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It was 15 years ago today that I put forth my very first website and man was it a load of crap. It was hosted a crappy hosts like Tripod and Geocities. It had long ugly URLs and even the dreaded dripping blood animated gif. Little did I know where that mess of HTML banged out on an archaic device known as a WebTV would take me.
It would start out with something that I wrote being splashed across the front page of the Washington Post in inflammatory tones. That would lead to me being interviewed my Canadian media after it was discovered that a Montreal murderer visited my site before he killed. Then I would be recognized by national media outlets like TIME and Rolling Stone for trying to keep social networks safer. Then finally being on CNN and CBS News being warning the country about the inherent dangers of online classifieds. It sounds more impressive than it really is.
I’ve been fortunate and grateful to have such wonderful opportunities to be recognized on a large stage in a small way. I couldn’t have done any of it without my readers of course, some of whom have become friends in the real world.
Where will it go from here? Who knows. But even after 15 years I still feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what I’d like to accomplish.
So I received my latest cease and desist letter from some lawyer today. Basically on one of my blogs I called his client into question who may or may have not been a child predator. One of the requests the shyster made was for me to remove the post. Fine.
I’m not opposed to removing the occasional post. If it’s what I call a filler post and is just there to take up space and is not a major story I’ll consider removing it that is if the parties involve ask politely. If the man in question had just asked nicely I probably would have removed the post with no problem. But no, this tool needs to go get a lawyer and send me a C&D. It will be framed with the rest of them. It makes me feel like I’m doing my job. Anyway, long story short (too late) I removed the post because I really don’t feel like being sued whether or not the suit has no merit.
However one of the other requests that was made was that I offer an apology to the man in question and leave it posted on the site for 30 days. I’ll be damned if I post an apology to a man whom I believe to be a serial child predator even though he’s never been jailed. You can make me remove a blog post but it will be the coldest day in hell when I apologize to an ‘alleged’ pedophile.
If you’re a blogger and you have a chance to attend a Wordcamp do it. If you do go I strongly urge you to take at least two things, a notebook (like an actual notebook that you write on), and business cards. If you don’t have business cards get them printed up before you go. I lost count how many people asked me for a card and I felt like a total dweeb not having them.
It was great to meet a lot of area bloggers and connect with them. I wish I could have remembered everyone’s name. Unfortunately I have a mind like a wiffle ball. My Asus EEE PC, aka The Stealth Computer, was a real conversation starter too. It was weird having people ask me questions about my blogs only because I’m not used to wearing my blogger pants in public.
The highlight of Wordcamp for me was Mark Jaquith. Not only did he give us an in-depth preview of WordPress 2.7 but the best part was that he knew who I was. Granted we both do work for b5media but still it was immensely cool.
There was an afterparty at Ri-Ra but of about 120 participants at Wordcamp only 6 went to the afterparty.
Can we please get a standard export format for blogs. If I want to export from WordPress to Serendipity or vice versa I should be able to without having to chew off my arm in frustration. Keeping bloggers trapped to your format doesn’t help anyone.
I saw an ad not too long ago that Today.com was hiring bloggers for just about any subject. I almost applied until I clicked a link to one of their posts and saw the following as an ad on their site…
Click Here 100% Free Hardcore Porn Videos!
I’ll do almost anything to get paid to blog, except take porn money. Believe it or not I do have some standards.
Yes it’s true. If you haven’t heard by now yours truly was interviewed by Sean Woods of Rolling Stone magazine and the interview is in the current issue with Borat on the cover. It tells the story of how I got started doing this and of my brush with Kimveer Gill. It really is an interesting read and I’m not saying that just because I’m the subject. Mr. Woods also gives a list of what he calls the best crime blogs on the net including MyCrimeSpace, Steve Huff’s CrimeBlog.us, Mark Gribben’s The Malefactor’s Register, and Kim Cooper’s, Larry Harnisch’s, and Nathan Marsak’s 1947project.
Steve Huff also gave mention to some of his favorite crime blogs that he felt deserved attention. I’m going to add some more to both of those lists…
We here in the states are pretty much ignorant to the crime going on in other countries and we’ve kind of gotten the impression that our friendly neighbors to the north are virtually crime free. Not so says our good friend Harding who focuses and writes very eloquently about crime in Toronto.
Crime in Charlotte
This blog is about the crime happenings in my own town of Charlotte, North Carolina. It is written by a woman who was the victim of crime herself and who is very frustrated about the revolving door policy of the local courts. The Recent Arrests feature, complete with mugshots and arrest records, is my favorite.
By one of the masters of blogging himself Jay Allen. This blog focuses on some of the stupid and sometimes downright evil acts parents can perpetrate on their children.
Bonnie is a virtual packrat when it comes to crime news. When a crime story breaks that piques her interest you can bet that she’ll have all the links you’ll need for that crime.
Now this isn’t to say that any of the other blogs on the blogroll are any better or worse. As a matter of fact all the blogs on the true crime blogroll are worth reading.
Here are some other mentions about the article:
This is a great article from FindLaw about blogging, students, and the First Amendment and whether or not schools can punish students for blog posts they make at home. And I’m not saying it’s a great article because I get a mention in it. 😀 I hear a lot of cries of “But..but..but it’s free speech and its protected by the First Amendment”. Well now hopefully this article should clear a few things up…
Cases Where Postings Violate the Law, or Provide Evidence of Its Violation
These sites – though a boon to students in many ways – have also raised their share of problems. And some of the problems may also involve torts, or violations of the criminal law.
In some instances, students engage in cyber-bullying — making critical remarks about other students or teachers. If these postings are factual, false, and damaging, they may count as defamation. The sites cannot be sued: Under a key provision of the Communications Decency Act, web intermediaries – those who merely allow others to post their own comments and photos – are not liable for defamation. But the authors can be.
Sometimes postings may be evidence of law-violation: In photos, underage subjects may be shown in sexually provocative poses, or shown smoking or drinking, or holding firearms. For instance, a 16-year-old boy in Jefferson, Colorado was arrested after police — having seen pictures on his MySpace page in which he was holding handguns – found the weapons in his home. And in late April, police reportedly intercepted a Columbine-style plot in Kansas on the basis of a threatening email posted on MySpace.com.
And sometimes postings may themselves violate the law – making criminal threats, or constituting harassment. In Costa Mesa, California, twenty students were suspended from TeWinkle Middle School for two days for participating in a MySpace group where one student allegedly threatened to kill another and made anti-Semitic remarks.
So let this be a lesson to you that not all speech is protected under the First Amendment. And if you’re in a private school you’re out of luck.
Since it’s Friday and hardly anyone reads this between Friday and Sunday I’m doing this for my own benefit.
This is a call to all blog software developers. You may think that your blog software is the greatest but it’s not. What we need is some standards across all blog software platforms.
Importing and Exporting: Stop locking people into your software. You may think that people would never stop using your software but there’s always another software around the corner that just might be better than yours. Since most blogs will import entries from Movable Type I think they should all export in the MT format as well. Right now I’m stuck in WordPress. Not that there’s anything wrong with WP but I just don’t like being tied in to one software format. I’ve tried the WP to MT export scripts but so far I have yet to get one to import properly.
Subscribing to comments: When I leave a comment on someone else’s blog it’s nice to receive an e-mail when someone else replies to it. A lot of blog developers think this is unnecessary and an RSS reader should be used instead. That’s all well and good but more people don’t use RSS readers than do. Plus I don’t want a line in my RSS reader for each comment I’ve subscribed to. I’ve left thousands of comments on hundreds of blogs. I don’t want a line on my RSS reader for each of those comments that I’ve left. This is a standard feature on PMachine and Serendipity. A plugin is available for WordPress. There used to be one for MT but since they went to 3.0 I don’t know.
Permalinks: The URL’s to blog entries should be uniform so when someone moves from one platform to another their URL’s will stay the same. Personally I think WordPress’ URL’s are the best. It goes domain/archives/date/entry-title. Seems simple enough to implement.
Toggle options: While the developers may think something is a great option or feature the user may not. Since I’m not a PHP or Perl guru I would rather just click a button to turn a function on or off and not have to alter any code. For example in WordPress if you want a pop-up comment window you have to remove part of the code. Granted it’s labeled real easily within the code but I’d rather not mess with the code. In Serendipity trackbacks are automatically pinged whether you want them to be or not. To turn it off you have to alter the code. While I may be comfortable doing that someone else may not be.
Not that any of these platforms are bad, with the possible exception of MT 3.0, but I just think there should be some kind of blog industry standards. Trust me if I had the time to learn how to write scripts I would at least try to develop my own. (Hmmmm. TrenchBlog? Trenchpress? Movable Trench?)