Category Archives: Websites

What Was downloadwindowsprograms.com?

DownloadWindowsPrograms.com was a software download site that I ran (with some interruptions) from 2013-2021.

It offered software downloads for Windows and had a few hundred listings. Listings could be added by submitting a Portable Application Description (PAD) file.

PAD files were an interesting idea that made it much easier for shareware and freeware authors to distribute software, but over time they were co-opted by spammers (especially affiliate link spam) and people who wanted to distribute viruses, so filtering out the bad/useless things was an ever-increasing chore.

My site was an interesting experiment and it got a bit of traffic, but ultimately there’s no real demand for Windows software download sites now that Windows has a proper app store. Even once-massive sites like download.com are struggling. That’s why I shut it down in August 2021.

Now that you’re here, feel free to explore the blog a bit. I have a bunch of websites and music projects I’ve created, and you might find some of them interesting (under the “My Stuff” section of the sidebar).

Thoughts on Bidvertiser

Bidvertiser stands alone in that it is the only Adsense alternative that never made me angry.

It just worked. Setup was easy. There was no shady business, malicious javascript, browser hijacking, popover or popunder ads, push notification nonsense, or other user-alienating tomfoolery.

It’s the only ad network that I experimented with that didn’t make me want to turn on adblock on my own site, which had pretty minimal ads in the first place.

Earnings were terrible, as shown below. My site was a general-purpose non-niche site with global traffic based mostly in India, Pakistan, Turkey, and other non-high-revenue countries for advertising. In addition, the traffic volume was not high enough to attract anyone seeking to buy ads specifically on the site. Given that, take these earnings with a grain (or a bowl) of salt. Earnings would be much higher if your traffic was entirely from the U.S. Even so, the same traffic with Adsense would likely have earned around $8 or so.

If I had another site to monetize that was not compatible with Adsense, I’d use them again. I just wouldn’t expect to buy a fancy yacht from the earnings.

Outrage Is Useless

Before the algorithms took over the internet entirely, the news was obsessed with fear. Making people afraid was their goal, and it was what kept eyeballs glued to the screen.

As the internet evolved, fear was still in heavy circulation, and it benefited those who knew how to wield it. It was not just the news, but politicians and products meant to make you feel “safe”. But it started to change.

Over the past few years, thanks to “the algorithms”, I’ve noticed a shift more toward outrage than fear. When I visit a site, something is invariably presented that is meant to outrage me. Twitter does its best to make most of its trends political or “what celebrity did which outrageous thing you should get mad about”. Facebook shows me memes and news stories meant to make me mad, get my hackles up, and bring forth the fires of righteous indignation. So do all the other news and social media outlets.

When you’re presented with something, it’s worth taking a step back and looking at what sort of outrage it’s intended to provoke. Do you really want to waste your time yelling at some celebrity or making some 15-year-old kid cry for saying something ignorant on camera?

And when someone wants to direct their outrage your way, it’s best to just ignore it and let it blow over. It’s only temporary and in 10 minutes they’ll be outraged at someone or something else. Someone will always be offended by what you do or who you are. Don’t walk on eggshells for fear that someone might say something mean to you. Their opinions don’t matter, and that’s no way to live.

Outrage is useless. Don’t let it control you.

PoSSE and Facebook

One core idea of the “Indie Web” is “Publish on Your Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere” (PoSSE). The idea is that you post content on your own website first and foremost, and then mirror it to social networks such as Facebook. This gives you more control over the original content, keeping it from being hidden behind a walled garden and preventing it from disappearing if you are banned from a site, it shuts down, the algorithms decide you’re not interesting, or it just decides to hide things older than X years.

It’s a good idea, and I think I’ll be implementing it a bit more in my own life. Don’t be surprised if you see more posts showing up and backfilling the site with non-recent publication dates. Most of my activity is on Facebook, but there is a little on Instagram, and even less on Twitter.

The one obvious drawback to publishing things publicly on your own site is that it lacks visibility controls like “friends only”, which is valuable, but not foolproof because anyone can screenshot and forward anything. it does help keep down the number of randos sea-lioning into your conversations.

Since this blog intentionally does not allow comments, there’s little worry about that. There is still a little privacy concern, but as an Extremely Online Person, I don’t care much about privacy and everything is pretty much out there anyway.

Removing Politics From Twitter

My disdain for Twitter is no secret. It is a cesspool of the worst people on Earth. But it does have some redeeming qualities if you can manage to filter out all the political nonsense

Here’s how I filter out most of the crap (there are a few more that go off the screen, but not that many).

I should really turn off trends, but instead I either click “Not interested in the topic” or “This trend is harmful or spammy” when I see anything political. Anecdotally, clicking “not interested” seems to have more effect. I also not-interested sports topics since I’m genuinely not interested in any sports. They don’t make me angry, though.

I also block everyone who looks even remotely annoying and have built a block list of around 1000 people over the past 10 years or so. My block list is insane and is about 90% MAGA idiots (and there seems to be a deep supply of them) and about 10% always-outraged liberals. Most of the MAGA scum on Twitter are either bots or morons who are indistinguishable from bots. This does of course mean that I’m missing out on the finer details of the United States’ inevitable descent into totalitarian fascism, which is a real loss.

All in all, it is a LOT of effort to de-politicize your Twitter feed, and it’s probably not worth it. If Twitter had any sense, which they don’t, they’d add an option to filter out political nonsense. I think they know that if they added that option, there would be almost nothing left and most of the wingnuts would leave, destroying their monthly active user numbers. So, instead of making it a decent place where you can find useful information, they made it a place full of angry assholes always getting angrier about things. That’s the thing with social media — the algorithms LOVE to keep people outraged and angry because that results in more eyeballs-glued-to-the-site time.

My feed is for the most part now a mix of cute capybara pictures, 3D art, and pictures of Spain. You should probably follow CAPYBARA_MAN.

Or just don’t bother wasting your time with Twitter. That’s always an option. Fear not, you’re missing out on nothing.

New Web Browser: Scleroglossa

For quite a while I’ve wanted to build a web browser based on the Gecko engine by Mozilla, which is what powers Firefox. Until recently I never had the right combination of time and motivation to dig in.

Well, now that I have, here’s the result – the Scleroglossa browser for Windows.

It’s available for download on the Lambda Centauri website.

Cleaner URLs Without Tracking Nonsense

Have you ever seen a link with a bunch of extra stuff on it? Facebook URLS with “fbclid=<big string of letters” or links with a bunch of “utm_medium=<whatever>” or those horrendously long product links you get from Amazon?

They’re used for tracking behavior, and handy for people getting marketing and attribution data. If you don’t mind them, that’s cool. They annoy me a little because I like clean, readable URLs.

There’s a browser extension to get rid of them, called ClearURLs:

Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/clearurls/lckanjgmijmafbedllaakclkaicjfmnk/related

Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/clearurls/

I Don’t Care About Cookies

I’m tired of websites showing me cookie warnings that I have to click through to remove some sort of overlay that obscures some portion of the site. I have not nor will I ever care about cookies. They’re a built-in part of the browser that should just work invisibly, and they’re an important part of making apps work.

There’s an extension that’s called, appropriately, “I Don’t Care About Cookies”. Here it is:

Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/i-dont-care-about-cookies/

Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/i-dont-care-about-cookies/fihnjjcciajhdojfnbdddfaoknhalnja

Windows Software by Lambda Centauri

I’ve written a lot of apps for Windows (and other) PCs. Originally I published everything as Zeta Centauri, but it was a weird combination of audio apps and utilities that didn’t mesh well with audio apps (calculators, word processing, image viewer, browser). I’ve launched a new website for the utility apps to keep them separate from the audio apps.

Check it out here: https://lambdacentauri.com

Blocking Spammy or Malicious IPs with Nginx

Over the years I’ve added a bunch of sites and networks to my IP block list. They’re sources of spam, hack scripts, and traffic that just wastes my time and resources.

Not all of these sites are spam or malicious at this very moment (some had viruses or were otherwise compromised as part of a botnet), it’s just what I’ve found useful to block. The names are optional. I just added comments with what the network looked up as (or why it was blocked).

Here’s what I’ve blocked. To implement this in Nginx, edit the nginx.conf and in the main block add “include blockips.conf” with this file saved as blockips.conf in the same directory.

 

# Every one of these networks has been blocked because they have
# behaved in a spammy, botlike, no-account hackscript way.
# Add this to your /etc/nginx/nginx.conf like so:
# include blockips.conf;
# (assuming it's in the same directory)
deny 27.16.0.0/12; # CHINANET Hubei province network
deny 27.148.0.0/14; # CHINANET FUJIAN PROVINCE NETWORK
deny 27.152.0.0/13; # CHINANET FUJIAN PROVINCE NETWORK
deny 27.184.0.0/13; # CHINANET hebei province network
deny 36.248.0.0/14; # China Unicom Fujian Province Network
deny 39.64.0.0/11; # China Unicom Shandong province network
deny 42.224.0.0/12; # China Unicom Henan province network
deny 46.105.127.195; # OVH SAS - For spamming searches on WbSrch.
deny 50.21.178.17; # >30k spam queries from securedservers.net
deny 50.21.178.18; # >15k spam queries from securedservers.net
deny 58.20.0.0/16; # China Unicom HuNan province network
deny 58.22.0.0/15; # China Unicom FuJian province network
deny 58.240.0.0/15; # China Unicom Jiangsu province network
deny 58.248.0.0/13; # China Unicom Guangdong province network
deny 59.56.0.0/14; # CHINANET fujian province network
deny 59.60.0.0/15; # CHINANET fujian province network
deny 60.0.0.0/13; # China Unicom Hebei Province Network
deny 60.10.0.0/16; # China Unicom Hebei Province Network
deny 60.11.0.0/16; # China Unicom Heilongjiang Province Network
deny 60.12.0.0/16; # China Unicom Zhejiang province network
deny 60.168.0.0/13; # CHINANET anhui province network
deny 60.176.0.0/12; # CHINANET Zhejiang province network
deny 60.195.248.0/21; # Beijing Bitone United Networks Technology Service Co., Ltd.
deny 60.220.0.0/14; # China Unicom Shanxi Province Network
deny 60.252.192.0/19; # Daqing Zhongji Petroleum Communication
deny 61.140.0.0/14; # CHINANET Guangdong province network
deny 61.144.0.0/15; # CHINANET Guangdong province network
deny 61.147.123.0/24; # CHINANET jiangsu province network
deny 61.235.0.0/16; # China TieTong Telecommunications Corporation
deny 101.16.0.0/12; # China Unicom Hebei province network
deny 101.64.0.0/13; # UNICOM ZheJiang Province Network
deny 101.224.0.0/13; # CHINANET SHANGHAI PROVINCE NETWORK
deny 104.238.93.98; # GoDaddy site excitesubmit.com/excitesubmit.net/excitesubmit.org spamming domain searches (perhaps acting like they're a site submit service)
deny 110.80.0.0/13; # CHINANET FUJIAN PROVINCE NETWORK
deny 110.88.0.0/14; # CHINANET FUJIAN PROVINCE NETWORK
deny 110.152.0.0/14; # CHINANET xinjiang province network
deny 110.176.0.0/13; # CHINANET SHANXI PROVINCE NETWORK
deny 110.228.0.0/14; # China Unicom Hebei province network
deny 110.240.0.0/12; # China Unicom Hebei province network
deny 111.0.0.0/10; # China Mobile Communications Corporation
deny 112.0.0.0/10; # China Mobile Communications Corporation
deny 112.111.0.0/16; # China Unicom Fujian Province Network
deny 111.128.0.0/11; # North Star Information Hi.tech Ltd. Co. (China)
deny 112.224.0.0/11; # China Unicom Shandong province networ
deny 113.64.0.0/11; # CHINANET Guangdong province network
deny 113.96.0.0/12; # CHINANET Guangdong province network
deny 113.240.0.0/13; # CHINANET HUNAN PROVINCE NETWORK
deny 115.48.0.0/12; # China Unicom Henan province network
deny 114.80.0.0/16; # CHINANET SHANGHAI PROVINCE NETWORK
deny 115.192.0.0/11; # CHINANET Zhejiang province network
deny 115.224.0.0/12; # CHINANET Zhejiang province network
deny 166.62.101.30; # >50k Spam queries from secureserver.net.
deny 117.24.0.0/13; # CHINANET Fujian province network
deny 117.32.0.0/13; # CHINANET Shanxi(SN) province network
deny 117.128.0.0/10; # China Mobile Communications Corporation
deny 118.186.0.0/15; # Building D, No.2 Shangdi Xinxi Road Pioneering Park,
deny 118.213.0.0/16; # CHINANET Qinghai Province Network
deny 119.4.0.0/14; # China Unicom SiChuan province network
deny 119.39.0.0/16; # China Unicom HuNan province network
deny 119.48.0.0/13; # China Unicom Jilin province network
deny 119.233.128.0/17; # Xiamen Broadcasting & TV Network Transmit Co.Ltd
deny 119.248.0.0/14; # China Unicom Heibei Province Network
deny 120.0.0.0/12; # China Unicom Heibei Province Network
deny 120.32.0.0/13; # CHINANET FUJIAN PROVINCE NETWORK
deny 120.40.0.0/14; # CHINANET FUJIAN PROVINCE NETWORK
deny 120.192.0.0/10; # China Mobile Communications Corporation
deny 121.204.0.0/14; # CHINANET Fujian province network
deny 121.224.0.0/12; # CHINANET jiangsu province network
deny 123.4.0.0/14; # China Unicom Henan province network
deny 123.128.0.0/13; # China Unicom Shandong Province Network
deny 123.168.0.0/14; # CHINANET SHANDONG PROVINCE NETWORK
deny 124.128.0.0/13; # China Unicom Shandong province network
deny 125.88.0.0/13; # CHINANET Guangdong province network
deny 153.3.0.0/16; # China Unicom Jiangsu province network
deny 175.0.0.0/12; # CHINANET HUNAN PROVINCE NETWORK
deny 175.42.0.0/15; # China Unicom Fujian Province Network
deny 175.44.0.0/16; # China Unicom Fujian Province Network
deny 180.76.0.0/16; # Beijing Baidu Netcom Science and Technology Co., Ltd.
deny 180.96.0.0/11; # Chinanet Jiangsu Province Network
deny 182.128.0.0/12; # CHINANET Sichuan province network
deny 183.64.0.0/13; # CHINANET Chongqing Province Network
deny 183.128.0.0/11; # CHINANET Zhejiang province network
deny 183.192.0.0/10; # China Mobile Communications Corporation
deny 202.228.204.204; # server.hiraishoten.net
deny 210.73.208.0/20; # Beijing Blue Ocean information technology co.LTD
deny 218.6.0.0/17; # CHINANET fujian province network
deny 218.56.0.0/15; # China Unicom Shandong province network
deny 218.80.0.0/16; # CHINANET Shanghai province network
deny 218.204.0.0/14; # China Mobile Communications Corporation
deny 219.128.0.0/13; # CHINANET Guangdong province network
deny 220.160.0.0/15; # CHINANET Fujian province network
deny 220.168.0.0/15; # CHINANET Hunan province network
deny 221.0.0.0/15; # China Unicom Shandong province network
deny 221.10.0.0/16; # China Unicom SiChuan province network
deny 221.224.0.0/13; # CHINANET jiangsu province network
deny 222.76.0.0/14; # CHINANET fujian province network
deny 222.136.0.0/13; # China Unicom Henan province network
deny 222.176.0.0/13; # CHINANET Chongqing province network
deny 222.240.0.0/13; # CHINANET Hunan province network
deny 223.8.0.0/13; # CHINANET SHANXI PROVINCE NETWORK
deny 223.64.0.0/11; # China Mobile Communications Corporation
deny 222.84.0.0/16; # CHINANET Guangxi province network

PageRank Lives: OpenPageRank by Domcop

In the early days of Google, PageRank was a very important piece of information about a website. It let you know the general authority level of a site and how well it would tend to rank against similar content on another site. The PageRank toolbar, released in 2000, became an important tool in the SEO world.

Over time, Google de-emphasized PageRank, partly because people were gaming the system and partly because they switched to emphasizing other factors when ranking a site. They eventually stopped updating PageRank data and in 2016, they finally shut off the toolbar.

There have been other metrics created, such as Domain Authority by Moz, but nothing has quite been a proper replacement.

Now that the PageRank patent has expired, companies are free to implement their own versions. Domcop has done just that, using the Common Crawl data to calculate PageRank for the top 10 million domains on the web.

You can use it here: https://www.domcop.com/openpagerank/

As of the time of this post, Xangis.com has an OpenPageRank of 3.40.

Top-Level Domain Popularity

In a crawl of just over 32 million pages, this is the number of domains that I discovered for each top-level domain (TLD). The “Known Domains” is the number of domains with that extension that were found in links, while the “Crawled Domains” is the number of domains where pages were retrieved from.

Extension Known Domains Crawled Domains
.aaa 5 2
.aarp 1 0
.abarth 1 1
.abb 9 1
.abbott 74 32
.abbvie 0 0
.abc 9 1
.able 0 0
.abogado 82 47
.abudhabi 12 2
.ac 1404 540
.academy 9638 6340
.accenture 1 0
.accountant 550 347
.accountants 611 417
.aco 6 6
.actor 682 444
.ad 726 143
.adac 1 1
.ads 29 0
.adult 4438 3832
.ae 15743 8579
.aeg 1 1
.aero 4000 2179
.aetna 0 0
.af 1279 435
.afamilycompany 0 0
.afl 13 8
.africa 305 152
.ag 2497 1325
.agakhan 0 0
.agency 14562 9300
.ai 4685 2083
.aig 1 0
.aigo 0 0
.airbus 0 0
.airforce 101 60
.airtel 0 0
.akdn 0 0
.al 3944 1224
.alfaromeo 0 0
.alibaba 0 0
.alipay 0 0
.allfinanz 1 0
.allstate 0 0
.ally 1 0
.alsace 85 43
.alstom 0 0
.am 8687 3314
.americanexpress 0 0
.americanfamily 0 0
.amex 4 0
.amfam 0 0
.amica 3 1
.amsterdam 15930 13438
.analytics 3 0
.android 2 0
.anquan 0 0
.anz 1 0
.ao 1051 541
.aol 1 0
.apartments 1395 963
.app 3397 1067
.apple 13 0
.aq 60 31
.aquarelle 13 12
.ar 290350 193365
.arab 0 0
.aramco 2 1
.archi 934 633
.army 384 241
.arpa 2 0
.art 1305 467
.arte 4 1
.as 2027 1219
.asda 1 0
.asia 87348 48153
.associates 959 693
.at 482762 283611
.athleta 0 0
.attorney 3192 2492
.au 676566 422310
.auction 1032 694
.audi 146 53
.audible 1 1
.audio 2662 1675
.auspost 6 3
.author 3 0
.auto 143 69
.autos 2 0
.avianca 0 0
.aw 209 141
.aws 30 2
.ax 627 343
.axa 9 4
.az 9198 2090
.azure 3 1
.ba 8972 5858
.baby 10 2
.baidu 3 0
.banamex 0 0
.bananarepublic 0 0
.band 2997 1914
.bank 493 277
.bar 2210 1382
.barcelona 144 56
.barclaycard 9 3
.barclays 21 4
.barefoot 0 0
.bargains 895 597
.baseball 0 0
.basketball 36 15
.bauhaus 1 1
.bayern 267 168
.bb 362 225
.bbc 4 0
.bbt 2 0
.bbva 1 1
.bcg 0 0
.bcn 3 0
.bd 3134 986
.be 394979 286735
.beats 1 0
.beauty 4 0
.beer 315 160
.bentley 1 0
.berlin 15650 9387
.best 249 135
.bestbuy 1 0
.bet 627 229
.bf 386 175
.bg 26043 3364
.bh 777 336
.bharti 0 0
.bi 379 157
.bible 113 50
.bid 2039 539
.bike 6624 4226
.bing 2 1
.bingo 428 240
.bio 6462 4167
.biz 966268 563218
.bj 176 75
.black 1335 904
.blackfriday 505 325
.blockbuster 0 0
.blog 5342 1900
.bloomberg 73 0
.blue 4297 2433
.bm 1284 747
.bms 1 1
.bmw 7 2
.bn 375 137
.bnl 0 0
.bnpparibas 41 20
.bo 3129 2072
.boats 3 2
.boehringer 0 0
.bofa 1 0
.bom 3 1
.bond 1 1
.boo 2 0
.book 2 0
.booking 3 0
.bosch 0 0
.bostik 1 0
.boston 16 6
.bot 55 22
.boutique 3123 1923
.box 26 0
.br 661574 387097
.bradesco 37 20
.bridgestone 3 1
.broadway 0 0
.broker 51 29
.brother 5 2
.brussels 568 182
.bs 209 80
.bt 488 220
.budapest 1 1
.bugatti 4 1
.build 217 137
.builders 1551 1086
.business 4597 3145
.buy 1 0
.buzz 1232 920
.bv 2 0
.bw 582 259
.by 20281 2547
.bz 6646 3668
.bzh 640 310
.ca 494823 303073
.cab 103 18
.cafe 3211 2111
.cal 5 0
.call 9 0
.calvinklein 0 0
.cam 143 34
.camera 1913 1259
.camp 2508 1595
.cancerresearch 1 1
.canon 27 9
.capetown 1731 1270
.capital 2808 1984
.capitalone 2 0
.car 100 36
.caravan 1 1
.cards 1905 1182
.care 5833 4047
.career 14 8
.careers 3172 2019
.cars 103 34
.cartier 1 1
.casa 103 47
.case 0 0
.caseih 0 0
.cash 2524 1701
.casino 1551 999
.cat 30073 8075
.catering 1397 982
.catholic 0 0
.cba 9 0
.cbn 2 1
.cbre 1 0
.cbs 1 0
.cc 109058 39325
.cd 638 243
.ceb 7 1
.center 14026 8734
.ceo 47 18
.cern 19 12
.cf 7736 3354
.cfa 5 1
.cfd 3 1
.cg 114 32
.ch 529953 328052
.chanel 1 1
.channel 1 0
.charity 3 2
.chase 1 0
.chat 2957 1875
.cheap 1275 880
.chintai 1 0
.christmas 684 462
.chrome 2 0
.chrysler 0 0
.church 8726 5577
.ci 1038 447
.cipriani 1 1
.circle 0 0
.cisco 4 0
.citadel 0 0
.citi 3 0
.citic 10 1
.city 8574 5998
.cityeats 0 0
.ck 113 65
.cl 191023 121801
.claims 625 450
.cleaning 891 596
.click 9651 5813
.clinic 2513 1558
.clinique 0 0
.clothing 4731 3183
.cloud 19563 11822
.club 97931 58118
.clubmed 6 3
.cm 1346 494
.cn 265238 56575
.co 384542 252055
.coach 3315 2318
.codes 3058 2344
.coffee 5140 3385
.college 1437 1034
.cologne 1071 499
.com 13873332 7043596
.comcast 1 0
.commbank 0 0
.community 4093 2578
.company 18672 12938
.compare 1 0
.computer 2134 1324
.comsec 0 0
.condos 922 722
.construction 2889 2029
.consulting 8542 5905
.contact 2 0
.contractors 1625 1141
.cooking 21 7
.cookingchannel 0 0
.cool 5408 3315
.coop 5437 2905
.corsica 65 29
.country 86 51
.coupon 1 0
.coupons 600 422
.courses 384 224
.cr 4117 2143
.credit 931 638
.creditcard 305 213
.creditunion 2 1
.cricket 537 329
.crown 3 2
.crs 29 22
.cruise 0 0
.cruises 1138 868
.csc 2 0
.cu 1310 582
.cuisinella 2 1
.cv 485 291
.cw 133 64
.cx 1859 710
.cy 2286 1211
.cymru 2962 1880
.cyou 1 0
.cz 511459 318754
.dabur 1 1
.dad 1 0
.dance 2245 1420
.data 6 0
.date 2654 1153
.dating 1204 813
.datsun 1 1
.day 1 0
.dclk 1 0
.dds 1 0
.de 1549945 947359
.deal 0 0
.dealer 0 0
.deals 3135 2193
.degree 176 97
.delivery 970 619
.dell 0 0
.deloitte 0 0
.delta 2 1
.democrat 260 191
.dental 3232 2110
.dentist 1156 861
.desi 575 403
.design 15331 10090
.dev 893 485
.dhl 9 4
.diamonds 1229 889
.diet 779 544
.digital 8922 5915
.direct 4063 2927
.directory 6229 4730
.discount 1844 1173
.discover 1 0
.dish 0 0
.diy 2 0
.dj 500 268
.dk 343151 280337
.dm 129 64
.dnp 6 2
.do 3578 1635
.docs 2 0
.doctor 522 120
.dodge 0 0
.dog 2630 1763
.domains 2811 1715
.dot 6 0
.download 1848 613
.drive 4 0
.dtv 0 0
.dubai 0 0
.duck 0 0
.dunlop 0 0
.duns 0 0
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.xn--fzc2c9e2c 1 0
.xn--fzys8d69uvgm 0 0
.xn--g2xx48c 0 0
.xn--gckr3f0f 0 0
.xn--gecrj9c 0 0
.xn--gk3at1e 0 0
.xn--h2breg3eve 0 0
.xn--h2brj9c 7 1
.xn--h2brj9c8c 0 0
.xn--hxt814e 59 27
.xn--i1b6b1a6a2e 0 0
.xn--imr513n 0 0
.xn--io0a7i 1 0
.xn--j1aef 7 0
.xn--j1amh 239 5
.xn--j6w193g 3 1
.xn--jlq61u9w7b 0 0
.xn--jvr189m 0 0
.xn--kcrx77d1x4a 1 1
.xn--kprw13d 0 0
.xn--kpry57d 10 1
.xn--kpu716f 0 0
.xn--kput3i 1 1
.xn--l1acc 1 1
.xn--lgbbat1ad8j 2 0
.xn--mgb9awbf 0 0
.xn--mgba3a3ejt 2 1
.xn--mgba3a4f16a 1 0
.xn--mgba7c0bbn0a 0 0
.xn--mgbaakc7dvf 0 0
.xn--mgbaam7a8h 5 1
.xn--mgbab2bd 101 19
.xn--mgbah1a3hjkrd 0 0
.xn--mgbai9azgqp6j 0 0
.xn--mgbayh7gpa 0 0
.xn--mgbb9fbpob 0 0
.xn--mgbbh1a 0 0
.xn--mgbbh1a71e 0 0
.xn--mgbc0a9azcg 0 0
.xn--mgbca7dzdo 0 0
.xn--mgberp4a5d4ar 0 0
.xn--mgbgu82a 0 0
.xn--mgbi4ecexp 0 0
.xn--mgbpl2fh 0 0
.xn--mgbt3dhd 0 0
.xn--mgbtx2b 0 0
.xn--mgbx4cd0ab 0 0
.xn--mix891f 0 0
.xn--mk1bu44c 6 0
.xn--mxtq1m 0 0
.xn--ngbc5azd 7 0
.xn--ngbe9e0a 0 0
.xn--ngbrx 0 0
.xn--node 2 0
.xn--nqv7f 0 0
.xn--nqv7fs00ema 0 0
.xn--nyqy26a 4 4
.xn--o3cw4h 9 1
.xn--ogbpf8fl 0 0
.xn--otu796d 0 0
.xn--p1acf 299 43
.xn--p1ai 299734 44067
.xn--pbt977c 0 0
.xn--pgbs0dh 2 0
.xn--pssy2u 0 0
.xn--q9jyb4c 287 158
.xn--qcka1pmc 1 0
.xn--qxam 9 2
.xn--rhqv96g 1 0
.xn--rovu88b 0 0
.xn--rvc1e0am3e 0 0
.xn--s9brj9c 0 0
.xn--ses554g 0 0
.xn--t60b56a 2 0
.xn--tckwe 85 26
.xn--tiq49xqyj 0 0
.xn--unup4y 1 0
.xn--vermgensberater-ctb 1 1
.xn--vermgensberatung-pwb 1 1
.xn--vhquv 0 0
.xn--vuq861b 3 1
.xn--w4r85el8fhu5dnra 0 0
.xn--w4rs40l 0 0
.xn--wgbh1c 2 0
.xn--wgbl6a 2 1
.xn--xhq521b 5 0
.xn--xkc2al3hye2a 0 0
.xn--xkc2dl3a5ee0h 0 0
.xn--y9a3aq 0 0
.xn--yfro4i67o 0 0
.xn--ygbi2ammx 0 0
.xn--zfr164b 3 2
.xxx 89175 3330
.xyz 289147 80131
.yachts 1 1
.yahoo 11 0
.yamaxun 1 1
.yandex 14 1
.ye 197 55
.yodobashi 1 1
.yoga 2964 2084
.yokohama 1481 684
.you 31 0
.youtube 7 0
.yt 214 77
.yun 0 0
.za 295219 203059
.zappos 1 1
.zara 2 0
.zero 3 0
.zip 63 0
.zm 571 295
.zone 7292 4840
.zuerich 1 1
.zw 1434 730
Total 44202501 23848767

Silica Gel Packet Websites (Plus Favorite Packets)

For ages I’ve run websites that are image galleries of silica gel packets. You could say that I’m a pioneer in the field of silica gel packet collecting. It all started when a coworker gave me a silica gel packet with the word “candy” written on it.

In 2009, I bought the domain do-not-eat.com [Archive.org September 2010]. It was just a simple photo gallery with a dozen or so packets, but it managed to get some organic traffic. I sold the domain for something like $30 and the new owner kept the site up for a year or two.

In 2012, I bought the domain silica-gel.org. I built a Django site and added a bunch of packets, also linked by ink color, language, and manufacturer. I ad a packet now and then as I discover new and different ones.

Silica-Gel.org Website Logo

 

 

 

These are my favorite packets.

This one has a nice transparent blue flower that lets you see the silica gel balls.

This one has a phenomenal amount of text and has nice fonts and imagery.

I like this one just because it is orange. There are a few nice orange packets, especially ones from Topcod.

This is another nice orange packet and I enjoy the skull and crossbones.

That’s it for the highlights of my silica gel packet collection.

If you’d like to download a copy of the silica-gel.org website (including archived images), it’s available as open source on GitHub.

RevenueHits Didn’t Work For me

I’ve had to cut short another one of the alternative advertiser experiments that I’ve been running on WbSrch. This time it’s RevenueHits.

This one isn’t causing malware warnings, but it made my site unusable if I had ad blocking turned off. There were popup windows, auto-navigation, and tabs opening without my permission. None of this is OK.

It’s not much of a loss – I didn’t earn anything at all from them during the brief experiment. During the short test, I had 433 impressions, 5 clicks (1.155%), and $0.00 in revenue. Not even a fraction of a penny – eCPM was $0.00 across the board.

The experiment continues with Adcash, Bidvertiser, Chitika, and Adsterra remaining.

Yllix Didn’t Work For Me

I’ve been experimenting with advertising providers on WbSrch to find one (or more) that works well.

Among the half dozen or so I was testing is Yllix.

Unfortunately, they’re causing my site to get malware warnings from Chrome. I’m sure Google is especially vigilant with flagging a competing ad service as malicious, so I’m dropping them from the test.

During the (shortened) test, I had 527 impressions, 4 clicks, and $0.01 in revenue, so it’s unlikely that they’d work out anyhow.

2018 Is The Year That Twitter Ceases To Be Relevant

2018 is the year that Twitter ceases to be relevant.

It’s already stopped being relevant for me. I’ve stopped using it, and have deleted all of my tweets.

As a user, it’s just not worth it. It’s a miserable experience, made much worse by the userbase being made up primarily of Russian bots posing as MAGA idiots, actual alt-right MAGA idiots, and a small kernel of real people saying intelligent things that are drowned out by noise.

I’ve done (and still do) a lot of advertising on the web. For all of the different things I’ve been into, the worst ROI has consistently been via Twitter. Maybe some business types are viable via their ad platform, but none I’ve been involved in have been. It’s been a total waste of money. Mailing postcards would be a better value.

Most of the people I know in meatspace with accounts have stopped using it long ago. Some stopped in 2015, some in 2016, some in 2017. I can name maybe five people who use it regularly, and some of them echo their tweets to Facebook. I don’t have a huge circle of friends, but compare that to about 140 on Facebook with about 40% of them being active (50 or so people) and the order of magnitude population reduction makes it far less interesting. Facebook has its own problems, but it still manages to be relevant, unlike Twitter.

Even though Twitter is garbage to me, maybe it isn’t garbage to everyone else.

Nope.

There hasn’t been much recent coverage that I can find with about 15 seconds of effort, but these from last year don’t paint a rosy picture:

Twitter is now losing users in the U.S
http://money.cnn.com/2017/07/27/technology/business/twitter-earnings/index.html

Twitter revenues decline for first time as advertising falls away
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/26/twitter-revenues-fall-first-quarter-results-advertising

Library of Congress Gives Up Collecting All Tweets Because Twitter Is Garbage
https://gizmodo.com/library-of-congress-gives-up-on-twitter-because-twitter-1821581190

When Twitter finally dies, nearly nothing of value will be lost.

And if it doesn’t die, why care?

Six Weeks of RCRDList – Screwups and Successes and More Screwups

On the first of the year I took over as curator of the RCRDList music discovery email list. It was created by my friend Zoe and she doesn’t have the time to maintain it because she’s in grad school. It’s presumably a temporary takeover, with me assuming she’ll want it back when school’s over, but we haven’t figured that out yet.

It was a bit of a rough start. I did well enough picking music, but there were a few bad links or mis-sized images here and there, but nothing terrible. It was obvious that I misunderestimated the phenomenal amount of work she put into it.

I also rewrote the MusicSrch search engine to fix a bunch of broken things and add some services that weren’t in yet but would be useful for RCRDList. That has been very helpful and has saved me a lot of time.

Then I got into a bit of a flow and managed to get a few days ahead fairly consistently. That’s how Zoe used to manage it — create a buffer big enough to absorb the fluctuations of day-to-day life. I think she was usually pretty far ahead, certainly more than two or three days.

Then life happened. My band Emergency Brunch played 3 live shows in January, with two in the same week. And my old band from 2004, Dr. Kilpatient, reunited for a brief show because the third member was in town. And, of course, those things require time and practice and hauling stuff all over the place, made even more complicated by riding public transit. Things became even more difficult as a wave of the winter blues overtook me and made me lazy/distracted/befuckited for a week or so.

Not only did I miss a day, I missed a few. And some weeklies. A whole group of very important people was left in the dark.

Zoe, I failed to feed your baby. More than once. I’m sorry. I will do better.

I also haven’t spent enough effort on descriptions and headlines. In the mad rush to get emails out, many of the descriptions were pretty uncreative. It was enough that RCRDList friend Trixie pointed that out on Twitter. Thank you for caring enough to say that, Trixie. You’re absolutely right.

I thought about asking for help. And I might at some point, especially for the genres that I find hard to listen to — country and folk. The trouble is that getting someone new up to speed on the selection and editing criteria would be a serious time investment on its own. RCRDList is far more detailed than “pick and random thing and email it”. But, even having help with just the selecting would make life easier. I listen to about 4 hours of music for every band that’s featured, and finding time for that is not always easy. The day job gives me some time to listen while I work most days, at least.

As I write this, I’m a day ahead and working on the next and I have enough time to finish Monday’s weekly. There are problems with the workflow that I need to solve, with the most obvious being that I have to enter every URL twice — once for the dailies and once again for the weeklies. I can copy and paste from the daily emails, but it’s still a manual process. The thing with computers is that you should only ever have to enter a piece of data once. Anything else is extra work. I have an idea that involves saving links from a MusicSrch search and using them to generate (at least partially) a daily email and save those links toward a weekly, but I’m sure I’ll need to do a significant template redesign and many hours of codemonkeying to make it work, but it will pay for itself in time savings if I do.

I’ve also done some work toward growing the list.

It’s the same amount of work whether an email going to 1500 people or 15,000. As it is, when a band finds out they’ve been featured it’s more of a morale boost than anything that really moves the needle for them. You can’t pay the rent by selling an extra 1-2 copies of an album. I’d love for it to make a meaningful difference for a band to be featured by RCRDList. Sometimes it does. With more than 1000 features by now, the odds are good that at least one musician who was ready to give up decided to keep going because they were on the list. I’d really like it to make a meaningful difference every time an email went out.

I used a Facebook ad to grow the following there a little. It wasn’t much, just enough to change the “seen by 3 people” post average to “seen by 5 people”. It’s still a tiny following — less than 100 people. It was enough to figure out how much it costs to grow the audience. 76 cents per like with a really basic ad. If I had a better ad it would be a little less, but that still means increasing the reach is no small (or cheap) task.

Twitter has also grown a little. I made it official policy to follow a featured band. Sometimes they follow back. It’s also useful for the “have we already featured them?” check, and it might also be neat to do a “where are they now” for featured bands in the future.

So far the thing that has made the biggest impact for the smallest expense is Project Wonderful. It’s an ad network that lets you target specific sites with specific bids. It doesn’t have that many music sites in the network since it’s geared more toward webcomics, but there are a few that have been really effective for growing the list. It’s grown by about 3% in the past month. That’s not amazing, but the ability to hypertarget ads means that each new subscriber costs less than 10 cents to add. I started by using a terrible ad that I made and then switched to a few nice ones made by a talented graphic designer in Venezuela. I always hate contributing to the race to the bottom in wages that a place like Fiverr causes, but the alternative would be my horrible programmer art, which probably has a greater long-term negative effect on the world.

Even though RCRDList includes some affiliate links, during its lifetime it has still made less in commissions than I’ve spent on ad experiments in the past six weeks. That’s OK. Money isn’t the point of this thing. It’d just be a nice side-effect if it took off. Even if it is a labor of love, nobody wants to work for free if they don’t have to.

I’ll never understand people who are bored. My problem is and always will be running out of day.

FreeWaveSamples: DMCA Response Period Expired, Samples Restored

This is an update to a previous post about a DMCA request frivolously filed by Roland Corporation against freewavesamples.com.

I sent a DMCA counter-notice to my ISP, Linode, and they forwarded it to Roland.

14 days (10 business days passed) and Roland did not respond.

Yesterday Linode contacted me to let me know I was free to put the content back up, so I today I did.

For reference, these are the URLs where samples have been restored:

http://freewavesamples.com/roland-d-20-kick
http://freewavesamples.com/roland-jd-990-pizzicato-strings-c4
http://freewavesamples.com/roland-d-20-snare
http://freewavesamples.com/roland-gr1-orchestra-hit-c5
http://freewavesamples.com/roland-gr1-trumpet-c5

It’s no surprise that there was no response from Roland regarding my counter-notice. I’m sure the badly-written IP enforcement bot they’re using isn’t advanced enough to handle that sort of thing.

I will not consider the manner closed until I hear from a real Human at Roland. They could continue to harass me, and that is why I haven’t removed the “Free Wave Samples Is In Danger” banner text from the website.

Roland: Wrong But Persistent

This is an update to the unsubstantiated legal threat I received from Roland a few weeks ago.

My ISP, Linode, was reviewing the situation and still hadn’t come to a decision (I suspect they wrote to the email address of the sender and failed to receive a reply, as I did). However, today they received a DMCA takedown notice.

— BEGIN NOTICE —

Dear Sir/ Madam,

I, the undersigned, state the following:

1) I am the legal representative authorized to act on behalf of Roland Corporation, of certain exclusive intellectual property rights (“Roland Corporation”);

2) I attest, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that

freewavesamples.com
http://freewavesamples.com/roland-d-20-kick
http://freewavesamples.com/roland-jd-990-pizzicato-strings-c4
http://freewavesamples.com/roland-d-20-snare
http://freewavesamples.com/roland-gr1-orchestra-hit-c5
http://freewavesamples.com/roland-gr1-trumpet-c5

use Roland Corporation’s intellectual property in the content without authorization. This use falsely suggests Roland Corporation’s sponsorship or endorsement of the website and violates Roland Corporation’s exclusive rights;

3) Roland Corporation represents that use of the material is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law;

4) Based upon information at its disposal on freewavesamples.com, we believe that the statements in this notice are accurate and correctly describe the infringing nature and status of the Infringing Material;

5) I understand that, pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 512(f), any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity is infringing may be liable for damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees.

The reasons that the domains named above must be suspended are as follows:

a) Offer(s) a counterfeit or otherwise unauthorized item for sale that violates the IP Owner’s trademarks and/or copyrights.
b) Misuses the IP Owner’s brand name, trademarks and/or copyright.
c) Uses a copyrighted image without authorization from the IP Owner.

The reported website(s), and by consequence the infringing content, is accessible globally, and is protected under the Berne Convention, the protection of which extends to 168 countries (full list here: http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ShowResults.jsp?lang=en&treaty_id=15).

We are providing you this letter of notification pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 17 USC§512(c) to make you aware of material on its network or system that infringes the exclusive copyrights of Roland Corporation.

Attempts to resolve this issue with the Registrant have been unsuccessful. We seek your help in removing the infringing content. Please take reasonable and prompt steps to investigate and respond appropriately to this report of abuse commensurate to your commitment to addressing abuse as outlined in your terms of service and commensurate to your obligation under relevant law.

We may be contacted at the email address below.

Sincerely,

brandprotection@rolandipr.com

— END NOTICE —

I do not agree with Roland’s claims and do not believe they would win a court challenge.

This content on freewavesamples.com does *not* violate Roland’s copyright, nor Roland’s trademark. The trademark issue is explained in this earlier post. Here I address the copyright (Linode thought that was their concern, but to me that letter still reads as a trademark threat).

The samples posted on freewavesamples.com are not samples that were created by Roland. They are sounds that I played on and recorded from the Roland synthesizers that I own, recorded at a specific pitch (C in the best octave for the patch, usually), edited and denoised, normalized, etc. Some of them sound better than the original instrument (particularly in the case of some of the noisy 1980’s synths).

This is a very important difference.

In buying an instrument, you also buy the right to do whatever you like with recordings of sounds *from* that instrument. If this were not the case, every song recorded using a sound from a Roland synthesizer would be in violation and the music industry would fall apart.

This is why there is a thriving sample pack industry, with retailers selling CDs, DVDs, and downloads of samples from various synthesizers and drum machines. If you want all of the quality, flexibility, programmability, and versatility of the original instrument you buy the instrument. If you just want access to some of the preset sounds, you buy the sample pack. You don’t get much value from a sample pack, though – the presets are the least interesting part of an instrument, and using them in a song makes you sound unoriginal and uncreative. In addition, the pitch shifting involved in transposing a single-note sample to other pitches loses any articulation associated with that sound and introduces artifacts and aliasing that makes it sound less realistic the farther you go from the recorded pitch.

This is also true for other instruments. You can buy a guitar and get all of the flexibility that comes with owning an expressive instrument with hundreds of years of design history behind it. Or you can buy a sample CD with a few notes and sounds that you’ll be hard-pressed to make sound like a real, live version of the instrument on a recording.

If these were binary dumps of the actual samples in the synthesizer’s ROM, this *would* be in violation of Roland’s copyright, assuming the samples in that particular synthesizer are legitimately copyrighted. That has been a problem for emulator developers, such as the MT-32 emulation project. (references HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE). I was aware of that case before ever starting the site, which is why I have not taken binary dumps of any samples. Interestingly enough, the MT-32’s samples were not copyrighted, and things turned out favorably for the emulator.

However, worrying about this stuff makes me tired. And at this point thinking about Roland fills me with disgust. I’m not sure I even want to mention them on my site, freely advertising and promoting their brand and increasing their name recognition when I get nothing for it (these are FREE downloads, for pete’s sake!).

For now I’m taking the mentioned Roland samples down and filing a counter-notice to their DMCA request. If they don’t respond in 14 days, which I doubt they will, then I may put them back up. If I can stomach it. I’ve also emailed the EFF to ask for their opinion since they were involved in the original MT-32 emulator case.

I have not taken ALL of the Roland samples down. Only the ones mentioned in their complaint. Based on the outcome of this dispute, I’ll either remove everything from Roland (there’s lots more), or keep them all up.

There is an update to this situation.

Free Wave Samples Is in Danger

Ten years ago I created freewavesamples.com because there was a shortage of free high-quality samples online. Specifically, the type of samples that would be useful for making music with samplers and trackers. I recorded sounds from my large collection of synthesizers (and some other instruments), a mix of preset patches and custom patches that I’ve created.

Now, after a decade of giving away samples without any issues, the site is under threat from Roland. A trademark threat of all things.

This is an unsolicited email I received:

— BEGIN MESSAGE —

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing on behalf of the IP Department for Roland Corporation and its division regarding your infringement of Roland intellectual property rights. As I am sure you know, Roland Corporation is a leading manufacturer and distributor of electronic musical instruments, including keyboards and synthesizers, guitar products, electronic percussion, digital recording equipment, amplifiers, audio processors, and multimedia products. With more than 40 years of musical instrument development, Roland sets the standard in music technology for the world to follow. For more information, visit http://www.Roland.com/global/.

In connection to Roland Corporation’s proprietary rights over its famous trademark we are notifying you of the following:

Roland Corporation has recently learned that the trademark ROLAND appears as a metatag, keyword, visible or hidden text on the web site(s) located at the below listed URL(s) without having obtained prior written authorization from Roland Corporation. This practice infringes upon the exclusive intellectual property rights of Roland Corporation.

http://freewavesamples.com/roland-d-20-kick
http://freewavesamples.com/roland-jd-990-pizzicato-strings-c4
http://freewavesamples.com/roland-d-20-snare
http://freewavesamples.com/roland-gr1-orchestra-hit-c5
http://freewavesamples.com/roland-gr1-trumpet-c5

As a trademark owner, Roland Corporation is obligated to enforce its rights by taking action to ensure that others do not use its trademarks without permission. Unauthorized use of the trademark(s) could create a likelihood of confusion with Roland Corporation’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site(s), online location(s), products or services.

In light of the above, we request that you respond to this e-mail within ten (10) days, informing us whether you have obtained rights from Roland Corporation to use the trademark(s). If so, please provide us with details as to who granted you such rights and when. If not, please remove all metatags, keywords, visible or hidden texts including trademark(s) presently appearing on the above-cited web site(s) and any other web site(s), or draw this issue to the attention of the appropriate person(s).

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter.

Sincerely,

Roland Corporation
brandprotection@rolandipr.com

— END MESSAGE —

This looks like the type of message that is generated by an automated IP enforcement bot — the kind of thing that crawls the web and automatically bothers people when it sees certain keywords. I sincerely doubt that a Human was involved in sending it at all.

Here’s why their claims are not valid:

1. There is no possibility of brand confusion because the mentions of Roland on the site are NOT a competing product. It’s THEM that I’m talking about when I use the word Roland. These are samples recorded from my Roland synthesizers and I have every right to say where they came from. That is Fair Use.
2. They are using an overly broad interpretation of trademark.
3. There are no products for sale on the site.
4. You don’t get to decide what keywords someone uses in their meta tags. That’s not covered by trademark, and it’s pointless to even care since search engines don’t even use keyword meta tags anymore.
5. If this was a problem, Roland should have objected long ago. As this capture from The Wayback Machine on May 5, 2007 shows, I’ve been offering Roland samples for more than ten years (including the JD-990 sample that is in their list of URLs). It has been a popular site for a long time, and I believe it was in 2008 that it first cracked the Alexa Top Million (it’s been the 200-250k range in recent months).

In any case, I replied to their email explaining that their claims were not valid in this case. Heard nothing back. Received the same email again a week later. Replied with the same answer. Heard nothing back.

A week or so later, my ISP notified me that it received the same email and said that I needed to remove the content or my server would be “limited”. I contested it and I’m still waiting to hear back from their “trust and safety” department. One thing I will definitely give Linode — their customer service is quite good, and they look into things rather than making unilateral decisions. I experienced this firsthand a few years back when a malware scanner came up with some false positives for some apps I had posted on the Zeta Centauri website.

One of six things will probably happen here:

1. A real Human at Roland will look at this and realize it’s silly and drop it.
2. I’ll end up removing the Roland content from the site under duress, even though they have no right to force me to not mention them. And, of course, I’ll replace it with a very unflattering note explaining why it was removed.
3. I’ll change ISPs. This is unlikely because the same thing will probably just happen again.
4. I’ll shut down the site. This isn’t too likely, but it is possible. It’s does require time and energy to maintain, and even though it gets a lot of traffic, the Google ads on the site earn only slightly more than the hosting costs. Enough to buy an inexpensive synth once a year (and then record more samples from it).
5. I’ll fight it in court and win. This isn’t too likely because it’s not worth the time, money, and energy. If I were earning a living from the site, that might be a different story (this is just a hobby, not a company). But, I also hate bullying, so it might be worth the fight, especially since trademark bullies are some of the worst kind of bullies.

I’ve spent a LOT of money on Roland audio equipment over the last 20 years (probably $20k total). Result #1 is the only thing that will keep me buying and using Roland gear.

If you’d like to keep freewavesamples.com online, please contact Roland and let them know they should leave me alone.

And for the love of all that is good, please don’t use (or let your company use) shoddy shotgun-blast-approach automated IP protection bots. A number of companies sell them, and none of them are very good. Down with Barratry bots.

There is an Update to this situation.