Tuesday, January 17, 2012

SOPA and PIPA Protest

Starting at midnight tonight and lasting 24 hours, many websites will be participating in Internet Blackout Day in protest of SOPA and PIPA. This includes such internet juggernauts as Wikipedia and Boing Boing. Even celebrities are getting involved and having their sites and blogs go dark for this time period. 

Even though Google is showing its support tomorrow for Internet Blackout Day, it does not plan to go dark, and therefore my blog will still be viewable. However, I will not be posting here, or at Together, We're Better. Nor will I participate in social media - G+, Facebook, Twitter, etc. 

If these bills are allowed to pass, sites like mine won't exist. Many sites you enjoy wouldn't exist, create, share, and participate on won't exist. And more importantly, these bills aren't going to stop piracy. All they will do is function to bring the internet to a screeching halt. Art, entertainment, social networking, information, and education, all inaccessible because people in government know very little about the internet and the people who use it.

If stopping SOPA and PIPA are important to you, please contact your Congressional representatives. Ohio Senators are:

Sherrod Brown - 202-224-2315 
Robert Portman -  202-224-3353 

Ohio Representatives can be found at this govtrack.us link. All other state representatives can be found here.
Tomorrow, please use the time you'd be spending on the internet to contact your elected officials instead. Let your voice be heard about SOPA and PIPA. 

See you on Thursday. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

Last week PostSecret had to pull its app from the Apple app store. PostSecret curator Frank Warren posted a notice about it on the blog last week. Since PS doesn't archive its posts, I have copy and pasted it here for everyone to see:
It pains me to announce that the PostSecret App is now closed. In some ways, this is because of its success. It reached the top-selling spot in the App Store and users shared over 2 million creative secrets.
 Like the PostSecret Blog, the App was designed so each secret was absolutely anonymous. Unfortunately, that absolute anonymity made it very challenging to permanently remove determined users with malicious intent.
99% of the secrets created were in the spirit of PostSecret. Unfortunately, the scale of secrets was so large that even 1% of bad content was overwhelming for our dedicated team of volunteer moderators who worked 24 hours a day 7 days a week removing content that was not just pornographic but also gruesome and at times threatening.
Bad content caused users to complain to me, Apple and the FBI. I was contacted by law enforcement about bad content on the App. Threats were made against users, moderators and my family. (Two specific threats were made that I am unable to talk about). As much as we tried, we were unable to maintain a bully-free environment. Weeks ago I had to remove the App from my daughter's phone.
Like many of you, I feel a great sense of loss from this decision but please know that we fought hard behind the scenes to find a permanent solution. We even tried prescreening 30,000 secrets a day. Deciding to remove the App from the App Store last week and holding back the release of the Android version cost us money but we feel it was the right thing to do.
To the vast majority of people who shared their earnest secrets and compassionate replies on the App, you inspired us with your honesty, humor and humanity. Even though this good faith experiment has come to an end what you shared lives on.
While the PostSecret App is now closed, PostSecret, and the PostSecret blog, are still very much open. Thanks for helping to keep the true spirit of PostSecret alive by mailing your secrets in 2012.
Sincerely,-Frank Warren

It's very disappointing that people aren't self-policing enough that we can't function in a completely anonymous environment, thus ruining the environment that PostSecret has cultivated over the years. 

I guess I just don't understand how it got that far. Threats so great they involved the FBI? Seriously? What the hell is wrong with people? 

In the end, Penny Arcade was right:
Green Blackboards (And Other Anomalies)  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Questing for Fitness

Today I made my first contribution to Together, We're Better. In my post, I talk about my past some, and lay down the ground work for my success this year. 

One of the tools I'm using to be successful is Fitocracy, a fantastic site that turns fitness goals into a video game. Exercises are worth XP that you use to level up. In addition, there are quests that are worth bonus XP, and badges to be earned. You can even join a group that has it's own challenges for added competition. PvP, if you will. And you will, because this is my blog. 

If you're the kind of gamer I am, then you're all about the quests. For me, a game is made or broken by its quests, which is why I loathe World of Warcraft:
Go find 100 wolf assholes [interesting side note: not all wolves in WoW even have assholes] which you can then make into a soup that regenerates 5 hit points in 6 hours, and leaves you prone while you're eating it. 
No thanks. I'm not paying $15 a month to lumber around Azeroth looking for anatomically correct wolves to make a pointless potion. 

The quests in Fitocracy are fun, and they have eye catching names. The one I completed tonight is called Untz Untz Untz Untz. It was completed by dancing for a half hour and doing 50 jumping jacks.

I have to admit, I only did this quest for the points. I was almost level 6 and needed a boost. Dancing and jumping jacks aren't normally part of my routine, but what happened tonight leaves me feeling like they should be. 

See, I was a dancer when I was younger. I did ballet, jazz, and tap. I love dancing. For a long time, it was all I wanted to do. I gave up dancing, mostly, because I discovered at the age of 16 that I hadn't grown since I was 12 (and still haven't), and that I was nowhere near the minimum height required to be a professional dancer. On top of that, I was too curvy and busty. It just wasn't going to happen. 

I started my quest after my normal workout, and I did the jumping jacks first to get them out of the way. At first, it wasn't so bad, but at about the 32nd one I was kinda doubting my ability to go one. But I finished, and survived. I them put on Delerium's Karma, set my timer and started to move. 

I moved all over my bedroom and office, annoying my cat in the process, and feeling something that I thought I had forgotten - the simple joy of moving. I found myself remembering old belly dance moves. I found that my hips still move that way, if I try. But the best thing I found is that the music and the movement take me to a spot within myself that I buried a long time ago. I tranced out a few times, letting it all flow over me. And it felt really good. It was peaceful. 

And it got me a shitload of points and a new level. 

It also got me to add dancing to my regular routine, and got me excited to try the other quests. And in the end, I guess that's the point. Beat that, WoW. You and your wolf asshole soup.