Practice Sessions / Joseph Dunphy:
An ephemeral installation
An ephemeral installation
A video of a really disgustingly irresponsible prank, in which the parties in question play a fake warning of an incoming nuclear attack on their car radios. This is not a funny thing to do, because in the case of an actual nuclear attack, what chance one would have for survival would be highly dependent on the speed with which one sought shelter. Stopping to do fact checking could cost a person his life.
Something really needs to be said about this kind of stunt. If you're up for dealing with trolls, and can bring more than a few friends to back you up (this is on Youtube) speaking out against this dangerous bit of foolishness would be a good thing to do.
Do we really want people who could have survived dying in the case of an emergency because they were afraid of being made to look foolish in a video? This has to be condemned.
A few .gifs.
One man's theory of how the Syfy Channel comes up with titles (and concepts) for their original movies.
A student trying to be clever
Free advertising based local networking in the arts, or something like that. I'll come back for a closer look, later.
There are a lot of nice photos to be found on Vi.sualize.us. I wouldn't deny that, and given that is a social bookmarking site, one might think of it as being an obvious place to recommend to Stumbleupon users, even more so now that photos can't be posted to our blogs, if you can still call them that, any more. However, having been one of their users, I can't recommend them as a service.
The problem is that they would seem to be untrustworthy. Last year, some of us were unpleasantly surprised to discover that adult images and pictures taken for the purposes of advertising had suddenly appeared in our feeds, in the sidebars of some of our blogs, and been automatically tweeted out. The staff insisted that this was all a coding error, but as we all know by now, sex draws in traffic. The porn was bound to make some visitors curious and more likely to bring their friends, and as for the advertising? If money changed hands, would we know? It all looked fishy, and there certainly could be no question that this had become a problem for us as users, the adult images presenting a TOS issue for those of us who'd used our badges or been tweeting our feeds.
This year, we had another delightful surprise. Without warning, Vi.sualize.us suddenly buried our profiles and all of our outbound links, meaning that while we were still feeding traffic into Vi.sualize.us from our other pages, no traffic was being returned. We weren't even told about this after the fact. The company simply left us to discover on our own the reciprocal linking between our pages and profiles wasn't as reciprocal as we had been led to think it would be, creating navigability issues on our pages.
I went to the mail form for the site to write to the staff about this, and found that the mail form didn't work. This was not completely a surprise, as it has broken before, but this time, it was exasperatingly convenient for a company which, having seen good faith out of me and its other users, saw no reason to return that good faith.
That's two strikes against them. I guess I could wait for the third, but we're not playing baseball. I'll be cutting all links to VisualizeUs at my earliest convenience and recommend that you do the same, if you have an account with them.
I won't delete my bookmarks with them. There's no reason for me to do so - I'm not hosting anything on their site other than a few brief remarks, the bookmarks help me find images that I like, and they send well deserved traffic to people who've done beautiful work. But I am going to think about looking for a competing service to replace them, or possibly just giving up on image bookmarking, period.
How do I know that if I take the time to create a new presence on a competing network, that my new provider won't turn around and do the same thing? What do I do, then - move again?
"'Other platforms frankly do a really good job of customization and self-expression and that's what they're all about. While certain StumbleUpon users may not want to go, other services do offer a better experience of that,' said Marc Leibowitz, Stumble Upon's vice president of marketing and business development, in an interview Thursday. Essentially, they want their users to come for the social discovery, and go elsewhere for other stuff."
Not a problem - for me. Others were not as fortunate, finding themselves with thousands of pages to move, on what was really no notice - and they have my sympathy - but I was already in the process of relocating my blog off of Stumbleupon when I got the bad news. I was ready to run, when I needed to.
This first link takes you to one of two new locations for what was my Stumbleupon blog. As for this blog - I don't know. It's free, so why bother to shut it down? But still, this is 2011, not 1995. Readers, as a group, are not going to accept all text websites, any more, and there's no reason why they should, when so many other locations offer them a better experience. If I spent much time blogging here on Stumbleupon, after this, who would read what I wrote? Who should?
There are a few people on Stumbleupon who I'd genuinely miss, and it's my hope that I won't have to. I've had presences on a number of other services for a while, including one on Tumblr, and hope to friend some of the people I've met on SU. There are also more than a few people on SU I would never miss, at all, which is one reason why I quit using the groups very quickly.
So, I was going to have to do my social networking somewhere else, anyway. (first posted Oct 25, 2011 at 12:02 am)
This is the other new location, this one being hosted on Scribbld. If you're going to link to individual posts, this is a better choice, because InsaneJournal doesn't let us carry the customization we apply to our blogs over to the individual post pages.
You're going to notice a few changes. I'll still be stumbling, and blogging about the pages I stumble, but there was some subject matter on my old blog - the one you're on at the moment - that I didn't feel fit in well with what I wanted the blog to become, which was a journal focused on these quirky art and science pages I was finding, for the most part. Some people do spread rumors, so drama is something that sometimes has to be dealt with, but mixing it in with the interactive art pages, or worse - not getting to writing the reviews of the interactive art pages because I'm too bogged down with dealing with somebody who's gone into hysterics over the fact that I've accurately reported a bug in the help forum - does a lot to spoil the experience for me. As it does for my visitors, I suspect.
But now, the community is dead. A lot of beautiful work died with it, and I'm not saying that's OK, but now that people are scattering, I wonder how much I have to worry about the stumbletrolls, any more. Do I even need to bother to answer much of their nonsense, at this point? Even if I do - I've long since spun off a site for that kind of thing, so I can send any such commentary over there. If I need to. Which I probably won't.
Politics - I had a place for that, so that's gone. Likewise for reviews of web services, pages about a community building event I've managed, etc. The new blog looks funny and swiss cheesy (if that's a word) with gaps put into the text, where I've excised posts, but it's a pleasant kind of funny. Pleasant. That is the word, and it's one I'm going to enjoy getting to use.
If you want to follow me, thank you for your interest, and these last two links will tell you where I'm going to be. Again, as for posting here - I don't claim to be the best blogger on the planet, but I do the best I can. If I accept forced mediocrity, then I'm not doing my best. Think about it - even Twitter lets us choose our own backgrounds, now. I'm not promising to never post here, again, I'm just saying that right now, I can't imagine why I'd want to do so. But we'll see.
Expect to see most of the old material on this blog cleared away, soon, regardless, as much of it lead up to posts that were just deleted by the account change.
If somebody is able to read this, and is able to contact MySofia, would you please tell her that at least some of her pages live on in the Internet Archive, and can be found through this redirect url?
If you haven't heard about this yet: you only have until October 24 to save your blogs. I am not joking.
This article gives us some useful information about a terrible decision that shows, once again, that Stumbleupon just doesn't get it. Not that Stumbleupon is unique in that. Social networking sites, in general, don't get social networking, because they still don't understand the difference between a customer and a user.
That "small, albeit passionate, group of users that were using these bells and whistles" isn't just another handful of users, they are the few who have bothered to use the service as it should be used, and made a real effort, making Stumbleupon into a place worth visiting online. Failing to serve them is not like failing to carry a breakfast cereal that a few people really love. It's more like ... well, let's think about how this industry has been working. Or not working, lately.
People share creative content - for free, for the most part. This content draws in visitors, off of whom a service makes money in a variety of ways. So, really, a user isn't exactly like a customer in a store, who, as some would say, is being given free merchandise, and so has nothing to kick about when the merchandise turns out to be bad or is snatched back without reason. A user is more like somebody putting on a show, and so Mr. Leibowitz' wisdom, if one wishes to call it that, is something akin to a decision by a TV network to stop worrying about serving those "celebrities", of whom there are so few, and focus more on serving the broader base of people waiting to audition.
It's positively politically correct in its anti-elitism, and an absolute recipe for failure. Take a good look at the blogs of those who like this decision, and you'll see their motivation - they would rather have other users dragged down to their level. They're cheering for enforced mediocrity, and they're being indulged. I'm amazed that anybody would invest in a company that would work like this, but not really surprised that the company, itself, would do this. I've seen how petty and childish management can be, and didn't expect much more out of them. Did you notice how I pretty much stopped blogging here in 2008?
If you are seeing this, please pass the word around. Somebody is bound to lose work, and that is very bad, but at least we can reduce the number of people who will be hurt by this.
People need to know about this, if it is true.
Hi, again. I've switched my profile back to the old view, just now (Nov.22, 2009), but SU will switch it back on me in a few weeks so, no, the problem has not been solved, contrary to what you might have heard.
I'm in the process of turning this profile into something that will be more of a blog. A recurring theme will be my attempts to build on what I've seen on some of the sites I've reviewed; what did I learn from visiting them, what subjects did they touch on, etc. You might have noticed the continued post format I was playing around with on the Draka and Steak Porn Video reviews; expect to see more of that, with some of the short, one-liner reviews moved into the spaces between the essays. What I'm trying to get away from is the idea of Stumbleupon as a bookmarking site, as I move toward making this into a site that one can simply sit down and feel comfortable reading; more like a magazine and less like a phonebook, or something like that.
Comments about Stumbleupon related drama, past and present, can be found elsewhere, if you really want to read about that for some reason.
Note added, March 16 2011: What a wonderfully honest system Stumbleupon has! Note the date of next two reviews, and the date on which those uncredited discoveries were made - all on the same day, and I'm posting this in the morning. To believe that somebody other than me made those discoveries, one would have to believe that in the few hours that have passed, that somebody has discovered those sites, himself, and then deleted his own membership, just to create confusion. I've sent a report of this and another failure to attribute into the staff, but if they do the right thing and fix this, it will be a first.
There is a substantial amount of background to this story, as those following this blog might know. This is not a matter of my getting annoyed by a brief system misfire. This is a matter of my getting angry because of a pattern of petty harassment and outright sabotage of my account apparently by a specific Stumbleupon employee, who, already having taken credit for some of his work, has continued in his misconduct over a period of several years, in retaliation over the fact that some of his friends lost an argument in which they had raised some unusually silly points. In children, such behavior would have been responded to with a timeout, a long time ago. At Stumbleupon, it seems to be accepted from the employees - I have messaged one of the company execs with details backed up with screenshots, and years later, the employee is still allowed to run wild, the exec having not even deigned to reply. One does eventually get tired of having to ask "what now?", every time one logs into the system.
This is why I had stopped blogging on Stumbleupon, as long as I did. I've recently begun moving my blog to this new location on a server run by a company that so far, seems to be run far more professionally than SU, or at least in a far less petty and childish manner. As for social bookmarking, there is always Diigo; this profile belongs to me. All the posts you see will eventually find their way to new locations, but I will be making an effort to separate the creative and fun material from the reviews of web services and political sites. As for this location, I don't know, yet, but I'm certainly not being given much of a reason to invest much more effort.
Local photography in Chicago
excellent oil painting site by George Ceffalio, whose work I've seen in the real world, at art fairs in the Chicago area.
Dark Comedy. Profanity used.
More about Binyam Mohamed, the unfortunate detainee I mentioned in another review, alas, perhaps not from the most credible of sources. If the report is correct, however, we are looking at an incident straight out of Kafka, and the Bush adminstration is left playing a key role in it.
... Binyam Mohamed. Beyond words. Somebody needs to stand trial for this.
I came across this semi-memorable rant about the senate, supposedly, getting in the way of the Bush administration's refusal of the right of due process to the accused terrorists being held indefinitely and without charge in Guantanamo and its fondness for the use of torture as a tool of interrogation. To post something like this on a site calling itself the "Center for Individual Freedom" is so wonderfully Orwellian that I'd have to laugh with delight - if our friend's dementia were rare in the United States or, far better, if this was satire. Regrettably, it's getting close to being the norm, and he's deadly serious.
Consider the fact that the supposed opposition needed seven years to make even a token gesture in the direction of insisting that the United States accept that one need not be a national of a country to have a legitimate right to expect that said country recognize the existence of one's legal rights - a failure that literally took political thinking in the US back to the pre-Roman era - and that one can't legitimately attempt to wriggle out of one's obligation to do so merely by keeping the victims of one's misconduct from placing their feet on one's soil.
The question that never gets a reasonable answer is "what if the accused happens to be innocent", and pardon me if I'm blunt, but it was two buildings that the US lost, SEVEN YEARS AGO. Let's compare this to the destruction and loss of life endured in London during the blitz; note that respect for the concept of due process did survive in England, raising the question of why the very suggestion that it ought to survive here as well produces so many howls of rage, not just on the site under review, but from so many other quarters as well; one can hardly argue that the national trauma was so great that reasonability shouldn't have been able to endure - or at least return at some point. Hysteria has been granted a far more than reasonable time to subside, and yet, if anything, the insanity seems to be mounting, leaving some of us very, very tired of hearing about 911, and seeing it used as an all purpose excuse for any overtly stupid or barbaric thing that somebody in a position of power at the time feels like doing (eg. the Star Simpson fiasco).
So, from this one blogger on StumbleUpon (and maybe a few other people in this country who've become tired of being expected to pretend that Bushism has anything whatsoever to do with traditional American values) to the author of this site (cfif.org), the fans of the Fox network and their ilk - please sit down, shut up and get over it. Oh, and do have a nice day.
(Posted July 8, 2008 at 3:50 pm)
Capturing a quiet moment on film.