Rainy Days And Sundays Are For WordPress 2

OK. I did the rainy Saturday blog, yesterday. So why am I doing the rainy Sunday thing, today? Easy peasy! It is Sunday and it is raining in Georgia.

As I was running Fox News in the background, today, my attention was claimed by a guy whom I recognized. Shannon Bream was interviewing John Saddington about an iPhone (IOS) app his company is publishing.

John is a member of the WordPress users group here in the Atlanta area. He was a co-organizer of the last Atlanta Word Camp (regional WordPress Conference), and an entrepreneur in his own right. He started as a blogger, and then discovered WordPress. After getting into WordPress, he discovered just how cool the WordPress platform really is. However, John is making WordPress better where all I do is use it and preach about it.

Understand that I am talking about the free software platform (from WordPress.org), not the service (WordPress.com) which is also great although not as flexible as the “.org” package.

WordPress powers about 17% of all the web sites in the world because it is easy to set-up, simple to use, extendable, and scalable to make large web sites. For example, I use WordPress.com for this blog because I get free hosting, but sacrifice the flexibility of add-on modules called plug-ins. Georgia State University uses the downloadable WordPress package to publish all 37,000 web pages a modern university requires.

The reason John was being interviewed is because of the iPhone app. It enables iPhone users to publish photos from their iPhones to WordPress blogs. This may not sound like much, but users will still own the pictures instead of giving up personal ownership to a Facebook or other web service.

This is the ultimate cool for the blogger, and for WordPress blogs.

Thanks to John Saddington and Fox News Sunday for making a rainy Sunday a bit brighter.

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Why Do We Blog? 6

I think there are several reasons why people write articles for their web-log, or blog. First of all, if you have something to say, it is a good place to say it. Plus, you have the added reason that somebody else may read your essays, and be convinced that your opinion, or presentation, is good. On the other hand, with other people reading your essays, there is the overwhelming chance that others will disagree with you.

Another reason people write blogs is because they are narcissistic. They just want to say something, or they want to become known in certain circles as an expert, or knowledgeable person. That works sometimes, and many people will cruise the so-called blogosphere just to make inane comments on others’ blogs. They are called, trolls.

Some people write essays on their blogs because it is their profession. Lots of journalists have their own blogs, or maintain a personal blog on their employer’s website to voice their personal 0pinions. Many times, their blogs are quoted as actual news outlets.

Blogging got it’s reputation from those who operate their blogs as alternative news sources. Many main-stream media stories have been struck-down, or negated by the attention of bloggers who are always on the lookout for bad journalism. Indeed, it has gotten to the point that it is preferable to read blogs instead of main-stream newspapers, or to watch network television news shows. It is sometimes amazing how the public is taken for granted, or as stupid, by the main-stream news media. One of the biggest examples is the Dan Rather/ CBS News hoax with the forged George Bush National Guard papers. The documents were clearly manufactured for Rather’s agenda-directed news casts. Rather later tried to say that even though the documents were false, they were correct. What human being in their right mind would accept this patently false assertion?

Some of us write because we like to write. I am not a professional writer, but I do have an agenda which pretty much anyone can see if they read my articles. I think lots of us are the same way. We are also under the impression that our opinions can make a difference, and occasionally we are disappointed that world events don’t seem to be affected by our constant advice.

It is easy to be a blogger, but it is hard to find something significant to say. Many bloggers just comment on current items in the news. Others comment on things within their field of expertise, and still others talk about personal things, sometimes to their detriment

One thing I know is that now is the time to start a blog if you have anything to say, at all. Somebody, somewhere will read what you have to say whether they agree or not. With enough bloggers out there espousing the same message, anything can happen.

Happy blogging, everybody.

Happy New Year, Bloggers! 3

I can’t think of any past time more rewarding than writing about things I care about, and commenting to others of like mind on things of common interest. This is the way we create communities on the internet, and the way we meet and make friends in this new cyber universe.

The last year was not a lot of fun, politically, but we all learned a lot. We also made some new friends on line. These are the kind of people you would invite to your New Year’s party, or to dinner on any evening of the year. You can spot many of these friends in my blog roll in the right hand column of this blog. These are the people I read every day.

So, to all you bloggers and readers of blogs out there, I have a little advice.

1, Even though you might have had a rough time, there is almost always another chance.

2. There is never a reason to give up, even after all the votes have been counted. Never, ever give up.

3. Remember that God has made us, and we all have a purpose in this life.

4. Be thankful for what you have, and never hesitate to work and pray for victory.

We have all been blessed, some more than others. Some have special problems to handle, and others are tasked to help. I thank God for our blessings for they are many.

May all be blessed in the New Year, and I pray that we call can be winners in our individual situations.

Hey, Billy Bob. I Have Something To Say 6

I was watching the Late Show with Craig Ferguson. His guest tonight was Billy Bob Thornton, actor and author. The reason for his appearance on the show was to promote his recent book, A Cave Full Of Ghosts. The book is about Billy Bob and his bringing up in small town Arkansas, and is probably worth a read. The man undoubtedly has some interesting stories to tell.

The key thing to me was the conversation the developed between Ferguson and Thornton.

Those who were growing up in the sixties and seventies supposedly had intelligent and original things against which to rebel, or demonstrate. Smoking pot and doing other drugs came with the territory. Intellectual activity for hippies was enhanced by drugs and sex. Some would say that’s not a bad combination.

The issue was this. All the best music was written in those days, and the stuff you hear today is, well, not original. The television programs are boring and non-original in nature. Some of this stuff I will agree to, but there is still some good stuff being written. One of his complaints was about the lack of originality and creativity evident in the pop culture of today. People who think they have something to say are not that clever.

Let that be a clue as to the mentality of the show host and the guest. Pop culture is their reference, and your contribution to pop culture determines whether you are of value within the confines of that world.

Agreeing with Thornton, I don’t think that many people can find cooking programs to be that interesting. Well, when  Gaida De Laurentiis  is doing her thing in the kitchen , things are more interesting. But, I digress.

The implication from Billy Bob was that people, today, have nothing worthwhile to say. That statement absolutely floored me.

You are reading this little essay on my blog, hosted for free on WordPress.com. There are literally millions of bloggers like me using WordPress, writing about different things with differing levels of skill and creativity. In my opinion we all have something to say. Maybe in Billy Bob Thornton’s world we are lacking in skill and creativity, but you have to remember what world he inhabits. Yep, he is in that world of pop culture, sometimes called a cultural wasteland.

Thornton has been in the creativity business for decades, having written and acted in top circles for a long time. Maybe that’s the crowd he is referencing. Even at that, I believe there are millions of intelligent and creative people in the world, most of which are not in the entertainment business.

The question is this. Do you have anything to say?

Below is the YouTube video. It was apparently a re-run, having first appeared on May 22 of this year. The conversation takes place about 24 minutes into the video.

The White House Blog 3

Picture of White House, South FacadeYes, there is a White House Blog. Sometimes, it makes for interesting reading, but it was not meant for intelligent people to establish dialogs with the current Administration.

You see, the Comments are turned OFF! I understand that it would require a huge number of moderators to handle a nationwide commenting population. But, why have a blog?

At it’s most simple level a blog is a publishing machine. Anybody can publish their opinions or data on an internet blog. So, the President’s office has established this blog as one way to disseminate its opinions and positions.

The blog is dedicated to White House propaganda, and nothing more respectful can be said. How many people are the US taxpayers supporting to produce this stuff that is clearly political in nature and does not encourage discussions as most blogs purport to do? Normally, the President’s political party is charged with the cost of publishing political propaganda.

Here is an example. One of the paid bloggers, Megan Slack, a left wing writer, quoted the President in a blog article as saying, “Congress “can either stand up for oil companies, or they can stand up for the American people, …”. This is a straw-man argument. It side-steps the real issue and tries to set the focus on something else.

The President is dodging the real issue of high gasoline prices, caused in no small part by his energy policies. The prohibition against drilling for American oil resources causes the anticipated demand for oil to be increased drastically, resulting in the oil futures market reflecting high prices. It matters who is in the White House, and what the policies are.

Since the comments are turned off with the White House blog, this kind of blatant distortion is allowed to continue.

I think the White House has other reasons for not allowing comments on its blog. They are afraid that bloggers, like you and I will call their shortcomings to the nation’s attention, and they will run out of places to publish their unchallenged propaganda.

Fighting On The World-Wide-Web 4

cartoon by xkcd - somebody on the internet is wrong

Cartoon by xkcd

When I surf across a political or scientific blog, I always read the latest articles and dive into the comments. It’s the comments where you find the really juicy stuff. This is where you can have some fun. I am not talking about a flame war. Simple arguing, preferably with someone dumber than you, can be very entertaining.

In the more popular blogs, not only will you find the everyday Joe-Sixpack type of commenter, but you will also find some real heavy weights of that particular blogging genre. You really need to be careful about who you are attacking.

You can mount an attack on what you think is a relatively uninformed person, and they can wind up having a PhD in that particular subject.

Having a PhD doesn’t mean a person is correct. It just means that they can throw around credentials and category relevant words. If you are smart, you can kick some academic ass, but don’t try it unless you are really sure. Be prepared to abandon your made-up name if the PhD gets the best of you. They are smart, and won’t forget your name. They enjoy a good fight, too.

Stay away from legal blogs because lawyers don’t have any sense, and will argue in their best law school Latin. It makes for an embarrassing spectacle to try logic on these guys. They don’t get it, and will  try to use courtroom tactics to befuddle their adversaries. You can have a really trying time Googling the language they use, just to discover they don’t have a clue.

Another pain in the blog is the internet philosopher. You can tell the internet philosopher by their language and by their name-dropping. Anybody that shoves words at you like, “postmodern”, or “epistemology” is an internet philosopher. They try to dazzle you with knowledge of different branches of philosophy,or their knowledge of various philosophers from Aristotle to Descartes, to Hayek and Popper.

I don’t know anything about philosophy, so I steer clear of that kind of argument. You might consider that if somebody is busy dropping names and philosophic categories, they probably never had an independent thought. That’s their Achilles’ Heel. Keep your arguments to the physical world, and let somebody sympathetic to your side intervene and tackle the philosophy stuff. You can still win.

Most of all, if you get into a pissing contest over somebody’s arithmetic, you have just fallen into a trap. NEVER attack your opponents numbers. Chances are he has spent the last week or month getting his arithmetic right. Always look for weakness in his assumptions. That way you don’t have to do any work at all. Just dismiss all his hard work because of his mistaken assumptions, and watch the fireworks in that comment section.

I once kept an argument going for two days because I confidently asserted that my opponents assumptions were wrong. When he blasted me to offer better work, I replied that just because he couldn’t do a decent job was no reason for me to educate him. He didn’t like that, and his language degenerated into all sorts of insults. Obviously, I won because he was the one to come unglued.

The last, and one of the most important rules about getting into an internet fight is to not argue with women if you can help it.

First of all, women are smarter than men. Secondly, women have no ethics when it comes to arguments. They go for the jugular and they never forget.

Have fun on the internet. It is all sorts of fun, and you can keep your brain cooking on all burners just by some fun arguing. Never take it seriously, though.

Live is too short for peace on the internet and cheap beer.

Taking Potshots At Environmental Pubs Is Fun 7

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t spend a lot of time writing blogs for this site. I enjoy writing, but as a condition of surrender to my wife, I will no longer write long, accusatory, and inflammatory blogs about politics, no matter how bad or how wrong those other guys are. Blogging is supposed to be bad for my blood pressure.

There is a loophole.

As far as I am concerned, I am not prohibited to comment on blogs or other articles. This is important. You see, I can get online, read a bunch of blogs and articles, and comment to my heart’s content. I can say anything I want to without having to accept responsibility because I am pretty much anonymous in my commenting.

Let me give you an example. On a Saturday mornings, I might read and scan 20 to 25 blogs, and check out 50 or more articles in my Google Reader. With these articles, sometimes the newspaper or magazine will allow comments, and this is where I go bananas.  Articles in all sorts of publications accept comments, and I will close in on one or two articles that I deem really dumb, or totally out of the realm of reason. This is mostly true with environmental pubs, and I take a devilish pride in ridiculing the marshmallow intellects who believe the garbage they read there.

Mother Jones is a great pub with which to do a drive-by commenting attack. The people who hang out there are at the bottom of the intellectual food chain, and don’t have the capacity to reply in a coherent manner. Plus, the article is usually so old that nobody is reading it but me, anyway. I am assured of having the last word,

I can sometimes spend hours peppering the unsuspecting world of smaller brains with my wisdom and smart-ass comments. It is a lot of fun.

It is also a waste of time. But, I don’t get caught putting the same stuff on my own blog and violating my spouses rules to keep street language out of my writing. I suspect she knows what is going on, but as long as my words cannot be connected with her, my life is secure.

God bless the environmentalists. Without them, we would have to look long and hard to find the stupid people.