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Bloviating Zeppelin: Brief Thoughts

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Brief Thoughts

In the comment section of my last post, Rebecca said something similar to (in reference to my standing in the TTLB Ecosystem): "BZ, you should not be a Lowly Insect."

Yes, I readily acknowledge my readership and list of "hits" has plummeted from a "Crawly Amphibian" to my current "Lowly Insect" status.

I am wondering if this is a result of the Standard Summer Lull where most persons take vacations and spend as little time in front of their confusers as possible, or whether my writing, thoughts, posts, views have been "off" and if there be "something" I am lacking.

I have noticed other bloggers have taken time off for schools, vacations, personal business and the like -- the Caucasionally-Challenged Christian hasn't posted since early June, and Robosquirrel's blog, People Covered In Fish, has disappeared entirely and is nothing more than a blank white screen. Anyone know what happened to Robosquirrel?

Any thoughts, folks? Do I suck and blow? Things you'd like to see -- ways I can improve?



Blogger Gayle said...

BZ, your blog is as good as any out there. Perhaps you aren't spending enough time getting out and visiting others? I don't know if that's it or not. Right now my reader count is up, and my blog isn't any better than yours. But I visit a lot. When you do that, other commentors on other sights see your name and check you out. That's honestly the only thing I can think of.

I don't know what happened to Robosquirrel. I enjoyed him and now he's gone, without a word to anyone. Guess I need to de-link him.


Sat Jul 22, 08:14:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Gayle, thank you for your input! That's a good idea when I can find the time. I hate it when, however, work gets in the darned way, bastardos! And, it's like Robosquirrel just diskappeared right offa the face-a the earth!


Sat Jul 22, 09:14:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Does the "word verification" thing turn commenters off?


Sat Jul 22, 09:14:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bushwack said...

BZ, I don't know what the problem is. I really don't even look at my site meter very often, I have no idea how many "Hits" I get. I do know that what gayle says is correct, I enjoy comming here it has greatly helped my vocabulary.
Now if only I could get better at puncuation and spelling and remove these voices from my head.....LOL

Sat Jul 22, 01:05:00 PM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - As you know I mostly post for myself so my thoughts can be saved in some way, lest something finally end that capability. I don't much care about standing and have no meter nor any such thing... the value is in the doing and visiting such places as are interesting and kibbitzing now and again. I seek not readers, but to put something out for those in need and can find it...

I have said to a few that this is my 'lifeline for the Republic', although my goal is not that lofty but it is to give a wholly different view that is my own on things which are of interest to me and seem to befuddle some others.

Almost all of my major thoughts from time past are now down and out there, and so the major work is done. I only post because the change in world events are one of the few things that I can still speak on somewhat, and still see just a bit more than most. And so out it goes: good, bad, indifferent.

Of status I want not.
Of recognition I care not.
I shun those things as they are not a worthy goal nor, in my light, a worthy means. How you do something matters as much as *why* and if those work together, then you will find what you seek if it is within your capability. When your thoughts and actions are in harmony, the thing you want becomes *fun*, not labor nor work.

Post for yourself, your interests, your loves, and those things which are of importance to you and you will find that others will attune to that. Visibility, while easy to get, does not ensure that the depth of feeling is given. And so, even when highly visible, one comes across as shallow and attention seeking... and soon that visibility darkens.

Others may judge as they will, but the only one who can truly know their own worthiness sits behind their eyelids. And even if you write for the audience of yourself, the worthiness of the action is in the earnestness of the doing. Even if not done well to applause and praise of many, it is that audience of one who must be pleased for it to matter.

Sat Jul 22, 05:21:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AJ: everything being relative, of course, I do write for myself. But I also enjoy noting trends and what "sells" and what doesn't in the world of blogging. I find it interesting that, in general, it would appear that, as The Who wrote, there is some kind of Summertime Blues.


Sat Jul 22, 05:43:00 PM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - That there are, with families on vacation and folks enjoying the sunshine so they may get skin cancer 30 years hence... play and activity outdoors continue on until the 'Dog Days' of August set in and people start to shift back inside after the early summer exuberance ends. Then a late last burst before fall and indoors once more, to await the winter and its options.

As for me I note 'trends' most of which would more properly be called 'fads' in online writing. Many say that the day of the 'lone blogger with a keyboard and a cause' are over... and they are right, to some extent. But gathered paucity of thought still leaves a great paucity in it, no matter how many join together to do it. What was that despair line? "None of us is as stupid as ALL of us"

So that, too, has its limits. As do the 'agglomeration' sites that, like Blogger, will try to support nearly anything... but only in a so-so way. The topics shift and move and twist... some longer memes and threads appear, but once hashed over for a month or so, then sink beneath notice. One of the interesting side-effects is that material that would once have been 'timeless' and 'always good reading' in dead tree format have little or no place online. We prefer to actually read from something tactile, not a screen. And the analog, read-only, hard copy storage encoding system does that quite well. Thusly online novels are a rarity and difficult to put together and hold together. Online communities of common interest, however, will always be around and vibrant as they bring people together to share in ideas held in common. Online virtual worlds do this, although the Game Worlds tend towards those with 'short attention span theater syndrome'. But Virtual Worlds and online text forums are a wholly different matter with the first offering home to multiple types of communitites and the latter to targeted community types.

Deathless prose offline becomes weary reading online. Mixing media and sight and sound are changing that, and as the cost of a full Television Studio system drops into the under $50K range, we will see new things appear that have never been seen before and they will generate new audiences on a global scale. One group of the Trek community are producing *new* television shows of their own from the original series timeframe, but a different ship and crew. Over time the need for good actors at the local scale will actually *increase*, at least until the virtual ones get good enough to fill in that spot.

So interesting times to be alive and living! A grand ride if you can hold on and survive it...

Sat Jul 22, 06:09:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Dionne said...

I agree with Gayle. It has a lot to do with how often you are able to visit and comment and also the ranking there is purely on how many links you have. So if you joined a bunch of blogrolls you could easily be a large mammal or marauding marsupial.

Your blog is still awesome, so don't have any fear about that. What I've noticed about blogging is that it requires a lot of time (unfortunately). You can take breaks whenever you want but it can affect how many readers you get. Do you check your sitemeter? Sometimes you can have a lot of readers that just aren't commenting.

Also, I along with Patrick and Lone Pony have done several posts about Robosquirrel's new blog address. He is in Peru with the navy right now and for some reason can't get his blog to work. He has a livejournal site that he is using temporarily:

Sat Jul 22, 06:56:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AJ: Wow, you have REALLY hit upon something that I have noticed when it comes to reading, and that is this:

I can absorb information adequately online or plastered on a screen. I attempt to do my best but there is just something, SOMETHING within that makes me, when serious analysis is demanded or I must write a paper for class or I must scan an important book or document WANT to see that item in my HANDS. I simply cannot, for whatever strange and limiting reason, cannot acquire my best reading and analysis from a computer screen. I am discovering I am not the only one like this. A very interesting point! I wonder if studies have been conducted regarding the reasoning for this -- because, taken logically, to my knowledge, there should be no difference; after all, words in print are words in print!

LMC: That's part of my problem: time. I have a demanding job, spend a lot of time commuting, taking care of my father AND my brother (now that he has had prostate surgery for cancer) in completely separate areas of the Sacratomato Valley, and have my studies to contend with as well. Time management is, well, likely as with all others, challenging.

I blog from three computers: my Mack truck-sized HP laptop at home, another laptop at work (I try to stay off the work computer and connection) and the computer at my fiance's home. The only computer that, for whatever funky reason, allows me to make comments on your blog is the one at home, where I'm working now at 5:25 AM, PST, on a Sunday! Sheesh!

Thanks for the input LMC and, of course, your blog simply rocks.


Sun Jul 23, 05:27:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Rivka said...

I think Gayle has a great point. If you visit others' blogs it makes a huge difference. Also, if you write posts on the Washington articles you can increase your traffic. It takes some time out of your day, and if you are busy working it is pretty daunting! That is one of the reasons I quit doing it. I barely have time to sit here and write this, but I type pretty fast, so it makes it easier.

Seriously, your blog is excellent and deserves more traffic.

Sun Jul 23, 05:44:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Rivka said...

The word verification is a pain in the butt, but your posts are really good and although i hate verification it doesn't stop me from commenting. If your blog sucked I wouldn't put up with the verification.

Sun Jul 23, 05:45:00 AM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - IBM did a human factors analysis on this way back when... pre-net days, but probably online somewhere. It convinced them that he number one thing that needed to be done was a very high resolution screen. They have pushed that envelope for years and have some of the highest resolution screens for pre-press operations around and are working on better. The problem is that the human interprative system does not like the grainy resolution of computer screens. By having to interpret pixels and join them up, your visual system is not acting in a natural state, so by increasing the resolution the human visual system then interprets what it sees as *printed* letters for which your nervous system has already been trained for working with easily.

The other factor is flexibility/durability. Flexible screen material is, actually, available, but durability and colorfastness over time are key issues with that. On the mono/contone side it is pretty well available, but the human system, again, needs visual random contrast that helps it to easily distinguish between letters and background material. So various forms of stochastic noise introduction may help, but not for greyscale, as our visual system is pre-adapted for a color-based world.

Next up is the entire visual stimulation of moving pictures. Now most computer algorithms compress visual images for the computer system needs and not for human perceptual needs. Thus you get blockiness, stuttering of playback and all sorts of *artifacts* that disturb your naturally trained perceptual capabilities. A couple of individuals are working on a compression algorithm that decompresses the way the human visual system works: motion, color, acuity. Computers go for acuity, color, motion and really just 'don't look right' to the viewer. Analog systems do not suffer from this and digital systems only do so when the playback is from poor quality recording, limited size or lots of motion. When riding on a train or in a car, motion catches your eye... and if asked what it was you may not know, but if asked what color it was, you can almost always say for sure. So, even limited bandwidth and lower resolution cameras could be enhanced by changes in encoding and playback via software. Work still in progress there. But doing that for text in a *scrolling* text environment needs serious examination. What has been theorized is an eye tracker that will track attentive space and only resolve in that space and leave the rest a bit less well defined, so that sharpness and acuity go with areas of concentration, just as you do naturally. That little number could help reading capability all on its lonesome.

Finally there is the 'turning the page' break that lets your visual system reset and gain a respite. You don't get that online and need to have something to break up non-attentive concentation but not attentive concentration. For that, other researchers are proposing below-conscious level flashing of images in a time space too small to be perceptable on the conscious level, but wholly so on the unconscious level. This is, basically, another data entry port in your visual system that will allow the entire system to gain rest from fatigue, but give it additional incoming information to the non-conscious portion of the mind. And because it is so short, it works on acuity and color almost without respect to motion. So when asked on that object you saw and don't know what it is... if you are asked to *guess* you will get it right 55% of the time.

As a presenter on this topic said: You can take THAT to Vegas!

The big problem is acceptable form factor and tactile stimulation along with the rest of the above. Books, magazines and newspapers have a *feel* to them and there needs to be a good look at that area. My guess is that, like with music, people will take to smaller sources and formats once the visual portion is acceptable and non-tiring to read. Headphones morphed into earplugs and the original Walkman into the iPod. For visual input, however, we require a broader range of utility and varying format sizes due to original source needs and comprehension of images and text in conjunction with each other. Analog books give context well, but so far a handy all-purpose computational device to do various forms of content is just *not there yet* in a lightweight, long lasting and good feeling package.

Probaly 2010 or so and that sort of thing will be available.

Sun Jul 23, 07:39:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Gayle said...

Yeah, Robosquirrel is alive and well. I even sent him a couple of e-mails. I must have been out in the sun too long when I wrote that I didn't know what happened to him. For some reason I completely forgot! Hope to heck altzeimer's isn't setting in. Please Lord!

To answer your question about Word Verification: No. When I used blogger I always used Word Verification. Otherwise I picked up too much spam. Now that I'm using Halo Scan I often turn on Comment Moderation, and it doesn't make any difference either. It's just a pain in the butt to have to make people wait for their comments to appear until I check HaloScan for their comments. It's also a pain in the butt to have to go to Halo Scan to publish my own comments on my own blog, which is why I don't use it unless I'm totally overrun with persistant trolls. Usually I just delete their comments.

By the way, I will be away from the 13th of August to around the 22nd or 23, at which time I will turn on comment moderation and my partner, Old Soldier, will be in charge of My Republican Blog.

Sun Jul 23, 12:59:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

07 26 06

Hey BZ:
Everyone has said it all! Basically I know what you mean. I don't know what my sitemeter says, but my links coming in and readership has gone down too. But like AJ, I really just use the site as a repository for my thoughts. I have been so caught up in other comings and goings, that it isn't what it used to be. But after all, it is still cool to blog when I have the time. I used to care more about readership but don't as much anymore.

I also realize that my content has been wayyyyy more science heavy than it used to be.

Your content is always excellent and I think Gayle really hit the nail on the head in terms of commenting on other's sites and visiting them often.

Have a great day, all of you:)

Mon Jul 24, 08:22:00 AM PDT  

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