This Wesibte Makes Things Hella Easy

posted in: External Other, Smog 1

The Ape Con Myth blog has been around long enough now that our Akismet plugin just snagged its 1,000th spam comment, and to celebrate we are going to share a few.  Most are pretty obvious bottom-of-the-barrel commercial links.  Some, however, attempt to seem legit.  In the spam game, they are known as “ham”.  And despite the misspellings, some are very difficult to delete, due to their encouraging tone…

spam comments
That’s what they are going for though.  This is what every blogger wants to hear, more or less.  And this positive feedback is yours in exchange for exposing your readers to links they probably shouldn’t visit.

Sometimes though they are so weird it’s worth sharing…

spam comments

Anyway, here’s to being around for 1,000’s more!  Don’t forget to add your own thoughts in with all the ham.

Speaking of spam, if you like to make music and enjoy a good challenge, head over to SpamSong, where each month a new title is pulled from the junk folder for you to conceptually recycle into a song.  (Who ate all the pies, indeed?!)

Wasted URLs: Free the Animals

What makes for a wasted URL?  It depends on the person and the site, particularly what that person expects to see when they type the URL in and press return.

Consider, if you will, animal names. What do you think is on Dog or What would you want to see on  Would you want pictures and information on the animal?  Would a company branding themselves or a product make the grade?

To explore these questions and more, Ape Con Myth surveyed 144 animal sites.  Here’s what was found…

The State of .Com Animal URLs in 2012


Parked domains are a common sight online and it is no different for the animals. Roughly a fifth of the sites in the sample group proved to be nothing more than a bunch of paid advertising links. If you’re lucky, there’s a picture. If you’re really lucky, it’s a picture of the animal, but don’t expect much. In addition to our friends below, other animals in this sad group include the Boar, Hamster, Hippopotamus, Hornet, Jackal, Koala, Mouse, Otter, Squid, and Wildebeest.



Next comes the parked ads and links that seem like they are almost trying. For Chicken, you’re promised oven baked chicken recipes. The beauty of the Swan is channeled for plastic surgery. Turkey is ready to book your hotel in Istanbul.  And wants you to know it is “Your Site For Buying A Donkey”. Good luck navigating towards those goals however, as search results often lead to more search results. If you get nervous about your privacy searching for things on Google, see what your gut thinks when you click a link on Chimpanzee, Elk, Mosquito, Porcupine, Shrew, Spider and the ever-loved Stinkbug.



Naturally someone was eventually going to smell a business plan in these animal droppings, which was the case with Name Administration Inc. of the Cayman Islands. They go big, touting themselves as “The Leading Cow/Hippo/Mink/Partridge/Snake Site on the Net”, despite not following through with the correct animal pictures nor making much sense of the searches. Nonetheless, they are there to help you find a saddle for your cow, video piano lessons for your partridge, car insurance for your hippo and all the beaver coats money can buy. Meanwhile, each page shows up completely blank with Ad Blocker Plus on.



Leaving behind the parking lot, we enter the construction site. Websites don’t write themselves after all. It takes a lot of time and care to create a good site. To make as large and majestic as its namesake, even more so. In the meantime? Blue. Blue since 2007! What’s the word on Wolf? The countdown says 272 days to go! Crab has only been waiting a year, but looks like it will be a conceptual improvement from its previous life as the home of Charm Net ISP out of Baltimore. You’ll also have to wait in anticipation for Anteater, Antelope, Llama and Reindeer as they too are coming soon…

But something, even a background color, is better than nothing, which is exactly what you get with Aardvark, Baboon, Butterfly, Gerbil and Rat.


Read the rest…

The Super PIPA-SOPA Action/Info Flowchart Reference Guide

Whether you are just tuning in or have been following the saga from the start, The Super PIPA-SOPA Action/Info Flowchart Reference Guide is ready to get you up to speed and lay the whole thing out.

SOPA getting shelved might be a move in the right direction, but the companies supporting it aren’t just going to forget about the internet.  It isn’t over and we shouldn’t let this momentum go…

(click to enlarge)

And don’t forget, January 18th is Internet Blackout Day!  Wikipedia, Reddit, Boing Boing and a host of other sites will be joining in to get the word out.  Find out more and get blackout code for your site at SopaStrike.  It is sure to be an interesting day.

Duck Duck Go Find Yourself Another Search Engine

posted in: Commentary, Smog 1

When it comes to getting a page of top results for your search query out of the unfathomable amount of information content text code online, it makes sense to get a second opinion every once in a while.  Visually, the Google search page looks much as it did during its 1999 launch.  Conceptually, however, it is a whole different story.  Without getting caught up in the full laundry list of changes and baggage that have piled up over the years, or how well Google has kept to not being evil, let’s first consider the search itself.

There are more parameters behind which results you get served than ever before.  The critical change is the shift of emphasis on the objective value of the data to the subjective nature of how it all applies to you.  Personally.  Your web history is now being interpreted as a profile of your person and you are in turn being given the results your profile says you will want to see.

Unfortunately, the very nature of searching implies a lack of knowledge.  If you knew what you were looking for, you wouldn’t be searching for it.  Without knowing it, our own ignorance is being fed back to us, creating a bubble that potentially cuts us off from the information we would need to actually understand a subject.

Meanwhile, the proverbial permanent record that plays bogeyman for school children has suddenly broken through the dream into reality, and we are writing it ourselves with every new search and click.  Once it is stored, it can be sold to the highest bidder or simply requested by whatever authority feels they have the authority. Furthermore, new uses for this data are being pursued around the clock, meaning we don’t yet know its potential for being used to help or harm us.

Does this mean you need to kick your Google search habit?  That, of course, is up to you, but perhaps a more realistic starting point is simply trying something different.  With that in mind, meet DuckDuckGo

Give it a try.  If you’d like to know more about search engine tracking or the little search bubble you’ve been encased in, DuckDuckGo has set up presentations on both matters at and  The anti-tracking app suggestions at the bottom of the first are eye-opening all on their own.  And don’t forget the goodies!

Disclaimer:  This post has been influenced to an unknown degree by there being a duck involved.

[Related: You Need a New Dictionary]

You Need a New Dictionary

posted in: External Viz, Smog 1

One of the many things you’ll find out from the Wall Street Journal’s What They Know series is that you need a new online dictionary. In their study of tracking files distributed by major websites, (aka topped the rankings by passing on an absurd 234 tracking files to its visitors in the name of 40 companies who want to know more about people who use the dictionary.  Merriam-Webster, whose auto-play videos should be punishment enough, came in second with 131 trackers.

So the next time you look up bullshit in the dictionary…

Wikipedia is your only safe bet when it comes to what Google is going to serve up first, though Wiktionary would be the appropriate option. Not only is Wikipedia the most popular website without ads, it is the only one of the top 50 sites not installing a single tracking file on your computer. Check out What They Know to find out which sites lie in-between.

[via Visual Complexity]

The Internet Makes It Easy For You To Profit Off Of A Resistance Movement, Ask Me How!

As Occupy Wall Street balloons beyond the Big Apple to include protests and meetings in over 800 cities around the world, there’s one question on everyone’s lips: “How can we make some money off of this?”

Welcome to the Ape Con Myth guide to starting a business off of people pissed off about business!

As any entrepreneur will tell you, the first step is always the same: start a grassroots political movement.  It might sound difficult, but all you need is one page, some images and a little text.  Call it something like The Occupy Party of the United States, and you’re done.

[This is why stock photography should be a regulated industry.]

Okay, almost done.  One site can be disavowed easily.  Besides, what’s a national movement if it’s not everywhere?!  It’s time to buy some domains!

Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.  Use the same content on each site to save time.  Then, all you need are ads.  There’s no need to research your audience, just focus on known weaknesses, such as what suckers people in Corpus Christi, Texas are for the San Francisco Ballet.

And you can’t go wrong with a mix of dating and criminal record website ads to even it out.  Remember, these protest kids love irony.  Let them soak in it.  They’ll click through.

What’s the catch?  There is none.  You can start this business in Australia if you want.  This thing is international.

As Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”   …  Abe, you had me at ‘you can fool some of the people all of the time’.

If you’re interested in what’s happening, stick to the real thing:  Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Together

Path Through the First 50 Digits of Pi

posted in: External Viz, Smog 0

One of the many demos available through the Wolfram Demonstrations Project.  This one will take you up to 200 digits.  You’ll need to download their Computable Document Format player to get in on the action (and should close your browser while it installs), but these days it requires more effort than ever to participate in the future.

“Thankfully you don’t need to understand the math to look at the pretty pictures.” – Ape Con Myth, Non-professional User

Regarding Your Lack of Privacy Online

posted in: Commentary, Features, Input, Smog 0

What is a bigger waste of time: Surfing the internet or keeping track of what each individual surfs on the internet?

Tucked quietly away in Section 4 of H.R. 1981, a provision lurks that turns what should have been a no-brainer bill both parties could agree on into a way to track every U.S. internet users’ activity for the last 18 months. And despite the recent spree of data breaches in the both the public and private sectors, subsection (b) amusingly calls for this data to be stored securely.

No worries if you don’t have anything to hide?  You are five steps from having something to hide:
1. Pick any of your social/political/religious beliefs.
2. Note that there are people out there who think you are wrong.
3. Consider the odds those people could attain a position of power in your life (family, boss, police, government).
4. Image those people getting really pushy about things they don’t like.
5. Go visit a website about your belief.

We all have a reason to hide if the wrong people are looking.  And why stop with internet activity?  Storage is cheap, let’s make the phone company record every conversation.  While we’re at it, you’re probably sitting in front of a video camera reading these very words.  Mind if we record your expression for posterity?

Say cheese.  Then go tell your representative this bill takes one giant leap too far.

Google’s Six-Front War Visualized

Inspired by the launch of Google+, here’s a visualization of some of Google’s competition, as laid out in the TechCrunch piece, Google’s Six-Front War:

(click for larger version)

Of course, that leaves out video/photo hosting, blogging, desktop OS, music, TV, eBooks, driverless cars, philanthropy, other stuff we know about and whatever we don’t know about yet.

How is Google doing in all of these battles?  For the more mature products in the top half, very well.  In Search and Mobile, they are number one.  Among browsers Chrome is in third place, moving in the right direction.  It’s the bottom half where Google has their work cut out for them.  Google+ is estimated to have brought in 10 million users in the first two weeks with a chance of doubling it by the weekend.  Although that only amounts to 1-3% of Facebook’s crowd, it nonetheless puts Google+ at about 7th place in the Social sphere right out of the gate.

Let’s the games begin!

Update: How’s Google+ doing a month later?  While this ranking puts it in 6th place with 32 million users, it would seem that the honeymoon is over, due largely in part to Google’s awkward stance in the “real names” vs. pseudonyms debate.   After years of using Google products pretty much any way we want, suddenly there is a rule that has left an unknown number of deleted profiles in its wake. Meanwhile, Google is facing some serious challenges in the patent wars and falling behind in at least one stat related to their crown jewel, search.  My, how quickly the weather can change…

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