The Daily Render


A Digital Scrapbook for the Past, Present, and Future


Spam from presidential candidate John McCain: Make History Tomorrow
|| 11/3/2008 || 10:05 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

This entire election season I have not received any unsolicited e-mails from any presidential candidates or local candidates, until tonight. The image above is a screen grab of the e-mail that I received in my mailbox earlier tonight. Talk about last ditch effort. Below is a screen grab of the WHOIS search of the e-mail’s source:

While this can be spoofed by a mildly intelligent person, I have a feeling that this spam is legitimately from the campaign office of John McCain. It was sent to e-mail address listed on the right side of this blog, which is not an e-mail address I use for communication. This means that the e-mail address was harvested from a spider that was then sold to John McCain’s campaign. Nice job illegally contacting me, but I’m still going to make history tomorrow.

By clicking the “vote” link in the e-mail above the recipient is brought to this landing page:

To the unsuspecting visitor the forms that they are being asked to fill out look as though they would help them find their polling place. However, this might just be a covert means to gain voter registration information for future races. This type of clandestine data mining would definitely be considered “the double maverick.”

UPDATE: +5 Minutes
I decided to fill out the information with a fake name, supply the address of a vacant house on my block, and click the button. The resulting map did not load correctly on both Safari or Firefox. Well done!

UPDATE: 11:15pm
Others who are reporting that received spam:
• DailyKos user SoonerG: McCain Campaign Just Spammed Me
• McCain Camp Resorts to SPAM in the 11th Hour
• I just got a spam e-mail from McCain…

Related 2008 Election Entries:


Wasilla, Alaska is literally off the map, the Google Map that is
|| 9/4/2008 || 8:34 pm || Comments Off on Wasilla, Alaska is literally off the map, the Google Map that is || ||

The Republican Party’s vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin is the former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. Tonight this website had a visitor from Wasilla, Alaska who looked at this statehood-related map. Upon looking at the city on Google Maps, I found out that Wasilla is a border city where the imagery of the geography shows only a portion of the city using new high-resolution imagery. In some ways, this map proves that Republican Party’s vice-presidential choice was literally off the map.

UPDATE – Due to the presidential election, Google has updated their imagery of Wasilla, Alaska.

Related Google Map Entries:


My Artomatic 2008 Opening Night Exhibit Dissected on Flickr
|| 5/27/2008 || 2:50 pm || Comments Off on My Artomatic 2008 Opening Night Exhibit Dissected on Flickr || ||

I’ve never been a fan of Flickr. I dislike how photos are lifted from Flickr all the time without proper citation. One of my biggest annoyances regarding my artwork or other people’s work is when it’s posted on-line with no link back or extra information regarding the artist or the circumstances regarding the image’s origin. Instead you get “neat huh?” “Cool photo!” “Look at this!” etc and while it’s great that more eyes are seeing the image, it undermines the artist’s visibility because the citation is not always accurately presented. A good example of this lack of information can be seen at the social image bookmarking website FFFFOUND!. This lack of citation is not the case 100% of the time, but its the main reason why I don’t upload my artwork to Flickr. Since I have ample server space and nearly unlimited bandwidth I’ve never needed another repository for my images.

I also don’t like the stalker ability that comes with having all of your photographs on-line for strangers to look at and download. I won’t name names, but I’ve looked through some Flickr photostreams of some of my friends and have found that the photos offer far too much information about their lives, activities, and friends. You can look through someone’s photos and see their exes, the interior of their homes, and basically just about anything the person decided to place out there for strangers to view. Worse is that you cannot access the information regarding where your photographs are viewed from. Since I have access to my website’s server logs I can find exactly how many times a photograph has been looked at and by what IP addresses. This information is shielded from the Flickr user and dumbed down to a lowly view counter.

With those reservations aside, I decided to play nice and upload one photograph of my Artomatic 2008 exhibit taken on May 9th. I went through and tagged the photograph twelve times showcasing the content that has been placed on top of the Base Map. Since I embedded quite a few links into the notes, I’ll be able to track exactly who clicks on the image and know with a certain amount of certainty how many times the photograph has been looked at and where the photograph is being looked at from– if they click.

Related Artomatic Entries:


Visual Trace Route – I’m 42 hops from Google
|| 4/21/2008 || 6:00 pm || Comments Off on Visual Trace Route – I’m 42 hops from Google || ||

Visual Trace Route Tool Screen Grab

For nearly four years (May 2004 to March 2008) this website was a digital experiment how people find content on the internet. By withholding the contents of this website from search engines I was able to create my own digital island that could be found only by those who knew me or when I would selectively release specific content. Last month, exactly one year after an internationally syndicated article was published about me and my website, I concluded the experiment by lifting the electronic Berlin Wall that prevented search engines from accessing the content on this website. For the last month or so, I’ve begun to watch how people are able to find my content through search engines, and frankly its been nothing short of amazing. In the not-so-distant future I will have a more detailed pre & post search engine analysis posted here.

While this website was unlisted and before the article was published, I used to look at my website IP logs every morning. I would manually trace the IP addresses of every visitor to this website and obtain a decent guesstimate of how the person found my website. This IP analysis would give the location and hosting provider of the visitor, but what it did not give is the digital path that my content traveled.

Data does not travel through the internet in a geographic path of least resistance (like as the crow flies), rather data bounces around the world from server to router to user in a path that can go in multiple directions and routed through multiple servers before finally reaching your computer. A trace route is a means to see what servers the content passes through before reaching you. By clicking on the image above you can explore how content travels to your computer using the Google Maps interface to see exactly where the content travels. For example, data from makes 42 unique hops before finally reaching my computer. A fun experiment would be to trace how content from this website arrives on your computer screen.

Watching the route trace itself looks much like a sped up version of “The 21 Steps by Charles Cumming,” which is a cartographically interactive story told through the Google Maps interface. Each stop becomes a new chapter in the information’s delivery. How many stops did this blog entry take to get to you?

Related GIS:


Watching Google Crawl…
|| 3/18/2008 || 7:42 am || Comments Off on Watching Google Crawl… || ||

Last Friday I removed the electronic Berlin Wall from my website and for the first time in 4 years I’ve released the contents of my website to search engines. Yesterday Google had crawled about 20 pages; half of which were already linking to my website from external sources. Today after last the check, Google has now cataloged about 320 of the 1500+ pages that were submitted with my website’s sitemap. I look forward to looking at the IP logs to see how Google’s robots do their crawling and the latency that exists between crawling and appearing in a search result. From my initial observations everything take at least 24 hours between the crawling and the content’s appearance within a search result. By the end of today, I bet there will be 750 pages indexed….

Welcome Robots and Strangers
|| 3/14/2008 || 1:48 pm || Comments Off on Welcome Robots and Strangers || ||

Below is the text of an e-mail I sent out today:

One year ago today my ugly mug was on the front page of the Washington Post’s style section in David Montgomery’s article “Here Be Dragons.” To celebrate the one year anniversary of this 15 minutes of fame I did something I’ve been waiting a VERY long time to do– I removed the Robots Exclusion Protocols from my website. This means that in a few weeks you will be able to find the contents of my website with a simple search string from your favorite search engine.

Before 12:01am today, you could only search the contents of my website on my website. By preventing my website from being crawled by spiders (or robots as they are technically called) I also prevented anyone [strangers] from freely accessing the hundreds of maps that I’ve made over the last 4 years. Thus the paradox of making maps without being able to be found is now over, and in that respect I am liberating myself from the self-censorship experiment that I’ve been conducting these last few years.

Frankly, dear reader, its a very nice feeling. I am unaware of any website that has opened itself up to the robots with over a 1,000 different pages to index at once. I sincerely wonder what search words will bring people to my website from this day forward. Currently postmodern art is my number one search string (I am currently listed at #5)– and that was only possible because of the article that was published one year ago today. So with that said, today marks the beginning of a new phase in my life, and maybe yours– if you search for the right words.

65% of Global Terrorism is in Iraq
|| 5/1/2007 || 5:24 am || Comments Off on 65% of Global Terrorism is in Iraq || ||

I was doing my day’s IP trace and noticed that I had a visitor from the National Counterrerrorism Center. As I was looking around their website I migrated over to the published reports section on the Worldwide Incident Tracking System page. I found that yesterday they released the NCTC Report on Incidents of Terrorism 2006(pdf).

General Observations of Worldwide Incidents of Terror

Approximately 14,000 terrorist attacks occurred in various countries during 2006,
resulting in over 20,000 deaths. As compared to 2005, terrorist incidents in 2006 rose
by 3,000, a 25 percent increase, while deaths rose by 5,800, a 40 percent increase. As
was the case in 2005, by far the largest number of reported terrorist incidents and
related deaths during 2006 occurred in the Near East and South Asia. These two
regions also were the locations for 90 percent of the nearly 300 high-casualty attacks
that killed 10 or more people—only five high-casualty attacks occurred in Europe-
Eurasia, East Asia-Pacific, and the Western Hemisphere.

• Of the 14,000 reported attacks, 45 percent—about 6600—occurred in Iraq where
approximately 13,000 fatalities—65 percent of the worldwide total—were reported
for 2006.
• Violence against noncombatants in East and sub-Saharan Africa, particularly related
to attacks associated with turmoil in or near Sudan and Nigeria, rose 64 percent in
2006, rising to 422 from the approximately 256 attacks reported for 2005.
• The approximately 750 attacks in Afghanistan during 2006 are 50 percent more than
the nearly 500 attacks reported for 2005 as fighting intensified during the past year.
• The number of reported incidents in 2006 fell for Europe and Eurasia by 15 percent
from those in 2005, for South Asia, by 10 percent, and for the Western Hemisphere,
by 5 percent. No high-casualty attacks occurred in Western Europe, and only one
occurred in Southeast Asia, in the southern Philippines. In Indonesia, there were no
high-casualty attacks and 95 percent fewer victims of terror in 2006, as compared
with 2005, which is likely attributable to a more robust regional counterterrorism

The number injured during terrorist incidents rose substantially in 2006, as compared
with the previous year, by 54 percent, with most of the rise stemming from a doubling of
the reported number of injuries in Iraq since 2005. Although kidnappings in Iraq tripled
in 2006, kidnappings overall declined by more than 50 percent in 2006 because of a
steep drop of approximately 22,000 kidnappings in Nepal where peace discussions
during the year apparently curtailed hostage taking.

And here is the news round up…

What a difference a year (and an internationally syndicated story) makes!
|| 4/3/2007 || 2:20 pm || Comments Off on What a difference a year (and an internationally syndicated story) makes! || ||

Over a half million hits last month! Check the stats for the month of March 2006 & 2005 after the fold…


top 100 downloaders in the last 5 days
|| 3/18/2007 || 9:37 pm || Comments Off on top 100 downloaders in the last 5 days || ||

I spent an hour this morning going through the logs finding whom downloaded the most content from my website since the story was published last Wednesday. After the fold is the listing of those top 100 byte grubbers. I must say it’s interesting…or at least that I am proud that the Census now counts me; a lot.


a visit from dhs
|| 12/16/2005 || 9:20 pm || Comments Off on a visit from dhs || ||

so my website got trolled by 3 different servers and just about at the end of it, I got a visit from dhs


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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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