Good News/Bad News

Some of you may have seen my post concerning Paul Galusha’s financial and legal battles. He was badly injured by a Pensacola city vehicle, but the city was refusing to admit culpability for his six-figure medical bills.

The good news is that the city got trounced in court. The jury found in favor the Mr. Galusha and awarded a $318,000 judgement which is in the same ballpark as his bills. Just is done…sort of.

The bad news is that Pensacola is claiming “sovereign immunity” in this case, which limits their liability to $100,000. This award sounds impressive, and goodness knows it will help, but it’s still well short of his costs.

So, let’s celebrate the win, but they’re not out of the woods yet.

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Filed under justice, Personal

The story so far (Ello-wise)

My first, long-ish post on Ello with attempts at formatting and all that good stuff is here. Why yes, I finally figured out how the permalinks work, or maybe they just suddenly started working, but I’m guessing the former.

TL/DR: It’s pretty, it’s buggy, it’s interesting, and the UI can be really hard to read due to the same low-contrast controls that makes it look so clean. I’m hoping against hope it’ll fit in my constellation-of-social-media-that-consumes-way-too-much-of-my-time-already.


Filed under Blogging, Personal, Writing

‘Ints from Ello-ese

(yeah, I know…that title was a bit of a reach):

Two more Ello-related points of interest.

1) You can use animated GIFs for your banner. I haven’t tested the profile pics, but so far, it seems to be a pretty friendly site for that sort of thing. Check out Skitoman’s banner.

2) There’s still a lot of missing functionality. One of the big ones is that you can’t link to a specific post. That makes sharing interesting content kind of tricky. I’ve always felt that was on of the more useful features in SM.

Is it just me, or have we learned how to adapt to new social media really, really quickly over the last fifteen years or so? There’s probably a paper in that somewhere.

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Filed under blogs, Personal, Writing

The Honeymoon Is Over (Ello-related)

@Netflixofficial is following me on Ello. I feel dirty.

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Ello, is it me you’re looking for?

(do you have any idea how hard it is to write something about Ello and not do some sort of silly play on words?)

Ok, last update for the night: Paul Budnitz and Todd Berger, Ello co-founders, both say that concerns over their venture cap investors and the potential “exit” postulated by Aral Balkan are ill-founded. The investor himself, Cairn Cross of FreshTracks Capital, is telling the same tale. When asked about the profit model for the site, he responded:

“I believe you can build something of value here if you can create a big enough network and have a framing model that has some payment features in it for people who want fancier bells and whistles for what they’re doing. If you think about the gaming industry, the freemium model is not necessarily a problem, it just hasn’t been applied as much to social applications. We think it will work.”

It’s worth noting that I’m writing this on WordPress, which, if memory serves, uses a “freemium” model.

Obviously, I hope that Budnitz, Berger, and Cross are on the level here. I don’t know that the world needs benign social network, but man, it’d sure be nice to have that as an option.

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Ello, Ello again

(an aside: Have you ever seen anything blow up out of nothing the way Ello has? There are probably several good theses in the story of the initial proliferation of the site and the fact that everyone seems to be talking about it)

There’s a very good argument for avoiding Ello to be made, and Aral Balkan made it. The gist is that Ello’s funding is fundamentally incompatible with its Manifesto. This incompatibility is a Really Big Deal. The whole point of Ello is that it’s meant to be the “anti-Facebook,” and venture cap is an exceedingly unlikely way to pursue that goal.

Look, I’d love for Ello to be what the founders say it will be. I like the look, I like the simplicity, and I like that you’ve got some features that FB would never, ever allow (giant animated GIF’s!). Not to mention, I think I like the fact that it is really, really hard to find specific people. One of my biggest complaints about Facebook is that it is so ubiquitous that anyone can find anyone, so you kind of have to modulate your presence for the broadest audience. That’s no fun. Google tried to solve this by making it easier to chose what you shared with whom, but they made a spectacular hash of it.

Wow…I think what I just wrote amounts to “I miss LiveJournal.” Not exACTly where I thought I was going with it.

Anyway, I’ll probably post early-days impressions pretty frequently for a bit. Feel free to ignore ‘em if social networks aren’t your thing.

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You see, here’s my concern: I don’t understand how this site intends to make money, and if it doesn’t make money, I doubt that it will survive.

If it becomes popular, I could see a subscription model, but you need a critical mass for that. Maybe donations a la Wikipedia are the way to go for the time being. Right now, it feels like you can smell the VC burning in the background.

It is pretty, though. I love the design aesthetic. #CourierIsUnderrated

X-posted from Ello. Which is the opposite of how I’ll do it most of the time.

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Filed under Personal, Technology, Writing

If All You Have Is A Hammer…

…I’d hate to be a nail in your neighborhood.

I have been, for the most part, agnostic on the subject of gun rights. The courts have settled on a fairly expansive reading of the second amendment and it seems, to me at least, to be a settled issue. Lately, though, I’ve been forced to re-think my position on this subject.

In Commerce City, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, a man shot a dog which jumped over a fence into his yard and may have attacked his dog. The police have declined to file charges because they believe that they cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed.

In Bellingham, Washington, a banker who was annoyed at hearing a dog barking in one of his neighbors’ yard, grabbed his rifle and shot a 13 month old Corgi in the chest. Afterwards, he was mortified at what he’d done…because he’s shot “the wrong dog.” Apparently, he believed he was justified in shooting a neighbor’s dog if it annoyed him.

Could both of these situations have been solved without guns? Of course they could. They could have been resolved much, much better without guns. People resolve these kinds of conflicts all the time without shooting dogs. But, when all you have is a gun…

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Filed under Other Stuff, Philosophy

The person whose car hit that cow is liable to me

(the Scotland vote yesterday is way more important than this, but I don’t have the results yet and I wanted to sneak this in while I was waiting)

Let me explain to you why I despise the Tea Party so much. I don’t take issue with their concerns about government corruption and overreach*. I think those are legitimate, pressing concerns about issues which I’d hoped Obama would have reversed rather than accelerated. I dislike the racism and sexism that is more prominent in their ranks than in other movements, but hell, gamers and atheists have similar issues. Even their glorification of…let’s call it “anti-intellectualism”…doesn’t make me angry so much as sad.

No, while those things rankle, they don’t really fuel any passion in me. What gets to me is the glorification of “I-got-mine-you-can-go-screw-yourself” selfishness masquerading as individualism. This latest story about the Tea Party’s poster-doofus Cliven Bundy is a perfect example. Here’s a guy who wants to use government resources to enrich himself but doesn’t want to pay for it. He irresponsibly let his cattle wander into a highway and someone nearly died because of it. Of course, to him, it’s the government’s fault that his cattle wandered where they weren’t supposed to because he imagines some responsibility on the government’s part to fence in the land that isn’t his but he insists, AT FUCKING GUNPOINT mind you, that he won’t pay to use. He even has the balls to say that the victim of his irresponsibility ought to be indebted to him because…well, honestly, I can’t contort my brain enough to work out his logic there.

To most people, this probably seems hypocritical. Bundy insists that he can use the land, but he’s not responsible for any upkeep of it at all. To the Tea Party, though, it’s perfectly normal to expect to get without ever getting. That, dear reader, is why I absolutely cannot stand the Tea Party: It’s the almost sociopathic and utterly hypocritical level of selfishness.

* Weirdly, though, while they seem to despise the government and politicians, they positively adore the powerful people who are served by the government. The Tea Party is ultimately an extremely pro-status quo movement, which probably explains why the police have always been so much more tolerant of them than they were the Occupy folks.

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Filed under Philosophy, Politics

Well that didn’t work at all

It was my hope that a mash up of Pop Will Eat Itself’s 1989 gem “Can U Dig It?” (video) and Clint Mansell’s “Lux Æterna” (music) from the “Requiem for a Dream” soundtrack would have been charming as heck. I was mistaken. Sometimes, mixing two unlike things can be interesting and even illuminating. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work.

Fortunately, both of these things are marvelous on their own, so I’ll just give them to you separately.

“Can U Dig It?” by Pop Will Eat Itself:

“Lux Æterna” by Clint Mansell:

P.S. Mr. Mansell was the singer for PWEI, which is why I thought it would be so clever. Kind of an important bit of information to leave out, huh?

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Filed under Music, Other Stuff, Personal