Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Puff of Smoke: when monitors die

My Mom's a pretty smart gal as far as academics go but she's a bit dim in some areas. Take today, for example. We were happily tweeting along with my twittermates when the monitor exploded. Ok, it was a mild flying glass, just a sudden "whooshing" noise and then some smoke pouring out the top and back of the monitor. Whatever, the monitor no longer worked. Smelled pretty bad, too.

BigTimeBummer. We talking a 32 inch LCD combo TV/monitor. We can't use computer, Mom can't watch TV...can't vote Pugs on Tweeterwall!! Horrors!

First Mom thought; Wal-Mart & new monitor...out and back in 3 hours. But just bought a new refrigerator & don't need more credit card debt. Smart Mom.

Second Mom thought; have another TV/monitor upstairs that isn't used a lot, so could be used at least temporarily & don't have to spend money. Smart Mom.

Next Mom thought; don't wanna wait 'til Dad gets home to help move that 42 inch HDTV beast downstairs, so will do it alone! Dumb Mom!

Mind you, LCD monitors aren't all that heavy. But Mom's closer to 70 (about 10 in dog years) than 60 and she's not the strongest warrior among the 300! Wrestling 80 pound fragile items down 13 stairs is not wise!

I don't need to tell you, do I? She did it. Lifted it off the stand, got a trolley from the garage to take it to the top of the stairway, took it off trolley and walked it downstairs, then used the trolley to roll it to her room.

It's all set up and working well. Impressive, Mom...but not very smart!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Way Too Much Drama!

The new tweeterwall "Animal Sanctuary" got off to a roaring start. Most of the Pugs from the former 6+ pages of entrants where schlepped onto the first couple of pages of the new competition, the species were separate & it looked like a real fun for all was brewing. I put on my Pug cheerleader hat, grabbed a pair of pom poms & started trying to pump up the enthusiasm in the PugPack.

All was well for a couple of days except for an occasional grouse about so many Pugs. Really, there were no more than had been there before, they were just bunched up together. Then the inevitable cheats who use vote bots started slipping in. They're not too hard to recognize if you've been around for a while & Mom's been on the Internet since '95.

A vote bot can be set to automatically vote for any candidate in any kind of contest. Couple of weeks ago there was big brouhaha about vote bots used in Big Brother TV show voting. The candidate who is receiving the votes does NOT have to be the person who uses the bot. Most entrants with a bot will use it rather quietly and just gently slide themselves up in the ranks. However, like I said, the pattern is rather easy to detect. We saw at least three in use and of course we talked about it in the PugPack.

One Pug mom decided to report the cheating. She turned in names to TPTB. Now, on Twitter, if you use the ampersand ( @ ) in front of a screen name, the person can see what you've tweeted because it shows up on his replies page. In less than 24 hours, the woman who reported the cheating had a vote bot (or bots) turned on her. Set to run at an exceptionally high rate, sometimes generating over 400 votes per hour, it was obvious what had happened.

Naturally, those who didn't know her thought she was doing it herself in order to win. They had no idea that she was totally unaware of what was going on. When she found out she immediately applied to TPTB to have herself removed from the competition. No doubt just what her attacker intended...her withdrawal or her eventual removal by tweeterwall. I tried to spread the word, but there were still contestants who thought she was cheating.

All this upset just took all the fun out of the game. Another PugPacker decided he'd had enough and he withdrew also. I couldn't help but agree with him, but didn't want to give the cheaters another victory, so it took me a while to make up my mind. In the end, I, too decided to withdraw. As I told a friend, when it ceases to be fun and starts generating anger, it's time to go.

Rumors are still going 'round & the story gets mixed up, so I'm making this blog entry in hopes of setting the record straight. The Pug with more than 21,000 votes was NOT the cheater. She was the victim. She tried to do the right thing by reporting the names of suspected cheaters to tweeterwall. Other Pugs who withdrew did so in support of her and because it was no longer fun.

It's all a bit sad, but fortunately I'm a dog & I live in the now, so I lift my leg on the cheaters and waddle off to sniff another interesting landmark! Life is good!


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

We'll be right back after this short break!

Finally finished out the August round of Tweeterwall competition. Not a moment too soon for these tired little paws. Now we'll wait for the results to be posted so we can toast our victories and curse our defeats.

Personally, I'm delighted to have been in the top 20 this go-around. Actually, I think I'll finish up in the number 8 slot. I'll know more later. I still don't have any idea who nominated me, but it's not really important, I suppose. Best part of the whole contest was the camaraderie with Pug friends, the enthusiasm shared by a few really dedicated participants and the fun of watching Pugs come together for a "cause." For those reasons, the August competition was much more enjoyable than was the one for July.

I'll have updates shortly.

Pugs Rule!