Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fool marketers and how they misrepresent me.

Check out these links:

The first link is from a small piece of JavaScript I wrote and published around 1997 called the "remote control search engine interface". This was pre-google, when search engines had wildly differing results, and Netscape 3 had some hot new features like browser windows being able to talk to each other through script. I searched for a way to choose a search engine through a pull-down menu, and if I didn't like the results I could just pick another engine and hit the button again for a new search. The scripts I found to do this all had giant warning on them about property, copyright, I'll track you down I swear it, etc. The code was all obfuscated and crazy, and I thought "hey, I'm a budding programmer, and there's no reason why something so simple shouldn't be free for anyone to use"... and this was before I stumbled across the open source movement, gnu, linux, or anything like that. So off I went to make my own.

The result was passable. It had a pop-up window that listed Webcrawler, Yahoo, Hotbot, Lycos, AltaVista, maybe a couple others. You choose your engine, hit the button, and the main window changed to the results, but the pop-up window stayed so you could do more searches. Nice enough, and I had this giant disclaimer in the code:

There are a number of items like this on the web, all of them copyrighted with huge disclaimers about legal rights. This will be probably the first public-domain interface for this type of function. I only ask that you leave the top "note" comments in tact when copying this file, or editing it. Perhaps you can add an additional comment stating the original file has been modified.

Cute. So I published it to CompuServe's "PC File Finder", which was a big place back then to put programs you had written, as was, but none of my buddies were as familiar with popular FTP sites as they were CompuServe, so I just posted it there. Since I said anyone could use it, and it was usable and served a niche, it wound up a little later on a collection of freeware utilities. You know, the CDs at MicroCenter, et. al. that have 500 programs for $7.50. The top link is the last reference I can find to the existence of the CD, and, alas, the code seems to be lost for good now. Not that it matters, I could write a better one faster now using Ajax tools. And plus some of the object model loopholes I was exploiting back then to have browser windows talk to each other have long since been plugged.

The funny thing about all this is how they labeled the program: "Curtis Autery's Remote Control Search Engine Interface. (JAVA)" It wasn't Java, and I certainly never claimed that it was. Making it Java back then would have made it slower than dirt starting up, defeating the whole point. So they misrepresented me by either going too fast and not paying attention, or not understanding JavaScript != Java. Fly-by-night marketers trying to make a quick buck. Shame.

The second link above is my profile on Until a few days ago, I had never head of, and certainly didn't go out there to make a profile. They must have collected my name and company from some document on the net... I had my résumé out there for a while, back before I knew how to write a good one, and was using it as some sort of social networking attempt. Maybe they found that and matched the company. My spoke profile doesn't mention any jobs other than Sterling, where I stopped working at in 2003, and clicking on the "full job history" link brings you to a page prompting to sign up and give them money. Doesn't LinkedIn offer the same stuff for free and give you full control over it?

Lastly, the only info they have on Sterling Commerce is that they make software, and that there address is:

Sterling Commerce
24 Frank Lloyd Wright Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48105-9755

I didn't work in Michigan, I worked at the Columbus office. Bunch of monkeys. Shame.

How is it that these fools manage to stay in business? Are they turning a profit while legit tech companies are struggling? I'd like to think not. Anyway, the moral of the story is don't believe everything you read about yourself on the Internet. If you want better info about me that isn't on this blog, check out: (although this is very dated and I stopped working on it when I realized better blogging/photo solutions were available for free... blogger, picasa, etc.) (Sign up if you're into geeky puzzles, and you can see people's comments on my solutions.) (Sadly, I am as cool as Captain Marvel only in the world of Perl)

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