owlmoose: (B5 - londo oh dear)
Photobucket discontinues 3rd-party image linking unless you get a paid account that costs $400 a year.

Without warning, either. So many sites host their images on Photobucket. This is going to break so much fandom history, I don't even know where to start.

ETA: Okay, maybe one thing. Looking at the new ToS, they offer a number of tiers of service, from free through the top-tier $400/year. Only the top level offers third party image hosting. Dear Photobucket, if you think millions of people were using your site just for personal image storage, I have a surprise for you.
owlmoose: (B5 - londo oh dear)
It was... something. I'm very glad I watched with friends, both IRL and online, with Twitter almost continuously open. It was really validating to know that other people were WTFing at the exact same things as me.

Obviously I haven't been talking much about this presidential campaign. In a way, there's both too much and not enough to say. Right now it feels like there isn't much left to do besides continuously reload 538 and pray.
owlmoose: (avengers - a little help)
Days written: 23/31
Words written: 9,932
Words of fic written: 7,430
Stories worked on: Two, plus ficlets
Stories posted: Just the ficlets

Charts need a little help from their friends. )

Specific goals:

1. Write at least five days per week. On average, yes; for each individual week no.

2. Cull WIP folder, and make a list of all unwritten request fics. Target one to finish each month between now and the end of the year, including one for the month of August. I went through the WIP folder but failed the rest. I am really unhappy that I allowed myself to get so far behind on this -- I owe three giveaway fics (two of my own and one for a community) and have a handful of other prompts rotting away in various places. No one will ever trust me to write anything ever again. :\

3. Work on Wardens of Ivalice. Not really. I need to pick up the new World of Thedas volume, I think. It would help to replay FFXII a bit, too, but my PS2 isn't terribly accessible right now. I ended up mostly working on a story that was bunnied by my Trevelyan DA:I run, although it's about Hawke. (Marissa Hawke. I need to fix it. If you've played the game, you know why.) It wants to be a monster, and it's taking all the writing motivation I have to keep it from slipping away.

4. Post on DW/LJ at least twice a week. Total fail. I was lucky to post once a week. How do I motivate myself to do this? Seriously, if anyone has ideas I'd be happy to hear them.

September isn't shaping up to be a particularly busy month, life-wise, but there are literally a dozen new books I want to read, and there's the little matter of a major DA:I DLC coming out next week, and I need to take my canon Inquisitor through all the other story DLC first (she's about four hours into Jaws of Hakkon now). So I wish to keep my goals modest. Like, "bar set so low that I could get over it falling out of bed in the morning" modest. I hate to back away from the things I really want to do, but I hate feeling like I've failed even more. Setting goals is of no use if they're daunting rather than motivating.

So, September goals:

1. Write an average of five days per week.

2. Work on Marissa Hawke fic, and hopefully get far enough to start posting.

3. Post at least twice a week. Seriously. If nothing else I could start reviewing books again. Suggestions for post topics from the peanut gallery are also very welcome.


Nov. 24th, 2014 10:23 pm
owlmoose: (da - alistair 3)
Well, it's official: I didn't properly import my backstory into DA:I. It wasn't at all clear that we needed to download the world state off the DA Keep site. So we started over -- and there was a confirmation screen this time. Still, 12 hours lost! At least it should go faster this time.

Update: I just repeated the conversation from our first attempt at DA:I that clued me in that all might not be well with my world state, and it went much more satisfactorily this time. I suppose it was worth starting again. Otherwise, it would have nagged at me the entire time. I'm just glad that T was completely willing to do so.
owlmoose: (avatar - katara)
Someone hacked my Twitter account and followed, literally, almost 400 users I had never seen before in my life. That's a new one. I changed my password and unfollowed them all, but ugh.

Also Safari won't update any of my extensions and nothing I do really seems to help.

Yes this is exactly how I wanted to spend my Wednesday afternoon. :P
owlmoose: (da - anders hand)
So Game Informer is doing a month-long series on Dragon Age: Inquisition, which is available here for anyone who's interested and hasn't seen it already. It went up last week, and since then the details have been coming fast and furious: from the article, from the website, from developers answering questions and dropping hints on the BioWare forums, from fans speculating about these tidbits of information and coming up with theories based upon them.

And I totally understand the impulse to tear through every scrap of data you can find, especially when it's been so long without any new content, but it's not for me. I want to approach the game as a near-blank slate, a new experience. I want surprises. I want to discover the characters and get to know them as the game presents them, not have my impressions adulterated by advance fan reaction. I don't want to guess all the plot twists for myself in advance. I don't want to develop elaborate headcanons that will almost certainly be contradicted by the events of the game. Again, nothing wrong with that, if it's how you enjoy doing fandom. But any fun I get out of that kind participation is negated by the sense that I'm ruining the games for myself.

In a way, this is nothing new: I've been dodging spoilers on the Internet for about as long as I've been on the Internet, and it's impossible to avoid them entirely -- I was spoiled for a key Harry Potter character death by a headline on CNN! But nothing has prepared me for the experience of spoilers on Tumblr. At least in my other fandom venues, people have always used spoiler cuts or white-on-white spoiler text. Tumblr has no spoiler text option, and while cuts exist people don't tend to use them, especially not for images, and you can't put tags behind them at all. It's not built into the site function, but more importantly it's not part of the community's culture. In "the olden days" of journal reading, you usually got at least a few days between something being released and people posting lots of spoilery things about it. On Tumblr, it's often a matter of minutes before images and gifsets and reaction posts are everywhere.

So for the first time ever, I've installed blocking software (the xkit extension), and although it's helped, it only works as well as people are willing to tag. It's like an arms race, keeping up with the tags and terms that different people use, and I have to wonder how effective it will be. I've already asked three people to be more careful about tagging, and they were all receptive, but at some point I'm probably just going to have to unfollow people. It's either that, or quit Tumblr for a year and a half, and I really don't want to do that. The other day, I was half-joking with [personal profile] here_be_dragons about creating a "DA3-free-zone pledge" and only following people who agree to sign it, and although it was mostly a joke, I wonder if it would actually work.
owlmoose: (da - alistair 2)
I would like to have something coherent to say about Google shutting down Google Talk and forcing the functionality into Google Hangouts, but right now all I've got is "Google argh bargle WHY??? [insert profanity here]"

News article about the change, more positive than I'm feeling, but at least it acknowledges my main concern: will Google stop supporting the ability to log in via a client? Because if I can't access Google's chatting function through a client (I use Adium for the most part), it becomes useless to me.

Anyone still on AIM? Any thoughts on Skype as a text-only chat service?

I still need to decide what I'm using instead of Reader, too. Goddammit Google, why are you dismantling my online life? To paraphrase a quote regarding Google's decision to take sharing out of Reader (which happened only a few months before they announced that Reader would be sunset), you aren't going to get me to use Google+ by taking away bits and pieces of the services I use. That's not how this is going down.
owlmoose: (Default)
The NPR list of the top 100 YA Novels, as chosen by reader nomination and vote, is out.

Remember I complained a little while back about the inclusion of YA novel nominees that were also on NPR's 100 best Sci Fi/Fantasy novels of all time, when the SF/F list was supposed to exclude YA as a category -- an exclusion that kept a lot of popular female authors from being represented?

Here are the novels that are on both top 100 lists. Guess what they all have in common. Just. Guess.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkein
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series by Douglas Adams
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Dune by Frank Herbert (just the first book on the YA list, the series as a whole on the SF/F list)
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

This is where I should write up some commentary about this amazing coincidence, but right now I'm just too angry to be coherent. Nice work, NPR quiz editors.
owlmoose: (Default)
Hey, remember last year when NPR asked people to nominate and vote on the 100 best SF/F books of all time and chose to exclude YA novels (along with a number of other categories and genres)?

Now they're doing a similar vote for YA novels. I went to take a look, and this little tidbit caught my eye:

In winnowing the roster to a manageable size for voting, we considered both a book's popularity — as represented by the number of nominations it received — and the question of how well it fits the YA category. The latter sparked plenty of debate; there is, after all, no objective test for teen fiction. Is Pride and Prejudice YA? What about The Catcher in the Rye? Or The Lord of the Rings? (No, yes and yes, respectively.)

Whoa, whoa, whoa. The Lord of the Rings is YA fiction? The same Lord of the Rings that came in first in last years' poll of the best SF/F books?? The same Lord of the Rings that won a poll in which NPR categorically excluded all YA fiction?

Sorry, NPR book editors (or whoever is running this poll), you cannot have it both ways. I realize that genres and categories such as SF/F and YA are difficult to define, but pick your definitions and stick with them. Either LotR is YA, in which case it shouldn't have been eligible for the first poll, or it's not. As it is, it looks an awful lot like playing favorites with the books you like and finding excuses to bury the ones you don't.

Why, LJ?

Dec. 20th, 2011 10:27 pm
owlmoose: (avatar - katara)
Why? Why why why why? Why take away the ONE THING that made you better than other community sites?

I. Don't. Get. It.

Edit: And you know the really SHITTY thing? They only made the announcement on a Russian language community, a couple of weeks ago. The latest [livejournal.com profile] news post, from 12/14, makes mention of "changes to comments coming soon!" with no details. It's like they knew they were going to have to sneak it by the user base. Feh.

The change: taking away subject lines from comments. Which is vital for users like fic memes. It makes them impossible to read or track. Disaster for fandom, and you all know I don't use that word lightly.

Son of edit: Looking to leave feedback? This seems to be the best place.
owlmoose: (quote - flamethrower)
Google is taking all the sharing features out of Google Reader. (Official announcement from Google is here.) No more following other users, sharing and commenting on links, group link blogs, etc. The idea, I guess, is that Reader will become a simple RSS aggregator, and you'll do all your link sharing on Google+

Because we've all moved in to Google+ like good little minons, haven't we?

This, my friends, is a potential disaster.(1) Google Reader is probably the centerpiece of my online life. I depend on other people finding the good stuff on blogs that aren't quite what I would normally follow but still have awesome content. It's my curated Internet, and I will miss that, terribly.

I also have to wonder whether this is a sign that Google is planning to shut Reader down entirely at some point, and that would take us from potential disaster to an actual one. I use Reader for everything. I follow blogs for work, blogs for politics, blogs for fun. I use it to follow high-volume celebrity Twitters like [twitter.com profile] ebertchicago and [twitter.com profile] neilhimself. I use it to follow high-volume cute animal Tumblrs like [tumblr.com profile] herekittykittykitty. I literally do not know what I would do without it.

What are we up to, now -- three major Internet service redesign fails in the last month? Facebook, Delicious, now this. Not to mention all the other shenanigans Google has pulled on us lately. To quote Sarah Perez at TechCrunch:

You can’t force me into using Google+ by stealing pieces of Google Reader. That’s not how that’s going to work.

So, how is it going to work? Interesting question, at least for me. My online presence has gotten quite fractured over the last few years. It wasn't all that long ago that all of my publicly visible online social activity -- writing, conversation, link-sharing, on every topic I cared about -- was centered in a single place: my LiveJournal. But as my community has spread, changed, migrated, grown in some areas and shrunk in others, I've been adding more and more services to my plate: Facebook, Twitter, Dreamwidth, Google Reader's sharing features, Tumblr. Maybe it's time for me to rethink that, consolidate back down again, or at least come up with some coherent plan for what content I'm going to share where. One thing to consider: if I have to decouple sharing content from RSS feeds anyway, there's certainly nothing tying me to Google Reader. My options could open up considerably.

Maybe that's just as well. Over the last few years, I've been getting nervous about just how deeply my online life depends on Google, its products, and its services. Perhaps this is another sign that I shouldn't be storing so much content in the Google basket. I recently saw (via, what else, a link on Google Reader) a really thoughtful article about Google by Daniel Soar in the London Review of Books, entitled, somewhat ominously, "It Knows". His thesis is that everything Google does, no matter how far afield from search it might seem, comes back to their core value of improving search, either by giving them more data, more content, or by strengthening the tools used to retrieve that content. I tried to find a pull quote, but there was too much; I highly recommend reading the whole thing.

Soar is not particularly alarmist in his conclusions, at least not in terms of the misuse of personal information, and to be fair that's not what concern me. What does cause me concern is the suggestion that Google sees its user base not as individual customers, but as its beta testers. Its content aggregators. And suddenly, some of their stranger decisions over the years start making a bit more sense.

I'm not about to give up on Google entirely, of course -- it's made itself far too useful. And that's the rub, isn't it? Even when we're angry, they've made it extremely difficult for us to walk away. And that's what worries me, as much as anything.

1. Although not the disaster it would have been a few days ago, before Google announced that they're working on a policy that will allow pseudonyms. Finally.
owlmoose: (quote - irritatingly weird)
1. I've signed up with Pinboard. It has almost all of the features I need, and it looks to be both easy to use and flexible. The big downside is that it's not free -- there's a one-time signup fee that's currently a little less than $10. For a service I use on a near-daily basis, I think it's worth a small outlay by my financial standards, but mileage may, of course, vary. Still, I recommend checking it out. The guy who runs it seems really helpful and responsive, although I do wonder how sustainable a one-person shop will be over time.

As ever, I'm owlmoose over there. Feel free to follow me! I'll most likely add you back if you do. And of course I'll report back, once I've used it awhile.

2. Many other people reporting more thoroughly on the Delicious situation and its implications for fandom. The most thorough source I know of is [personal profile] bookshop -- check out her entries here and here. If you have another good source, let me know.

3. What is it about Internet services and massive fail in the areas of interface and customer service lately? The Google+ real names issue, the Netflix debacle, Facebook's much discussed interface change, and now this. Whatever happened to focus groups, and controlled beta testing, and soft launches? Why do so many sites dump huge changes on their userbase without so much as asking their users what they want? The answer I come back to doesn't please me, but it's starting to look very likely to be the correct one: they don't care. I'm put in mind of this cartoon, which started making the rounds on Facebook after the interface change and resulting outcry:

It's an uncomfortable truth, if one that gets a little sticky for sites like LiveJournal where many of us do pay for the service. And it doesn't mean that we have no leverage at all, because if we weren't there, providing the content, there would be no product to sell. But it does go a long way toward explaining why some site owners seem so callus about their user base.

All day, I've been remebering FanLib and Strikethrough, the controversies that led in no small part to the creation of AO3 and Dreamwidth, respectively. And I keep coming back to the same conclusion today that I did then: if fandom wants a social bookmarking service that's going to work for us, take our needs into account, and not disappear when a higher bidder comes along, we need to build it ourselves. We need to own the servers. The OTW has expressed an interest in being part of the solution, which I think is great, and I look forward to more developments from that direction, but I hope we don't just sit around and wait, either, if someone has an awesome idea for building a tool that will work for us.

4. On the other hand, weirdly, when I open a Delicious webpage, as of this writing (approximately midnight)? I see the old interface. I'm almost afraid to admit this, lest I jinx it, but there you are. This isn't a caching error, because I see it in multiple browsers, and I see it on pages for users I haven't looked at in months, and I see it when I'm logged out. And I accepted the new ToS, and I saw the new interface when I first checked the site this morning. Has this bizarre reversal happened for anyone else? Is it possible that they're slowly walking the changes back? Very curious to see what this will look like in the morning....

5. Last word goes to the ever-wonderful George Takei, whom I think I love more every single day. (The video is about the Facebook interface change, but I still find it appropriate.)
owlmoose: (cats - tori glare)
I mean, seriously. What the hell? Was there any kind of warning on this? Any secret "preview our new service!" opportunity? Because if not.... wow.

Guess it's time to leave. You all know I am generally for riding out the changes with free Internet services, but not when they totally break them overnight. Any recommendations for other bookmarking tools? For my purposes, the only real problem is not being able to see all my tags, but what a problem to have. How is a bookmarking service useful if I can only get to a handful of randomly-selected tags?

owlmoose: (art - gorey neville)
How quickly, once found, the zen can be lost.
owlmoose: (B5 - londo oh dear)
Is anyone else having weird problems with LJ? I can get in on my phone, but my computer is only loading blank pages. This has been happening since last night.

I will also be *very* curious to see whether this cross-posts effectively. ETA: Well, the cross-post link appears, anyway. Not that I can open the entry to check.
owlmoose: (quote - B5 avalanche)
This is clearly my week to return to current events topics I haven't posted about in awhile.

Back in early December, I wrote a post about the rape charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. A day or so later, Twitter exploded, and suddenly this topic was everywhere I looked. I followed the #mooreandme campaign very closely; I didn't post about it here, because it moved too fast for me to gather my thoughts enough for a post, but I did keep up with the hashtag and retweeted quite a lot. After Michael Moore made good (sort of), things died down, but the case is still very much in the media and on my mind, largely because people keep saying stupid things.

People like Naomi Wolf. )
owlmoose: (ffx2 - paine)
And here I was, hoping that I would never have to defend Twilight again, but noooooo, Hollywood had to go and ruin everything.

So the last time I discussed this media franchise, last fall, the fanboys of the world had united in their fear and loathing of Twilight because New Moon broke a box office record that had been held by The Dark Knight, and also because the screaming Robert Pattinson fans had "ruined" Comic Con earlier that summer. Still, the strength of New Moon's box office performance had some people speculating that maybe the studios would finally realize that women actually spend money on movies (note the second paragraph).

Yeah, so much for that.

Authors [of a new scholarly book on Twilight] argue shifting of marketing strategies with Eclipse indicates Hollywood devalues female fans :

Despite the record-breaking success of the first two Twilight films, Summit Entertainment shifts marketing strategies with its third film to attract a male audience, MU researchers said. With the latest Twilight film, the researchers observe that the marketing of Eclipse highlights a subplot of Stephenie Meyer’s book that is dark and violent, a ploy to draw male moviegoers. The official full-length trailer for Eclipse promotes the film largely as an action movie instead of focusing on the love triangle that is established in the third book of the Twilight series.

"Although the establishment of a love triangle in Eclipse is central to the story and marks a very important turning point in the series, the movie trailer highlights the action, rather than the romantic, elements of the story," Aubrey said. "Why is Summit doing this? From a cultural point of view, the media industry doesn’t confer cultural legitimacy on texts until they are embraced by men, not just women."

Because it's not enough that women will see this movie in droves and will spend millions and millions of their dollars on the film and the books and the tie-in merchandise. That's girl money, so it doesn't count. No, Hollywood can't possibly consider a franchise successful unless they can get the men to approve of it. Is this because, as a culture, we tend to value men and traditionally male interests more than women and traditionally female interests? Or is because men are the holy grail target demographic for advertisers? (Then again, we might ask why men are the holy grail demographic in the first place.)

I watched the trailer, and the above analysis is no exaggeration. Except for one brief moment where Jacob and Edward are staring each other down, you would never guess that there was a love triangle, or even a romance. Bella gets maybe 15 seconds of screen time; the focus is on the vampires and a little bit on Jacob. Full disclosure: I haven't actually read the book (I stopped after the first in the series), but from what I recall from reading synopses and talking to friends, the epic romance is the primary focus of the story, and the vampire army business is thrown in to raise the stakes at the end. (If I am wrong about this, I am happy to be corrected; let me know.) The film trailer would have it appear to be the other way around. So, here's the big question: is this just about the marketing, or did they actually change the movie to make it potentially more appealing to male audiences? Because that's where I would move from irritated to outright angry.

Hat tip to Comic Worth Reading; especially check out the comments, because the post's author pwns some mansplainers in a way that is really worth seeing.

Dear Lost

May. 4th, 2010 10:43 pm
owlmoose: (Default)
I need to have a word with you.

And it's behind the cut. )
owlmoose: (Default)
New quarter + upcoming travel = one busy KJ.

It all kicked off this week, with a messy mix of switching around shifts, working short days and long days, meetings galore, cumulating in a full day of work today. I'm not sure why it's been so exhausting, but I'm really fried -- I could barely keep my eyes open at my desk. Tomorrow I get my one-day weekend, the centerpiece of which will likely be an afternoon of laundry.

Then I work three days, during which time I have a half-dozen projects to wrap up. Thursday morning I leave for Boston, where I'll spend the weekend attending a librarian conference. Monday I hook up with [livejournal.com profile] amybang, we spend a couple of days hanging out, and then it's back home on Wednesday, where I immediately head back to three days of work, including another full shift on a Saturday, two weeks from today.

So basically I lose three weekends in a row: two to working on Saturdays, and the one in the middle to the conference, which, while not exactly "work", isn't exactly "not work" either. I'm not complaining, exactly, but it'll be hectic. And if you wonder why I'm not around as much in the next little while, now you know why. I might have to steal myself another three-day weekend sometime next month.

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