Saving the Open Web?

Source: Can we save the open web? | Dries Buytaert

My comment:

I remember pre-Google. The Internet began shrinking when business became involved. Personal and hobby sites, especially those on Blogger or GeoCities were sneered at. Web mail for email became a reason to block or ban people. Funny how that attitude never seemed to touch GMail.

AOL began the filtered Internet. If AOL was your ISP you didn’t get on the Internet and see everything as everyone else did. AOL blocked and filtered the user experience to suit themselves. Now AOL is seldom heard of. I assume they were swallowed up by some other company.

I miss the Internet before social media. Though I do like Twitter, most of the rest are clutter, popularity contests and marketing extravaganzas where no one is really listening any more. Fifteen years ago we had blocks for pop up ads and frames. Now pop ups are back and almost no one gets into a ranting fit about them. Ironically, I wasn’t bothered much by them the first time around. But they really do bug me now. Especially those which descend as soon as you move your mouse to your browser bar.

There are far less personal or hobby sites now. People want to use information to make a buck. That’s not terrible but it does make everything less trustworthy. I review sites with dmoz, still. I see a lot of garbage. The interesting thing is noting how the garbage has changed over the years. There are always new schemes cropping up. Some good sites get drowned out just because they are personal sites, don’t look sleek and professional.

Marketing, content selling and so on isn’t a bad thing, so much. I think it’s more an issue of intentions. Too many sites are focused on SEO, keywords, marketing and they have forgotten people. Not so different with business, retail, commercial offline. Customer service is something they promote but don’t really care about. (I worked as a department store cashier, I heard all the pep talks in between being told how to sell/ market and smile). Meanwhile customer service people are paid minimum wage, like a lot of sales people. The Internet could hardly avoid this same phoniness.

I hope they can find a balance, but I don’t think we will ever get there. Twenty years ago people came online for different reasons. It really was social then. The Internet was about communication with IRC, BBS, etc. How many of those are still active – spam doesn’t count as activity. Now we have social media but it is flooded with marketing. Facebook is full of meaningless games built to scam people in small cash amounts over time, addicting, like gambling but legal.

I don’t think we can get back what the Internet was, it doesn’t even have the atmosphere of being friendly any more. It’s a business, impersonal but with a smile.

What is Gaslamp Fantasy Fiction?

Though it’s been around for a while, I’ve just recently come across the actual name of what is now my favorite genre to read, Gaslamp Fantasy Fiction.

I came across it quite by accident while scrolling on Twitter and decided to do a little research on the topic by way of searching the internet.Inspired by the classic work of nineteenth-century authors such as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and the Brontes, Gaslamp is virtually an alternate take on Victorian times with a fascinating twist.Although similar to Steampunk, another fun variant that usually takes place using the same time period, Gaslamp lacks most of the science and contraptions that make Steampunk what it is.

via What is Gaslamp Fantasy Fiction?.

Why Do they Keep Saying Blogging is Dead?

Blogging isn’t dead. Blogging is publishing and publishing online is just beginning to evolve.Where can you take your own site once you get started? Never think you are stuck in one direction or theme or can not change your point of view or your voice as a writer online. If you have gone as far as you want to, take another direction and talk about something that works for you as you have evolved now. The web (Internet) is developing – there is no need for it to stagnate or die.

via Blogging Is Dead (Again) | Six Pixels of Separation – Marketing and Communications Blog – By Mitch Joel at Twist Image.

Good Bye iGoogle Start Page

I like having a start page when I open my web browser. I’ve been using iGoogle from the start because I liked it. I didn’t really need or use much of the features. Mainly, it was a welcome each time I started up the Internet. I could check the weather, I could use the bookmarks I had created to quickly get onto whatever I was planning to do. Or, I could search for anything on Google and open a new window to check Gmail at the same time.

I will miss iGoogle, not because it was especially useful but just because it was there.

Someone has started a petition to keep iGoogle, if you want to get in on that. I won’t. It’s progress of some sort for Google I guess. But, I think they have under used the start page aspect of iGoogle and now it’s being abandoned entirely.

Blogger Denies Access

Is anyone else getting weird login errors from their Blogger/ Blogspot accounts? I keep getting told I don’t have access and need to change accounts. But… I only have one account I use for my Blogger account. Kind of a stupid error.

I’ve only got one blog still on Blogger (this one used to be there). But I do update it now and then. So I don’t have an abandoned account.

Maybe it’s about the new thing with the domain changes for locations. Will see if they fix the problem.

The Invisible Deep, Dark Web

The invisible web is what you can’t find using the usual search engines or web directories. The search engines have adapted so they can find some of the invisible web. Pages not created with standard HTML, sites created with other software or scripts didn’t always show up in searches.

So what’s still unavailable? Databases which use passwords or choose to block or restrict search access in some way. Anything which requires user interaction in order to use the site, becomes unavailable or invisible to standard searches.

You probably think this hidden content doesn’t really matter. You’ve found the information you need online and don’t see anything lacking. But, not everyone uses the web the same way. Those who want to research a topic or find detailed information may want a peek at the resources in the deep web. There is a report stating the invisible/ deep web is 500 times bigger than the standard web. Doesn’t that make you at least a bit curious?

You can investigate some of these extra resources yourself, even using a standard surface search. When you type in your search terms add words like: database, portal, directory to it. You may land at some page in a larger site and need to do some backtracking or know a bit about mining a site for it’s resources. However, it could be interesting to explore what’s out there in the deep, dark, invisible land of the WWW.

About.com: The Invisible Web
Internet Tutorials: The Deep Web
JEP: White Paper: The Deep Web: Surfacing Hidden Value
Wikipedia: Invisible Web
Wikipedia: Dark Internet
Those Dark Hiding Places: The Invisible Web Revealed (No longer being kept updated).
Search Engine Watch

Resources for Searching the Deep Web:

Link with Love

LINKwithlove is the idea that by banding together in a “neighbourhood watch” type way – we, the internet, could teach and learn respect when dealing with intellectual property online. It is our dream that art, music, photography, words, design, ideas, etc – be shared in a way that is respectful, educated and kind.

This site is a collection of links to information, resources and communities that can help protect your intellectual property as a creator of online content. We at LINKwithlove.org encourage you to display one of our badges on your site or social network to show the world that you respect and LINKwithlove.

By teaching and supporting the proper ways to share intellectual property – we will make a difference.

Humans.txt for the Human Touch

Something extra you can do… humanize the web. It may not be great for SEO, or get you noticed by popular bloggers, but it’s a nice touch to remind us all we are humans, writing to other humans.

You can create a plain text file easily. Just type it into your version of Notepad. With my Linux PC I use Mousepad. Type in the text as they show on the site, add your own information, of course. Then save the file with the human.txt name. You shouldn’t need to type in the file extension. Save this to your desktop. Then load it to your domain. It should show up at the link yourdomain.com/human.txt  If you have any trouble double check the file name, make sure it is humans with the txt file extension.

This is a direct link to the human.txt file I made.

From the Humantxt site:

It’s an initiative for knowing the people behind a website. It’s a TXT file that contains information about the different people who have contributed to building the website.

The internet is for humans…

We are always saying that, but the only file we generate is one full of additional information for the searchbots: robots.txt. Then why not doing one for ourselves?

Make Yourself Famous

Does your blog feature you, as a person?

I’m not one to blast photos of myself on the Internet, or anywhere. I hide behind the camera, as the one taking the photos and don’t mind at all that I am rarely in any of them. Yet, people like to hear about people. People like to have a feeling they know who they are reading about, or the person who wrote whatever they are reading about. Why do you think about About section is one of the most important extra features in a blog? Once they read what you have to say they want to know who you are, to connect with you in some way.

The fastest way to build that connection is a photograph. Whether they think you’re handsome or not, there is a quick fix knowledge of who you are. A lot about you shows in a photo, simple things we take for granted like your age, sex and culture/ heritage. All the things we don’t want to be stereotyped by are the very things that make up our identification when someone else looks at us and gets to know who we are from the rest of the masses.

Do you have a photo of yourself on your site, easily found or even prominently featured? Brave of you! Is it a recent photo or one from your ‘glory days’ when you were still young and cute? Try to be brave and show yourself as you really are, in the current year. Let your readers see you as you really are, warts and all. Of course, you can fuss a bit and pick your best side. You might even get a real professional photographer to take the photo, using all the advantages you can to show your best side.

Geotagging Your Blog

You don’t need to add a geotag to your site or blog. At the moment it is an interesting sidenote more than something practical. However, I can see it evolving and growing as we begin to use the Internet for more than just online socializing. There is offline socializing too, after all. People have been using geotagging on their photos more than on their site itself. One thing to consider is privacy. I would not give out the exact latitude and longitude to your house itself, settle for the town you live in rather than going for an exact location.

Find your location information (latitude and longitude included) at:

Add your geo meta tags to your blog.

Wikipedia: Geotagging

About.com: Web Design: What is Geotagging?

Problogger: Geoblogging – How to Geotag your Blog.

Linux Journal: Geotagging Web Pages and RSS Feeds

The Open Geospatial Consortium “is a non-profit, international, voluntary consensus standards organization that is leading the development of standards for geospatial and location based services.”

W3C: GeoOnion