Happy 17th Birthday BOTW!

Dropping a quick note to wish everyone at BOTW a happy 17th birthday. In internet years, that’s a LOOOOONG time.

BOTW was originally started as an awards site in ’94, the same year the precursor company to Netscape released the MOSAIC browser that helped bring the net into more public use. The prestigious “Best of the Web” awards were big stuff in the young internet community of the time, and ran into the late 1990’s. The awards were created in April of’94, and I suspect “spam” was invented about 5 minutes later.

The original BOTW awards logo

Shortly after the awards program shut down the rights to BOTW were purchased by the infamous “BOTW boys” and developed as a general directory… and internet (as well as t-shirt and hoodie) history followed. You can see that story (and the 25% off BOTW promo code good thru end of the month) at the BOTW Blog post, Best of the Web 17th Birthday Promo.

Be sure to watch the 1994 video of Bryant Gumbels “What is the internet anyway?” dialogue with Katie Courie. How times have changed.

Incidentally, that blog is getting a makeover as we speak. Can’t wait to see the final product. It’s being set up to match the look of the much sleeker BOTW corporate site… http://bestoftheweb.com/ .

Nothing else exciting to add here, just figured I’d toss a little link love at this one so my webbie friends don’t miss out on the big BOTW birthday promo.

BOTW Sponsors Charity Event at SES

Haven’t blogged lately, but I’ll wander outta seclusion for a good cause. If helping sick kids isn’t a good cause, your causometer is busted.

Lotta folk’s in the internet marketing industry will be converging on San Jose for the Search Engine Strategies Conference in August, and that’s the scene for the big event.

The Best of the Web crew and the folks at Bing are sponsoring the IM Charity Party. Bottom line, attendees make a $50 charitable contribution to get in the door ($30 if they pre-register)… and the sponsors pick up all the costs of the party so that every dime of the proceeds go to the designated charities.

The charities are “Doctors Without Borders” and “The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society”.

doctors without borders logo

leukemia soc logo

Details are available on the BOTW Blog (see: SES San Jose Charity Party)… and tickets can be purchased on the IM Charity Party site.

Just trying to get the word out… sounds like a good time, and of course it’s for a great cause. :-)

PS – I might add if the Greg and Rob are gonna go suffer for the cause at an open bar and leave me home tending The Herd… they better at least bring me home a T-Shirt.

I'm Rob Jones... and I approve this message.
I'm Rob Jones... and I approve this message.

BOTW: Volunteers Welcome

Search for Middle Ground

When I transitioned from Volunteer at Dmoz to working at Best of the Web, there were a few friends that had misgivings about doing what we’d done for so long on a commercial basis. Apparently they didnt agree with the wisdom of the Dmoztivator (see also: Blatant Idea Ripoff) I’d done a few years earlier…

GO HERE to collect the whole set.


In keeping with the idea of finding middle ground… there’s now another opportunity for those that like to give back to the web thru exercising their Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I won’t go into detail here since I just did it elsewhere, but they can go to the BOTW Blog for details if interested.

For added benefit, the forum intersects with those neer-do-wells that edit the main directory at BOTW, so for some it’s a good opportunity to renew a few old friendships too.


BTW – Rumor has it I just got a Mozzie en absentia for “Most Expired Editor”?! ROFL. Somebody send me a link to the appropriate jpg… I’ll put it on here along with my gracious acceptance speech. Thanks (ermmm… I think). :p

I'm Rob Jones... and I approve this message.
I'm Rob Jones... and I approve this message.

The Night Before Christmas

Naah… as I post it’s actually a couple of nights… but nobody has a decent poem out that starts “It was a couple of nights before Christmas”, so I’m claiming poetic license.

On the topic of poetic license, I figure mine’s gonna get revoked. Wrote yet another parody of the Christmas classic “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. That probably makes mine about the 12 millionth, so there’s bound to be a penalty. License revocation’s about the least they should do.

Having already defaced the poem once I won’t repost it… but you can see it in all its infamy over at the BOTW Blog.

Twas the Night Before Christmas (Webmaster Version)

Feel free to go throw rocks and stones. You won’t be the first.

Meanwhile: The BethO Hostage Crisis Continues

Beth (aka: TheBride™) is on about day 20 or so in a row at work.Economic downturn or not, the guys that buy saddles and horse stuff down at the saddle shop seem to able to buy… so things are pretty busy.

Unfortunate part, her boss is a little fella named Klint Owens, and he is in my opinion a jerk… a preening, posturing little bully that has an amazing shortage of men at his shop. Could be because it’s easier to pick on girls and smaller guys. A full sized cowboy might clean his clock.
[Edited this section on 3-27-2009 to add what I diplomatically avoided in December.]

[Hi Klint… hope you have a Google alert going, you pompous little windbag.]

Anyway, at this rate I’ll probably see her around March.

Tell the dancing girls to quit coming to house at the end of February.

Hope everyone has a great Christmas. Best wishes on making 2009 a great year.

I'm Rob Jones... and I approve this message.
I'm Rob Jones... and I approve this message.

Looks Too Easy When Ya Do It Right

Gustav vs Katrina

It isn’t over for coastal residents yet, there are hurricanes queuing up behind Gustav like kids waiting to see the next must-see movie, but it appears the levees in New Orleans are holding their own despite not *quite* having gotten all the attention we’d like to see since hurricane Katrina came thru.

In addition, the lessons from Katrina appear to have been learned… whether you’re talking federal, state, local… or the citizens themselves. The various branches of government coordinated like a Swiss watch compared to last time.

  • The national guard was back home and ‘boots on the ground’
  • The city of New Orleans PD, castigated for leaving to take care of their own last time, was allowed time off in advance to secure their families before the storm hit this time
  • The civil authority has people in place ro enforce a curfew, and made it crystal clear looters would be dropped immediately in general populace at Angola Prison
  • The citizens didnt stick around to give stupid macho “We’ve lived here forever so we can deal with it” soundbites… they did the rational thing and got the hell outta Dodge
  • Measures were taken to coordinate with other states to provide places for those that didnt have options and transport to get them there


For any in the media that push the “Did you cry wolf?” storyline… go take a freakin hike. Thank god the city was prepared, thankk god the feds were ready… and god bless the guys that worked on the levees when it got scary. It got real close a rew times, but they held (whew!). It doesnt require a LOT of holes in the seawall to screw the whole thing.

It is REAL easy to discount the danger when things work according to plan. It could have been worse. Sixteen hundred people DIED in Katrina. Taking this seriously was the ONLY rational response.

THANKS TO “The Heroes”

Thank you, thank you, thank you… to ALL the heroes that helped in planning, implementation, and in assisting those displaced by the storm. That includes the internet heroes like a vet in Merkel Texas named Brad Banner who quietly helps match those in need meet those who can help via the Gustav Wiki.

Brad lives nowhere near the affected area, and *could* have been doing things that paid him instead… because aside from his veterinary practice, he’s a member of the BOTW Editor Team. Nonetheless, he did more than most of us. Thanks. Volunteers like you are heroes, and an integral part of the fix.

As a former New Orleans area resident (long ago right after “Betsy” trashed the place), or even just as a human being… thanks to those involved. Better a “close miss” than what we had before.

"I'm Rob Jones, and I approve this message."
I'm Rob Jones, and I approve this message.

The Smartest Guy in the Room

The Smartest Guy in the Room…

About me? I wish. Talking about my dad.

Bob Jones – Graduated with a Math degree on GI bill after WWII. Could answer almost anything off the top of his head, or using one of a handful of sliderules he owned. Worked most of his life in Aeronautics Engineering, then finished up as a one of the few of real estate brokers whose word was more solid than somebody else’s written contract. Smart, had integrity, unshakeable… the stuff heros are made of.

J. R. (Bob) Jones

One thing that always amazed me was the way he unflinchingly ignored the opinion of a crowd if he knew they were wrong. A gift passed from father to son, accidentally though it mighta been. I don’t recall him saying a word on the topic, he never had to, he lived it. To this day it doesn’t matter how large a crowd insists that 2+2=6 or somesuch nonsense… thanks to Dad I’ll still trust that it’s really 4 whether the majority present agrees or not.

Helluva theory, how’s it work in practice?

For what it’s worth I can attest that this can be a reeeally unpopular trait when you’re on a city commission and some consultant almost has everyone in the group baffled with bullshit… but bottom line, *Facts* just aren’t subject to a vote. Sometimes disagreeing with the crowd IS the only appropriate response.

Wait… Didn’t Lincoln Cover This Base Already?

In that vein, I might mention that just as a few still insist the world is flat, there are still a few in the directory world that think I’ve been “stealing” editors. Seriously… for something to be *stolen* you must *own* it. All I’ve done is offer some good people an opportunity, a chance to turn their skills into something for which they’re paid. Eventually we gotta get one of those “we own the volunteers” types to explain how they missed the whole “Emancipation Proclamation” thing. I was almost sure it made all the papers. Volunteers are people, not property.

But on the bright side…

Happily it appears the negative stuff has finally dwindled to a minority opinion. Many thanks to those broadminded types that helped get that across. Heck, the net’s a big place, it has room for at least two directories. If it starts to run outta space, hey, we’ll just use smaller fonts. :-) You guys still have one of the best directories on the net and some of the most dedicated folks I’ve ever worked with, and that too is a fact.

The Few, the Proud… the Nerd Herd

Like the Marine Corps… we’re still looking for “A Few Good Men” at BOTW (or women of course… I’m just shallow, not stupid) :-) . Of course anyone that thinks volunteering elsewhere makes ’em someone else’s *property* need not apply, but those with a brain are welcome to drop me a note at robjones@botw.org . Always happy to hear from you.

Meantime… to the few that still think there’s a conflict… naah. People oughta be able to share good fortune with friends, and I still consider a lotta folks at the old place friends. That’s a fact, and not subject to the opinion of anyone else.

Somethin’ I learned from the fella I’ll forever consider The Smartest Guy in the Room. :-)

I\'m Rob Jones... and I approve this message.

I’m Rob Jones, and I approve this message.

Dear Mom: Forgive me for this, but it’s true…

Dear Mom

I don’t know how to tell you this, but you know that prosperous job I told you I had playing piano at a whorehouse? Well, I lied. Please forgive me. I figured I oughta tell you this before you saw the truth in the papers. I’ve been working with a bunch of low-lifes… Bldarter, Rwkat, Suz, Furbis, Laisha, Kfander, Mitch, KC, etc…. Yeah, you told me they were a bad influence, you needn’t remind me.

I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t bring myself to tell the truth. Face it, the piano story works better with your friends at church. If you want to know the whole story though, here’s what I’ve been up to:

Best of the Web Introduces “The Nerd Herd”


Yes, I know, I know… ‘you raised me to know better’, but we’re having fun and I just can’t help myself. I’m a Nerd, Mom. Why can’t you just accept me for myself? It isn’t a disease, and a lot of the other Nerds moms treat ’em ok in spite of it. You knew this could happen when I started at that other place, it’s time we just got over this and call it what it is. This is me.

Tomorrow morning I go on my canoe trip. I’ll be back next week. Hopefully by then you’ll have read this and come to grips with it.

As always

Love ~ Rob

I\'m Rob Jones... and I approve this message.

I’m Rob Jones, and I approve this message.

Playing Poker: “Why I’m Now Officially Afraid of Rob Schmid”

Have met a few interesting characters lately in the process of doing a little uncharacteristic activity (“work”). A while back I saw that one new acquaintance, Rob Schmid, one of the infamous “BOTW boys”, placed highly in the Vegas PubCon poker tourney. Being an addict and occasionally a fair player, I figured “Hey, I want a shot at this guy“. After all, I’d kicked buns in a 360 man free-roll on Full Tilt the night before, last man standing… who was this wannabe?

Now somebody will point out this is a sign of a longstanding problem… an indicator of issues that have haunted me for years. My time in the Fortune 500 was short-lived due to a certain recurring semantic misunderstanding. Every time I was introduced to a new boss, someone slipped and called him my “superior“. The resulting fist fight invariably proved otherwise in my own mind, but oddly did little to foster a successful corporate career.

In the same vein I need not add what happened at weddings when someone was introduced as “the best man“. I don’t get invited to a lot of weddings anymore. Other people can be so sensitive.

Anyway I was all prepared to take Rob at poker. Granted I had nagging thoughts that his first name just might be a sign of great intelligence. Nonetheless, in all likelihood I’m the older bunny and know my way around, gotta be worth a shot. Then, I got a chance to talk to him on AIM one day, and it all changed. {insert ominous sounding musical chord here}

In a part of a bold plan to woo him to his doom I began by complimenting him on his win. Flattery would no doubt set him up for a fall. Surely he’d feel obligated to play if only from pride if not kindness or pity. Then he threw the plan into turmoil by saying the worst thing possible…

Oh, I’m not all that good, I just got lucky.

Argh… Curses! He’s not only on to me, he’s better, he’s faster, and he’s probably already plotting to take away all that I own.

*Nobody* says “I just got lucky“. The guys that are REALLY just lucky attribute everything to skill. The guys to fear are the ones who say they they aren’t good. Even worse are guys that lead off with some line about how they “always wanted to learn the game“. No no… if someone says that, put your hand on your wallet, even if you’re playing online with free chips. You just can’t be TOO safe.

A few of us (at least I wasn’t alone) once lost a lotta cash to a guy like that. He shuffled like his hands were made of brick, and couldn’t concentrate on the game because it interfered with his current story about “An old gal (he) met in Juarez“. All of his stories started like that, and the hands of stone invariably held real card hands in all the right pots. Smooth, masked by a solid good-ole-countryboy persona. Not that I’d accuse him of cheating, but I’m spiritually opposed to playing against people who really ARE that lucky.

As a marginal player that has good and bad days I get a kick out of watching the online kiddies. They think unbridled aggression is the key, and come to the table talking serious smack. You know… “Welcome to my table, suckers!” sorta stuff. The ones that go all-in preflop on absolute rags are a reality of large free-roll tourneys. The guy holding AA (who really has business being all-in) usually loses to some kid with a King-Deuce off-suit who catches two more deuces on the board.

The first few hands are a Darwinian slugfest, and by a few hands into the game one-third of the players are gone. We’re left to contend with some really well funded nutcases until about the half. Going all-in pre-flop is natures way of removing all but one looney from the table. I avoid even looking at the first few hands to avoid the temptation to play. Tourneys are dominated early on by guys that caught a lucky card in a senseless race, but by the middle of the game those that depend on the dealer to do their work invariably exit (cussing someone as a “donk” typically).

After the dealer awards someone a few hands based on ridiculous calls… some old buzzard with a little patience will start to pick their bones. Eventually the big gambler hits his ace high flush on the river and bets a timid opponent all-in… and finds he bet into a boat someone with a working brain made on the flop or the turn. Always entertaining, and happens every tourney.

Anyway, I may get a chance to play Schmid someday, but I know to be wary now. !@#!!! Why couldn’t he have said his brilliant traps positioned him for the kill? Oh well, I’ve been warned. Just hope he doesn’t have stories about an old gal in Juarez.

Wouldn’t be fair if he was good AND lucky.


I’m Rob Jones, and I approve this message.