This is a quick 'n' dirty placeholder for a personal homepage, which syndicates the most recent posts from my Google+ feed Posterous blog and shared articles from Google Reader. Real homepage coming when I get around to it.


Thu, 29 Jan 2015 04:46:37 +0100

Just one of the reasons copyright needs to be reformed: Fox used the DMCA to have lawfully hosted copies of Cory Doctorow's book Homeland taken offline, because they couldn't be bothered to distinguish his book from their TV show.

#copyrightreform #copyright

Tue, 27 Jan 2015 19:42:39 +0100

Google+ Does Not Respect You or Your Content

A few months back, I shared a brief comment and a link to a new stock trading app for the iPhone, Robin Hood, on Google+. The link I shared happened to be a referral link (the kind that gets you moved up a queue of interested beta users, not the kind you get paid for, but that's not really important). Now, as it turns out, sharing referral links violates Google+'s terms of service, so this post was hidden from public view. So far, so good. It's Google's playground, they have the right to set the rules they want; and if some of those rules are designed to cut down on spam, I really don't have a problem with that.

Here's the part I do have a problem with: When I wrote that post, all indications were that it would display normally. I don't know whether the referral link was automatically recognized immediately or if the determination was made by a Google employee at a later date, but either way, as soon as they decided to refuse to display content I had published through them, I should have been notified. That's just a matter of basic respect for your users.

Instead, I only discovered by accident a couple days ago when I was hunting through my old posts for something else and I saw a small red banner attached to one. At that point, I was just a little annoyed that I hadn't been notified, but I was in for a real shock when I clicked the tiny link in the corner for more info.

That's when I found out Google is going to delete my post, apparently without any notification. They had marked it as a TOS violation, hidden it, and put it in line to be permanently deleted unless I filed a dispute within the next few weeks... And done all of this without notifying me, thus giving me no reasonable opportunity to dispute their decision – Or even just to save a copy of my work elsewhere before they destroy it. I had to go looking through my old posts, notice the note attached to this particular one, and click on a small info link to discover their plans.

It's not like my profile looks like a spam bot. This might be a little bit more understandable with a brand new account, or one where the majority of posts contained referral links. But I've been posting regularly on Google+ since it first launched in 2011; I've written hundreds of posts over nearly 4 years, and this is the first one they've had an issue with. Couldn't they extend the benefit of the doubt far enough to just let me know about their decision? Of course, to be fair, I should say this is the first time that I know of. Now I have to question how much other writing that I've entrusted to Google+ may have been secretly, irretrievably destroyed.

Deleting a user's content without so much as notification or a reasonable opportunity to dispute the action is a huge and absolutely unacceptable violation of the user's trust. It shows Google has no respect for us, the content we trust them to publish for us, or the time and effort we put into creating that content.

I've been considering setting up a proper blog for some time, and now it seems I have no choice.

Sun, 25 Jan 2015 18:19:57 +0100

Anybody have any experience with the Madison Writers' Studio?

#writing #Madison

Sat, 24 Jan 2015 18:16:55 +0100

Don't tweet angry. You'll die young...

Sat, 24 Jan 2015 06:06:15 +0100

This is one of those articles you really need to take the time to read all the way through. +Kevin C.'s quote below is an interesting detail, but it's hardly the most important point.The real lesson is that there's a lot of research showing that the commonly accepted concept of what addiction is, is just plain wrong. If I were to choose the most salient quote, it would be this:"This discovery is a profound challenge both to the right-wing view that addiction is a moral failing caused by too much hedonistic partying, and the liberal view that addiction is a disease taking place in a chemically hijacked brain. In fact, he argues, addiction is an adaptation. It's not you. It's your cage."Not convinced? Try this tidbit: During the Vietnam War, around 20% of American soldiers became addicted to heroin, supposedly one of the most addictive drugs known to man. Upon returning home, 95% of those soldiers quit cold turkey. Most of them didn't even need rehab.How is that possible? Because addiction is not what we've been told it is. Read the article to learn more. #psychology #addiction #drugaddiction #endthedrugwar #endthewarondrugs

Original Post from Kevin C.:

"The results of all this are now in. An independent study by the British Journal of Criminology found that since total decriminalization, addiction has fallen, and injecting drug use is down by 50 percent. I'll repeat that: injecting drug use is down by 50 percent. Decriminalization has been such a manifest success that very few people in Portugal want to go back to the old system. The main campaigner against the decriminalization back in 2000 was Joao Figueira, the country's top drug cop. He offered all the dire warnings that we would expect from the Daily Mail or Fox News. But when we sat together in Lisbon, he told me that everything he predicted had not come to pass -- and he now hopes the whole world will follow Portugal's example."

Sat, 17 Jan 2015 17:54:47 +0100

Fascinating article on how the Internet has destroyed the illusion of "mainstream" society, but also led to increasing social fragmentation, and where this may ultimately read.

Sun, 11 Jan 2015 20:08:04 +0100

Original Post from Andy Brokaw:

I don't have much to add here. I probably wouldn't have contributed to this project if I'd been aware of it before it was taken down, largely because the rewards don't seem that great unless maybe you're already a big fan of the author, but also because I'm more hesitant to back books that aren't written yet. But why she was criticized to the point of taking down the project and removing herself from Twitter boggles my mind.

The one time I did a Kickstarter was for Pride, Prejudice, and Curling Rocks. I set my goal for the minimum I needed to produce the product. In this case, that was editing and art expenses. Had I also needed money to live on while producing the book and wouldn't have been able to complete the work because I'd be too busy at another job otherwise, incorporating that into the goal would not have struck me as horrific though.

Sun, 11 Jan 2015 02:19:20 +0100

Interesting perspective...


Sun, 04 Jan 2015 06:36:11 +0100

Watched the indie quasi-romantic dramedy Good Dick. Thought it made for a pretty decent character study of a couple of damaged and offbeat individuals, but the character arcs that were hinted at were never fully developed, so it failed to achieve a real climax. Oh well.

#movies #review  

Wed, 31 Dec 2014 02:26:31 +0100