Saturday, February 24, 2007

Bloggers Speak Up - Please, Password Protect Children from X-Rated Content Sites

Once upon a time, I started blogging at a site my hubby set up for me (OhDawno.org). I moved here to Blogger because I wanted to leave a comment at Jill Miller Zimon's blog "Writes Like She Talks" and at the time, it was set up so only Blogger users could comment (she changed that right quick but I'd already set up this one).

I've been happy enough to keep my blog here since then, and it certainly gets more traffic than my old one did. Why do I mention this? Well it's my round about way to give credit to Jill for bringing me further into the blogosphere and provides the opportunity to segue into why I'm blogging today.

Jill was tagged on her blog to help perpetuate a movement by bloggers wishing to speak out against the easy access children have, sometimes even accidentally*, to pornography on the internet. It's from a group calling themselves Blogger Power and they're asking bloggers to help get the word out. The link above is from their "open letter to bloggers," the one below is to the main page on their site.

*Anyone who has accidently typed in whitehouse.com instead of .gov knows how easy that is.

The request from Blogger Power is simple and their cause is not an attempt to stop pornography on the internet or interfere with an adult's rights. Simply put it's :

"Please require a password-protected login before allowing even free access to explicit adult content. We understand that selling porn is your business and we respect your right to make a legal living. But understand our legitimate concerns and work with us. You already have the “warning adult content” on your websites. Yet kids, who are not legal customers of your product, ignore the warning. So to prevent them from having direct access to explicit images, texts and sounds, the simplest way is to have a password-protected login. No more 'free tours' before a visitor supplies basic information."

I like this because it's not a petition to try and get the government to "do something". I'm convinced that the deeper the government gets into something, the higher the likelihood of them creating a monstrosity of legislation that does nothing to help the problem, and makes the rest of our lives even more difficult. It's grass roots, politely worded, and common sensical. Will it make a difference? I guess I'll have to leave that to the fates.

Apparently this meme comes with a request to tag 20 more bloggers. I'm not sure that 20 bloggers even read this blog. What I'm going to do is post about it in the AW blogger's forum "Did You Update Your Blog Today?" thread and if anyone there comes by and wants to pass along the meme, great. If you're reading this and want to pass along the meme - cool! I love having a backlink, but that isn't even important - just pass this message along if you agree with its intent.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Absolute Write Blog Chains

It was November 2005. Jenna Glatzer opened a little sub forum called Blogging on Absolute Write. I was thrilled. I had been on AW for a while by then but the only writing I did with much frequency was this blog. Not long after that she asked me to become the moderator of that forum. I was, again, thrilled. I wanted to give back to the AW community that had made me feel welcome and this would be my chance.

Since that time we've become a full-fledged forum on the main index in the Writing Studios section, created nearly 400 threads and those have had over 7,600 posts between them. It's a fabulously polite, helpful and self-perpetuating forum. The AW Bloggers thread has over 500 posts so I'd guess we've well over 400 blogs listed.

In May of '06 I wondered if the bloggers who hung out in the forum would be interested in doing something together in the blogosphere - and soon after was born the AW Blog Chain. DTKelly (then known as Towerkel) came up with the idea and shepherded some of the early chains. quidscribs, Forbidden Snowflake and asorum are others that have taken up the task since then. If I forgot someone, I apologize - do speak up in comments and I'll edit in your name.

The AW Blogchain is in its 8th incarnation now. Many of the participants have been in all of chains. In Peggy's blog (The Road Less Traveled) she has links to all the chains in her sidebar. At AW we had two instances where we lost some threads and posts, but through it all, the chain survived.

Why do the blogchain? Well, asorum (the first link in this chain, btw) put it best - so I won't try to say it again.

Here are the rules:

  • First person in the chain finds the last post of the last post and takes an element from that to base their blog post on so that the previous chain and this chain are connected.
  • Second and subsequent participants in the chain will take an element from the entry before theirs and incorporate it into their post. So for me to post an entry, I need to read yours and find something about your post.
  • The last person in the chain takes an element from the post before theirs and from the first post to tie the chain together.


The last post before mine was about a wonderful volunteer opportunity that Atomic Bear participates in. And much of the theme of this chain has been about giving back and paying forward. The AW Bloggers and this chain have accomplished a lot of that since May 2006, and I'm glad to finally take part.

Volunteering is something I used to do more of. I remember, with much joy, the summers I spent teaching the daily arts and crafts lessons to kids at Vacation Bible School. The things you can do with popsicle sticks and glitter never cease to amaze me.

And it never seems like I'm giving up much when I volunteer, it seems like I'm gaining so much more for myself than I could possibly be giving to others. Now I mostly volunteer for things I can do from my computer, although occasionally I get the chance to do some things at work like the 'Build a Bear' project we did awhile back to benefit children in the pediatric ward at the local hospital. I built a sailor bear I named after my daughter's boyfriend, a sailor currently overseas in Kuwait. I hope he's well loved by a child who needs him. (the bear, not my daughter's boyfriend - he's taken...)

One of these days I will probably get my act together again and start getting out in the world more. I'd like to think I'll do more volunteering. I'd like to do something for the local library. Thanks, Atomic Bear, for making me think about it.

Next up - the famously most frequently Farked AW blogger XThe NavigatorX at his blog, Fireflies in the Cloud.



Here's the entire Blog Chain - go read, comment, enjoy!

asorum - A View From the Waterfront
BK_30 - Just A Small Town Girl
Gillian - Even in a Little Thing
aruna - Down From the Garrett
Simran - Writing-From-Within
Forbidden Snowflake - Incoherent Blabbing From an Incoherent Person
Cath - Curiouser and Curiouser
Peggy - The Road Less Traveled
Atomic Bear - BTGC Production Log
Dawno - NVNC ID VIDES, NVNC NE VIDES
XThe NavigatorX - Fireflies in the Cloud




Friday, February 09, 2007

Gifts and Stuff

Are you thinking about gifts for your Valentine? My husband sent me the link - I nearly fell off my chair laughing about some of those.

And for folks who fondly reminisced about their Lite Brite toys (or, like me, never had one - and no, I don't mind, am not scarred for life by it) because of the whole Boston thing. Warning: That link is addictive.

I didn't post Wednesday night because I was preparing for a very important presentation and on Thursday night, I was recovering - it went very well, we got the go ahead on our project.

Tonight the ol' head is a bit full of cotton because I spent almost the entire day creating a learning guide for a new application folks at work will be using (I hope) soon. It was in PowerPoint with screenshots from the application. All that cropping and pasting and stuff is exhausting. I gave about a nanosecond of thought to adding a voiceover narrative and some animation. Then I said...well, something rather profane so I won't repeat it...and sent it off to the team that will be doing the actual training.

In commiseration with me about my PowerPoint loathing my friend the Digital Medievalist sent me this link. I am trying to figure out how to use "Great Pith!" in everyday conversation, now.

I will be heading off to bed now. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Bookshelves

I have lots of books. What I don't have is enough bookshelves. These aren't practical, but they're interesting, clever, nifty.

Speaking of books, I haven't said much about Publish America lately. I owe my introduction to some of the most wonderful people I've ever had the pleasure to meet (both virtually and in person) to PublishAmerica. Not because they did anything wonderful for me, but because of the Atlanta Nights sting. When it came to light, I heard about it and followed a succession of links to Absolute Write where there is a wealth of information about Publish America and many ex-PA authors talking about how Publish America treated them, etc. I started hanging around Absolute Write as a result and now a couple years later, I'm still hanging around generally making a nuisance of myself. *grin*

Well, a while back I was asked to contribute a chapter to an Atlanta Nights-like manuscript. That book, Crack of Death, is now available for purchase at Lulu.com. You can buy a paperback copy or download it. You should also visit the website.

Finally, I am a published writer. Unfortunately it's deliberately bad writing. Problem is, I'm not sure my deliberately *good* stuff is all that much better! Well enough that I've made my little mark in history. That and my Purple Prose award may be my entire writing legacy.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Finally, Something to Look Forward to On Mondays

Heroes. I have become a fan. I downloaded all the back episodes to my iPod so I could watch them all in order. Actually, I bought the season pass so all the episodes will download for me to watch at my leisure.

So I watched the season to date on the iPod last week and tonite was a new episode. I mention to the hubby that I'd like to watch it - but he hadn't caught up so he doesn't think we can watch it together. Then he goes to the TiVo'd episodes and we caught up and watched tonight's. Yay!

I got my new social security card today. Step one of the process of changing my old name to my new married name is complete. I dread all the rest of the steps. Especially the DMV one.

Ok, before I hit "publish" and then go to bed, what's with the spammers these days? They're not even *trying* anymore. I got this letter today:

Hello,
I want to solicit your attention to recieve money on my behalf.

The purpose of my contacting you is because my status will not permit me to do this alone.
When you reply this message,

I will send you details of the business and more information about myself.

My personal email is: xxxxxxx@xxxxx.com
Thank you.
Mou Xinsheng


No heartfelt message about how they have singled me out because I'm such a good God fearing person, ethical and honest? No hint of how many millions (of which I can keep 10%?) are to be given to charity and how Mou's father/brother/husband was cruelly tortured or something? Someone needs to go to Spam University.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I Needed a Pencil - I've Nearly Finished Cleaning My Office

Ever let things get a bit out of control? Well, "a bit" is a gross understatement for the situation in my office. I had a path to the desk. That's about it.

Over the holidays my office became the repository of shipping boxes from online purchases and shopping bags from the mall. Then stacks of mail started to pile up as I decided to "read later" what was mostly junk. The trash can (it was full of paper stuff - not icky trash) was overflowing (due in part to a huge layer of used Kleenex from my cold - ok, that's icky trash of a sort).

I wanted a pencil today. I knew there was one around here somewhere. So I started cleaning. I now have about 2/3 of the room tidied up - nowhere near "clean" but manageable. Things still need organizing, but at least I know where just about everything is.

Of course now I'm too tired to do what I wanted the pencil for, but since I unearthed about 20 books, I have plenty of reading material.

Between bouts of cleaning I wander around on Absolute Write and Making Light. On Making Light I read about Google Reader - how did I miss that? I use Google for everything it seems.

I'm now busily putting subscriptions to all the blogs I know into the reader. As I'm doing this the reader is showing me the feeds. I see on The Secret Government EGGO Project that the Superbowl is about to start. I had completely forgotten! Not that I'm interested in the football, I just like the ads. So every so often I wander out to the living room and watch the ads. Then I come back here once the game comes back on.

Remember all the ACME stuff on your favorite Warner Brother's cartoons? Here's The ORIGINAL Illustrated Catalog of ACME Products. Thanks, TNH's Particles!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

How Did You Get Here?

Victoria Strauss over at Writer Beware's blog wrote about some of the interesting searches that brought people to the blog. That got me thinking about what searches might bring folk here and I went back through my SiteMeter data to discover these searches:
  • ancient time traveling technic - somebody from Malaysia
  • gay life toons (I have a couple of "gay zombie penguin" 'toons on my site from veinglory) - someone in Bangkok Thailand
  • scribbles and giggles tax id number - Houston, TX
  • pics of 1oo dollar bill stacks - this one knew how to cover their tracks, all info is "Unknown"
  • someone from LA went to Technorati's Barbara Bauer tag and visited here too.
  • White legs vides - someone whose ISP location is Quatar. I do have white legs. I haven't done a video of them yet. Perhaps I should?
  • Jeweled calculator - someone in Illinois. I did mention these items in a pre-Christmas post once so it makes sense.
  • I love this one: airstream decorated in christmas lights picture - from someone in Rhode Island. That took 'em to my Intense Christmas Sweater post. Poor dear.
Over the past year I've averaged about 650 visitors a month (that average got a big boost with the nearly 2k visitors I got in May '06 during the AW shutdown). I don't work at making each post something that will get a lot of search hits. I had no idea titling my blog NVNC ID VIDES, etc. (you'll need to scroll down the linked page to see the motto and translation) would bring any hits (except for Pratchett fans) at all. After all, I ended up blogging, in the first place, in rather a strange way.

My first blog at ohdawno.org was just a lark. I wrote my first blog post in October of 2003. I knew other people with blogs, I like writing so I thought "what the heck?" I posted there infrequently and irregularly. I still post there now and then.

I got involved in a forum (the now defunct Soapbox at Wil Wheaton dot Net from which members created a subsequent iteration www.tehsoapbox.net), and got to know a lot of fun people and many of them had Live Journals so I started a Live Journal to keep in touch with them and extend my ability to converse with them. Most of those posts are "friends only" and I'd need to put you on my friends list.

Then I joined Absolute Write. One of the members there had a blog here at Blogger. I wanted to comment but at the time the blog was set so only Blogger members could comment, so I started this one.

This is the blog I've actually kept up - there's a feed of this blog for LJ users if one of my friends wants to subscribe and read what I post here. I think it has a whopping 6 or 7 subscribers. I'd like to actually consolidate this blog at my domain www.ohdawno.org - I just haven't taken the time to figure out how to do that and if it's worth doing.

As I write this I'm listening to the KQED broadcast of part of the "State of the Valley" speech by Dr. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. I hope there's an archive of this soon, it's very worth listening to. One comment reported on by The Mercury News was: "But Schmidt also talked of the effect that so much finely tuned information might have on people's personal lives, asking the audience to consider what might happen to privacy in an always documented world and to consider an ever-evolving future."

What is/are my blog/s telling the world about me? One thing for sure: I'm seriously weird.

Found and enjoyed via Stumble recently:

Stuck, OMG!

642 Rare Error
- oops!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Unicorn Stories - Are There Not Enough or Too Many?

Not that long ago a dear friend of mine made note of unicorn themed submittals she had recently seen. I hadn't really noticed any particular increase in unicorn writing, but I'm way behind in my reading of F&SF so maybe there has been an increase in interest lately and I've just missed it. Why this popped to the front of my mind today, I have no idea. But it did.

A quick peek at Amazon.com shows that 36 books are to be released in 2007 (at least, so far) that reference unicorns. The search brings up over 20,000 related hits. Now probably in most cases these books might use the word somewhere and the focus isn't on telling a unicorn story. The book could be about a little girl who has a stuffed unicorn, or discussion of unicorns in heraldry, so the key word search isn't definitive.

What's your feeling about unicorn stories - enough, not enough, too many?

Sculpture of the Day

More on the Boston Lite Brite Debacle "...Instead of becoming a stronger society, we have become a society that is so skiddish[sic] that we can’t go to the deli without fear of terrorist attack. We can’t see a piece of junk in the corner and not think it is a bomb. And we are engaged in a long term war responsible for tens or hundreds of thousands of casualties because we are so skiddish[sic] we allow our government to talk us into anything."

Spoof iPhone ad If the iPhone really was a portable shower and deodorant,too. I'd buy it.