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Right, where was I?

Right, where was I?

It’s here!
My new blogging home is taking shape and I’d love you to go over there and check it out in situ, so you can give me your first impressions of my creative efforts.

It is still in the development stage at the moment, but it will be up and running very soon.

Just click where it says “Return of the Internet Nobody”…

RETURN OF THE INTERNET NOBODY

So here we are on a brand new blog, which I’ve decided to call Return of the Internet Nobody, because it didn’t appear to be broken, so I didn’t fix it. Well, I did give myself a definite article, by way of a promotion.

The Internet Nobody sounds a bit more important than just being any old nobody and I have been at this blogging lark for over five years now, so I figured I deserved some recognition, even if it was only from myself.

I’m still in the process of tinkering with the overall layout of this blog, so you’ll notice new pages and widgets being added over the next few weeks, because it’s always fun to play with new toys. In fact, the whole point of this post is so I can see what it looks like when I add new content over the top of my…

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Budget blogging, maxed out media and the Next Big Step…

I would have liked to begin this post with a nice, eye-catching photo, but I can’t, because, as of yesterday, Diary of an Internet Nobody is full.

I suppose I realised, in a tangential, vague sort of way, that there was a limit to the number of media files I could upload on my free WordPress plan, but I hadn’t actually considered what reaching that limit would result in.

Now I know.

No. More. Pictures.

I really don’t like the sound of that, not at all.

When I first started blogging, five years ago, I had no idea what I would do with my own little corner of the internet; it was just another experiment in what could be achieved with my trusty phone, a void to shout nonsense into, in the hope someone would listen.

But it evolved, it grew extra parts, it multiplied, it spawned siblings and bred with other blogs to produce interesting hybrids, it settled into its own comfortable space in the blogosphere and started to enjoy itself. It discovered there was more to being a blog than just words.

The most enjoyable extraliterary elements, for me anyway, are the photography/video/animation projects, which have continued to evolve as smartphone technology rapidly develops more complex apps and software, enabling me to dabble in almost any medium I fancy, for just a few quid or, more often than not, for free.

I have always loved taking pictures, ever since I was a kid, (although I’ve never owned anything more complicated than a 35mm point and shoot “instamatic” camera) so finding a phone which could produce high resolution photos and video was a big step in upping my game. And because the smartphone became my weapon of choice for blogging, it seemed only natural that I should employ it in the photographic phase of my own personal creative renaissance, too.

Meaning that, the more I got into blogging, the more photography I did.

And the more photography I did, the more I wanted to show off my newly-found skills and improvised audio visual experiments, to the point that I began a whole new blog to showcase my creative efforts.

However, Diary of an Internet Nobody was my first and proudest blogging achievement and I ended up wanting to post everything on here, for all you lovely people to admire and/or recoil from, depending on the vicissitudes of my oeuvre.

All of which creative outpourings have led to my current situation, a blog with no space left for further photographic adventures.

Which, as I see it, leaves me with four main options:

1 – Continue the blog, but with no pictures (not an option I’m willing to contemplate).

2 – Move to a paid WordPress plan, doubling my storage space in one go and gaining still more space by “optimising” media file sizes for future uploads (something to consider, although it means a double compromise; I have always promised myself that blogging would remain as cost-free as possible, as I cannot justify spending much-needed funds on what is, when all is said and done, a hobby. Plus, I don’t like the idea of lowering the resolution or quality of images I use on the blog, simply so I can add more of them) And what happens if I suddenly can’t afford to pay for it in a few years, will my lovingly crafted, lavishly illustrated journal of gibberish just cease to be?

3 – Delete old posts with photos in and/or link to copies of those posts on Photo Sans Frontiers, or possibly even use a completely new blog to archive photo posts in their entirety.

4 – Draw a line under this blog completely and leave it for anyone who wants to nose around it as it floats, adrift and rudderless in cyberspace.
Then I’d start a whole new free blog, carry on where I left off, possibly transferring my custom domain name to the new site (not that I’m even sure this is possible, so if anyone has any experience in such matters…?) and hope that I can persuade my loyal followers to…well, follow me, to pastures new.

Any thoughts?

I’ll have to make the decision soon, because I have a Cosmic Photo prompt to set on Friday and I’d like to be able to take part in my own feature, so if you would like to wade in with any advice, now’s your chance to help decide the fate of the blog you’ve gone to all this trouble to read.

 
 

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Just Jot It January: Day twenty…

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I’m beginning to think that Just Jot It January is some sort of jinx, what with all the public figures dropping dead left, right and centre.

Just in the last week or so we’ve lost David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Alan Rickman and Dale Griffin from Mott the Hoople, and now I wake up to the terrible news that Queen Elizabeth has passed away.

Apparently she was taken ill with a nasty case of hypothermia whilst snowboarding in the back garden at Balmoral yesterday and died later from complications resulting from overdoing the Jaegerbombs in an attempt to warm up.
Prince King Charles has asked that the royal family be allowed their privacy in this, his hour of celebration grief.

Ok, that’s not actually true.

But how many of you stopped reading in shock after the first paragraph and googled “Queen Elizabeth dead”?

I’m hoping very few of you, because I like to think my readers are somewhat brighter than that (plus, you probably noticed that this post was tagged “hoaxes”; a bit of a giveaway in itself) and you don’t just automatically believe something on the basis that “it’s on the internet, so it must be true”.

But not everyone online has your finely-tuned analytical faculties (or “bullshit detectors” as I prefer to think of them) and many people will indeed take anything they see as they cruise the information superhighway as the gospel truth.

Facebook appears to be one of the most densely packed credibility minefields for the gullible to pick their way through, with idiotic memes and nonsensical “facts” being posted almost every day by the less discerning web surfer.

I could understand if these cheeky attempts to con people into believing rubbish were in some way humorous or satirical, (it’s easy enough to manufacture reasonably convincing spoofs these days, with all the gadgets, apps and simple technology available to us at the touch of a button) here’s one that took me two minutes to make just now…

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…but so many of the allegedly plausible posts I see scrolling past, often posted by friends I know to be intelligent and articulate in any other situation, are so demonstrably bollocks that it amazes me they manage to get through anyone’s bullshit filter without setting off all the alarms on first reading.

For instance, here’s a perennial favourite, the inane response to a con that I’m sure you’ve seen on the Facebook newsfeed, one which seems to do the rounds on a regular basis;

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Now, I understand that unchecked optimism can lead to the odd lapse in judgement, but surely nobody realistically believes that Mr Zuckerberg got rich by randomly giving his money away to strangers, (especially when he has all those diapers and babysitters to pay for) so what makes anyone think it’s even worth reposting this stuff?

And then there are things like this next one, which I really can’t get my head round.

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Why somebody would fabricate this sort of pseudo-medical nonsense to start with is completely beyond me.
Apart from anything else, there is a very real risk of someone actually taking it seriously and, relying on the idea that, if you get chest pains the best thing to do is have a nice refreshing glass of water and go to bed, could very well result in you waking up dead.

Not all of these memes are dangerous of course.
How about the much-reproduced post that claims to be the “last words of Steve Jobs”..?

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…it isn’t exactly malicious, but I doubt his loved ones appreciate their deceased friend or family member’s image being hijacked, in order to service some personal agenda or bid for notoriety.

And yet thousands of people have unthinkingly shared it without even the slightest suspicion that, amongst other things;
a) as a confirmed atheist, Jobs was unlikely to be thinking of God at all, let alone giving him column inches in his epitaph,
b) he would have posted something that was written with such peculiar phrasing and grammar (particularly given Jobs’ well documented perfectionism), or
c) he had such a long and cheesy speech ready to quote at the last minute, even if he’d had the strength or inclination to self-eulogize to such an extent anyway.

Jobs isn’t the only victim of posthumous image fraud of course, there are many others whose pictures have been manipulated for fun or mischief, (like my Dr MLK meme at the start of this post) the best known of which is probably one of the variations on photos of Albert Einstein…

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…and, most recently, this photo of the late, great David Bowie and his old mate, Lemmy…

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…which is a nice piece of fan-generated wish fulfillment, but the original photo featured Lemmy and his French girlfriend.

So, how do you avoid the crushing disappointment/cringing embarrassment of posting something that is less realistic than The Donald’s hairline?
You use Snopes of course, either that or Hoax Slayer, that way you can post away to your heart’s content and not worry about being ridiculed by your online peers for a Facebook faux-pas.

I know a lot of you are thinking; “What a patronising bastard, we’re not stupid you know!”, but there is at least one person reading this who will be glad of a fact checker (you know who you are, hahaha) and I’m sure they’ll make good use of it in the future too.

#JusJoJan

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Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Timed out…

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I may as well give up any pretence at having these posts qualify for Linda G Hill’s regular Stream of Consciousness Saturday feature, because I never seem to get them in on time. This week’s excuse reason for tardiness is my rapidly deteriorating internet signal, courtesy of my mobile phone “provider” (although they don’t seem to be providing very much at the moment) so let’s just hope I can post this, once I’ve written it.
This week’s prompt was “ready”.

Here goes…

Timed Out.

Eric.

Eric Kraus stared at the blinking yellow, “NOT READY” light on his internet modem for the fiftieth time in five minutes and swore under his breath.
Where the bloody hell was that sodding repairman? He’d called them nearly three hours ago, they were bloody useless.

He abruptly stood up and stamped into the kitchen of his tiny seventh floor apartment, banging cupboards and slamming drawers, taking out his frustration on inanimate objects while he waited for the kettle to boil.

Eric poured himself a cup from the brew of cheap, bitter coffee he’d been reduced to drinking lately, sipping it whilst gazing blankly into the mostly empty fridge, before closing the door and trudging back into the living room/bedroom/office, sitting down in front of his monitor and jiggling the mouse in that universal, impatient manner of computer users everywhere.

The screen saver materialised and he clicked on the cloud storage icon marked “Novel”, opening the manuscript he’d spent the previous six weeks editing, only now happy that the final draft could be sent to his publisher.

And stared.

Then he stared some more, just to be sure.

The page was blank.

At the top, an innocuous little red banner said;
“Auto-refresh failed. Server session timed out, please check your internet connection and try again.”

“No! No no no no no No!

No, this couldn’t be, he couldn’t have lost it.
Two years work! Six hellish weeks of rewrites and editing!
He frantically clicked the refresh button, willing his words to reappear on the empty expanse of white, but to no avail.

Eric felt the rage building up inside him.
He stood up, his chair toppling backwards onto the cluttered coffee table behind him, sending the accumulated pile of unwashed plates, take-out containers and beer cans in all directions, though he barely registered the sound of smashing crockery, so consumed was he with incandescent fury that his masterpiece had been wiped from existence in one split second by that…that, thing!

His enraged glare fell on the implacable, blinking yellow light, still silently proclaiming that the modem was NOT READY to connect him to the internet, then on his out of date, obsolete computer tower, not even capable of doing something as simple as saving his manuscript reliably, hence his initially hesitant decision to upload it to “The Cloud”, whatever the hell that was.

Eric looked down at his desk for a moment, then calmly picked up the unfinished cup of horrible coffee and, very deliberately, poured it into the back of his monitor, taking great satisfaction in the loud bang and acrid smoke that followed.

He ripped the cables from the tower unit, picked it up, marched across the room and unceremoniously dumped the whole thing out the window.
He didn’t even stop to watch, but was rewarded a few seconds later by the resounding crash as it smashed on the vacant lot next to his apartment block.

Eric stood in the middle of his trashed room for a minute or two, quietly sniveling, then he pulled himself together, shrugged into his leather jacket, grabbed his wallet and went out to get drunk, slamming the door behind him.
Remembering there was construction work in progress on the ground floor, he ignored the elevators and took the stairs, leaving through the rear door and making for the nearest bar.

Several hours and more than a few drinks later, Eric weaved his way back from whichever dive he’d finished his crawl in, returning via the front entrance now the workmen had left for the night.
He was standing, gently swaying, as he waited for the elevator, when he heard footsteps crossing the half-completed lobby.

When he turned, he saw two serious-looking policeman, one of whom held out his identification and said;
“Mr Kraus, Eric Kraus?” Eric nodded, a puzzled frown beginning to form on his already befuddled face, “Eric Kraus, I am arresting you for the murder of Michael Fleming, you do not have to say anything, but anything you do say….”

“What? What?!” Eric couldn’t deal with this, not today, of all days, “What the bloody hell are you on about? And who the hell is Michael Fleming?”

Michael.

The afternoon traffic was terrible, the heat was horrible, the pollen count was making his head feel like it was stuffed with glue and cotton wool and then, to top it all off, he had to go and deal with ignorant shitheads like this – he glanced at the job sheet on the seat next to him – Eric fucking Kraus, some idiot customer who had already rung three times, each time ruder than the last, whining about his bloody modem not connecting. He was betting it was because the cheap bastard used some budget price provider with a crappy signal and there was nothing wrong with his computer at all.

Some people, thought Michael Fleming, I.T. genius and all round computer whizz-kid, some people need turning off and then not turning back on again.
He chuckled at his own joke as he inched forward another few yards and after ten minutes he finally pulled over outside the address on his clipboard and climbed out, retrieving his case and locking the van.
He walked up to the entrance, but there appeared to be work going on, a large hoarding with apologies from the building firm for any inconvenience and advice to use the rear entrance during work hours.

Michael took a step back, looked up at the front of the tall block and consulted his clipboard again, noticing for the first time that the shithead Kraus lived on the seventh floor.

“Oh great, that means bloody stairs I suppose,” he saw that there was an empty lot to the left of the building and started walking around that way, looking for the rear door, “why can’t all the fucking idiots live on the first floor…”

Michael Fleming had still been grumbling about moronic customers when he was struck by a computer tower, travelling at what forensic experts later calculated to be approximately eighty miles per hour.

That evening, in a badly disheveled room on the seventh floor, a small yellow light went out and was replaced by a green one that said “READY”.

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The blog now leaving from platform two…

Greetings.
I hope you all had a successful and hangover-free new year.
For myself, since boxing day I have been – and still am – suffering from a particularly virulent form of flu-like unpleasantness, coupled with a nasty chest infection.

I did attempt to go to work last week, on the first day back after the Christmas break, but I felt so dreadful that I came home after just three hours.
For the next few days I diligently drank plenty of fluids, ate all the right foods, and blanket-bombed the germs with cold remedies, decongestants and ibuprofen, all to no avail. If anything I felt even worse by the end of the weekend, finally giving in and going to the doctor on Monday to beg for antibiotics. He cheerfully informed me that there was indeed “something nasty going around”, managing to imply that any other details would be beyond my medically-untrained ability to understand.
Or maybe he just didn’t know.

Whichever it was, he wrote me a prescription for amoxicillin and gave me a week’s certificate for work, helpfully saying; “It would probably go away on it’s own after two or three weeks, but I expect you want to get better don’t you?”
Well, yes that’s why I came to see you, you’re a doctor.

Anyway, the result of this enforced house-arrest is that I’ve had nothing to do but sit under a blanket, alternately shivering and sweating, whilst reading or surfing the net on my new tablet.
You’d have thought that this would be an ideal excuse to knock out a whole batch of blog posts, but when it feels like someone has poured warm glue into your sinuses and stuffed any remaining space in your head with cotton wool, the creative process tends to grind to a halt.

By yesterday however, my brain – if not my other organs – had recovered sufficiently for me to attempt some sort of writing so
I took the opportunity to look into something I’d been interested in for a while.

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There is a website that I’ve followed ever since I got myself online a few years ago called io9 (tagline; We come from the future) which posts daily updates on science, science fiction and fantasy, space and astronomy, and loads of culture and media stories in the same vein.
What I have always liked about the site are the discussion threads that accompany the articles, populated as they are by a community of quick witted, occasionally snarky and frequently very funny commenters.
I’ve always fancied having a go at commenting on the site and I have now discovered that in order to do so (and also to comment on other Gawker Media sites), one needs to register on a blogging platform called Kinja.

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This is all new to me so I set up a profile – which was simple enough, logging in via my Facebook account – and straight away managed to start a discussion on an io9 post about upcoming sci-fi TV shows.

In case you’re interested, here’s the article I commented on. You may need to scroll through the comments to find my screen name (dalecooper57). To expand the whole conversation, click the little square icon next to the number of participants.

CLICK THIS LINK.

This alone gave me some considerable sense of achievement, internet novice that I am, but now I needed to investigate the blogging side of this new platform.
Their useful help section informed me that my blog profile would display the articles I commented on, along with any posts that I cared to publish myself. I assume that the only people who will see these posts will be fellow Kinja users who decide to follow me or people who click through to my profile via discussions that I comment on.

Having said that I also have you, my lovely readers to rely on.
So if this new side project takes off I shall post notifications on Diary of an Internet Nobody with links to my Kinja blog, in the same way as I have with previous guest posts for other blogs (apologies to Lanthie and Matt at Life Cherries and Ramblings of a semi-mad man, I’ve been neglecting my duties of late, I’ll get round to writing something for you soon)

So with that in mind, I’d like to share the first post on my Kinja blog, (which is currently self-titled) introducing myself to a whole new community.

May I present: In at the geek end…

Please take a look round the site and tell me what you think. (Sorry about the brain-frying gif at the top of the post, I did think better of it after posting, but I can’t work out how to delete it)

And if anyone has any experience of Kinja, any and all advice would be gratefully received.
Thanks.

[Logos taken from Google images and used without permission]

 

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To live and die in cyberspace…

It’s strange to think that an entire generation will grow up without having known a world which wasn’t cocooned inside the World Wide Web, everyone on the planet only a mouse-click or screen-tap away from everyone else.
And all that time, they’ll be documenting, photographing, tweeting, sharing, and yes, blogging, about every detail of their lives.

For example, here I am writing this post, the act of consigning these very words to virtual perpetuity frozen in the technological amber of our age.

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And everyone that comes into the world from this moment on has the opportunity to chronicle their whole existence, from cradle to grave, laid out on the global slab of the Internet for all to see, if they so wish.

But how wary should we be of committing our every experience, wish, and desire to the memory of the great hivemind?

In this age of surveillance, cyber crime and identity theft, how wise is it to have every detail of your life available to anyone with a laptop or smartphone?

(I’m well aware of the irony of this question, given my insistence on using my trusty phone for all things web-related, but I do so fully conscious that anything I don’t want people to see, I shouldn’t put online)

There are obviously a great many advantages to being so instantly connected to the rest of humanity.
The support that can be given to friends and family in times of strife is greatly enhanced by the ability to chat and interact via e-mail and on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

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I myself largely discovered Facebook after using the site to communicate with old friends during the sad time following the death of a close mutual friend a couple of years ago, and it does encourage you to stay in touch.
I also have a friend overseas who is currently going through a rough time after the death of a loved one, and I know that she will have many online friends to rely on for support in the days ahead.

Parents separated by mere distance can share in the moment of their child’s birth via the wonder of technology.

Wherever you choose to tie the knot, pictures of the happy couple’s big day can be beamed around the planet quicker than you can say “Squeeze together at the back please”

Or, if any of you have a lot of show business friends, you could always stage a massively successful viral video marriage proposal extravaganza, like Isaac did.

And, believe it or not, you can now even attend a funeral via the Internet.

But where will it stop?
We still have the distinctly sci-fi, and slightly sinister Google Glass to be rolled out to the masses, after being test driven by the elite few who managed to grab a pair of the ultra-high-tech cyber-goggles on their initial release.

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“Yay!  Now my friends can see me go to the toilet” – A Glassing victim, yesterday.

Theoretically, you will now be able to record your every millisecond of consciousness, in super-surround-sound-360º-high-definition-3D-holo-vision.
In a few hundred years, anthropological archaeology will be a dying art, you’ll be able to dial up entire life experiences to answer any questions you have about the past.

Having grown up without the all-encompassing interconnectedness of everything, it’s a pleasant novelty to make friends with people on the other side of the globe, even knowing I will almost certainly never meet them. But a new generation will come to take this for granted, forging lifelong relationships with people many thousands of miles away, most of whom will remain nothing more than lines of computer code floating in the ether.

Ultimately, this new era of global interaction between people of different cultures, races, and religions could lead to a less prejudiced, more tolerant society.

Just as long as we can put that into practice in the real world too…

 
 

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