Sunday, August 26, 2012

Out There: The Recent Relaunch...

A double entendre?  A trebel entendre?  Or just a meaningless title for a post before I've had enough caffeine?  I'm not quite sure, and I'm not quite sure that I should be writing this at the moment.  Still, that's never prevented me from bumbling and stumbling on in the past...

I've been online since 1994.  Things were, ahem, much simpler then in regards to being online.  No, that's not quite true; and it's a bit of an excuse to be true.  Things felt simpler and had the appearance of being simpler.  Of that, I have no doubt.  I fully believe that.  Being online was not the social thing that it is these days.

Yes, that's the simple truth of it.  Well, at least that's the simple truth of it for me.

Back in 1994, I had more offline friends than I had online friends.  Even in 1994 I had quite a few online friends (er, acquaintances and friends).  Yet, I still had that offline social life and presence.  It's been a long time since that was the case.

I can name dozens of people on dozens of sites...at times, dozens of dozens on dozens of dozens...to be fair.  I could not name a handful of my actual neighbors.  Actually, I can only think of one of their names.  There might be facial recognition, but if one of them were talking about another buy name instead of where the person lived - I would have no idea who they were talking about.

I suppose that if I spent more time offline than online that would not be the case.  However, that is not the case because I spend more time online than offline.  I'm...out there.

But not really.  People come and go online in the blink of an eye.  We're all so quickly forgotten and replaced by new friends (er, acquaintances).  There is no, ugh, can you believe it?  I had the word right there, and as soon I go to type it - I no longer had the word right there.  Legend?  No.  History?  No.  Heritage?  No.  Though they all touch upon the word; but for the life of me, I cannot remember the word.  Perhaps it will come to me later.  It's a simple word; but it is eluding me all the same.

So in the somewhat anonymous and vapid existence online, there is the desire to be remembered - not to be forgotten.  A desire for permanence, having recognized the frailty of this mortal shell.  Yes, I can be overly dramatic at times.  It's good to be able to laugh at yourself though, knowing that others are probably laughing at you as well (at you, not with you).  Oh yes, I can be overly melodramatic at times as well.

I want to be remembered.  It's not the same as wanting to be famous (or infamous for that matter).  But I want to be remembered.  So as that offline presence has shrunk and the online presence has grown, the focus on that desire turns to online.  So, I'm...out there.

As I previously mentioned, I have been out there since 1994; and it was much simpler back then.  A couple of days ago, I decided to relaunch a website.  I had let the last of my websites slip away at the end of 2011.  At one point, I must have had close to ten websites or so that I designed/developed/ran/whatever.  Then of course, there are also the various social sites that I have belonged to over the years.

So yeah, one website - this will be easy, right?  I should be able to design/develop/maintain that with a steady stream of content (since content is king, queen, and even the royal poodle of websites).  Well, there is the one website and about 20 other sites that I'm tying into that website.  21 sites.  No doubt though, I'm not developing nor designing them all.  No, I cannot call some minor profile tweaks and uploading my ugly mug to them anything like that.  However, it still comes down to the royal poodle and that pesky content.  21 sites, eh?  I'm...out there.

As I type this, I am also looking over at the other monitor and all those pesky social icons as well as the links that have no pretty icons below them.  Twitter, Blogger, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Zerply, Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, GitHub, Spotify, Last.fm, YouTube, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Delicious, HubPages, CodePlex, SourceForge, SoundCloud, WritersCafe...and I'm realizing that I'm missing one or two.

Bam, palm to the forehead - hard.  I'm...out there.

I do not have enough content for all of it.  I'm spread too thin.  I'm...too out there.

So why didn't I just relaunch small - drop things - centralize...etc, etc, etc?  Well, for two reasons that stand out:

I want to be remembered.
Branding.

Okay, so I touched upon the first; but what's up with branding?  My name's Adrian K. Smith - what's this branding nonsense?  ZeroByteDNA.  Oh?  That?  A nickname?  Yes, branding.

Here's an example of what I mean by this:

I flip over to Google in another browser and do a search for Adrian K. Smith.  There's my WritersCafe, me on somebody's WritersCafe, my Twitter, mugshots of somebody with the same name in Missouri, there's a musician named Adrian K. Smith, his SoundCloud, an Ancestry.com record for an AKS in the 1940 census, another mugshot of another AKS in Toledo, of the five images shown - there's my King Frog pic and four pics that are definitely not me, and the final one is a result page over on Facebook of people named AKS.

I flip over to Bing in another browser and do a search for Adrian K. Smith.  There's my MySpace, the Wikipedia page for the Iron Maiden guitarist, five pictures of him, US Congressman Adrian Smith, my WritersCafe page, some news having nothing to do with me, an illustrator in the UK named AS, Adrian S Smith's Facebook page, a couple of AS over on LinkedIn, and the final one's a mugshot of an AKS over in Polk Co. FL that's not me either.

Then I flip over to Google and do a search for ZeroByteDNA.  There's my HubPages, my Twitter, my YouTube, my The Mundane blog that I just deleted, my Last.fm profile, several threads over on the Unity3d site, a remix of a song I did over on AcidPlanet, my AcidPlanet profile (yes, one of the things I forgot earlier), my Technorati profile (another one forgotten, meh), and my Digg profile that no longer exists for some reason (I was never big into Digg anyway).

So I flip over to Bing and do a search for ZeroByteDNA.  There's my MySpace, my profile over on Unity3d, a post I made a day ago on the Unity3d forums, my WritersCafe, that I listened to El DeBarge over on Last.fm, that I listened Armin Van Buuren over on Last.fm, a comment I made on YouTube almost two years ago, and a link to a HubPages sections on hats (I wrote a Hub about hats, humor mind you).

So you see the difference between the two?  Pretty major difference, am I right?

Back in 1994, I was Zark.  It was not long before everybody and their mother's uncle's neighbor's dog walker's best friend's nephew's girlfriend's favorite teacher's third cousin was using the name Zark.  I had been using Zark since 1981 in various RPGs (PnP).  It's impossible to try to get the name Zark for anything, as I said - wham bam - everybody...meh.  Zark 'em, am I right?

My first domain was actually digital-god.com.  I also registered digital-god.net and digital-god.org at the time.  It was not my first site, but it was the first one where I registered a proper domain.  I did that back in 1998 with Network Solutions (there were not all the options there are these days back then).  It had nothing to do with religion.  I was big into cyberpunk at the time...see...yeah, there you go.  Eventually I dropped the .net and .org, and bam - satanists picked them up.  Trippy, eh?  Needless to say, there was no branding with that name.  There are just simply too many people on the planet that are connected for there to be branding of any sort for something so common.

ZeroByteDNA.  It's another name that I actually used for characters in PnP RPGs back in the 80s as well.  I've even registered the zerobytedna.com domain previously.  I left it out there for several years.  It was there to take again, so I took it.  It easily beat out another name I used back in the 80s: VirusDancer.  Although it's likely to be me if you do a search for that name, there's all sorts of twisted folks out there using it as well.

Still though, Zark, VirusDancer, and ZeroByteDNA generally get thrown in my meta tags.  Branding.

I seriously doubt anybody's read along this far - it's pretty much me babbling and rambling along.  It was sort of a catharsis.  A way for me to put thoughts down on paper, er - yeah, and to think about what I'm going to do here.  I was getting burned out already, overwhelmed and all that relative jazz, from just a couple of days of trying to make everything perfect.  Yeah, thinking that - I was...out there.

Nope, I'm just going to do what I do when I do it...and it will come along or it will not.

I shouldn't lose today nor tomorrow because I want to be remembered or maintain some silly branding.  I definitely don't want to be the guy remembered for wasting his life wanting to be remembered...

...so keep that in mind as you're sweating stuff on the internet, eh?

Course, I can't remember if this thing just publishes here or to other sites when I hit publish.  Hrmm, yeah, I either need more caffeine or more sleep.

- peace...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What happened to The Mundane?

It's gone.  No more.  Well, okay - the posts are here.  However, the blog that was - is no more.  Why?  Oddly enough, I ran into the same issue that I did with the last post there back in May.  Once again, I ended up all over the place.  A little here - a little there - and basically, it once again ended up a spread out mess.

So why not just update that blog?  Good question.

Yesterday, I launched a new site.  Well, okay - a relaunched an old site as a new site.  As you may have read (or not, looking at the stats - you're most likely not even reading this) in an earlier post, I let my registration for digital-god.com slide.  Over the years, I have had several domains (way too many at times); and I decided to relaunch one of those domains as my primary domain: ZeroByteDNA.com...

So I'm going to give organizing my online presence the old college try once more.  This is not exactly the exciting post one might expect as the announcement for the launching of a new site, eh?  It feels a little down, no?  Perhaps that's just me...I'm tired.  Don't let the folks that make the process out to be an awesome process fool you - it's work.  But that's okay, because I've got my diet Mountain Dew and a bag of Cheetos - so I'll be fine.  Yes, I know - you weren't worried.

Oddly enough, much like I wondered if the last effort was just an excuse to avoid other projects - I cannot lie, by working on all of this - I am avoiding other projects.

So stay tuned for updates - or don't... I'm still me, what you think is not a top priority.  :)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Wee Update Or Just An Excuse?


So for the past few hours, I have been working on this blog.  For the most part, it has been a combination of copying posts from my old blog or Facebook.  I ran into formatting issues with my old blog that I simply could not overcome - so I renamed it - and I recreated it...here, so to speak.

As for the Facebook posts, well - I noticed that some of my posts over on Facebook (including my comments) were getting lengthy in nature.  I do not have many friends over there, and I began to wonder if I was simply overloading them with all of my commentary about anything I found interesting.  I can be a bit...wordy.

Of course, I've been wondering if what I was doing on Facebook and even redoing this - is nothing more than an excuse to avoid the writing I have been working on.  I have a collection of thirteen stories going back twenty some years that I have been editing/rewriting for the purpose of self-publishing them in a collection.

Although the people over on WritersCafe may not realize how cruel I can be in my reviews (I tend to offer the positive or just comment on what a piece made me think); when it comes to my own writing - I can be brutal.  I am seriously questioning whether I should even bother.

So was this a wee update or just another excuse not to deal with my writing?  Hrmm...

Friday, May 4, 2012

Education not Alienation...

Stories like this, well, they bother me: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-parenting/post/fighting-the-childhood-obesity-epidemic-are-food-rules-the-solution/2012/05/04/gIQA759X1T_blog.html

Food rules? Honestly? How about letting the kid have the french fries but saying that the family's going to go for a walk that night? How about teaching them the simple parts of it: if you take in more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you want to take in more calories for something, then you have to do more to burn those calories. This would be too complicated you say?

So how do food rules work when the children are out of sight? When they're out playing with friends? When they're staying over at a friend's house? When they go to school? When, you know - they're living?

Rather than implement rules that may make no sense to the children, as they look around at all their fellows running around without those rules... how about actually educating rather than alienating them?

I've battled my weight off and on through life. As a kid, I was active - basketball, football, skateboarding, riding bikes, running around, etc, etc. JHS/HS, I ended up moving away from other kids and I became much less active. By the time I graduated, I had no neck - my graduation gown looked like a moo-moo. After graduation, I went to college full time - worked 30+ hours as a stockperson moving heavy items - did a Hell of a lot of walking since I did not drive - worked out 3-4 times a week at Bally's, etc, etc...and I got into great shape, the best shape of my life. Later, I would got involved with the future ex-wife. Early on, I gained weight in that relationship. We broke up and sure enough, I lost weight. We got back together, got engaged, got married, and BAM - I ended up looking like some monster than went around eating babies (there's a picture out there or was, on MySpace, where somebody made that comment - lol). After the divorce though, I started losing weight and getting back in shape. Course, being older - it took longer. Then I was in a car accident and found myself having to walk more again - BAM - yep, as I increased my physical activity more...I got more in shape.

Back in driver's ed in HS, the teacher took us out to the track to do laps. The reason he gave was that as we would drive, we would walk less - exercise less - thus we would likely gain weight. Education. Not rules. Education.

Kids need more education, not more rules. Good decisions will result from education. Bad decisions result from rules and no education... just my two cents.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Chemical World...

A friend shared this link on Facebook: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/opinion/kristof-how-chemicals-change-us.html

It is kind of funny, in a sad way, when you consider the pushes against obesity, smoking, and for vaccinations (yes, referencing ol' crawdad's comment that was the most recent when I read the article) - when, we've had for the longest time people that were obese, smoked, and did not get vaccinations. What has changed and is often overlooked - is the sheer amount of various chemicals that we use these days.

I'm not a Luddite, do not live in a shack out in the woods, or any of that - I definitely recognize the advances that science has brought us...but at the same time, there is little doubt in my mind that there has also been a certain level of carelessness in regard to what we do.

Of course though, studies are difficult - because objective science is rare these days. Studies are often the tools of groups with one agenda or another. The chemicals that are around us, though, I definitely believe require as much study as possible. Perhaps things will become less convenient for us - perhaps certain items will cost more - or they will not be available... we did without them before, we can do without them again. Oh well, a bit of a ramble on my part...

Minimum Wage and Unemployment Rates...

I came across this article over on CNN: http://www.cnbc.com/id/47264829

I find this kind of curious, given the unemployment rates for the #1 and #2 states on the list. The "average" for the US is 8.2%. Yes, most of us (I fought the urge to say we all know) know that the rate is actually much higher than that when one takes into account those that have not filed, can no longer file, have not found that first job, etc.

So with Texas being at 7.0%, is part of that explained simply by Texas being the #1 state to start a business? Could be, could be. Yet, Florida is at 9.0%, and Florida is the #2 state? Well, maybe the folks in Florida just like sitting around on unemployment?

Consider this:

The max weekly benefit in Texas is $426.
The max weekly benefit in Florida is $275.

The person in Texas can make $10.65/hour on unemployment.
The person in Florida can make $6.875/hour on unemployment.

Min Wage in Texas is $7.25 and Min Wage in Florida is $7.67.

Yes, a person can make $3.40 above min wage in Texas while on unemployment. While at best in Florida, a person can make 80¢ below minimum wage.

What does this have to do with the best states to start a business - with the ranking of Texas and Florida as #1/#2 respectively? If they do not believe that unemployment matters in such a determination, how on Earth are they fit to make such a determination?

Larger Belts and Larger Costs...

I posted this in a comment on a post over on Facebook, but I wanted to share it here as well: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/01/uk-obesity-idUSLNE84001W20120501

Considering the actions taken against smokers who may increase costs by 20%, surely something will be done by those that may increase costs by 50%, eh?