Tag Archives: blogging

Breadcrumbs

On an online forum where I browse, someone had posted a gripe suggesting that everyone that posts should have to provide a minimum amount of information in their post.  The gripe was directed at people who were posting pictures of 2 or 3 CDs with a title like "What I bought today".  To the griper, posts like these were useless and added nothing to the community.  Many of the replies to the gripe were of the mindset, "let people do what they want", which I agree with.

Although I didn’t reply with my comments, I did try to understand and consider the problem without simply thinking, "let them be".  I mean, if they’re being stupid, why are they being stupid?  Is there a valid reason for them to make such a minimal post?  The rationale I came up with is that the post isn’t for everyone, it’s just for them.

The community I am referring to is Reddit, which can certainly be classified as "social media".  As is my standard for anything social media, I don’t participate much.  But this isn’t about me.  Most people have made their primary choice for social media, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, WordPress, or many others.  Their chosen platform is where they document their life, at least the parts they want to share publicly.  Basically, it’s where they leave their breadcrumbs to look back on later to see how their life was in a specific time period.

So these posts that people are making with their recent purchases, they’re nothing more than a status update or a tweet.  And in Reddit, they can use subreddits as categories, to classify and group their different activities.  It’s a different application of the platform, and one that probably differs from those that want Reddit to be a discussion forum.  That difference leads to griping that the majority of posts are uninteresting to some people.  It’s probably not a surprise to observe that these are younger people making these status posts, where it’s older Reddit users complaining about the lack of discussion.

But yeah, look at me.  I could have put all this explanation in a reply on that thread, which would have spurred discussion and conversation.  Instead, I make a post in my little private-public journal, where no one can respond to me and start any conversations.  Am I any better?  Well, I’d never suggest something like that.

Becoming A Network Executive

It sounds so important.  I’m running a “network”.  A network of blogs, that is.  That’s what WordPress calls it, anyway.  I have at this point, created the blog network on my web server and created each of the five individual blogs.  How did I end up with so many?  Oh, well, one is just the landing page, so I actually only have four blogs.  Still, it’s a network.  My blogus.

My installation wasn’t a success right off the bat.  In fact, it was very painful and has taken one of my blogs offline until the new network starts up.  Not really a big deal; it’s not like I’m Facebuuk.  But there was a lot of outdated software that needed to be updated and along the way it was just decided to remove it all and start over.  Then it was a matter of permissions, not that I should be complaining since my server hasn’t been hacked in the many years it’s been up and running.  Now it’s just a matter of content.

Getting the posts onto the new server is actually a very easy task.  You can export from one site and import to the other.  But then, all of the images of those posts still point back to the original places, in my case, wordpress.com.  So I will need to edit each post that contains pictures and switch out the image with a fresh local copy, which will upload to the new server.  It’s not such a bad thing, because a lot of my early posts didn’t give consideration to the way Live Writer handled images.  By default, it will create a link to the full-size version, so your media library gets a full-size image and a resized image to display in the post.  If you don’t need that, it’s just a waste of space and really clutters up your media library.  So I’ll be able to address that in my post revisions.

I’m going to lose a couple of things by moving to my own server.  On the plus side, I’ll lose advertisements, since I’ll be using my own server.  On the negative side, I’ll lose stats, which are really interesting if you have a popular blog, but are rather depressing if you don’t.  For better or worse, I fit in the latter camp, so my loss isn’t too bad.

You know, it seems like a holiday ritual for me to do some sort of revision to my website(s).  Maybe it’s the domain renewal that reminds me to look at what I have.  Maybe it’s the promise of a new year.  Maybe it’s the extra free time with the holidays.  Of course, this year I am on my own and just now I’m realizing, this website revamping is something I hadn’t done in many years.  Huh.

2020 – Taking Care Of Myself

Technologically-speaking, that is.

A couple days ago, I got an email from the new owners of Flickr.  They were asking for money because they are losing money, despite their best attempts at making Flickr self-sufficient.  I use Flickr to host images for a few different purposes and over the years I’ve had a paid account with them on and off.  Currently, I’m off because I don’t need that much.  Their email sent me into an extended evaluation of self-sufficiency.  It’s pretty well-known anymore that if you want something on the Internet, you’re going to have to pay for it.  If you’re not paying for it, you really are paying for it in ways you may not be taking seriously. 

Having been on the Internet for a very long time, I’ve seen plenty of websites come and go.  Some of the changes have impacted me directly and others haven’t.  Some websites I’ve been forced off of (mostly Microsoft stuff), and some I’ve left voluntarily.  But in this new era of the Internet, I’m going to start viewing anything I’m getting for free as a potential risk.  You have to consider that at any time, it could be taken away from you.

So my first train of thought was, I’ll get a paid account at Flickr.  But then I thought, I am already paying for a web/email server already, why don’t I just use that?  Why don’t I use that?  Well, the primary reason is that images take up a lot of space and my server doesn’t have a lot of space to spare.  Just to verify, my server has a 60GB hard drive in it and I have 36GB free.  I’m so stingy, crying poor with bread in each hand.  But hey, 30GB can go FAST if you don’t watch out.  And my mentality at the time was to put the burden on other services where I could as long as it didn’t cost me.

So, I did some quick research to see if I could add more space to my server for the same or less than paying for an account at Flickr.  Short answer: no.  I could move up to a 60GB drive for about $120 extra a year.  That’s like 2 Flickr accounts.  So Flickr is still the better choice.  However, after reading some commentary online, I started to think, will it matter?  If Flickr is in financial trouble now and has been in trouble for a very long time, maybe it’s just time to call it a day.

Ok, so let’s have a look at exactly how much space I’m using here.  I downloaded all my Flickr images for my blog and that’s 20mb.  I looked at the images in my media section for this blog and it’s about 30mb.  I have less than 100mb of images and I’m worrying about blowing 30GB of space?  I’m so pessimistic.

Knowing I have so little media on my blogs, I could just host it with WordPress.  WordPress offers 3GB of media hosting per account and I wouldn’t be even close to touching that on either blog, so that’s a viable option… except, WordPress is a free site.  That’s what I’m trying to get away from.  Granted, I’ve never heard that they have ever been financially strapped, so bravo for them.  Still, the Internet is evolving, what is true today may not mean anything in a couple of months.

So again, that points me in the same direction I was looking at earlier.  Hosting the blogs, with all their respective images on my own server.  They will certainly fit in the 30GB of space I have available.  The one thing I will lose is the power of the WordPress domain name and the followers/community that goes along with it.  The other thing I’m going to lose is all of my content when I die.  When I die, my web server isn’t going to get paid for anymore, so it will all go goodbye.  It’s actually kind of comforting in some ways, that whole “right to be forgotten” stuff that’s big in the EU right now.

So that’s the plan for 2020, moving on.

I’ll Take Spam For $400, Alex

Those of you WordPressers who have been around for a while probably know that spam comments are inevitable.  WordPress has a pretty good spam catcher built into it, so you may never see any comments come in that are flat-out fake.  But, spammers are a persistent bunch.  Well, I wouldn’t actually call them persistent, but they do have cheap and easy scripts that will blast any blog with stupidity.  And yesterday, I was hit by a gentleman named Alex.

Obviously, Alex is not a real person.  But Alex’s profile is run by a real person.  A real shitty person.  What’s the purpose of these spam comments?  Alex doesn’t have an associated website, so it’s not trying to create linkbacks to improve a spam website’s search ranking.  Maybe they’re trying to build a profile with some posting reputation to increase the status of a future blog on some nefarious subject?

Anyway, the gold is in the comments, right?  So let’s see how Alex felt about my posts.

Alex liked this post so much, he commented twice.

I am now not positive the place you are getting your info, however good topic. I needs to spend a while studying much more or understanding more. Thanks for great information I used to be looking for this information for my mission.

and

You actually make it seem so easy together with your presentation however I find this matter to be actually one thing that I think I would never understand. It sort of feels too complex and very large for me. I am looking ahead to your next submit, I’ll attempt to get the hang of it!

Then he moved on to another post and left me this comment:

Excellent blog here! Also your site so much up very fast! What host are you the use of? Can I am getting your associate hyperlink in your host? I desire my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

Then Alex handed the reins to his friend, Madeline Whitehead.  She commented on the same post:

you’re really a excellent webmaster. The web site loading velocity is incredible. It seems that you’re doing any unique trick. Also, The contents are masterwork. you have done a great activity in this matter!

Alex and Madeline went off and had sex and in a virtual universe where events happen at breathtaking speed, they had a baby, who grew up and married a dirtbag at the age of 8 (the age of consent in Spamtopia).  And within 6 hours I got her first work of art.  Behold the handiwork of Kristin Harding:

You actually make it seem really easy along with your presentation however I find this matter to be actually one thing which I feel I might by no means understand. It sort of feels too complicated and extremely broad for me. I am looking ahead in your subsequent submit, I’ll attempt to get the dangle of it!

Clearly, she is Alex’s spawn as she plagiarizes his work quite well.  But being the spam slut she is, she couldn’t help herself by mentioning she wanted my dangle.

If This Matters

For people that love anniversaries, it’s going to be a good couple months.  I got this notification from WordPress today:

image1

It’s a fucking ACHIEVEMENT – it says so right at the top!  Time has gone by and I am to be commended for that.  This is truly a fantastic day in my long, illustrious Internet history.  I have a few words I want to say in gratitude of this prestigious honor.

First, all you young little shits don’t know how good you have it.  You have so many fucking people on the internet now, you can get followers at the drop of a hat.  All you need is a bunch of “Dunk Memes” (Dark?  Derk?  Dank?  Whatever.) and you’ll skyrocket to the top.  You also have the ability to install a bunch of “plug-ins”, which are like air fresheners for your blog.  I see where they got the name from. They’ll keep your blog theme fresh and new for all your attention-deficient and fickle followers.

Me being me, I’m not here to make friends (but I am loyal beyond measure to the few I have).  I just put this shit out here and see what happens.  If nothing else, I have a record of what’s happened in my life.  You might notice I’m being vague here, but I have a second anniversary coming up and I’m going to get really stupid on that one.

Now, back to being crotchety.  Second, punks, I’m older than a lot of you.  So, if you think you’re going to catch up with me and beat my seven years of WP tenure, think again.  No really, think.  Because that’s how time works.  You’re going to hit seven years, I’m going to be at seventeen.  In your face, maggots!  Of course, in ten years, I could be dead.  Then:  Maggots, in my face!

So, how did I get here?  I owe it all to Windows Live and Microsoft’s shitty decision to continually sunset any product I enjoy using.  Remember what Live Spaces looks like?  The Internet does.

image2

That’s about all I have to say about blogging right now.  You’ll just have to wait for the other anniversary for the self-indulgent hit parade.

Now And Future

You might think there is someone new managing this blog.  But no, it is still the same person.  I’ve gotten a recent “kick in the pants” to write more.  You can see in my history that I’ve posted a few times a month and sometimes when nothing was going on, or when lots was going on, I skipped a month.  You can also see that I’ve been trying to post consistently every weekday as of late.  This accelerated publishing frequency has necessitated that I dip into old drafts and refine them for posting.  Not to worry there, I’ve got dozens in the backlog. 

I’ve never been at a loss for ideas, but over the years, it became a significant effort for me to flesh out an idea into a post.  It’s the same mechanism I use when writing music (which also has been neglected).  You start with a riff, and if you’re lucky, you have a hook.  Then you have to form the song around that riff.  If you have a good hook, you have to elevate the rest of the song’s parts to match the hook’s quality.  If it’s just a riff, you have to hope you’ll find the hook in the creation process.

Having ideas is easy.  Anyone can have them.  And that’s why Twitter exists.  At various times, I considered moving to Twitter because I could get ideas out without having to construct a narrative.  But now that I’ve shaken the dust off, I feel more accomplished being able to express an idea and surround it with context.

You’ll also notice that I’m starting to incorporate images and hyperlinks in my posts, where I rarely did before.  Actually, if you go way back to when this blog wasn’t even on WordPress, you’ll see more images.  So, I’m actually going back to my early blogging days.

On a completely different topic, I recently found out that the excellent blog composing utility, Windows Live Writer, which has been dormant for years and years, finally has a successor – Open Live Writer.  This utility seems to be a continuation of the original Windows Live Writer code, just updated to work with current blog platforms.  At a minimum, they fixed some issues with publishing to Blogger.  It’s definitely worth a look if you haven’t tried it before.

And lastly, a small announcement for the week coming up.  I’ve been practicing the skill of expanding a simple idea into something more substantial and to do that, I’ve written a small series of stories.  Well, they’re too short to be stories, more like tales.  Since it is Halloween season, these tales are all dark.  I’ll be posting them all next week.  Here’s a preview of what’s coming:

  • Halloween Scenes – Bundle Of Joy
  • Halloween Scenes – Everybody Loves You Now
  • Halloween Scenes – Desiccation
  • Halloween Scenes – Lesson Of A Lifetime
  • Halloween Scenes – Peep Show

Getting Your Due

I mentioned in a previous post about a blogger who had posted something that didn’t really sit right with me.  When I went to confirm some details in that prior post, I saw that I used this post’s title in that post.  So, I guess I still have the same issues.

In the previous post, I was saying how the entrepreneurial lifestyle isn’t for everyone, and certainly not me.  Aside from the level of effort it takes to start it up and keep it going, I also have significant issues with a practice I have been seeing more frequently.  That practice is the monetization of information.  One blog that I follow has reviews on random products that are interesting.  Recently, that blogger started linking to those products using affiliate links so they get a slight reimbursement for their referrals.  That was never the case before.  And this other blogger recently made a post expressing the same thing, that he needs to start using affiliate links whenever he is giving advice or recommendations.

This bothers me for so many reasons.  First and foremost is the WIIFM aspect (What’s In It For Me?).  WIIFM isn’t always bad, but when the only thing you are interested in is money, I think it is.  Why should someone promote another’s website/product/service?  Well, you could because you want to see the company succeed or because you want your readers to benefit from a great product/service.  Or, somewhat selfishly, you want the company to stay in business because you use that company too and you need them to stick around.  Or, as I see these affiliate links, you don’t particularly care about the company or your readers and just want some money. 

Affiliate links are a scourge on the Internet.  Once you start down that path, it’s a very short walk until you get to entire websites that trick people who have misspelled a domain name.  What “entrepreneur” had the idea of “Oh you misspelled macys.com as macies.com.  Here’s a link to the real site you were looking for.  By the way, anything you purchase after clicking on that link will give me a small payout.  It won’t affect anything you do, but it’s just a way for you to pay me back for this helpful site I created to correct your misspelling.  You’re welcome.”

Along with the WIIFM issue is the viewpoint that information is not free.  Something like “I could tell you what you want to know, but I need a small payment first.”  Some people could argue that it’s a fair exchange.  The information is there for free if you can find it, but if you want a shortcut over the bridge, you need to pay the toll operator.  It sounds like a “victim of success” complaint.  You want to be an authority, but once you are an authority, you’re in too much demand and so you have to employ discouragements.

Before I make this too long of a rant, here’s an example of linking to something just because you want to:

This Kickstarter is a book of comics.  It’s organized by Matt Bors, who is a comic writer I’ve followed for quite a while.  He went to a paid website and let his personal website die, and I didn’t follow him to his new home.  However, I try to support him when I can, and this is one of those times.  If you like to get world perspectives through visual media, like comics and illustrations, this book would suit you well.

Revamp

In the continuing theme of rebuild and reinvent this year, I took the sledgehammer to my website.  It’s something that has been needing torn down for many years.  The idea of a website going without an update for… 10 years (?!) is unheard of.  Unless the site is truly dead.

But I’m not dead yet.  And I decided to redo the website in a much simplified version.  Gone is the whole “About Us” page, making me seem like some big firm of developers.  Gone are the Software and Support sections that really only had a couple of items in them.  Who was I trying to impress?

Back when I started, there was this pressure to always seem like a consummate professional and always like a huge organization, because no one would take you seriously otherwise.  As time and experience went on, I realized, I didn’t need any of that validation.

Now I’m down to two whole pages, but I have links to other whole websites I’m doing, so that makes my site more what it should be: a portal to my other work.

And part of that website is another blog, so maybe that will get revived as well.  Let’s see last post was…October 2012.  Sigh.

Get To The Point

It’s somewhat shocking to me to see the way I’ve changed as I’ve aged.  One thing that recently struck me is the way I write.  I wandered onto another person’s blog and this person fancied himself a writer.  Every sentence had a level of pomposity that even the word pomposity doesn’t even express.  By that, I mean his writing was excessively flowery.  I thought, geez, I used to write like that.

I have no idea why I used to do it or why I stopped.  I must assume, like with many things as I got older, the question became, “Who am I trying to impress, here?”  The answer most every time was, it doesn’t matter.

But, I could still write like that if I wanted to.  But when I read stuff like that after writing, it sounds overdone.  If you can’t get the point across in normal language, advanced vocabulary isn’t going to help you.  Maybe it’s because I now write much more factual content and less fiction.  Fiction is a place where descriptive, verbose, and picturesque language should be used – to transport the reader.  When you are writing instructions, you don’t want to transport the reader anywhere. You want to get shit done.

Ah, romance.  That fleeting, etheric sensation that compels a man to remove himself from his left-brained, analytical prison and dash madly to the fountain of life.  To drink deeply of the youth and vigor that had previously been tucked away in the recesses of his being, like a book scorned and discarded as too childish and fantastical for the adult he wished to be.  Unhand that child, villain!

That’s how it reads to me.  A bunch of independent words that each strike an emotional note and end up as a cacophonic disaster.  Sure, some people do it better than others, and some even do it worse than that contrived mish-mash I spit up.

And the reason I wrote this is because I found an old archive disk with documents – old documents – on it and I’m deathly afraid to open them.  On the other hand, maybe writing a story parodying that style would be good for me.  The whole, “so bad, it’s good” could be something I excel at.  I mean, what the hell, Fifty Shades of Grey exists, right?

The More You Know

I guess I’ve been on a Tumblr-hating kick lately.  Actually, I guess it’s more of a social media hate-fest.  But mostly, it’s just seeing how fucked up Tumblr users are.  I was searching for articles to support my position and was surprised that it wasn’t the articles, but the comments on those articles that proved my point.

In a Forbes article (Forbes!), the author was writing about a Tumblr post that had millions of reblogs/likes (“notes” in the Tumblr world) and how cool it was.  One reader wasn’t happy that her special world had been exposed:

Dearest Jason; let alone Forbes.
If you had a heart, and knew how tumblr worked, tumblr is one big family, and if you are someone who knew how tumblr worked, before it was mainstream, you’d understand: The people of tumblr are lazy f*cks who don’t change posts because the are ignorant a-holes like you.
We respect each others posts like how we would respect each other in real life. For the fact that you even had the though of changing the title from it’s original is completely wrong of you, and that you actually did so, you have failed to be my friend.
It is also hard to rewrite a title when there are comments in the body about the original title. Again, if you delete the body, you are once again an ignorant a-hole.
So thank you for telling everyone that you do not have a heart, and try to be a smart*ss, when really, you are just destroying the rules of tumblr.
PS Treat others the way you want to be treated
PSS Romney still sucks.

I think the overriding message here is respect.  And maybe grammar.  No really, the issue here is hypocrisy, with a heaping helping of self-righteousness.  Actually, a Tumblr user would be a self-righteousness machine, oiled with hypocrisy, manufacturing indignation and outrage for a marketplace of similar machines that continue to process and refine the product until it reaches maximum absurdity.