Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Connecting the Dots"

I used to enjoy this game as a child…drawing a line to various dots to form a picture appealed to me.

I like to try, as best I can anyways, to Connect_the_dots in things.

http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/connect+the+dots

http://www.rainbowresource.com/prodlist.php?subject=19&category=8966

This is also contained in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_separation theory, in that if you connect the dots of people you can find relationships, some quite surprising.

We see this in the internet quite often, which is why, if I have enough of an interest, I will delve further into links to find associations and interests that people have, which often enlightens me to things which, on the surface, are not readily apparent.

I keep this to myself tho, for the most part, as I do believe in privacy, as much as any of us have anymore, anyways...at the least I do not find it my business to expose other people, as I would not wish them to expose whatever they may think they find out about me.

You can find, for example, in the newish Google+ communities, many people have others in their “circles”. Of course you can categorize this aspect in general “broad brush strokes” of some people adding anyone to circles, and those who pick and choose whom they add.

You could further sub-categorize this into those who add anyone and everybody into those who see it as another networking tool, and those who simply do it as a knee-jerk reaction to something new. For me, the jury is still out as to its networking aspect.

And as well, further sub-categorize those who pick and choose as some being concerned about how it all fits together and wish to be careful, and those who simply do not find it of interest.

Facebook, tho I do not use it, recognizes this.

Simplistic categorizations, yes, I know…I am not an academician, lol.

It can be difficult to “connect the dots” sometimes. Articles [and the websites that contained them] often simply go away. Blogs come and go, people who once said quite a lot, go quiet, for various reasons [I am like that in my years on the net, in various things I have been involved with]. Comments are deleted by the commenter or the admin of the site. Computers which held data get corrupted or die.

But, for those who wish to delve deeper, there are ways to find out information.

There are websites such as http://www.publicdata.com/ for finding out real information and government sources for finding much information such as this Texas site for company information https://ourcpa.cpa.state.tx.us/coa/Index.html

And of course, since search engines have become quite good at crawling the net, you can do google searches to find out much.

The problem, tho it has much improved in recent years, with search engines, is finding the right combination of search word parameters. This difficulty often has to do with how the person who created their website coded it. HTML metatags make a great difference in how a site is searched for and where it shows up.

The proliferation of blogs and website creating tools has led to this not being as optimal as it could be, and in addition, for those few who still code by hand, many do not understand optimizing for search engines. As well, a simple look at the source code of any website and a view at the header information, one will find that those using pre-defined templates supplied to them [ostensibly to make things easier] will always have some sort of advertising coding for the website’s own marketing efforts.

Anywho…I am a big believer in gathering information, as deeply as I can, on those things that hold sufficient interest to me. Connecting the dots is kinda fun sometimes, and I learn all sorts of things when I am sufficiently motivated.

I am not so sufficiently interested anymore, nothing like I used to be, but I do know the tools if needed.

One that has been around for quite a long time that I still use is http://archive.org/web/web.php which can be very informative.

Still, however, it can be difficult to obtain accurate snapshots of something or someone, especially if they wish to hide things [and have some ideas of how to actually do so].

So what remains is simply to understand this, and, if interested, still find enough to form a more fuller picture of things, and of people.

Nowadays, I don’t find this of much interest anymore. Some things have been of sufficient interest to connect a few dots, but overall, I am more of a live and let live person, and if it seems that someone wishes to hide themselves in the net, I am of the opinion that is their business, and not mine…unless, of course, they bother me personally...then, well, hehehe

So I say, if something interests you, try to connect a few dots, and you may be surprised at what you find…but be aware of this very important fact, you may not like what you find, and may find it was better to simply take them at face value.

In my quick research into this blog, I found this funny one about the early days of the net [at least early to some of them].

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Why do we do Virtual Worlds?


For me, I will share some of my personal life, for this. I do not do this, as a rule; mainly because I do not think I am anything special, nor do I think I am alone in this at all…I also do not like to burden others with my own personal issues.

As well, I prefer to have my separate online persona be seen as one of goodwill and lively conversations, for the most part…call it my own way of therapy-))

I was very severely depressed for many years, so much so I am daily amazed that I am still alive. It was bad, and very bad, very, very bad.

Fortunately I had a neighbor who came to my aid and helped me to get help. I overcame the worst of it using state funded sources and I am, mostly, fine now. Unfortunately, she compared me to her own life in this regard, not fully understanding how depressed I was, and she eventually stopped talking to me. Nothing I can do about that, and, it is ok-))

It did leave me quite broken tho, spiritually, and I do not think I will ever get back to the vibrant person I once was. This saddens me greatly. But it, like most of life’s hard lessons tend to do, opened my eyes to the devastation of mental issues that some people live with, many much, much worse than my own little thing.

I have a very soft spot now for people with various mental issues, where in the past I was not nearly so considerate.

I met, along this road, some people who really have it bad. The entire ordeal was very disturbing, in many ways, to me, and has changed my life in many ways.

For the most part, I can understand and feel compassion for those with mental issues now, much more keenly than I did before, tho I must admit when they come into direct contact with me, personally, I still do have to sit back and be careful…I can have compassion for others, and I do, in many ways, but directly effecting me makes me feel the need to do what I can to avoid them, even react, if I feel I need to in order to protect myself, or to effect some change, as I can.

Even the most compassionate of people, I think, need to act on self-preservation, at some point…even tho they may not admit this. The “line” for which this happens varies widely for all people.

So why do we do virtual lives?

I have been watching this a bit, trying to find out the answers, and I have noticed as many reasons as there are people.

Several I have known are physically handicapped, some more than others. Those people I completely understand. They are limited in their lives and virtual reality lets them do those things they can no longer do…it frees them, and I can imagine it must be quite a wonderful thing for them.

For some, it is an escape from lives that are bad for them. For myself, I find life extremely boring and I find mental releases that feel right for me. For others, it is a way to leave spouses and children to themselves while they get “me time”. For others they may live in bad conditions, and virtual reality lets them live in beauty.

For some it is a way to try and escape mental issues, to some degree. As there is so much one can do in our virtual lives, it allows all sorts of people with mental issues to explore that which their lives and minds have limited them…safely.

And with safety, that is also a reason for some, even me. With no real worry for any physical abuses, it frees us in several ways.

For others it is the ability to create wonderful things, as far as their imaginations can go…Art, buildings, clothing, scripts, textures…the sky's the limit [and the software-))].

And there are those who feel it gives them some kind of power. Those people are the ones I understand the least. I have never been one to think of myself as powerful, in any regard, and thinking one has some sort of power in a virtual environment, seems rather short-sighted, to my thinking. I think those types of people simply realize how powerless they are in their lives, and find ways to express this in virtual lives. I also think that many of them do not realize this of themselves.

There are those, also, who explore genders. Some because this is how they are in their lives, some because they find it interesting.

The point is, there are as many reasons for doing this as there are people doing them. And, of course, the people who have found and stay in this, are a small minority of the people who are on the net, doing all sorts of other things, who, in turn, are still a small percentage of people in the world who do not even use the net at all.

This is just some thoughts...’cause I like to write, sometimes-))

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

“Other People’s Issues”

Or, OPI, for an acronym driven society-)) [and ‘cause I, too, like acronyms].

Having been on the net for a long time, and lived real life, --much longer--, I have seen OPI often.

I am, at my most basic human source, a peace loving woman. I do not like hassles at all, I avoid them like the plague they are, and I see those that come into my “range of interests” [or, ROI] as usually driven by some people who have issues of one sort or another.

I like to look into things a bit before making hard decisions. Society as a mass, driven by news crawls, dis-information from all sources, mis-information in many ways, has caused many people [the majority] to simply not look further than simplistic things due to the mass of information we all get in so many ways.

I liken it to owning land. Where I live people own lots of land, sizes of which have amazed those I discuss it with from other countries. But in Texas we have a lot of land. Granted, a goodly amount of it nobody would want [other than for cattle grazing], but that is similar in many countries also, I am sure.

But whatever size of land people own, their core home areas usually are inside of an acre or so. I own 5 acres of land, but most of it is untouched. It is nice to have it that way, and I suppose if I had the money I might pay some people to clean it up a bit, I don't know, I don't have the money to even consider that.

So, similarly, with what people do on the internet, they tend to find their own acre of space, and there is where their interests are focused.

This is, of course, a very simplistic concept, I know this…I am simply drawing up an analogy, of sorts, you see-))

But I like to start things from a simplistic view, because most things have a simplistic basic basis.

Often I see and have seen discussions on the net go out of control, and quickly, sometimes people commenting on something while another is also commenting at the same time...and that other comment may in fact add to their considerations of their own comment [huh???].

I remember when the net was getting going and people were so excited. There started to spring up various comments on a thing called “netiquette”, much of it the same thing passed around, but sometimes you would come across some new item that made sense. I even had a website in one of the first communities, called Geocities, with links to some of that, ‘cause, I like polite societies and people who practice it.

Politeness is hard to find anymore, anywhere. It has been all distorted so many times by so many people and societies problems. I still like it when a Man opens the door for me, and I always thank them and smile. But that has been corrupted so much many men who might do this, do not, for fear the woman may find it offensive. I say, if you're a man who likes to do this, then do it anyway, and simply smile and move on if you get the one or two who do not appreciate this small act of chivalry.

People tend to gravitate to those people and things that relate to their own interests. This may seem to be an obvious comment but I think that also those same people do not fully understand this. I call them people who simply cannot see further than their own noses, another comment used much over the years and restated in much cooler ways by people who are much smarter than I.

I used to consider that I may have made a good sociologist. I find mass populations studies to be quite fascinating. Life didn't work out that way anyways, so who knows, really.

I find it interesting how some people are able to influence so many others with a few simple well placed words, whispered in the right ears, at the right time. And I find it interesting that some people, who seem to have no rhyme or reason for saying and doing the things they do and say, can influence others to simply “follow along”, blindly, similar to lapdogs.

I think this is due to what I started this little missive on, ROI and with a touch of information overload.

For an example. We get Constitutional Amendments on our voting ballots quite regularly. Now, what most people read, debate on, and vote on, is the words on the ballot. What most people do not comprehend is that those words are carefully calculated to engender a mass response and to obtain a desired outcome in the vote.

--AND--Those words are NOT the full thing they are voting on, and in most cases [if not all], the law being considered is actually quite different.

You see, this is a prime example of information overload that the masses of peoples simply will not, and the writers understand this well, go beyond the words in the ballots to see what is actually being voted on. The masses -trust- because masses do this, and because they have to many other things to do and read.

Thus, things get voted on all the time, and only do some of us realize later, the reality of what was done, and we have lost something else, voted upon by the masses who simply will not do their homework.

Then you get people who are steadfast one party or another and go on and on about the virtues of that political party [or, analogously, their favorite people] and will argue until they are blue in the face the virtues of such things, when it is apparent to the few who look further, that they are simply unknowing shills and basic sycophants in another person’s wars --OPI--, battles and issues.

I will tell another personal story and call this quits. Not the full story as it would go on longer than I care to, but the synopsis will tell it ok to those who can see this-))

I rent spaces on my land. One of them has hookups for trailers; water, septic and power. I once had rented to a girlfriend and her boyfriend. He brought in his trailer and all was well, for a time.

However, I learned that she was letting him influence her in negative ways and I did not like what I was seeing, but being polite, and not given to making hard decisions quickly, time passed. I tried to talk to her and her final response was that she saw the issues but choose to go along with it anyways, so, nothing else I could do and she had made it clear she was now complicit.

He was running his air conditioner at around 65 degrees Fahrenheit which was causing my electricity bill to be quite high. So, after talking to her personally and her telling me she would do nothing on this, I went over and talked to them together.

I laid the groundwork and told him he was adding to my overall power bill to much, that I did not mind paying for reasonable use but that running his air conditioner so low made it run all the time…and I asked him to simply try to run it at around 75 or so. He refused, and was even rude about it.

So I told them both that if they did not change this then I would cut their power off. They didn't, and I did.

The issue escalated, as often happens when you are dealing with limited ROI, and I told them to leave and that they were now trespassing.

So, being the kind of person I had already seen him to be, this guy calls the law and reports that I threatened them, lying about what I said, also, but having my now ex-girlfriend backing him up, a cop came out and issued a citation to me for “assault by threat”.

I was pissed, but I also knew I had a problem now that had escalated and I needed to smarten up and deal with it properly.

So I read up on renter laws and posted on their trailer I was changing the rules and that they were not allowed to have any vehicles on the property, and I gave them 3 days notice to vacate. I also told them that I would be having the trailer hauled away soon. Eventually they moved out in 3 weeks or so after all this happened, but had no electricity during that time.

I also had to go to court to defend this lie that the law allows people to do so easily. I was not happy at all..lol.

So now I am dealing with a prosecutor who only wants a conviction, who first offers me his ==deal== for a reduced fine. I refuse and counter with my ==deal== that he drop the charges.

Long story short, I was not, in anyway whatsoever, going to let them make me a criminal. I knew I could win if it went to court, and I knew it would likely never anyways. I knew that this prosecutor did not care at all for me, he was simply doing his job…so I played on that.

He did try to threaten me with additional charges but that all never happened, the charges were eventually dropped; tho it took some effort...my point here is, tho sometimes some things are simple to see, often they are not…and if you take things at face value, you are doing yourself a disservice, and doing others who must live with that disservice, one also.

Of course, all this is very simplistic, and I could go on and on forever, but I am just streaming a little bit of consciousness, here, mainly for myself, ‘cause I like to write sometimes-))

Monday, March 4, 2013

Life v Virtual?


So I have been thinking on some things over time.

Not just recently, and not due to some specific issues happening in virtual worlds, and not anything specific to any grid or any person.

But for myself.

I was looking for something to do with my time a few years ago, when some things in my life had changed, much of it in negative ways, and I found myself with nothing to do.

Television had been boring me for a long time, friends, at least as I define a friend, were hard to come by, and many had gone by the wayside over time, for many reasons.

So, I got dsl again, looked over current things, and found virtual worlds.

And of course I found secondlife grid.

Now you see, I have been around the net several times in my life, I am no spring chicken anymore. I have tried all sorts of things and discarded them over time as not being satisfying to me in one way or another.

So I took secondlife with a grain of salt and explored it. I did find it offered many different ways for me to explore myself, and thus I got hooked on virtual worlds.

I also found much I did not like, and, frankly, if I had anything to do at that time in my life, I would have left it as just another thing on the net I checked into and found lacking for me.

But I didn’t have anything much to do, and I found it safe to do things in virtual worlds, I found I could use such life skills I had accumulated over the years and do things that I could not anymore in life.

I found I could stretch my mind and create, that I could meet and befriend new and interesting people, that I could further explore the human condition in a new way.

I remembered this from the Bible: 1 Corinthians 11
"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
So things change in life. I do know that for some people they do not embrace change, but I always have. Change is inevitable, anyways, right? Each new day brings change and we can either fight it, or join in it.

So virtual worlds give me change, daily, and give me that which I no longer have in life...change. Safe, interesting, mentally challenging, wonderful, change.