Every Link is Sacred

Every link is sacred, Every link is good.
Every link is needed, In your neighborhood.
Every link is sacred, Every link is great.
If a link is wasted, Goog gets quite iraaaaaate!

— With apologies to the folks @ Monty Python

I have to take a moment, remove my “saracastic wiseass random thoughts guy” hat and put on my “intellectual quasi-saavy internet dude” hat a moment to discuss something that’s been tweaking my rage-o-meter lately. Links. Or more importantly, people who diss some types of links over others. Maybe this appeals to you, maybe it don’t. If so, read on playa, read on…

So I’m hanging out at some of my every so often website related places, webmaster forums, places filled with self proclaimed “Search Engine Optimization Experts”, and other assorted riffraff… and I see a never ending stream of conversations with topics that go something like:


Msg: I got a backlink from a PR5 site today, but instead of my carefully picked out keywords, they just used the name of my site! Is this hurting my ranking in google?!?
Reply: Yes. Ask them to fix the link text or remove the link.

WHAT?!?

Look. No link is *bad*. No Link is *evil*. No link *hurts*. Every link is sacred, every link is good! I don’t care if your site sells viagra and the linktext is “Shriveled up limp penis”… it’s a link. It’s good. Is it as good as a quality “Buy Viagra” link on a site that is an authority in the field of erectile dysfunction (And bonus points if it’s say, the John Hopkins school of medicine)? No, of course not. But links TO your site can never hurt, I don’t care what anybody says.

Sure, a link may have *little* or *no* benefit (We all know that some links Google just pretty much ignores), but it can *not* hurt. I guarantee it.

How can I know this when so many SEO “authorities” swear that links can hurt your site? (ie: “Don’t have your link on a page with more then 25 other links, because that hurts you!”). BzzZ. I’m almost 100% sure this is another of those old wives tales. Why?

Because, think for a moment. If it was possible to HURT a site by linking to it (even from a “bad web neighborhood”), how long do you think it would take someone to say to themselves “Hmmm… in addition to PROMOTING my own site, I can use some of these “hurtful” links against my competitors! It’ll boost me, and hurt them, and VOILA! Instant Riches for me!”

You know it would happen. There would be entire shady networks of “sites” designed just to be “Bad google PR” dumping grounds, and the people who run them would then sell links to people wanting to hurt their competitors…

Can *you* control who links to your site, and how? Really? Could you stop someone from running around posting your links on a bunch of pages in “bad neighborhoods”? Of course not, and that’s what would make this system I just described work…

IF A LINK COULD EVER *HURT* YOUR RANKINGS.

Poppa’s got a brand new rig.

Old & Busted:

  • AMD Athlon64 3400+ (Single Core, 2.2Ghz I think it was?)
  • 1.5 gigs of RAM
  • Nvidia 6800 series (Ultra I think?) 256M Video Card
  • Three seperate drives… 2 120gigs and a 100gig I think.
  • XP Pro / Gentoo dual boot goodness

New Hotness:

  • MSI GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB PCI-e Video Card
  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Processer (4 2.4Ghz cores, and we goin higher eventually)
  • Tuniq Tower 120 Cooler
  • 4Gb of PC2 8500 RAM
  • 500Gb Drive, 80Gb Drive (For Swap and Linux Dual Boot-ease)
  • Vista 32-bit Ultimate, and Gentoo dual boot goodness.
  • Assorted required goodies (Power Supply, beastly black Lian Li case, replacement fans, 4gig flash drive, etc)

My old rig is nice, but it’s starting to show it’s age in alot of ways. (The machine was built in 2004, so I got to cut it a little slack)… Don’t get me wrong, it plays WoW just fine, but the current generation of games were really putting a hurting on it in some cases. (Crysis? Don’t even think about it…)

I’d been pondering a new rig for the last couple of months, and last week I took the plunge and ordered everything I need to get the new machine off the ground. (Sadly, my old machine, being AMD/AGP based, is pretty much a write off. I could have used the case (Shiny Lian Li goodness), power supply, and hard drives.. but 120gig drives are so small by todays standards (500gig drives for $90, you cant go wrong), and if I kept my old case/power supply, I’d have to:

a) Tear apart old system entirely.
b) Rebuild new system in old case.
c) Suffer without a system at all during the period between a and b

And since the new machine is going to be my first venture into the murky lands of Vista.. I figure better safe then sorry. (Translation: This way I get to keep my old machine up and running while I figure out the hells of Vista)…

The bulk of the goods arrived Friday and Monday, and have already been mostly assembled. (Drives are in the case bay, motherboard mounted, processor socketed, cooling tower of power pasted/mounted up, etc).. Just have to wait until tonight (according to UPS the power supply is waiting for me at home) to actually put all the pieces together.

The plan now is simple:

  1. Get home. (Always a chore, depending on traffic)
  2. Install Power Supply into case.
  3. Attempt to slide motherboard tray back into case. (Could be tricky.. the Tuniq Tower is THAT big, it may not fit.)
  4. Plug in 40 thousand various connectors to motherboard.
  5. Place drive carrier back into case.
  6. Plug in another 20 thousand various connectors.
  7. Double check to make sure the case and cpu fans are truly plugged in, and not forgotten.
  8. Remove Mac Mini from work table.
  9. Plug in new beast (as of yet un-named) where the mini was.
  10. Power Up new beast, see what happens.

Hopefully, nothing is DOA, hopefully everything will power up okay. If it does, I’m going to load vista on with everything stock, do some burn-in testing, make some notes (processor core temps, etc) and see how it goes for a bit. If everything works out, I’ll be disassembling the machine enough to yank the processor and tuniq tower, lap the hell out of everything, re-paste and mount, then start the overclocking fun to see just how far I feel comfortable pushing an air-cooled Q6600.

(Yes, I’ve seen the tales of people getting to 3.4Ghz (and even 3.6) on air cooling with a Q6600, no, I will not be getting that crazy; I don’t want a chip burn out in 9 months. If I can get it to 3ghz, I’ll consider myself very happy and content..)

Sometimes you just can’t win.. sometimes you can.

So for almost the better part of a year, I’ve been working on a web-project. It’s nothing earth shattering or revolutionary, it’s just an entire accounting/billing/management/provisioning/support/sales/everything system for a business. I started looking at it over a year ago, around December 2006 I said to myself “Alright, I can do this with Drupal, some of the functionality it needs is already there, and the rest I can code up as modules… perfect.”

So I started playing with Drupal 4.7, learning how the various APIs worked, etc. I loved it, something new to sink my teeth into full tilt. Then in the middle of January 2007, Drupal v5 was released. New APIs, existing contributed modules borked (for a while), much new stuff to learn. Thankfully I had barely done any real *coding* in v4.7… I had spent most of the time up to that point planning, sketching, etc. I spent a couple months learning what all changed, retooling if you will, and decided to run with Drupal v5 as the platform to use for the project…. I hadn’t written much actual code for 4.7 yet, so why tie myself down to the old platform when I can just relearn a little and roll out of the gate on v5…. I started coding in earnest around July, and have been ever since, whenever I get some free time to work on said project. Right now the project is about 95% of where I feel it needs to be in order to launch.. not to be complete, just complete enough that I can use it. The project uses about 15 drupal modules that other people have written for Drupal5 and a set of my own home-rolled modules (currently 8 modules for various functions, totaling around 8500 lines of code so far…)

So of course, Drupal v6 was released just in time for Valentines day. With an entirely new set of enhancements and changes.

So now I’m back to “Do I roll forward with what I have, upgrade the base drupal later”, or “stop everything, get upgraded to v6, THEN continue on”. Sadly the project in question isn’t just a blog or something where I can take the data, move it over, and BOOM, it works.. there’s essentially an entire business operating from beginning to end inside the drupal framework here (APIs to third party services, billing providers, etc)… and it’s all coded to v5..

The problem is, v6 has some things I’d like to use, and some things that I think would lend themselves to helping with the project overall. But jumping to v6 bring a whole set of problems… modules will need to be re-written/upgraded (those 15 modules other people wrote? probably not updated yet for v6… some may never be officially, so I may need to dig into each one and make changes to get them to work)… Plus all the modules I from scratch, will need to be changed in major ways….

But if I put the upgrade off, then I’m stuck with basically writing the remaining sections of code *twice*, once for 5, and again for 6 when I make the upgrade down the road…

*sigh*

I think right now I need to sit down and look more closely at how much has changed in the move to v6, or at least download a copy, play with it, and see how borked my code is when run under it. 🙂 Then maybe I’ll have enough information on hand to make a real decision here.

Alright, so thats the “just cant win” part of this post.. whats the “sometimes you can” part you ask?

My lil Warlock finally made it to 60 in WoW… yeah yeah, I know, the level cap is 70 currently (and 80 soon, with lich king expansion).. but I *finally* got *someone* to 60.. I’m happy… 🙂 (I’ve not exactly been slacking mind you, in addition to the 60 lock, there’s a 48 hunter and a bunch of other lowbies I’m constantly rerolling and experimenting with…), but real life issues (work, the aforementioned project, etc) crimp my WoW time sometimes I fear. 🙁 The point is, I made it to 60.. time to see what all this hype about the outlands is about. 🙂

Those old familar shakes…

The lunatic is on the grass.
The lunatic is on the grass.
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs.
Got to keep the loonies on the path.

The lunatic is in the hall.
The lunatics are in my hall.
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more.

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

No, I’m not contemplating heading down to the local corner and scoring an 8ball or anything, but there has been this particular itch I’ve been trying to ignore, but it’s just not going away. It all started with this post right here. For some reason running into that file that day got me thinking about how I missed the old days, yada yada, so on and so on. Of course logically I know that the “good ole’ days” of that particular scene are long gone. Know this. Know this lesson all too well. I said to myself “forget it. Never be what it was, just let it go”… and walked away from the whole idea (so I thought).

A few days later I was thinking “Well, could always put together a web-based forum, invite everyone you still know from the old days, and see what happens?”… Heck, I even took a few moments, and hacked together an nice little forum complete with a gmail style invitation system. (“The first rule of forum club, we dont talk about forum club. Unless the person is cool, in which case they get an invite dammit!”)…. But then I realized that not only had Chuckles already started something like this.. but that me and him have (apparently) the same taste in phpBB skins, so my place looked pretty much like his (only with a custom logo, a cooler background then plain black, and a kick-ass gmail style invitation system…) So I pushed that idea to the side and went back into “Ah, screw it.” mode. That was around the second week of December.

Then yesterday, somewhere in my web-travels, I found myself in a discussion about “Favorite old school games we used to love”… and while my contribution to the discussion was more centered around “Leisure Suit Larry 1, the best fun a 10 year old could have on a PC in 1987…”…. someone mentioned “old school BBS games, like TradeWarsLORD… and BRE…” which of course started people remembering about the other greats (and not so greats)… “Operation Overkill… BarneySplat…. PimpWars…. ”

This of course, was one massively fun part of the old school BBS days.. the games. Don’t get me wrong, of course the best part was the people, and the discussions… but the GAMES man.. I miss the GAMES. And no web-based forum was going to replace them.. even if it did have a killer gmail style invitation system and wicked cool custom logo. (Hey, I is proud of the work I did on those forums, even if they will never see the light of day.. I mean.. I spent… a good 3 hours on that there forum system!)

Anyway, the problem is, all this talk of games of old got me all worked up about how much I missed ’em. I mean, we all know my sick addiction to TradeWars.. but that addiction is one I was able to scratch without fail up until about 2000 or thereabouts… Actually, there are still plenty of places I could play Tradewars now if I wanted.. the problem is all the telnet tradewars games these days are ruled by the guys with the scripted terminals, who show up on day 1 after a re-bang and dominate the universe by day 3… point being, I kept playing Tradewars well after the BBS scene was gone, and scratched that itch until it no longer bothered me… (And any time it does flare up, I just fireup my TWAR client, go hit one of the places on the net you can still play, and go at it until I get my ass handed to me by someone who already runs the universe since I’m showing up on day 180…)

But BRE? Operation Overkill? LORD? Mutha-fuckin PIMPWARS?? Those were games you just dont see anymore… and ones that I haven’t touched since the old BBS scene days folded (ie: The day everyone packed up their WWIV boards and went off to college, work, porn-surfing on the web or wherever the hell we all went off to). Even that ungodly-expensive Worldgroup system I put together around 1996-98 was missing some of the true classics (no doubt the cause of it’s demise!) because that damn thing didn’t like regular DOS based door games…

So anyway, after this whole discussion yesterday, I am itching for a good game of LORD, BRE, and especially Pimpwars.. (I just wants to be smacking my bitches up, ya know?)… so I go home last night, and set out to see if I can track down what ever happened to some of said games… of course the wife kinda caught me mid browse, well.. not really caught.. she was passing through with the pup on a potty trip and pulled out a “whatcha doing?”.. “Uh…. Uhh… just browsin… doing some catch up research…”

Cause god knows I can’t let on to what I was *really* researching… She’d just laugh at me and call me silly for even contemplating what was going through my head at the time…

But I do have a spare computer sitting unused on a shelf in the closet… I’m sure a P3-500 with 256Megs is *far* more then enough to build some kind of gaming BBS platform… Maybe I dont even have to hook it to the outside world.. I could just load it all up, get it working… and lay down some pimp-smacks in the comfort of my own network..

Course, it’d be an aweful lot of work to do all that and never share it with the rest of the world, however small amount of interest the outside world may have in such things these days.. but still.. whats the fun of being king-pimp when theres no-one to gloat over around? hmmm…

[Side Note: Yes, I am fully aware that some of the old school classics have been updated and web-ified in some ways. For instance there’s a whole new “PimpWar” flash based game, yada yada… It’s just not the same….]