SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) are just the latest two examples that the United States government are either a)totally ignorant to how the Internet works or b)they truly are in the back pocket of the media conglomerates.
Have you ever used an image you found on Google without asking permission? You would be in violation of SOPA & PIPA and could have your site shut down. Your hosting provider could be shut down. Any site that links to you could be shut down. And all of this could happen because a company, with little proof, filing a complaint against you.
If all this sounds serious, you would be correct, and that is why a large portion of the Internet is going dark today. We can not, and will not, stand for the U.S. government crippling the Internet and causing those of us who have spent years building this fantastical resource to be gagged due to the concerns of someone being worried that someone MIGHT pirate a copy of Fast Five.
Yes, piracy is wrong. Yes, it should be stopped. But doing so with over reaching laws that will hand the keys to the Internet over to the likes of the RIAA and MPAA is not the solution.
It seems like just yesterday I would fight with a 9600 baud modem to log on to CompuServe, usually taking several tries to get a solid connection. When I worked up to a 56 Kbps modem, I thought I was rocking good speeds, but luckily there was a lot more to come. Around 2000 I got my first cable modem, and it was a couple Mbps (meagbits per second), and finally worked my way up to 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps up.
Well, as luck would have it, my ISP, CableOne, has finally finished testing its DOCSIS 3.0 equipment and that means a bump up to around 50 Mbps (or “really, really fast”). The odd part is the numbers you see to the side where my upload speed is about a 25th of my download. While slower uploads are not unusual, this much disparity between the two numbers is a bit extreme.
Either way, these types of download speeds are going to become a little bit more common over the coming years, but seeing as some people are still on dial-up, you have to wonder when those people can expect even the most basic of high speed solutions. There has been a proven connection between better Internet connections and local economies as more companies are willing to come to a town, so you would think every town would be backing projects to improve their Internet, but it just isn’t happening.
Of course, with faster speeds comes other issues such as data caps, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish that you don’t want to hear me go on about.
Hopefully others will be seeing speeds such as these in the near future, but it bothers me that this test said my new speed outranks 84 percent of the U.S., I’d much rather it say I outrank 16 percent.
You do realize that thanks to the Internet that just about every piece of information is available at your fingertips 24/7, right? Of course you do, and that’s because you have a brain.
Apparently the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department and two California television stations aren’t all that bright.
It would seem that the sheriff’s department released a two page flyer warning parents about the dangers of a new mascot for pedophiles everywhere named Pedobear. They warned that if you see him depicted anywhere that you should question the motivations of anyone connected to the image, and be sure to keep your kids safe. They even got television stations such as KSBY to run stories to warn people of the area about this rising danger.
While I have made it very clear on this blog how I feel about pedophiles, there is one small problem with this whole thing … Pedobear is a joke that was born out of the infamous 4chan message board.
Pedobear has become a way on the site to denote that you have posted something potentially creepy about young children, and it has now made its way out to the rest of the Internet. It has become a well-known Internet meme, and even if you aren’t familiar with it, a simple Google search for “Pedobear” returns multiple pages explaining the joke.
The sheriff’s department contacted Valleywag and explained they knew it was a joke, but yet they included real department phone numbers on the flyer to report crimes, and that sure doesn’t help the news reports that went out that now put egg on everyone’s face.
To be perfectly honest, I think the department is trying to cover its behind for falling for a joke. If you look at the flyer below (click the images for larger versions) you have to wonder why they put the dispatch and sex offender division’s phone numbers. Did they send out corrections to the TV stations?
No, I think folks the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department fell for an Internet joke that they could have easily researched in about three seconds. Even more disturbing it that news clip above. The news didn’t research this? Oh good job.
Again, I have no love for pedophiles, and children should be warned about them, but how many innocent people who laugh at about Pedobear will now get funny looks from their neighbors? How many phone calls will come in reporting someone as a pedophile when there is no evidence other than the bear? If this was a joke release, whomever came up with it should be fired immediately. It’s one thing when it is an Internet meme, but a whole different thing when law enforcement puts their official stamp on it.
Oh well, at least Pedobear lives on to even a wider audience now.
Yeah … Google Hot Trends has been busted yet again.
As a professional blogger I check in with Google Hot Trends at least a couple times a day to see what the Internet as a whole is talking about. This system reports on the 20 most searched on terms via the Google search engine for about the past 60 minutes, and every once in a while you see something that is completely insane.
What will happen is that some trend spammers will decide on a subject, and then they just slam the system as hard as possible to drive up the search term and bring the traffic to their site. When you go and look at the top results for this search term right now, one of them is a website about insurance …
I’ve posted a screenshot of the top results below, you can click on it for a larger view:
As you can see, the term just appeared from nowhere earlier today and has gained nothing but momentum. I’ve checked some of the usual gossip rags, and not a word from them, and you know they’d be all over this in a heartbeat, so this looks fairly obvious to be a group trying to game the hot trends.
What this really gains them is beyond me as these trends reset every so often, so this will be gone soon enough, but it’s annoying for the time it exists. Thanks for messin’ up the system for a night … idiots.
The Internet is filled with companies offering all kinds of services, and one of the perks is that the majority of them are free. What happens, though when these free services let you down and you have no real recourse for complaining because, after all, you aren’t paying for it.
You’ll notice that there was no episode of Braindead Techcast last night. It wasn’t because Steven or I didn’t show up, because we both did. We did our usual pre-show rituals (i.e. coffee was needed), and I went to set up the show as I always do. What took place was 15 minutes of hell as neither Steven or I could get Talkshoe, the service we use to record the show, to load. We tried multiple browsers, and seeing as we we are in different countries, we also knew it wasn’t a regional problem. There simply was no logging into the service.
Now, it is difficult to really complain too much about a service we don’t pay for, but we have both said on the show that we would be willing to pay a monthly fee if it meant we could get better access to the service. The only subscription they offer is to remove advertising from the chat room, which is something we couldn’t care less about, but there is no way for us to give this company money.
We also looked into switching to Blog Talk Radio, but, alas, after weeks we still have never received our confirmation e-mail to allow us into the service. Even after Steven wrote a post about this, and got a comment from someone at the company saying they would look into it, but we have gotten nothing back from them.
Free is great, but there also comes a time where you have people who would be willing to pay you so that we could get more reliable service, and they just seem to have no interest. Hopefully we can do Braindead tonight, but that will rely on Talkshoe actually letting us into the site so we can even attempt it.
Be sure to follow @StevenHodson and @SeanPAune on Twitter.
There has been a lot of talk about the service possibly starting business accounts which will have more tools at their disposal for the companies to follow the analytics of their account. This has been discussed for ages now, and still nothing has come of it as of yet.
Possibly with the data it has open up to search engines via its “firehose” for search purposes? We know that both Microsoft and Google paid them for the access, and while it’s believed to have been in the millions, but it doesn’t come even remotely close to making up the $160 million total the company has taken in venture capital thus far.
Some expected Ev Williams, one of the founders of the site, to announce a Twitter ad platform at the just completed SXSWi conference, but all he did was announce a new system for publishers for further content distribution. Some think the announcement may come next month now at Twitter’s chirp conference for developers, but it looks like finally, after four years, there might some sort of plan for cash flow.
… I may faint.
The problem is that I want Twitter to succeed. While I don’t think it is the be-all, end-all that some people out there do, I do think it is a highly useful tool. I feel some people have blown out of proportion just how important Twitter is, and that they have convinced themselves that nothing more important has ever happened in the history of man, I just see it as an extremely useful tool. It has broken down some communication barriers in this world, and I think that is a great thing, but I don’t think the service has quite gotten to point of greatness some of its zealots would have you believe.
At its core Twitter is still but a tool, a tool with a lot of potential, but a tool nonetheless. As my friend Steven Hodson has begun to be fond of saying, “Twitter is becoming part of the plumbing of the Internet, and plumbing doesn’t go away.” I have to agree with him, Twitter is with us for a long time to come, it would just like to see them start making some money so we coul dbe sure of the fact that it was indeed going to stick around.
So, happy birthday, Twitter … now start making some money so that you can be here for at least a few more years.
Feel free to follow me at @seanpaune if you are so inclined.
Last year on March 19th I wrote about Why I Left DreamHost, and here we are a year later discussing why I left BlueHost. Unlike the DreamHost debacle where I was angry enough to spit fire, the BlueHost split has been a bit more amicable. There were some definite rough moments this year, but overall it wasn’t that ugly.
Over this past year I discovered that I just simply no longer fit in a shared hosting environment. While they promise you the world in unlimited storage and bandwidth, they really can’t deliver. At least once over the past year all my sites were shut down and threatened with deletion as I had too many files on the server. It seems they don’t want you to have more than 50,000 files, and due to a script I was running with Mark Hopkins to test a new site, it had auto generated over 250,000 files. No problem, we deleted them, but BlueHost gave us no warning we were in violation, they simply shut down the sites and told us to get out. After begging with them, I got them to turn the sites back on, and we got the files cleaned up.
In general shared hosting accounts simply aren’t going to work any more except for the smallest of sites. These companies work on an idea of volume, and while departing BlueHost, I did some checking and discovered that somewhere around 1,000 sites were hosted on just my one server. While servers can take a pounding, that is just way too many sites on any one unit.
So, I have moved over to HostGator … hold on, don’t scream, “But they’re a shared host, too!” Yes, they are, but they also offer dedicated servers, and that’s what I’m renting now. Yes folks, I’ve gone crazy and just said “I’m done with this!” and gone for my own server. HostGator leases their servers from The Planet, and while I could have gotten it slightly cheaper by going direct, HG offered better phone support, and considering how many times I’ve had to call them, it’s been worth the extra money.
While I do feel like I’m paying through the nose, and I don’t make anywhere close to how much this costs me back in advertising, I’m a lot happier. All of my sites are on this server now (which is nine), plus I am hosting two sites for friends. One is paying me a small hosting fee each month, while the other gets like six hits a year, so I’m not charging them. So, I am much deeper in the hole financially, but if I really want to keep my sites going, this was the only option, and I have to say I love having complete control over the server. I am nowhere near it physically, but I can reboot it, run diagnostics, the whole bit from the comfort of my desk.
I have no clue how HostGator is as a shared host, but as a dedicated server host, I’m loving them. All of my technical problems have been handled quickly, my server was set up in no time and I feel you can tell how much faster the site is. (SeanPAune.com has been on the server now for a few months) Expensive? Yes. Worth it? I think so.
I know most blogs just starting out have to go with shared hosting so as not to break themselves, and I wish you all luck because all the shared hosts I have been with have ended up driving me insane. Here’s to (hopefully) never moving again.
In the age of social media, there have been many pundits that have said it shouldn’t be used as a “weapon”, but the question is: Why not?
Companies are putting customer service reps on to sites such as Twitter with increasing regularity due to users turning to that site more and more as a place to vent their frustrations with a company. Last night service rep for Southwest Airlines got a definite work out as film writer and director Kevin Smith took his anger with the airline to the masses.
The creative mind behind such films as Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma and others was taking a flight from San Fransisco to Burbank on Southwest Airlines last night. After he had put his luggage in the overhead bin, and been seated, he was informed that the Captain of the fight had decided that due to his extreme weight that he was a “safety risk” and had him removed from the flight. As is the way in this day and age, Mr. Smith took to his Twitter account, and what followed was a slew of Tweets, the name for the messages on Twitter, from the director (language left intact for impact):
Dear @SouthwestAir – I know I’m fat, but was Captain Leysath really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?
Dear @SouthwestAir, I flew out in one seat, but right after issuing me a standby ticket, Oakland Southwest attendant Suzanne (wouldn’t give
last name) told me Captain Leysath deemed me a “safety risk”. Again: I’m way fat… But I’m not THERE just yet. But if I am, why wait til my
bag is up, and I’m seated WITH ARM RESTS DOWN. In front of a packed plane with a bunch of folks who’d already I.d.ed me as “Silent Bob.”
So, @SouthwestAir, go fuck yourself. I broke no regulation, offered no “safety risk” (what, was I gonna roll on a fellow passenger?). I was
wrongly ejected from the flight (even Suzanne eventually agreed). And fuck your apologetic $100 voucher, @SouthwestAir. Thank God I don’t
embarrass easily (bless you, JERSEY GIRL training). But I don’t sulk off either: so everyday, some new fuck-you Tweets for @SouthwestAir.
Wanna tell me I’m too wide for the sky? Totally cool. But fair warning, folks: IF YOU LOOK LIKE ME, YOU MAY BE EJECTED FROM @SOUTHWESTAIR.
Via @byrneification “save the anger for SModcast” Believe it, Son. @SouthwestAir? You fucked with the wrong sedentary processed-foods eater!
(1/2) @pigz “I know several people bigger then u who have flown on other airlines” I saw someone bigger than me on THAT flight! But I wasn’t
(2/2) about to throw a fellow Fatty under the plane as I’m being profiled. But he & I made eye contact, & he was like “Please don’t tell…”
Dear @SouthwestAir, I’m on another one of your planes, safely seated & buckled-in again, waiting to be dragged off in front of the normies.
And, hey? @SouthwestAir? I didn’t even need a seat belt extender to buckle up. Somehow, that shit fit over my “safety concern”-creating gut.
Hey @SouthwestAir! I’ve landed in Burbank. Don’t worry: wall of the plane was opened & I was airlifted out while Richard Simmons supervised.
This wasn’t even all of them, but I shared with you the most important ones to follow the story.
The Southwest employee charged with monitoring Twitter for the evening did reply to Mr. Smith on several occasions, and claimed that calls had been placed to him to try to make amends, but the damage was certainly done by that point to the airline’s reputation.
My question is why is this such a bad thing? Mr. Smith was being wronged by the airline, publicly humiliated in front of a plane full of people, and he shouldn’t use the tools at his disposal to talk about it? Mr. Smith has been very upfront about his weight in interviews and on his podcast, Smodcast, and if his weight was such an issue, why wasn’t anything said at the ticket counter? At the gate? Why was he let on another Southwest flight after being removed from the first? He had a legitimate complaint to make, but I am sure the “social media purity police” will wag their fingers at Mr. Smith for sullying their Utopian society of social media tools as a weapon.
I have a dog in this fight as someone who used to need a seatbelt extension on airplanes, but that isn’t why I’m taking Mr. Smith’s side in this fight, and nor is it because I’m a fan of his work: it’s because companies and brands should be held accountable for their actions, and now the consumer has a way to do this. In the old days you would write them a letter, you might get a voucher if you were lucky, but usually you would hear nothing of substance. You’d tell your friends about it, and that would be it. Mr. Smith has over 1.6 million followers on Twitter, and with just a 140 character message, he was able to tell all of them about the situation.He shouldn’t do this? There is some sort of shame to this?
The shame is that people feel that you shouldn’t, and I plan to explore this more through out this week.
Are you on Twitter? Are you following TV personality Drew Carey? If you aren’t, why aren’t you?
Drew Carey, the current host of The Price is Right, is on a crusade to give $1 per Twitter follower he has by 11:59 pm on Dec. 31st, 2009 to the Livestrong Foundation. He has promised to donate up to $1 million dollars in the fight against cancer, but the donation is pegged to how many followers he has. Mr. Carey has even said he doesn’t care if you unfollow him on Jan. 1st, 2010, he just wants to raise awareness of the cancer research being done.
This was all inspired by Drew Olanoff, a well-known individual in the social media scene, auction off his Twitter username, @drew, to raise money for cancer research. Mr. Olanoff recently had a fight with cancer himself, which it thankfully appears he has won, and he felt auctioning off a desirable four-letter Twitter username was a way to go. His minimum bid was $10,000, but Drew Carey was the first to bid, and he went right for $25,000. See, Mr. Carey got stuck with the username @DrewFromTV, so of course he wants @drew. Well, the problem was that it appeared he scared off other potential bidders, so he said if he had 100,000 followers by Nov. 9th, the end of the auction, he would pay $100,000 for the name. When he easily beat that goal, he extended it to Dec. 31st and $1,000,000 for one million followers.
As I write this, Mr. Carey is at 307,212 followers with a week to go.
… what is wrong with you people?
When Ashton Kutcher said, “Hey, I want a million followers!”, people flocked to follow him with nothing in return. When a man is trying to promote the fight against cancer and is willing to give away a million dollars of his own money, people turn apathetic? All you have to do is click the follow button … that’s it. Nothing more. If you don’t like Drew Carey, fine, unfollow him on Jan. 1st, but come on, folks, follow the man for just the next week!
I normally don’t believe in guilting people in to doing things, but come on folks: You click a button, and someone else gives a $1 to charity. All you have to do is click a button. That’s it. Nothing else is required of you. If you’re a Twitter user, please do it.
It’s time to make my annual look back at my goals for this year on this blog, and what I want to do with it for the next year.
In 2008 and 2009 I did this post as part of a blogging project, and while the project went a different direction this year, I decided to keep up the tradition of posting this for my own reference and to maybe get some others to think about how they approach their own blogs.
The Goals For 2009
Comments -I wanted to see the number of comments go up this year. They did increase, but still not at the levels I would like to see, but they are better.
Daily Page Views – I was hoping for a 50% increase in page views this year, to date they are up 282.61% … I’m floored and unbelievably grateful to all of the new readers this year.
Daily Revenue – I wanted to see an increase of daily revenue of at least 50%, and while I don’t have the exact number, it is way up beyond 50%. Again, thank you.
RSS Subscribers – I hoped to be at 120 RSS subscribers by this time, and I am at 132. Would love to be higher, but at least I beat my goal.
Social Bookmarking – I hoped I would some day get to the front page of Digg … well, I didn’t, and I just don’t care. I did, however, have a really good year on StumbleUpon!
Writing Skills – I wanted to improve my writing skills, and … well, I think I’ve had some success in this area, but they could still use some polishing.
Internet Goals For 2009 – Other
Scattercast – Scattercast is still nowhere near the quality I’d like it be, but its getting there. I also wanted more iTunes subscribers, and that number has crept up, but very slowly. You could help by subscribing via iTunes!
Twitter – I hoped to be at 2,000 followers by now, and I’m over 3,000, so I made it!
The Goals For 2010
Comments – Would still like to get more discussion going on.
Daily Page Views – I really have no clue how I’m going to continue this stratospheric growth. I am blown away by the 282.61% jump over last year, but I’m going to keep working at it!
Daily Revenue – Sure I’d like to see it keep growing, but that really isn’t why I run this blog, so if it goes up, it goes up.
RSS Subscribers – I really don’t know what I can do to keep this number growing, but I’m sure going to try! Maybe 200 by next year’s post? (Why not help out and subscribe to SeanPAune.com right now!)
From the “You have to be kidding me” file, rumors are circulating in the British media that Amazon is looking at opening retail store fronts.
According to The Sunday Times, a secret American retailer has been talking to “high street” (the British version of a main street in the USA) landlords about renting retail space. While no names have been mentioned, the landlords have been hinting that it is indeed the leading online retailer.
Why would such a successful company, that has never had to deal with the headaches of a storefront, suddenly decide to do this? Some speculation centers on the idea that consumers are really beginning to take to the idea of ordering online and picking items up at a storefront at a time of their choosing. I could see this being tested in a smaller market such as the U.K., but the overhead this is going to add to Amazon’s operating costs is going to be staggering.
I can see why they would ponder this, but as someone has gone from retail to Internet only operations … you couldn’t pay me enough to go back to having a retail shop. Sure it had its good moments, but it’s like a giant anchor around your neck. I hope this does prove to just be rumor, but we shall see.