hankrules2011

Book reviews, health, hockey, publishing, music, tech

Posts Tagged ‘google+’

Some Blog Site Changes

Posted by Scott Holstad on August 5, 2019

While I’m having a hard time finding the strength, energy, time, etc., to write many blogs, to write any articles, book reviews or much of anything, as well as rare new difficulties doing things I’ve always done and taken for granted my whole life, such as simply reading, playing computer games, watching shows or films, paying bills, walking, swallowing, and well the list is endless. And the time I spend online and using my computers has diminished by a shocking degree, which saddens me. Nonetheless, I am capable of making a few changes here and there, things that aren’t time intensive or brain taxing, such as edit or modify this blog, and make occasional changes at LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Discogs. So I wanted to briefly let you know about a few things I’ve done here.

It may not be apparent that I’ve done anything, which is understandable since I haven’t changed the theme or general layout. That said, I actually HAVE made some changes to the layout, or more precisely, I’ve eliminated some of the sideboard items (Twitter and Instagram feeds), edited my blogroll, added to my right side “Music” category with a few other minor additions or deletions in various sections on the sidebars. I’ve also updated and added some Pages, which are the topical tabs at the top of my blog (“About,” “Contact,” “Favorite Books” and so on). I’ve been trying to modify and lessen my digital footprints for several reasons and dating back to last year and before. Some of the actions I’ve taken have been to delete my Facebook account, the most important of them all. Followed by the termination of two Twitter accounts, two Instagram accounts, a few others that were somewhat similar, and most recently, and at a painfully slow pace, trying to get away from Google’s clutches! I feel strongly about this and have for a number of years. There are many variables, but ultimately I’ve known for a long time that Facebook’s business model consists entirely of data mining their users’ personal information and using this to attract advertisers or selling it to various highest bidders. They offer no products, make nothing tangible, are essentially useless as a commodity — except for the massive amount of personal data they’ve constantly harvested from every user (and even non-users!) to sell to those willing to pay. And as the world found out, adversarial states are more than willing to pay insane amounts in efforts to destabilize other countries, their governments and organizations such as NATO, the EU, etc. And everyone has jumped on that bandwagon right after that. I’ve stopped using any Chrome or Chromium-based web browsers, terminated my Blogger account, my YouTube account, two Gmail/Google accounts (with one more major one to go), no longer use Google Maps or even its search engine, among other things. There are alternatives to all that don’t involve any known data mining, spying, storing, analyzing, and selling ALL of your personal data, which until recently, was the exact same business model of Facebook’s.

(For those of you with their heads in the sand the past few years and you’re unaware of the dangers posed by Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo, and sadly Amazon, among others, I encourage you to research this. I’m going to provide you with a few helpful links for those of you who wish to avoid Google as much as possible. Not perfect, a little rough around the edges, some of these, but sometimes you have to sacrifice things like convenience to save and salvage your privacy, etc. For starters, here’s an article on Google and privacy dangers, another on 20 alternative Windows web browsers to help you get away from the major norms, a basic article titled “How to leave Google behind,” and a similar one called “Drop Google” with more links to more Google alternatives that I’ve found pretty helpful.)

OK, the last half of this post was not intended to be the tangent it turned out to be. Just mentioning some changes, start giving a seminar. Sorry.

The main change is this: I belong to literally dozens of various professional associations and organizations for many different reasons. Indeed, I’ve also belonged to a number of other, different ones at various times in the past. And when people see this list of over three dozen active organizations in which I’m a member, most express a great deal of surprise at the variety and diversity of career fields, specific professional categories, and more seen there. So I decided to post these here, with links to each one’s website, preceded by an explanation, of sorts, attempting to provide a partial story that might help make sense of it. And I created this, not as a blog Post, but as a permanent Page as one of the tabs at the top of this blog, beside the ones I mentioned earlier, and others. As it is the newest Page, it’s located on the right end of the row of Pages at the top of the blog and is easily accessible. It’s simply titled “Professional Organizations” and I encourage everyone to check it out as it borders on being truly bizarre. Look at it and you’ll see why!

OK, I’m done. I’m worn out. I promised Gretchen I would go to bed tonight, but I didn’t/haven’t, instead staying up to post something on LinkedIn and to write this. It takes me much longer to do anything these days, especially writing, which is one of the reasons I write so very little now. I started at 12:30 AM and it’s now 4:30 AM. Not going to bed now. And I’ll be very fatigued tomorrow/today, as I am typically every day now and I’ve also been sick for quite awhile, which has really worn me out. As I think I recently mentioned, I stopped blogging a couple of years ago for one year because I went through such an insanely nightmarish year regarding my health. Up til that point, I had accumulated a decent number of followers, many of whom commented and interacted with me. However, in the year since I returned, I’ve only been able to post sporadically and even though I basically still have the same number of followers, even on days I post something, I no longer get virtually any hits, likes or comments. It was discouraging, but I feel I understand why and I don’t blame anyone or hold it against anyone. So this huge amount of time I just spent writing this was likely a complete waste of time energy and resulted in a complete lack of sleep, and virtually no one will see or read this and no one will comment, so I’ve been asking myself Should I Continue when I’m only writing for myself and I think I’ve concluded Yes. I’ve been blogging since 2003, generally enjoy it, and if nothing else, I can treat it as my own public occasional diary for future reference of what I was doing or thinking at a certain point in time. And that’s good enough. So, if anyone sees this, thanks for reading and have a great day. For those of you who do not see this, there’s obviously no need to say anything, so I’ve alerted you all to my new Page. I hope at least one person will eventually see it and find it interesting. Thanks and cheers!

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A Review of Dogfight

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 3, 2015

Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a RevolutionDogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution by Fred Vogelstein

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Rarely has a book incensed me the way this one has. First of all, let me announce that I am an iPhone lover and Android hater. No need to take pot shots at me. Just the facts. If you don’t like it, read something else. Anyway, I thought this book was going to be a reasonably objective look into the war between Apple and Google on smart phones and tablets. Boy, was I wrong. The author lets us know right away where he stands. He starts by mocking Apple and Steve Jobs as they get set to introduce the iPhone to the public, making them look like total dunces and then pulling one over on the public’s eyes with a brilliant demo. Then, poor Google. They loved the iPhone. They loved Apple. So imagine how hurt they were when Jobs and Apple got wind of their development of the Android and didn’t appreciate it, of how badly their feelings were hurt. They even went for walks with Jobs assuring him that they weren’t going to go ahead with Android — only to do it. And this was somehow justified by the author. The author also went out of his way to explain that Apple has never sued Google, just the phone and tablet manufacturers. Okay. Nonetheless, Apple has the patents and it’s winning. This is a hatchet job disguised as journalism and it pisses me off. It also pisses me off that I spent good money on this damn book thinking I was getting one thing when in fact I was getting something else. If I wanted to read something by a Google cheerleader, I would have bought something else. So too, if I had wanted to read of a Jobs smear job on Google, I would have bought that — but I didn’t. I wanted something balanced. This was not. So I didn’t finish it. I made it to the seventh chapter before giving up. I’m trying to get my blood pressure down now. I can’t believe what a crock this book is. What a Google lover this author is. How open software trumps closed systems every time, which isn’t necessarily the case — look at the facts. Of all of the books I’ve not recommended, this comes in at the top of my list. Most definitely not recommended!

View all my reviews

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Google+ (and my social networking history…)

Posted by Scott Holstad on July 20, 2011

OK, I admit it — I’m on Google+.  And I freakin’ LOVE it!!!  Am having the best time just playing around on that site, seeing who and what I run across.  If you want to find me there, here is my URL:  https://plus.google.com/113745399994458455981/posts.  Ever since I ditched FB last December, I’d missed that sense of … something, which I’ve tried to fill (or perhaps re-fill) with blogging, mostly on my old Xanga sitehttp://www.bukowski-rules.com/ and more recently, through my new WordPress blog here.  But it’s different, and we all know that.  Totally different animals.

Anyway, Google+.  I love what you can do with it. I love the photos, the circles, how you can post to only certain people via specific circles if you want.  I love how you can include and exclude info about yourself that somehow gives me a certain sense of (limited) privacy and security I never felt I had at FB.  I love how you can find certain people you find interesting, put them in a circle to “follow” or whatever and vice versa and how you never really have to “friend” each other to do this.  Cause trust me, while I literally did know some 99% of the 550+ “friends” I had on FB IRL, I quickly and sadly found out how few of them were really true friends.  On Google+, you don’t have to fake it. I dig that. I also like their Sparks feature, kind of like tags you’ll find on most blogging sites. All this being said, it’s still in field trials and there are still some things that could and should be done to improve Google+ before everyone in the entire world jumps aboard whenever Google decided to fully open it up.

Well, this topic made me start thinking about my own social networking (now social media?) history during my many years on the Internet (I wrote my first email in 1987!), so I think I’ll briefly touch on that, just for the heck of it. I’m just going to ignore the old BBS’s of the good old early Internet years, pre-Web. I think I’ll just skip ahead to my first known dive into social networking, even though it wasn’t called that then. Any old timers remember 2003? Yeah, it actually wasn’t that long ago. Still, a friend of me told me about a new website called Friendster where you could meet others online (but not as a dating site) and say different things about yourselves and each other and how it seemed like a pretty cool concept. So, I joined Friendster. And if anyone can remember back that far, it was really a pre-MySpace before MySpace was even founded. I consider Friendster to really be the innovator. Too bad it’s now basically dead and has been for years. Pity. Anyway, I quickly found out that everyone was on Friendster within months! And I met some very cool people that way, people I had things in common with or lived near or whatever. It’s how I met a woman who I had many things in common with (such as same alma maters, same degrees, same professors, same love of literature, same politics, etc.), who I then met IRL, and who I then (foolishly, in retrospect) agreed to marry when she proposed to me a very short time after. Sometime during 2004, though, Friendster did something foolish. For some odd reason, a TON of their users had set up accounts for their pets and they made many friends that way. Well, Friendster booted them all off the site, deleted their accounts, and created a great deal of animosity and bad PR in the process. Stupid decision.

Meanwhile, my new (and now ex) wife was a blogging fool on Xanga. I had never heard of blogging or Xanga. I used to tease her about having more of an online life than a real one. However, she set up an account for me in February 2004 and I tentatively started out writing a few lines here and there, not having a clue what I was doing. That said, I had moved back to Knoxville from L.A. and nearly everyone I personally knew in Knoxville was on Xanga, so that was kind of cool. AND, through Xanga’s Blogrings, you got to know other people and it was awesome to run across someone you knew from Xanga while out at a coffee shop or bar, etc. To this day, I still have my Xanga site and I have blogged off and on there since early 2004.

Speaking of 2004, I think it was that time that MySpace sprung up. Well, you know how things are online — fads. Friendster was forgotten by the world in under a month while everyone jumped ship to MySpace, where it was hip and cool to have your own page there. And I jumped over to that site along with everyone else, although I didn’t immediately abandon Friendster. Wow, MySpace was different though. It was what Friendster wanted to be, but didn’t know how to be at the time. And the thing that really hooked me was that so many bands had MySpace sites, increasingly as the years went by. That’s the only reason I maintained a MySpace account through, IDK, maybe 2009? I ran across some awesome bands that way, such as Android Lust, and I loved being exposed to new things. However, I never felt fully comfortable with MySpace, and I couldn’t quite put a finger on it, other than I sometimes felt like I was being stalked in some weird way by various people I didn’t know or want to know. So, I still concentrated on my regular blogging on Xanga.

I don’t remember when I first heard of Facebook, but it was back when it was only open to college students and then, shortly later I think, to high school students as well. I had no interest. But when FB opened itself up to everyone, I became intrigued, so I signed up and was delighted that it was becoming and did become an easy and exciting way to get connected with old high school and college classmates, old work colleagues, etc., who you hadn’t seen in years and who you’d lost touch with. That was the big time seller for me! Shoot, that was years ago too, long before everyone and their brother was on it. Toward the end of my time on FB though, I had been making some critical mistakes. I wrote things on my mind. Yep. On my own FB site. I know, the audacity! And much of the time, I wrote about political issues, such as back in 2008, during the election season. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve been both a Republican and Democrat (although these days, I am pretty embarrassed to admit to having been a Republican at some point…), but when I lived out on the west coast, I was a fairly moderate fellow. Down here in the Red south though, while I still view myself as fairly moderate, leaning slightly left, I’m viewed as a flaming liberal and I quickly found out that dozens, perhaps hundreds, of old high school friends and some college friends just crucified the hell out of me for having the gall to express myself in terms of what I thought about Bush, the war(s), Obama, etc. I literally had over 100 people de-friend me cause of that! Yeah, good friends, right? Long story short, by November 2010 I was becoming seriously disillusioned with FB and my damn friends there, all 550+ of them. Frankly, not too many seemed like friends to me, even though I knew virtually all of them IRL. However, I had felt compelled to stay on FB because by that point, everyone in the universe was on it and more importantly, well over half of my own Xanga blogging pals had abandoned Xanga to move over to FB, and Xanga became like a ghost town quite quickly, where they at one point at over 40 million bloggers! But in late 2010, largely due to some completely unexpected relationship and legal issues, I was advised to do what I had decided to do several weeks earlier — delete my FB account. God, that hurt at first. However, as time has gone by, you know what? I don’t miss that damn drama one bit! I’m SO happy not to be on FB. That said, I still missed the daily connections, at least with the few people I cared about.

Most of you probably know about Twitter; who doesn’t? I joined Twitter in December 2009 and have been tweeting away ever since, mostly about useless crap. I have no idea why I have any followers at all. It’s still fun though, cause I have run across some really interesting people, most recently a cool girl up in NYC named Athena E. Stone who loves Queen possibly as much as I do, even at her young age. I really like that. I’m still on Twitter, but it just doesn’t appeal to me like other other social net working sites have.

So, that brings us to Google+. Please God, let it be the true social networking site everyone says it will be, the one of my dreams! Let it be as awesome as possible! You have to admit, while Google owns the Internet like Microsoft owns PCs, they’ve consistently failed in their weak social networking experiments, such as Orkut, a site I joined after leaving FB, since I was desperate for some sense of community. I still have a profile there, but I only know a few others who do and it’s mostly Brazilians for some odd reason.

There have also been other social networking sites I was talked into joining at one point or another. Hi5 was one. Gag. Terrible. Did not stay there very long. I can’t even remember the others. So I guess I’ll end by touching on the “niche” social networking sites, the ones that are theme-based and aren’t “true” social networking sites in the sense that FB is. My favorite is the professional networking site, LinkedIn. Wonderful site, great business plan, wildly successful, especially for what it is and is meant to be. There are now other professional networking sites, at least one of which I was invited to join, did and promptly left. No comparison.

There are literary sites too. Goodreads might be best known, but I never liked that site and quickly grew to hate it for so many reasons. One thing that irritated the hell out of me was that several of my books were on that site, owned by and reviewed by various members and users. The thing that truly pissed me off was when one of my books got a bad review by some asshole in some Middle Eastern country I can no longer remember, who admitted in his stupid review that he hadn’t even READ my book, but it sounded stupid so he was giving it a 1 out of 5! WTF? Are you shitting me??? Bye Goodreads. I had a gazillion friends or whatever they’re called there, and I didn’t care about any but maybe 20 of them. A far better literary site, I believe, is LibraryThing, which I think actually preceded Goodreads in its existence, but for some reason, has never caught on as much. Maybe that’s cause it started out strictly as a personal library cataloging site, but it expanded as time went by and I think it’s excellent.

Well, there are a bunch of other blogging sites, and I’ve obviously joined one here — WordPress — while still not having abandoned Xanga. I also occasionally blog on my Red Room author site, but that’s not too frequently. And I’m sure I’ve missed so many other blogging and social networking sites I’ve seen and tried out over the years, but I’ll stop now as I’ve gone on much longer than I intended to (and it’s long past time for breakfast!), so back to my original topic, Google+. How many of you reading this are on it, and what do any of you reading this think will happen with it? Will it be a Twitter killer, like many expect, or even an eventual (possible) FB killer, like many people hope? Or will it merely be Google’s final attempt at getting social media right for once? I want to know. Please, please leave any comments you might have about this. Cheers!

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