Free Subversion service

SVN is a version system that replaces CVS (cause it’s better). I’ve been using it for quite a while, and have been kind of addicted to it. Since I haven’t yet set up my own server at home, I started looking around for SVN hosting – when I found this one which is free.

I just registered but it looks great so far. You can create a project with multiple users. If you do not want it to be an open project, you can disallow anonymous checkouts. In addition, connecting to the repository through SSL is possible. Good times.

If you don’t know what SVN is, check out the project page at tigris.org. Also, if you’re on a windows box, I recommend TortoiseSVN which integrates nicely in the explorer. As the name kind of indicates, TortoiseSVN may be slow – but if you experience those kind of problems with it there are several other clients over at tigris.org.

Of course, using the command line tools are often best. And many IDE’s have integrated SVN alread, or are working on it as you read this.

Anyway, just wanted to spread the word about that OpenSVN service. Hope it stays up.

Enjoy :-)

How to get cheaper shipping with Amazon

When ordering from Amazon you get to choose between grouping items into as few shipments as possible, or shipping when the items become available. Of course, the first method (shipping all items in one shipment) is the cheapest – both for you and for Amazon.

Here’s how I was able to get the items shipped when available, without paying extra!

I ordered 9 books from Amazon on the 18th of October, and of course, being the cheapskate I am I selected the “one shipment” option:

18/10/2005: Your Amazon order Shipping Details: (order will arrive in 1 shipment) Order #: 002-4215657-5393667 Shipping Method: Standard International Shipping Shipping Preference: Group my items into as few shipments as possible Subtotal of Items: $156.64 Shipping & Handling: $44.90 —— Total for this Order: $201.54

On the 31st I got this mail:

Your Amazon.com order: your approval required We wanted to let you know that there is a delay with item(s) in the order you placed on October 18 2005 00:58 PDT. We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this delay.

Clicking the link I got a page where I could choose between approving the delay, or choosing to ship the available items right away (and the rest later) – of course, for an extra fee. Still being a cheapskate, I chose to approve the delay.

The 1st of November I got this:

Amazon.com – Order Revision Thanks for approving the delay in your order of #xxxxxxx placed with Amazon.com We appreciate your patience, and we apologize for any inconvenience. Please note that we don’t charge you for an item until we’re ready to ship it. On the day we ship your order, we’ll send you an e-mail message confirming its contents and the shipping method. Thanks for shopping at Amazon.com.

.. and then later that day:

Greetings from Amazon.com, We thought you’d like to know that we shipped this portion of your order separately to give you quicker service. You won’t be charged any extra shipping fees, and the remainder of your order will follow as soon as those items become available.

You see what happened? I got the expensive shipment method, without paying! All I needed to do was accept the delay. This is revolutionary!! (not really, it’s probably the cheapest excuse for a blog entry ever, but hey it’s been a couple of days).

If you’re wondering what books I purchased it was:

Ah, it’s going to be a good christmas ;)

The Google, The Bad and The Ugly

Going from a PR7 to nil I should know what it feels like to be the coolest kid in class one day, and the geek back in the corner the next. I’m glad my income doesn’t rely on Google traffic, cause if it did I’d be in it deep.

Here’s the story: I’ve created a script, called phpODP that lets people put the content of dmoz (the open directory project) on their own pages. This is perfectly fine according to the dmoz licence, and my script is even listen on dmoz itself. A lot of people have downloaded this script, and are currently using it.

A little while ago I read Googleguy say something about Google wanting to do something about duplicate content. I think probably banning my script was one of the things he was talking about. They don’t want 100’s of dmoz out there, and frankly I can’t blame them (although I do think entire site banning is a bit to harsh). However, I can see a couple of positive things about including multiple dmoz sites in the index:

  • The main site is often slow, so other sources may be preferable
  • Sites can add content/functionality (e.g. user comments about the sites, rating, etc.)

Who is going to do that now? No one.

I see odp @ bie.no is still listed in Yahoo! – I don’t know if they’re heading in the same direction as Google, but I have a feeling they are.

The psychology of a Google Outlaw (me that is).. the first days after being banned Day 1: Something must be wrong. ‘I must’ve spelled “site:bie.no” incorrectly – is that how you search to tell if you’re included in the index? It’s always been, hasn’t it?’ etc.etc. Day 2: Realising one has been banned, searching for “google banned”, sending a complaint to Google Day 3: “I don’t need Google” – start using Yahoo! and actually learning it isn’t all that bad. It can be used as a replacement. Almost a full day. Day 4: Logging into Amazon Associates and checking the damage. Damn. Day 5 – next Google Dance: Apathy

Anyhow, today I put up a robots.txt that should help things:

User-agent: Googlebot Disallow: /products/phpodp/odp.php Disallow: /products/phpodp/go.php

I was delighted to find out that I could have User-agent in there, so I can make some special rules for Google. As you see, it shouldn’t access the odp script anymore.

Hopefully, this will get me unbanned – but it’s not for sure. I’ve got all those people using my script linking back to me from odp content as well. So Google might think “Duplicate content links to bie.no, bie.no must be bad”. I don’t know what I’m going to do with that if that’s a problem. But if it is a problem, then I’m not the only one in trouble (other scripts do the same, although maybe not with so much duplicate content).

Gaaah .. I’m tired after a long day of refurbising, so I’ll stop writing now :-)