Archive for the Category ◊ Web & Tech ◊

Author:
• Sunday, May 05th, 2013

Forums Shaped My Reading and Writing
My earliest memories of being online have been with forums and perhaps much of that time has created preferences when online. It could be the other way around and just coincidence I did much foruming, but I would like to think it lead to some of my writing style. Subtle trolling, casualness, playful wittiness at the expense of others, keeping things to the point, and random off-topic derailing as examples of influence. I am known in some communities for my annoying, amusing, and confrontational one liners. At the very least changing things up with having to write more gave time to reflect.

Images Make a Page of Words Attractive
I love great detail and informative treasures, but at times I can find long blog entries of my interest not interesting enough to read. Images bring color to a wad of black text, tell the topic of a post often before any words, grab attention, and break up text. People like purdy thingies.

surreal day

Image Source: Pixiv.com / Pixiv.net

Episodic Blogging is Useless
Around starting a blog I took peeks at what other bloggers did in addition to the little knowledge I already had. Real soon I learned that blogging each episode of an anime or chapter of a manga makes for poor reading. Sure an epiphany or emotional response to an episode or story arc can be remarkable, but every episode just because is a waste. One could simply go out to watch the particular episode or manga. If one is already following a series they would either decide to keep going or see what they have as not worth it.

Writing, Grammar, and Speling
I am a product of a dysfunctional schooling system where much of my years in school dealt with golf carts chasing ditchers across campus, stabbings, shootings, and bomb threats. There were days where I’ve spent time playing Gameboy Pokemon in front of a teacher’s desk with the teacher there. Jumping into blogging for me meant having to learn as I go without help or guidance. Finding tools for spelling is easy, but the ability to write something interesting, coherent, and styled is a world of error. Proof reading is a friend.

Timing
A lot like a news outlet a blog can get extra traffic and kudos for being ahead of the rest. Knowing when your audience is active online and being first leads to more retweets on fast sites like Twitter and having the most attention from offering something undiscovered.

Casuals and Fanatics
Many people into anime and manga are just into it to watch and read. It is a segment of fans that include those that gain pleasure in critique, analysis, and writing. Some fans find gathering information and opinions useful in addition to the media, but most are satisfied with what their friends suggest or what they stumble across. Just being a fan is okay and I have learned to accept that.

Better Have Something Worth Saying
In real life I hate surprises yet I prefer to do things on a whim. With blogging I write when I have something interesting or an inspiration gained from an experience. With a schedule I would find myself writing just to write without much to share. I take notes in the form of a list of words until I gather enough for a topic or I inspire myself through watching or reading anime and manga when I’m most easily able to concentrate. If I were to kick up my watching of anime and manga, it would translate to better consistency.

Some thanks to Justin of OASG for inspiring this post.

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone!

Category: Web & Tech  | 2 Comments
Author:
• Sunday, December 09th, 2012

New Zealand protestors are speaking out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership while the latest round of negotiations happen there. This pact between countries is labeled a fair trade agreement in where more trade of goods can be made. In such a pact there is normally agreements made to remove or lessen fees, limitations, taxes, and similar. Drama over the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not so much about lifting barriers, but how the negotiation development is secret and what has been leaked are actually limitations on citizens in addition to business. Imagine many of the ideas that corporations and politicians thought of for SOPA and PIPA Internet censorship, but on a global scale without much public information. Governments and Internet service providers will enforce blocking of websites, removal of Internet access for individuals, and filtering to increase copyright restrictions with what has been leaked. Japan is one of the countries for encouraging to join in this agreement.

Flourishing and frequesntly imported self published manga known as doujinshi are a massive part of the animanga scene and has one of the world’s largest comic conventions devoted to it known as Comiket. At this time those creations enjoy the freedom of remixing characters from copyrighted anime and manga. The doujinshi market offers a way to become known to companies that publish manga and a way to develop their skills, but with TPP it will be hindered by enforcement with fines even without the copyright holder’s request. This agreement will perhaps include steps to make Japan’s copyright laws the same or much closer to America’s laws.

Copyright infringement is the norm for much of the anime and manga fan community around the world with illegal downloads, manga readers, and torrents. Greater regulation may happen rather than breaking down of the language, cost, and availability barriers. Voters and citizens may not know to what extent the agreement may go, as it may eliminate sites, blogs, or perhaps user pages from social networks. A link, photo, download, or a fan work may inspire a crack down on the site or the user of a site with vague or poor language.

The next Japanese general election will be held December 16th, 2012 with 63% of election candidate opposition to Japan’s Trans-Pacific Partnership participation. Action and discussion needs to happen instead of a last moment or brief spark of excitement that happened with SOPA and PIPA. It will not be easy with the passing of time for an agreement that has been in development for years, the secret nature of the negotiations, and the challenge of taking actual action.

Author:
• Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Image bookmarking site Pinterest is a growing site where people add images from the web or computer to share into categories called boards. Users pin videos from the web to embed into Pinterest, like button images to save, or repin other pins into their own boards. Perfect place to show off favorites for those who enjoy collecting images they like. Anime and manga fandom is filled with imagery such as fan art, avatars, screenshots, posters, and cover art.

In addition to pinning of images and making boards for categorization:

  1. Allow other specific users to add pins to a board
  2. Embed codes for adding to webpages
  3. Language settings
  4. Shows pin source, other pins from the same site, and how the pin was added
  5. Activity window and emails to show interactions from others
  6. Gift area for shopping categorized by price
  7. Search for images, boards, or people
  8. Web browser and website Pin It buttons for easy and speedy pinning
  9. Browsing images loads more images to the page when scrolling down
  10. Set board cover instead of latest image
  11. Friend finding and invitations
  12. Follow users or their specific boards

Pinterest is similar to Twitter in that there is a stereotypical view on its usage. Twitter for the longest was seen as a site for people to announce what they were doing at every moment of the day. Twitter users can say to follow people that are of interest, but that would be useless if the other person is not open to seeing Twitter as a place for news, micro-blogging, or connecting with people and brands. Pinterest has a reputation by some for being to much about clothing, products, or fashion. If clothing and fashion are boring then it should be just as easy to say not to search for such pins or users and boards that pin such images.

The design of Pinterest is flashy and displays a lot without being cluttered. Similar sites like We Heart It, Gentlemint, and FFFFOUND! either are playing catch up or limit their use. We Heart It and Gentlemint both pander to specific genders and FFFFOUND! remains invite only.

A Twitter or Facebook account is required for registration and there is a brief open beta waiting list, but it is showing to be one of the fastest growing social networks.

Try it and be sure to follow me.

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Author:
• Monday, May 14th, 2012

I will tell you why we lost.
Not enough people voted for us.
Not enough people voted for us, enough times.
I at least know I voted three times.

A security issue with Polldaddy is the reason we sit at a whopping eighty-four votes today.

Thank goodness, I feel so much better with that weight off my chest.

Author:
• Thursday, January 19th, 2012

The American government today took down the file sharing site Megaupload, a site where people can upload and download files for free or with paid subscriptions for better speeds and features. Companies, celebrities, people sharing perfectly legal files, and people who share pirated media there including anime and scanlations of manga used the American hosted site. The Federal government is charging the executives of the site with more than $500 million US dollars of lost revenue of copyrighted content and have been arrested along with several other employees who reside outside the US. Official Department of Justice response can be found on justice.gov which is or was down when writing this along with many other sites by denial of service attacks from Anonymous.

Removal of Megaupload has interesting timing since attention of Internet censorship laws SOPA and PIPA have grown after sites like Wikipedia and thousands others blacked out their sites in protest. It would be pretty easy to suggest that Megaupload isn’t a good example of sites that shouldn’t be protected since majority of its use surely was involving copyright infringement, but perhaps it will create an example of what’s to come. There was no due process for the site’s removal as actions were taken with no way for the company or people behind Megaupload to dispute their case. It could have been a blog, news site, or a small hole in the wall. Perhaps having one larger site taken down before any sort of voting in a governing body will create enough stir to stop SOPA, PIPA, or future laws while showing how this can affect people outside of the US.

With one of the largest file sharing sites gone there’s still the issue of the lack of new licenses for manga, innovative ways of distributing product, and other ways of pirating taking its place. There are currently a lot of sites out there with broken embedded videos and links to manga chapters with many of those links to countless little known anime and manga that were never translated or licensed by Western or even Japanese publishers.

Publishers and distributors of media need to adapt and provide better service to combat piracy as opposed to lashing out against their own consumer base. I cannot argue against the removing of Megaupload, but I know for myself that SOPA, PIPA, and Megaupload’s removal won’t get me to buy more than I do. It instead makes me question the morality and ethics of buying. The next time I tell someone of something wonderful to watch or read, I may just stay silent on how to buy it or if there’s a sale and reluctantly concede to arguments about buying versus pirating when in discussion.

This censorship problem can be seen much larger than what it may appear. It’s the merging of government with corporations and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision by Supreme Court of the United States making way for more laws like SOPA and PIPA to come.

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Author:
• Sunday, December 25th, 2011

Very large book publishers Random House and Hachette Book Group have decided to support and lobby for The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US. If SOPA or its backup bill Protect IP Act (PIPA) pass it will greatly change the Internet in many harmful ways for websites all over the web and their users. Random House handles distribution for both Vertical and the American division of Kodansha while Del Rey is a branch of Random House and Yen Press is apart of Hachette Book Group.

The Senate version is PIPA and SOPA is House of Representatives and if either passes it’ll include ways for the government to order American Internet service providers to block domain names of websites, payment services like PayPal to close accounts, search engines to modify their search results to not include sites, and ad services like AdSense from paying out to domains. Under SOPA Internet service providers gain immunity from blocking domains independently without request including if they’re blocking competitors if they themselves deem them as copyright infringing. Both bills would remove the provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that protects web hosts if they make an effort to remove copyright materials upon request. Variations of fee, lawsuit, and prison penalties for unauthorized steaming and downloading of copyrighted materials are there too. All without being under the public eye and without any method to counter or dispute it before actions are taken.

Protecting copyrighted materials for artists is one thing, but this is an extreme and dangerous addition to already existing laws and abilities that can already be used against piracy. Many law professors already have declared the changes unconstitutional as entire sites would mean even protected speech is suppressed, burden of proof is on the accuser, and people are innocent until proven guilty. A blog or user of a site would have to be careful who they’re linking to that the site has original content or permission from copyright holders even if the site just has photos of a vacation, fan art, and screenshots. SOPA also means toying with DNS of domains which could mean a less stable Internet or even less secure, but neither SOPA or its sponsors address this.

Discussion of SOPA and PIPA isn’t enough and along with registering to vote there’s more. Contacting corporations who support these laws, canceling orders with SOPA and PIPA as cancelation reasons, not buying products and services from supporter and their companies, and contacting your politicians are more examples of taking action.

If you see any information as incorrect or have more ways to take action, you may comment here or on the forums and this entry will be edited. Merry Christmas.

Contact Politicians
Phone & email at AmericanCensorship.Org including email for US State Department if not in US
OpenCongress.org pages for SOPA and PIPA
Contact Publishers & Distributors
Contact page for Random House
Vertical info@vertical-inc.com and specific employees
Contact page for Hachette Book Group