To Say or Not to Say Ello…That is the Question

ElloCaterpillarLabyrinthThe new social network gathering the requisite amount of buzz this…year? Month? Week? It’s called Ello, as in something that cute little caterpillar from Labyrinth would say.

Why is the buzz strong with this one? This is a quote from their manifesto:

Your social network is owned by advertisers.

Every post you share, every friend you make, and every link you follow is tracked, recorded, and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.

We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity, and transparency. We believe that the people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership. We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce, and manipulate — but a place to connect, create, and celebrate life.

You are not a product.

Sounds good, but it’s still in beta, search is buggy, no IOS or Android mobile app yet, blah blah blah. This same idea, by the way, is what’s made WordPress such a strong web platform (and this website is hosted on it along with all of my other websites). As I’ve said many times over, when ANYONE creates a social network that can give people a better experience than Faceybook, so long, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg (no thanks to all those game requests).

By the way, I’m @thinkingskull over at Ello.

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Memo to All Dinosaurs: “Evolve or Die”

Just saw a post on Facebook and had a moment of clarity. This is what she said:

Just had one of those sad moments. Was talking to one of my old college instructors who I have been friends with since being in their class. Had a disappointing conversation with them. I was basically told I will never become a writer if I self-publish. I know the black mark some of the crap that has come out of self-publish and what it has done to authors and writers. However, I do not feel I am making a mistake and dooming myself to failure by starting that way. I hate that so many people still view Indie and self-publishing in such a negative way and have such a closed mind about it. Makes me want to get published and be successful even more now to prove them wrong!

This is what I replied:

I really hate to say it this way, but when someone old tells you that things will never change, what they’re really saying is that THEY’LL never change. Also, what they’re saying doesn’t make any sense; there are already plenty of success stories in self-publishing. “Never” is very petty word. The next time you see those dinosaurs, gently tell them, “Evolve or die.”

Call Yourself an Old School Gamer, Do You?

Today’s kids have no idea what led up to the immersive computer game experiences they take for granted these days. If it weren’t for the beta toys of my gen, they’d have none of it. The following is a rough sample of some of the earlier tech I’ve worked with before the current stuff.

Back in the early 1980s, I was big on (and committed serious paper route profits to) coin-op games like Asteroids, Zaxxon, Sinistar, Bosconian, and Galaga. I had access to a Trash-80 and PET2000 in Junior High (both with the leaderless cassette drives) and owned the TI-99/4a minus “the expansion box” (aka “the rest of the computer”). For a while I even got to play around with a Timex Sinclair. At the same time at home, I also had a 2600, store-used 5200, Intellivision, and a Colecovision (with the deluxe four-finger controllers).

While reverse engineering programs like “Eliza,” I played a lot of “SpaceWarp” and “Pyramid.” Oh, the hours spent falling into a hole and dying in the dark because you couldn’t find the vending machine in the middle of the labyrinth, drop coins into, and buy fresh batteries for your flashlight. In high school, the computer lab at school had Apple IIs and IIes (and even one IIc). By college, IBM personal computers were getting into computer labs while the Apple Amiga and amber-screen Compaqs came onto the scene.

Since then, I’ve played other people’s console games but was too busy with computer, writing, and other stuff to play many of them (“Konker’s Bad Fur Day” was one of my favorites). Computer games were more accessible and (until the most recent consoles came out) generally had better and more sophisticated game play (Diablo and Diablo II). While WOW just seems like so much of a do-nothing machine that I can’t justify committing serious time to (and I’ve tried it about four times), I’m anxiously awaiting “Diablo III” and fully intend to put life on hold long enough to get some serious demonslaying done!

(Inspired by “When the MCP Was Just A Chess Program” by Wil Wheaton)

Just Who Does Google Think You Are? Find out!

Google announced new privacy policies effective March 1st, 2012 to “improve your experience across all their services.” To do this, they anticipate who you are based on what you do online. Wanna see exactly what they think?

https://www.google.com/settings/ads/onweb

If you use Google (mail, calendar, search), this should work. It pulls up the cookie that Google uses to customize search results and interprets it for you, including what you like to search for, how old you are, and your gender.

Me? It says I like Science Fiction & Fantasy Films, Internet Clients & Browsers, Computer & Video Games & Online Games, People & Society, and Shopping for Toys (pretty close!) and that I’m male (damn skippy).

However, is also thinks I’m 18-24 years old. Fooled you, Google-bot! Young at heart, I guess.