Facebook Humour Internet Thoughts

Woman Claims watching 3D film made her pregnant: HOAX

Except she didn’t, because it’s a hoax. This has been posted on Facebook a lot today despite being back from mid-2010. For some reason it’s doing the rounds again, along with a load of people posting ‘LOL I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE ARE SO STUPID HAHAHA’, etc.

See confirmation here:

The only stupid people here are those that believe something is true because it’s posted on Facebook. Seriously, before you re-post, do some utterly basic fact-checking or risk looking like an idiot.

Google Internet Review Thoughts

Google Translate vs. Bing Translate. Which is better?

You may have noticed recently that Facebook has started offering the option to ‘See Translation’, if one of your friends has a status message or comment written in another language. These translation services are provided by Bing (i.e. Microsoft), in one of a multitude of copycat services first provided to the internet by Google. I have always used Google Translate, but which is better?

Here is a common example. One of my friends is French, and currently looking to buy a house. She’s been having trouble finding one that suits, and starts by saying in English, “Why do houses always look better on adverts than in reality?”

This is a exchange between her and a friend, so we’ll just refer to them individually as A and B.

B replies: vous avez visite une maison?
Bing Translation: you visit a House?
Google Translation: you visit a House?

A says: Oui, mais c’est pas pour nous – trop à faire. Je desespère un peu…
Bing Translation: Yes, but it’s not for us – too much to do. I desespère a little…
Google Translation: Yes, but it’s not for us – too much to do. I despair a little …

B says: oh bien alors ma poulette. Si tu as besoin de quoi que ce soit, n’hesite pas.
Bing Translation: oh good then my pullets. If you need what anyone, not hesitate step
Google Translation: oh well then my chick. If you need anything, do not hesitate

My friend’s husband then chips into the conversation and says: On a besoin d’une maison.
Bing Translation: There is a need of a House.
Google Translation: We need a home.

Now, I don’t speak French, but that is rather the point. The purpose of translation services is to help me make sense of what people are saying. Just from this little anecdote we can see that Bing seems OK with short, simple sentence structures, but quickly becomes erratic when handling anything more complex.

Google easily wins here – its translations make the most sense, gramatically and conversationally. Bing’s inability to translate a word as evident as ‘poulette’ is very poor. One wonders at Facebook’s motivation in choosing Bing as their partner in this endeavour as clearly it’s very easy for monkey to see, but harder for monkey to do.

Humour Internet Thoughts

Top 10 Mistakes Women Make On Their Dating Profile

I’m not much of a fan of the meat-market of dating websites, mostly because the profiles I’m looking at are distinctly unappealing. I’ve conducted some highly intensive research (browsed profiles for a few hours), and made a list of the 10 worst mistakes women make over and over – a lot of them relate to photographs!

  1. Excessive cleavage in profile pics: I understand that you have tits – that is one of the most defining features of being a woman – but I really don’t want to see them falling out in your photos. Lots of men are stupid, knuckle-dragging arseholes that are drawn to images of booby-cleavage, but unless you’re looking for a horny wanker I’d really recommend putting them away. This also goes for Myspace emo pics taken from above your head, where you’re pouting up at the camera giving everyone a horrifying view straight down your top. The ‘gentlemen’ you whine that you can’t find are probably looking for a little class and modesty, so it’s little wonder they pass you by.
  2. Mirror photographs: Nothing says low-tech and lazy like a blurry picture of you standing in front of a mirror holding a camera phone. If you really have NO other pictures of you this might be acceptable as long as you’re not looking at the phone while you do it. You don’t need to be looking at yourself on the camera viewfinder to take the picture, so why are you?
  3. Insane photos of you drinking: We understand you’re looking to portray yourself as a highly sociable fun and wacky girl, but a picture of you with an electrocuted maniacal expression on your face while holding a pint of cheap beer does not make you interesting. It makes you look mental.
  4. Photos/talking about your pets: Ok look, I know you haven’t got a boyfriend, and a lot of people get a pet to fill the void of love and attention that they need in their life. A lot of men actually like pets too, no joke. But unless I have a cat or dog fetish what I’m looking for in a dating profile are pictures of you. I get that you love your cat, dog, goldfish etc. but telling me how much you love them, or how anyone that isn’t totally on board with them shouldn’t contact you, will make you look like a crazy pet lady.
  5. No individual pictures of you: If you have five pictures on your dating profile, and they’re all low-resolution group shots I’m going to find it hard to see what you actually look like, or even worse, I won’t be able to work out which one in the photos is supposed to be you. Help a guy out!
  6. Unnecessary requirements: You don’t need to say you’re looking for a nice guy. Everyone is looking for a nice guy – that’s pretty much a given. Unless you’re a sado-masochist who is looking for a bad boy to whip you into submission, you don’t need to touch on the fact you’re looking for a ‘good’ person at all. Not least because if a guy is a completely insensitive prick, the fact he doesn’t qualify probably won’t stop him contacting you.
  7. Miserable photos: People generally look better when they’re smiling. If you have a neutral, or downright bloody miserable expression on your face, this does not look good. You don’t need to be grinning like a maniac but an expression that isn’t you scowling at the camera would probably come off better.
  8. Nothing to say: Lots of the profiles I read say ‘Errr I don’t know what to write here, if you want to know anything, contact me’. If all I’ve got to go on is the fact you’re so damn unimaginative you can’t even think of a way to describe yourself, I won’t ever message you. Say something. And by something don’t tell me you like hanging out with friends or watching films – 99.9% of the people on the site do that and it’s boring. What else have you got?
  9. Talking about ex-relationships: Ok, your ex partner was a dick. Unlucky for you, but most of us have been there. Don’t start by saying how you have a history of crap relationships because sadly the only common factor that I’m aware of is you. You might be an awesome person who’s had a run of bad luck – that can happen – but it’ll just come off sounding like getting to know you is probably rolling the dice with my sanity and I won’t bother.
  10. Describing themselves as attractive: This one annoys me the most. You might be considered attractive to some people – everyone is different – but if you tell me that you’re ‘Sexy and smart’, I’m actually going to think you’re ‘Conceited and stupid’. Confidence is good, arrogance is not. Particularly if the arrogance is a thin veneer for a host of self-confidence issues that are lurking under the surface, which is probably more likely.

These are just the top 10 I could think of. There are plenty more. For better or worse you are trying to present yourself in the most balanced and basically positive way possible. It seems that most ladies walk the line between being completely dull and indistinct, or going out all to make it sound like they’re the wackiest, funniest, smartest person that ever lived. The latter just sounds like a fluffed CV for a job you’re not qualified for, and it shows. Combine that with an array of terrible photo choices and you’ll see why, if I do ever venture into the hell of online dating, I’ll spend most of my time grimancing.

Google Internet Thoughts

Google Adsense ‘Finalized’ Earnings Adjustments

Like many budding internet-types looking to monetize from content, I have a Google Adsense account; the adverts for which can be seen on this very page. I am a fairly typical user who exists in the mid-range of popularity where I break the minimum payment threshold every month, but I’m not a mega-bucks earner who lives off it.

I have noticed however that Google’s earnings revisions have been getting very harsh in recent months. Fairly significant sums of money are being knocked off my earnings total when Google does its final revenue ‘checking’ about a week after the end of the month.

In May 2011 Google apparently changed the way it calculates and adjusts for invalid clicks such that if you were seeing a discrepancy in the way earnings were calculated, you were assured it was just because of the delay between the initial clicks and the method used to calculate invalid ones. Ultimately you were being told you hadn’t ‘lost’ money, it was actually money you’d never earned to start with.

More recently Adsense has been making adjustments much faster – in real time. I often notice that my account will say I’ve earned, say, £3 so far on a certain day, but when I check back later it’s gone down to £2. Some adjustment is being made constantly, and yet my final earnings still get revised at the end of the month on top of this real-time mechanism.

Lately this ‘correction’ has been getting worse, so I went back and checked how much my finalized earnings were verses my estimated earnings for that month. Here is a table of the last year to show the percentage by which my finalized payments were revised down from my estimates:

Date% of Earnings Revised Down

* Google had a payment error in September 2011 for many users, resulting in their payment being deferred to October. The figure for October is the August/September earnings combined.

Here is a graph of the same:

In the last few months there has been very evident spike in the size of the earnings revisions being made. My usage of adverts is strictly legitimate, so I’m at a loss to explain how Google are deciding why so many more clicks are invalid.

The major problem with Adsense is its lack of accountability and reporting on this issue. You’ve given a revised figure, but absolutely no indication how it was calculated. There is no breakdown of total clicks against valid and invalid clicks, or the methodology used to determine invalidity. Google is the least accessible vendor for advert publishers, because there is no direct support line, email address, or contact form. All online enquiries are very tightly funneled against an FAQ of common problems, and give you no opportunity to raise a free-text question.

In other words, there is no appeals process against revised earnings. It’s calculated without explanation, and applied with no way to complain.

Google long ago abandoned all references to ‘Don’t be evil’, and while this isn’t evil necessarily, it’s certainly unhelpful, confusing, and limited, but more worryingly, deliberately so.

Internet Thoughts

What is the point of ‘follow for follow’ on Twitter?

Before I allow myself to be impressed with the number of followers an individual has on twitter, I always stop to check how many people they follow themselves.

If you try this yourself you’ll see a surprisingly large number follow at least as many, if not more, as follow them. I call this the follow ratio, and its very important. Huge numbers of people are playing the meta game – they want a big number next to their name to give the illusion of popularity. And it is an illusion, because a person with a low follow ratio is probably as worthless as a tweeter with 10 followers but who follow nobody themselves.

I recently happened across someone with 2800 followers. Impressive? Not when I saw they were following more than 3000 back.

Consider the impracticality of subscribing to 3000 people. That’s enough to make Twitter useless. It’s too many people churning out too much data for anyone to comprehend. You can certainly filter these people into different lists, but again, even the lists for such numbers would be unmanageable. The point is that these people don’t want to read tweets, they want people who, when followed, feel compelled to follow back. YouTube would call this practice ‘sub for sub’.

It’s worthless. They don’t want to follow you. They are not engaged, motivated fans, hanging on your every word. They are people like you, gunning for the biggest, most pointless number out there. But what is the point when you tweet about your latest blog to your 2800 followers and get 10 hits back? That’s one of the lowest exposure vs. clickthrough rates in history.

You have no idea what your fans want, because you don’t have any real fans. Just a hoard of meta miners looking to build this worthless masquerade of popularity.

Don’t look at followers, look at the follow ratio. If they follow even half as many as follow them back, chances are they aren’t worth your time.