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Monday, March 2, 2009

Reader Mail #83

This article, via Hacker News, was annoying. A proposed law would require *EVERYONE* who operates a wifi network to keep full server logs for 2 years, including residential wifi operators.

Two bills have been introduced so far--S.436 in the Senate and H.R.1076 in the House. Each of the companion bills is titled "Internet Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today's Youth Act," or Internet Safety Act.

"Child pornography" is a pro-State troll argument used to favor censoring/restricting the Internet. Congressmen seem to think that everyone is using the Internet for nothing but child pornography.

This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. (Note: Executives at have denied the story. Here's the denial from

An album by U2, scheduled for release in March, was leaked to the Internet. It was being shared via BitTorrent and other filesharing networks. has an application you can download. It automatically uploads the title of every song you play on your PC to, as a "social networking" feature. Allegedly, the RIAA subpoenaed's records, getting a list of everyone who played the U2 album before release. is owned by CBS, making them eager to cooperate with the RIAA. Allegedly, the RIAA is going to pursue legal action against people who had the U2 album before release, and the used it with's "automatic upload title" software.

You'd have to be an idiot to install's software on your PC. Why would anyone install software on their PC that automatically uploads everything you watch or listen to? I once interviewed at a startup with a similar product. I asked them "Isn't this stupid? Only idiots would put this software on their PC." They said "We know it's stupid. We're doing it anyway." denied that they shared their user data with the RIAA. You're still an idiot if you install software on your PC that automatically tells someone else every song you play.

This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. He says the best way to write software is in small batches. For my PHP projects, since it's recreational, I'm just doing it a little at a time.

This data, via Hacker News, was interesting. It's a list of foreign holders of US Treasury debt.

Via google search, I noticed this statistics page for I referred them 12 visitors in January 2009 (up from 3 in January 2008)! That site appears to get a lot more traffic than my blog, but The Picket Line blog has fewer RSS subscribers than my blog, according to Google Analytics.

It appears that has a lot more bits than just The Picket Line blog.

This post by Db0 had an interesting point. Microsoft had a virtual monopoly with IE, and their browser was bundled with the OS. When first released, practically nobody used Firefox. Now, Firefox is the #1 browser.

I don't have the ability to use a mainstream media outlet to promote my blog. "Organic growth" of 5%-10% per month is working for me. If I appeared as a guest on a mainstream media broadcast, my site traffic would probably skyrocket.

Similarly, the State has a virtual monopoly of economics and information. Agorism will win eventually, because it is better.

This article by Mark Cuban was amusing. If you had $250k, would you have been better off investing in the stock market or with Bernard Madoff? If you had less than $500k invested with Madoff, you may be eligible for SIPC insurance, putting you ahead of a stock investor.

I liked this article on AbstractGeneratorFactory. He complains that Digg and Reddit suck, with steadily decreasing quality. I'm noticing a deterioration of Hacker News.

This is a problem with any website has that has "rate articles on a single global score". Once the site become popular, it caters to the least common denominator. The most intelligent users get disgusted and leave for greener pastures.

On sites like Digg and Reddit, you get cliques of people who agree to mutually upvote each others' articles. Making the front page of Digg or Reddit is a huge windfall, so there's many people actively gaming this system.

There no universal fair way to resolve this, because one person's trolling is another person's content.

There appears to be a legitimate market for a Digg/Reddit/Wikipedia killer. You only need 5-10 seed users to get an active online community.

The more I use Google Reader, the more I get disgusted with it. I probably shouldn't wait to finish my "Sudoku solver" before working on "FSK RSS Reader".

Working on "FSK RSS Reader" is kind of fun! I forgot that programming is interesting. Also, I feel my motivation returning/increasing. That's usually an indication of an impending relapse!

This article was interesting. If you're a member of the Church of Scientology, and you wind up in the psychiatric ward, then the Church of Scientology will use all its legal muscle to get you released as soon as possible.

That's a neat perk! I should join the Church of Scientology just for that, if they promise to make sure I'll never be admitted to a psych ward ever again. I'd pay $5k-$10k/year just for that benefit! It'd be neat if I didn't have to do anything else that the Church of Scientology requires you to do; I'd be viewing it entirely as a private police force arrangement.

Maybe I should find a lawyer who's good at bullying psych wards into releasing patients! That sounds like a decent business!

This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. An ISP in Europe did something stupid. Due to a previously-unnoticed bug, this stupidity propagated all over the world.

The article made an interesting point. The Internet is decentralized, with no "official" authority. This means that ISPs could individually quickly patch the problem, once they figured out what was happening.

This comment thread on Hacker News had an interesting bit.

The Devil speaking in the 1967 film Bedazzled: "There was a time when I used to get lots of ideas... I thought up the Seven Deadly Sins in one afternoon. The only thing I've come up with recently is advertising."

This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. It's a list of college-level Mathematics books.

If you're serious about learning Math and Computer Science, you can just buy a bunch of books without going to college. Of course, you have to be self-disciplined enough to actually do it. I know enough Math and CS now, so I don't do that anymore.

I saw an interesting bit somewhere. It said "Due to a quirk in the way Twitter works, traffic from Twitter shows up as direct traffic." I've noticed that sometimes, there's a spike in traffic for a post, with no referral. Maybe that's from Twitter?

I never understood "Promote your blog via Twitter". What happens if your ideas take up more than 140 characters?

If anybody out there is an active Twitter user, try circulating "Taxation is theft!" on Twitter.

This post on Rad Geek had some interesting stories about abuse by police. "No knock" raids are an example of abusive behavior by police. According to "natural law", there is no reason to do no-knock raids in the middle of the night. It's less confrontational to just detain the person when they leave for work. According to corrupt State law, no knock raids prevent victims from destroying evidence of non-crimes like possession of drugs.

There also were a bunch of stories of police shooting family dogs. If the police shoot your dog, they are not liable for any damages. The policeman can always claim "I thought the dog was going to attack me!"

These stories are interesting, because they contract the official State propaganda "Police are saints!" However, you cannot draw conclusions from extreme stories either way. If you cite the best examples of the police behavior, or the worst examples, that does not prove anything.

Via sovereign immunity, bad policemen are immune from negative consequences of their misconduct. With an absolute unaccountable monopoly, people do not have the option of firing their misbehaving police and buying protection from a competitor. There is no incentive for the bad guys to insure that police behave fairly, because they have an absolute monopoly. Superficial impressions of fairness are sufficient.

I liked this post on Show the Law, in reference to this YouTube video. Ed and Elaine Brown refused to pay income taxes, and were arrested. They had quite a few supporters. Many of these supporters were sentenced to particularly harsh prison terms.

That video was the father of someone who got a long prison term for supporting Ed and Elaine Brown.

When arguing against the income tax, you should not argue "Show me the law!" The correct argument is "The income tax is immoral!" Whether there is a law, or not, is irrelevant.

This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. The subject was "Should you use your blog as a resume?" A lot of PHP programmer jobs ask you for a list of sites you've worked on. Having built a blog with 200-300 regular readers should be worth something. Plus, when I get my own site, I'm going to write some of my own code rather than having just a plain vanilla WordPress setup.

On the other hand, a wage slave employer might discriminate against me based on the content on my blog. "Taxation is theft!" is too radical an idea for most people. Further, "FSK was involuntarily hospitalized with a mental illness!" and "FSK had bad experiences at previous jobs!" could be enough to discourage people from hiring me.

For now, I'll wait until I make full-time source income from blogging and agorism. It's too risky for me to have my real name associated with my blog, if I want a wage slave job.

BTW, the economy is *AWFUL* right now. When I was looking in October, I was getting 3-4 interviews per week. Now, I'm barely getting 1 interview per week.

I should get out of the wage slave track.

I liked this article, via Hacker News. It's an interview with the founder of 4chan.

The content on 4chan is not archived. Stuff that's older than a few hours disappears.

The worst part about the operator of "4chan" is that the site is expensive to run, he can't sell advertising (due to the nature of the site), and he can't get a wage slave job.

That article linked to this Tom Cruise interview, where he was discussing Scientology. I thought that video wasn't unfavorable. It seemed like Tom Cruise was talking about the same subjects I am in my blog, but with different definitions for things. For example, he uses "Suppressive Person (SP)" instead of "pro-State troll".

He also had another term, "Spectator". He appears to define "Spectator" as someone who thinks "Yes, the State sucks. However, I'm not going to take any personal risk. I'm going to just do my job and stand by idly while the bad guys assault people." That attitude is invalid, because if you voluntarily pay taxes, you're partially responsible for the evils of the State.

This article on the Picket Line had an interesting bit. The Pentagon writes news stories. Reporters for newspapers then publish the story verbatim, as if they wrote it themselves.

I read somewhere that the CIA/FBI had infiltrated the senior management of most/all mainstream media corporation. It only takes a handful of skillfully-placed executives to completely corrupt a business.

Drug companies also do this. The prepare a press release for a new drug. Mainstream media outlets then publish the press release as news. With shrinking budgets, it's very tempting for reporters to present press releases as news.

Drug companies spend billions of dollars on advertising. This makes the mainstream media a "captured regulator". They present the PR as news, because they don't want to threaten a big advertiser.

He also cited this monument celebrating George Bush in Iraq. The monument was shoe-shaped.

This article on ArsTechnica was interesting. A judge in Canada said that police can demand ISP logs without a warrant.

I suppose such a law exists in the USA, although I don't know the details. Even if I have my own site, the police may demand server logs from my host. Right now, Google has my full server logs.

On Wednesday night (February 25), I saw a comedy special on the Communism Channel. Jim Cramer and Erin Burnett were interviewing FDIC chairwoman Sheila Blair. I only watched the first few minutes.

It's worth watching, to see the fnords. Notice the way that Sheila Blair speaks. That's a tone of speech I've clearly identified as "evil". Notice the way she keeps saying "ahh" and "umm" over and over again.

That's the "academic ***hole" style of speech. Due to pro-State brainwashing, that style of speech makes the speaker seem more intelligent than they actually are.

Sheila Blair kept saying "ahh" and "umm" because she had to make sure that what she's saying doesn't contradict her pro-State brainwashing. She has to be very careful she doesn't accidentally say something true.

When politicians and State bureaucrats speak in public, it's 100% scripted. The reporters appear to be independent, but they're asking questions chosen in advance. If you're the type of person who asks "inappropriate" questions, then you don't get asked to interview a prominent politician.

"FDIC insurance keeps your bank deposits safe!" is itself an evil fnord. Via the FDIC, State regulators promise, if necessary, to print enough new money to protect customer bank deposits.

Via FDIC insurance, the nominal value of your savings is protected. The FDIC does not protect your savings from being stolen via inflation over time. In an FDIC-insured bank account, you are *GUARANTEED* to get ripped off by inflation over time, at a rate of 20%-30%+ per year.

I noticed something amusing. "StackOverflow Sucks!" is generating "Public Service Ads" for me.

Apparently, that violates their censorship standards. It's be nice if they gave me some kind of notice, rather than merely just serving Public Service Ads (PSAs).

The problem is currently on that page only. Based on your geographic location, AdSense might serve PSAs if there's no suitable advertisers.

My "Google Analytics Pageviews" is much greater than "AdSense Pageviews". The discrepancy may be that some of my pageviews are getting PSAs, according to my research. I doubt there are people who block AdSense but don't also block Google Analytics.

Google AdSense definitely appears suboptimal for advertising. It's a "good enough for now" option. I'll look into other options later. I'm better off focusing my attention on "write good content". I can always optimize my ad layout later.

On Friday, Citigroup set a new single-day volume record. I liked this source. The former record holder was WorldCom, when it was collapsing. AIG was third.

Before I realized that the stock market was one big scam, I thought "I'll buy Citigroup, Bank of America, and GE. They're nice safe stocks." I'll keep my current State-licensed investments. I've decided that the only new State-licensed investments I'm making are GLD and SLV.

Via Google Analytics, I noticed this thread discussing the Compound Interest Paradox.

Whenever someone cites my blog on another forum, it's always the same pattern. The person citing my blog was reasonable, and they are shouted down by several pro-State trolls.

That's one big reason I decided to get my own blog. I got frustrated answering the same points over and over again with pro-State trolls. It's harder for difficult people to disrupt things on my blog.

I'm more polite towards pro-State trolls when it isn't on my blog.

This comment was interesting.
Banks owning everything...who owns 40% of banks now???
Do you own land? Do you pay property taxes? What would happen if you stopped paying property taxes?

You don't really own your house. You merely have a perpetual transferable lease.

Do you own your own labor? Do you pay income taxes? What would happen if you stopped paying income taxes?

You don't really own your own labor. You have to get permission from the IRS in order to work. When you pay income taxes, you must pay in the form of Federal Reserve Notes. Federal Reserve Notes are only created when someone in the financial industry creates a new loan.

Therefore, you need to get permission (indirectly) from the financial industry whenever you work.

In that sense, the bankers *DO* own everything. The only way you can get money so you can have permission to work is if someone else took out a loan.

I don't get that guy's point. "HAHAHAHA!!! The bankers took it on the chin! They don't control everything!" Duh! Are you paying attention? The bankers just received $2T+ in direct and indirect bailout money. If that doesn't prove they're in charge, then what does?

That site directed quite a bit of traffic to my blog, so I decided to feed the trolls a little more.

Who is we? Bottom line, the fact that most of the power is in the hands of the few is not a bad thing. In fact it may be good. We will never know what it would be like to live in a world of unparalleled equality. But it would most likely be very boring.

"Concentration of power in the hands of a few people" is the opposite of a free market.

Consider a specific example. Someone provides an "anonymous tip" that you're growing marijuana in your house. The police conduct a no-knock raid. You are startled by the raid. The police think you are armed and shoot you. Later, it turns out that you had no marijuana and were unarmed. That's too bad for you. The policeman gets, at worst, a slap on the wrist.

You're confusing "equal opportunity" with "everyone is forced to share their wealth and live in poverty". Equal opportunity is good. Forcing productive workers to share with others is evil.

In the present, almost every industry is heavily regulated. This makes it hard to start a business. Software and computers are nearly completely unregulated, so there's much progress in that area.

Consider another example. Suppose that it required a $10M+ investment to start a website. This is concentration of power in the hands of the few, which you claim is good. Then, forums like this one would probably not exist.

Alexander has left a new comment on your post "Agorist Philosophy Overview":

I think that there is great merit in reducing the size and waste of government, but anarchy is not the solution.

Here we go again. It's time for some pro-State trolling.

The foundation of the free-market is property rights. To buy and sell, we must be first be able to own. We must have faith that a contract will be carried through. The only body capable of setting universal standards and of enforcing said standards is a government.

In the present, all property is owned by the State. You do not own your land, due to property taxes, zoning restrictions, and the possibility of eminent domain seizure. You do not own your labor, due to income taxes and other regulations. You do not own your savings, because they are stolen via inflation.

Giving someone a monopoly of contract enforcement is a bad idea. What happens if they start being abusive? What if they start charging extortionate prices? If I need to get a State court to enforce a contract, it will cost me $10k+, even if I'm right. I know many people who got screwed over, and realized "**** this! It'll cost me $10k+ to hire a lawyer, and even then I might win. I'm better off writing off the experience as a loss."

In my case, I was ****ed over by the psychiatry/death industry. It was impractical for me to pursue a malpractice claim in a corrupt State court.
You use private police as an example. Who would prevent the leaders of these private police forces from becoming despotic tyrants? Do you think that a "misbehaving" police force would stop if people stopped paying it? It would then surely rob and extort people.
We already have a misbehaving private police force that goes around robbing and extorting from people. It's called the government!

If you want to see a world where everything is privatized, go to a third-world country. Money buys police. The result is not peace, but chaos.

Most 3rd world countries are worse than the USA, because they have a more corrupt government rather than less government. For example, in some third world countries, the water service is "privatized", but starting a business that competes with the State monopoly is illegal.

If someone can credibly sell police protection that protects me from the State, I'll buy!

I shouldn't waste time responding to pro-State trolls. It's the same false arguments over and over again. It's a lot of effort spent for little benefit.

John has left a new comment on your post "The Compound Interest Paradox":

Let's say we have a farmer. The farmer plants things and sells them. On average, he gets around $50,000 a year for his crops. Since he's a very frugal fellow, he only spends $25,000 a year on farming equipment and necessities. To simplify things, let's say he has a fondness for money and likes to keep it in big holes on the outskirts of his farm.

There's no fundamental difference between the farmer, who takes in more money than he spends, and the banks, who also take in more money than they spend in the form of interest. The only difference is that the bankers, being fat cats, spend or reinvest all the extra money that the banks get. So the farmer is actually a bigger problem than the bankers. Amirite?

This is more pro-State trolling.

It's always amusing to see people say "I logically refuted the Compound Interest Paradox!" when they're reciting incoherent gibberish.

Look at my page of examples.

The defect of your counter-example is that you do not look at the books of "society as a whole". If you consider the example of one bank and one person, without looking at everyone, you don't see the Paradox.

The banker merely printed new money out of thin air and lent it to the farmer. The farmer must produce tangible crops to earn enough to repay his loan. If the banksters cause a deflationary recession/depression, then the farmer is SOL, and the banksters then have the nerve to blame the greedy farmer who borrowed money.

When you suggest that a productive worker is morally inferior to a parasitic banker, you are entirely pro-State trolling. A farmer produces something useful and tangible. A banker is merely profiting from a corrupt economic system that creates artificial demand for his product. Competing currencies are outlawed.

The 26th has left a new comment on your post "The Compound Interest Paradox":

I think the fundamental problem with this post is that you're confusing stock and flow. Let's take the house example and just have two people in this economy, the and you.

Day 0: owns an extra house and you only possess labor and your only need is housing. You make $2/day by working for and currently have $0.

Assets in the economy:
Mr.Bank: $100(value of house on day 0) and $100 in cash.
You: $0

Housing is worth $2/day to you over 100 day time period (current price is $100) so you agree to buy the house from He sells you the house for $100 and loans you $100 (since you're cashless) so that you can buy it. You agree to pay $100 in interest on day 100 for a total of $200, $100 in principal & $100 in interest.

Assets in economy:
Mr.Bank: $100 Cash. ($200 future claim)
You: $100 house. (-$200 future claim.)
total: $200(today) $0(future balance)

Day 100: You pay back $200 because you've made that much money from Mr.Bank through labor. You now own the house. has $200 because he sold you the house. made $100 by loaning you $100.

The total assets in the economy is now:
Mr.Bank: $300 cash
You: $100 house.
Total: $400

So to recap, at day 0, there was $200 in the economy plus your labor.

Once the financial transaction took place, there was $100 cash, and $200 in future claims. So Mr. bank traded $100 cash for a $200 future claim.

On Day 100, you get a house worth $100 and now Mr. Bank has $300. Where did the additional $200 in the economy come from? It came from your productive labor. The interest earned by Mr.Bank is the returns to capital and you gained a return to labor of $200. $100 was used to buy the house (principal) and $100 is the use value you received from housing (transfered to Mr.Bank through interest payments).

This is how economy grows. It comes from productive activity. Money like labor is productive because money is a store of past value (though not a perfect store). Since you own the house now, you can sell it to someone else for $100 and earn a return on it because money stored the value of your past productive capacity which you invested in a house. Or you can live in it since you value housing.

Just because you pay back more than you borrow doesn't mean we're on a path to destruction. There's an element of time in the calculation during which productive uses of capital is undertaken. You would never borrow $100 to pay back $200 unless it's going to make $100 in the interim. And it can only do so if you have some place to productively invest it.

You made the exact same mistake as the above commenter. I'm not repeating myself.

You are confusing "creating wealth" with "creating money". Only bankers have the power to create money. When I work, I create wealth, but I am *NOT* creating money.

I shouldn't waste time responding to idiots. I'm seriously considering censoring stupid comments like the above ones.

fritz has left a new comment on your post "The Myth of Bank Nationalization":

I will lend you one ounce of gold if you pay me back in 1 year.The interest rate will be 2 ounces of silver..

That's pretty high. That's an implied interest rate of 3%+! The gold lease rate is currently around 0%.

I'd be better off maximizing my credit cards, than making a gold-denominated loan from you.

My problem is not "I want to borrow at a gold-denominated loan." My problem is "I need a safe place to store my savings!"

I would only deposit in a gold warehouse receipt bank if the bank credibly promised "I will protect your savings, *EVEN* if State enforcers raid my business."

barry b. has left a new comment on your post "The Myth of Bank Nationalization":

What did Andrew Jackson do? Wouldn't renew the charter on the bank and moved all gold deposits to federal banks or something. Anyway I'll have to look it up but I remember reading that Andrew Jackson but an end to central banking for decades after his presidentcy

I haven't researched this closely. Wikipedia had a decent article on the history. (I feel dirty linking to Wikipedia.)

The first US central bank was created in 1791, shortly after the Federal government was created. It was given a 20 year charter. It was a disaster and the charter was not renewed in 1811. Some people say this was the true cause of the War of 1812.

The second US central bank was created in 1816. It was also given a 20 year charter. In 1836, Andrew Jackson vetoed the renewal law. Andrew Jackson then placed all Federal government deposits in state banks. Andrew Jackson fully repaid the national debt.

From 1836-1863, the banking industry was nearly completely unregulated at the Federal level. It was still regulated at the individual state level.

In 1863, the National Bank Act effectively nationalized the banking system. I liked this quote from Wikipedia:

all national banks were required to accept each other's currencies at par value

This was a legal tender law. If bank A was nearly insolvent, but bank B was sound, then bank B was forced to accept money from bank A at par. Sound banks were unable to protect themselves from insolvent competitors, by refusing to accept their paper.

(This bit deserves its own separate post.)

Barefoot's World was a good website. The owner appears to have died.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - Good Web Hosting?":

Try - "Pay As You Go" hosting.
I end up paying about 8 cents/day.

Based on my projected traffic and usage, I'm better off going with a bigger vendor like Linode.

I noticed this thread on the Ron Paul Forum. Gilliganscorner was promoting my blog.

I got bored/frustrated with the Ron Paul Forum. People were busy arguing "It's possible to reform the State! All we have to do is elect Ron Paul!" They didn't seem receptive to "Who needs a government anyway?"

That thread seemed to degenerate into a flamewar.

Interestingly, that citation only led to 2 visits to my blog, according to Google Analytics.

That's an interesting experiment I should conduct. "Promoting my blog on which sites leads to the greatest bang for my buck?" Right now, I'm just following Google Analytics citations and then maybe joining the discussion.

I'm noticing a dramatic increase in the amount/quality of pro-"real free market" thinking and writing on the Internet in the past year. Is that an indirect consequence of my blog, or would it have happened anyway?

DixieFlatline has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - Domain Name Registrar?":

I used Godaddy, but they are pretty spammy and annoying. Their control panel is lame.

I've heard enough GoDaddy horror stories to know to avoid them.

I now use Namecheap. I think they are really solid.

You can google for coupons for most of the major registrars like Namecheap, Godaddy et al

Namecheap looked decent. I'm not really interested in a coupon.

I asked on the Linode Forum and got as many different choices as responses.

PJM has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - Domain Name Registrar?":

Used them for years w/ no issue.

I'm going to pick a US-based registrar.

Josh has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - Domain Name Registrar?":

You don't need to spend $20 a month on hosting.

If you get my $55 a year plan, I'll include a free domain name. But yes, domain names are pretty much the same everywhere, no need to spend more than $8 a year.

I'm probably going with one of the more serious vendors, but I appreciate the offer.

DixieFlatline has left a new comment on your post "Web Hosting Search Summary":

I've never heard of slicenode or linode or cathode. Don't buy more hosting than you need. Right now, you are only blogging. Until you have a few hundred lines of code written, you don't need more. It's a waste. Trust me on this. Everyone is month to month, you can always upgrade later, even at the same host, possibly in a seamless manner (as easy as their sysop flicking a switch or clicking a link).

I'm planning to expand from blogging to other things. I can write a few hundred lines of code in a day or two. I'm planning on having my RSS Reader and forum engine ready by the time I purchase my own site.

One thing I've learned is "Buying the cheapest option isn't always best!" I've decided that "Full root access on my Linux server slice!" is a perk worth paying for.

Unlimited is a farce. Be wary of these vendors as they oversell.

I know that. Linode isn't unlimited. They literally give you a 1/n slice of their server, where n depends on the tier of package you get.

I use WAMP locally for mucking about in PHP. I can't code, but I can hack. WAMP works fine until I am ready for a production environment.

I'm doing my development on WAMP. When I worked as a PHP programmer, my WAMP code worked on the production LAMP server without problems.

You're making a classic entrepreneurial mistake. You are scaling revenue. There are no guarantees you will ever make another nickel from Adsense. That is why you need to diversify your income sources. Google is very fickle when it comes to it's vendors.

I made more than $40 both in January (partial month) and February (full month). Therefore, I'm justified spending $20/month in hosting. Assuming I go over $100 total in March, I'll have 4 months of data when my first AdSense check arrives in May.

I'm looking to experiment with other ad networks.
  • AdSense via RSS was a flop. I'll look for another "ads in RSS feed" option.
  • When I write my RSS reader or forum engine, I'll try a different ad network than AdSense. AdSense is unsuitable for an RSS reader or forum application.
  • With AdSense, I'm dependent on ad clickthroughs to make money. If I get 10k pageviews but no ad clickthroughs, then I make $0 via AdSense.
  • There's a limit to how low a page eCPM Google can offer via AdSense. Otherwise, their customers would leave for competing networks. Google doesn't have a monopoly in this area.
AdSense is suboptimal. AdSense is a "good enough for now" option. I'm better off spending time on "write good content and grow traffic" than "optimize ad layout". My goal from AdSense was "earn enough to pay for hosting", and it appears that I'll do that. Even better, I can afford a high-quality package like Linode.

You have twice posted something inaccurate about Adsense. Adsense works on dynamic pages.

This is false. AdSense's ad server has to crawl a page ahead of time, to determine suitable content. If I generate the page on-the-fly, then there will not be appropriate AdSense ads. If I generate a customized page for each individual user, AdSense won't work.

Google spends most of it's resources on 2 things. Search and Adsense. The reason is, earnings off ads on the search network can be as high as 10x as much as the content network. You are on the content network, basically Google's cheapest traffic because it is relatively untargetted. Anyway, Adsense does work with dynamic pages, has for years.

I decided that I'll experiment with another ad network for my forum engine and RSS reader. They may be ad-free when I first offer them.

TLA is a steady measurable income. You get monthly contracts to display a link, and so you are better able to budget. Again, you should not put all of your eggs in one basket, but a mutual friend of ours had sold a link quickly by signing up, since your blog is geared more to financial discussion and investment, I think you have more opportunities to monetize.

I might try TLA. I'll look into it again later.

Youe eCPM is probably going to end up around $2~$2.50. Your ad positioning and blending is not very good. But even then, eCPMs have been falling with Google for some time. We are in a deep recession you know, since content network converts less than search, you will see less advertising on the content network, which means lower bids, and lower revenue for you.

You're contradicting yourself. "FSK will never get a page eCPM greater than $2.50 with AdSense." and "FSK has a badly optimized ad layout." My page eCPM actually is around $2.50, so my layout can't be that lousy, now can it?

If I were serious, I should do things like "A/B testing" to optimize my ad layout. A/B testing is where you serve layout A to 50% of your users and layout B to 50% of your users, and see what does better. I don't have the traffic to justify wasting time on that right now. Plus, it's hard for me to script/track that via Blogger. The standard deviation of my AdSense revenue is *SO HIGH* that I can't imagine measuring anything useful from A/B testing.

Why are you so hostile here? It's my money and I'll spend it as I please. $20/month seems doable with AdSense, based on my 2 month experiment. Compared to January, my page eCPM went down but my traffic increased. My traffic should continue to increase.

Josh has left a new comment on your post "Web Hosting Search Summary":

thanks for the mention and plug.

My hosting is not limited to availability, because hosting is so cheap today that it's hard to sell, I have more than what you and 20+ friends will need at a time.

I understand I didn't spend time to design my webpage, and I work on my own for the most part, so my operation IS much smaller.

But, if you're worried about "quality"? Why don't I let you do a free test drive for a week or so, pay when you're satisfied, stop using if you're not?

I'm going to just go with one of the more "serious" vendors. They offer:
  • 24x7 support, since they're more than a 1 man operation.
  • A discussion forum and support, either by the site owners or the other users.
  • The ability to move up to larger packages if my site grows.
  • Professional quality support for things like DOS attacks.

I was speaking with someone interviewing for a job as a NYC high school physics teacher.

Typically, there's a *DESPERATE* shortage of qualified teachers in NYC, especially in the area of Math and Science. You would be able to easily get a job, but it'll be in a school where there's a real risk of being shot/stabbed by one of your students.

There are almost no openings, even in the area of Math and Science, teaching in a "dangerous" high school.

When the economy sucks, working for the State is a guaranteed "stable" job.

I considered high school teacher, but rejected it. Obviously, working directly for the State is immoral. Further, I'd be the sort of person who would say true things to his students, which probably would get me in trouble.

I've seriously considered starting an agorist homeschooling business. I'll do that when/if I have children and manage to homeschool them.

Thomas Asaro has left a new comment on your post "Web Hosting Search Summary":

Let us know if we can answer any questions for you. If you haven't already, you may also want to stop by our community IRC channel: #linode on

I've nearly settled on Linode as my hosting vendor. I'm not going to make my purchase until my first AdSense check arrives sometime in May. My plan is "use AdSense revenue to pay for hosting", so I have to wait for my first AdSense check to arrive.

Blogger sucks. The more I research WordPress, the more I realize "It would be nice to have a blogging engine that didn't suck!"

Linode offers monthly packages, so I could move (if necessary).

I'm still really confused about domain registrar, but I'll look at that more.

I asked about "Who's a good domain registrar?" I'm still confused by the many choices. I'll probably pick one of the "$10/year" options, rather than picking the absolute cheapest.

I asked about options bigger than a Linode 2880 (the biggest package). The answer was "You may buy several Linodes on the same server and combine them. It's comparable to what you'd find elsewhere, for the same quality hardware." Other sites may give me a dedicated server cheaper, but it wouldn't be as good.

I asked for an analysis of "Why is Linode better than Slicehost?"

Overall, the "community support" seemed good enough. I was able to get any LAMP/WordPress questions answered via Google, especially "How to install and configure?"

DixieFlatline has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #82":

"The union contract could get thrown out in bankruptcy, and the union would be forced to renegotiate a contract that's less favorable for employees."

That is a flawed point. Unions don't negotiate contracts favourable to employees. They negotiate contracts favourable to the union. It is an important distinction. Unions are just another cartel, instead of a state cartel of business, you have a state cartel of labour. And unions are just, if not more, coercive and violent than many companies.

I agree with "Unions, as currently regulated by the State, are a net evil."

State regulation of unions neuter their effectiveness. Unions are effectively a branch of the State.

Unions are effectively cartels. If you oppose cartelization of business, then by the same principle have to oppose the cartelization of labour.

There's nothing wrong with employees deciding their employer is ****ing them over and quitting en masse. There also should be nothing wrong with the employer firing the lot of them and hiring replacements. There should be no State restrictions that prevent the workers from starting a competing business.

The economic system is set up to benefit insiders at the expense of the average person. The average person would be much better off in a true free market system.

The average person does not exist. Like the marxist man, or GI Joe, he is a strawman. A fantasy myth. The goal is not to serve the average in a market system. It is to serve everyone, acknowledging that everyone is not average.

When I say "average person", I mean "typical productive worker". Of course, there is no "average".

99.9%+ of the population would be better off in a Stateless society, rather than the system in place right now.

One mistake that many people make is they look at "relative wealth" rather than "absolute wealth". Suppose I could make everyone has as much real wealth as a CEO does now? That would be wonderful. However, the CEOs would resist, because they wouldn't be "ahead" of everyone else anymore.

Are you accusing me of being anti-capitalist now?

I've thought you have always had some anti-capitalist sentiment. I absolutely cannot stand anti-capitalists, but obviously I can stand and even respect you.

I am pro free market. The system commonly known as capitalism is not a true free market system.

I prefer to debate ideas, rather than labels.
Pro-state troll (which thankfully I have been reading less) and wage slave.

There were some good pro-State trolls above.

Pro-State troll is a well-defined term. It isn't used elsewhere, so it means what I say it means.

A pro-State troll is someone who, consciously or unconsciously, argues against true free markets. For example, you might say "Large corporations are a natural free market occurrence." I disagree. There are no free markets to cite as an example, so how can anyone be sure? You might say "Assembly lines are more efficient than small local producers." I disagree. With proper tools, a small producer is as efficient or more so than a large factory. In the present, nobody bothers trying, due to the massive State subsidies received by owners of large factories.

The cynical answer is "A pro-State troll is someone who disagrees with FSK." That isn't universally true. For example, your criticism of my decision to spend $20/month on webhosting is just plain stupid, and not pro-State trolling.

Recognizing pro-State trolling is like recognizing pornography. I know it when I see it.

Another point to emphasize is that I don't censor pro-State troll comments (although I sometimes wonder if I should). The correct response is to ridicule them, rather than censor them. Eventually, most of them get disgusted and leave.

Regarding wage slave, this post by Mike Gogulski is a good description of working as a wage slave. A wage slave is when you're working for someone else, and paid based on face time rather than actual work done. Even if you're 2x-5x as productive as your peers, you don't typically get paid 2x-5x as much. A wage slave cannot say "**** you!" to his employer and start a competing business, due to State restriction of the market.

Even if I do well, it would probably take years to build my blog or agorism businesses to the point where I'll earn as much as in a corporate wage slave job.

Besides "wage slave" isn't deriding my commenters. It's my experiences working as a corporate software engineer.

Even in a free market, a business will have employees. However, there's a natural limit. Suppose you're a talented manager who can run a factory by himself. Why would you work as an employee? You would raise capital and start your own factory. Only by restricting access to capital and restricting the market, can the bad guys force nearly everyone to work as an employee.

In a free market, competition among employers would lead to better working conditions from workers.

Even a CEO is, technically, an employee. In practice, the CEO is the owner of the corporation, because he controls its resources. Most/all CEOs are running someone else's business, rather than capable of building a $1B+ business from scratch without State subsidies.

The economic and political system labeled "capitalism" is not as a free market system.

That depends which definition we use. As private ownership of the means of production, it is very much a pro-market term.

I've repeatedly said "There's nothing wrong with private property." In capitalism, there's private ownership of the means of production, *COMBINED* with State regulations that restrict competition along with direct and indirect State subsidies for current capital holders.

Private property is good. Government subsidies for current capital owners is evil.

Josh has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #82":

If you're getting silver, try Scottsdale Silver, they take PayPal, offer free shipping, and recently have been cheaper than eBay.

I agree, bullion is better because it's cheaper and equally resellable if it's a name brand mint (Academy, Silvertowne, sunshine,northwest, A-Mark, Engelhard...etc.).

As for your hosting costs vs. adsense, why break even when you can be netting some profit? I sell stuff on eBay and I know you can get yourself a nice t-shirt, calendar, iPod accessory, movie for less than $10 (each), so why not save that extra $15 a month to yourself? Hell, $15 a month could mean an extra night at a bar, subscription to a new mag (or website, whatever else), or an ounce of silver.

I'll probably buy from AMPEX for my online purchases. I'll just buy bullion, rather than a coin with nusimatic premium.

You're being persistent with selling me hosting? Anyway, it's my site/money and I'll purchase hosting from whoever I choose. Maybe I'm being stupid, overpurchasing, and wasting a couple dollars a month, but that's my problem and not your problem.

There's one thing I've learned when buying computers and electronics. "Cheapest isn't always the best!"

barry b. has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #82":


Running wordpress is good if you update often, backup often, and limit the possibilities of entry points. Various web building platforms have flaws, and constant corrections. I was once hacked. This actually occurred because I was running a very old version. But I've also seen other platforms ruin thousands of websites.

The key is staying updated and backing up often. There's also some good tips for WP.

google "hardening wordpress"

Were you referring to this page?

Regarding SQL injection attacks, there's a very simple countermeasure. Whenever you accept a string input from a user, call mysqli_escape_string. This converts characters like apostrophe (') and hypen (-) to their escape sequences.

In a SQL injection attack, the attacker uses a string that SQL would interpret as a command.

For example, if you run "INSERT INTO table VALUES (" . $user_input . ")", without "sanitizing" $user_input, then the attacker could pick something for $user_input that corrupts your database.

That's an interesting observation:
  • When you host your own site, you have to worry about attacks.
  • When you host your own site, you also have to worry about DOS attacks. Google should be able to handle most attacks.
  • You have to keep upgrading your WordPress. WordPress is Open Source, which should limit weaknesses.


DixieFlatline said...

Government subsidies for current capital owners is evil.

As are government subsidies for the unproductive non-capital owners, the welfare beneficiaries of re-distributed wealth.

The class lines are not capital/without-capital (which is an anti-capitalist view). They are looter/non-looter. Plenty of looters through the state on both Wall Street and the ghetto.

This is false. AdSense's ad server has to crawl a page ahead of time, to determine suitable content. If I generate the page on-the-fly, then there will not be appropriate AdSense ads. If I generate a customized page for each individual user, AdSense won't work.

The spider doesn't hit every page. If you have logs, look at the bot activity and they will prove that the Adsense spiders do not hit every page. They collect their relevancy data primarily through their javascript code. And this means the bots serve another purpose by visiting your site. :)

On the fly pages get contextual ads served, this is the genius of Adsense. There are billions of dynamic pages, many created once and then destroyed automagically through scripting, and they get relevant ads served. But whatever. It doesn't matter if we agree on this or not.

You're contradicting yourself. "FSK will never get a page eCPM greater than $2.50 with AdSense." and "FSK has a badly optimized ad layout."

It's neat that you rephrased what I wrote, but I did not post "never" or "badly optimized". In fact, I did not say you had optimized at all.

My page eCPM actually is around $2.50, so my layout can't be that lousy, now can it?

$2~$2.50 is the settling point. Google takes all non-premium, untargeted customers down to this level because they own the game, and you just collect what they throw at you. The only shot you have of beating this, because they own the game, is to optimize and reach for higher eCPMs through your content and display. Optimizing is all a site like this, which is for all intents and purposes non-commercial, can do.

$2.50 is not a good eCPM. If you get under $2, there is a good chance they will terminate your account for not offering a solid ROI to their Adwords clients.

It's my money and I'll spend it as I please.

Indeed. Except you keep asking people what they think about things. If you intend to spend your money as you please, then it seems contradictory to ask for feedback or ideas, and then protest when you receive them.

Why are you so hostile here?

I wasn't aware that answering a request for an opinion was hostile. No hard feelings, I won't comment anymore. Good luck.

gilliganscorner said...

I noticed this thread on the Ron Paul Forum. Gilliganscorner was promoting my blog.

I got bored/frustrated with the Ron Paul Forum. People were busy arguing "It's possible to reform the State! All we have to do is elect Ron Paul!" They didn't seem receptive to "Who needs a government anyway?"

That thread seemed to degenerate into a flamewar.

It did. I thought there might be an agorist remnant floating around in there, but it is a waste of time now. I am trying to promote agorism where I can, but although I can sometimes manage to convince people the State is simply an outpost in their minds, the lack of will / lack of enthusiasm is astounding.

Josh said...

Yep, it's your money. When I was talking about Scottsdale Silver, if you bothered taking one look, all they do sell is bullion, nothing numismatic (not even rounds).

First you say my hosting vending isn't serious enough, now you're complaining I'm persistent, whatever works for you dude. As you can see, this is how often I'm online and available to provide my support, but I guess that's still not 24/7 100% of time. As for who's money and who's problem? I'd be lying if I said I wasn't trying to make money off you.

I'm not the one who lost my job a few months back either.

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