Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I’m removing FireDogLake from my links list.

Not that anyone will care one way or the other. That site has gone from “newcomer” to “influential giant” in a few short years. I was reading and posting within the first three months of its existence, when there were only two posters, Pach was just a regular commenter and EPU was still a commenter and not a verb. I greatly admire what Jane and Christy have done and continue to do. They have put in an incredible amount of time and energy into the place. The liveblogging of the Scooter Libby trial showed what the internet blogs really can accomplish. These two ladies are incredible in their knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment. The new crop of bloggers, both scheduled and guest, are incredible, as are their book forums and fundraising for progressive candidates. And Jane doing all this while coping with health problems is just another reason to marvel at their accomplishments. They have just shown everyone what blogging is really about.

However, here’s the deal. A number of these web sites have just gone overboard in their quest for the newest, glitziest, coolest, hottest, most dynamic web site ever, and FireDogLake is one of them. (Huffington Post is another. It refuses to load anything else after I get the title bar and the first lines of the top link. That’s all.) First off, I guess they assume that every one of their readers has the absolute latest computer with a large screen and a high speed internet connection. On my home computer, FDL takes a very long time to load, given all the advertisements and creative visual junk that the site now sports. The text of the posts doesn’t wrap around to fit the size of my screen, and then when the sidebar stuff on the right comes in, like the ads and all the other crap, it covers up half the text so that I can’t even read the posts even WITH sliding the bottom scrollbar back and forth. Additionally, I am now starting to get a warning dialog box that tells me that “this site is trying to access your private…” something or other. I have seen this warning about five or six times now. Of course, the answer is, “No, of course I don’t want this web site to access my private information.” Why would I? I have no idea what it is or why it is doing that.

Given all that, I have stopped looking in at FDL, and I am going to remove it from my links list. Big tragedy for them, I am sure. (My traffic is running anywhere from 50 to 100 hits a day, and a lot of them come from searches on some really strange things. For example, I keep getting a repeat search for some variation of “Enemies of rabbits”. Yeah, I don’t think I am helping out those people very much.) I doubt I have been sending FDL much in the way of linked traffic.

If anyone from over at FDL, such as an administrator or whatever, sees this, you might pass the information along. Not everyone is so enamored of new technology that we will run out to the nearest electronics store every time some new “must have” comes along. I hate all that crap, to tell you the truth. I just want something that works, and works all the time. I don’t care if I don’t have the large screen or that I have an older operating system. It works for me now, and I don’t want to have to spend the money, time and stomach lining it would take to become “up to date”. And I don’t want to worry about what private information on my computer an outside web site may be accessing. I have had a couple of those run-ins already; each time it has cost me around a hundred bucks to have my computer cleaned up and put back in working order. I’m rather antsy about stuff like that. I don’t have any of these kinds of problems with more “mainstream” sites (i.e., not blogs), such as newspapers, Wiki, IMDB, etc. No, it seems as if it is only the blogs that I am having problems like this.

Not everyone who is interested in political blogs is a computer savant. And I refuse to try to become one just so I can read some political blogs. Therefore, FDL, thanks for all the good work but you are not worth it anymore. My prediction is that, as I stated earlier, no one will care. I wrote to them earlier about this, and no one responded. The attitude seems to be that “most” of the people looking in are up to date, so that is all that is necessary. Everyone else, well, that’s just too bad. I have even seen the word “Luddite” used at FDL as an insult to describe those who aren’t up with the cutting edge of technology.

That’s a rather prevalent attitude around this country these days, one that leaves me feeling increasingly isolated and alienated. If you aren’t with the program, the majority, well then, that’s just too bad for you, buddy.

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