I realized some time ago that there are a lot of things that I needed to write down, and that I wasn’t doing it. I wasn’t doing it mostly because they were things that I didn’t necessarily want my whole Twitter feed reading.

So, I started a new blog and Twitter feed that will probably get a lot more posts than this one. But, of course, I’m not telling y’all what they are, because that would defeat the whole purpose.

And, seeing as how I am a geek, I wanted to provide anonymity for myself on a technical level as well. To this end, I am using the Tor Project to anonymize my IP address. I am using a completely different browser just for using Tor. I didn’t want to share my regular browser (Firefox at the time, Chrome now) for my regular browsing and my anonymous browsing because there was the risk of not using Tor when I meant to, the risk of my anonymous browser visits getting logged in my browser history unintentionally, the annoyance of possibly having cookies get mixed up, and also the annoyance of having Tor possibly slowing down things that I didn’t need or want to use Tor for. It was much easier to just relegate Tor to its own browser.

Unfortunately, a couple of browsers on OS X use system-wide proxy settings. I didn’t want to use Tor for my whole system, just one browser! I settled on Opera as my Tor browser because it allows you to set the proxy settings that only affect it and not the whole OS. Also, Opera for OS X is a pretty nice browser, even if Opera Mini for the iPhone has awful privacy implications (please, please don’t use Opera Mini).

Anyway, I don’t know if my new blog means that I’ll be blogging here less. Probably not, seeing as how I only post on here about once every month or so. But the ten or so posts that I have made on the new blog have been really helpful for me so far. It is really good to get thoughts and feelings down in writing sometimes to help myself really understand them.

I did tell one lucky person about the blog – Mags. I wanted to make sure there was nothing hidden, and be completely open with her. On the flip side, she said that she decided not to read it unless I showed it to her, as to respect my need for a private outlet. One thing I thought of, though, is that I’ll need to show her how to use Tor if she is to view my blog from her computer, because my paranoid side knows that combing the visitor logs would reveal her IP address… which is also my IP address. And my anonymity would be potentially blown 🙂

I had been thinking for years of starting an anonymous blog. I am not sure what took me so long to do it. One thought of mine has been – if I want the blog to be anonymous, why go through all the trouble to put it on the web at all? An encrypted text file would do just fine. And I am not really sure how to answer this question completely. But I guess my vanity demands the potential for some readers, which I have had zero of so far 🙂 Also, with the potential for other people reading what I am writing, I am motivated to make my writing more coherent more thoughtful and complete, which helps to further the purpose of the blog to begin with.

OK, it is time to make another post on my super-secret paranoid anonymous blog!

It is 2010 and video on the web is in a sorry state.
– It is choppy on all OS X web browsers, no matter the video source. It is better on Chrome and Safari, worse on Firefox, but definitely choppy on all three.
– It doesn’t work on the iPhone.
– There is too much buffering on all platforms. Really, software developers, set it so it buffer enough before it starts playing so playback isn’t interrupted.

Sometimes, a lot of the time, modern technology seems like it is in one giant beta test. Being a sysadmin, I see hardware and software fail to do really basic things all the time. Things like:
– servers locking up with no useful error logging to let me know why
– Apple’s Mail.app crashing, with no error messages
– my new keyboard, of all things, needing to be unplugged and replugged at least once per day to work correctly

And with video, well that is supposed to be the new hotness on the web, but I for one still find it remarkably frustrating.

I am excited – Google Maps now has walking directions. For instance, here is my run from yesterday.

“Since 2004, the number of blogs on the Internet has grown by a factor of 50…”

from MotherJones (Internet Don Chooses Sides in 2008 Race)

I am usually on top of things technology wise. But certain trends just don’t do it for me.

Take Twitter, a newish site that “that allows members to inform each other about what they are doing and what they think. It allows users to send messages via phone, instant messaging or the Twitter website.” (Wikipedia)

Is it just me, or is it (1) a big pain to always be putting in things like “on my way to work” and (2) really annoying to be constantly updated with what all of your acquaintances are doing throughout the day? To me, that would be very disinteresting and a little too much information about myself being put out there. I just don’t see the appeal. But the hipster Web 2.0 crowd evidently sees the appeal. Twitter won the 2007 South By Southwest Web Award.

And then there is MySpace. It seems like most everyone my age is on MySpace. I refuse, though. What is wrong with phone calls, IMs, blogs, and forums? Most of the MySpace pages are butt-ugly. Ze Frank even had a “I Knows Me Some Ugly MySpace Showdown.

And in 5 years…everyone will be on MySpace. Everyone will be on Twitter. Here’s to hoping I don’t cave.

Well, I have a bit of a starter page for The LeftList: Check ‘er out here.

The biggest bit of work will probably be populating it with events. I think I have a good idea of which websites to check for events in order to combine them all on my site. As you can see, I’ve got a series of “phases,” each of which I don’t think will take too too long to implement.

Operating systems are slowly becoming less and less important. We can perform more and more tasks through a web browser.

I am rather picky about what applications I use, but even I have migrated some of my tasks to be web-based:
email: Gmail
IM: Meebo
RSS: Bloglines
Life Organization: Somewhat custom implementation using MediaWiki

Having these things entirely online is great because it gives me a consistant environment to work with. I don’t have to worry about customizing every single computer that I work on. I can simply fire up a few web pages, log in, and I feel comfortable.

And if you need to, there are a few more things you can do entirely in a web browser like word processing (Writely) and spreadsheets (Google Spreadsheets).

I like the direction things are going.

CNN.com has launched a new service called CNN Pipeline. I have waited a long time for something like this. What a beautiful concept. On-demand, low-cost, commercial-free, online news. Four simultaneous video streams, three of which are unedited. It is $25 for a whole year. I will be signing up for this when I get home, especially since it has a free trial.

I have always thought that our high-speed Internet connections weren’t really being utilized. But now we’re getting there. I think we’re really seeing the beginning of something big here. If I could get this kind of service for other shows, I would be all over it.

Reviews here (news.com) and here (PC Magazine).

Today, it was announced that Wikipedia is restricting article creation to registered users only. Many might choose to argue one position or the other on this issue. I happen to not feel strongly either way. However, I find the process by which it was decided to be questionable.

A week after being contacted by John Seigenthaler Sr. about an inaccurate article, Jimmy Wales (the founder of Wikipedia) made the change to an official built-in policy of Wikipedia. He logged on to the Wikipedia chat to discuss the change, but it is clear that this was not required prior to making his decision.

Wikipedia is:

a multi-lingual Web-based free-content encyclopedia. It is written collaboratively by volunteers, allowing articles to be changed by anyone with an internet connection and added by anyone with a Wikipedia member account.

Because of its very nature, it is clear that Wikipedia should not be considered to be owned or controlled by one man alone. Yet this is exactly how some high-level decisions are made.

Of course, this situation would be different if elections were held for every position. Currently, only two of the five members of the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation (the parent organization of Wikipedia) are elected. Jimmy Wales is on the board, but also has additional arbitrary powers over the direction of Wikipedia.

A rudimentary search turned up no substantial results with discussion about the decision making processes and leadership of Wikipedia. This discussion must take place. If it does not take place now, the possibility exists that our community will devolve into something which few of us find acceptable.

Essentially, what is needed is an official handing over of the community to the community. The new structure should also be decided upon by the community. Wikipedia should not continue to run with arbitrary processes governing its decision making. Jimmy Wales may be a “benevolent dictator”, but we cannot rely on his or his successors’ benevolence indefinitely.

Here is a list of websites that I find to be best for these basic purposes. New tools are constantly coming out that are later and greater than what is currently out, so this is simply a current snapshot.

weather National Weather Service
maps/directions Google Maps
reference Wikipedia
news Google News
all-in-one homepage Google Personalized Home
sports Yahoo Sports

Do you think I am missing something? I generally give higher points to websites that don’t have moving ads and are easy to use.