Sunday, January 25, 2009


One amusing suggestion concerning my meager Google AdSense ad revenue is that I do not write about Mesothelioma enough. At least a few years ago, it was rumored that law firms were paying outrageous ad click rates for the keyword "Mesothelioma" since they are able to make outrageous amounts of money from suing companies for causing this form of lung cancer from asbestos in the workplace. Maybe so, but I have been trying to stay focused on topics that I am actually interested in or at least trying to pass along useful information that I have run across.

I used Google AdSense advance reports to figure out that in 2006 and 2007 my click through rates (CTR) were 1.32% and 1.28%, but my CTR plummeted by 50% to 0.64% in 2008, even though my page views had climbed by 49% in 2008. That makes very little sense to me.

Given that my page view were up, which is consistent with my higher blogging rate in 2008, I do not think that I have a content problem per se. On the other hand, maybe my content mix has shifted enough and maybe some topics are significantly less interesting to reduce the likelihood of readers clicking on ads.

Maybe my content is simply less interesting to advertisers, whoever they really are, this year.

Another suspicion I have is that the Google ads are getting stale and people are just not clicking on them as much.

Another possibility is that Google click-fraud detection is incorrectly and unfairly reducing my click counts. It would be very interesting for Google to report that as a separate statistic.

Or, maybe my readers are financially far worse off than in 2006 and 2007, and simply do not click on ads because they can not afford to buy. I would hope that isn't the case, but it is not beyond the realm of possibility.

I did verify that my average earnings per click were actually slightly higher in 2008 (but not as high as in 2006), so that is not the source of the decline in my overall AdSense earnings last year.

-- Jack Krupansky

Saturday, January 24, 2009

AdSense falling off?

My Google AdSense ad revenue has fallen off dramatically over the past year even though my daily page views for my blogs and non-blog Web sites are roughly at the same level. My suspicion is that the dropoff is due to a combination of fewer new and interesting ads (fewer clicks) and lower bids for each ad.

Personally, whenever I do view any of my Web pages, the ads do not seem very compelling to me.

-- Jack Krupansky

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New -- massive blunder, broken links

On its surface, the new, especially with a blog, is a great idea. Unfortunately, the implementation has scored a major blunder: all links to historical, archival content on the "old" White House web site from blogs and other web sites are now hopelessly broken!! Oops.

What they really need is to restore the old web site to a shadow "archive" location and then have a piece of proxy software that redirects valid old archival links to the shadow "archive" location.

The same goes for archival content for speeches of political appointees at the Department of State, for example.

I find this "purge" to be rather offensive, and wholly unnecessary. It is an example of partisan political chicanery at its worst.

-- Jack Krupansky

Monday, January 19, 2009

Poor message for WordPress database overload - "Error establishing a database connection"

I clicked on a story headline in Google News and after a pause got a white page with the following message:


Error establishing a database connection

This either means that the username and password information in your wp-config.php file is incorrect or we can't contact the database server at localhost. This could mean your host's database server is down.

  • Are you sure you have the correct username and password?
  • Are you sure that you have typed the correct hostname?
  • Are you sure that the database server is running?

If you're unsure what these terms mean you should probably contact your host. If you still need help you can always visit the WordPress Support Forums.

None of that information was helpful in any way (user name, password, hostname) and did not clue me in as to the likely problem: the database server was probably simply overloaded due to the volume of traffic coming from Google News and that the best response is simply to keep hitting Refresh. Hitting Refresh eventually displayed the actual news story (sixth time?), but usually displayed the error message again.

The link to the story, Peanut Butter Salmonella Recalls Include Little Debbie Snacks, is

The displayed link in Google News was:

Peanut Butter Salmonella Recalls Include Little Debbie Snacks - 45 minutes ago - all 4,333 articles »

In case you cannot access the story, here is the first paragraph:

Little Debbie snacks are the latest peanut butter-containing foods to be recalled  amid a nationwide salmonella outbreak.  The outbreak has been linked to a Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) facility in Georgia which supplies peanut paste and peanut butter to 85 other food firms.  Little Debbie joined a growing list of companies that recalled snacks over the weekend.  Meanwhile, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers to avoid eating any foods that contain peanut butter.

Now, I'll get back to eating my Reese's Peanut Butter Cups before Homeland Security gets here and breaks down my door and confiscates them. I am assuming that Salmonella is already on the list of global terrorist organizations. To date, all attempts to negotiate with Salmonella have proven fruitless.

-- Jack Krupansky

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Apple Media Advisory: Jobs to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June

Here is the link to the official Apple Media Advisory concerning Steve Jobs' medical leave of absence. You have probably already seen the text of the internal Apple email:

Apple Media Advisory

Apple CEO Steve Jobs today sent the following email to all Apple employees:


I am sure all of you saw my letter last week sharing something very personal with the Apple community. Unfortunately, the curiosity over my personal health continues to be a distraction not only for me and my family, but everyone else at Apple as well. In addition, during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.

In order to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health, and to allow everyone at Apple to focus on delivering extraordinary products, I have decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June.

I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for Apple's day to day operations, and I know he and the rest of the executive management team will do a great job. As CEO, I plan to remain involved in major strategic decisions while I am out. Our board of directors fully supports this plan.

I look forward to seeing all of you this summer.


A wise decision by Steve. There was no need to martyr himself in pursuit of the insane ideal of performance and perfection that so many Apple zealots and followers had been promoting in such an idealistic and unrealistic manner.

Just last week I recommended that Jobs take a break. I am glad to see that his thinking is in line with mine.

Meanwhile, I am sure that Apple will survive just fine without him for the next six months.

-- Jack Krupansky

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Google Chrome bug: old tab whiteout

I tend to keep a lot of tabs open when browsing the Web. Sometimes I may not return to a tab for quite some time, possibly even an hour or more, but with Google Chrome there is a lengthy delay repainting old tabs. This has never been a problem for me using Microsoft Internet Explorer, but with the Google Chrome Browser, clicking on a tab that I have not viewed in a half hour or more results in the tab displaying completely empty, a rectangle of whiteout, for a few seconds, before Chrome finally displays the previous image of that tab. This is not a matter of reloading the Web page, just repainting of the previous contents. In fact, if I go back to an old Google News tab after a long period without viewing that tab, it takes a few seconds to repaint the previous display of news and then quickly loads the refreshed page with updated content.

I have not found any fix or workaround.

-- Jack Krupansky

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Google Chrome: Unable to display some Web page menus properly

I was looking up the retirement ages for Baby Boomers and ran into a government Web page that Google Chrome displays in a rather unusable manner. It has something to do with menus which do not display properly and end up overlaying the text and tables on the Web page.

See: Social Security Retirement Planner:

So, fo now, this is yet another reason I am holding off from using Chrome as my default Web browser.

I am using the up-to-date non-beta version of Chrome,

The page does display properly in both IE 6 and Mozilla Firefox

-- Jack Krupansky

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Edge question for 2009: What will change everything? What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?

John Brockman's Edge question for 2009 is now out: What will change everything? What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?

There are 151 contributors, for a total of 107,000 words.

I have not even begun reading any of them yet, but this one sounded intriguing:

Physicist; Albert Einstein Professor of Science, Princeton University; Coauthor, Endless Universe


And I definitely need to read this one:

Marti Hearst
Computer Scientist, UC Berkeley, School of Information; Author, Search User Interfaces


-- Jack Krupansky

Monday, January 05, 2009

Where did all the old spammers go?!?!

Overnight I received only one spam email message. Usually I would have two dozen or more. I did not receive a dozen all weekend. Also, I noticed that the spam messages I currently receive are newer formats and that I am not seeing any of the older formats. This suggests that something indeed happened to the older spammers. Maybe the recession killed them.

I have my email spam filters set to pass through all messages (so that I never lose any messages) but with "[SPAM]" tags on the subject lines so they can easily be deleted. I have not changed my settings recently.

Anybody else seeing a dramatic decline in incoming spam email messages?

-- Jack Krupansky

Sunday, January 04, 2009

NYT: We're Sorry - An error occurred?!?!

I would have thought that The New York Times Web site of all places would have done a much better job of handling errors. I was doing a simple search and up pops a "Member Center" Web page that says only:

We're Sorry

An error has occurred. Please try again later or contact Customer Service for assistance.

What does that mean, "an error"?? What kind of error?

The Web page URL file name is "apperror.html", so I suspect that an "application error" occurred.

I tried again, but got the same error.

This appears to be a bug in The Times Web site software.

Here's what I did...

I wanted to search for "energy efficiency" and "thomas friedman". I entered the following search text on the Web site home page:

"energy efficiency"  "thamas friedman"

The Times Web site software found no results due to the typo (Thamas instead of Thomas) and offered me the following correction:

Did you mean: "energy efficiency" "thomas friedman"

Fair enough. So, I clicked on the corrected query and that's when I got the "We're Sorry" response.

The problem is that the corrected query URL uses """ to represent the quotes, but that notation is only for use within HTML Web page text and is not supported in URLs. The bad URL that the Times correction (above) uses is:"energy%20efficiency"%20"thomas%20friedman"

A corrected URL (by me), which does work, would be:"energy%20efficiency"%20"thomas%20friedman"

Now, let's see how long it takes The Times to correct the bug in their correction to my typo.

-- Jack Krupansky

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Where is all of my SPAM???

I have my email spam filters to send spam through but with the subject line tagged with "[SPAM]", but lately I have been getting much less spam. In fact, this morning I only got one spam message and it was Yahoo discussion spam, which is a different beast than your usual spam. So, what has happened to the spammers? Have "The Authorities" shut them down? Are they having server problems? Have they had a change of heart? Have they gotten real jobs? What's up?? Of course the big question is whether this is simply a temporary lull, and that maybe the spammers will be back in full force before you know it.

Has anybody else noticed a decline in spam in the past couple of days?

-- Jack Krupansky

2009 - check

Success! I managed to write the current year properly ("2009" rather than "2008") on my very first attempt, my January rent check, this morning.

Hopefully, the rest of 2009 (did it correctly again!) will go as well.

-- Jack Krupansky