AdSense

From one house to another… a quick shout-out to my college roommate, Rich, on the relaunch of his sports commentary site, House of Sports Blab.  I don’t know about the name, but the content is first rate.

We spent the afternoon putting some fine touches on the WordPress template design, tweaking the style sheet, and so on.  The main thing he wanted was a location for Google AdSense advertising.  The spot we dedicated to it is directly below the tagline on the right-hand sidebar.

Speaking of AdSense, for a long time I’ve frowned on such advertisements and vowed that I’d never put such junk on this site.  I’ve got nothing against Google, but we’re bombarded with ads from the time the radio wakes us up in the morning until we go to bed at night.  It’s in our postal mail, email, radio, television, it’s on buses, cars, billboards, pens, packaging, and everything else we touch, see, or do.

But even that doesn’t spur my intense dislike of online advertising.  The crux of the problem is that advertisers are resorting to more dishonest methods for pimping their wares.  Adware, spyware, and outright deceptive advertising — anything to get you to click on that ad.  I’ve no doubt that American enterprise loses millions of hours of productivity to it.

I know I’m not alone in believing that there should be some place that’s free of overbearing communiques on Leptoprin, day trading secrets, and free iPods.

But lately, I’ve been rethinking my aversion to some web-based advertising.  For one thing, AdSense doesn’t stoop to the malware level.  Also, their stuff is highly targeted, so presumably any ads that appeared here would be aviation related.  Flight training, charter, aircraft manufacturing, part suppliers, and so on.

Of course, I’d be remiss in not adding that there’s another reason I’m rethinking things:  money.  Does that make me a bad person?

My site gets thousands of visitors per day, and every time I turn around there are guys getting four, five, and even six figure checks from Google for doing nothing but running their web site.

To be honest, I’m curious about what sort of money a site like this would bring in.  Will I join the AdSense tidal wave?  I’m undecided.  But if you’d have told me five years ago that any small-time web site would be able to generate that kind of revenue without dealing in something a) illegal or b) pornographic I’d have said you were crazy.

I’m starting to think I’d be crazy to not at least look into it.

Aviation Blogs

I’ve added some new aviation-related blogs to my links page. It’s about time, too. I periodically search for sites like these, but find them few and far between on the internet.

Thankfully, I found a way to leech off the research of others! I simply looked up the Bloglines lists of some people who subscribe to the RSS feed here at The House of Rapp.

Among the discoveries are an official Boeing site for the flight test program of the new 777-200LR jetliner, two sites written by airline pilots, and another which is penned by a freight dog here in California.

A Refresher

For the past week, I’ve been having an interesting discussion over at Damn Foreigner on the subject of military recruitment.

Manish wrote an article suggesting that since there are so many supporters of the war, it shouldn’t be hard to find new recruits for the Army unless those who support it aren’t willing to put their money where their mouth is, so to speak.

His analysis seemed a bit oversimplistic and I said as much in reply to his post. It’s turned into a relatively long — but civil — comment thread.

At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a place or person with whom to discuss opposing political viewpoints in an intelligent yet respectful manner. This is especially true on the internet, where contemptuous speech and peevish behavior are the norm. All the more reason to find these moments of sanity so refreshing.

I doubt I changed his mind. Nor did he change mine very much. But the civil exchange of ideas is where growth, knowledge, and understanding begin. I’ll go out on a limb here and state that we could probably use a bit more of that — not just in political discussion, but in general.

Don’t you agree?

WordPress / Gallery Integration Problem Solved

It’s been a few months since I switched from Movable Type to WordPress as a CMS solution.

Overall, I’ve been happy with WordPress. However, there was one large bug I was never able to squash: it didn’t want to play well with Gallery. For some reason, I was never able to call WordPress functions from within the photo gallery pages. I wanted to make these function calls in order to have the side bar menu (which contains recent posts, comments, and other WordPress data) remain consistent on all the pages.

A simple server-side include should have taken care of this, but it never worked. I’d end up with the following error message:

Fatal error: Call to a member function on a non-object in /home/ronrapp/public_html/wp-includes/wp-l10n.php on line 37

The file referenced in the error message, wp-l10n.php, enables WordPress to operate in different languages. Since it’s one of the first things WordPress does, that’s where the functionality broke down.

Normally a Google search will turn up the answer to just about any coding issue, but this one was a rare exception. I posted several messages to the WordPress support forum, but always came away with the feeling that I wasn’t explaining my problem clearly. Either that or the folks replying had no experience with Gallery, which is an admittedly wonky piece of open source software (the next iteration, dubbed “G2″, is supposed to be much better).

Anyway, I’m glad to report that the fog has finally been lifted. The answer: add the following line to the beginning of Gallery’s init.php file:

<?php
require_once('../path/to/wp-config.php');
?>

I’d swear that this is one of the first things I tried four months ago. But apparently not, because it’s working like a charm now. F*%$#ing computers…