Customers? They're out to screw them for every cent the market will bear. Ditto suppliers. Employees? There to be used up and thrown away as soon as it's profitable to get rid of them. Executives? To be sacrificed every time the stock drops, or forced out as part of a merger or acquisition. Shareholders? Love them -- until things get tough. Then declare chapter 11, wipe them out, and find some new suckers. By declaring corporations people, we have created a new species, parasitic upon our own, and significantly stronger. Corporations will suck us in, use us up, and spit us out, without regard for wealth or class. There will be no lucky ones: we will all be...