Dave The Web Guy

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The Tulsa Race Tragedy, A Media Race

05/31/2021

Posted by Dave

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First, it's long overdue that the Tulsa Race Massacre come to light.  I was shocked when I first heard about it just days ago.  I literally wondered how I hadn't heard about it before.  There it is however, a tragedy and a stark warning about how even if racism is allowed to circulate in the vernacular and worldview of the ignorant, it can spread and ignite through all.

Now, as a sudden media concentration and focus, though, it's also a pretty weird demonstration of mainstream "cognizant activation".  

Just wonder:  What after all this time made this story-that-should-have-always-been-a-story for decades over decades, so sexy in the scope of just a single weekend in 2021?  In such a lockstep and such a quality-of-presentation launch no less.

You can't deny uniform mechanisms and influences in an institution like mainstream media when something like this happens.   And if you can't deny it, you can begin to question everything with more confidence.   You're allowed.

blm blm

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Policing the Non-Vaccinated

05/18/2021

Posted by Dave

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Now that New York has dropped the mask requirement for vaccinated people, the obvious question becomes how are we practically going to distinguish the vaccinated from the non-vaccinated?

There's been some thought to enforcing a "proof of" approach where people need to present proof of vaccination as they enter venues and certain gatherings, but to me this is highly resource-intensive and easily gamed.

The real answer is to let Darwinism take over now.  If there is ideological or other irrational cause to not get vaccinated, let the ideological circulate society at their own peril. 

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Great Blogs - The Geek Stuff

05/16/2021

Posted by Dave

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I like to think that I patronize other blogs because I'm engaged by good writing and insight.  But that's not really true.  Sometimes I'm only moderately engaged or interested but I stay in the audience because I like the producer's approach and style insofar as the presentation goes.  If they're doing all the things right such as tastefully embedding non-obtrusive ads or even better not advertising at all, and take pains to keep the visual balanced, I am enamored enough to keep coming back.  

I guess I owe this dynamic more to a love of the craft and a hope that people will re-discover HTTP as a valid method of exchanging information as authors of their own publishing world.

My last incarnation of this blog included a section of blogs that struck me with this sort of happiness, and I am going to restore it.  Probably before I leave for the gym today.   I often find it hard to articulate why I think a blog is a good blog but by maintaining such an index here, I can at least present the pattern, which is probably more telling.

For the second though, here is The Geek Stuff.  You see everything as it should be in blogging world.

I should disclaim that I run an ad blocker so my perspective of a "clean presenting" blog is somewhat mitigated.   I've had to acquiesce to the fact that even if a blog producer still uses ads, they remain exceptional if they don't challenge the blocker or beg to be "unblocked".  It's just the way it is. :(

blogging

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Googling From the Command Line

05/16/2021

Posted by Dave

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I did not know this existed.  You can use Google as a command line search tool using Google Shell, or "Goosh". 

So, if you're a command line/Unix freak, as I have been lately, you can still do meaningful Google searches sans the crapitilstic web experience they  throw at you.  

Screen capture of Goosh.

Sample output of a Goosh search.

This seems to be a non-profit arm of Google operations something ran by a guy in Germany, so that probably explains why I only learned of it by -- Googling -- command line search options for the web.  They sure aren't going to be flouting it.  

It's neat and I'm using it, but there's probably no future in it if there is no $$$ in it.  If anyone knows of any other interesting command-line web search tools I'd be interested in hearing about them.

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I Should Go Linux All the Way

05/14/2021

Posted by Dave

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Working with a recent project has had me wading around in Linux more intimately than I ever have.  The experience is pushing me into leaving the large commercial-slanted Microsoft and Google ecosystems entirely (and by insinuation of this, Apple's too, though I barely touch it) .  

The fresh air of commercial-free computing is liberating.  Executing commands and running through processes without the artifical injection of "crapitilasm" is putting power back into my hands.  I can program and configure at my old-days "hacker speed", and nothing drags on me as I go.

Except of course for the drag of proficiency.  And, the drag of failed interfacing to the more ubiqutious world of device drivers designed for people who don't leap from the ship.

Those are real problems.  Proficiency is the lesser issue since you learn as you go, and with the fluidity of processing, I'd probably be one of those wicked command-line tackers that bothered me so much working at Rakuten (great guys the Unix people were, but non-stop clackity clackity clackity in an open floor plan - I suspect I have a case of Misophonia) in no time.

But bringing home new tech appliances and toys, or suddenly needing to rely on a productivity or content generation apps for which no Linux native or port equivalent exists.  That would be a buzz kill.

Still, I eye this potential strongly.  When I am reminded of how  empowering computing is supposed to be as my recent foray has, I am all the more resentful that the evolved form of computing is wrong at a fundamental level.  It is a perverse model consisting of convenient information gathering, advertising, and fabricated depedencies for sake of profit only.  And worse, it may all be designed to make people consumer processors of digital output, while exactly straining away the empowerment.

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Have Something to Say

05/08/2021

Posted by Dave

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The new first rules of blogging are to be sure to have something to say.  That means, establish that your message has these attributes:

  • Conviction/Passion 
  • Facts, Good Data (even if an opinion blog - support your position!)
  • Unique Perspective

Mind you, not having those qualifiers does not mean that your viewpoint or information is worthless in the grand scheme of things;  just that it may not contribute to the digital sphere.

Today's web is not the 2002 web.  

Let me explain.  Stream of conscious blogging centering around the events of your day or weigh-in in on national economic policy was and has "tried and died".  It died because millions of people deciding to give themselves the daily "homework" of self-reporting their day to an electronic diary could only end the way that it clearly did.  Until we're all forced to live our days hiding in attics, most of what we experience is mundane and in need of serious primping in order to properly storify.  It takes serious work, and that's after the work of maintaining the blog engine itself.

It's not that people lost the impulse to digitally share themselves.  As blogging limped through its lifecycle, services like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter showed up to the party.  And they offered ways, powerful and easy ways, to satiate this impulse.  Social media trimmed down the expectation for long form presentation into blurbs -- or -- quite literally "Tweets", if you will. 

Sure, it's all something you could be forgiven for, for still calling it "blogging", but these expression conduits are more in the moment and thus held to less an integral intellectual or grammatical standard.  My label for this kind of online writing is "bullet prose form" and in 2021 it's about the only thing people posting online at all anymore, know.

Personally, I am sure that I discounted how things would turn out way back before all this noise and sludge took over online.  I just assumed everyone's lives were fascinating if articulated and storified properly and that blogging would never die accordingly.  But the barrier to online publishing is now too low and the noise too great.  If you have a blog and bother to mention it, people have zero curiosity, sans other agendas, for checking it out. 

The attributes I list above will beat the assumptions and leave people interested in what you have to say, if you are consistent about applying them.  If it means you say things less often because the criteria just isn't there, that's fine.  Your social media blurbs, wherever you are making them, are probably ideal for the point.

My own custom engine, Battle Blog, includes a feature that actually accounts for posting lulls -- de-stigma-fying lulls in the process.  If you don't post in 10 days, no problem, the blog engine replaces the front page which normally contains your stream of blog postings, with a kind note that you are living life and building up to your next post.  It then offers to show you the blog anyway and gives other options to explore.  So far as I know, my clunky homebrew engine is the only blogging platform that does this, although I prodded the real blog engine makers to follow suit.

Someone landing on this text might wonder if as a whole my personal blog meets any of these criteria on a consistent basis.  Look it over, does it seem to?  Probably not.  But that's because my motivations have less to do with building an audience and more to do with keeping the craft alive personally and as a whole.  It's a living experiment in online publishing and as all experiments go may or may not prove to be anything of tangible value in the end.  Put another way, even though I do have other blogs and online efforts I do in fact care about, here at this blog, I may not add anything to the digital sphere in this specific effort and that doesn't bother me. 

blogging

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Alerts Are Fake Ads Now

05/08/2021

Posted by Dave

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The latest trend in obtrusive "advertising" (if it really is something "new", maybe not) is sending you alerts.  These alerts actually contain no pitch or ad copy whatsoever, they're actual alerts about a scan on your computer completing or "Your statement is ready" from your bank.  

Here's an example from Malwarebytes, an alert that I receive in the lower right of my computer waking up the PC each morning.  You might think maybe it disappears after a few seconds but it doesn't.  You have to manually click the X to close it.  And no, you can't turn this off.

Image of Malwarebytes needless alert.

These are needless "alerts" because everything could just as easily work transparently in the background, doing their jobs and letting you focus as needed on whatever they are alerting you about.  But every alert sends along a brand name and getting that brand name in front of you in the form of a subject line in your inbox, or a push notification on your phone, as often as possible, is crucial.

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