I remember referring to a certain doctor with major skills in a rare specialty as the cowboy who came out of the night to save me some years ago. That’s cowboy in a most affectionate way – it was my way of complimenting him. It’s a favorable term to me and if someone called me a cowboy, I would probably take it as a compliment.

So when I read this and saw the term link cowboy and indulged my inner narcissist a bit, I told myself, β€œIf anyone’s a link cowboy, I am.” I wondered if Kicks might indeed be referring to me. Naw, that’s ridiculous Joe – get over yourself! β€œSilly,” I thought, pushing my ego and its dumb thoughts to the back of my mind.

Of course, I had still been thinking those silly thoughts for almost a month when I came across this and this (yet another cool video by Kicks) and my ego lit up like a lavalamp. Though the message in the entertaining video was ambiguous, here I was saying β€œDamn! He is talking about me.” My inner narcissist won and I was doomed to responding in some way (though I knew better).

I did respond and learned I was totally wrong about what he was saying and who he was talking about. I’d been here before. I’m human.

The truth is I love this guy’s attitude. He teaches us/me things in a most peculiar way.

(also posted to indieweb.xyz/en/linking)

(also posted to indieweb.xyz/en/linking)

So. Something I linked to in a recent dailywebthing post sparked my interest and ended up helping me solve a little mystery that’s been bugging me for quite some time:

Smart Quotes for Smart People

β€œSmart quotes,” the correct quotation marks and apostrophes, are curly or sloped. “Dumb quotes,” or straight quotes, are a vestigial constraint from typewriters when using one key for two different marks helped save space on a keyboard. Unfortunately, many improper marks make their way onto websites because of dumb defaults in applications and CMSs. Luckily, using correct quotation marks and apostrophes today is easier than you think.

As UTF-8 has become more widely used as the default encoding on the web, I’ve been troubleshooting problems with how some special characters appear when parsing RSS feeds with a PHP script. It’s the script I use on this site to show recent updates to various webthings. I also use the script (and fixed it) on another page I recently built for a friend (toot toot).

That site I linked to opened my eyes. It dawned on me that the old script I’d been using for years was written before PHP supported UTF-8. A few simple changes in the code fixed the problem. It no longer has β€˜dumb defaults’ and I am now free to be smart. How liberating!

Moral of the story: Every day is an opportunity to learn new things.

Here’s the plan. I’m gonna start a website to give you a special little freebie (everybody loves freebies), and link it to another site where I’ll review books I’ve read (yeah, right!) and provide easy links for buying said books. Of course, those’ll be affiliate links ’cause I’m gonna get rich quick, Mama. And if that don’t work, the 32 Google Ads surrounding each book review should at least cover my nut.

This is Web 2.0 baby. We can all pretend to be whatever we want and monetize even the crappiest of content. We’re all in it for the game and we ain’t gotta work no more. I love the web and it loves me. Yeah, right!

Get a grip, Joe. Wake up. You’re just having a bad dream…

(originally published 7/15/10 @ jenett.simply.personal)

(prior discussion)