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Electronic Paper Cuts

Part 2

Walled Gardens: I recently read a post at /. stating that (according to the research of “a very overpriced PR firm our company used,” “most people surf 10-20 sites.” I thought about this a bit. I’ll list the sites I regularly visit (ooh, that-difficult-to-find-demographic-info): /., freshmeat, Excite (web-based email), Yahoo! (web-based email), CNN Online (news), Salon (news, opinions, etc.), Userfriendly, Sluggy Freelance, Bruno the Bandit and Waiting for Bob (all online comics). These are ones I visit everyday; when I first log on, I check email, go to /., get my news, check web-based email, read the online comics (in order), and end up at Salon to browse their offerings. Later trips online during the day omit the “comics” stage. I visit a lot of other sites during my time online, but few are returned to; some make their way to my bookmarks list.

Today’s random entries from Steve’s bookmark-file:

This is to be contrasted, I think, with another page I saw the other day (hosted by Qwest Internet blah blah blah)—a seminar/talk for law enforcement folks. I recall a chart demonstrating the growth of the Internet. Considering how many millions of sites and pages are now out there to be viewed, doesn’t it seem curious to stick to a mere handful? Of course, I don’t have time for 24/7 browsing, and even if I did—no, especially if I did—I’d find something better to do with all that free time! Still, if the great promise of the Internet is to open up a whole world of information, why limit myself to the known? Admittedly, I don’t really. I’m sure some days online I go through a couple hundred pages or so in a single session. The crap I have bookmarked documents this fact. On a related note, I love just *being* in the main university library; I always get distracted. If there are books lying around waiting to be reshelved, there’s a good chance that I’ll stop to survey them.

I suppose I could raise similar complaints about the boring nature of the rest of my online presense. My ICQ contact list currently contains 4 people (I deleted the rest ... I don’t talk to them anymore; others have me on their lists, but I have no interest in adding them to mine); why shouldn’t I branch out, meet more people, etc.? Or, instead, why shouldn’t I just meet more people in real life ... after all, that always has been more rewarding ...

Time to get offline for today.

—January 30, 2001

Back to the futile: I cannot say that I have been particularly pleased with the people contacting me via ICQ recently. Today’s visitor was some guy from Portugal. He sent an annoying first message—something like “Oji!!!”—to which I responded, “I didn’t quite catch that.” He then responded in Portuguese. I ignored him, and he sent a URL. And then one more. I ignored him. He left me alone. I have nothing against being contacted on ICQ—else, why would I leave myself open for people to contact me?—but at the same time, I truly wish the quality of people who dare to click the “send message” button were a tad bit higher, by which I mean, I wish they had some limited ability to converse, think, and behave in a polite manner. I know this is asking too much. People have been declaring the “end of the Internet” for years and years, and old-timers constantly pull the old “Back in my day ...” thing (myself not excluded), but there is something to it. 1/2 of people are below average, by definition. I like to think that even more than that are idiots (just from experience).

More evidence for the “idiot” proposal comes from the ESU, or Euro-American Student Union, a right-wing, neo-fascist-esque white-pride bunch of bozos. They tend to get offended when you call them names, just to let you know. They’re quite serious. I’m sure they believe that “Euro-Americans” are the victims of countless hate-crimes and the like. They have all sorts of manifestos and such they want you to read. They are silly. Sillier still are the sites they link to. It is hard, at times, to take such people seriously. Thankfully, there are those out there who devote time to tracking such groups. As for a little background on this situation, it goes something like this:

A long time ago they posted something really stupid to Slashdot; I responded, and even got a few other people to respond. It was fun. And then I more or less forgot about them. They just got a new URL (and slight name change—now they’re the National Euro-American Student Union ... ooh, I’m scared) and decided to let me know (me, and everyone else on some curious mailing list). So, I responded, and even more curiously, they actually responded to my email. My response to their email is posted below, followed by their follow-up email.

I’m curious. How did I get on your list? In any case, please remove me—I don’t care to be associated with right-wing institutions. Thank you.

Yours Truly,

On Fri, 02 Feb 2001 210950 , ESU EDITOR wrote:

Ladies and Gentlemen

Please update any and all ESU url references on your site to:
This should be the LAST change forever.

Sorry for this inconvenience.

They responded today:


We had noticed you had spewed venom about the ESU on your site, which we found via the Yahoo! search engine (keywords: “Euro-American Student Union”). Since you had provided a link to the ESU, we felt that you should at least update your site with our new URL so that others could venture to our site to view for themselves what we believe, etc...

Sincere Best Wishes from
The Euro-American Student Union

I am nothing if not fair, so I updated my link on the Rantecdotes page—I wrote about them and some other neo-nazis a while back.

In other news, AT&T employs a bunch of bozos, too. AT&T called today ... twice ... within an hour ... different phone monkeys. Told them (politely) to fuck off both times. The first guy couldn’t take a hint. It went something like this:

<long delay ... guy picking up, etc.>
Guy—This is so-and-so from AT&T Home Long Distance ...
Steve—I wouldn’t be interested.
Guy—... your current long-distance provider ...
Steve—I don’t have a long-distance provider ...
Guy—If you don’t have a long-distance provider, your local provider may be charging you ...
Steve—No, they’re not.
Guy—Mm. Thank you for your time
Steve—Have a nice day.

The second was sort of like this:

<stupid delay again>
She—Hello, this is blah blah blah from AT&T Home Long Distance.
Steve—I wouldn’t be interested. Thank you.
She—Um. Mm. Ok. Thank you for your time.
Steve—Have a nice day.

Let me conclude with something mildly humorous. I suppose it’s intended for the computer-geek-star-trek-loving-crowd. Yours truly included:

I am Pentium of Borg.
Division is futile.
You will be approximated.

—February 3, 2001

Burn your bridges: Today is bridge-day—time to play bridge after a several-year break. That is, I haven’t played bridge with other people since May of 1997. I cannot recall all the bidding techniques I used to know. Today will be amusing.

In other news, this website has been updated. The casual user will not notice any change, I expect. Sure, the “last updated” notice is now gone; that’s just a side-effect; I got rid of all java-script (that was the only java-script). I also decided to employ Sever Side Includes (SSI); the layout of the site is now contained in two other files which are loaded when a page is accessed. This makes updates easier for me, and also has the benefit of making the whole site take up a little less disk-space. I’ve also been fixing and/or eliminating certain broken links. And there are a lot of them.

I got a new homepage setup for my dad. Granted, there’s nothing there yet. I’m just “borrowing” from the design I did for the GDGSA website. Laura’s homepage is now listed on the “friends” page; the Andrew and Merryl sections are now linked; I never did get any other photos to use, so I just had to modify a few I had on file. David and Daniel Dean seem to have disappeared from the web; I never did have links for Chris, Jennifer or Dayn.

The computer section needs a lot of work; I can’t keep up-to-date with everything, and I never did get around to finishing the section in the first place. I need to scan a lot more photos for use in the Rotary section as well as for other projects. Speaking of other projects; I should have archived copies of projects I’ve done (German Dept. and Slavic Dept. in particular, seeing as both have been butc^H^H^H^H modified drastically since I gave them up), so I could link to them as part of my “portfolio.”

—March 11, 2001

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