TORO DDCWP-4 Sprinkler Controller Troubleshooting

You can find the manual for these annoying, badly-designed beasts all over the internet. What you CAN’T find is the following “gotchas” that are either not explained at all, or badly explained in the manual.

Numbering

The controller has 4 stations (plus a master valve and pump control). Seasonality settings are 1 to 12 – these are months. Start times are not per station–it’s per cycle, and you have up to 3 cycles available. So you can run your program A three different times in a day.

Off is not = Off

For most dial settings, to turn something off, you don’t just turn the number down to 0. You need to press both ON/+ and OFF/- simultaneously, for several seconds.

Off is only temporarily off

Let’s say you start Program A with the Manual Program dial setting, to make sure all the sprinklers kick on. All good, and you want to shut it off…so you turn the dial to Off. The sprinklers go off. So far, so good, right? So you turn the dial to Auto Run, and the sprinklers come on even though they’re not supposed to at this time. Go back to Manual Program, and turn that off by pressing ON/+ and OFF/- simultaneously.

Seasonality

When you set seasonality override percentages, you’ll see a display like: 1:10 The first number represents the month. The second number represents the percentage of the normal run time for all stations, but it’s missing a 0 at the end. So, if you cycle the display through the months and stop at April, and it says 4:15, that means for the month of April, if your run time is set to 30 minutes, it’ll water 150% of that, i.e. 45 minutes in April.

TripleChecker: a Spelling, Grammar, and Broken Link Scanning Service

I discovered TripleChecker recently, when they did a freebie intro scan of my site and found a whole bunch of typos and broken links. Their interface makes it easy to see what’s wrong, and links to the page with the problem. Super helpful at keeping your site clean, professional, and functioning as it should. Have it check your website monthly (up to 1000 pages) for $14.99/month, or weekly (up to 2,500 pages) for $19.99/month. Sure, you can manually do a crawl test regularly with something like Screaming Frog to find the broken links, and you can go page by page and feed the text into a tool like Grammarly, but this wraps it all in a neat package that you don’t have to remember to do each month. I liked it enough, I added it to my Resources menu, and to my standard set of site audit recommendations. TripleChecker logo

Google indexing pages despite explicitly blocked in robots.txt

UPDATE: I had always (wrongly) thought that Google wouldn’t index pages that were blocked in robots.txt. But John Mueller clarified this for me (thank you John): robots.txt will control the crawling BUT NOT the indexing. Good explanation of that is here: —————- Google is now sometimes indexing pages DESPITE explicitly being blocked in robots.txt: Google Search Console report showing blocked pages indexed anyways The screenshot above is from the new Search Console index coverage report, and shows that Google is choosing to index 36 pages that they see are explicitly blocked in robots.txt.

Cheater Quizzes: the Latest in Facebook Audience Growth Tricks

Have you taken one of the quizzes from Women.com on Facebook lately? Been impressed with your brilliance…got 100% on the quiz? Well, maybe you ARE brilliant, and maybe you DID get 100%. But if you have a creepy feeling you’ve been used–you’re unfortunately right. Cheater quiz from women.com Women.com has been putting up a number of quizzes lately where, if you get anywhere close to most of the answers correct, it’ll report you as getting 100%. Why would they do this? Well…so you’ll share it on Facebook. If you scored 65%, you probably wouldn’t be proud enough to share it. So, by faking your score to make you look like a rockstar, they greatly increase the chance you’ll share their quiz on your timeline. I’ve done this quiz (and a couple of others they’ve run), and deliberately answered 3-4 questions incorrectly, and still….100%. I then tried answering all of them deliberately wrong, and didn’t show 100%. I’m guessing they did this to make it look legit for someone who either was testing them, or knew they knew hardly any of the right answers. They’re using you, by deception, to market their site for them on Facebook, for free.

Hacking Google MyMaps

One of my clients discovered this latest dirty trick for ranking, and it’s being used by dirtbags who have pirated content from legit publishers. If you do this search, you’ll see the 3 of the top organic listings are from a very trusted domain…Google.com. The problem is, each of these is a user-generated MyMaps page, and it’s just a crappy page with a link to the download and some text. Google MyMaps hack

Reporting this to Google now…and, the publisher of the legit content is submitting a DMCA take-down.

Outside of the 3-Pack, How Does Google Find Local Results?

Here’s an interesting case of Google’s local organic algorithm failing to produce the right results, and it tells us a bunch about how they’re trying to produce those local results in the organic results outside of the 3-pack. I’m sitting here near Sunriver, Oregon, and I search for “restaurants near me”. The 3-pack looks pretty good…it’s got the pushpin very accurately located for me (within yards, in fact, despite the fact that I’m on a PC connected via my cable internet provider, not my cellphone with GPS). 3-pack results for restaurants near me Continue reading Outside of the 3-Pack, How Does Google Find Local Results?
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