Is This Scraping?

Something new has been added to people borrowing one’s content for other purposes. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it, and thus I thought I’d put it out here for y’all and ask what you think about it.


Scraping Snow
by Erica Blasdel

On my business blog, where I talk about all topics associated with the different things I do in consulting except technology, I wrote a post titled The Quick Way To Organize? Get A Box! It was a recommendation for a way to clean up your space and then decide what you want to do with everything that was in that space, one piece at a time.

Hours later I noticed a trackback in my spam filter and decided to check it out. I always do that because if it’s a legitimate trackback I’ll let it sit as a comment on my post. What I found was that it linked to a blog that had the first paragraph of my post, most of it anyway, then had a product listed that the site is trying to push. Here’s that link. “nofollowed” of course. If you check it out, the product is on topic with what I wrote. And there’s a little line underneath saying “Full reference (Copyright acknowledge)”, linking back to my original post.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. I mean, I can’t fully say my content was stolen since the site didn’t even use all of my post. It does give my kind of an attribution in linking back to my original post. Yet it’s using me indirectly to market a product, although the product, in some fashion, is about what my post was about, kind of like “borrowed” content.

So, do I view it as a free backlink, or as a piggyback onto my content to push it’s own product, like scraping? I really don’t know. I will say this, however. Because it’s different I’m not going to file a DMCA notice, and I’m not going to contact the person and ask them to remove it. This isn’t an endorsement; obviously I don’t know anything about the book, and it could be a good book. This is one of those slippery slope questions that might be personal choice, or there might only be one correct answer; I’m just not sure.

The questions goes to you; is this scraping, is it legit, how would you feel if it were you and would you do it?

America The Beautiful Pictorial Afghan Throw 50″ x 60″


Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

Bad Writing Kills Sci-Fi Shows

Recently it was announced that the show Caprica on the SyFy Network was being canceled for, or course, low ratings. People have started speculating on the dearth of science fiction shows and how they’re dying out and coming up with all sorts of reasons for the possible demise.

One site called Airlock Alpha had its writer come to a determination that what was killing many of these shows was injecting religion into the mix. Indeed, it lists Caprica, Lost, and the final shows of the very popular Battlestar Galactica as shows that decided to inject a religious bent into them and, for whatever reason, drove people away.

I tend to take a different view of this type of thing, and in a weird way it can be related to blogging as well. I tend to believe that some science fiction shows, like shows in other genres, might fail because of bad writing. Well, not necessarily always bad writing as much as a loss of what the shows were supposed to be about in the first place.

For instance, there was a great show called The 4400 on the USA Network. The first season, and it seems funny calling it a season since it started with, I believe, 8 or 10 shows, was absolutely fantastic. The general premise was that people had gone missing over decades and suddenly one day they all show up in Seattle, 4400 of them, with no recollection of where they’ve been. And, over the first set of shows, all of them started showing signs of genetic mutation that gave them superhuman powers of some sort, all different.

The second season came and everything went into the trash. No one had any idea what was going on with the show; it was like they had started a totally new series as opposed to continual exploration of what was happening beforehand, and that was that for the series. Nothing made sense; and you really weren’t sure who to pull for and who the bad guys were supposed to be. What you did know, though, was that it had nothing to do with religion.

For that matter the Sarah Connor Chronicles, one of the most awaited science fiction shows in history, flopped for the very same reason. The pilot was very good, but after that, the show made absolutely no sense. When the cyborg that’s come back starts having “flashbacks” of being a young girl when she not only was never alive but didn’t have a past to even be considering, you knew someone had been watching Dallas in the 80’s and decided adding ridiculous scenes was what made that show good (supposedly; I never could watch that stuff either).

In other words, bad ideas and bad writing killed those shows, not religion. I’m not a religious person, as you know, but this is one time where I just can’t let religion take it on the chin for something that has nothing to do with it.

The same kind of thing goes for blogs. I personally believe that almost any type of blog has an opportunity to make a big and positive impact in some fashion if some of the writing was better, and I’m not talking about spelling. Unique ideas, or old ideas written in a different and entertaining way will help a blog sustain itself. Being informational or even confrontational can help as well. But if you take a position on something such as gun control and the best you can write is “I don’t believe in gun control because I want to shoot my guns at stuff”, your blog is going to fail. Even supporters would be ashamed to own up to stupid writing like that.

As another point, in closing, I believe that Caprica ended up running into the same type of problem that Enterprise ran into. It’s hard doing a prequel to a popular show because we’ve already gotten used to certain things. A one time movie explaining the history of something works really well, but a full series is hard to pull off, and hard to keep on direction. As much as I loved Enterprise, as well as every other Star Trek themed show, it ultimately lost its direction in one full year by leaving what people expected in the series, that being ever changing themes and “baddies” along the way, not spending an entire year on one theme and then, when everyone thinks “finally, they’ve ended that arc”, going in a totally different and confusing direction; anyone who ever watched the show knows what I’m talking about (it went from chasing aliens who wanted to destroy earth from afar to aliens suddenly being Nazis; what the hey?).

Of course all this is my opinion, so I ask you what your opinion is. And it doesn’t have to be on science fiction; in your opinion, what type of thing usually kills new TV shows, if you watch TV?

Star Trek T-Shirt: Live Long and Prosper T-Shirt

Star Trek T-Shirt: Live Long and Prosper T-Shirt






Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

Easy Admin Color Schemes

Anyone with a WordPress blog knows that when you’re in the administrative area you have that one basic color, that color being gray. With one of my administrative tips, I showed you how you can go into the Users area and change the color to blue if you prefer.

For someone like me, that’s still pretty boring. I like changing things up a bit more than that, and don’t always like having to stick to the colors a program is offering me. I’ve shown you what I did to some of the websites I visit with Stylish and Firefox in the past.

I decided to search for something that would allow me to make changes to the colors, and I came across a plugin called Easy Admin Color Schemes. It was highly rated by many other users, and it seemed to be the way to go.

Once you load it, you go into the settings of the plugin through your plugin area and it comes up with a menu with lots of different things you can do. There are 4 initial choices at the top, and I decided to go with the last one, which is kind of red. The picture you see above is a screen print of what my Admin area looks like now. This works for me, but of course I did have to experiment some before coming back to it.

You’ll see you have two choices for other color alterations you can do. You can create your own, which is what I did to play around some, or you can import other color schemes. The thing about a scheme is that all the colors will be somewhat similar, which isn’t a bad thing, based on what I went with. However, you might want to diversify things a bit, and if that’s what you want then creating your own scheme makes sense. I’ll probably end up doing that one of these days.

I’m not sure if you notice it from the picture, but I love how it’s highlighting all the different areas better than either the gray or blue were doing. Being able to see everything easier works for me. Colorizing things makes it fun as well. I’m such a big kid. 🙂

Crayola Crayola Multicultural Colored Woodcase Pencils






 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010-2011 Mitch Mitchell

I Get Motivation From Things Like This

Ten days ago I wrote a Sunday Question post asking people how they motivate themselves. Almost everyone stated that they motivate themselves in a way that doesn’t involve anything on the outside.


by multimedia student

You know, I have to say that, in general, I’m not believing most of that. Yes, I’m taking a controversial stance, but I’ll explain why.

I’m known as the observer of people. I like humanity, even though I don’t like everything people do. But I see a lot of people go through their day as if they’re just following a script. They get up, go to work, come home, watch TV and go to bed. There might be some deviation, but in general that’s pretty much it. And they’re not often happy about it.

I’m an independent consultant. I do most of my work from home. When I’m on the road, I partially do what everyone else does, except I have to go out for my meals or have something delivered. The one thing I rarely do on the road, and don’t necessarily do all that often at home either, is watch TV. I find that I like deciding way in advance what I want to record for the week and then will watch when I’m ready.

So, I sit at my desk, at my computer, and I work a lot. Oh sure, I take breaks to do things like write my blogs and participate on Twitter and Facebook, but a lot of what I do is business oriented. This means that I don’t really take a lot of time to just relax and get things off my mind. I am at the computer until it’s time to go to bed, and it’s the first place I come after the bathroom when I awake. I’m always here.

But sometimes I just can’t get in the mood to do much of anything, even if I’m sitting here. I could easily say I’m driven to succeed, and that would be true to a degree. There are times when I just don’t want to do anything; who reading this can say that doesn’t happen to them every once in awhile? And when I don’t want to do anything, I don’t care about success, I don’t care about family, I don’t care about eating… I don’t care about anything!

Well, that seems kind of depressing, doesn’t it? But it’s not. The reason is that I only allow myself to be in that mode for short periods of time. Hey, if I don’t work, I don’t earn any money. I can’t fall back on vacation time because I don’t have it. I can’t just fall back on my reserves because that just takes money away from me and I then have to figure out how to replace it.

In those times, I look for motivation in other places. I’ve talked about motivational movies like The Secreticon. I’ve shared motivational videos on this blog, things that have made me feel better. I’ve mentioned the name Zig Ziglar here before, but haven’t talked about what he does as a motivational speaker all that often. He loves telling the tale about a guy who comes up to him and says “Motivational speaking must not work all that well because it seems people are always needing to be motivated.” Zig says “People also need to eat and bathe, but I don’t hear you saying people don’t need food or soap.”

His belief is that we all need to find ways to motivate ourselves at least a few times a day because no one is a machine. Thoughts of others won’t always get it done. Dreams of eventual success won’t always get it done. But finding other things that offer at least a moment of uplift… man, that’s priceless. So, I figure that if someone like me, who has stated many times on this blog that I want to be successful and a big deal, needs outside motivation from time to time, actually probably a little bit at some point every day, that everyone else almost has to as well. No one is happy or upbeat 24/7; not even Zig.

With that in mind, I want to share this video with you, although it’s not a great video. But it is a great song. Michael Jackson has done lots of motivational songs. This one is called Keep The Faith. He didn’t do a video of it, and it’s too bad. I thought about just posting the lyrics to this song, but I didn’t for two reasons. One, it’s super long; this is one of those songs where the chorus is repeated many times, but it’s a short chorus, so there’s a lot of new lyrics through to the end of the song. And two, I didn’t want to risk copyright by posting everything here, although truthfully that’s secondary to how long the post would end up being.

So, I post this video that has the music and the lyrics. I hope you listen if you don’t know the song, and I really hope you follow the lyrics. This is powerful stuff, and I doubt that anyone who listens to this entire song can’t say that the words aren’t motivating and uplifting. And if you really think that, don’t write it here. Enjoy:

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010-2011 Mitch Mitchell

How Can You Get Noticed On Other Blogs?

I’ve talked about two things on this blog often enough. One is that I want to be known as a big time blogger, or whatever; I just want to be big (and I don’t mean ‘body’). Two, that there are always ways to find inspiration for things to write about if you just pay attention.


Links
by Penelope Billington

In this case there were two different blog posts I visited that gave me a little bit of inspiration to write this one. The first was from a guy named Dragos (I’m trying to remember where I found him first), who wrote a post titled 5 Unusual Ways To Measure Your Online Reputation, where he talks about how he started to learn that he might be successful. One of his points was being quoted on other, non-related blogs.

The second was from a guy named Mitch Joel, who writes a weekly post along the lines of this one that begins with Six Links…; this particular post is his 20th. He doesn’t just pop up links to blogs he’s visited, but websites as well.

My thought on both of these is just what is it that makes people quote worthy, let alone link worthy? And how do we all capture that? Kristi of Kikolani has her weekly Fetching Friday series, which I’ve made a couple of times here and there, but hers are all topic related; if the topic is WordPress then she puts up 5 links that talked about something related to that. So even though it’s nice when you make it, you’re never going to be listed there “just because.”

I read a lot of blogs. One thing I’ve noticed I do that not as many other people do is link to a lot of other blogs, as well as my own blog, in my posts. I like acknowledging other people when I’m talking about a particular subject, even if it ends up not actually being what I’m writing about, if it inspired me in some fashion. And I’ve been known to link to someone else’s blog if I mention their name on this one as well.

Overall, what makes one link worthy to others? Is there a magic formula for success in that area or is it always just a roll of the dice? People who join blog communities think of it as visiting other blogs and leaving comments, but I think that kind of thought is limiting because commenting isn’t the only thing that helps uplift others. I mean, for what it’s worth, I just gave the two people above some serious link love, whether they care or not. And over the last few weeks I’ve visited blogs and seen people commenting that I had never seen on those blogs before, mentioning they had seen me mention them and wanted to see what those blogs were all about. I can’t tell you how good it feels to have helped bring someone else’s blog into the eyes of folks who visit here all the time.

Unfortunately, this time I don’t have a formula or even an idea. It’s just something I wanted to talk about to see if anyone else has thoughts on it all. Yeah, I know, that’s a lot to think about for a Monday. But think about how it might make the rest of your week go so much easier. 🙂


Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell