22
Dec
2007

blogging angerWikipedia has the following to say about “signal-to-noise ratio“:

Signal-to-noise ratio (often abbreviated SNR or S/N) is an electrical engineering concept, also used in other fields (such as scientific measurements, biological cell signaling and oral lore), defined as the ratio of a signal power to the noise power corrupting the signal.

In less technical terms, signal-to-noise ratio compares the level of a desired signal (such as music) to the level of background noise. The higher the ratio, the less obtrusive the background noise is.

How does this apply to blogging? Isn’t the answer somewhat self-evident?

The blogosphere is filled with people, such as myself, spouting off countless opinions about any number of subjects, but why does this make any one blogger’s opinion more important than another’s? The only thing that makes a personal blogger “important”, which is really just to say they are more popular, is that their opinions resonate with a larger group of people.

I have seen estimates that suggest the number of blogs in the world is now in the hundreds of millions. The question would be is “how many of them are actually useful?” Sure, a good number of them are nothing more than a way for a teenager to talk about the party they went to the night before, but how many of them are people such as me prattling endlessly about whatever it is in the world that annoys them?

This whole thought started for me when, Roy, an apparently former blogger now, IMed me about my entry from yesterday about Jamie Lynn Spears. Roy’s stance is that my talking about the media coverage of the younger of the Spears’ sisters is no better than the media themselves discussing her. My thoughts are that I am commenting on the way the story is presented, and not so much the story itself. Yes, I had to mention the story, but with no background, my thoughts on the matter would have been meaningless to those who has somehow escaped the story.

My thoughts are that if no one ever says anything, how can there ever be hope for change? If no one points out the silliness in the world, people will go on thinking that it is perfectly okay to carry on with the status quo. Don’t get me wrong, I have no delusions about the readership of my blog, I don’t think that the head of some huge news organization is sitting around going “Oh no, SeanPAune.com is saying that we are silly to cover this! STOP ALL COVERAGE OF IT!” If no one puts it out there, how will anyone ever know?

Along this line of thinking, Roy, sent me a link on FourHourWorkWeek.com about how blogging is turning everyone into self-important egoists who think that their opinion is more important than others. (The entry also suggests how we should return to punching people for being asses, but I think that’s a bit over-the-top) And, again, I must say that I have no delusions about my place in the blogosphere. I am just some guy with a lot of opinions; some of them are right, some of them are wrong.

ScreamingIt probably is at least a little self-centered of me to think that this blog matters more than a whisper-in-the-wind to the vast majority of people. Heck, it probably doesn’t matter even to the majority of people who are kind enough to stop by and read my incessant ramblings, but it makes me feel better. There is nothing I say on this blog that I wouldn’t say to someone’s face, but that’s just the kind of person that I am. I have never been one to sit back and let foolishness go by without questioning, this blog merely gives me a way to vent my frustrations in a more public fashion. It also reminds me of when I first started my LiveJournal account and I named it “One man’s silent screams into the void”. I know I am rallying against the wind, as are most bloggers.

If I ever decided to start sharing my views on politics and politicians, it would make you long for the “good old days” where I just smacked around the likes of the media, Scientology, and the RIAA. I know it will come as a shock to some of you, but I do actually restrain myself somewhat in what I write about.

I hope that at least a small percentage of my posts add to the “signal” as opposed to the “noise” that is out there on the web nowadays. And I also hope that at least a few of the things I say strike a chord with my readers, but if it doesn’t, then such is life. If I ever feel like I have become nothing more than “noise”, I will probably stop blogging all together… or at least make a blog post about it.

21
Dec
2007

Jamie Lynn Spears“Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant!”

“Yes… we all know this, thank you mass media outlets.”

“Did you know she’s only 16?!?”

“Yes.”

“But did you also know her boyfriend is either 18 or 19?!? (we don’t know for sure…)”

“Yes… thank you, please go on to the next story.”

“But did you know we’re going to talk to either family and/or people who know them in their little town to get their opinion?!?”

“Did you know you make me want to take my own life?”

“This is important news!  She may lose her show, Zoey 101, over this!”

“Did you know I know over 50 ways to kill the next person who thinks this is a news story?”

There are over one million teen pregnancies in the United States every year, why is this one so special?  Well a) she has a sister named Britney who appears to be nuttier than a fruit cake b) she stars on a show popular with young girls.  Does this still make an over saturation by the media necessary?  Of course not, but as we have all seen over the past few years, the media latches on to anything that seems the least bit controversial.

Let’s face it, the Spears family, as a whole, is a train wreck, how about we stop drooling over every moment of their lives?  Jamie’s situation should be nothing more than a footnote in the entertainment news, it should not be on every channel at all times.

Yes, I constantly harp on this, and I also realize it’s not going to change any time soon.  In a report of the 25 most powerful people on the web put together by Forbes, #1 was Perez Hilton, the infamous celeb gossip blogger.  The biggest celeb on the web is someone who writes about celebs… how is that for a commentary on the state of the world?  (#22 on the list is Pete Cashmore, my boss at Mashable.com)

The world is filled with fascinating stories, and journalists feel compelled to talk about a teenage girl getting pregnant?  Something that happens countless times every day, but when you are the younger sister of a deranged pop star, that makes it newsworthy?  I just don’t get it.

The only thing I find remotely amusing this whole thing is how their mother was due to publish a book about how to be the parent of successful daughters… it is now on indefinite hold.

20
Dec
2007

BlackBerry 8830I’ve already told you that I’m loving my recently purchased BlackBerry 8830, but now I love it even more!

This week Google launched a fuller integration between current BlackBerrys and their apps.  You just need to point your mobile browser to m.google.com/sync to download everything.  Perhaps a few of these items were available before and I just didn’t know it, but I’m loving it.

I can now update my calendar either on Google or the BlackBerry and they auto-sync with one another whenever possible.  No hookup to the computer, nothing to press, just set it once and the software will do the rest for you.  I now have my calendars constantly updated, which has always been one of my biggest complaints with PDAs.

The one that blew me away was using Google Maps.  It hooked into my phone’s GPS and automatically showed me where I was with all the usual bells-and-whistles, including the ability to fetch traffic reports.  (something you really need in my rural town…)  I’ve also got a really slick interface for my Gmail account now also.

Non-Google related, but still nice, I added TwitterBerry this week.  As I mentioned, I am using Twitter more now, I can now post updates without the short code, as well as check my Twitter feed on the go.  Yes, yes, I know most people use Twitter just for fun, but I’m actually using it for my blogging jobs, and it has led me to a couple of articles already.

It’s nice to have so much of the web in my pocket any time I need it.  Sure, I’m not going to do casual surfing this way, but overall I’m loving the expanded functionality I’m getting.

19
Dec
2007

Blogging Goals For 2008I’m taking part in the Group Writing Project over at Daily Blog Tips, and I’m going to publicly state my blogging goals for 2008. Some of you may remember a similar project awhile back when I did a post about 3 Ways To Get Me To Not Visit Your Blog Again.

This feels a bit like setting New Year’s Resolutions for my blog, and like those very same goals we all set for ourselves, it is unlikely I will succeed at all of them. I hope I’m wrong, but one never knows with something as mercurial as the world of the Internet what will change over the next year, or what might even shit in my own life.
As was stated in the initial post about this project, you need to set measurable goals for yourself and your blog, other wise how will you ever know you succeeded? That being said… I have at least a couple of goals that are not really measurable. heh

Measurable

Daily Page Views – Daily page views have more than doubled over this same time last year, but considering how low the numbers were back then, that’s not saying much. I would like to see another increase of around 50% (I know that sounds huge… it’s not) by this same time next year. To accomplish this I am hoping to improve my SEO skills, which in turn should improve my search engine placement. I’ve learned a lot about more effective blog marketing this year from working for other blogs, and I am hopeful to apply some of these tips and tricks to myself in the coming year.

Google Pagerank – Somewhat of a mystery to everyone it seems, but I want to study up on it some more to lift my rank. I am currently a PR4, I would love to be a PR5 by this time next year.

RSS Subscribers – Depending on how Feedburner is feeling on any given day, I have around 30 subscribers. I would like to hit 54 by the end of next December. I feel a 2-per-month quota is doable. As to how I plan to go about this:

  • Post at least every other month about the benefits of RSS in easing your daily blog reading, including a link to my feed.
  • Look into including an RSS subscription button in each post via a plugin, or CSS hack.

Social Bookmarking – This is an area I really have fallen down in. Though I have included links at the bottom of each post to ease a user’s job of bookmarking me to sites such as StumbleUpon and Digg, I need to be more proactive in writing content that people will actually want to save for later reference.

Immeasurable

Finding my niche – For too long I have meandered hither and from with my content. The idea that I could write about whatever was on mind my day that was just too enticing, and I gave in to it far too many times. So the time to settle in to just a couple of subjects has probably come, but picking those categories will be the tough part. I think my biggest problem is that everything I am passionate about (movies, music, tech, etc) are already extremely well serviced markets. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t still room for another well focused blog, it’s just a matter of buckling down.

Improving my personal skills – Let’s face it, I am merely a passable writer.  If I’m ever going to get anywhere with blogging, I need to improve my game.  To this end I have purchased several books on grammar, by far my weakest area, and hope to get through those early this coming year.

New design – I have hired a designer to come up with a new theme for this blog. I haven’t seen any test shots yet, but the basic brief from me to her was “I like what I have, I just want it to be different”. It will still be 3-columns, but the overall look will be getting a new coat of paint in the near future. Hopefully a unique theme, and some freshness will entire more visitors and RSS subscriptions.

Hopefully I will be able to achieve these goals.  They seem modest and doable, but one never knows what the future holds for them.  If you’re a blogger, what are your plans for the new year?

18
Dec
2007
Written by  |  under TV  |  3 Comments

Gabriella Montez doll from High School MusicalNo, this isn’t my typical entry, but I had to share my thoughts on this.

As I’ve been cruising Wal-Mart as of late (usually at 1 AM or so as I like to avoid interactions with customers there as much as possible… part of small town living), I’ve spent a lot of time in the toys section checking for G.I. Joes… damn that addiction, and during those trips I’ve spotted the High School Musical 2 dolls, and, you know… the Gabriella Montez doll kinda makes me fear for kids. While I’ve never watched either of the movies, nor do I plan to, but I am aware of the actress who plays Gabriella is Vanessa Anne Hudgens.

For those unaware of the situation, Ms. Hudgens, decided to take some risqué photos in lingerie… and some not… in her bedroom, and somehow, they MIRACIOUSLY got on to the Internet. (funny how celebs keep losing those things, isn’t it? If you want to see them, Google her, I’m not linking) Admittedly, she was over 18, but being under contract to Disney, a company that promotes so many family values, kept her under contract for the third film, and continued to release merchandise based on her character.

Honestly, if this was any other 18-year old, working for any other company, I wouldn’t blink an eye. However, when you’re under the Disney banner, I would hope your brain might kick in and you would think “Hey, you know, I have millions of little kids looking up to me, maybe I shouldn’t take these pictures…”, but, alas, no, Ms. Hudgen’s brain didn’t kick in, and she did it anyway.

So, now you have all these kids looking up to a women with highly questionable decision making skills. And, hey, they can take home a doll of her! “What are you playing, honey?” “Vanessa Anne Hudgen’s bedroom, mommy… now say cheese!”

Oh well, I guess it could be worse. I mean, it’s not like she’s a 16-year old lead actress on a popular kid’s show like Zoey 101, who happens to be the kid sister of a famous nut job singer… oh crap.

17
Dec
2007

Writer's Strike, Week 7We’re in week 7 of the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strike.  And we have a new wrinkle: The late night shows on NBC are coming back without the writers.

It seems the Peacock network is holding the support staff of and  The Tonight Show With Jay LenoLate Night With Conan O’Brien hostage.  If the shows did not return on January 2nd, strike resolution or not, the staffs of both shows would be released.  You really can’t hold the hosts accountable here.  It was either stand by their morals or see their staffs of 80+ people per show be jobless.

The Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP) and the networks are playing dirty at this point.  They are at fault for the talks breaking down, and they are still endeavoring to make the writers look like the bad guys.  Sorry, but I just don’t see it that way.  I know… I’m bias.  Oh well, so sue me.  David Letterman is pondering coming back, but he is in a different position as his writer’s are actually in favor of his returning to work so he can state their cause.

As we are going in to the holidays, there is little hope of the strike ending before 2008, and that means most of the prime time shows that ran out of episodes are done for the season.  Hope you enjoyed what we got.

16
Dec
2007
Written by  |  under Blogging  |  No Comments

WordPress PluginsWell, new to me at least. These are in addition to the ones I posted about before. I discovered these by a post on Daily Blog Tips linking to a post about 50 must have plugins on QuickOnlineTips.com.

Admin Drop Down Menu – Finally, the admin menus as drop downs! Instead of clicking on “Manage” and then what I need, I can just jump there directly.

Instant Upgrade – This one I am still working on setting up, but as someone who installed WordPress on his own, I have to do all updates by hand also. It does get a bit tiresome. This is supposed to ease the process, and make it a bit more automatic.

Twitter updater – This will send an update to my Twitter based on posting new entries (such as this one) or when I edit an old one. The choice is totally up to you.

What about the other WordPress users out there?  What are some of your favorite plugins?

15
Dec
2007

Okay, I think I’ve had my fill of blogging.

Since I got up today, it’s all I’ve done. BLORGE, Mashable, a new blog that hasn’t opened up yet, and now over here, and after here, I have more to do. It’s not that I mind the blogging as an act, but the fact it’s a seven day process, every week of the year. There is always blooging that needs to be done: Weekends, holidays, when you’re sick, when you’re healthy, the blogging is always there.

But, alas, it’s helping pay my bills, and it’s nice to be writing, but, darnit… I have a vague memory of this thing called “sleep”… I could be mistaken though… maybe I wrote an article about it?

As for the unopened blog… I can’t say anything about it until it launches next month. I left another job to give myself more time, but when this dropped in my lap, I couldn’t resist. I’m very excited about it, and I am anxious to share what it is, but everyone will just have to wait a couple of weeks to find out. I know at least one my regular readers here will be banging their head on their keyboard when they hear what it is…. this makes me smile, and for that alone, I can’t wait for that.

So, with all this blogging, getting inspired for posts over here has been a bit rough at times, what do you all do to get inspired? What part of your daily life makes you go “There it is… there’s my blog post!”?  Is there something you want to see me cover more?  Something I haven’t covered at all?  Help a brother out here!

14
Dec
2007
Written by  |  under Movies  |  No Comments




I, of course, have no delusions about being the one to get their widget grabbed the most (I’m guessing it will be 1-18-08 Project Cloverfield, personally), but I still wanted to share this with everyone as I have been talking about this stupid film for months now.The footage brings some stuff to light finally about some of the scenes we’ve seen. The blurry shot of the monster walking by a building is in here, as well as the shot in the store where someone says “It’s alive”, so a lot of what we have seen is very early on in the film.

A PG-13 rating has been slapped on the movie, and it looks like the running time is going to be a non-existent 90-minutes. Oh, and to top it all off, there are rumors that “Slusho!” may have absolutely nothing to do with the story… who knows. Thank goodness we’re down to 35 days before this comes out.

13
Dec
2007

w00t!So, Merriam-Webster conducted a poll of what their visitors thought the word of the year was.

w00t… w-zero-zero-t

This isn’t a word people, it’s a sound.  It’s like the dictionary adding “d’oh” from The Simpsons, it annoys me as it is not a real word.  Sounds should not be in the dictionary, I’m sorry, but I just don’t think they should be.

While w00t hasn’t made it yet, it could, especially with this backing it, which make me think I will never, ever, use this word again for any reason…

12
Dec
2007

TwitterI tried out Twitter earlier in the year, and I just didn’t really take to it for some reason. The idea of going over to a website to post 140 characters about what I was doing just didn’t strike me as interesting, or fun.

So, the other day when Mashable was covering the new $5.4 million in funding Twitter got, the crew were listing their accounts so people could “follow” us. I figured, “Oh, what the heck, I’ll give it another try.”

I think I get it now.

With the ability to Twitter from GTalk, which I am on at least 18-hours a day, it’s so easy to update my account, it makes it fun. Add in I can Tweet from my cell when I actually leave my a office (a rare occasion), the idea of updating random people in mere seconds is appealing.

Then you have to ask yourself why you do this though? Why do you share such minute details of your life with complete strangers? True, I have this blog, but I don’t get deeply personal on it, and I also don’t update it six times a day. With Twitter, I have this odd compulsion to say the most random, nonsensical things, and broadcast it to the world? I’m not sure where this compulsion is coming from, but it’s amusing me for now.

I am sure the novelty will wear off again, but until it does, feel free to come over and see what I’m twittering about.

11
Dec
2007
Written by  |  under Music  |  1 Comment

RIAA LogoYou know, I’m awfully tired of being a pirate.

I mean, it’s hard work, ya know? You’ve always got this parrot on your shoulder, ruining your clothes… you throats all sore from saying “arrrrrrrrr” all the time… and this peg leg is MURDER on my hip!

You see, the RIAA, is up to their shenanigans again, saying how everyone who rips music, from CDs they legally purchased, is really a pirate because they never told us we could do that. This little gem of info first showed up in October during one of their court trials, and now they’re using it again.

According to the linked Ars Technica article, this latest round comes in a court case named Atlantic v. Howell, wherein a brief filed by the RIAA, the state this version of things again.

In a brief filed late last week, the RIAA said that the MP3 files on a PC owned by a file-sharing defendant who had admitted to ripping them himself were “unauthorized copies.”

I stated back in October, and will again: If I legally purchased the CD, and am making the rips for my personal enjoyment, they’re out of their minds.  I am merely choosing the medium in which I wish to listen to the item I legally (I want to keep stressing this) purchased.  I am not sharing it with anyone, I am merely doing as I please with it for my personal enjoyment.

Hopefully the RIAA will never get so greedy behind protecting artists rights that they will go after the common person who does this, but, really, would anyone be shocked?

The music industry is, again, turning in to it’s own worst enemy.  They are creating a culture where piracy takes on almost Robin Hoodesque qualities where it is you against the evil Sheriff of Nottingham who is trying to collect too much in taxes.   As always, I will state that I am NOT endorsing piracy, but what I’m saying is that groups such as the RIAA make me feel almost dirty when I buy a new CD any more.  I have vowed to buy only used CDs, to which they receive no royalties from me, and I will stick to that.  If I can’t find it used, I’ll do without.