Paul's Blog

The Well-Grounded Yuppie


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Friday, May 26, 2006

Calling all SEM Professionals

Calling all SEM/SEO professionals that actually read my personal blog, that means you, Evan and Thomas! Maybe you too, Jeff and Julie, or anyone else I know or don’t know that's reading my blog but not leaving comments. I'm actually stumped on something, and I can't figure this one out. I just posted this in some forums as well, but maybe a "personal touch" on a personal blog is always nice.

So here's the problem:

About 6 months ago, Slate Magazine has moved out of slate.msn.com to slate.com, and did a 301-redirect on a page by page bases (dynamically so anything you type under slate.msn.com would go to the corresponding URL in slate.com). Example: If you type in slate.msn.com/asdf, it would 301-redirect to slate.com/asdf.

I am seeing slate.msn.com still taking priority over slate.com, even with the 301 redirect after months. Even new articles under slate.com are showing up as slate.msn.com. Example: If you Google "slate lacrosse editor" (without quotes), the article that should show up for slate's result is showing up under msn's domain.

Shouldn't 301-redirects have the effect of letting the search engines know "This page/site is no longer here, go to the new site, keep the rankings/link popularity I currently have, and DROP THE OLD URL"?

Any help on this is greatly appreciated.
Paul.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Cherry Blossoms in DC

About a month and a half ago, I had some free time to look around DC. It was during the cherry blossom festivals. I saw some of those and visited some monuments. I know I’m a little late on posting, but here are some pictures of the monuments and cherry blossoms in DC.

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Mini Briefcase Business Card Holder

Those that know me knows I carry "personal cards". Those are just like business cards to give out, but it's got personal information, which is my name, cell phone number, and personal Email address. It's mostly for random new people I meet everywhere. I also have business cards, but I mostly give them out for, well, business reasons.

I saw this little business card holder that look like a briefcase, and I just couldn't resist on getting it, it was around $9 after shipping. The keys are there just to evaluate the size of the card holder. This new toy will keep me amused for a few days.

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Long Waited Images Of My Room

I'm about 2 months late with this post, but here it is:
When I moved to DC, it took me a little while to unpack my room. It wasn't a long process, but it was pretty annoying. I thought it was such a chore that I took some "Before and After" pics of my great work, with "before pics" being on the left and "after pics" being on the right.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Weekend Trips Ahead

Sorry if I'm not going be blogging in the next few days or so. I have some road trips coming along The coming memorial day weekend I'm driving up to NYC/NJ to see a friend (4 and a half hours), and the weekend after that I'm visiting Charlotte (6 hrs drive).

Anyone in the NYC or Charlotte/Greensboro/Raleigh area want to get together and hang out, give me a call or Email.

--Paul.

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Amazing Magician

I saw this video on the blog of a friend of a friend, and it showed this video. I just thought it was hilarious, so I wanted my readers to enjoy it as well.





Also check out this illusion, which I thought was pretty cool.

New Yahoo Front Page

Evan's Blog mentioned the new redesign of Yahoo, and I think it somewhat resembles AOL’s design. It’s got the same “Tabbed Top Stories” front center and “Personalized Services” on the right side AOL used for a long time. The main difference is Yahoo’s new page’s directories are on the left, while AOL’s is on the bottom.

Update: Yahoo just reverted to its old front page (5/21/06). I guess it was only a test for a few days, seeing if users like it.

Update: Yahoo is using the new front page (5/25). When will Yahoo make up their minds?

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Chinese, Mexican & Italian Food.

Chinese, Mexican and Italian Food are among some of my favorite food groups.

Since I am currently working extensively with the City Guide section of washingtonpost.com, I’m almost obligated to tell people “For reviews and information on Chinese, Mexican, Italian, and other restaurants, go to Washington Post’s City Guide." They are doing some redesigns, so take a look at their city guide before that format is gone forever.

Some of my own favorites:
Favorite Chinese Dishes: Lo Mein, Pepper Steak (with no onions), and Sweet & Sour Chicken.
Favorite Mexican Dishes: Quesadillas and Fajitas
Favorite Italian Dishes: Chicken Alfredo (Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken), and Lasagna.

Above are some of my favorites as far as Chinese, Mexican, and Italian food goes. More to come, maybe.

Getting my car fixed

So my O2 sensor on my car's been bad for almost a year now, and my check engine light's been on since. It's not really a big deal, but I need to get it done sometime. So as of right now, I'm at a Starbucks across the street of the car repair, passing away the time (2-3 hrs, according to the mechanic) with a laptop. Starbucks uses T-mobile Wi-Fi Internet, and their daily price is $10. What's up with that? But I guess $10 is worth me not being bored for the next 2-3 hrs, I see it as an "entertainment cost", in the same category as shooting pool for a few bucks an hour. I guess the "daily Internet pass" is probably geared towards people who need it occasionally, like me getting my car fixed, or someone taking business/personal trips and need Internet for a day or two. They DO offer monthly rates for $30, I'm guessing that's for people that live in T-Mobile Wi-Fi zones, or travel frequently.

Enough about that, more posts coming up real soon due to my boredom at Starbucks.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Comedy Spot in Arlington Virginia

I was extra busy at work this week, so I decided to try something different to relieve stress after work today. I found this skit comedy place on washingtonpost.com's city guide. The name of the place is The Comedy Spot and it's located in Ballston Common Mall in Arlington VA. The 8PM session was a random rated PG, clean comedy improv session. I'm usually not big into "fun for the whole family" type of events, simply because I'm a single guy without wife or kids. But it was only $10, I thought "why not".

The comedians did a great job, but I wasn't extremely amused for some reason. Growing up as a teenager in the 90's I think I was almost trained, by the media such as "married with children" or "the Simpsons", to think jokes such as "How do you stop an elephant from charging? You take away his credit card" unfunny. Am I so spoiled by the adult humor all around us that I think "fun for the whole family comedy" just isn't funny?

This got me thinking: How do you define "Adult humor?" It doesn't have to be controversial, it doesn't have to include sex or race. It could be things relating to our everyday lives, such as "Officespace" or "the office", or it could be random out of nowhere 15 second jokes presented in "Family Guy". Subconsciously, we all have a line drawn between what's funny and what's just corny. But how do we define that line? And what are the rules of where that line lays?

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Clockwork of Life

Emily Dickinson’s poem "A Clock Stopped” talks about life. It talks about how all "clocks” go round and round, every single day, repeating the same patterns, but they all have an end (lifetime of the clock).

A friend of mine called today, and said she was bored with her life. The same thing happens all the time, doing the same things on weekends. She has fun, but nothing exciting happens anymore. Being the jerk that I am, I just told her that she was just spoiled. I told her that she has a good life, and she's living comfortably.

But underneath, I completely understand how she feels. I seem to have a "good life” as well. But I’m never satisfied, and rarely happy. It could be this generation of people, or maybe it’s because we haven’t fully "grown up” yet. When did we stop being content with comfortable, which drove us to seek excitement? My life is clockwork. I do the same things day after day, go to work, come home, spend an hour or two doing something I enjoy, which is usually hitting the arcade or playing basketball, then have dinner, watch TV/play video games, and go to bed, so I can wake up the next day and do it all over again. I’ve tried to do something "different” once in a while. I went to the National Zoo last weekend, and it was fairly disappointing, not nearly as cool as it was the last time I went, which was 3 years ago.

Not do we seek new excitements in life, are we less amused as we grow older? And when will we finally be genuinely satisfied and truly happy with our lives?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Search Engine Rankings for my name

Google and MSN are recognizing my new blog URL, and I finally got first position for keyword "Paul Zhao". Take THAT, scientology Paul Zhao!

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Mother's Day Flowers

This year is the first year that I cannot drive to my parents' house to take my mother out for Mother's day, so I decided to order her some flowers.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Kyoto Sushi in Alexandria Virginia

Kyoto Sushi = Bad Customer Service

Okay, so this new Japanese place opened up in the local shopping center I always go to (in Alexandria VA). Today was its grand opening, and the name of the restaurant is called "Kyoto Sushi". I decided to check it out. The person that took my order is a late 40ish, early 50ish Asian man. He dressed like the manager/owner of the place. I asked for a bowl of Beef Fried Rice to go, and he said "10 minutes". I started to take out my wallet, but he ignored me. I thought "No big deal, this must be one of the places where you pay as you receive your food". I sat at the bar, messed around with my phone for about 10 minutes.

I was starting to get bored, so I looked around. I turned around, and saw the manager talk to an old gentleman who just arrived. The gentleman asked the manager something, which I didn't pay attention to, and the manager said something really fast that I didn't understand. The gentleman said something like "I'm sorry, I don't understand you", the manager got impatient, and the gentleman simply walked out of the store.

I was bored and hungry. I turned to the manager and asked "how's my food looking"? He rudely and loudly yelled at me "I told you, 20 minutes, don't rush me" in a fashion I barely understood. I understand that he's frustrated about the customer he just lost, but that's a little unprofessional of him to take it out on the next customer.

Now, I have 3 choices.
1. Take the high road, apologize, sit down, and make nothing of it
2. Take the mid road, simply walk out
3. Take the low road, give him a 3 minute speech on why customer service is important in your his of business.

I chose the mid road. I simply rolled my eyes and walked out, and went to McDonalds next door. I was thinking "I'd understand if that guy doesn't value me as a customer, but he's also a terrible business person". Maybe it's his first day and he doesn't know he's going to annoy so many customers. He should've made people prepay, so the annoyed customers like me couldn't just walk out. Even though it's a small amount of money, but his customer service and business decisions turned a few dollars profit from me to a dollar or two loss on cooking the food for nothing.

If any of my friends come to Alexandria Virginia or DC area to visit me, I would not be bringing them to Kyoto Sushi.