Wednesday

HubPages Drops Quantcast


Side note. The author of this page is fond of both Quantcast and HubPages.

Updates are further down the page.

Quantcast chart of HubPages traffic as of early morning, January 27th. Can click to enlarge.

On January 20th, 2016, the Quantcast traffic chart started showing a precipitous drop in HubPages traffic. By the 22nd, the Quantcast chart was essentially showing HubPages traffic as zero. Meanwhile, Google Analytics was still showing everything as fine.

The original speculation was HubPages had inadvertently messed up their Quantcast tracking tags when doing a site upgrade. Or maybe it was some other type of glitch by either HubPages or Quantcast. Other theories were also bandied about.

Day after day, the Quantcast chart continued to say zero, zero, and zero.

By the 27th it has now pretty much been concluded HubPages is systematically removing all Quantcast tracking tags from their website.

Speculations as to why HubPages is doing this range from HubPages declining an impending Quantcast TOS modification to HubPages wanting to avoid getting entangled in the whole, ongoing European privacy issues debacle.

If interested, you can chronologically review and watch this adventure unfold from January 20th forward on this short HubPages forum thread (chronological mode when signed in, threaded mode when not). [Update: thread no longer active.]

Some paraphrased forum excerpts...
  • ... HubPages messing up ...
  • ... Quantcast messing up ...
  • ... HP stopped paying Quantcast ...
  • ... Curiouser and curiouser....What the heck is going on ...
  • ... reasons not to get tangled up with Quantcast ...
  • ... HubPages traffic stable lately ...
  • ... Day Four of no data ... 
  • ... Quantcast sent glitch note...HubPages sent glitch note ...
  • ... HubPages systematically removing Quantcast tracking tags
  • ... affecting load times ...
  • ... impending TOS change ...
  • ... Europe throwing privacy-issue hissy fits ...
  • ... Quantcast tracking code on website not good idea ...
  • ... HubPages didn't want to end up as collateral damage ...
  • ... comply with additional notifications when Quantcast tags used ...
  • ... it would be nice to get an answer from HubPages staff ...

The speculations continue...
Excerpts continued...
  • ... sabotage ...
  • ... making data private ...
  • ... switching to another service ...

Updates

 Stay tuned as more information becomes available.

February 2, 2016

 Mystery solved. HubPages announced they are starting new, niche websites. In other words, HubPages traffic is soon to be split up here, there, and everywhere. A standalone Quantcast report of HubPages traffic would soon no longer be accurate as articles begin being transferred from the HubPages domain to the niche domains, thus HubPages' decision to drop Quantcast reporting of their main domain. Will HubPages eventually have Quantcast start tracking the niche domains? Hard to say.

February 9, 2016

Poor HubPages still hasn't managed to find all the Quantcast tags to delete on the HubPages main domain.

The search continues... Can click to enlarge.

HubPages needs to find and remove those tags before being released from Quantcast's TOS. However, Quantcast seems to be a benign and ethical company; so I doubt HubPages is losing too much sleep over the unexpected, protracted search. Sooner or later, it will no doubt be completed.

Meanwhile, HubPages niche websites' adventures continues. All is well.

Saturday

How to Microwave Raw Hamburger

Alternate title: Can You Cook Raw Hamburger in the Microwave? Yes, you can.
Alternate title: How to Safely Cook Raw Hamburger in the Microwave

Yes, it can be done. Here is how to microwave raw hamburger so it is safe, delicious, and even looks good.

Basically, you boil the hamburger in Lipton Onion Soup...

You will need...

  • 1 packet of Lipton Onion soup mix. Store brand is also fine.
  • 3/4 to 1 pound of hamburger, 80% lean seems to be best.
  • A microwavable bowl that can handle the equivalent of 4 cups of water.
  • Gloves, rags, or whatever to remove the hot bowl from the microwave oven.
  • Knife, fork, table spoon. A spatula is optional, but is a nice extra.
  • Paper plates are also optional, but they make things a lot more convenient and make for a lot less clean up afterwards.
  • What, if anything, you intend to add to the hamburger after cooking.

Let us begin...

  1. Empty one packet of onion soup mix into the bowl.
  2. Add 2 cups water. That's right, 2 cups; not the four cups the packet says. You are not going to be drinking the soup.
  3. Stir it and microwave for 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. While the soup is microwaving... Flatten out the hamburger on a paper plate (or whatever) so that you have one large, somewhat thin super patty. Slice up the hamburger patty into approximately 1-inch squares or other bite-sized pieces if you are going to eat the hamburger straight or put into a couple sandwiches; if you are going to mix the cooked hamburger with a 15-oz can of blackeyed peas or whatever, then slice and dice the patty into much smaller pieces.
  5. The soup should be done by now. Remove the hot soup bowl from the microwave. Stir it until soup is thoroughly mixed. Carefully add the hamburger pieces. Stir it up so the hamburger pieces are not sticking together. Back into the microwave.
  6. Microwave 5 minutes.
  7. Stir it so everything is moved around.
  8. Microwave another 3 minutes.
  9. Your masterpiece is done. Carefully remove from microwave.

Now what...

  1.  If you did the large pieces, cut one in half. If you see raw pink, then back into the microwave it goes, etc. Otherwise...
Options for retrieving the meat...

* See cautionary note at end about the drained soup. *
  • A spatula is great for scooping out all the meat onto a plate, or into a larger bowl/pot for adding in the beans or whatever. For the large pieces this is the best method. Can also be done using a fork and spoon, just takes longer. For the large pieces, enjoy your meal.
  • The other option is to drain the soup from the meat. This is usually the best option when dealing with a bowl full of small meat pieces. If the bowl is conveniently shaped, drain it from the bowl. If the bowl is inconveniently shaped, transfer the entire contents into a larger, more convenient pot or bowl (where you will put in the other food after draining anyway) and then drain it. Mix in your other food, reheat, enjoy. Freeze or refrigerate the rest.

Cautionary note. That leftover soup now has more fat and grease than you can shake a plumber's bill at.  Pouring it down the sink drain is a very bad idea. You can...
  • Pour it into a throwaway jar with a cap.
  • Gradually poor it into a full bag of trash that happens to have all sorts of paper products to soak it up. Can be risky, could end up with a real mess if not careful.

Hamburger patties...

Yep, the above method works equally well for hamburger patties. Just rotate the meat a quarter turn at least once during the microwaving and remember to do the cut-in-half test afterwards to be sure the meat is thoroughly cooked.
----------

This convenient microwave recipe has served me well for years. And it certainly makes a lot less mess than the usual stove top method. May all your hamburger adventures be good ones.

Wednesday

How to Interpret 1

Alternate titles

  • The Number 1 Defines Existence versus Nonexistence
  • What Is the Mathematical and Metaphysical Concept and Significance of the Number 1
  • 1 - The First Non Zero Number - What Is the Meaning of One
How to Interpret the Number 1

 

The Basic Interpretation of 1

This is a somewhat metaphysical approach as to the existence, meaning, concept, and significance of the number 1. What is the meaning of 1? What does 1 really signify?

One is the most important number of all the numbers in the universe. One defines the difference between existence (1) and nonexistence (0). All other numbers signifying existence can only exist when 1 exists. One is the opposite of none.

1 is the demarcation defining what is and what isn't.

All numbers other than 1 are just more of 1.

1 and 0 are the only numbers times themselves that are themselves. All other numbers become other numbers.

A successful division of 1 by a number other than 1 can only occur when the 1 is not a true 1. The 1 was, in fact, the sum of smaller 1's.

1 is not the first prime number. Contrary to popular belief, 1 is not a prime number at all.

0 exists when 1 or 1's do not exist. -1 cannot exist unless 1 exists.

The Diverse/Abstract Interpretation of 1 and the Universe

The concept of the number 1 is greatly dependent on the undefined premise of "one what?". Every time science thinks it has found a true one, it invariably turns out to not be so. As an example, the atom was once thought to be the one true basic building block of the universe. But then it turned out the atoms were composed of the smaller 1's of electrons, protons, and neutrons. And now we have quarks, leptons, strangelets, etc. to deal with.

Who knows? Maybe there is no true 1. Everything will always be discovered to be composed of something smaller. However, in its most basic form (if we can ever find it), all else derives from 1. 1 is the definition, reality, concept, and source of all existence.

The Binary Base 2 Numbering System

Nothing versus something is the root of the binary system of numbers.

We use Base 10 in our day-to-day living. Base 10 has ten numbers (0-9) and orders of magnitude that are times ten. The lowest-order number represents itself times one. The next-order number represents itself times ten. The next order number represents itself times 10x10 or itself times 100. And so on.

An example would be the number 742. This number means that there are:
  • two 1’s,
  • four 10’s,
  • and seven 100’s.
Which represents 2 + 40 + 700; for a total of 742.

The base 2 binary number system uses the same structure, the only difference being the order of magnitude. Base 2 has two numbers (0 and 1) and orders of magnitude that are times two. The lowest-order number represents itself times one. The next-order number represents itself times 2. The next order number represents itself times 2x2 or itself times 4. And so on.

An example would be the number 110. This number means that there are:
  • No 1’s,
  • one 2,
  • and one 4.
Which represents 0 + 2 + 4; for a total of 6.

Other binary examples are:
  • 0=0, 1=1
  • 10=2, 11=3
  • 100=4, 101=5, 110=6, 111=7
  • 1000=8, 1001=9, 1010=10, 1011=11, 1100=12, 1101=13, 1110=14, 1111=15
  • 10000=16

Binary is the mathematical representation of how the universe encodes itself.

1 and the Base 10 Pyramid

 And what page about the number 1 would be complete without the usual acknowledgement of the series of 1's times themselves (squared)...

  • 1² = 1
  • 11² = 121
  • 111² = 12321
  • 1111² = 1234321
  • 11111² = 123454321
  • 111111² = 12345654321
  • 1111111² = 1234567654321
  • 11111111² = 123456787654321
  • 111111111² = 12345678987654321

The binary paradigm is the foundation of the universe, including fractals (recursive geometric shapes) and chaos theory (the butterfly effect).

NASA deep space photo demonstrating fractals and chaos theory

There is no reason to believe the concept of "many" excludes multiple realities.

A visual representation of the theory of parallel and/or alternate universes

Humankind relative to the universe


There are no extra pieces in the universe (-Deepak Chopra). You are here for a reason.

Saturday

Sears Website Appliance Ordering Tips

[The information here might work equally well with other department store websites.]

The Color versus Price Surprise

Changing your color selection can change your price, even with just the basic color choices. Something definitely worth checking.

The Shipping Arrival Time Surprise

I selected the promised free shipping, but a charge was still listed anyway. I tried a couple more times, but still a no-go. I finally gave up and went ahead with the order.

Was surprised when a second chance to select free shipping appeared near the end of the order process; this time the option was accepted. Interestingly, there was something like a half-dozen shipping options ranging from free to over $40; each promising a sooner delivery date.

I'd selected free because I'd decided to live with waiting over a week for delivery.

I had placed the order in the morning. When I checked my email in the afternoon, there was a message from Sears informing me they had shipped the order. It arrived the next day. That's right, I placed the order Wednesday morning and it showed up Thursday afternoon.

Somewhere between around $3.00 to over $40.00 saved there. Not bad at all.

Do You Feel Lucky?

This adventure happened January 13th and 14th, 2016. The appliance was a microwave. Was my experience typical or atypical? Who knows?

Your results may vary.


  Always select the cheapest shipping option available? Only you can decide.

Sunday

A Review of Verizon DSL Internet Service - And a warning to California, Texas, Florida residents.

Warning. Residents of California, Texas, and Florida see important update further down the page.

A review of Verizon DSL internet service. This review and image no longer applies to service and billing practices in the states of Florida, California, and Texas. See update further down page.

 

Original Verizon DSL Review


So far, in short, they have done an outstanding job. 99.9 % of the time when I go online, the service is up and running, and fast. And both Netflix and YouTube work just fine on it.

My yearly anniversary is coming up with them. I really hope they don’t try and get cute with a rate increase. We shall see.

I should note that when I tried signing up on their website way back when, I just flat out wasn’t able to do it. But then a live support person chat-window popped up and I went for it. We had to go back and forth forever, but we finally got the job done. When I was later asked to rate her, I gave her a score of 10 out of 10.

Hopefully, since it’s been a couple years, Verizon has worked the bugs out of their website as to DSL internet signups.

So if you are looking for a new DSL internet service provider, poke Verizon with a stick and see what they have to say for themselves as to pricing.

Due to some technical requirements, not everyone is able to avail themselves of the DSL option. Expect the Verizon website to "vet" you in that regard when you visit their DSL internet service provider section. For example, I know that you must not be more than a certain distance from a Verizon substation; no doubt they'll sort that out for you. Also, I don't know if having landline telephone service is still required or if just having the usual residence telephone wiring with a phone jack is all that is needed these days.

I just felt like sharing some good news about a company for a change. I'm glad I was able to do a positive review.

[End of original review]

Important Update for Texas, California, Florida Residents - February 6, 2016

Does not apply for cellphones or other wireless.

If you are a Verizon wireline customer, you have been sold to Frontier Communications. The transition will automatically take place sometime in March or April. Dates could change and probably vary by state.

Unfortunately, Frontier Communications has terrible consumer reviews. This applies to both quality of service and billing practices. Apparently they are as infamous as Time Warner Cable and Comcast.

If you are in one of the three aforementioned states and were considering Verizon, you might want to hold off on that.

If you are an existing customer in the affected area, I'm not sure what to tell you. Personally, I've done the following...
  • Deleted all my financial information from the Verizon website.
  • Reverted back to paper billing. Not just Verizon, but everywhere else as well. For me there weren't that many.
 Am still contemplating whether to bail entirely. Finding and switching to another landline and DSL will probably be a major project, not to mention the cost. It might not even be possible, don't know yet. What a mess.