“Babysteps are the key,” says Jennie. “I’ve attended five hackathons, but have only done one solo project. My first two hackathons, I didn’t do any work beyond the UI. Then, I worked with a friend with a similar knowledge on two hackathons, where I did about half the work. Finally, this weekend I ventured out on my own, and worked on my own. I’ve been interested in coding for about three years now, and though I still have much to learn, I feel as though I have been able to do a lot. By teaming up with friends, I was able to slowly learn how to make my own hacks.”
I’ve been to a lot of “All Hands” meetings over the years. For about 13 years at the bank, we had them four times a year, plus division ones. I’ve probably sat in on 50 or so of these where I’m supposed to understand the status of the company, how we’re doing and where we’re going. They’re usually 90 minutes long with slides.
For the first time, I’ve walked out of one and actually understood what the fuck is going on in my company, where we’re going, and where we’ve been.
It’s a whole new world these days, with amazingly obvious simple stuff. The basic “I’m not being treated like a criminal” is the biggest for me. Being trusted to do my work alone made me feel fantastic. But when you add in the fact that DreamHost wants me to enjoy my life and work, it’s everything I thought work was supposed to be. Having a passion for what I do is a huge part too. I like WordPress (I wish I could explain why) but I like working here. I get new and interesting things to fix, I get to
A lot of this is that I just wasn’t a great fit for a Bank. Anytime they asked me ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ my answers weren’t in line with them. Yesterday I thought “Wow, in 5 years, DreamHost will be 20 and I’ll be 40. I want to still be here!” I’ve never felt that way before about work. I no longer see my work as my job, but as something I love doing and going to. I don’t want to call in sick, I want to be in the office, working, with the crazy people.
The meeting was just over two hours, followed by bowling (I don’t bowl, sorry, it’s bowl or be able to use my arm) and it had an open bar. I spent the hours listening, poking Shredder about 3.5, and sipping whiskey (on an empty stomach, I’ve done dumber things, but I did not get drunk). Simon mentioned me by name a couple times (we started making a mini-drinking game about the number of times he said ‘WordPress’ and ‘Mika’), and we cheered on news and bowling for two hours, which just sped by. I didn’t look at my watch, or wonder when it’d be over, until around the 2 hour mark.
On top of that, I’m in the (WordPress) news this morning as an example of how you can be a WP Professional:
How to Become a Top WordPress Professional
You do not need to know how to write code to get ahead in WordPress. If the only people involved in WordPress were developers, then WordPress wouldn’t be the software that it is today. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Project Manager
- Support Pro
- Documentation Writer
- Teaching & Training
If you aren’t convinced that you can make it doing these things, check out my post on the WordPress Economy to scope out some of the people who are already doing it.
A great example of this is Mika Epstein (more commonly known as Ipstenu). For her, WordPress started out as a hobby but it quickly became more rewarding than her IT job at a bank where she did everything from application installs on desktops to deployment automation and monitoring for servers. Recently, though, she’s started a job as a support specialist for DreamHost.
I would point out I can (and do) write code, but I’m no Nacin or Otto, where I dream in ones and zeros. I know how to unravel someone else’s code and fix it, which is why I’m awesome at support. Am I a developer? You bet! Am I a coder? Yes, I am! But am I also a documenter, a spin doctor, tech support, teacher, encouraging, enabler, and advocate. All of those things make me an amazing component of the WordPress ecosystem. I love helping people more than coding, but I also love helping them with coding. Go figure.
Don’t think I regret working for The Man for the time I did. I learned a lot about how things work together. The intricacies of how everything has to mesh to function as a company isn’t something I’ll forget any time soon, and makes me very respectful of my coworkers and their responsibilities. Help, don’t assume, and share. I’m taking all the best things about working at the bank and carrying them onward.
My life is totally different, and I’m totally happy.
My ebooks have been up in Kindle for a month and a day and the numbers are interesting.
US books sold: 10
Now wait, I hear you say. At $7.99 a pop, with 70% royalty, that’s $55.93, what’s happening? Not all the books sell at that rate. Most go for the traditional 35% and no, Amazon doesn’t specify why. I also sold three copy on Amazon.de for £4.44 profit or there about ($5.45 USD) which is about $16 US so my total is lingering at $64.
The part that is annoying me right now is that the Kindle Store pays you 60 days after the first month where you make over $10. So July I made about $30, but I won’t see that money until October first, give or take. Does that seem odd to anyone else? If feels like they’re still a little mired in the old paper way of doing business.
I still get a grin seeing myself show up in a search for ‘WordPress Multisite’ on Amazon, though!
It’s interesting to watch a man with his dick in a hornet’s nest try to solve the problem by tossing his balls in as well.
— Matthew Inman (@Oatmeal) June 14, 2012
The rest of this post contains language like this, so walk away now if you’re faint of heart.
Here’s the simple story.
- The Oatmeal writes funny/offensive stuff
- FunnyJunk reposts other site’s funny stuff, often without attribution
- The Oatmeal doesn’t like this
- Stuff was taken down, but FunnyJunk bitched
- A year later, FunnyJunk sued The Oatmeal for $20k (official lawyery reply here)
- The Oatmeal said ‘Fuck that’ and raised (at this point) over $180k for charity
- The Internet went wild
Now this is when it gets weird. The lawyer, Charles Carreon, dipped his balls in honey and waggled them over a beehive by escalating this. See, first he whined to MSNBC that he didn’t think the internet would be mean to him. It’s important to note that Charles made his ‘reputation’ as an Internet savvy lawyer and brags about it. He ‘made his name’ on the Sex.com case(which I can tl;dr as ‘a dude stole a domain name and it made the news because it had the word ‘sex’ in it’). This guy claims he knows the net. Clearly he doesn’t.
“I really did not expect that he would marshal an army of people who would besiege my website and send me a string of obscene emails,” he says.
“I’m completely unfamiliar really with this style of responding to a legal threat — I’ve never really seen it before,” Carreon explains. “I don’t like seeing anyone referring to my mother as a sexual deviant,” he added, referencing the drawing Inman posted.
The Oatmeal is popular. It’s often vile, graphic, and offensive, but it’s funny. For some of us, that makes it perfect. Certainly I follow it. But with popularity comes great power. Matt Inman, the brains behind it, was public in saying he thought the lawsuit was bullshit, and naturally his followers took action, to the point that Carreon had to turn off his website’s contact form saying “Due to security attacks instigated by Matt Inman, this function has been temporarily disabled.” They weren’t security attacks, it was a de facto DDoS by pissed off people who thought he was an idiot.
Oh and then he proved he was.
First he donated to the fund, then he sued it.
On June 15, Carreon filed suit in United States District Court for the Northern District of California in Oakland against IndieGoGo (where Inman is raising the money), the American Cancer Society, and the National Wildlife Federation. In the suit Carreon is listed as as “attorney pro se,” which means “I am attorney but am representing only myself” and “I will continue to wreak havoc until forcibly medicated,” which doesn’t need further explanations, I think.
PopeHat explains it all in gory details. I love this part:
38 Plaintiff is a contributor to the Bear Love campaign, and made his contribution with the intent to benefit the purposes of the NWF and the ACS. Plaintiff is acting on his own behalf and to protect the rights of all other contributors to the Bear Love campaign to have their reasonable expectation that 100% of the money they contributed would go to a charitable purpose […]
Which basically means ‘He donated, now he sues.’ And this is a guy who has pretty nasty cartoons about GWB and Condalezza Rice on a site he and his wife run. Also you can find some awesome tidbits about how much he doesn’t get it if you poke around. Here’s the WaPo:
“Carreon tells Comic Riffs one of his goals is to become the go-to attorney for people who feel they have been cyber-vandalized or similarly wronged on the Internet.”
Naturally The Oatmeal has an opinion on this. I, like Inman, wish they’d go away so he can get back to insulting everyone’s mother in his comics.
Even if Carreon wins the suit (which is always possible), the public perception of a guy willing to sue charities over what is, essentially, a butt-hurt, is going to follow him forever.
After two weeks of downloads, my eBook PWYW held firm at 3%. There were 1200 downloads by last Thursday night (after I went in and removed all duplicate IPs from my lists) and donations averaged $7 dollars. So that worked out to about $250. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great.
How do I think it compares to ‘real’ ebook selling? Well, that’s hard to judge. If I’d posted on Amazon, it would have been in my best interest to sell the book cheaper. Books priced under $2.99 get a 35% royalty (70% if you’re willing to limit where you can buy the book), so an selling an ebook for $0.99 makes me $0.35. If 1200 people downloaded from Amazon, my money would have been doubled. That’s assuming people would have downloaded it from there. Actually, that’s assuming it would be found there.
There are about 350 ebooks that show up when I search the Kindle site for WordPress (and a whopping 2 for WordPress Multisite). And while I could re-release my book there (you can always grant exceptions to the CC license, I could give myself one), I’d have to get over that hurdle of DRM. It’s the same problem with iTunes. I have to get an ISBN, sign a bunch of tax agreements… And then you’re limited to what you can do with the book! There are alternatives, like lulu.com, which lets you release a book without DRM.
That actually rankles me more than the money. I’d rather make less money and keep freedoms. Yeah, I’m a socialist hippie eco blah blah fishcakes person. Deal with it. The freedoms of WordPress are what got me this smart. It isn’t right to just take and not give. I’m not the only one who feels this way. And funny enough, it’s Amazon’s fault that we got this way.
So once I’m committed to cutting out the middleman, I have to do my own advertising.
I got a lot of traffic when Weblogtools Collections, WPTavern, WP Ninjas, and the WPmail.me folks linked to me, giving me some of the biggest traffic I’ve had. More than when Matt linked to me, which is amusing. The advertising I did on my sites, blogging about it on my personal and tech site, as well as tweeting a few times and posting on Google Plus. I purposefully did not post on the WordPress forums about it (but I won’t stop anyone from doing that) because it’s against forum policy to advertise. On the other hand, it’s okay to post links to tutorials on your personal site. I could probably argue it both ways but in the interest of fairness, I decided not to mess with it.
My options for the sequel (there’s another 100 pages or so sitting on my laptop right now, yeah, there’s a lot to talk about!) are pretty simple. Do it again as pay what you want, or sell it. I’m in a niche market here, and that has a lot of problems. I need people to find me, otherwise they’d never buy, and I need people to know what I’m ‘worth.’
So my step one for all this is to clean up the formatting of the book. A lot. I’ve been doing a metric tonne of work on formatting things ‘right’, adding in better images, making the layout look nice. Secondly, I may not release this as an epub at all. It’s just as easy for me to export a PDF as an epub, but the formatting for epub is a lot trickier. Furthermore, it’s a 4:1 download ratio for PDF to epub. Clearly PDF is ‘more popular’ and it can be read on most ereaders anyway. And I suspect most of you are reading it on your computer, not your iPad. Save me time and effort.
Speaking of time and effort, there’s the reason I didn’t roll my own ecommerce solution. I’m not in a place where processing your credit cards is a smart idea, also it’s a lot more work than is worth it for one ebook. By posting books for ‘donations’ there are other benefits. That said, it makes me reliant on external sources. I’d not use Paypal if I could figure out how to explain PopMoney (seriously, if I could have a ‘send me money through PopMoney link’ I’d fuck Paypal right in the ear), but after a little work, I put up a WePay alternative to those who hate Paypal. I could make it so the download links are emailed to you after you donate, but that feels a little assy, and how would you skim to see if you wanted it?
I’m open to suggestions, clearly.
I wrote WordPress Multisite 101 and put it up online. Since Friday afternoon, I’ve had over 500 downloads, and 3.3% of people who downloaded have donated, averaging $9 a person. I had suggested $5. This is not what I would call a rousing success story in the world of self-publication, but it’s not an abject failure either. It’s basically pretty good, and it exceeded my expectations.
When I published, I said the book was free, or whatever, pay what you want (aka PWYW), $5 would be nice. And I released it under creative commons non-commercial, which means you can use it on your public website, you can put it on the WordPress Codex (something I’m working on, it’s just sorting out where in the codex to put it that stumps me sometimes). You can give it away when you have someone a site. You can edit it and put it in your classes. What you can’t do is sell it and make money off it. Ads on your site is fine, people paying for your class or product where you give this away as a freebie is fine. Putting it in your for-sale book is not.
Why? Because the point wasn’t to make money, but to get the word out there. Here’s a book, where everything that’s scattered all over the web is compiled into one, nice, 40-odd page ebook, that you can use all you want. It gets my name out there as someone who knows her shit, and maybe you’ll want me to write for your site, or a book, or whatever. I expected to make, maybe $50 bucks. If you do the math, I’m closer to $150. But money wasn’t the point. It’s nice, but it’s not going to change my life.
What will change my life is practicing my craft. I’m a decent coder, but where I think I excel is breaking down this sort of thing to the masses. I don’t do well teaching someone who has no idea what a website is, but I do just fine taking the rookie who has made his first HTML site and wants to grow. I can help the self-taught who want to learn more. I don’t like, as much, helping the people who want you to hand them all the code.
I’ve gotten a lot of weird guff about it, though, which confused me. Here are the most stated comments:
“You’re doing it wrong”
Your mother. Oh fine, you want a serious answer to a stupid comment? What’s wrong about it? It works for me!
“You should have a popup to suggest people donate when they click the download link.”
If a site did that to me, I’d walk away. I’m of the opinion that most people pirate because it’s less annoying and more convenient. So instead of making it more annoying and less convenient, I went for what I’d like to see. And yes, I do donate back to people who make my life easier. Ask Andrea. I bought one of her plugins+ebook. Basically I won’t do to someone else something I find distasteful. Integrity? I haz it.
“The PWYW model is broken.”
And ‘traditional’ publishing isn’t? I have no idea if the Pay What You Want business model is sustainable. I do know that believing people will do the ‘right’ thing and pay isn’t realistic (a 3% pay rate isn’t livable). Were this something I did as an income, I’d be screwed and I know it. All jokes about starving artists aside, with this model, I no longer have to shackle myself to fighting pirates.
And having done a little research, I learned that the PWYW model works best in these three scenarios:
- When the consumer base is loyal. They have an idea of its value are willing to pay because the risk of it sucking is low.
- When there’s a lot of customized or niche services being provided.
- When you have to be different and stand out.
So with a WordPress themed eBook, I know I have #1. With Multisite, I’ve got #2. The third? Well, it’s not applicable really. Other people have done this.
“You’ll never make money.”
That wasn’t the point. It’s nice if I do, I wasn’t planning on winning the lottery. I’m making enough scratch to inspire me to write another one, since I’ve found there is a small need for this stuff. Everyone wins!
“You’re violating GPL!”
No. Code is GPL2 (it is, though there’s no code in the book). Text is not. The book is Creative Commons, just like this site.
“All this stuff is out there, on your site, and on Andrea’s, and the codex. Why should I pay?”
You shouldn’t. If you have all this stuff bookmarked, then obviously you don’t need this book. If you want it for a one-point reference, fine. If not, also fine. I happen to own a few ‘For Dummies’ quick reference books, not because I don’t know Unix, but because sometimes it’s easier to get a reminder than search my memory. Part of being smart is knowing where to look.
I think the real comment there is ‘All you did was collect a lot of information that’s already out there. That’s not writing.’
Honey, go pick up any ‘how to’ or ‘for dummies’ book. That’s exactly what writing is. Collecting information, writing about it in a complete and coherent way, making it available. That’s all ‘how to’ books ever are, have been or will be. Everything in ‘WordPress for Dummies’ can be found out there too. So why do people want these books?
Because it’s easier to have the information collected for you. That’s all, and that’s what people are paying for.
At the end of the day, the only thing I wish I could do differently is implement something like Akismet’s ‘worth’ slider. As you slide the little bar left and right, it changes the amount you donate and the smiley face. Then below it has a link for credit cards or paypal.
If I could have this and hook it to Paypal and WePay, I’d be a happy camper! That’s something that, IMO, would inspire more people to donate. Of course, that would mean taking transactions via my site, which is complex. If there was a ‘pass through’ to Paypal, that would rock.
So go take my book, if you’re into WordPress and want to get started with Multisite. Take it if you made a Multisite for a client. Take it. Pay what you want. I don’t care as much as you’d think I might. Oh and what will I do with the money? Pay bills, what else?
My office recently went crazy and locked down everything. Everything. To the point that any attempts at exercising my creativity were shut down. After a day of freaking out (I don’t do well when forced to sit) and giving myself a migraine (possibly, I’m going to get that checked out), I took action and got a MiFi.
A MiFi is a Mobile Wireless Hotspot. Sounds like WiFi, but for me only. Basically it works like a cell phone’s data plan, only dedicated to data. Between some very generous friends (who I guess didn’t like the idea of a world where I’m incommunicado from 7am to 7pm most days) and a couple sales, I was able to get the Virgin MiFi plan set up for a pretty low price. The ‘extra’ money in that fundraiser are going to the ongoing monthly payments. Right now I’m on the $10 for 10-days plan.
The first question is “Why not tether?” I can tether my iPhone to my iPad, but that limits me to one device. When the little lady and I travel, she’d like to check email too, and having a way to get us both online at once is a good idea. That reason was actually secondary to the more important one, I got issues with AT&T. In order to tether, I have to change my plan and pay an extra $50 a month (yes, $50, it has to do with the fact that I’m grandfathered into the original, unlimited data plan from the iPhone 1.0s, and I’d lose the ‘shared’ plan with the Mrs’s iPhone). Oh and reception’s a shit in my office. Heck, I barely get a signal at home! I didn’t spring for a 3G iPad for much the same reasons.
The next question is “Why Virgin?” Signal for Virgin is amazing in my area. I mean amazing. I got full coverage in the basement. I can’t even get a single bar on any phone in my place, but this guy got faster-than-3G speeds. Also it’s got great coverage at my office (I found someone else who uses it). Third, they have a ‘pay as you go’ plan, and that was very important. I didn’t want a contract, in case things change, and I didn’t want to pay $30 a month for something I may not need every day. Virgin has a low-end plan: $10 for 10 days or 100megs, whichever comes first. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Now, as we know, the normal way to get a ‘use wherever’ 3G signal on a WiFi device like an iPad or a laptop has been a 3G USB dongle. No USB ports on an iPad, so I looked up the MiFi 2200. It’s about the size of a credit card, costs $130 (unless you can find it on sale for $75 on Amazon), and weighs a sneeze. Setting it up was a little weird, since I decided to do it on my MacBook first, and that meant installing software. I couldn’t find the software, and in fact most places said there was none for a Mac! But then I plugged it in with the USB cord and it popped up with ‘Hi! Install me!’
The install requires a reboot, but once you do, and put some money in your account, it works. The device makes a new network called “VirginMobile MiFi2200 Secure FFD” and the password is a sticker on the back of the device. I tested it on both my iPad and laptop and it worked fine. You can connect up to five devices at once. The only hurdle was setting up the admin page. After you connect to it, point your browser at http://192.168.1.1/ OR http://virginmobile.mifi – The default password is “admin” and you’ll be asked to change this one you do setup.
After that? It’s faster than 3G, slower than my cable modem, and portable. The first day (Thursday) I used it, I quickly determined leaving it on all day would wear out the battery and cause me to check my email way too often. I’m supposed to be working at work, and I don’t want to give myself more slack excuses. So when it was my ‘smoke break’ and I’d go for a walk around the floor, I took the iPad and MiFi with me. I sat in the window above Occupy Chicago (hi, guys!) and fired it up. The MiFi has to connect and negotiate (remember modems? same thing) so I turned it on, and after about a minute, I was online. I checked on the MiFi page first, to make sure I had a good signal, and found I had to point the MiFi a certain way on my desk if I was there. Once I was on, though, email was pretty fast.
I burned through about 3 megs of the allocated hundred I get for 10 days, so I think I’ll be okay with it on the low end. The next day I used about 30, but I was downloading a speed test app, which I didn’t actually get to use at work. I ended up hitting about 56 megs with two days left on my 10 days, which is awesome. I re-upped my ‘minutes’ on Sunday at my grandmother’s, in California, as she has no WiFi and we needed an address, and I’ve since used the MiFi again at work for two days. The average usage seems to be about 7 megs a day, which means I’ll rarely (if ever) hit the 10 day limit on things. Which is great! I only use it to check email, after all.
This is a win.
I do like my company. I mean, I like the work, but the crazy has been pretty crazy these days. I cannot do any of the following here, due to policy/technology restrictions:
- Write to a USB drive, DVD or CD (i.e. no writing to removable media)
- Access personal email (includes gmail)
- Access DropBox or any other fileshare type site (includes GoogleDocs)
- Access any torr-nts (I’m missing the E becuase the word torr-nt can cause your browser to lock up)
- Access streaming media (sole exception: YouTube)
- Access IRC (freenode is 100% blocked)
- Access Skype
- Access any IM type app (I can get to G+, but the chat is ‘not available.’)
- Use a proxy to get around any of these restrictions
Now there are reasons for this I understand, but basically they decided to treat us all like criminals instead of finding more reasonable methods to prevent someone from taking company secrets. By the way, I can print up anything and carry it out the door, so this only stops techies from bring code places.
This list is expected to expand to blogs, Facebook and Twitter (all of which are actually permitted right now). This bothers me mostly because I love writing, and I often draft blog posts and work on them through the day. It’s looking like soon-ish that won’t be possible. After a day of funk and cursing, I made a plan and started looking into it.
Option 1 was to trade in my iPad 1.0 for a 2.0 with 3G. That’ll run me about $50 a month and can only be used on my iPad.
Option 2 is Virgin’s MiFi. For $150 outlay, I get a pay-as-I-go MiFi all my own. The lowest plan is $10 for 10 days, of a throttled network. I can up it to $20 for a month, or $50 for unlimited as fast as it goes. I only pay for what I use, I can use it in airports or at my grandmothers, on as many computers as I want.
So I’m putting my ‘I’d normally buy a coffee with this’ money aside for a MiFi.
At the same time, I thought I’d do a social experiment with my friends. I know a lot of you say things like ‘I owe you a coffee’ or a beer (working on it! I liked the one I tasted at Hubbit’s!). Okay, how about you toss in $5 and help me get a MiFi instead? I set it at $200 which is a MiFi + a month or two of access to see how it all works. And this is also a test of PayPal’s new widgety thing, which I’m thinking of using for something elsewhere.
ETA: As of noon I’d hit $130, and Amazon.com had a sale on the device for $65. Add in the $5 gift card someone gave me, and free shipping, it should be here Tuesday!
Yes I know it’s ‘a lot’ and ‘alot’ isn’t a word. It’s a joke.
Welcome back to my sites after a nice 12 hour outage. I went with twelve instead of twenty-four (like Wikipedia) since there’s a fine line for my technical chops, and changing that at the last minute would have been complicated. Also I said from day one I was doing 12, and I did 12.
I picked my time to have my fansite, Jorja Fox: Online (and it’s neighbors YTDaW and RizzlesCon which I webadmin only) because CSI was new on Wednesday, and the impact of not being able to talk about the new episode all day would cause some people to implode.
So what happened? We found out exactly how uneducated people are.
WTF WIKIPEDIA, I GET IT. NOW COME BACK SO I CAN FINISH MY PRESENTATION. I cannot contain my rage tonight.
— Amber (@a_straz) January 18, 2012
The magical herpderpedia has been retweeting people’s moronitude all day. It’ll make you cry with their ignorance. (By the way, if you read Wikidpedia’s page on the 18th, you’d have see what was going on and why. But apparently reading was too much for people trying to get information from Wikipedia…)
Members of Congress, many of whom are grappling with the issues posed by the explosion in new media and social web sites, appeared caught off guard by the backlash to what had been a relatively obscure piece of legislation to many of them.
That’s a quote. That is a mother freaking quote from The New York Times.
And that is a huge factor in what’s wrong here. People are making laws without understanding what they mean, who them impact, or what they do. And you, you people, are voting these idiots in, and not paying attention to what these laws mean for you. Read the fine material. Educate yourself as to what’s going on, and then educate your congressmonkey.
So here’s the thing. It’s not over. Blacking out sites was not to ‘teach congress a lesson,’ at least not for me. It was to teach you. Now the majority of the ‘yous’ reading this already know what’s up and know SOPA/PIPA and their ilk are dangerous, poorly written, and a horrible idea. Then there’s the non-geeks who, up until last week, had no idea. And it’s not their fault.
See, the media did a great job not covering this. They couldn’t. Their bosses are for it! They say ‘Oh this will just stop thieves.’ and everyone says “That’s great! I don’t want my article on monkey loving to be copied!” You know, I hate plagiarism, copyright violations, and theft the same as everyone else. I’ve been ‘stolen’ from more times than I can count. I support the idea behind these bills. Stop stealing shit!
But I protest, with ever fiber of my being, the way the bills are crafted. They’re too dangerous, to powerful, and they ask me to trust a government that put the TSA in charge of my travel. The TSA hasn’t caught a single terrorist by the way. All this will do is make better criminals of us all.
When even BabyNameWizard could be shut down according to those bills, it’s a problem:
But I’m sure you can see that it’s literally impossible for us to review every comment users make on tens of thousands of pages. And even if we did, how could we be 100% certain that a user’s musings about Nicole Richie in comments on a NameCandy blog post weren’t copied from some old gossip magazine?
Yet under the terms of SOPA, if that gossip magazine were feeling protective of its Nicole Richie insights — or maybe just didn’t like another site writing about celebrity baby names — it wouldn’t just tell us to take the comment down. It could pull the plug on our whole website: we’d go black. (In theory, the target of the legislation is “foreign” websites. In theory. So fine, imagine this site’s based in the U.K., the situation is no different.)
Sounds crazy, right? Sounds like the future. No fansites, no tribute sites, no pictures of Oprah that might infringe, because none of us would take the risk of jail in order to become the next Cheezeburger. As Wired put it:
… accused sites would get little notice of a pending action in U.S. courts against them, and, once blacklisted, have little effective means of appeal.
Here we are. What do we do? We get up and do our civic duty. We tell our government “You work for ME, not the corporations. You represent ME, not the lobbyists. You get some technical people in to explain to you how the Sturdy Tubes of the Internet really work, why this will stifle creativity, kneecap our economy, and punish the wrong people. Don’t let Hollywood decide what the laws are. After all, these people thought that we needed a sequel to ‘Alvin & The Chipmunks’ and that we need a movie based on the board game ‘Battleship.’ Come on, they made ‘RoboCop 3,’ for crying out loud!”
How about I put it another way. This is what The Pirate Bay said:
“Over a century ago Thomas Edison got the patent for a device which would “do for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear”. He called it the Kinetoscope. He was not only amongst the first to record video, he was also the first person to own the copyright to a motion picture.
Because of Edison’s patents it was close to financially impossible to create motion pictures in the North American East Coast. The movie studios therefore relocated to California, and founded what we today call Hollywood. The reason was mostly because there were no patents. There was also no copyright to speak of, so the studios could copy old stories and make movies out of them – like Fantasia, one of Disney’s biggest hits ever.
So, the whole basis of this industry, that today is screaming about losing control over immaterial rights, is that they circumvented immaterial rights. They copied (or put in their terminology: “stole”) other people’s creative works, without paying for them. They did it in order to make a huge profit. Today, they’re all successful and most of the studios are on the Fortune 500 list of the richest companies in the world. Congratulations – it’s all based on being able to re-use other people’s creative works. And today they hold the rights to what other people create. If you want to get something released, you have to abide by their rules. The ones they created after circumventing other people’s rules.”
This needs to stop. And you can help:
#wcsf is the official hashtag for @WordCampSF. Please tag your tweets, photos, and posts!
I’m not there, but through a generous gift, I was given a livestream ticket for all three days! ZOMG! I’m watching it right now on my computer and I’m so happy.
Jane says I should also get a t-shirt, which would be so epic. I will wear it with geeky pride.
And next year, people, next year I will go to #wcsf.
I need a new computer. This cannot be denied. I probably could get by if I upgraded the memory on my box, but when people ask me how old is it, I remark “When my desktop was new, Wireless and Bluetooth were expensive upgrade options.” Options, people, not de rigure built ins. You didn’t get ’em unless you specifically paid an extra couple hundred. So yeah, my desktop has neither Bluetooth nor Wireless.
When we recently moved, the new place didn’t have an easy way to wire up the computer, because for once I put the computers in their own office and not in the living room. I’m such a grown up! I even use the dining table properly sometimes! The point was I couldn’t run a cable from the living room (where RCN put the TiVo, modem, and WiFi router) to the back room office. I mean, I could, but my partner would have shot me. So I started looking into how much it would cost to add a wireless card to my Mac.
Given how old it is, I’m sure you’re not surprised to learn that it’s cost prohibitive. A couple hundred for the cards, if you can find them at all. So I started looking for other adapters. I knew that a USB adapter would be slower, but the price started dropping to $50! Even so, I knew I’d need to replace my desktop eventually, so I wanted to limit the cost, since I knew it would (eventually) be a throwaway. Finally I found, on Newegg, the perfect adapter. An EdiMax thumbnail USB adapter for $15! I rushed shipping, which made it cost $17 (I know, really!) and it was the last UPS delivery I got before the move. I happen to know my UPS guy, we used to live in the same building.
There are minor issues with the USB drive, most of which are endemic to my computer’s age. If I unplug anything from a USB port (like my charging/syncing iPhone or iPad), the WiFi USB guy has to be unplugged and replugged in, so I try not to do anything like that when downloading. Mostly works. The signal’s not the best, but it’s enough to get me through the last three weeks without much complaint.
So how is all this a downgrade? Well, I will soon be moving from a Dual Core Xeon 2.4GHz MacPro Tower to a MacBook.
Yeah, you heard me, a MacBook. Not a MacBook Pro, but a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. The basic, but not lowest end, Mac on the market. I’m going to plug in my fancy 21″ monitor and normal keyboard much of the time, I suspect, but I’m moving to a laptop for my basic computing needs.
This was not a light and easy decision. Part of me really wants the cutting edge, but I’ve finally learned the harsh lesson that cutting edge is tomorrow’s basic. I used an iPhone 3 (not 3GS) until this week, when I upgraded mine to a 3GS for $20 (as well as my partner’s 1G – Yeah, first gen!). We plan on selling them back to BestBuy for about $100 total, if all goes well, and using that to pick up some other needed electronics. I spent a lot of time looking at the Apple comparison of laptops before I came to this decision.
Certainly I toyed with the idea of a Mac Air, but the lack of a DVD drive killed it for me. I considered the MacBook Pro, but when I realized the CPU jump was so minimal (one can only get above 2.4 if you get the 13″, which is a 2.7 GHz), I started to dig into things. I asked around. A lot of my tech friends said they only used laptops these days, and as long as you make good backups, you’re fine. I asked if the Dual-core Intel Core i5 in the MacBook Pro was a huge difference to the Intel Core 2 Duo in the MacBook. The cost difference between the two is $200, which a not-insignificant jump to me. Much like how, the last time I got a computer, it was an extra $200 for Bluetooth and WiFi, I wasn’t sure if this was something I’d regret right away, or not.
Thankfully I have the internet! Anandtech had a nice performance comparison chart:
The best analogy to the current MacBook is the old 15-inch MacBook Pro (Early 2008) with a Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz. It’s only 3 seconds slower! The Air, being a solid state drive, is faster, but now we’re back to the no-DVD drive. After pricing that out at about $1800 for what I’d want, I walked away from the Air. The MacBook Pro (2010 edition) really isn’t too different from the 2008 and 2009 versions, so I wouldn’t loose much unless I do a lot of CPU heavy things. I don’t really.
Now we start to see the real difference. The 2010 pro is up to 10 seconds faster. But look at the middle of the pack! There’s the one I’m looking at getting. Now, all that said…
The cost difference between a MacBook (2.4GHz Core Duo, 4G of memory, 302G HD) and a MacBook Pro (2.3GHz Core 15, 4G of memory, 302G HD) is $55. I should point out, I get a killer deal via my office on the Mac stuff right now, so it may be more for you. The next jump, to the 2.7GHz Core i7 is about $300! Not worth it at that point, if you ask me. But my final deciding factor was a call in to the Apple folks. See, I have this EPP thing, which is an Employee Purchase Program which means I buy Mac for cheap, and have a number to call to get a real human in 5 minutes. A 30 minute phone call and I am the owner of two MacBook Pros, 13″, 2.3GHz.
Okay, this is funny since I have a sense of humor. Seth, my dude, and I discussed what I wanted, why and what I wanted to do. He said that the i7 isn’t worth it unless my job is audio/video stuff. Then he said the Core Duo will be phased out next, so the i5 will be the new low end probably in 6-12 months. Sold. Then I wanted iWork and Apple Care (because, dude, it’s a laptop, it will break in a way I can’t fix, and a 3-year contract to fix it unless I flush it in the lake is a deal). We did all that and on the final review realized we forgot iWork. No problem, cancel the order, do the new one, verify, great. Oops. It’s already shipped, along with my free printer.
In the 15 minutes we’d talked and re-ordered, I had two orders shipped. Whoops! They immediately offered to send me boxes so I could ship back for free, many apologies. I laughed it off, since I know this stuff happens, and suggested they put in a one-hour delay to prevent that. The customer service manager agreed it was a good idea. After I hung up, I pinged my girlfriend to tell her the funny story. She said that was fine, but was a little sad about not getting a new computer (I was planning to get her one in January). So I did the math and found it was affordable.
Now we both get new laptops and I just have to sort out if that means I get two free printers! Oh yeah, I get a free printer, too! My old monster will be sold back to Apple for $500-800. Her old Mini will come to Cleveland and become my gran’s new computer. She needs one. Everyone wins! The only question left is if anyone wants an Edimax wifi USB drive. $10!