Blogging Archives

It’s Really Tired Out

I’m tired.  Not just physically tired and in need of sleep to restore the body to fully waking status.  I’m talking about being mentally and emotionally tired.

I’m talking about being exhausted from trying to come up with things to make my videos better and more engaging so that more people will watch them and share them with their friends and family.

I’m talking about how incredibly, awesomely weary I am of looking at things I have written and thinking “Damn, that sucks” in spite of how much effort I may have put into writing it at the time.

I’m tired of spending hour after hour after hour after hour writing in my blogs, doing keyword research and optimizing my posts for both human readers and for search engines all in an effort to squeeze a few more visitors out of them, hoping and praying that their precious clicks on adverts will increase enough so that I can actually earn a living wage that pays all of my bills and leaves a bit for me for the first time since 1997.

Basically, I’m tired of working my ass off and getting little to no return for it.

If you think that just because I don’t have a job working for somebody else that I’m just a lazy good for nothing sot leaching off of society you’ve got another think coming.

YOU try making two videos a day and keeping up with writing on six blogs while trying to be creative in both writing and video making!

I’ve been doing the daily video thing for almost two years now and ya’know what?  I’m TIRED!  Nearly burned out in fact.  The creativity that used to come so easily for making videos is all but gone.  Worn to a frazzle.

As for writing, I’ve been doing that since around 1998.  Then I started this blog in February 2006.  Since then I’ve had to expand to writing in five more blogs aside from this one.  In that time I have written a total of well over 2,500 blog posts.

At an average of 250 words each that comes out to me having written approximately 625,000 words in the last six years.  Can you blame me for feeling tired and like my creativity has been stretched so thin that it’s almost impossible to see anymore?

What’s almost scary is that lately I have been giving serious thought to starting to write actively in a seventh blog.

As you can see, my writing, while I honestly love doing it is yet another form of creativity that has been pushed and pushed and pushed until 99 percent of what I write is, in my personal opinion, total, absolute, shit.

I’m tired of scraping by most of the time, having the occasional financial blessing that lets me get caught up for a few months and then gradually start falling behind again.

Frankly I need a break, a vacation from all this responsibility to keep working my ass off to earn every stinking penny I can.  A vacation from having to rack my brains every single day trying desperately to come up with something, anything, that will draw more readers, more viewers, and more clicks.

Too bad I cannot afford to take such a vacation.  Not even for one day.  I dare not stop writing and I dare not stop making videos because I desperately need every cent those things generate, precious little though it may be.

So why am I writing this?  Because if I do not at the very least, vent, I’m gonna go totally fucking nuts, that’s why.

I mean, it would be a lot easier to deal with all this shit if I didn’t have to be doing it alone.  and I’m not referring to just having “someone to talk to” either.  That’s all well and good but I want more than that.

I’ve been alone entirely too long (as in literally most of my life) and I think that having somebody to not only talk to but curl up with when I’m not feeling good would do wonders.  Not that I’d want to stop there. Oh no.

However that’s another subject entirely

So Many Useless Pages

Every once in a while I see a web page that is so incredibly useless that it makes me want to start reviewing websites and doing my best to warn people away from wasting their time with them.

While I have not yet decided to go ahead with this idea I am tempted more and more often to do so by some of the things I see on the web.  One good example of this is a site called truckstop that had, among many other useless things, a posting about a number of weird ipod stories.  Each ‘story’ was in fact nothing more than a one or two line blurb with the gist of the story in it, followed by a word or two on a separate line.

You can tell by the way it’s written and the placement of that word or two that it is supposed to be a link that leads to the full story that the blurb talked about.  However somebody was alseep at the switch when they wrote it because out of the dozen plus ‘stories’, not one of the things that should have been a link was one.

This is a good example of really sloppy writing.  The writing in the article itself wasn’t really bad but by not including links where they obviously should have been the reader is left feeling like they’ve been the victim of a bait and switch con.

They were promised weird stories about ipods and only got a bunch of blurbs that don’t link to details like they should have.

So how about it, should I start doing reviews of crap like this?

Freenet 0.5 Is Dead

The anonymous publishing, messaging and file sharing network known as Freenet 0.5 is, in my opinion, finally dead.

I first started using Freenet around 2004 a little while before version 0.5 was released.  It was a great idea, one that I consider to be very important in today’s world where “Big Brother” is increasingly snooping into every aspect of our lives.  A world where privacy is getting harder and harder to achieve and maintain.  A world where the anonymity which is an important part of any free society is more and more difficult to achieve.

It was a platform for truly anonymous publishing and blogging that was completely proof against censorship.  You could write anything you wanted and as long as you were careful not to expose details that could identify you, it guaranteed bulletproof anonymity that few (if any) other networks could achieve.

When I finally had a computer with enough capability and an internet connection that could handle the load, I started a permanent Freenet node of my own.  Except for occasional technical or hardware difficulties that node ran 24/7 for well over six years.  I maintained a “Flog” (a Freenet blog) and an index site that used a spider program to search out and maintain a list of links to other Freenet sites.

Then a few years ago the Freenet developers decided that it was time to move from version 0.5 to version 0.7.  A lot of people welcomed this change and migrated to the new version right away.  A lot of other people had an assortment of reasons not to trust the new version and stayed with 0.5.

For several years the two networks, while not compatible, existed side by side.  Many people ran both versions simultaneously, maintaining a presence on both networks.

Sometime around 2010 I began to notice an increasing decline in the number of 0.5 nodes that my node knew about.  Identities on the Frost message boards that I had been acquainted with for years began to go silent.  Never to be heard from again.

It reached the point where the only message boards I could find with activity on them were the ones related to file transfers, used to request files to be inserted into the network and report successful and unsuccessful downloads.

Around 2010 I began trying to convince people that if this 0.5 network were to survive it would need fresh new content.  It would need people to create new Freesites and Flogs and make at least semi-regular updates of those sites.

Eventually I took what I considered a drastic measure.  I obtained copies of the Freenet 0.5 and Frost source code and began learning Java in the little bit of spare time I had in an effort to get development restarted.  I began work on updating Freenet and even published build 5110, the first new build in over two years.  For well over a year I asked Freenet users for any help in this project that they were willing to offer.

In all that time I received all of a mere handful of one time responses.  Attempts to follow up on those responses received absolutely zero followup replies.

Fast forward to today.  In the last five months my node has NEVER been connected to more than one other at a time and that has always been the same node.

I hung in there hoping even then that things would turn around.

They have not.

Two nodes do not make even a fiftieth of a useful anonymous network.  In fact, with only two nodes (at least that I am aware of), anonymity is impossible.

Therefore I have taken it upon myself to declare that based on my observations over the last six months that Freenet 0.5 is dead.

I have shut my node down and will probably not start it back up again.

I know that there will be some who will say that I should just move to the 0.7.x branch of Freenet however at this time I still cannot bring myself to trust it because it’s so-called “darknet” is built on the concept of trusting node operators that you have no real-world reason to trust.  You don’t know them, in the overwhelming majority of cases you’ve never even met them or had any kind of online interaction with them before encountering them on the anonymous network.

Freenet 0.5 may have been left behind in terms of technology but I still think that it has one clear advantage over the current version.  It does not and never has required you to trust another node operator.  In fact it assumes that at any given time there are evil operators attempting to compromise individual users or even the network itself.

In my opinion, an anonymous network cannot rely on a trust based system.  Instead it must assume that there are large numbers of operators, either individually or working together, that are trying to compromise the network and it’s users.  The “darknet” that Freenet’s developers have created does not do this.

Oh I will probably look over and try out the current official version of Freenet from time to time but I’ve got to say.  It just won’t be the same.  By making that split and not maintaining network compatibility with the 0.5 branch, the developers divided Freenet and it’s users in a way that caused a lot of hard feelings and even more distrust.

For quite a while the divisiveness I saw between the two different versions was reminiscent of stories I’ve read about the US Civil war.  It started in 1861 and now, well over a hundred and fifty years later there are still people who are angry about it and distrustful of the descendents of the other side.

In any event.  With the death of Freenet 0.5 anonymity and freedom of speech have been wounded at least a little bit in a time when they are taking enough wounds from big government, big content, big corporations and politicians with their nasty little agendas.

Nice going fellas.

Improper Spacing: A Pet Peeve

There is something about the way web browsers interpret space characters that has always bothered me.  Every web browser I have ever seen collapses any number of spaces into a single space character.

This continues to irritate the living snot out of me every time I see it and especially when it happens to text that I write, which of course includes anything that is published in HTML.

The reason for this goes back to high school typing class.  It was one of the basic rules of proper formatting of text that a sentence ends not only with a period but with two spaces before the beginning of the next sentence.

These days however HTML makes following that basic rule difficult to say the least because any group of two or more whitespace characters are automatically collapsed into a single space.  The only way to force proper formatting is to use the code "nbsp;" to create a “non-breaking space”, a special character that among other things, does not get collapsed into a single space.

Of course, doing this in the course of writing is a royal pain because you cannot simply type a "nbsp;" key and therefore it isn’t used very often to enforce the “period, space, space” rule at the end of sentences.

And so the use of correct spacing between sentences has all but vanished.  Not only is it very nearly never seen in HTML documents, it has fallen out of use in plain text documents such as emails or text files.

Every time I see it I find it to be an irritant Rather like a very small insect buzzing in my ear.  Usually I can manage to force myself to ignore it but every once in a while it becomes something that makes me want to scream; “THIS IS WRONG”, even though I am well aware that almost nobody else cares even a little bit.

This post, like every text document or email that I write is written with a period an two spaces at the end of every sentence Even though I know that it will not be rendered that way.

Am I Fighting A Losing Battle?

I’ve been running a Freenet node for a long time.  When I first started it up Freenet was at 0.4.  A couple of months later it was at version 0.5 and some time after that I was able to run my node 24/7 most of the time.

With the exception of occasional downtime due to technical (hardware) difficulties it has now been running 24/7 for no less than six years.

Some time ago, because nobody else was doing anything with it I decided that I would try to take on development in an effort to get the network built up and growing again.

In the last several months I’ve spent as much time as I could trying to figure out the source code and work on it.  In the last two years or more I’ve tried to convince people to use the network. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get people to actually use the Frost message boards and to create and update freesites.

The reward for my efforts has been large doses of silence with occasional comments by people whose only use for Freenet has been to complain about how it’s dying.

The problem is that if those people would take the same energy and time that they use for those complaints and expressions of apathy and use them to create new content on Freenet and promote the network, I firmly believe that it would have thousands of active users now instead of the low number of die-hards like myself.

As I’ve said before, I will continue to keep my node running 24/7 for as long as there is a network to connect to.  However I have to say that the lack of positive response on the part of those still using it is discouraging to say the least.

Is this a losing battle?  I hope not.  I still believe that Freenet 0.5 is important and needs to continue operation.

It’s just that I think it’d be nice to find out that I’m not the only one left trying to keep it going.

http://peculiarplace.com/freenet

Learning Java on my own is not an easy thing.  Learning Java on my own with Freenet as my first project is a monstrous task.  I really wish it didn’t feel like I’m trying to do it alone.

Technorati Tags: java, learning java, frustration, freedom of speech online, anonymity, freenet, anonymous publishing, freedom of speech, development, internet

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