Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Call it Independence Day, not the 4th of July.

It happens every year... People say "Have a good 4th!" or "Happy 4th of July". Stores have "4th of July Sales". Why is it people don't call Christmas "the 25th of December", but yet people call Independence Day "the 4th of July"?

Maybe because a lot of Americans have forgotten what the holiday is actually celebrating? Maybe because they never knew in the first place? Maybe they are so busy with celebrity tabloid pop idol reality TV worship and video games that they've never taken the time to actually read The Declaration of Independence to know what our founding Father's were declaring independence from? What it was they put their lives and the lives of their families at risk to break free from?

Maybe, just maybe, they have no clue they wouldn't have the freedom to sit around clueless and distracted by the latest pop tune, game or celebrity breakup if it wasn't for a few great men they probably wouldn't even be able to name. Or for that matter, wouldn't even let in their house, because (God forbid) their hair is over their collar, (gasp!) or they read the Bible and own a gun.

Well in case your history teacher forgot to tell you, this nation was founded by a bunch of long-haired Bible quoting disgruntled guys with guns. Not unlike metal, America is a perfect example of what can be accomplished when you tick off a bunch of armed long hairs with a tendency to quote the Bible.

Anyway, happy Independence Day. Remember why. If you don't know, take 5 minutes and find out why. If you get a chance, google Declaration of Independence and read it. Hopefully you'll see the entire Revolution was over things far less oppressive than what most Americans just except as the norm because they are hypnotized by the trivial pop entertainment culture and media.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Deer Whistles, Google and SEO Tips

A few years ago I used to drive home from work on the AC Expressway every evening around dusk. There was always a certain time of year when large groups of deer would be standing on the grass clearing between the asphalt and the trees every evening, without fail. As expected, this always caused people to slow down to almost a crawl since many of the deer were standing right on the edge of the road.

Then one day I was in an auto parts store and found a product called Deer Whistles. They were a pair of small plastic horns that mounted to your car's front bumper with two-sided tape. The package promised that the ultrasonic sound they produced while driving was only audible to deer (magical huh?) and best of all, it would make them flee in horror when they heard your car approaching.

So with visions of thousands of fleeing deer, parting like the red sea on the AC Expressway as I heroically cleared the path for all traffic behind me, I bought a pair. I figured the awe they would produce was worth the money and frustration of trying to get them out of the human proof blister pack they came in. So a few bucks and minor hand injury later, I neatly mounted them according to the instructions.

The next day I could hardly wait to put them to the ultimate test. The weather was warm and clear, prime conditions for deer roadside sunset gatherings. And as I headed over the bridge from Atlantic City at precisely the right time, I knew it would only be a few more minutes until I got far enough inland to witness this new marvel of technology perform a miracle.

Then suddenly, on the distant horizon I saw the first large group of unsuspecting deer casually gathered along the side of the road. Little did they realize that in a few seconds they would all be running for their lives, possibly dying from fear of the horrifying shrill of mankind's newest super weapon.

But as I got closer and eventually passed them, nothing happened. The deer all stood there unphazed. There was zero reaction. No head turning. No wide-eyed horror. No panic. No running for cover. Nothing. They didn't even blink.

So rather than accept the reality that I had gotten ripped-off, I wondered if I had possibly installed them facing the wrong direction. After all, the instructions were in Engrish and never showed exactly which direction they should be facing. So when I got home, I peeled them off, turned them around and stuck them back on the bumper with some two-sided carpet tape.

The next day, I put them to the test again but with the same results. It was then that I finally realized they simply didn't work.

So what this all have to do with Google and SEO Tips?

Well for the past few months we've been trying to increase the WMA's ranking in Google based on SEO Tips by "experts" in the field. All promising miraculous results. First we tried following their instructions to the letter. But just like the Deer Whistle, no results. And just like the Deer Whistle, rather than giving up after the first test, we went back and tried a different direction, this time following Google's tips to the letter. Again, no results.

Moral of the story: SEO Tips, like Deer Whistles promise miracles, but deliver nothing. Unfortunately what we've discovered through it all, is that Google simply ranks sites that run Google Ads higher than those that don't, regardless of how well they are optimized. Since Google makes money from those ads, it only makes sense they would try and drive more traffic to sites that run them. And ironically, the no ad policy for our non-commercial site, which should be a plus, an added benefit, may ultimately be what's causing its decline.

Maybe we should run Google Ads for Deer Whistles.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Giving Comcast The New Jersey Salute = Free HD

Last January we finally replaced the old TV set in the living room with a large LED flat screen. Unlike the old set, it was capable of receiving both analog and digital signals. So when I hooked it to our existing cable, it received a lot more channels than our old set. The only problem was it took a long time to find the channel you wanted because there was no on-screen guide.

So my wife called Comcast and they said we needed to add one of their boxes to every set in the house. The first box was included in our current bill, but we'd be billed more each month to rent the additional boxes for the other sets. The next day we picked up 3 boxes and hooked them to each TV. As promised there was an on-screen grid-like guide. It made it easier to find channels, but suddenly many of the digital channels we got without the boxes no longer worked.

Then a few months ago I was hooking up a TV for my mother-in-law. She had just moved to a new apartment and didn't want to pay for cable. So I dug out an old pair of rabbit ears and hooked them to the digital converter box she had gotten with her government issued coupon. The set received 16 channels. The first thing I noticed was how amazingly clear the picture quality was, even on her old set. I also noticed she was getting channels we weren't getting on cable. In fact they were the same digital channels we had gotten before paying extra for the Comcast boxes.

My wife called Comcast again to ask why we weren't receiving the digital channels. They said they were only available with extended digital service. So we check our bill and it turns out we had been paying for the extended digital service. When we told Comcast, instead of fixing the problem, their solution was to refund the amount we had overpaid.

Sometimes you don't get what you pay for...

I started to do some research and found an article title "You don't get what you pay for." The signals in the air are 100% pure HD, signals from cable are compressed and only deliver around 70% of the original clarity. I also discovered that many stations began "multi casting" when everything switch over from analog - meaning that each station broadcast several channels. Then it hit me, if an old set of rabbit ears on top of a set can get 16 crystal clear channels, how many more could a top notch outdoor antenna get?

So I called Comcast and told them to cut off service at the end of the month's billing date, which gave me some time to get everything ordered and installed. After a week of research, I ordered a DB8 outdoor antenna, a Motorola signal amplifier, all the necessary installation hardware and 2 Tivax digital converter boxes using the government issued coupons. The total cost for everything was the less than what we'd pay for 2 months of cable.

It took a few hours to mount the antenna, properly ground it, run the antenna cable through the attic, hook up the signal amp and connect the TVs. Once everything was done, I rescanned for channels on each TV. Ends up we get 36 channels, all free, and the picture quality is flawless. Pure HD. And all completely free. But that's not the best part of the story. The one thing that made me reluctant to drop cable was that the few shows and channels my family likes to watch would be gone. But it turns out some of the shows are on channels we still get, and there's an alternative to almost every show that's not.

It's kind of like drinking Sam's Choice Cola instead of Coke. Not the real thing, but close enough and a lot cheaper.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Kip Allan

Special thanks and a WMA salute to Sachi and Coax. They met with Kip's mom on his birthday Saturday and were kind enough to film this and share it with the rest of us.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Here's to NightBreed, Rest in Peace

This video tribute to NightBreed was created by WMA Senator Tharikifa. It features member quotes and pics from the 1st and 2nd Annual WMA Executive Summit, the soundtrack was one of Kip's favorite songs.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


We released a song on myspace a little over a week ago (see last blog entry for details). And after several all-nighters we finally uploaded a music video of the song on YouTube yesterday. It's only been up for about 24 hours and has already gotten a very positive response.

I wish I had more time to get into specifics, but the description we posted on YouTube gives an overview of what it's about: "A heavy metal music video that takes a satirical look at the presidential election and boldly endorses Mike Huckabee as the candidate of the People."

Click the link below to check it out:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


On January 15, 2008 The World Metal Alliance founders released a new original heavy metal song called "HUCK EM ALL" which is now available for free download on the WMA MySpace Page. It's lyrics are in the style similar to old "Mark Russell" comedic political satire and are even a little "politically incorrect" (after all it's metal). But instead of a piano, the words are stated over an original heavy metal composition. If you like Mike, and want something heavier than the "I Like Mike" folk song which is all over the internet, or a message with a little more bite, than this song's for you.

I also want to make it clear, that although the founders happen to like this candidate for differing reasons, we don't necessarily reflect the views of the World Metal Alliance membership. Our membership is too politically diverse to agree on one candidate and that's one of the reasons we've never officially endorsed any candidate as an organization. It is also one of the reasons this song is only being promoted on the founders' personal sites and not on the World Metal Alliance website.