A Playground

Oh, hi there blog! I didn’t forget you existed, but you did become the lovable aunt who likes to talk too much and so you were avoided.

Meanwhile, I’ve been hanging out in place called NeoCities, a throwback to GeoCities, which sadly shut down.

This is a huge deal! Why?

The Web is not the internet

The internet, as we know, is an interconnected network of tubes that funnel nutrients and raw sewage alike through our lovable dispensaries (PC, tablet, smartphone, smartcar, smartfridge, smartloo etc…)

The Web is the said nutrients and sewage. Now we have all been told what nutrients are by the owners of the web. Media, social or otherwise, have fed it to us labeled “nutrients”, but lately we’ve come to understand that this is a whitewashed molasses of contrived crap. You can’t blame these outlets alone since the owners of the web will do whatever they please with their property.

Owners? What owners?!

Who are the owners? Facebook, Google(G+) et. al. And yes, even WordPress to a degree. But I sense some of you have a niggling twitch on the back of your mind. The power of the “owners” of the web has increased in recent years and the alarm is compounded by the fact that the web wasn’t supposed to be owned by anyone. “Wait, it’s my blog/Facebook page/account!” Surely what is “your” property should be yours to do as you please, no? Well, that’s very true, but here we have a hiccup with what exactly “ownership” entails.

You do not own what you do not control.

Facebook, Google and any other entity that holds on to your things for you, creates themes, connects you to people you should know (or rather they think that you should know) and such that you can edit. These are features. But it is subject to their TOS (which excludes far more than spam and “illegal” content). They have every right to control what’s on their property. And it is “their” property, you’re simply renting an apartment there by using yourself as collateral. As the old social media adage goes…

If you’re using a “free” service, you’re the product

Side amusing factoid: Everyone I know, who uses Facebook, hates it.

I use it to keep in touch with friends ‘n stuff and once-in-a-while, I’ll play a game, but it’s such a timesuck, dude!

– Everyone

Back to the awesomeness of NeoCities.

Why is NeoCities awesome?

The early to mid 90s was an era of the www (Wild, Wild, Web) when anyone and everyone can create any sort of a jumble of content – and this is the operative word, folks, “content” – with muddled HTML, dancing Hammer gifs and whole assortment of unwholesomeness that (mostly)everyone loves.

Above all else, you “Owned” your page. You could download it, edit it as you please, share as you please, link who you please and most certainly, the host didn’t “connect” you to people you know or secretly gather usage data on who you visit or bookmarked. These are also features.

Note: A “like” is an acknowledgment. A “share” is a public bookmark. See how the new owners of the web have used existing features and renamed them?

NeoCities captures the www (second definition) to a T and I encourage everyone else to join the club. You’re not a network, you’re not a product. You’re a human being. Please express yourself as one. Right now the service is limited to editing HTML files and uploading small images, but there’s no reason you couldn’t use an outside image hosting service like Imgur.com (which is also free).

I started my experiment with NeoCities a week or so ago and it was still being tweaked at the time. However, you can see the end result. I don’t plan to stop here, of course.

Learn HTML (it’s not terribly complicated, but if you need a place to start, you can copy my layout and stylesheet). Everyone who feels like it should try it out, experiment, mould, create and do whatever.

Let the creator of NeoCities explain it better.

Enjoy!

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WordPress Broken on IE?

Update: The TL;DR version of this post is that I’m stupid. Read the bottom.

This started last night, but it seems it hasn’t been resolved yet. I had to make the last post in Firefox because WordPress is suddenly uncooperative in IE. Apparently IE has effectively been cut off from the WP “experience” as of yesterday.

It’s 9.0.8… And it was fine a little while ago.

It’s the same version of IE!

I just tried making this post in IE and it only got saved to drafts. Wouldn’t publish at all. The fonts don’t look all that great either.

Front page on IE

Front page on FF

And the stats page is not opening up either and is stuck on “Loading”. Even the loading screen looks different in IE vs FF.

Stats loading page in IE

Stats loading page in Firefox

I’m hoping this is just a momentary glitch and the WP folks haven’t decided to completely cut off a very large percentage of the web populous.

Update

Thanks to timethief, I found out that I’m not as smart as I think I am. IE’s “Compatibility Mode”, an archaic left over from the days where web designers created sites with only IE 6+ in mind, was on all this time and I didn’t even notice. Not that I’m trying to resuce what’s left of my pride here, but I’m sure I did NOT turn on compatibility mode. IE has a habit of turning it on when visiting sites that are broken and then forgetting to turn it back off.

But in my defense, tell me how easy it is to spot the difference.

Compatibility mode On

Compatibility mode Off

 

What Alpha Inventions is and isn’t

There seems to be a lot of confusion, fascination, excitement and even false hopes surrounding this thing called Alpha Inventions.

First of all, Alpha Inventions isn’t a spam service. You don’t write just anything, post the link, and expect traffic to flow in. Yes, you will get a jump in hits, but that’s only temporary if your content isn’t interesting.

Second, it’s a tool to give you more exposure. But it’s up to you to keep the readers coming back.

It’s not an IM client either. Don’t be all “OMG CHECK OUT THIS SITE!!!” after each and every new post because that will just annoy us users and the creator.

Imagine you’re on a street and someone hands you a flyer. If the show on the flyer is interesting, then you may go and see it. If it’s not, you just throw it away. The same will happen here. The site is the flyer and it’s your (the show’s producer’s) responsibility to maintain the traffic well after your link gets bumped (which, believe it or not, can be within the same hour or even minute). The site is popular so it won’t stand still just for your blog. Don’t expect miracles and don’t be ungrateful.

If you update frequently, Alpha Inventions will definitely add to that. But that doesn’t mean you have to change the way you write or be more “edgy” or any of that nonsense. It just means, be honest with your intentions and write with genuine zeal. No matter how bizarre or bland you think your content may be, chances are someone is interested in the exact same thing. The site will just help you find those connections, but it’s your job to connect.

I hope that clears things up for everyone.

“Blogosphere”

The last bastion of originality on the Internet!

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I wish it ended there, but it goes on and on…
Mind you, this is only on one topic, the “iPhone SDK”. And most of the above was in the space of one day and a half (March 6th – 7th) and on one site (wordpress.com). Can you imagine the rest of the Internet?

Only a few of these blogs actually went to the trouble of writing something new about what they saw. The rest are direct ripoffs from each other, duplicated info from more popular blogs or, worse yet, are no-content blogs with links to other blogs which in turn have no real content in them.