Vol. 2 No. 9

May, 2003


The Hangman Cometh

iToon on Sign of the Times

Hermit Crabbing

New! Bends & Trends

Electron Discharges

iToon on Speed Chips










The Hangman Cometh

My good friend Rocky develops web sites on the side. He has several of his own; he is proud of his techno-personna in the masses of techno-infidels. He has his own mega-blog-rant site where his vocal political views and observations have an outlet. We should have known better when he named it

I tell people that writing commentaries, essays or drawing political cartoons is cheaper than therapy. It is therapy. It is good to have an outlet to get the rage, cynical rants, anger or creative expression outside the padded walls of your skull. Blogging has become an old media hip trend. But in Rock's world, blogging is so MTV-1983. He sought out, and I readily agreed, to contribute graphics to his site.

Well, he recently concluded that he was not getting enough traffic on his site for the effort he was putting into it. Well, he could prostitute himself and increase traffic by inserting a meta-tag like Mormon porn. But in the Road to Baghdad burned out vehicle world image after the Internet mania of the late 1990s, the personal sites are done for personal reasons, not necessarily the quest for traffic. It massages the ego to know that there are people all over the world who have stumbled upon your words of wisdom. It is cool to have a web stat from a visitor from in the midst of the war as what has happened on one of my sites, That site has roots in a simple handwritten form letter twenty-three years ago to a digital desktop publication with growing weekly circulation.

So Rock has announced his intention to chill out his personal site. Hey, that's one less outlet for my creative energy!!?!!!

So what happens when sites grow old, take up too much time, or fall by the wayside when the webmaster hangs it up? I recalled that when the Internet was the new wave fad, Yahoo had on its net page cool sites, including at least one where un-updated sites, fallen by the wayside, would be listed or tombstoned. But where do dead sites go today?

A search engine quest found one, ghostsites. And ironically, the webmaster was going through the same site management pains as my friend. In January, the webmaster was looking for a way to properly bury his site on dead web pages. The reasons were simple: flaky Internet connections, money and time. But after a few months, he decided to keep his site going, for good or ill. A site dedicated to dead web sites lives on. For now.

And that is the point. Most web sites are not commercial, in-your-face, buy something screaming media billboards. Most web sites are created by individuals who want or need a place to communicate their ideas, creativity or opinions. It is also ironic that in the same month the FCC is proposing relaxing media ownership restrictions on radio-television licenses, the Internet is last bastion where anyone can publish their ideas to a wide, broadband spectrum of readers.

Net addicts united! Freedom is still a point and click away.

Postscript: why so many text links? Because Rocky complained I did not give him enough links from my sites.

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Hermit Crabbing

You may never have to leave your home again. Old credit card slogans aside, you really may never have to leave your home again. Think about it.

What do you need in order to survive? Food, shelter, income and means of communication.

You can get food delivered to your doorstep with an on-line grocer, like peapod. Need to shop: all the department stores have web sites. Cut out the middleman, and surf and buy directly from the manufacturer.

You can browser real estate listing in virtual reality pans on the net. You can apply and get an mortgage approval on-line. In fact, you can do a great deal of banking on-line: direct deposit, bill payment, tax payments-- electronic fund transfer is coming of age.

There was a trend of tele-commuting with the workplace. Employers encouraged employees to work from home, with a broadband tether to the company intranet. For working mothers, it made a great deal of sense to work from home. A happy employee is a productive employee in human resources circles. But with today's rampant unemployment, and the need to keep close contact in the workplace, telecommuting seems to have fallen off the radar screen.

So it is possible to become a human hermit crab. Have your bills come in electronic email. Pay your bills by EFT.

You can post your resume on line to find that perfect job. There are job search sites that are fully digital.

Get that dream job. Work from home. Send and receive reports via email attachments or pdf files. A telephone is a phone no matter if it is in a cubical or on your home kitchen table; a sales call is a sales call.

Want news and entertainment? Tons of sites from every major network, cable channel or affiliate. Entertainment-- you name it, it has been ported to someone's site through a search engine. Download the newest music singles. Hit a Quicktime movie trailer (those are the best parts of the movie anyway, right?) Chat rooms are non-smokey bar scene.

Yes, you can live well in your own electronic shell. You can become the ultimate Net Addict. The only downside is the lack of interpersonal relationships, one on one face time. But that is what ground delivery truck drivers are for, right?

But can one really want to live a human existence in a total virtual reality? People are addicted to Sims Online, the simulated people game. There is an entire on-line gaming community in search of the basics -- including companionship. It is kinda scary in many respects. As Rocky emailed me, the Sims community has also devised ways of killing off their Sims (starvation, stupid accidents, murder) so it does parallel real life with a MTV script.

So, how many “My Life Sucks” t-shirts do you want to order? Oh, that's right, on-line sales only so you can't try them on before purchase.


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Two separate surveys were released days a part on Internet usage. The first said that 60 percent of Americans have access and have used the Internet, a figure which has plateaued. The other survey stated that one in five Americans (20%) have no interest in using the Net, ever. The potential growth of users appears to be leveling off.

A front row seat of the Iraqi War coverage could be reasonably had from your office computer as CNN, FoxNews and MSNBC websites devoted extensive space to the real time cable coverage of the events. The interactive mapping, and quick links to photoglossaries of equipment, planes, arms and information shows the power of the medium in accessing pure information.

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Electron Discharges

Random thoughts:

There is a thread on the web about the Libertarian Party. There is a thread going around the Web that the Libertarians are looking for a home. A real home. A state where the true die-hard party members are willing to move to in order to maximize their collective voting power. Some of the independent, but sparsely populated States in the polling include Alaska, Montana, the Dakotas. The Libertarians are a third political party that have won some state and local elections in the past twenty years. However, the major parties usually steal their best campaign ideas, or tear down the one to three percent national vote as being a wasted tally. So the Libertarians have decided to band together, literally. There is a movement to vote on where all the Libertarians should move to so they can control an entire state with their platform. The camp is looking for independent thinking states, like Montana, Alaska, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire or a Dakota as a nice place to move thousands of eager voters. Sometime this summer, there will be a member vote on where people would like to move to. Several thousand have pledged to do the Move. Not since the North and South flooded voters into Bloody Kansas has a political movement decided to concentrate their electorate in one state to get their majority rule.

In corporate governance, one share equals one vote. Capitalism in action is the annual shareholder election. As a disgruntled Apple shareholder, I voted against the board's nomination of Al Gore to directorship. And I did it via the web. Nice, more irony.

The Federal Trade Commission has found that two-thirds of all email spam contains false or misleading information, usually in the email description. The marketers are on the run from the regulators. First, the federal no-call lists are coming into effect. Second, the FTC is going to seek out the spammers with civil penalties. However, it is just easier not to open unknown email and delete it than to have hundreds of Washington bureaucrats try to legislate a solution.

I got that factory fresh Urge CD via the net delivered last month. The e-commerce search to get that one tune out of my head is over. As a bonus, the CD actually had two more (i.e. better) tracks that I had forgotten about.


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