Amazon.com weeding out weenie associates

Looks like I’ll be canceling my Amazon.com (US) associates account and maybe the CA and UK associates accounts as well. I got an e-mail stating that they will be tacking on a $10 maintenance fee my US account since there has not been any type of commission from my links in a long while. Here’s a snip of the email that was sent out to me and quite a few other associates.

So far, there’s been only one purchase through my links earning me a total of—hot damn…a whopping $0.75! That was earned back in 2003 and the only time they fork over the earnings is when the total is at least $10. Looks like I’ll have to say bye-bye to the $0.75 (or will they give me a credit/Gift Certificate towards a future purchase?). Update: I sent an e-mail inquiring about my situation and was able to get my $0.75 deposited to me.

It’s really bizarre even having the 1 referral/purchase considering that what was actually ordered by the person had nothing to do with anything I was reading at the time. They must have gotten side tracked so I ended up earning the referral as a click through and not a direct buy link.

Oh, well—There’s really no chance of any of my links generating a commission before July 1st so it’s bye-bye associates links. There goes my PHP project of putting together my own script to automate my reading lists. Now I have to re-edit my code again removing the referral links. Sure I can still link to them without the referral code if I wanted to, but I’m sure you have to be an associate in order to log-in to get and use the pictures of the book covers. Now I have to think of another PHP learning project to take up my spare time.

Preparing for the next generation: ISBN-13

Looks like I’ll have to make a better script for my currently reading section to take account of the upcoming changes in the ISBN standards[?] and the differences in the locations of books on the different Amazon country sites. For instance, The Da Vinci Code audiobook on CD has the ISBN-10 of 0739313126 and ISBN-13 of 9780739313121. Both of which successfully brings up the product pages on the .com and .ca (Canada) sites. The .co.uk (United Kingdom) site doesn’t access correctly entering those numbers. Another example is the book Japanese Comickers. the .com and UK site use the same ISBN-10 but give different book covers, specific titles, and authors/editors.

  .com .ca .co.uk
ISBN-10 0060513551 0823025810 0060513551
Cover cover cover cover
By Comickers Magazine (ed) Design Exchange Design Exchange
Publisher Collins Design Watson-Guptill Publications HarperCollins Design International

In this case, if I was to remain using my script as is, the page link to the Canadian site would be wrong because the link would be pointed to “0060513551” and not its correct pointer at “0823025810”
Strangely enough, the book I’m reading has the UK site information but the .com cover showing the full extended title, Japanese Comickers: Draw Anime and Manga Like Japan’s Hottest Artists.

I have been thinking about rewriting my script so I could include links to other non-Amazon affiliate sites. Looks like this will be a required change even if I just stick with links to Amazon.com locales. Changing it would mean I can provide separate if needed links. Especially if I had to reference a book that a site didn’t carry. This way only places that carry it would show links. Currently my script only uses the one reference point (ISBN-10) to access the three affiliate sites I now use. I’ll have to create a new table in my MySQL database for different affilate sites, their ISBN/GTIN numbers or product page locations and create a reference link to the table with the rest of the book info.

Amazon books and deadly doggie tails

When did this start? I really must not be paying attention like I should to the Amazon.com and international affiliate sites like I should. Amazon.com now has a Chinese site through www.joyo.com. Amazon China/Joyo currently only has 19 product categories while Amazon.com has 35 to search from. Also, there doesn’t seem to be an Associates Program or Web Services yet. I could be wrong cause I’ve only skimmed through it a little bit. Well worth the further research if any Web Services for developers becomes available. Although I doubt the same selections of books will be offered on the China site due to some *ahem* government restrictions sensitive issues.

screen image crop A bit funny too with the lost in translation and incorrectly spelled items that can be found. Like the front page of one of the Books subsection has a graphic and link to Eight Million Wags to Die. Yes, it read “…Wags…”.

Is this the scientific average life span of dogs in terms of tail wagging? Is it a dog book about a 007 canine. Is there even a dog in it? I have no idea. 😆

Turns out it should be Eight Million Ways to Die by Lawrence Block.

There’s a little black spot on the Sun today

That’s Mercury up there.

Starting 2:12pm EST, the planet Mercury will be traveling between the Sun and Earth. Viewable, (in parts of the world), as a little speck that will take about five hours to glide across the lower part of the Sun. If you miss this one live and in person, don’t worry the next time it will happen will be just around the corner in 2016.

There are several websites out there giving details on how to view the event safely. More info at Discovery Channel, NASA, and NASA‘s 2006 Mercury Transit Live Broadcast.

As always kiddies, don’t look directly into the Sun.

Hey, that’s a funny looking dog you got there

Yesterday there was something mentioned on the local morning news that was somewhat funny. I wanted to post this yesterday morning when I head about it but I didn’t have much info to go on since it was a short passing blurb of a story. I knew it was local, but not sure where, when or most of the details. Nothing was found at the time on the news station’s website, but I found it today somewhere else. Turns out it happened earlier this week on Monday and in Oil City, PA (about 70 mi/113 km from here).

Something happened to a letter carrier who was on her delivery route. She walked up to a house to deliver the mail. She saw an animal, and an animal saw her. She goes about her own business and puts the mail in the mailbox. As she turns around to leave and continue her route, she gets attacked… wham! Kung pow—enter the squirrel!! The full story: Squirrel goes postal. Another evil squirrel related story: The Bushy Tailed Rat.

Ohio company wants YouTube to pipe down

Please folks, stop confusing UTube with YouTube.

The company Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment Corporation (utube.com) is seeking to sue YouTube (youtube.com) for an increase in web traffic the Ohio based company claimed that it is now getting (100 times more) is due to similarities in spelling and sound of domain names. UTube wants YouTube either change its name or YouTube should pay UTube so it can buy a brand new domain name and create a whole brand new company identity. They most likely want the money option since Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion.

Here’s how to tell the two apart:

  • From UTube site: “…specializes in buying and selling Used Tube Mills, Used Pipe Mills and Used Rollforming Machines”
  • From YouTube site: “…a consumer media company for people to watch and share original videos worldwide through a Web experience”

I wonder why the Ohio company didn’t go after NBC before since the Tonight Show would occasionally do segments of things they found on YouTube. I think even the Today Show (also on NBC) highlighted videos before, so surely, the Ohio company had to see some traffic spikes in the past.

Yesterday, YouTube announced that within a year it wants to provide a service for wireless devices. More $$ for the video based site (and parent Google).

Now since this lawsuit has gone public, looks like UTube got itself even more traffic coming.

I have an idea why not keep the identity of Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment Corporation and just go under UTREC.BIZ? Last time I checked, (as of this posting), that domain was available.

CSS Rebooters to bring forth great designs soon

It’s a little too late for me to jump on the band wagon for this year’s fall CSS Reboot on November 1st. There’s another one that is held during the Springtime on May 1st that I could think about. Website layouts like the ones of those who get showcased on the site take some serious thought and planning to look the way they do.

Sure, just about anyone can create a snazzy looking website, but this goal of rebooting is to help spread the word on keeping up with the web standards (along with promoting CSS and the designers website as well).

Soon there will new fresh designs out there to make you lower your jaw to the floor in amazement and go, “Aww, man! I wish I though of that”. There’s no prizes or gifts for participating, just a satisfying recognition that does the ego good.

Daylight Saving Time

I never noticed any physical changes for myself when going to and from Standard Time. The only difference noticed is when it gets dark and light earlier or later. No “jet lag” type circadian rhythm disruption for a few days or a week. Never thought of the changes as “losing” or “gaining” a hour sleep. It just doesn’t effect me or maybe I’m able to adjust quicker than average.

For your reference (in the US), next year Daylight Saving Time will be March 11—November 4. In 2008 March 9—November 2. Starting next year it will begin a month earlier and end a week later.

Firefox 2.0 is born

Yippee! 2.0 is out. Looks like I’ll be updating to the latest version of Firefox. This latest one will include spell check among other things.

2.0 will also address an issue that I’ve had to deal with in the 1.5.0.7 version. It was a serious memory resource hog (partly due to some extensions installed). Not good when you have multiple tabs open in addition to other files and programs. Talk about stall and crawl. Well, stall and crawl no more.

Business as usual for Microsoft Vista and IE7

Microsoft is flipping companies the bird again and this time kicking Symantec and McAfee to the curb. This all stems from Microsoft not being very helpful to other vendors on the disclosure of their new underlying kernel for Vista so measures can be taken for those vendors to supply updated software to protect consumers using the upcoming new OS release. The European Union has already fined Microsoft $970 million over the new Windows version and it’s not even due out until early next year.

If people got frustrated over Microsoft setting IE browser and the Outlook/Outlook Express mail client as defaults on their Windows system when they used other programs, think of the problems people are going to have if they have their own particular security-software and they first time boot up Vista only to learn that the familiar Symantec or McAfee programs have bee replaced with something new. Microsoft’s very own security-software: OneCare. Not only will people have to learn the workings of a new Windows system, they’ll have to learn a different security system as well. For those who want to keep on using Symantec or McAfee or whatever, I bet OneCare will be made difficult to disable or remove like other standard Microsoft mainstays.

I still have not successfully removed all of Outlook Express. Remnants are still lurking my around system and when I would try to do a Windows Update through IE, it would always supply an optional checkbox to update an Outlook Express security flaw update. I tried to uninstall as much as I could and have not used it in many, many years. Of course, I have turned off automatic updates so I can have some control what gets installed and when.

It seems like people will not get a real choice to switch to IE7 or stay with IE6 for a awhile longer or at lease be able to switch back. Vista will have IE7 packaged with it. Like SP2 before it, the IE7 browser will be an automatic forced install under the disguise of a “security update” for XP SP2, XP Pro x64 ed., and Server 2003 SP1. Since I had Automatic Updates already turned off before the release of SP2, I waited a bit until the initial kinks and bugs were dealt with before manually installing SP2.

There is only one or two sites that I’ve visited that still require IE6 only to access and use some features. I don’t visit these sites often and don’t know if they’ve changed their browser preference. Others have. I wonder if those sites will work with the new IE browser or will IE7 users, being mistaken for another browser, be denied access and asked to download and/or use IE like other non-IE users?

With the now public release of IE7 there are already an information disclosure vulnerability bug. This could be used in scams and phishing attacks. Anti-phishing is something introduced in the new browser. Just think, a bug found in a new anti-phishing browser that essentially could render the anti-phishing feature useless. I guess I’ll wait a little bit longer before making an update. From what I heard there’s not much to see about IE7 since Mozilla/Firefox and Opera (and probably others) have long had tabbed browsing and/or handled RSS feeds.

There has been a lot of talk on the internet of people trying to get their websites ready for IE7. I don’t recall this hype and type of talk when other browsers made their major releases. It is rumoured that IE7 will support web standards like HTML4.01 and CSS2. Hee, haw! Many people such as myself have long migrated to at least XHTML1.0 and CSS2. I’ll just concentrate on what the widely held standard W3C recommendations are and not what this or that browser can, can’t or won’t handle.

I’ll follow the middle way.