MegaUpload Taken Down

The SOPA & PIPA legislation certainly was knocked down and political backing withered away once the public outcry was too much for even Washington to ignore. That didn’t stop the government from overstepping their bounds again.

A federal indictment and arrests occurred today and the sites were taken down. NY Times article.

It’s surprising the US government was able to coordinate in order to bring down a file sharing site actually based in elsewhere.

I’m having a hard time swallowing the idea of arresting people who run a company in one country based on, at best,  shaky laws from a different country. The US, again, acts like we are the World Police.

Unfortunately, we really are closer to the marionettes portrayed in the film. [NOTE- I am referring to SupePACs, big business, Hollywood, the Military Industrial Complex, etc really running the country].

MegaUpload supporters took down the DOJ site as well as some entertainment sites. Anonymous took credit for the DOS attacks. The sites were back up within a few hours as well.

But lets not get all into the conspiracy theories and anarchy talk. Lets talk about something closer to home.

The XBMC Icefilms plugin, which I use extensively, relies heavily on MegaUpload for many of its files. Taking the site down effectively makes the plugin useless. This makes me sad. This makes my family sad. We cut the cable many months ago and are having a hard time finding a way to get the entertainment we need. We are willing to pay for what we actually are interested in.

The fact that Icefilms is a legitimate way for people to share access to (mostly) media they own or resources that are community property makes it a great part of my home media setup. Others obviously feel the same.

The hacker community over at XBMC Hub had a new update to Icefilms for XBMC on iOS within hours (v 1.0.22) that uses 2Shared as an alternative.

I take two things from this:

  1. Big media companies are in their death throws and are stopping at nothing to try and hold on to the monopoly and current price structures they have
  2. How artists create and disseminate their works and how consumers want to access it is changing

I hope we are able to make the transition peacefully and that the new media consumption paradigms will allow for more & greater personal and collective expression, sharing and results in a richer human condition.

 

UPDATE:

MegaUpload already has a new IP. They don’t have a demain  name yet, but it proves my point that you cannot keep these changes from happening.

UPDATE 2:

The Megaupload site referred to previously is likely to be a DOS site. Don’t use it. In the meantime, there have been several updates to Icefilms for XBMC (now v 1.0.23) that now redirect users to 2Shared. This is another file sharing site that really is not up to par with others (hence it was used sparingly before).

Multivariate Testing Tools

I am always looking for ways to verify design changes and gather measurable, actionable data on live visitors. There are many online tools available, and Website Magazine‘s Allison H. posted a great list of some testing tools.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.

Although this inspirational motto can be applied to many aspects of life, merchants should definitely apply it when optimizing their e-commerce sites. However, keep in mind that “trying and trying again” is simply guesswork unless there is data backing up the testing – this is where multivariate tools come into play.

By using testing tools, merchants can analyze elements of an e-commerce site, such as page layout, call-to-action buttons, product pages and more. And unlike A/B testing, multivariate testing allows many different elements to be combined and tested at the same time – so that websites can be optimized to best fit consumer needs and increase conversions.

Therefore, it is time to find a method to your madness – check out these ten top multivariate testing tools:

Adobe Test&Target

Part of the Adobe Digital Marketing Suite and powered by Omniture, this tool allows merchants to continually make their online content and offers more relevant to their customers – which increases conversions. In fact, Reader’s Digest had a 47-percent increase in conversions after conducting and evaluating testing using this solution. Furthermore, the Test&Target interface allows merchants to design and execute tests, create audience segments and target content.

Amadesa

This solution allows merchants to test several elements on a page and identify the winning combination within each element. Amadesa features “Pick the Winner” technology, which ensures that underperforming combinations are quickly eliminated. Amadesa also identifies the contribution that each element makes to the overall success of a particular combination, as well as helps determine which creative elements should be used across product or article pages.

Globalmaxer

The multivariate testing tool from GlobalMaxer allows merchants to test multiple variations of page elements in a live environment so that successful page combinations can be found. Testing helps merchants find combinations that provide greater uplift in conversions, better access to certain areas of a site, as well as better dwell time. Commonly tested elements include fonts, colors, logos, body copy, images and navigation. This solution also provides cultural multivariate testing, which isolates factors that have the biggest cultural impact on Web conversions.

Google Website Optimizer

With this free website testing and optimization tool, merchants can increase the value of existing Web traffic, which leads to the question – what doesn’t Google do? The Site Optimizer helps merchants test site content and design, while monitoring which combinations lead to the highest conversion rates. By taking advantage of this tool, merchants can increase ROI, visitor satisfaction and eliminate guesswork.

Maxymiser

Merchants can optimize customer experiences through A/B and multivariate testing from Maxymiser’s MaxTEST. Instead of “gut feelings” and guessing games, website optimization is based on data that is derived from online traffic feedback. With this customer feedback, merchants can increase their revenue and ROI through higher conversion rates, provide an enhanced site experience and decrease risks associated with design changes.

Monetate

Monetate automatically creates a control group for every campaign so that merchants can view the impact that a campaign has on key metrics such as conversion, average order value, cart abandonment and more. Merchants can gather data and run advanced tests through A/B and multivariate testing. Furthermore, the platform offers targeting options for making better connections with customers, which equals better conversion rates, more returning customers and higher average order values.

OfferMaxima

With OfferMaxima, merchants can test and optimize different website designs, email or direct marketing campaigns and printed ads. OfferMaxima’s technology can be used to target specific marketing offers, products and content to different segments of visitors. Benefits include reduced likelihood of false positives, validation results by audience and decisions that can be based on reliable samples.

Sitecore

Sitecore’s solution allows merchants to create A/B and multivariate tests from the in-line editing interface. Testing can include page components or entire site items. By optimizing everything from content on the homepage to call-to-action button appearance, merchants can increase conversion quantity and quality. Furthermore, Sitecore provides continuous feedback on site performance and customer engagement through Web-based reports.

SiteSpect

Test many changes simultaneously and evaluate the impact of combinations on conversion goals with multivariate testing from SiteSpect. This solution allows merchants to set up and test within minutes, as well as quickly determine the impact from each variation. Additionally, merchants can evaluate results during and after each test campaign.

Vertster

This solution provides merchants with fast results from Vertster’s multivariate testing algorithm. Merchants can stop guessing about site design because Vertster allows them to measure the effectiveness of thousands of page design possibilities simultaneously. Furthermore, the site testing is SEO safe and enables merchants to conduct anything from simple A/B testing to powerful Taguchi testing.

Webtrends

Webtrends Optimize combines testing and targeting platforms with optimization expertise. The solution’s recommended approach starts with general testing against all traffic, which is followed by testing optimal content against key segments (returning vs. new visitor, time of day, geo-targeting etc). After determining the optimals by segment, content can be used to target, which allows merchants to personalize content based on insights.

 

2011 Darwin Awards

As usual, we should all be grateful for what we have been given, those around us who make our lives better and the love we have for our fellow human beings.

…additionally, you should be glad you are not one of these people and we can say that the world is likely at least a safer place without them.

Originally published on the Facebook Page

This year’s winner was a genuine Rocket Scientist…no jive!
Read on and remember that each and every one of these is a true story.

The nominees were:

Semifinalist #1
A young Canadian man, searching for a way of getting drunk cheaply because he had no money with which to buy alcohol, mixed gasoline with milk. Not surprisingly, this concoction made him ill, and he vomited into the fireplace in his house. The resulting explosion and fire burned his house down, killing both he and his sister.

Semifinalist #2
Three Brazilian men were flying in a light aircraft at low altitude when another plane approached. It appears that they decided to moon the occupants of the other plane, but lost control of their own aircraft and crashed. They were all found dead in the wreckage with their pants around their ankles.

Semifinalist #3
A 22-year-old Reston, VA man was found dead after he tried to use octopus straps to bungee jump off a 70-foot rail road trestle. Fairfax County police said Eric Barcia, a fast-food worker, taped a bunch of these straps together, wrapped an end around one foot, anchored the other end to the trestle at Lake Accotink Park, jumped and hit the pavement. Warren Carmichael, a police spokesman, said investigators think Barcia was alone because his car was found nearby. “The length of the cord that he had assembled was greater than the distance between the trestle and the concrete,” Carmichael said. Police say the apparent cause of death was “Major trauma.”

Semifinalist #4
A man in Alabama died from numerous rattlesnake bites. It seems that he and a friend were playing a game of catch, using the rattlesnake as a ball. The friend – no doubt a future Darwin Awards candidate – was hospitalized, but lived.

Semifinalist #5
Employees in a medium-sized warehouse in west Texas noticed the smell of a gas leak. Sensibly, management evacuated the building, extinguishing all potential sources of ignition; lights, power, etc. After the building had been evacuated, two technicians from the gas company were dispatched. Upon entering the building, they found they had difficulty navigating in the dark. To their frustration, none of the lights worked.

Witnesses later described the sight of one of the technicians reaching into his pocket and retrieving an object that resembled a cigarette lighter. Upon operation of the lighter-like object, the gas in the warehouse exploded, sending pieces of it up to three miles away. Nothing was found of the technicians, but the lighter was virtually untouched by the explosion. The technician suspected of causing the blast had never been thought of as ‘especially bright’ by his peers.

And now the WINNER of 2011’s Darwin Award; as always, awarded posthumously;

Arizona Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smoldering metal embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The wreckage resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it was a car. The type of car was unidentifiable at the scene.

Police investigators finally pieced together the mystery. An amateur rocket scientist had somehow gotten hold of a JATO unit (Jet Assisted Take Off…actually a solid-fuel rocket) that is used to give heavy military transport planes an extra ‘push’ for taking off from short airfields. He had driven his Chevy Impala out into the desert and found a long, straight stretch of road. He attached the JATO unit to the car, jumped in, got up some speed and fired off the JATO!

The facts as best could be determined are that the operator of the 1967 Impala hit the JATO ignition at a distance of approximately 3.0 miles from the crash site. This was established by the scorched and melted asphalt at that location.

The JATO, if operating properly, would have reached maximum thrust within 5 seconds, causing the Chevy to reach speeds well in excess of 350 mph and continuing at full power for an additional 20 -25 seconds.

The driver, and soon-to-be pilot, would have experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog fighting F-14 jocks under full afterburners, causing him to become irrelevant for the remainder of the event. However, the automobile remained on the straight highway for about 2.5 miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver applied and completely melted the brakes, blowing the tires and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface, then becoming airborne for an additional 1.4 miles and impacting the cliff face at a height of 125 feet, leaving a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock. Most of the driver’s remains were not recoverable.

Epilogue: It has been calculated that this moron attained a ground speed of approximately 420-mph, though much of his voyage was not actually on the ground.

 

Really…..we couldn’t make this stuff up and remember these people are all around us and not only do they have kids
but they also vote!