Process

Affiliate marketing gone wild

The War To Sell You A Mattress Is An Internet Nightmare

This is an incredible piece by David Zax on affiliate marketing in the online mattress sales world.

For me, the bottom line is, any site that makes money from affiliate links loses objective credibility in reviewing the products its making money linking to.

If I review mattresses and also make money linking you to various mattress companies, I can easily be influenced by one mattress company offering a bigger payout for each sale I send their way.

And, this is not small money: a number of these mattress review sites are making over a $1 million a year in affiliate payouts.

This is an incredible story, read until the end, it will blow your mind.

Tip: if you are doing research online on a product you want to buy and follow a link from a review site to, say, Amazon or the company selling the product, look closely at the URL in your browser and you can see the affiliate link clearly. If you want to support the reviewer (the linker), buy with that link, if not, change the link.

Note: This site does not take part in affiliate marketing. The link below to Jason Kottke’s site does not generate income for me or him, it is simply an acknowledgement that I read about the Fast Company article at his site and followed a link from his site to the actual article. I try to acknowledge sources as I can.

[via Kottke.org]

America’s Shameful History of Housing Discrimination

America’s Shameful History of Housing Discrimination

This is a brilliant comic by Jamie Hibdon and Sarah Mirk.

For what it’s worth, the very first place I lived with my parents was a Levitown development in Hicksville, New York. I have pictures of the little white cape, white picket fence and all the houses looking pretty much the same. My father was a returning GI who no doubt qualified for a loan to buy there. Given my parents’ politics I doubt the reason they bought there was racially motivated but my father was a real estate broker so no doubt he was well aware of the policies noted in this piece. We lived there for four years, then moved to an apartment closer to where my father was working.

The Fresh Air interview with Richard Rothstein noted in the comic is here:

A ‘Forgotten History’ of How The U.S. Government Segregated America

Ivan Orkin

My friend Edward told me about an episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix about Ivan Orkin, a ramen cook with a fascinating life story. The food aspect of the documentary is great but his story is even better. Nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn becomes most famous ramen chef in Tokyo, Japan by putting a little schmaltz (Yiddish: chicken fat) in his traditional Japanese cookery. Brilliant.

If you stream Netflix give it a go:

Chef’s Table, Season 3, Episode 4: Ivan Orkin

Anne and I plan to eat in one of Ivan’s two restaurants the next time we’re in New York.

Ivan Ramen

He’s also got a book out that includes his story and the complete recipe for his shio ramen dish, including his ramen noodles with rye flour.

Ivan Ramen on iBooks

Ivan Ramen on Amazon

Of course, pictures of Ivan and his food are all over Flickr.

Loose Tacoma shift knob, what to do?

I just had my truck washed at a “typical” car wash: drop it off at one end, they vacuum it, it runs through the car wash on a conveyor and they finish drying it at the end. People drive it at each end although just for a moment.

I’ve been using this car wash for years and it’s under new ownership and they’re doing a great job. The owner is right in there doing all the various jobs so everyone’s paying close attention.

I drove away and noticed that the shift knob was loose. Odd, this is a 2016 Toyota Tacoma pickup and it’s never been loose before. Oh dear. Wondered if the guy who vacuumed it and got it started on the conveyor struggled with it. It’s an automatic, nothing to really struggle with.

What to do?

Bring it back and complain? Maybe but not sure what that would accomplish.

Make an appointment with Toyota to have it fixed? Can’t imagine the fix would be too tough.

Or, search the internet to see if others have had this issue and what they’ve done.

I typed the following into Safari (defaulting to Google search):

“2016 Toyota Tacoma loose shift knob”

The first hit was this one:

Tacoma World: Automatic Shift Knob loose!

I read through it, found this:

“If you push down on the plastic ring at the top of the leather skirt it’ll pop off, then see if you can screw the knob on tighter and snap the skirt back on.”

I went back outside to the truck, did exactly as the commenter said, and fixed it.

I’m not boasting or attempting to pat myself on the back for having fixed this minor issue, I’m pointing out that the web coupled with an intelligent search query can provide amazing support very quickly.

Underlying this is Google and the fact that it does an amazing job of indexing all the various pieces of text information on the web. In fact, this post will no doubt be part of future search results for loose Tacoma shift knobs.

MacPaint print

MacPaint print

I had one of the first 128K Macintosh computers in Eugene, Oregon and while I did a lot of writing with MacWrite, I also did a lot of “drawing” with MacPaint.

MacPaint was written by Bill Atkinson (one of the core members of the original Macintosh team at Apple) who added lots of fun touches to all of his early software. MacPaint had various distortions and to be honest, I can’t remember which one was responsible for this image (maybe “invert” and/or “trace edges”). I didn’t draw this; instead I drew some random shapes and chose what would now be called a “filter” and this was the result. It delighted me to no end and I made hundreds of these which I printed on my ImageWriter dot matrix printer.

I’m posting this now because I’m cleaning our basement and found boxes and boxes of old Macintosh related keepsakes, including some of my old writing and drawing done on my first Mac (not my first computer but close).

I had to run upstairs and pop an antihistamine; between dust and mold it was like an archeological dig.

Primitive Technology: Simplified blower and furnace experiments

Building a crude furnace with a hand-powered blower. The furnace is not only good for firing clay (to higher temperature with the blower) but he’s starting to experiment with glazing with wood ash and iron.

He’s an expert at both coming up with great projects and breaking them down into steps but also video editing to show process without narration or dramatic music.

I’ve been a fan for years.

There are many more of these great videos at the Primitive Technology site and for those who prefer, he has a Primitive Technology YouTube Channel.

[via The Kid Should See This]

Makomanai Cemetery Buddha

The Makomanai Cemetery is on the outskirts of Sapporo, Japan. This 1500 ton stone Buddha sat alone, above ground for fifteen years. The cemetery hired architect Tadao Ando to change the relationship of the Buddha to the cemetery. He did this by building a hill of lavender plants around the statue and the results are spectacular.

Watch the video full screen. It has no sound that I know of but it’s perfect in silence.

Update: My friend Joy Brown found this video of the building of the hill around the Buddha.

[via Colossal]