Category Archives: Uncategorized

Amazon.com pay-for reviews

It’s no secret that a lot of the reviews on Amazon.com are fake. It’s a particular giveaway when some obscure, generic item has thousands of nearly identical five-star reviews. In a slightly more sophisticated version of the scheme, some companies will pay reviewers to say nice things about their products. In that spirit, I’ve started getting a couple of entreaties a week to review items on eBay for cash.

See for example:

It’s clearly a scam, but what scam is it precisely? Are these lousy headphones for which they figure they’ll get better reviews if they pay people? They don’t seem to be giving the headphones for free, so maybe they’re $10 headphones that they sell for $40 by offering a $15 review payment. And maybe they double down on the fraud by not even paying the $15.

So basically, if you are considering buying some bluetooth earbuds, don’t get these.

Installing WordPress on Pair.com, the 2018 edition

Pair.com provides a software installation kit that will do this automatically, but they charge $3/month for access, which seems silly for free software. You can install WordPress yourself in a few minutes. These guidelines update a set I originally posted in 2010.

  1. Download wordpress software from https://wordpress.org/download/
  2. Inside the resulting folder, locate the wp-config-sample.php file and rename it to wp-config.php. Open this file in TextEdit (Mac), Notepad (PC), or another text editor.
  3. Log in to your Pair Networks account to create a new database for your WordPress installation. Go to the Account Control Center, then to “Databases,” “Create a New Database”.
  4. Assign a name to your new database. It is best to choose a name that will be easily identifiable if you plan to have multiple databases. Access level “local” and “monthly” optimization should be fine. Then click on the “Add Database” button. You will be brought to the New Database Details screen. Copy the server name, user name for full access, and the password.
  5. In the wp-config.php file that you have opened in your text editor, set the DB_NAME, DB_USER, DB_PASSWORD to the values for the account with “Full Access,” as WordPress will need to read data, write data, and create tables. Also set the DB_HOST variables (the last of those is the server name over at pair, probably something like db23923.pair.com). All of these must be exact matches to your database setup at Pair.com. You should also take this opportunity to assign unique phrases to the various authentication unique keys and salts in the wp-config file.
  6. Connect to your web server via FTP and upload all of the WordPress files, including the wp-config.php to the desired location on your Pair.com account. If you upload them to www.yourdomain.com/site/ then people will later be able to reach your wordpress content by going to that exact address.
  7. Start the WordPress installation PHP script by pointing your web browser to your domain/installation directory (www.yourdomain.com/site/installation in the example above), followed by /wp-admin/install.php. Modern versions of WordPress will also work from http://www.yourdomain.com/site/wp-admin/. Follow the on-screen prompts and the WordPress installation on your Pair.com account will be complete. If it can’t log in, try going back to the Pair.com database management screen, “Change A Password,” and give a new password to your main database user account. Enter this new password into your wp-config file, upload the fixed wp-config file back to the server, and try again.

New Sled Dogs have reached the U.S. A few pairs, anyway.

The mad Norwegians who own the rights to the Sled Dogs design and name re-entered the U.S. market this year. They (or their Hungarian partners, it’s all sort of opaque to me) made only a few units available and most sizes sold out quickly. When I pre-ordered a pair months later, it was only order ID 45, suggesting that perhaps only a few dozen pairs of skates had made the initial run.

My skates arrived this week. Perhaps too late for this season, but the lining around the heels of my old SD250s had been worn to nothing and I needed a new pair. The color of the F5s is striking but the overall design is very similar to that of the 250s, and the bases are identical. The new logo is forgettable, but they’re cheaply silkscreened onto the boots and will probably wear off in use anyway.

Sled Dog F5

I retrieved my 250s and K9s for comparison; I haven’t used the K9s in many years and had forgotten how heavy they were. As I recall them, the K9s were nearly impossible to control, best for when you want to spin down a slope at reckless angles.

A video of the unboxing, below