Earlier this week Google announced a policy change that would have users of its Blogger service remove any and all adult content. After some backlash, the search giant has changed its mind.
According to Techmeme, Google will only be cracking down on commercial porn content, and not the likes of sex bloggers and people making home made porn(…?) We’re not sure about that last one but regardless, Google must have realized that not ALL adult content is problematic. It seems as long as you’re not using the service to sell your porn, you should be in the clear.
“This week, we announced a change to Blogger’s porn policy. We’ve had a ton of feedback, in particular about the introduction of a retroactive change (some people have had accounts for 10+ years), but also about the negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities.”
Adult bloggers will have to continue to mark their pages as having “adult content” so they can be sorted into the appropriate listings with the appropriate warnings.
WordPress has been around a long time and is quite a powerful web publishing platform available to virtually everyone at no cost.
I finally got around to installing the official WordPress app onto my iPod Touch and I have to say I’m impressed with the app. It quickly accepted the credentials to my own WordPress blog, and I found I could update my site directly from my iPod. More impressive to me was when I discovered the ease with which I was able to take photos (or videos) with the iPod’s camera and instantly embed them into blog posts.
Nothing is more powerful than to be able to quickly update one’s own site with not only words but images as well. The official WordPress for iOS is a free download on the iPod/iPad/iPhone/iOS App Store. If you have a WordPress blog and an iOS device, this free app is worth installing.
Every single day, I get at least 2-3 emails from companies looking to buy text links on Geek News Central. To date non of them have come from what I would term a valid vendor, most of them are poker sites, or some site looking to boost their page search rank. It has become so common that I send the following email in response.
“I understand your desire to purchase as you describe them targeted text links on this highly valuable website, and because you have taken the time to email me, I would like to inform you of our rates for text links. The cost is $10,000 a month, per link, with a 12 month minimum run payable in advance. All links will have the nofollow tag plus will be put in an area of the website that clearly indicates a sponsored link. Here is my paypal address to make payment”
This is usually enough to get them to go away, but some are persistent and will come back with a counter offer of $100-$500 for a 90 day run. I ignore these responses do they really think I’m stupid. What’s sad is that I am sure a lot of sites would sell them text links for that kind of money.
Google has specific policies for link schemes and a site risk being de-listed from the Google search engine for participating in those types of activities. Now I am not sure how I would react if someone actually took me up and deposited the money in my paypal account but at what point will link farm agents start advertising legitimately instead of wasting time trying to get me to risk all the work I have put into this website.
With the news this weekend of JC Penny getting busted doing this, it does not surprise me that 3000+ website owners sold their soul for a few bucks to help JC Penny have a banner sales season during the holidays.
So while the lure of money is great, don’t sell you soul to the text link farmers.
For some time we’ve been hearing about the virtues of cloud-based computing.
Certain functions seem to lend themselves to the cloud. Online word processing, spreadsheets, etc. can seem to make sense in some situations, such as collaborating with others.
In everyday use scenarios, does the cloud really make sense in more traditional private computer-use situations? I contend that it does not.
Right now I’m typing this into Microsoft Word on my MacBook Pro. At the moment I have rather lousy Sprint and Verizon connectivity, even though 12 hours ago at this very same location I had really good connectivity from both. The only thing that changed is the time of day. If I was currently limited to using Google Docs chances are I would be unable to write this. Network demand constantly fluctuates depending on the time of day and location.
Is there enough bandwidth available? With the tsunami of smartphones that are on the immediate horizon, will the carriers be able to keep up with the average five-fold bandwidth demand increase that the average smartphone user pulls from the network? Can carriers keep up with a smartphone-saturated public all trying to pull down data at the same time?
However, for the sake of argument let’s say that mobile Internet connectivity isn’t an issue.
What if the Internet is turned off due to a declared cyber attack and all of your documents are online? What good would the network appliance approach to computing be then?
Can e-books be revised after the fact? If government can simply decide to turn off the Internet, then it’s not that much of a leap to imagine laws and regulations being passed banning certain types of blogs or even books that have been deemed dangerous or seditious. There have already been books sold such as “1984” by Amazon that were deleted from Kindles after the fact by Amazon when it was determined that Amazon didn’t have the legal right to sell it in e-book form. What if instead of banning books, they were simply rewritten to remove the offending parts? What’s to stop instant revision of e-books that have been declared dangerous?
On July 23, 2010, CNN anchors Kyra Phillips and John Roberts discussed on air the idea that bloggers should be somehow “held accountable” or perhaps regulated in some way. Here’s the video of that exchange.
It’s no secret that CNN and other so-called mainstream media outlets, both broadcast and print, have had for some time now an ongoing loss of viewers and readers. A number of traditional journalists from time to time have had and expressed an almost open hostility towards bloggers and the Internet. They perceive the Internet as a threat to their business models, and their vaunted self-appointed job as information “gatekeepers.”
If you look back over the past few years, almost every major story, particularly scandal stories, originated first on blogs. In many cases the mainstream media were dragged kicking and screaming into reporting stories. The clearly forged National Guard documents that ultimately ended up forcing CBS to fire evening news anchor Dan Rather comes to mind from a few years ago. Bloggers quickly picked up on the fact that the supposed National Guard documents had been typed up in the default template for Microsoft Word and then ran through a fax and/or copy machine a number of times to make the documents look dirty and/or old. The trouble was, Microsoft Word didn’t exist in 1973. If it weren’t for bloggers, this story would have likely never come to public light, and what is clearly a forgery and a made-up story would have passed into the public mind as the truth.
Should free speech be curbed? Should bloggers somehow be licensed or officially regulated in what is purportedly a free country? Should we be forced to get our news from “professional” or even “licensed” journalists?
Watching the news has always been a necessary evil. It seems filled with tragic and depressing stories. On occasion I have doubted the wisdom in showing what is shown. In an unofficial and unresearched opinion, it seems to me that the more murder suicide stories they show about a man and his family, the more that occur. Sick people are not helped and deterred by seeing the stories. Healthy people are no safer. I’ve had the unfortunate task of going with the police to give news of a murder suicide to a family. Should I Twitter, Facebook, or blog about it? Paul Carr over at Tech Crunch has written a second time about the subject of unwise and foolish micro-bloggers. My summary: Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. We have had storm chasers, now we have Twitter and blogging chasers? It frightens me. Many times I’ve heard Todd Cochrane, the host of GNC, say “I’m not ready to comment on this until I’ve thought it through.” How can we pass on some of Todd’s common sense to the rest of the world?
Censorship and regulation frightens us. Anarchy and absence of accountability scares me much more. I have friends who are citizens of countries other than the United States. They know what it is like to live in a dictatorship or close to it. As a matter of fact I am currently touring countries with much less freedom. I am not speaking without a foreign awareness. The same freedom of the press and freedom of speech that we hold dear, we could be using as a weapon of destruction upon ourselves. We must act responsibly. Hold our tongue. Getting the news out is secondary to immediate concern for the people involved.
This week in Florida a missing baby was found alive. Further news revealed that the mother was part of the disappearance. That baby will forever be etched in the inter-webs and sought after for interviews when she is a teen. “How does it feel to have had your mother fake your kidnapping when you were a child?” Maybe it should be a live Twitter interview.
Well enough of the rant. Next article I’ll give some of my opinions on responsible blogging and micro-blogging. Thanks for reading and taking a few minutes to think through it all before you react.
There are many articles comparing the pros and cons of physical print news versus the online/blogging news. The following lists are not pros and cons but what each group has that the other side wants. What could happen with the merging of the two? Thanks to Tech Crunch for stirring my brain.
What Newspapers Have and Bloggers Want/Need:
Bloggers have less official access to many press conferences and meetings. Who gets the press pass? How do you get the press pass? Will it not eventually recreate a few sources for news as different agencies pick and stick with favorites? Newspapers made narrowing it down easy.
Bloggers have less incentive/time to investigate and search out multiples sources. Bloggers seem to surf the web not pound the streets and interview people face to face. Newspapers live that way.
Bloggers write about what interests them, not what interests others. With no boss giving assignments, who will report on those needed but sometimes mundane happenings? Will we be stuck piecing together all of our news from 500 RSS feeds? Newspapers make basic world, national, and local news easy.
Bloggers are not the one “go to” place for news. Difficult to find a local blogger. I do not know of a single blogger reporting on news in our area of 175,000 people . I guess I would have to look if the paper shut down.
Bloggers have less accountability/oversight to preserve the truth. I know, I know, that the community could police itself just like Wikipedia. I’m not sure they will or really have the ability. Besides, most people believe whatever they read and probably won’t go back to see any updates or corrections.
What Bloggers Have and Newspapers Want/Need:
Print Media has a narrow chain of command that dictates what and when news is published. It is no wonder why dictator, communistic, and extreme governments want control of the media? Why are news agencies tending to endorse political candidates? The news has been far from fair and balanced for a long, long time. Blogs are more numerous, yield less individual influence, say what they think, and allow more free interaction.
Print Media has a need to make a larger profit. Bloggers hope to pay the bills. There is nothing wrong with this. It is the goal of every business owner to make money. Why should newspapers be any different? The problem is that it is a very low margin/no margin business that is about to go on a ventilator. The motivation and ability to survive is decreasing.
Print Media has a high overhead for getting the news to the reader. Ouch this is number one. Manufacturing and delivery is expensive. Presses are extremely expensive, paper is expensive, labor is expensive, management is expensive, delivery is expensive. The web does it on the cheap. I can deliver the same news to as many people for pennies on the dollar as a blogger. And it won’t take much ad revenue to pay for that delivery.
Print Media has few ways to guage how much of their content is read. The newspaper does not create a log file ever time my eyes read a certain article or ad. Advertisers are left to subjective decisions on whether business increased because of the ad most of the time. The web brings freedom and analytics.
Print Media locks down the content and its distribution. There is no open source in this land. Republish the AP article and receive a DMCA. Everything is copyrighted.
Print media now publishes old news. 24 hours is not soon enough. 12 hours is not soon enough. 2 hours is not soon enough. What do you mean “The game was not finished as of press time”? By the time your article reaches me 36 hours after the game, you have lost me. I can visit a site, use an RSS reader to get the headlines, or subscribe to email updates and text alerts. I do not even have to wait for the “top of the hour”, “quarter of the hour” news on the radio.
Enough of my opinion. What is the real truth? Will you, the community, let me know? Are we really ready for this new world of news?