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Saturday, August 16, 2008

How low a number can the strip get?

Buzzcomix recently relaunched and I've set up Sandsday for the new platform. I kind of suspect Sandsday was kicked off Buzzcomix for some reason in the past, but it's back on now and I encourage you to vote for it.

I've installed new vote buttons for both webcomic ranking services showing Sandsday's rank on each. Funnily enough, with my one vote Sandsday shot from being just outside Buzzcomix' top five thousand to being just outside its top five hundred. 5000... 500. Huh.

Note that even with my vote, I did not have quite as much success climbing up TopWebComics. As such, I should note that because TopWebComics' vote image does not scale the font size of the rank like Buzzcomix, if Sandsday is outside TWC's top 1000, the vote image will not appear to show the correct rank. Fortunately, you can fix that by, well, voting for it if you like Sandsday, and I would think that with just one more vote Sandsday would hit the TWC top 1000, considering with my one vote it's inside the top 1500.

Also, I've started to fall behind on almost every site I don't subscribe to the RSS feed of (including Ctrl+Alt+Del and any strip I'm reading on a preliminary basis for the purposes of posting on it), for a variety of reasons, so I'm setting up an RSS feed for Sandsday... sort of. This uses the new function of the Buzzcomix Reader, which basically means you have to sign up for a Buzzcomix account and make Sandsday one of your Favs. And I'm not sure if it would push through to any RSS reader. At any rate, there's a button for it on Sandsday, for the interested.

No ads yet for Sandsday. Still thinking about the best way to do it...

I'd be more optimistic about the concept if I knew what the heck was going on in the demonstration.

(From Penny Arcade Bogey Golf. Click for full sized... whatever the hell this is.)

I got an e-mail telling me my Freehostia account was now working shortly after I posted with today's strip, so I guess that was unnecessary. On to other things.

Penny Arcade, like Ctrl+Alt+Del, has no forum dedicated to its own strips, Websnark has been reduced to Eric Burns popping in once a month to spout off on whatever's making the rounds in geek culture, Tangents is still a homeless bum, and I know of no other blog that comments on webcomics as up-to-the-minute as those two. So I have no way of knowing for certain if Friday's news post is a joke or not. It probably is, but it's nowhere near April.

All I know is if it isn't, it really screws up my plans, because I had been planning on PA being one of the two posts I was planning to make early in the week to make up for having no webcomic post this week.

Even if it is, I'm only really going to have two strips to work off of, so I'm probably reviewing another webcomic blog for the second instead, reviewing PA next week, reviewing one other comic the week after that, and maybe posting a third OOTS post the week after that.

And that's assuming I don't get too sidetracked by other things, like Buzzcomix' recent relaunch, about which more later...

"I challenge you to a VIRTUAL duel!"

My Freehostia password isn't working for some reason, so you get Sandsday on Da Blog to make sure I get it up in a timely fashion. THIS is why I had been thinking of moving off Freehostia...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 8/16-17

All times PDT.

12:30-6 AM: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, diving and the medal final in the women's 10km track race (12:30-2 AM), plus primetime replay (2-6 AM) (NBC). Same on both coasts. You could watch USA on the East Coast to get closer to the start time of the next item.

10-6 PM: Little League Baseball, Junior League, Senior League, Junior League Softball, and Big League Softball World (ESPNU). Not necessarily in that order. The Little League Softball World Series ended back on Wednesday. That's the only LLWS that doesn't end on the weekend. Get with the program! Is it just me, or does the marquee age division of the LLWS seem arbitrary considering it's the youngest group? We completely lose sight of these kids as they move up through Junior, Senior, and maybe Big League, then we regain sight in the College World Series, then we lose sight of them again until they get called up to the bigs because we pay no attention to AAA whatsoever.

7:30-12 AM: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, track and field and swimming and the awarding of medals in both (NBC). Same on both coasts, so there's interference with Little League on the East Coast. I had been thinking about writing a post about the rising tide of discontent on the West Coast at being told events are "live" when they're still tape-delayed. Then I saw that more than half of the top five highest-rated major markets, and almost half of the top 17, are in the Pacific and Mountain time zones, and almost all the largest markets in those two time zones (eight of the top nine, with Seattle's ratings depressed by being able to see events truly live on CBC) are averaging at least a 21 rating for the Olympics, which I believe is higher than NBC's nationwide average. Which means one of two things: people on the West Coast are more into the Olympics than people back East, and I see no reason why that should be so, especially in Mountain time; or NBC's decision to tape delay events is HELPING ratings in the Pacific and Mountain time zones. I have a feeling NBC may decide they're never pulling strings to get events live in primetime for a non-American Olympics again (starting in 2012, that is). On another note, this is the last medal Michael Phelps needs to pass Mark Spitz, and it's also women's marathon day.

12:30-6 AM: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, beach volleyball, track and field, and the primetime replay (NBC). Same on both coasts. I'd put USA here but it interferes with NBC's primetime coverage.

11-2:30 PM: NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing, Michigan race (ESPN). Because the Sprint Cup Series isn't on here often enough.

3-5 PM: Little League Baseball, Venezuela v. "Saudia Arabia" (ESPN2). Yes, that's how it actually appears on ESPN's own web site.

5-8 PM: MLB Baseball, Philadelphia @ San Diego (ESPN). The Phillies may be in NL East contention, but you can tell this game was decided on before the season started.

9-11 PM: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Softball, United States v. China (CNBC). Looking back over what I said last week about CNBC's coverage, I'm not sure what they think their audience is. I accused them of misreading their audience last week, yet that was for a time slot that included tennis, which fits right in with the rich-snob demographic. I was focusing on boxing, yet that so often gets called the "sweet science" and seen as so much superior to the supposed bloodlust and chaos of MMA, as though boxing was as tame as golf. And then there's softball, and the only way I see this fitting in with CNBC's "male demographic" is if they're thinking "Ooh! Boobs!" Yet at the same time, the fact that it's softball and not some other female sport tells me it's an old male demographic that remembers when baseball was the national pasttime (AS IT SHOULD BE!) and isn't into all this football stuff the whippersnappers are into. Which... adds up to a pretty disturbing demographic.

11-11 AM: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, water polo, synchronized swimming, canoeing, kayaking, field hockey, basketball, and table tennis, including the table tennis gold medal match (USA). Prepare to march back into work on Monday and fall right asleep, stay there till quitting time, sleep all the way home, and sleep the rest of the day.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My ad model is fluctuating by the minute.

Hmm. My premier ad has a prime position at the top of the page. My standard ad is buried waaaaaay down underneath Da Blog Poll on the sidebar.

Yet, last I checked, the premier ad is showing the "your ad here" default image, and hasn't yet even made me a cent, while the standard ad is going for three cents and has made me a nifty two cents so far. Admittedly, the premier ad isn't showing up on the feed like I intended for some reason, but for future reference, chicks dig the tall ad.

Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised; I'm getting a lot of comics- and webcomics-related bidders, and it's rare that I'll see a webcomics site put up a banner ad.

Thanks for nothing, idiots.

If you've been following Da Blog over the summer, you've no doubt noticed that I've been diligently looking for a job, without success. As I mentioned in a previous post, that's largely because Da Blog has sort of been my job. But that doesn't mean I haven't been doing some sort of due diligence.

For a while, I looked for jobs at, the college-student-oriented arm of job search site CareerBuilder. But it became apparent that beyond the first page, CBCampus only had the exact same job search engine as CareerBuilder, with the exact same jobs. It didn't even search by default for, say, jobs I could get with just a high school degree. It and other sites also didn't allow me to add criteria such as no experience required, even when flags indicating such that should have been searchable without keywords existed. I wondered if there was a job search site that was really geared towards students. The closest I came appeared to be Student Central, which didn't seem to have any jobs in my state, which seemed kind of pointless.

Well, today I recently got done meeting with a therapist which I meet with every so often to work on some of my issues, and he suggested that "job search sites" are a waste of time for everybody, not just me. Monster, CareerBuilder, you name it. He's known maybe one person to get a job from those sites. Well, that was certainly useful...

But it seems that that condemnation could be used against just about anything else, including the classified ads in the newspaper, which are now often searchable online just like a job search site. So it begs the question: How does one really find a job, anyway?

So I'm turning this open to you: How have you found your jobs?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Newsbusters v. Kilpatrick et al: Part II of the Truth Court announcement

After subscribing to Media Matters and Newsbusters, I've realized - or rather, re-realized - an insight that may come across as novel.

The battle over media bias has three sides, not two: conservatives, liberals, and the media itself.

The problem is, the two political sides merely conflate the media with the other side, and see no difference between them. Conservatives simply see the media as part of the vast left-wing conspiracy, and liberals see the media as simply being an arm of the right. But the media is worse: it doesn't see itself as part of the battle at all, or rather, it sees the battle as an altogether different battle with "new media", with bloggers and the Internet, and ignores some of the reasons why people may not be following them onto their own new media platforms. The media goes after the wrong enemy without realizing that many of the accusations of bias are within its own pages - hardly "new media". Because the media doesn't fight back against the actual charges and goes after a strawman instead, someone reading Media Matters and Newsbusters dispassionately might be led to believe that the media isn't tinted to the left, right, or balanced; it's just incompetent.

I should add that in order to truly reach that conclusion, you'd have to add another liberal blog, because Media Matters only goes after specific instances of "conservative misinformation", while Newsbusters attacks at any perceived slight, no matter how minor. For example, Newsbusters has been attacking the MSM's coverage of Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's troubles for allegedly not labeling him as a Democrat, when they would be so quick to label him if he was a Republican! Hmm, could that have something to do with the mayor of Detroit being an officially nonpartisan position? Could it be that if they had called him, say, "Detroit's Democratic mayor", as Fox News did, they would actually be inaccurate and would come in for an even heavier pillorying from the left? Newsbusters itself has found enough exceptions that it makes me wonder if the rare cases of being quick to label Republicans as such that they cite are themselves exceptions... though I'd need more information to verify that for certain.

Farhad Manjoo (of True Enough fame, remember) appears to be one of the few to recognize that the left and the right are really putting forth two sides of the same coin. One of the studies he cites in True Enough (page 154) concerns an incident in Lebanon in 1982 and the reaction to news reports on the incident by students at Stanford - one pro-Israel, one pro-Arab, and one neutral group. Predictably, the partisan groups believed the news was biased against them and towards the other side, likely to turn viewers against their own side. What did the neutral group think? Funnily enough, they didn't see any bias one way or the other. It would seem to be evidence that, at the very least, the news could in fact be perfectly fair and balanced.

But it's unlikely to convince partisans in the United States who would just see it as evidence that the bias in the news is "subtle", even subliminal. Even if the neutral group didn't see bias, didn't even claim to favor one side or the other more than before, that's just because the media tries to hide its bias because they know people want a fair and balanced account. In reality, the media is sowing the seeds so that when people hear something closer to the truth, closer to what the partisans know is true, they will dismiss it because "well, what I heard on the news was..." Certainly the fact that Newsbusters is on the lookout for such minutiae as whether a politician's party is identified - which would be, if a crime, one of omission - would seem to support this idea.

But consider that conservatives have been hammering the media for having a liberal bias for decades. If people are abandoning the MSM for blogs because of all the bias they see in it (a claim often voiced in Newsbusters' comments), if polls show that media bias is a bigger problem than worship of the almighty dollar in campaigns, if operations like Media Matters and Newsbusters exist to call them on any perceived slight the instant they show one and shame them for thousands, maybe even millions, of readers to see, why, the media would be absolutely foolish to show any bias whatsoever. There should be less media bias than at any time in history.

But not only do Media Matters and Newsbusters still have plenty of targets, the exact opposite has happened: The mainstream media has become more biased, even blatantly so. Fox News is the most obvious example (and it's telling that Newsbusters sometimes calls Fox "fair and balanced" with a straight face), but CNN (ex. Lou Dobbs Tonight) and MSNBC (ex. Countdown with Keith Olbermann) have more than their fair share of partisan screeds disguised as news too. Even the seemingly balanced shows on cable news tend to be debatefests between pundits and/or party surrogates. (As I'll explain in a later post, it's possible that if anything, these debatefests are too tame, as though their contestants were politicians running for office and chasing the center. Give me a strong, popular extreme righty against a strong, popular extreme lefty anytime.) Perhaps this trend - that to avoid charges of bias, the media has made them come true - suggests that the problem was never that the media wasn't balanced, but that it was too balanced. (That said, the fact that liberals only recently have taken up the media bias cant may suggest that the media was once at least slightly tinted to the left. Or it could indicate, as the title of Arianna Huffington's book suggests, that "Right is Wrong".)

But trying to be balanced to everyone is too much work. Say a study comes out that says a bunch of stuff about offshore drilling but doesn't come out one way or the other. But if you don't report on the study, the next time you do a story about drilling Newsbusters will hammer you for not reporting on the study that proves how far we could drive down oil prices and declare our oil independence by drilling (ignoring that the report shows Republicans arguing exactly that, albeit not citing the study). So you report on the study, only to find Media Matters accusing you of ignoring that the same study shows drilling would actually do nothing to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and would cause three species of marine life to become extinct. If you'd said the study had said that, Newsbusters would accuse you of purposely misrepresenting the study, so you have to present both the liberal conclusion and the conservative conclusion. And now both sides are accusing you of putting forth a partisan spin on the study "uncritically"...

What I'd like to see, then, is a blog defending the media from accusations of bias from both sides, enough of an insider to be privy to the discussions deciding what gets printed and how, but not so far inside the MSM that (s)he would be subject to some of its quirks like, say, not talking about the John Edwards scandal. The media doesn't need to become what the news would look like if partisans ran it. It doesn't need to see the enemy as this amorphous "new media" that's just out to destroy it. We don't even need to see a clear distinction between old and new media, and the fact that bastions of old media like the Los Angeles Times and ESPN have started sponsoring forays into blogging is evidence of that. It just needs people to credibly say, "no. We're right, you're wrong, and here's why." It needs someone to explain to Newsbusters why it won't identify Kwame Kilpatrick as a Democrat (or why it doesn't matter that it doesn't), to Media Matters why it won't report how closely John McCain has followed President Bush, to the right why it didn't pursue the John Edwards story (and why it did pursue the affairs of Republicans - and even if more Republican infidelities are reported than Democratic ones, that may have more to do with the fact that Republicans are the party of "family values" than with any liberal bias), and to the left why it didn't look more critically at the case for war in Iraq, and to sit through both sides' rebuttals and patiently counter-rebut those.

Maybe no one in the mainstream media wants to put up a blog responding to the accusations of partisans. And maybe they don't have to. Barring that, I'd like to see someone put up a site that employed both liberals and conservatives looking for bias from the mainstream media - but also looking for inaccuracies and shortcomings and distortions from Media Matters and Newsbusters and even its own analysts, and not just those but the entire conservative and liberal blogosphere. Its slogan could be "Keeping the media honest... and the people who watch them." Or something like that. If blogs are the new place to get the news, surely they need a Media Matters or Newsbusters just as much as the mainstream media does. If I'm right, and the media itself is just as much a side in the debate as the left and the right, then it logically follows that it needs its own Media Matters or Newsbusters to keep the other two sides in check.

Or would that just be accused of being just as biased as the mainstream media itself? Newsbusters' apparent decision to write off any explanation the mainstream media give for ignoring the Edwards story as "making excuses" suggests it may be. Still, if the consequenses otherwise are the "death" of the mainstream media made very real, replaced by a bunch of partisan outlets not speaking to one another, perhaps all sides would be better for a serious dialogue. Or rather, trialogue?

Random Internet Discovery of the Week

I know last week I promised a "Bonus Internet Discovery" but I subsequently realized I didn't really know what I was going to say about what I was going to talk about.

Wait... Some Iraq casualties have been in Kuwait?

I so hate Robert Howard right now.

"In a couple of weeks I should have enough money to rent server space," Robert A. Howard says on his LiveJournal. Tiny problem: It's been a month since Howard was forced to leave Tangents' old host, and every time he's updated since then he's said it would be "a couple of weeks" before he would have enough money for server space. I have little reason to believe he'll make any real progress this time, or that the next update won't say something similar.

It's a bit of a shame, not just because I had been planning a review of Tangents (although I'm starting to rethink that), but because OOTS this week reached a point that would have been perfect for me to write a certain post I had in mind, just as I reached a point that I was going to spend on an OOTS post... but it required the existence of a post of Howard's that's not on the LJ backup.

I might have a webcomic post later in the week, but it's probably not the one I was going to post here and it might not even be on OOTS. If I don't have anything, you get two posts next week.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Announcement of Truth Court Part I

Yes, this long-awaited post is going to be split into two parts, and in Part I I'm going to tell you that I'm not actually going to do what I'm announcing, when it's something I've already demonstrated. More on that later.

Lo, many months ago I was in a Barnes and Noble thinking about burning off a ridiculous collection of gift cards I had built up, mostly so I could enlighten myself on an issue I'll be talking about later in the fall. I was struck by several books in the store not directly related to the topic I was looking for. In particular, I was intrigued by Farhad Manjoo's True Enough, and impulse-bought it, and it turned out that I didn't have as much on my gift cards (and I didn't have as many gift cards) as I thought and I ended up actually having to spend some money that I wouldn't have needed to spend if I'd just picked up the other three books. Oh well.

I brought up True Enough earlier in the summer in a different context, but now I want to go a little more in depth. True Enough's thesis is that new technologies, which are supposed (by their supporters) to make it easier to find out what the truth really is, also allow falsehoods to propagate more easily, allowing our very notion of what "the truth" is to splinter into mutually exclusive segments. If you're a conservative blog, for example, you can link to all manner of sources (no matter how specious) that prove your points, and conveniently censor all those that prove those durn libruls' points.

Much of what True Enough says seems rather obvious, and just restating a lot of conventional wisdom in a concise form. And it's easy to dismiss much of what Manjoo says once you discover his background, and decide "oh, he's just covering for the mainstream media", especially since his longest chapter is on the media and accusations from both sides that it's somehow biased towards the other side. (As I explain in Part II, though, having someone try to defend the mainstream media is not a bad thing.) But it's also accompanied by the results of studies in sociology and psychology that put a lot of the American political debate in a new light and does much to explain why we are where we are.

If I had to isolate one part of it, though, that I would consider a weak spot, I would point to its ending. After six chapters of exposing how easily falsehoods can propagate in culture, and how our very perceptions of reality can splinter, after showing time and time again that there really is an objective truth that people continually ignore because it doesn't fit their preconceptions, and showing how this creeping "truthiness" can have results ranging from insidious to disasterous, Manjoo doesn't really offer any way to solve anything. Rather, he seems to take this as the norm, the status quo, the way things are. His epilogue says little other than "we've got a choice about which reality to believe" and telling us to be careful about who we trust. The book's last words, in the context of all that has come before, are rather chilling: "Choosing means trusting some people and distrusting the rest. Choose wisely." Nothing about how to actually solve these problems and get technology to work for us instead of against us? Nothing to streamline the path through which truth can beat out all the falsehoods running around? We just have to pick and choose who we trust, when any of them could be spreading inaccuracies at any time?

I don't believe we have to settle. Even before I actually started reading it, True Enough had me thinking about the issues it raised, and I started thinking I would start a truth court, which would sort through all the evidence on all sides and come to a conclusion as to what the real truth was. It wouldn't attempt to solve matters of opinion, only matters of fact. If anything, Manjoo's book actually dissuaded me from this project by showing me just how much work it would involve. I think, however, that such a project would be important for democracy, especially if it addressed Manjoo's issues in (among others) the following ways:
  • Manjoo identifies the idea of selective exposure, the idea that we only expose ourselves to news sources that we agree with. If you're a liberal, you're likely to tune out when Fox News comes on, but you might be listening with rapt attention when Keith Olbermann's show is on. Truth Court would make sure it's part of the solution, not part of the problem, by being even-handed and authoritative enough with its verdicts, at least early on, to attract an audience on both sides of the political divide. Also, it would accept all evidence presented to it, would not hesitate to reopen a case, and generally would lay down the law hard enough and convincingly enough that you would have to be a complete fool not to accept its verdicts.
  • Also on Manjoo's list is the idea of selective perception, that we only see what we want to see even when looking at the same piece of evidence. All audio and visual evidence will be presented directly to all interested parties and will also be presented to experts who are particularly well positioned to explain any anomalies one way or the other.
  • Manjoo notes that "experts" may come from questionably relevant fields, or their expertise may simply be questionable (more on this in a bit). Truth Court makes sure it will bring in as many experts from as many relevant fields as possible to analyze the evidence, and will also identify where their expertise comes from and any potential biases.
  • As part of showing that some people may credibly claim to be experts with no relevant knowledge whatsoever, Manjoo shows how presenting a warm demeanor and a jokey style is better than a dry, boring professor. To ensure maximum audience appeal, Truth Court would attempt a similar fun-loving style. We don't want you to fall asleep while you're reading.
  • Manjoo presents results supporting the idea of biased assimilation, the idea that we look more critically at findings that say something we disagree with, and are more likely to take at face value the findings we agree with. Truth Court will scrutinize all evidence for potential biases or shortcomings and will take seriously all subsequent requests to review the evidence, but we'll also scrutinize the requests themselves for fallacies.
  • Attached to biased assimiliation is naive realism, the idea that you take your worldview as objective truth, which helps explain why left and right attack the media for being biased, seizing on any example of supporting their enemies and attacking themselves while ignoring evidence sympathetic to their side as simply unbiased reporting. (In a variant and possible admission of this, Arianna Huffington has a book of her own, Right is Wrong, which claims that the media should be liberally biased because the left is so right.) Manjoo documents how this leaves the smart play for media to actually become biased, as in the Fox News model; if you're going to be attacked anyway, you might as well go all the way and appease one side by making the other side's attacks actually true. Truth Court will end every case by opening things up for feedback where you can point out any biases you see, and we can respond to your charges by getting better one way or the other, or by pointing out for all to see how we were unbiased after all.
If you're reading all this, you're probably thinking this is a lot of work, and you can understand why I'm probably not going to do much in Truth Court. While I leave it open for anyone to take up and I consider it an important project, I also recognize that it might be a bit much for some people.

Which is why this announcement is in two parts, because I also have a lighter-duty idea for anyone willing to take up the charge, one more focused on the ongoing battles over which way, if any, the media is biased. That second part may be coming as soon as tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hey, everyone likes a good contest!

Some of you may be reading Sandsday, and if you're not, you should be. But regardless of if you are or aren't, I'm giving you an opportunity at a fantastic level of reader participation.

It's the first annual "Create-Your-Own-Sandsday" Contest! All you have to do is write an episode of Sandsday in script form. Have some way of telling the two characters apart, tell me what you plan to put in each panel (or even leave that up to me if you like), and you're all set! You can even include that stem-less, larger type of dialogue if you like.

Submit your creations by August 31 at 11:59 PM PT by commenting on this post or e-mailing me at mwmailsea at yahoo dot com. The best submission will run in Sandsday on Labor Day, and you'll get full credit in the strip itself.

After all, who doesn't like winning contests?


I haven't been able to get a job (and not for lack of trying, as I have had no less than four interviews, but there really is very little in the way of real job search engines for students). Despite my money being incredibly tight and Mom pressuring me to get some sort of job if only for the work experience.

The battery on my laptop is virtually nonexistent, thanks to, from what I have read, being seemingly designed for obsolescence.

I can't put it on standby or hibernate if just about anything is open, lest it fail to do so and force me to completely shut down, which defeats the purpose of putting it on standby or hibernate.

(If I could change standby or hibernate in any way, I would make it so there is always a way to get out of it right up until it actually finishes entering standby or hibernate, or alternately, until the "Preparing to hibernate" screen disappears. Barring that, I would make it so that Windows inserts a marker the instant it's done saving the computer's state to disk; the next time Windows boots up, you have the option of loading from that marker, so if something goes wrong and you have to turn off the computer, you can recover from the marker anyway. If it doesn't detect the marker, you know the problem came before Windows finished saving the state of the computer, and the end of any escape should come after the marker has been saved. But for reasons I describe below, I now suspect the real problem may be the fact that Windows turns off the keyboard and mouse at all.)

I have no real internet connection, not even one I can steal from inside the house, so I have to run outside a few paces to get anything done online if I don't want to run about seven blocks (a 10-15 minute walk) to the library. That includes every single night I post the strip.

Which requires the use of my nonexistent battery.

On Saturday I was told I was being kicked out of the library until Thursday because I had been in the library late on Wednesday, the result of my laptop going into a coughing fit (as I described in my Savidge v. Obama post) and me not wanting to take it away from an Internet connection.

So for the next three days I'm going to have to spend some of my precious, sparse dough to use the Internet at a cafe. And walk for a longer distance.

I have a ridiculous backlog of posts I need to get written. My usual Tuesday webcomic post will probably be late this week.

And then last night I head outside to use the Internet, in the act of trying to post the strip, just trying to verify that the strip actually got posted before I created the page (Freehostia's new file manager is a bit unacceptably slow and had a bug when I tried to post something, but the word is it should be fixed when I reboot), and as I head in the computer starts going on hibernate.

It's slow enough in doing so that I can plug it back in and hit Esc a lot and get it to stop hibernating, but my jubilation is short-lived. My touchpad and keyboard stop working.

And they don't come back when the computer mostly ends its latest coughing fit. Among other things, this causes me to lose two of the posts in my backlog (as well as my planned challenge to my "exclusion" from the library). One of them wasn't going to get posted until after my Truth Court announcement anyway, and required a lot of expansion, but the other is time-sensitive, was all but finished, and is due to be posted at the end of this week. And it presages more posts that will add to my backlog.

It's enough to cause me, an agnostic-athiest, to want to start screaming at the heavens. WHY ME! WHY SHOULD ALL THESE PROBLEMS STRIKE ME! WHY HATH THOU NOT BLESSED ME WITH WORK ETHIC SO I COULD GET A JOB! WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe I can answer part of that question, actually. One reason I haven't been working as hard as I probably should at finding a job is that I've spent so much time on Da Blog.

In some sense, Da Blog has been my job this summer, so I might as well make money off it.

So effective immediately, advertising is coming to Da Blog, courtesy Project Wonderful. (I also applied to have advertising on Sandsday and the web site in general, but the latter was rejected for "lack of content", and I want to have a uniform look across the web site, which means no ads on one part if there aren't ads on the other part. On the other hand, I also have such a breadth of stuff on the web site that I'd like to be able to split it up across several "sites", but I don't really know how to work that. I could put a horizontal ad space below the strip instead of in the sidebar as I was intending...)

PW essentially uses an auction model for ad space; you stipulate the most you're willing to pay per day, for how long, and how much you're willing to pay total. Because you're charged by the second if your ad is the high bid (and you're only charged just enough to beat the second-highest bid - so if you're the only bid you get advertising for free), you could say you're willing to pay less than you were willing to pay per day. Ads aren't served up semi-randomly like Google Adsense, which means I can screen the ads, so no porn ads or anything like that. My income isn't dependent on people clicking on the ads, which makes it easier to make money (and recognizes that just having people be able to see the ad is valuable). And if I make, say, ten dollars in Project Wonderful, that's ten dollars more than I would see with the equivalent level of activity in Google Adsense, where I wouldn't be able to see one red cent until I made $100.

There will be two ads on Da Blog, at least to start: one "premier" ad at the very top of Da Blog and also appearing on the RSS feed, and one "standard" in the sidebar. For the first week, the ad space will advertise the ability to advertise if there are no bids; if there still aren't any bids after a week I'll put up something of my own. If you're really interested in advertising for the long haul, subscribe to the new "advertising" label and stay up to date on traffic spikes and changes in the ad model. As soon as I clear the backlog of posts I'll have a short FAQ on the web site for people wishing to advertise.

I would ask you to donate to me to fund anything to help my situation (I'M REDUCED TO BEGGING DAMMIT!) - a new battery, perhaps, or books for my upcoming return to school - but I have heard a LOT of bad things about PayPal and I don't know of any competition for it.

My indecision could be your gain!

Doing something different with the strip this week. Today I'm starting a little experiment and I can't decide whether to do it for only five days or for a full two weeks. I have four strips in the pipeline; I'm not doing a poll, but I do want to hear whether you want to see more of this or go back to video game stuff, or whatever your thoughts are. Leave a comment on this post (remember, Livejournal comments don't get to me) or e-mail me at mwmailsea at yahoo dot com. Comments will be counted if they're in by Thursday at 8 PM PT.

More Sandsday stuff later today.