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April 2013:

Hello, Cereal Lovers

By Cliff Feldwick

April 1, 2013

Posted in: News

It’s certainly not going to replace “Hello, Young Lovers” on the hit parade, that’s sure.

Listening to NPR radio recently, one of the sponsors (it doesn’t have commercials, but it does have sponsors) was someone pitching that breakfast cereals didn’t contribute more than a tiny fraction to kids’ sugar consumption; this despite the obvious fact that most children’s cereal is sugar-coated sugar with chocolate sprinkles on top.

Anyway, the speaker directed listeners to HelloCerealLovers.com. Give me a break. Naturally, I had to see what was there.

Yep, it’s a site chock-full of tidbits like, “We’re here to celebrate all the reasons people love cereal,” and “Cereal is packed with vitamins.” The site invites you to fill up a bowl and stay awhile and, of course, to follow the group on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Exactly how desperate do you have to be to “like” CerealLovers?

Doing a WhoIs lookup on the site reveals that it is registered to General Mills. Who would have thought? But at least the company takes credit for it and doesn’t hide behind a faceless web registry agent, like most political sites — which brings us to the topic of obscuring the real identity or purpose of much of what passes for content, politically or commercially.

What’s in a Name?

It started some years ago in politics. Love it or hate it (and we don’t need to get into that here), the Patriot Act was a shining example of naming something for advantage. Obviously, if you didn’t like it, you were unpatriotic.

Since, titles of bills are either flag-waving spectaculars or twisted to produce acronyms such as JOBS or START. I can’t see how this will influence anyone to overlook the actual contents, which usually consists of the usual positions taken by the usual suspects.

So it is with web sites, as well. Staking out a cool web domain name is considered essential to marketing. So many of the more obvious monikers, like ILoveAmerica.com or HappyPeople.com, are already gone. Most of these are dormant, with little or no content, and are for sale. The minor expense of registering a name makes this possible.

The fun comes, of course, when the name can be read several ways. Remember that entering web names is not case-specific; in other words, feldwick.com or Feldwick.com or FeLdWiCk.com all will go to the same site. So the Columbia Business Exchange site can be seen as ColumbiaBusinessExchange.com or ColumbiaBusinesSexChange.com.

So, let’s find some.

• Itscrap.com. In fact, it’s a site for recycling old computer parts

• Speedofart.com. Actually SpeedOfArt, a site pitching a video firm making artistic commercials for such people as Mercedes and SeaFrance. It has nothing to do with what you really want to avoid on a beach (as if you wanted to see most Speedos, anyway).

• Effoff.com. Originally an office furniture company (EFF), it now appears out of business. Maybe telling your customers where to go in such a fashion will do that.

And the unfortunately named TherapistFinder.com (a California site for finding a psychologist), which can also be TheRapistFinder. Same thing for teacherstalking.com, a language site for educators.

Some people deliberately have fun with this: masterbaitonline.com is a bait and tackle shop in Bonita Beach, Fla. Its site contains additional plays on words that confirm this was intentional.

For other “fun with web sites” moments, try PointlessSites.com, a collection of time- and mind-wasting examples of people with too much time on their hands. It’s the home of ringingtelephone.com. Yes, that’s what it does.

$732M Here,

$732M There …

In the ongoing saga of Microsoft vs. the European Union (EU) regulators, Microsoft just paid a $732 million fine for breaching an earlier agreement to provide more choice in web browsers. Back in 1999, the EU got upset with the bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows and demanded some changes. To avoid charges of monopolistic behavior, Microsoft agreed to offer a page during the initial setup of Windows that would offer a choice of browsers.

Everyone was happy. Until it disappeared.

When Windows 7 service pack 1 came out in May 2011, it was gone. And it wasn’t corrected until July 2012, during which time 15 million European users had installed Windows. The EU was not pleased, and the fine was levied.

Microsoft has blamed this on “a technical error.” Assuming that’s true, this must set a record for an “oops.”

Yet Another Facebook Scam

If you receive a Facebook invitation to “Experience Facebook Black,” delete as quickly as possible. Clicking on it will invoke a script that hijacks your account and creates a sham page, and directs your friends there. It also starts pestering you with bogus “surveys” that try to capture personal information. You’ve been warned.

Cliff Feldwick is president of Riverside Computer Consultants and provides information technology services such as troubleshooting, network setups and data retrieval — when not warning people about technical errors. He can be reached at 410-880-0171 or at cliff@feldwick.com. Older columns are available online at http://feldwick.com.

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