Archive for PEBKAC

Allegedly smart

Some folks are just infatuated with the idea of Connected Appliances, each with an IP address. And then there are those of us who aren’t:

[W]hat’s next? IoT dishwashers, where you can remotely start them from your cell phone or some such? Not everything needs to be networked and I dare say fewer things need to be networked than actually are: my fridge right now (may it last several more years) is a dumbfridge and I don’t want a smart one; I don’t want one that tells me the eggs are within a week of going off or I need to buy more salad, because that feels like a short step from a fridge that says “Are you really sure you should be eating that, dear” when I stand in front of it late some evening squirting whipped cream from the can into my mouth.*

*Oh, don’t be judgey. I know at least SOME of you have done that.

I haven’t done that since I was, um, let’s say, 53.

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Freedom of gibberish

This starts out unreadable and gradually becomes more so: Looking for a site that allow free speech videos without have a ban?

That’s sort of comprehensible, but then:

Hi there, there is very concern about getting ban if a video is about free speech for being good reason but however not YouTube can, because they have cooperated with law enforcements that have someone access my information what it called invasion of privacy. I have aware of lawyers but I am asking everyone to help me. So is there another video sites? Not dailymotion, vimeo, twitch and youtube.

God forbid he should actually disclose the “good reason.” I’m betting he’s desperately in love with an eight-year-old and would not like to be thrown in jail.


The bane of my existence

Apple’s trusty QuickTime Player has been my go-to application for MP4-encoded video for the longest time; I actually bought QuickTime Pro because it was so handy.

And through 2018, it worked. Now I’m getting this abomination:

An invalid public movie atom was found in the movie

Dig far enough into Apple’s developer material, and you’ll find this:

QuickTime movie atoms have an atom type of ‘moov’. These atoms act as a container for the information that describes a movie’s data. This information, or metadata, is stored in a number of different types of atoms. Generally speaking, only metadata is stored in a movie atom. Sample data for the movie, such as audio or video samples, are referenced in the movie atom, but are not contained in it.

The movie atom is essentially a container of other atoms. These atoms, taken together, describe the contents of a movie. At the highest level, movie atoms typically contain track atoms, which in turn contain media atoms. At the lowest level are the leaf atoms, which contain non-atom data, usually in the form of a table or a set of data elements. For example, a track atom contains an edit atom, which in turn contains an edit list atom, a leaf atom which contains data in the form of an edit list table.

And so on, and so on, and scooby-dooby-doo. Scroll down some more, and you hit this:

Note: Profile atoms are deprecated in the QuickTime file format. The information that follows is intended to document existing content containing profile atoms and should not be used for new development.

So far as Apple is concerned, QuickTime for Windows is dead:

Important: QuickTime 7 for Windows is no longer supported by Apple. New versions of Windows since 2009 have included support for the key media formats, such as H.264 and AAC, that QuickTime 7 enabled. All current Windows web browsers support video without the need for browser plug-ins.

And this is one of a handful of MP4s that QuickTime will no longer play, presumably because the codecs have outgrown it:

I have other things I can play it on, but QT Pro was the most intuitive editor I had.


I don’t think this guy is working out

And he’s gone now, thank heaven:

An employee-from-hell has been jailed after he got fired (after a measly four weeks), ripped off a former colleague’s login, steamrolled through his former employer’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) accounts, and torched 23 servers.

The UK’s Thames Valley Police announced on Monday that 36-year-old Steffan Needham, of Bury, Greater Manchester, was jailed for two years at Reading Crown Court following a nine-day trial.

Needham pleaded not guilty to two charges of the Computer Misuse Act — one count of unauthorized access to computer material and one count of unauthorized modification of computer material — but was convicted in January 2019.

Oh, well, you can’t win them all.

As the Mirror reported during Needham’s January trial, the IT worker was sacked after a month of lousy performance working at a digital marketing and software company called Voova in 2016.

In the days after he got fired, Needham got busy: he used the stolen login credentials to get into the computer account of a former colleague — Andy “Speedy” Gonzalez — and then began fiddling with the account settings. Next, he began deleting Voova’s AWS servers.

The company lost big contracts with transport companies as a result. Police say that the wreckage caused an estimated loss of £500,000 (about $700,000 at the time). The company reportedly was never able to claw back the deleted data.

Be honest, now: how many of you saw “Voova” and immediately thought of Bill Cosby’s “Noah” bit?

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Dumbest business plan ever

This bonehead has seen Minority Report at least once too often: How can I collect the email address before someone enters my site?

I’ll tell you what I told him:

Exactly the same way you’d get a girl to kiss you before you ever actually meet.

In other words, it will not, and cannot, ever happen.

Life gets complicated when you’re dumb as a post.

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Fault where fault is due

The only person I’ve ever blocked on Y!A is a tedious little crybaby who every two or three days horks up something like this:

Why do people give in easy and allow the powers that be to win?

for instance like all the recent changes that have happened on youtube, which are bad, which i hate … big corporate powers have taken over youtube and turned it into a politically correct corporate site.

yet, people are just accepting it and hiding away, they are not fighting back hard against the corporate tech companies but hiding away like rabbits … too many people online just going with the flow instead of kicking up an outrage like they should.

this, the way people are acting online is really angering me … why won’t people do something to save sites like youtube?

As is often the case with tedious little crybabies, he’s fixed the blame somewhere other than where it ought to be:

At first, I got angry that Youtube is imposing viewpoint discrimination on its users — but then I remembered, Youtube’s parent corporation, Google, does business all over the world, and has to try to satisfy the delicate sensibilities of everyone from effete European Union bureaucrats to vicious Iranian theocrats.

And it’s occurred to me that much of the free-wheeling dynamism of the internet we used to know and love has vanished precisely because of this globalization of authority. Unfortunately it has meant a trend toward forcing content generators in the world’s freest societies to be accountable to repressive police states despite never having come under their jurisdiction, nor ever planning to.

I suspect that our TLC here isn’t at all concerned with the suppression of ideas: what’s got his panties wadded is the possibility that he might have to start paying for music and movies. YouTube’s handling of copyright matters is fumbling at best, but its squashing of discussion is horribly efficient. Google is fine with this, of course; it’s consistent with their current corporate motto, “Don’t be even-handed.”

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Space considerations

You know, this kind of thing never happened when Tom was in charge:

Myspace has apparently lost most or all of the music files uploaded by its users before 2015, and it told users that the data was corrupted beyond repair during a server migration. Myspace apparently admitted the problem to concerned users seven or eight months ago, but so few people noticed that there wasn’t any news coverage until the past 24 hours.

Myspace, the once-mighty social networking site, has existed since 2003 but has been fading into obscurity for the past decade. Many musicians used to rely on Myspace to spread their music, and over the years it hosted 53 million songs from 14.2 million artists.

Some of Myspace’s loyal users noticed more than a year ago that they couldn’t play music or download music files and asked Myspace for answers. Myspace initially told those users that it would recover the lost data, but months later it admitted that the files were gone forever.

The last actual album I linked to on Myspace was Taylor Swift’s 1989, released in 2014. The album details are still on my deck, as it’s called, but the songs don’t play. I did find some actual photos from 2007. And a couple of my friends have since passed away, but I knew that already.

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Some whine with your video?

It grows increasingly difficult to put up with people like this:

I have a question that I think a lot of people want the answer to- how do you filter and/or block certain content/users when it comes to the next video.being played? Like you ever just want to watch the actual uploaders content and not just some guys poorly edited compilation video? It never fails! Someone is always trying to make it to where they tag their video in just the right way where their content gets autoplayed right after a nice video from the original person. Is no one else tired of this? Always running into a compilation video made by some non-affiliated uploader who only does that for views? If so, know how to block or filter out these videos so they aren’t cued next up or showing in recommendations? Thank you.

The situation: Guy watches video he likes. Autoplay spools up another video, and to his everlasting horror, it’s one he doesn’t like.

Um, did it ever occur to you to turn off the goddamn autoplay? Of course it didn’t. And I don’t care half a heap of hyena droppings who’s “affiliated” with whom, because it doesn’t matter to more than a handful of people and never will. Clods like you should be forced to use text-based browsers like Lynx for the rest of your unnatural lives.

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You have been warned, and then some

We’ve all seen that little off-color bar that says “This site uses cookies” and then pitches a couple of platitudes. This one is a little different:

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services and to analyze traffic. Your IP address and user-agent are shared with Google along with performance and security metrics to ensure quality of service, generate usage statistics, and to detect and address abuse.

Omigod, they’re … they’re … they’re using Google Analytics!

(Seen here.)

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Magical nonthinking

From the Quora queue: If I create an email address with a domain I do not own, can the owner of the domain do anything to my email?

There’s just one little hitch: you literally cannot create an email address with a domain you do not own. Oh, you could probably tell some credulous dulllard that it’s your email address, but saying so will absolutely not cause it to come into existence.

And that said, whatever stupid prank you might have been planning will not work either. If you’re really lucky, it won’t be actionable.

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You don’t want to see the router

This is actually a pretty good question: Does Hell have Wi-Fi?

One answerer said no, they still have dial-up, which is pretty close to my concept of hell, but I’d like to hear what you guys think.

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All Google-eyed

One could make a very strong case for disconnecting from Google completely — until one wanted to get some work done:

The simple truth is, if Google weren’t so damn evil, and if its current population of app designers weren’t so tunnel-visioned about features and user-experience (not to mention freedom of thought), they could make Skynet throw up its mechanical hands and give up on taking over the world. Even now, fully a decade into their slide into the Ninth Circle, their contact management service is still better than all of the competitors put together.

The late John D. Loudermilk was, in fact, available for comment:

Sounds kinda like a nine-eyed carp.

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Forget getting warranty service

Then again, they haven’t needed it yet:

Two HP servers sent up to the International Space Station in August 2017 as an experiment have still not come back to Earth, three months after their intended return.

Together, they make up the Spaceborne Computer, which operates on the open-source Linux system and has supercomputer processing power. They were sent up to see how durable they would be in space with minimum specialist treatment. After 530 days, they are still working.

Their return flight was postponed indefinitely, after a Russian rocket fail in October 2018. And HP senior content architect Adrian Kasbergen said they may return in June 2019 if there was space on a flight “but right now they haven’t got a ticket.”

Five hundred thirty days. Then again, that’s Linux. How long would they have lasted as Windows boxes?

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Chops undeservedly licked

There are people out there who will kill, or at least maim, to avoid paying for something: How to get free wifi from an unused router?

Get a whiff:

I have this old router but its not piad so when you connect it says connected no internet. How could I “hack” it to get free wifi?

I assume he means “paid” and not “plaid.” And nowhere does he appear to realize that a router can’t do anything unless it’s actually wired to the Net.

One person scolded him:

I don’t really think you know what you’re asking.

Wi-Fi is NOT Internet. Wi-Fi is a form of communication in computer networking. If you power on that Wi-Fi router, you’ll have Wi-Fi. It’ll be free, but you won’t have any Internet access. You have to pay your ISP in order to get Internet access. No amount of “hacking” will get you free Internet. And plus, trying to “hack” your ISP to get free Internet is illegal. And its obvious you don’t even know where to start “hacking”. ISPs aren’t dumb. They have a lot of systems in place to prevent you from obtaining free service.

Though scolding him won’t be anywhere near as heartwarming as scalding him.

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Or it might be just a test

The Russians have an experiment in mind:

Russia is considering whether to disconnect from the global internet briefly, as part of a test of its cyber-defences. The test will mean data passing between Russian citizens and organisations stays inside the nation rather than being routed internationally.

A draft law mandating technical changes needed to operate independently was introduced to its parliament last year. The test is expected to happen before 1 April but no exact date has been set.

What would motivate such a thing, anyway?

The draft law, called the Digital Economy National Program, requires Russia’s ISPs to ensure that it can operate in the event of foreign powers acting to isolate the country online.

Nato and its allies have threatened to sanction Russia over the cyber-attacks and other online interference which it is regularly accused of instigating.

The measures outlined in the law include Russia building its own version of the net’s address system, known as DNS, so it can operate if links to these internationally-located servers are cut.

Seems legit. And few things are as valuable to the Net as redundancy; it makes damage easier to route around.

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Teardrops on your router

“Taylor Swift is the information security icon the world needs,” says the Grauniad:

The superstar has long spoken out about her desire to stay secure. More than a typical celebrity’s fondness for the sort of privacy that involves massive propertes to defeat the long paparazzi lenses, Swift has frequently shown a keen understanding of why — and how — digital security is important to her. In a Rolling Stone interview in 2014, she revealed that she kept the only full version of her forthcoming album, 1989, on her iPhone — and would only play it on headphones, for fear of wiretaps. “Don’t even get me started on wiretaps. It’s not a good thing for me to talk about socially. I freak out … I have to stop myself from thinking about how many aspects of technology I don’t understand.” The article continues: “‘Like speakers,’ she says. ‘Speakers put sound out … so can’t they take sound in? Or’ — she holds up her cellphone — ‘they can turn this on, right? I’m just saying. We don’t even know.'”

Sound familiar? It’s only Swift more or less predicting this week’s iPhone “hellbug” that briefly let anyone with your phone number call you on FaceTime and listen in via your phone’s mic before you picked up, without your knowledge or consent. Maybe we should have listened closer.

I have long believed that Swift knows more about this stuff than she’s willing to let on. Perhaps the first giveaway was in the “Blank Space” video, in which she slings a pricey cell phone into the water. But not just any pricey cell phone, no: it’s a Samsung Galaxy S5. Waterproof.

And just incidentally:

Swift’s extreme caution has even led to the creation of a Twitter fan account, SwiftOnSecurity. It is genuinely the most informative cybersecurity resource on the internet.

A staple of the weekly search-strings tour is a request for the “real identity” of @SwiftOnSecurity. Here’s the deal: until I have some compelling reason to think otherwise, I’m going to assume it’s actually Taylor Swift. Sometimes hiding is best done in plain sight.

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Toil, interrupted

It was Monday night, I’d just finished the last Tuesday post, and suddenly, panic ensued.

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Welcome to 1999

None of that fancy-schmancy infotainment equipment for you, Mr. Jag Buyer:

It looks as if certain 2019 model year Jaguar E-Pace crossovers have left the factory improperly equipped. Back in November, an owner created an account on the EPaceForum to share their experience. According to the posting, the E-Pace arrived with some features missing. Functions like navigation, WiFi, live weather and sports updates, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto were all absent.

Software update, right? Wrong:

The poster said they were swiftly contacted by Jaguar Land Rover and their dealer, only to be told what they already knew: that their vehicle left the factory missing the “InControl Pack and Smart Settings” that make these systems functional.

Worse still, JLR said nothing could be done about it.

No, really, they said that:

“A small quantity of cars left the UK without the Connect Pro Pack — this includes functionality for features like InControl Pro Services, WiFi HotSpot and Smart Settings — which are required for Apple Car Play and Android Auto to function correctly,” a JLR spokesperson explained. “Adding this pack is not something that can be retrofitted, so the decision has been made to proactively communicate this to potential buyers (of vehicles at retailers) and offer a $600 credit in lieu of the content.’

“We’re sorry your milk was sour. Please accept this coupon for 50 cents off your favorite brand of American processed cheese food.”

How about No? Does No work for you?

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We don’t have time to troll

Oklahoma ranked just below New Hampshire in a Disqus troll-count survey from mid-2017:

Cofounder Daniel Ha says toxic posts have been an issue from day one, and he sees it as a human problem, not a technological one: “It’s never really going to go away.” The company analyzed 92 million comments over a 16-month period, written by almost 2 million authors on more than 7,000 forums that use the software.

According to their map, 4.7 percent of comments from residents of N’Hampsha qualify as toxic; 5.2 percent from Oklahoma; a whopping 12.2 percent from Vermont. (They can’t all be Bernie Sanders.) But this is the statistic I think is wackiest:

Park Forest, IL: The most toxic city in the US, where 34 percent of comments are hostile. But 99 percent of those come from just two authors.

I think you could make a really good case for deporting those two guys, preferably to separate uncharted desert isles.

(Via Sean Gleeson.)

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Bada Bing

Microsoft’s Bing search engine is once again available in China:

The outage caused concern that the service might have been blocked by the Chinese authorities.

Authorities in China operate a firewall that blocks many US tech platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.

“We can confirm that Bing was inaccessible in China, but service is now restored,” Microsoft said it a statement.

China-based censorship monitoring group GreatFire says the outage was unlikely to be government-related.

Well, at least you can’t blame Google:

Google shut down its search engine in China in 2010, after rows with the authorities over censorship and hacking.

But Bing still isn’t a household word:

Bing has a small market share among search engines in China, where locally-grown Baidu dominates the market.

Even we get occasional look-ins from Baidu.

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Strange search-engine querier

Very peculiar indeed: Does anyone else get very annoyed when they can’t seem to find what they search online?

Rant follows:

So let’s clear this up, i have anger issues. I’ve been in a big fight today, i’m very annoyed. I heard something that ruined my life before the fight. I had a few pages open on my phone that i was trying to bookmark and read later, i accidently clicked some pages away. I don’t remember the exact page and i always delete my history everyday, o don’t know why, i always do it automatic, i try to Google it, i can’t find it. I’m feeling so damn angry, i feel like killing myself. So i Google something like this (i mix the words up a few times so that i get a result): Angry because i keep forgetting things. No damn result, apparently no one on the Internet ever gets angry about being forgetful. I’ll probably get lots of trolls on Yahoo because these moderators sucks. I want to smash something but it’s late at night which makes me even more angry. Gosh, i ******* hate this. I probably made lots of grammar mistakes.. I don’t give a ****. Has anyone experienced anger like this?

Most obvious first thought: What moderators?

I dunno. If someone’s life has just been ruined, it’s hard to see how Google could make it any worse.

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And a bum ba dum bum bum bum bum to you

I probably should have expected this.

Last week, I posted this highly unofficial little number to Facebook:

This weekend, I started seeing ads for Farmers on several Web sites, including Fark.

Moral: Everything is tracked at some level.

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It’s very hard not to laugh at this character:

Hi,i have problem with my pc,i cannot go in normal windows,only safe mode.I have pirated windows btw.Can someone help me restore my system and start windows normaly?

On the upside, at least he admitted it up front, which is pretty rare these days except among braggarts.

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I have files bigger than that

And probably so do you:

Your standard CD-ROM holds as much as 65 of these.

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When you need better friends

This is a warning signal at the very least: So my friend and i bet 420$ if i could hack the wifi at work so i need ur helo?

I know the basics but he’s the only person who can give access to the internet even if u have the wifi password he can monitor, control, limit speed etc… so how can i hack it my phone is not rooted but i got one rooted and i have a laptop but kali linux is not installed on it

so plz help me i need that 420$ lol!

I think it’s safe to assume that the amount here is very important to these two losers.

And I’m thinking this “friend” showed off some indifferent sleight-of-hand, knowing full well that it would impress the little twerp; his “hacking” credentials are likely dubious at best.

The tragedy here, of course, is that they both can’t lose this bet.

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And you’ll stay banned

Within two hours of each other:

Kicked out of instagram for no reason? my account has been disabled because apparently i havent followed the community guidelines. i assure you that i have and i have never done anything. a few days ago someone thretened me and dmd me about it and i got a little mad but it was nothing that should ban me from my account. ive tried sending an apeal to instagram to get my account back but i doubt that will do anything. is there a way to get it back?? please help

How to create a new Tinder account after ban and shadowban? My Tinder account was banned a few days ago for unknown reasons, and when I sent Tinder support a message asking why this had happened and what I might be able to do about it they responded that it would not be reviewed. I downloaded TextNow and made a new account using the new phone number, but I get 0 matches and never reach the like limit so it seems that my IP or my device have been shadow banned. Basically, is there anything I do to make a fresh account and use Tinder again? Thanks to everyone and happy new year!

“Unknown reasons,” my hind foot. Even on Twitter, where rule enforcement is capricious and arbitrary, you know what you did.

I’m starting to think that all social media should sign something like the driver’s-license compact, so that these crapweasels can be banned everywhere at once.

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Error code begins with WTF

Yeah, I’d be somewhat cheesed off at this:

Last night I shut down this Microsoft Surface Go laptop and left it plugged in to try to top off the battery after having discovered — after an undetermined amount of time, but hardly the several hours Microsoft claims — that the charging connector had fallen out (again!) and I’d gone from 100% charge to around 55%. Over the previous couple of days it crept up to around 85%. Plugged in continuously, completely idle overnight and for extended periods during the day.

This has been my one serious complaint about this unit since I started using it, but when I rebooted it this morning I found that not only was the battery level still in the 80s, the battery popup in Windows informed me that the laptop was “plugged in; discharging.”

Which was almost certainly accurate, though not particularly useful, y’know?

This charging connector is magnetic but the fitting itself is as loose as a seventy-year-old hooker. The surprise isn’t that it isn’t charging, it’s that it ever has.

“Do you know what we need on this new unit? A nonstandard, proprietary charger!” ~ entirely too many damn people with tech jobs

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Duggery, right in the skull

This makes no sense: Can u change the picture’s date when it was made on deviantart by submit?

Let us plod onward:

since i made the picture the other day and finished it, i forgot to submit it on the same day it was made, so can i change the date of the submitted due date if was submitted today and u edit 1st to 29th to show the picture is made and submitted on the 29th?

i was quite angry to have forgot so i hope there is a way to make the submitted date to show from another day like i saw on utube sometimes have video due dates in the future or in the past

Okay. Either she’s OCD in the extreme, or she’s trying to pull a fast one on someone. What I can’t see is why anyone would give a flying feather.

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This must be a troll

It’s hard to imagine anyone being this stupid in Real Life™: “What are some free websites where I can download more storage on to my Windows?”

And furthermore:

I tried lots of different downloads but none of them worked. I would prefer not to take any surveys as well.

All right, let’s say you want to download 10 GB of storage. A download that size would take up, oh, 10 GB of your existing storage.

I am apparently insufficiently cruel to tell this doofus that he can recover several gigabytes by simply deleting his System32 directory.

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Not cut out for this

This showed up in the Quora queue: What else to try after unsuccessful attempt of creating 10 backlinks on +50 DA websites and no rank in Google?

Tsk, tsk. Yet another fool who got suckered into that search-engine optimization garbage. “DA” is Domain Authority, a tool created by people who felt they weren’t getting high enough Google PageRank scores; since Google no longer updates PageRank — which means that I’ll be 5 out of 10 forever — the DA guys were able to present themselves as some sort of, um, authority.

This Wikibit is pertinent:

The domain authority (also referred to as thought leadership) of a website describes its relevance for a specific subject area or industry. This relevance has a direct impact on its ranking by search engines, trying to assess domain authority through automated analytic algorithms. The relevance of domain authority on website-listing in the SERPs of search engines led to the birth of a whole industry of Black Hat SEO providers, trying to feign an increased level of domain authority. The ranking by major search engines, e.g., Google’s PageRank is agnostic of specific industry or subject areas and assesses a Website in the context of the totality of websites in the Internet. The results on the SERP page set the PageRank in the context of a specific keyword. In a less competitive subject area, even websites with a low PageRank can achieve high visibility in search engines as the highest ranked sites that match specific search words are positioned on the first positions in the SERPs.

All the time, people wander into my mailbox and ask me to throw them a link, or to accept their guest post, which inevitably results in throwing them a link. My view on all such matters is simply this: If you want to be on Google’s front page, write them a check. It’s a lot more honest than trying to game the system with these silly-ass SEO tactics.

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