“I’m Offended! I’m Just Unsure HOW!”

We live in a day and age of outrage.  Perceived prejudice lives around every corner.

Internet commenters just can’t get enough of it, in particular.  So when the Wall Street Journal published a piece on Yahoo!’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, and the commenters start piling on for her questionable success at the company (to be fair, they ARE selling the company), someone sees something wrong and calls out his/her fellow commenters on it:

WSJ comments on Yahoo!'s Marissa Mayer

Personally, I think if you’re going to find fault with the cis het white women (did I miss anything?) Mayer’s job performance at Yahoo, it would likely be due to reasons of sexism. Maybe misogyny, more specifically.  The frequent references to “that girl” kind of fan those flames…

But, hey, just in case, “something like that” should cover all your other “ism”s nicely.  Don’t leave anyone out!

I have to admit, though, that I did giggle a bit at another commenter who joked (I think) that she had played Diane on “Cheers.”  She’s got the perfect look for that.

Your Birthday on the Internet

Your birthday is the day that you’re reminded of any message boards you joined in the last twenty years:

birthday email greetings from message board forums

And that CVS thinks you’re beautiful. Aw, shucks.

Also, it’s a reminder that Google KNOWS you.

Google's logo changes for your birthday

…which, I have to admit, is pretty cool.

It’s also the one day of the year everyone remembers you’re on Facebook, and you feel guilty about all the people you didn’t wish a happy birthday back to in the last year.

A Streaming Embarrassment of Riches

We live in an amazing time. It’s a time I couldn’t have dreamed of as a child: Hundreds of television shows — all their seasons — available at my finger tips. This season’s shows, last season’s shows, and shows from my childhood. They’re all there for the watching.

I have Amazon Prime —

amazon_video

— and Netflix:

netflix_tvshows

Frustratingly, there’s no time to watch any of it. So I’m the guy from The Twilight Zone.

Twilight Zone Time Enough at Last broken glasses

Time Enough At Last, indeed.

The Thing With YouTube

I’ve taken to YouTube in recent months. I don’t subscribe to too many things, but I enjoy the series I like. They’re short. They’re entertaining. And, most amazingly, the suggested videos that YouTube links to next to the videos I watch are usually very good suggestions. YouTube becomes a very good time sink that way — worse than Wikipedia ever was for me.

The deeper I go into YouTube, though, the more I realize that it really is just like the rest of the internet: three or four good ideas copycatted to hell and back. It’s filled with rip-offs and clueless talentless people who think they’re god’s gift to the internet because they have 100 subscribers while doing the same exact thing (only poorly) that the guy with 1,000,000 subscribers is doing.

The rest of it is clips of late night talk shows. Nobody watches those on television anymore. Those shows are the tail wagging the dog — they exist to fill up YouTube.

In other words: YouTube is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

At least Postmodern Jukebox (which also kicked off a wave of copycats) is ripping themselves off here by covering earlier covers.

One less password

Status

If I accomplish nothing else this weekend, I can at least say that this was the weekend I merged my Comixology account to my Amazon account. That’s one less user ID/password to remember in life. (And I forgot my Comixology password all the time…)

The Problem with Facebook Kids Today…

One of Facebook’s trending topics tonight is that Olivia Munn was spotted wearing a Star Wars t-shirt.

Yes, that’s pretty vapid. It’s doubly stupid because "Olivia Munn Dressed As Slave Leia" is so much better a headline and was done eight years ago.

Olivia Munn cosplaying as Slave Leia

Kids today don’t even know what G4 was anymore, do they?

(Look at the guys in the background whipping their… digital cameras out. This was 2007. I don’t know which con this shot was taken at. If it was San Diego, the iPhone was about a month old and hadn’t sold its first 100 million yet. ;)

Sorry, Pepsi

I love Diet Pepsi. And this summer, they have a contest going where you can collect codes under bottle caps and redeem them for chances at prizes on their website. So i went to the website to register. I logged in via Facebook, but they still needed all my information and a new password. Not sure what the point of Facebook then was, but I’ll live.

The form had a captcha, though. And everytime you failed the captcha, you had to fill out a new one AND re-enter your intended password (8 character minimum) twice. I started taking screengrabs after I failed the first half dozen times. This system of captchas is broken.

Please note that Pepsi doesn’t give you the option of choosing lowercase characters. Maybe THAT’S the problem?

captcha1

captcha2

Posted in Web

ReaderPocalypse

Google today announced that they’re shutting down Google Reader on July 1st. It’s a product they’ve willed out of existence, with a steady stream of neglect. That’s why this quote seems a little two-faced:

“We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites,” SVP of Technical Infrastructure Urs Hölzle writes in the blog post. “While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined….”

Of course it has. It’s been broken for months for many people and Google did nothing about it. They’ve decided to put all their eggs in the Google+ basket and gave up on Reader a long time ago. And Google honestly wonders why usage declined? Because they abandoned the ship! Nobody knew is coming on board a sinking ship. Google is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The good news is that with Google relinquishing its overwhelming majority of the RSS Reader market, this might just pave the way for others to “innovate” in “the space” and give us something new and better. And, as many have already joked, that’s when Google will swoop in and buy them. UGH

One of the competitors, Feedly is down for the count tonight. Too much traffic in the wake of Reader’s demise, I bet.

But who can replace Google Reader for me? Here’s what I need:

  • Web-based, not an iPhone or iPad app
  • Keyboard controls, to help me zip through all the feeds I like to read quickly
  • Preferably, able to import my current list of subscriptions from Google Reader, but that’s optional
  • Something that will get through the proxy filter at work.

It doesn’t need to be free. In fact, I’d happily pay for this service, just because it makes it less attractive a company to be bought up and dismantled by the likes of vultures like Google.

Google also announced the departure of Android guru, Andy Rubin, who’s moving on to other projects at Google. I’d put my bets on a Google Watch. They need to catch up faster to Apple than they did with the MacBook Air, so now they’re trying to catch up to the rumors of what Apple might be doing. (Seriously, take a look at the Chromebook and tell me it doesn’t just look like a cheap MacBook Air, years later. Hey, it’s got a Samsung logo on it, so the pattern holds…)

How Not To Update WordPress

Well, first, let me tell you what to do:

  • Make a complete copy of all files to your local computer. Heck, make two. Download it once to your local hard drive, and then download a complete copy of everything under public_html onto an external plugged-in hard drive or thumb drive or whatever you’ve got.

    • You can use an FTP client to do this. I use Transmit, a much-beloved Mac App that’s been around a long time.
    • You can also do it from the command line. Use rsync. Automate it. Script it. Cron job it. Stop thinking about it. That’s half the battle with back-ups.
  • Poke around in those copies to make sure everything is there. Pay special attention to the wp-contents directory, because that’s where all the images you upload are stored. It’s always where your plug-ins are based, and where your themes live. If you overwrite this directory without a backup copy, you’re in trouble.

  • When you do upload the new version of WordPress and your FTP offers you the option to MERGE or REPLACE the wp-contents directory as it exists with the updated version, go with MERGE. If you REPLACE, you’ll delete everything first. You don’t want that.

Long story, short: That’s what I did a couple weeks back. I REPLACED instead of MERGED, and I thought I had a back-up already when I didn’t. I made a second one, which I thought had finished. I didn’t double-check either backup. I didn’t have the complete wp-contents directory backed up in either place. I lost it all. Plug-ins and themes aren’t a big deal. This blog is run on a standard theme, with not too many adjustments. I re-found it quickly and installed it. Turns out, that was the German version of it. I had to track down the English version, but that was easy enough.

Thankfully, my wonderful hosting provider (the ever-awesome BoilingPoint.com was able to restore from a daily back-up. And since I hadn’t posted anything new in the last day, it was a full recovery after that.

So, take it from me: Make a full and complete back-up. Back up more than you think you’ll ever need. Do it regularly. Do it particularly just before updating the supposedly easy “One Click” WordPress upgrade, which always endangers your files, no matter how blase they try to make it seem to be.

Failing all that, create a static blog engine. I’m trying… I actually have one that works to create the front page and the 6000 individual pages that would make up this blog. But the archives aren’t implemented yet, which are turning out to be a bit of a pain in the butt. Someday, I’ll have time to get back to that.