Content from my old blog site

About me

Date: Sometime in the very early 2000's

This post contains very important information about myself and what I do in life. It may or may not be of any interest to anyone but myself. You might be thinking “How does this guy have the time to make all these pages?” or “Don’t you have a life?”. Well, I practically live on the internet and instead of wasting my off-work time doing something productive like watching TV, I surf web pages and create web pages. I hope to someday develop technology that will allow one to transfer their very essence into digital form and forever float freely in the data streams of the internet, hence gaining immortality.

I am happily married with 1 child, Daniel. I have a younger sister. In case you didn’t know, I changed my last name shortly before I got married. It used to be “Haapaneva”. That is the family name that my grandfather in Finland picked during the war… as they had to change their last name for some odd reason. My great-grandfathers last name was “Vidberg”. I have always had problems with people not being able to spell or pronounce “Haapaneva”, so I thought a good time to change it would be when my wife-to-be would change hers also (to mine). So, no, I am not in a witness protection program or anything. I just changed my name because I wanted to. Hopefully, google will pick up this page and anyone searching for me will be able to find me (unless you are some crazy stalker then forget what you just read and go away).

I am probably currently working as a web developer and/or Linux system administrator, programming the back-ends to web sites and making sure servers keep running smoothly. I’ve had jobs as a independent consultant, web application developer, a system administrator, a computer technician, etc… I am kind of a computer handy man I guess.

My hobbies, well, lets see… the computer/internet thing is obvious if you have read this far. Other things I enjoy (in no particular order) are day-tripping, exploring, trying foods from different cultures, hanging out with my wife and son, reading, listening to heavy music, watching movies, playing video games, and burning things (well, mostly my mouth with hot sauces). I’ve done some geocaching, a great family activity for the summer weekends.

My History With Computers

Date: Sometime around 2004

Mid 1980’s – The Atari 130XE is the computer that I started out with. Back then the BASIC prompt came up when you booted. I spent many the day sitting in absolute wonder and amazement that I could type instructions into a machine and have it do what I wanted. This was the beginning of my love of programming. This machine had 128K of RAM and ran at about 1.7MHz and could do a resolution of 320×192 (256 colors). It had no harddrive, everything done from 5.25″ floppies. I had a XM301 300 baud modem with which I would connect to local BBS’s.

Late 1980’s – Next came the Amiga 2000. I really loved this computer, it took my computing to a new level. I was heavily into programming with a language called “AMOS”. This system had 1M of RAM and ran at about 8MHz and could do a resolution of 640×480 (4096 colors in special HAM mode). I now had a 14400 baud modem and a 30Meg harddrive. The pirated games for this system flowed like a mountain stream, and that was ok for me as I didn’t have money and Amiga software was hard to come by where I lived.

Early 1990’s – During my time at university I finally gave up on the dying Amiga and got a 386 running MSDOS which I absolutely hated. It felt like downgrading from a Porche to a Lada. Anyway, much of the 1990’s was spent waiting for the next new and improved PC. Next I had a 486, which I hated a little less, then a Pentium 133 running Win95, upgraded later to 200MHz. Close to the end of the century I was using a Celeron 366 running Win98.

2000 to 2003 – Had a 1.4GHz PC running Linux and my computer had become fun again. Adjusting to Linux on the desktop had been a bit of battle sometimes but it’s worth it. Open-source is the future.

2004 and onward – Now using a 2.0GHz AMD PC running Linux and my computer is still fun.

My Hot Sauce Collection

Date: Sometime around 2005

I’ve compiled a list of hot sauces that I’ve owned, or in some cases, which I still have sitting in the fridge. This is a not a complete list, as there were some that I have forgotten the names of and/or couldn’t find pictures for. I tend to not like the flavour of most really hot sauces I’ve tried and end up consuming a lot of the milder brands. For the average person that doesn’t like hot foods, what I consider “mild” may be really “hot”. I but would still be considered a wimp by the true hot sauce lovers. If you decide to try out some of these sauces, remember, when the mouth pain and the sweat comes, keep your fingers away from your face. It is VERY easy to get the invisible evil residue on your hands from opening these bottles. You thought the pain in the mouth was bad, wait until you get some in your eyes! Anyway, on to the sauces, which I’ve ordered from hottest to mildest (approximately)...

Magma Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Too hot!
My taste rating: ???
This is the very hottest sauce I own… 1,000,000 scoville units (see left-hand column for scoville rating comparisons)! Although, I have to mention that the hot stuff separates from the vinegar and floats to the top. The vinegar itself is not hot. I haven’t really used this yet, so I can’t give a proper review at this time.

Blair’s Possible Side Effects Sauce
My heat rating: Too hot!
My taste rating: ???
Hot suff! This is one of the hotter sauces I own… made with Red Savina Habanero peppers and rated at 283,000 scoville units. I can’t really give a taste rating on this one as all my mouth can sense is the intense burning. It comes with a nice little skull keychain attached to the side. Fun to give tiny pinhead samples to friends and watch them cry. Pain and suffering. Will completely ruin most foods.

Da’ Bomb Beyond Insanity Sauce
My heat rating: Too hot!
My taste rating: ???
This caustic substance is a very hot habanero-based sauce but the taste is not very good in my opinion (from what I can tell when I’m not guzzling milk for the pain). It does seem to have a distinct chipotle essence though. This is not even an “ultra-hot” sauce but it is hot enough for me to consider it useless unless you’re making a huge batch of chili and need to really spice it up. This is the one of the ones I use to watch the reaction of guests when I tell them to taste a tiny bit on the end of a toothpick. Again, pain and suffering is the theme. Will completely ruin most foods.

Dave’s Insanity Sauce
My heat rating: Very hot!
My taste rating: OK
This is another very hot habanero sauce, but not as unbearable as Da Bomb. If I want to heat up my chili, I will use this. I don’t use it for much else.

Widow Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Very hot!
My taste rating: OK
I got this one as a gift but haven’t really had much of it. This is another habanero and mixed pepper sauce. It is at about the same heat level as Dave’s Insanity.

Kiss Of Fire Meltdown Sauce
My heat rating: Very Hot
My taste rating: OK
This was the first habanero hot sauce that I ever tried (and later mail-ordered). I still remember the first time someone had this out as a condiment for the taco’s we were eating. After having terrible mouth burns, I knew I had to get myself a bottle. I believe this was sometime in the late 1980’s.

Gil’s Crying Tongue Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Hot
My taste rating: Good
Probably one of the better flavored “hot” sauces. Decent taste with plenty of burn.

Matouk’s West Indian Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Hot
My taste rating: Good
I got this one from my local grocery store just to see what it was. Ended up being pleasantly suprised as it is quite hot and spicy and tastes really good on hotdogs.

Crazy Jerry’s Mustard Gas Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Hot
My taste rating: OK
Tastes like regular yellow mustard but with a big hit of burning hot peppers added in. One for the hotdogs and sausages.

Bone Suckin’ Sauce
My heat rating: Medium
My taste rating: Very Good
I bought this one at a farmer’s market. They had it on display and you could sample it. It is fairly sweet but yet has a good kick. This is good on pizza, sandwiches, stirfrys and chicken.

Jim Beam Kentucky Bourbon Sauce
My heat rating: Medium
My taste rating: Good
Good heat-packing sauce with a slightly different and unique flavour than your average hot sauce.

Zucchini Mush Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Medium
My taste rating: OK
I made this one myself. My first and only attempt at making a hot sauce. It consists of orange habanero peppers, jalapeno peppers, zucchini, garlic and water. While I seem to have gotten the heat level right, the taste is nothing spectacular. I also did not use gloves while preparing the hot peppers and ended up having fingers that felt like they were on fire for most of the evening and part of the next day. Silly me.

Grace Hot Pepper Sauce
My heat rating: Medium
My taste rating: OK
Another one I picked up at the grocery store. This one was nothing special.

Dan-T’s Whitehot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
My heat rating: Medium
My taste rating: Yuck
Another grocery store purchase. I was very disappointed with this one. The flavour was too chemically or something. Just not what I expected from a cayenne pepper sauce.

Maggi Extra Hot Chile Sauce
My heat rating: Medium
My taste rating: Good
Grocery store purchase yet again. This one is very good to put in chili and on hotdogs and burgers.

Cheech Mango Habanero Sauce
My heat rating: Medium
My taste rating: OK
Good to use when you are feeling like having something sweet yet spicy hot. Does not go well with everything though.

Pain Is Good Louisiana Style Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Mild, leaning to medium
My taste rating: Good
A nice hotter version of Louisiana hot sauce… with a more pungent and heavy flavour to it. Good stuff.

Piri Piri Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Mild, leaning to medium
My taste rating: Good
Rumoured to be a famous hot sauce in Portugal. I can understand why. It has good flavour and enough heat to please, but not to make you cry.

Cholula Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Mild, leaning to medium
My taste rating: Very Good
YUMMY! This is a mild sauce in a tiny bottle, great for taking with you in your pocket to restaurants. Food not tasting very good? Drown it with this and voila, it is instantly delicious! Comparable heat to Tabasco sauce, but much better flavour.

CaJohns Select Cayenne Puree
My heat rating: Mild, leaning to medium
My taste rating: Good
No comment yet…

Tabasco Pepper Sauce
My heat rating: Mild, leaning to medium
My taste rating: OK
I have never really been a tabasco fan. I do like to use this in soups and also on fish. Available at any grocery store.

Tabasco Chipotle Sauce
My heat rating: Mild
My taste rating: OK
Wanted to test out the chipotle flavour but found it being a little too much on the smokey side. I can’t really figure out what this goes with.

Sriracha Chili Sauce
My heat rating: Mild
My taste rating: OK
This comes in what appears to be some kind of ketchup squeeze bottle. You’ll find the chinese food places at mall food courts often have a bottle of this beside the till. It is rather spicy and includes some listed ingredients such as “sun ripened red chili peppers” and “fish extract”. Update: This review was not of the common Rooster brand sriracha, which is much better and I would give an excellent rating for.

Fire & Spice Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Mild
My taste rating: Good
This one has a unique flavor with a lot of spices in it… 20 according to the label. Works best as a marinade for meats.

Yucatan Sunshine Habanero Sauce
My heat rating: Mild
My taste rating: Very Good
No comment yet…

Tiger Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Mild
My taste rating: Good
No comment yet…

Jungle Rumba
My heat rating: Mild
My taste rating: OK
Picked this one up at Winners after noticing that it had rum in it. Actually tastes fairly good but I can’t seem to find any food that I like putting this on. It just doesn’t seem to fit with anything.

Tapatio Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Mild
My taste rating: Very Good
No comment yet…

Jo B’s Firemud Black Bean Paste
My heat rating: Mild
My taste rating: Very good
This hard-to-find sauce is so excellent, it makes my mouth water just thinking about it. I love the black bean base!

Frank’s Xtra Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Mild
My taste rating: Very good
Yum, one of my all-time favourite hot sauces. Mild, but yet has a bit of kick. Goes great with almost anything!

Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Mild
My taste rating: Very good
Same as the Xtra hot but as the name suggests, a bit tamer. Also goes great with anything! Always available at almost any grocery store.

Frank’s Chile & Lime Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Mild
My taste rating: OK
Here is one Frank’s sauce that I don’t particularly care for, although it tastes fine.

Walkerswood Jamaican Jerk Sauce
My heat rating: Mild
My taste rating: Good
Good on chicken as a marinade. “Bananas” is listed as an ingredient.

President’s Choice Louisiana Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Mild
My taste rating: Good
Good on chicken and some sandwiches.

Georgia Peach & Vidalia Onion Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Mild
My taste rating: Good
Sweet oniony goodness. Great on sandwiches.

The Pepper Plant Garlic Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Mild
My taste rating: Very good
Yum, this stuff has a great garlic taste. I love using this on almost everything… just like Frank’s.

Fiesta Raspberry Jalapeno Hot Sauce
My heat rating: Mild
My taste rating: Too Sweet
Michelle wanted this one so I won’t be eating much of it.

Daniel with hotsauces

IceWM screenshots

Date: 2005-01-02

I have been using Linux on my main desktop computer for 4 years now. Seen here running with the IceWM window manager. I recently switched from Mandrake Linux to Arch Linux and thought I’d put up a newer screenshot.

Desktop from 2004

An even older screenshot follows.

Desktop from before 2004

Fried Onions

Date: 2005-04-01

I went to eat at a place in Waterloo today called “Chill and Grill”. Had their regular-sized “Big Juicy” burger and onion rings. Now, the burger was average or above-average, but the best thing was the fried onions! I love fried onions! Not enough fast food places give the option of fried onions. Not only that, they had fried mushrooms. Both items were available as a free option. The rings were huge and very deep fried… reminded me a bit of Krispy Kreme donuts. Mouth watering stuff, but all probably very unhealthy and fattening. One interesting thing I noticed was their “Crippler Challenge” which is a 3 pound monster burger you can order. If you can eat it alone within 1 hour, you get your picture put on the wall and a free t-shirt. I can eat a lot, but even that challenge seems a bit daunting for me. Oh well, 3 photos on the wall prove that it is do-able.

Man With The Ridiculous Hat

Date: 2005-04-02

Pope John Paul II passed on today at the age of 84. I guess we’re one step closer to the “last pope”. Of course, I don’t believe in Catholic prophecies and anything that might come true can be attributed to the self-fulfilling prophecy effect. Regardless, it’s fun to read about. The next pope, who’s reign will apparently be short, will be one of bringing peace. After that, the final Pope called Peter the Roman, will supposedly reign during a time of massive persecution of the church... and something about an upcoming world war. Oh well, sounds like lots of fun. Unfortunately, I believe I probably won’t see humanity evolve from it’s semi-barbaric and superstitious state in my lifetime.

Spring Come Back!

Date: 2005-04-03

I woke up this morning to a rude surprise from mother nature outside my front window. After having nice +17C weather last week, it was shocking to see how much snow had accumulated from a late winter storm. I had heard the weather report saying it would snow this weekend but I thought that perhaps it was just an April Fool’s joke... no such luck.

Snow in front yard

Also, what is up with Daylight Savings Time? Can’t we just abolish it already? I mean, I had to go around the house and adjust about 11 digital clocks.

Windows In A Linux World

Date: 2005-04-04

I went to our local Linux User Group meeting tonight and the guest speaker was a Microsoft representative talking about Unix Services on Windows. Basically, Microsoft is pretending that they are involved in the open-source movement by making tools that allow you run Linux virtual machines under Windows and allowing a select few corporations have a peek at some of their source code... but everything was restricted and geared toward having Windows control it all. Everything is made with the sense that the user will want to migrate completely to Windows eventually. He handed out 10 free copies of Windows 2003 Server. “Hey kid, first one’s free!” (thanks, but no thanks)

Educated Homeless Guy

Date: 2005-04-06

The other day I saw a homeless man pushing three carts along the highway. Today we saw the same man with his three carts in the next town over. I told my wife that I saw this same guy yesterday and she wanted to stop and give him one of our “homeless kits” which we store in the back trunk of our car. Anyway, after my wife gave the man a kit and some Timmies and spoke with him for a while, it was learned that he was university educated… or at least claimed to be. Apparently, he has a Masters degree in Russian and is in-between jobs. Yikes, if this is true I think it is a fairly sad condition our society is in where an educated man has been reduced to pushing around shopping carts with all his belongings. He was desparately looking for work and somewhere to live, but seemed quite upbeat about his situation. Well, homeless guy, wherever you are, good luck with your journey and may the future treat you better.


Date: 2005-04-20

Some clever fellow who followed the prophecies of St. Malachy registered the domain before the new pope was elected and is now getting tons of hits to his website (and probably making a nice profit with google ads). I went to check out if any variations on that domain were still available but could find nothing. Even misspellings, such as and, are already taken. Then I looked for the “last pope” and found and all variations already taken also… even the latin Getting a good cybersquatting domain name is extremely difficult these days.

Saint Ralph

Date: 2005-04-28

Michelle and I went to see a movie this evening called “Saint Ralph“. The main kid star, Adam Butcher, and the director of the movie were both there in the theater giving a little talk at the beginning and taking questions at the end. Adam goes to GCI highschool and Michelle was his teacher in grade 9 for some classes. Anyway, kind of surreal to go see a movie with the main actor taking questions afterward... he was extremely nervous. I guess he was around 16 years old or something. Good for him anyway, hopefully he gets to work in more movies.

Electric Mower

Date: 2005-05-04

Today I traded in my old gas lawnmower, which came with the house, for an electric one from Home Depot. Well, not an exact exchange, but for a $100 rebate. I’ve cut the front lawn with it so far and it seems to do the job well. Never mind that it is quieter and less polluting, now I don’t need to store gasoline in my garage anymore. Yes, there is the minor nuisance of having to move a power cord around, but so far it isn’t a very big deal. Just requires a replanning of my usual cutting pattern. Oh, I will not be using the bag as it comes with a mulching attachment.

Our electric mower


Date: 2005-06-03

We took Daniel to see his first not-at-home movie. As he is only 4 and has been wanting to see “Robots”, we figured it would be better to go to a drive-in where he could hide in the back seat if things on the screen got too intense for him. This was actually the first time in my life I’ve been to a drive-in and the experience was enlighting. It seems that this establishment (located near Oakville) attracts… shall we say… rednecks. I mean, a really scummy looking crowd. I don’t know if this is true of drive-ins in general or not. Anyway, the deal was pretty good, Robots, Starwars 3, and some other movie we didn’t stay to see, all for a price less than it would cost in a normal theater. My only complaint is that the consession area sells really bad, overpriced food. But hey, what was I expecting?

The Beach

Date: 2005-07-31 (tranfered from old blog)

Went to a (relatively) nearby beach today with the family in a little town called Grand Bend. The place was completely packed with people. It took almost longer to find parking than it did to drive there. This place really needs to expand their parking lots. On the walk back to the car, we stopped at a mexican eatery called “Jalapeno’s” and I had their super hot burrito called the “Afterburner”. It was spicy hot, but not completely unbearable. I had my suspicions why it was called afterburner… and yup, I was right. We’ll have to come back to this area some day when it probably won’t be as busy.

Grand bend beach

Why I think Tigerdirect sucks

Date: 2005-10-30

On September 11, 2005, I made an online purchase of a refurbished laptop from After not getting a UPS tracking number for the order, I called them asking for it. They claimed they did not get a tracking number for this item and they told me to wait 10 days and if the laptop had not arrived to then call them back. So after 10 days go by I give them another call. Hmmm, they say it’s been lost and UPS doesn’t know where it is. They offer to ship another one out to me. I ask if it will be the exact same one… “yes” they say.

Here is the product description line from my printed invoice…

HP Compaq EVO N610c / Pentium 4-M 1.8GHz / 14.1 inch / 256MB / 30GB / CD-RW / WiFi / Windows XP Pro Notebook PC Refurbished

Notice the “WiFi” in the description. Also, the specifications listed “Integrated WiFi” as one of the features.

When the laptop finally arrives, it is the correct model and works fine… except that it has no WiFi, not integrated or otherwise. So, I go back to check my printed receipt and yup, it is indicated there. I write them an email asking about the missing WiFi and if they will send me a free WiFi card or something. I get no reply. I then go check their website again and notice that the EXACT SAME ITEM no longer has any indication of having WiFi! So, they basically used false advertising and then switched the item description afterward. Well, I wasn’t about to send the laptop back because of this one minor thing, as I had waited for it long enough already.

Then I noticed that they also shipped me something called eTrust PestPatrol Anti-Spyware. Thinking this was a freebie, I ignored it at first. Later, I checked the packing slip which had some small print as follows:


Naturely, I was concerned that I might be charged for something which I DID NOT ORDER and DID NOT KNOW I WOULD BE GETTING. I called them up and told them I do not want this product. They said, “Ok, just ship it back to us.” I asked if they would pay for the packaging and shipping to send it back and they said no. What?! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! Now, shipping it back would not have been that big of a deal or that expensive, it’s just that I was put off by their deception. I told them I would not ship it back and I would cancel any charges they put on my credit card. They then forwarded my call to someones voicemail. I left a message. I wrote them 3 separate emails explaining things. I left them another voicemail. No reply. I waited and waited, called them again, and was forwarded to someones voicemail once again. No reply.

Luckily, my credit card number happened to change before the 30 day trial was up, so they couldn’t bill me if they tried. I did get a notice from them in the mail saying they couldn’t ship my order until I gave them a valid credit card number. Ha, seeing as I haven’t ordered anything more from them, I can only assume this was for the Anti-Spyware software sitting unopened on my shelf.

Whatever. They are not getting any credit card information from me and I am never buying anything from them again.

Why I think Rogers sucks

Date: 2005-12-09

I have been a subscriber to Rogers High Speed Internet service since 1998, having toughed it out through a lot of good and bad times with them. But in the last year service has really gotten bad. Internet access cuts in and out frequently… and it’s not just my computer, network card or router as I always have a glance at the cable modem sitting on a desk beside me and see that the CABLE LED light has gone out. Besides this, I use software called Bittorrent quite often. It is useful for downloading large files, specifically media and Linux distributions. For a fast Internet connection, bittorrent has always been noticable slow. I never really questioned it much and accepted it. About a month ago, my bittorrents stopped working altogether. I could not get it to even make initial contact with a tracker (if you use bittorrent, you’ll know what this means). So I call up Rogers support and ask if they are blocking bittorrent traffic. The guy says “Umm, no, our bittorrents are running fine here”, meaning the guy at least knew what I was talking about as he uses the software himself seemingly. Anyway, I started researching this on the Internet and found that Rogers does in fact throttle bittorrent packets on their network. And possibly is doing rolling black-outs of bittorrent traffic on certain IP blocks, which is probably what I was experiencing. Then last week I hear that they are discontinuing Usenet service. While I’m not a heavy Usenet user, I was alarmed at all the services that they are slowly eliminating. So, I started my quest for looking into some other broadband Internet provider and ended up switching to a small local ISP ( who has been in business for a long time and I’ve heard good things about them from friends. Yay, everything works again! And it’s fast! And cheaper than Rogers!

Now let me tell you how my Rogers cancellation call proceeded….

Rogers Agent: “I see you’ve been a customer for a long time, may I ask why you are leaving us?” Me: “Well, my bittorrent software doesn’t work very well with your service… among other problems.” RA: “I don’t know anything about this bittorrent, do you mind if I go ask someone and get back to you in a minute?” Me: “Umm, OK. (waits on hold for 5 minutes)” RA: “Ok, they’ve explained the situation to me. Yes, we do throttle bittorrent traffic because it slows down the Internet for everyone else.” Me: “But you advertise 60G bandwidth up/down per month” RA: “Yes, and I see that you don’t even use half of that amount” Me: “I know, and you’re saying I shouldn’t even be using what I am using?” RA: “No, you can use it, it’s just that this bittorrent slows down the connections for everyone” Me: “So, you are saying we can have 60G up/down as long as it’s only email and web traffic?” RA: “No, you can use whatever you like” Me: “But I can’t, since you throttle bittorrent… I mean really Rogers doesn’t want users like me. Rogers wants people that will only ever use email and surf the web.” RA: “Well, bittorrent slows down everybody elses connection, so it isn’t fair to the other users.” Me: “Well maybe Rogers should lower their bandwidth caps to not give the false impression that you might actually be able to use that amount!” RA: “But you can use it”

on and on it went…

Anyway, long story short, Rogers wants only users who will stick to email and web. Basically, users that have zero chance of using more than about 1% of their perceived 60G bandwidth limit. I guess if people using Rogers started somehow automating their browser to continually hit random sites all day, they would have to start throttling and possibly blocking web traffic too! Oh well, if they don’t want me or other power users, that’s fine. Bye-bye Rogers!

Easy Money

Date: 2006-05-01

If you’ve spent any considerable amount of time on the Internet, you’ve probably tried making money on it. I basically make all my income from working on the Internet, specifically by programming the back-ends to client websites. As you may or may not know, most of my type of work is being outsourced to India and other low-wage countries, usually leaving people such as myself having to work more for less. This is were the lure of “easy money” comes in as I have been researching internet marketing and search engine optimatizaion techniques. These are hardly new concepts anymore and I may be a bit late to the game but I think I’ll be giving it a go. I understand that there is no such thing as "easy money" but for someone such as myself who lives on the Internet and knows all the related technologies, the work should not be very hard and perhaps a bit enjoyable. The work basically entails driving web traffic to sites that contain affiliate ads or pay-per-click ads. I have a number of websites I’ve created in the past just for fun but have never really tried to promote or monetize them. I will initially be concentrating on Desktop Linux At Home, Southern Ontario Day Trips and Cropping News. I am also going to be partnering with someone else trying to do some environmental affiliate sales sites.

UPDATE: Easy Money… one year later Date: 2007-05-01

My experimentation with SEO ran out of steam about 4 months into it… but I did still manage to triple the income from the 3 sites I was concentrating on. The problem is that that is not saying much, as the sites were initially making very little to begin with. My advice, unless you are in a current hot niche market with your websites and are ready to commit a lot of effort into your SEO, don’t quit your day job.

If you are interested in trying out SEO and ad marketing, I would recommend reading the forums daily at

Mono "Hi-Fi" Wireless Headphones

Date: 2009/09/14 This past weekend I was searching for wireless headphones to replace the ones I use at work that are worn out. I remember getting my current ones from some grocery store for about $25 (about 5 years ago?) and was hoping to find something similar. Would like them small, lightweight and comfortable enough for wearing hours at a time during work. I checked a cheap local store, XSCARGO, and was surprised to find some for only $10. The box said had "Hi-Fi", "Super Bass" and even included an FM radio reciever built-in. Good deal, I thought... until I got them home and tested them. Even though the 3.5mm cabling that came with it had the obvious 3 sections, meaning that it’s stereo, the headphones themselves ended up only being mono. Same for the FM radio. I had another look at the packaging and sure enough the word “Stereo” does NOT appear anywhere on it. And I guess they can still call them "Hi-Fi" because that is a hazy term anyway. I went to 2 other cheap stores, Factory Direct and KW Surplus, and found different no-name chinese-manufactured wireless headphones in the $10 range that indicated "Hi-Fi" but not "Stereo". So, I have come to the conclusion that the makers of bulk crap electronics have realized that most people (at least the ones in the market for cheap headphones) can’t tell the difference between what stereo and mono sounds like when played in both ears. The cheapest ones I have found to date that are both wireless and stereo (I think) are at Walmart for $30 but they are huge. Canadian Tire and The Source (RadioShack) has them starting at $80. BestBuys cheapest pair was $120. Ebay is full of the cheap mono headphones and no real deals to be found on proper ones. I will keep looking.

Brute Force FTP Password Hacking On The Rise

Date: 2009/09/15

I know of at least six websites that I provide support for that have had malicious code embedded into their web pages in the last few months. The common entry point for the hackers in all of these cases has been FTP login. Each site had simple username/password combinations and hence were fairly easy to get into. It seems that the hackers are using an automated script to insert their code as I’ve found that every single file with the filename containing the words “index” or “default” gets modified, regardless of the extension (whether .htm, .html, .php, .asp, etc…) and whether it’s a file that is actually even linked to or not.

Commonly, an invisible iframe gets inserted after the <body> tag or then at the very end of the file to load external content.

The file on the remote site then delivers the real payload. Sometimes javascript code is inserted instead of an iframe. Again, the javascript code loads an external javascript file which contains the real payload.

If your clients haven’t made recent backups you will need to either manually remove the offending code snippets or then create a script to do it for you (if many files are affected). If you leave the code in place or don’t remove it quickly enough, the site will end up getting on Googles black list. Browsers like Firefox will then not show the site and instead put up a big red warning page. IE will continue to show the hacked pages and is probably the target of the malicious code in the first place. If your site does get black listed you will need to go request a re-scan from Google.

The easiest way to avoid this hack is just to make sure all your (and your clients) passwords are not overly simple. The password “password” is not a good choice while “fuMrHack8” is better.

Stores In The KW Area That Geeks Might Enjoy

Date: 2010/12/19

So after living in the Kitchener / Waterloo area of Ontario for over 10 years now there are a number of stores that I frequent for those geeky items not always found in your normal retail chains. I’ve listed the main ones below with a very brief description. If you know of others that I should check out please leave information in the comments.

Canada Computers – 230 Weber Street North, Waterloo Easily the best computer store in the area. They sell quality products (as well as cheap junk) with very good prices. I’ve been building systems from here for a long time and never had an issue. Their service might not always be the best and on the weekends they seem understaffed but if you know what you are getting this place can’t be beat.

J & J Superstore – 230 Weber Street North, Waterloo The place to go for all your boardgame needs! I can’t think of a better store in the province that has as large of an in-stock collection of boardgames (my source for Heroscape expansions). They also have a lot of comic books, figurines, collectibles, lego and trading cards. Another bonus, it’s right beside Canada Computers.

Kind Of Magic – 46 King Street North, Waterloo Fun little magic shop with all kinds of magicians props and trick gadgets.

K-W Surplus – 666 Victoria Street North, Kitchener A glorified dollar store with a lot of army stuff as well. Good for cheap cabling. They have a real tank out in front of their store and an evil street address.

XS Cargo – 1373 Victoria Street North, Kitchener Liquidation store with ever-changing inventory of items ranging from electronics to small household appliances. Be wary of buying any big ticket items from here because they are usually defective in some minor way or of ultimate inferior quality.

Factory Direct – 1138 Victoria Street North, Kitchener Similar to XS Cargo but with focus on electronic gadgets and computer parts.

Princess Auto – 2 Executive Place, Kitchener A very manly store full of heavy equipment for major repair, construction, etc... but there are also sections for miscellaneous electronics for computer and car.

Cambridge Surplus – 336 Eagle Street North, Cambridge Same as K-W Surplus but located in Cambridge... and I think I prefer this store as they have seem to have a better electronics section.

Sayal Electronics – 1040 Fountain Street, Cambridge Great for hard-to-find electronic components, adapters and cabling of all sorts. Good prices as well.

The Old Forum Cheap Thrills – 1001 Langs Drive, Cambridge Lots of unique geeky gift items and little puzzle type toys at low prices.

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