pseydtonne: Behold the Operator, speaking into a 1930s headset with its large mouthpiece. (Default)
I turned 33 today. In four months, I will have lived a third of a century or the speed of a long-playing record. Today is also the last full day of winter, as the vernal equinox will happen Thursday at 05:58 UTC (1:58 a.m. EDT). The end of winter is the beginning of spring and with it the rebirth of the mental year. It's a good time to reflect on how to execute the desires I've mulled during the winter.

Normally I would put something this long behind a cut. However I think it will be worth hijacking your flist today.

Six years ago I received the gift of a LiveJournal account. Back then you got one free pass to let another person in. [ profile] chaggalagirl, my girlfriend at the time, begged me to give her my free pass. So did [ profile] dobrovolets. I worked out an elaborate deal where I gave my free pass to Dobro, he then gave his freebie I think to his spouse and then Maggie got hers from her or from another friend. Anyway, it all worked out.

I was a different person in February of 2002. I had only moved to Boston two years earlier. I was stuck in a crappy job (some things come back around, eh?) and I was broke (some thing improve dramatically). I was still living in Woburn in a basement apartment where gangster geese would regularly peck at the glass patio door looking for tribute.

I was also ecstatic because I'd finally found something that would replace Pot Sherd, my mass-email missive. I had started PS back in 1997 or 1998, when I was living at home in Utica and wanted to send the same writing to each friend of mine. I liked how people would respond, dialogue would get going and ideas would disseminate.

I disliked having to send a giant a compilation of the earlier Sherds to new subscribers so they could get up to speed. I was looking for a web-based replacement, but I had no idea how to code nor where it would be hosted. I don't think the word "blog" was really around yet. LJ solved the problem enough that I dropped the web site concept.

I put a lot more thought into the Sherds than I put into an LJ post these days. It took me a while to understand that I did not have the same control of people's attention on LJ as I did with the Sherds. I was upset that certain friends of mine were getting huge responses and I wouldn't get much. I wasn't writing open-ended posts, and I still don't: I like to present a completed thought. Most of the time I have to assume the silence means "okay, that one made sense. No comments are necessary."

Recently I've started writing more in the "Modest Proposal" mode, where I take an idea to a supercilious conclusion. Boy, does that get a response! I'm starting to like that I wind up disagreeing with my original conclusion by the time I've read all the comments. I also like writing the dialogue, similar to writing stand-up pieces.

I got into LJ so long ago that I really don't feel the need for the newer features. I like the community of friends I've built and I enjoy reading their missives. I like being kept up to date on real-world shindigs in Boston and seeing what's worth a deeper read. I have only used five of the six free userpic slots I have.

We've suddenly had a major disruption in this calm, the kind that suggests a major break-up is coming. SUP, the new owners of LJ, do not have as much interest in someone like me. I have an OS-independent ad-blocking system I deploy on my work and home computers, so I never see 95% of Internet ads. I don't know whether I lose ownership of my words by posting here.

Many people are planning to boycott LJ for one day, depriving it of their content on Friday. Keep in mind that the 21st is both Good Friday, when many Catholics skip the afternoon's work and go to church and many others get the day off work or school, and Purim, when good Jews get drunk and obliterate That Persian Boar's Name from history using New Year's Eve clackers. Thus, not many people will notice the lack of content. If people really wanted to mean something in an online protest, they would have picked the day of the week when workday doldrums are highest and when new CDs and books come out: Tuesday.

Some of the boycott seems to be about cultural differences. There is an undercurrent of "we don't trust these Russian owners to treat customers well, so let's leave." My experience in Boston has shown me that New Englanders often have the same interest in customer service as the former Soviets. Thus it seems a little hypocritical or even discriminatory.

I may join the boycott, but it'll be accidental. I have to pack and load more of my house to Brookline. It would be more significant if people didn't simply avoid content -- they didn't even go to LJ and SUP saw different web tracking numbers for the day.

I can't tell whether LJ has plans that suit my future needs. LJ is text for me: any pictures have to be links to my Flickr account. I would also like to serve audio material but LJ has never hinted at providing FTP drive space as a reason for a premium account.

I want to set up podcasts, but I need a place to stash them. Once I've finished with my house move, I may just turn one of my knockabout boxes into that server or put them on one of my floating web accounts that I forget I have.

I'm not ready to say goodbye to LJ, although I know some of my friends are in the process of jumping. I have set up as a safety, just like I have a Blogger account I never touch. I'm ready to plan the CSS and Perl necessary to set up my own online HQ because this free blog doesn't have room for my big plans.

I've been trying various people's podcasts, many of which lack decent sound quality but have fun content. I have concluded that the best length for a podcast is the length of one to two pop songs (3 to 7 minutes). This means the podcast will not disrupt the flow of shuffle on a portable MP3 player nor will it require any real time investment for the listener. That will encourage repeat traffic.

I'll be keeping the content a secret, at least on LJ, until I've got a few episodes in the pipeline. I have two characters I plan to use so far and many a couple others as time passes.

The basic idea is that I'd build a content engine and post a link to the new content from my LJ. The LJ would still serve as a basic diary, but all of the more inventive content and podcasts would be available via RSS from the new HQ. I would keep the rights, you could read archives in a nicer format (less of a time-based string) or just get the new content from LJ without much notice. I'm not interested in building my own comment system, so LJ would be the best place to leave that. Maybe comment strings would come later.

August 2016

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