Tag Archives: The Internets!

The State of Online Gaming, the Gated Internet, and, of course, the Money

I am not the biggest gamer nor the biggest technology maven, but even so, one sees news about how much more all content is being pushed online, how more companies are trying to have consumers access things by apps, and how controlling access –to the internet and apps– is key to many corporations making money.

Into that sphere of information comes this longform article by Nick Statt at The Verge about a recent flashpoint between the makers of Fortnite and Apple. Cory Doctorow also weighs in over on Slate. Finally, Matt Stoller, an author with an abiding interest in covering monopolies, politics, and power, has his own take.

They’re are longer reads, but I found them worthwhile to better understand Apple’s app store business model, how cloud gaming services mess with their collection of coin, and many of the potential paradigm shifts at play.

Video

Internet Security Myths Debunked

Hey, I posted a “debunking” video last week, so I figured, why not do more? This time, it’s a topic that’s just as evergreen, though the tech landscape changes frequently.

Supporting your friendly local bookstores…

So many industries are being shaken by the coronavirus pandemic, the retail section overall is suffering, but specifically, small retail businesses are hurting.

What with coming from a family of librarians and book-lovers, I’m especially keen to see independent book shops weather this latest storm, so I was happy to see an article earlier this month about how one online outfit, Bookshop.org is helping brick-and-mortar operations have an online footprint too.

My “unread” bookshelf is now too crowded for me to ignore, so I won’t be availing myself of them just yet, but soon! So very soon…

Navigating Being Online, Offline, and Increasingly In-Between

After Wednesday’s post that focused a great deal about how to curate one’s persona online, I was surprised that I hadn’t written at length about Jenny Odell and her efforts to help people curate their involvement in the “attention economy.”

I’ve found the article bears repeat reading, because there’s so many different ideas it raises and so much that you, personally, need to reflect on.

And yes, I mean need. At its core, and related to my Wednesday post (which was mainly for creative folk looking for fans) this article raises questions about you define your boundaries with engaging online. Being a luddite is probably not the answer for most people, though ignoring whole swaths of the Internet might be.

In other words, it’s about you taking agency for how you define “getting real.”

The Internet’s Altar of Umbrage

I’m working on some other posts related to fandom. One is a follow-up in the Crisis of Infinite Star Treks series (where I talk about fan involvement with Star Trek throughout, but specifically go into more here and here.) I’m also working on a longer piece about getting one’s own creative work out there and developing fans oneself.

One struggle I’ve had of late has been how much the Internet thrives on hate and outrage. I don’t just mean comments at the bottoms of articles which, by and large, are probably better left unread. I don’t even mean how social media discussion threads can go horribly hateful, though that’s certainly something to always be wary. I’m thinking more along the lines of every fun Internet series like Honest Trailers, there’s a more bile-infested series along the lines “Everything wrong with [Movie]” or “Why [Movie] Really Sucks” or so on. Pair that with all the ‘clickbaity’ article headlines of the “[Thing] will complete shock you” variety and, well, guess why some of those social media threads devolve?

I realize this is neither a new nor uniquely groundbreaking observation, but it’s been on my mind given the pieces I’ve been working on, with two articles particularly making me think about the course of events.

Conor Friedersdorf wrote in The Atlantic back in January about how the Internet has eroded the ability for people to, well, essentially, curate their identity in different places. You still can, but the unification of self everywhere on every channel is problematic. The fact that this erosion is fueled by outrage does not help matters.

The other factor is how corporations are adopting this particular Internet flavor of umbrage as a standard advertising tactic, as Luke Winkie wrote today in Vox.

I guess I just don’t want anyone to feed the trolls even if they think they know how to use the trolls for their own ends. Don’t we have countless cautionary tales about how well that sort of thing turns out?

I, for one, don’t welcome our net ‘bot overlords…

Though from reading Max Read’s piece in New York magazine, it’s kind of moot whether I welcome them or not: a huge portion of the Internet is fake.

I mean, it’s not that it’s a huge surprise that the Internet is full of automation to simulate traffic for ad revenue purposes, engage people for some Machiavellian monetization motives, or otherwise amplify some ill-conceived echo chambers…

But it’s depressing to have it validated to such a hefty degree.

Perhaps you, like me, remember those days pre-Netscape Navigator, exploring the Internet universe via Gopher and the like. The possibilities seemed as vast as Pangea, which is an accurate extrapolation of how long ago it was in Internet terms.

Will we survive an inversion when ‘bots outnumber us all? I don’t know. I just know that, Even now, spam bots are getting ready to comment on this post.

My Social Media Strategy, Revealed

Not unlike business plans, it seems like one needs to have a “social media plan” these days. In the past year, many people I know have abandoned Twitter or left Facebook or joined Instagram. And I seem to be in the midst of that periodic flurry of people following me on Twitter or giving me a long treatise about why they want to connect with me on LinkedIn.

So for future edification, but mainly for my own amusement, here is my criteria for connecting with people on social media:

  • Facebook: I know who you are in the real world, either from schools or elsewhere, and want to keep up with your personal and professional exploits.
  • LinkedIn: I actually know who you are in the real world –even if only in passing– and also wouldn’t mind keeping up with your professional exploits.
  • Twitter: I may or may not know you in the real world, but I like the cut of your jib.
  • Google+: I can put you in one or more categories.
  • Instagram: I know it exists, but do not use it.
  • Tumblr: I know it still exists, and still do not use it.
  • Ello: I don’t know why it exists.
  • Pinterest: Who knows? I have insufficient pinterest.
  • Stage32: Meh, whatever. Sure.

If this does not make at least one social media maven’s head explode because of my lack of commitment to networking at all costs, I will be very disappointed.


Update: To answer some people’s angsty offline questions, no this isn’t a ranking of how great particular social media is or how valuable anyone and everyone might find it. Stage 32 has some great classes attached to it (seriously, if you’re a filmmaker, check some of their stuff out), but I see no need to curate my contacts to the same degree like I do on other sites. For example, on LinkedIn some recruiters clearly feel simply knowing your name is sufficient to connect… yet that connection is not valuable to me.

So yeah, see above. I am not disappointed.

Threat Alert Thursday: Consider a Password Manager

Last week’s Twitter kerfuffle led Vox to dust off its primer on password managers which, if you’ve been thinking about starting to use, you might want to check out.

Flash will not be Savior of the Internet Universe

Okay, this is old news for most of you. It should be noted that –despite what I’m sure at some point were Adobe’s (and Macromedia’s) intentions– Flash was never going to be the savior of the Internet universe.

Nevertheless, if you need some good news this Friday, be reminded that Flash is will be, as of 2020, not just merely dead, but really most sincerely dead.

Threat Alert Thursday: Cyber Attacks on Small Businesses

Since mentioning yesterday about creatives needing to put their marketing hat on and be the small businesses they are, it seemed like a good idea to share this article from The Hartford about various types of cyber attacks that can befall small businesses. Our creative endeavors often fall into this realm.

The article also links to a brief guide that, in order to get it, harvests your email (again, a reference to yesterday). It’s not a bad trade off in my mind, but relationship disclosure: I’ve used The Hartford for my general business liability insurance and found them great to work with. Therefore, I’m inclined to pay more attention to their articles and am already on their mailing list.