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I am one of those people who has Twitter on almost every single computer, tablet or smart phone that can be owned, and who mainly reads what others have to say. I browse through the Tweets at random, read my news headlines through Twitter, find links and interesting stories there. And, which is probably more important for many, I keep up with individual people around the world through their status updates, their Tweets, their thoughts and worries. I appreciate how Twitter works, and appreciate the fact that it does work, and that far better than some other, more cumbersome social networks.
At times, though it can be very annoying.
Photo Credit: Anthony Quintano – Creative Commons
It’s not so much the silly or wasteful Tweets, they have their place too: a little bit of humor, a remark thrown out for all to see, an inside joke or comment. If you can follow a thread it’s almost like having a real conversation, but only almost. There is nothing to replace personal contact with another person, seeing them and listening to them. There are some things which really cannot be communicated in 140 characters, no matter how good a person may be at trimming down their ideas to an acceptable – for Twitter – length. No, there is something else which bothers me on Twitter at the moment, a change which is annoying although, I must admit, probably necessary.
The Internet is good for many things, but it should never be considered an adequate substitute for research, for reading and for learning from – where possible – original sources. It is a mass, if not a mess, of thoughts, learning, quotation and misquotation, false paths and short-cuts used by students all over the world when they suddenly discover that their essay on Bird Migration Over The Sierra Leone – for example – needs to be submitted in three short hours. It is a world of abused and re-used works, rarely correctly attributed, of plagiarism, theft and personal projection at the cost of someone else. In short, it is exactly the type of place no one should use as a first learning tool, let alone as their source for concise and accurate information or references.
Photo Credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks. – Creative Commons
In his essay for The New York Review of Books, References, Please, Tim Parks seeks a means to justify taking a short-cut when putting together the citations needed for quotations and sources. He laments the fact that serious publishers, some of whom he names, demand that citations be given for quotations used within a text, finding the depth of information required to be unnecessary in the age of the Internet. All the information we need, he claims, is right there at our fingertips, a click away, when we care to search for it. So why bother?
It’s a wonderful feeling, as a publisher, when a new manuscript comes in and is ready for publication, almost – I imagine – as good as the feeling when your own book hits the stands and you can hold it in your hands and show it off to all your friends. Today we completed the layout work on The Masonic Obligation, a new work from the pen of Lemniscate and sent off the registration papers for the ISBN.
Photo Credit: mrbill – Creative Commons
Official publication is planned for the end of the month, and the title has already been added to my publishing site as due. As soon as the printing and binding is completed I’ll include it on the side menu here with a direct link and, of course, in our shop so that people can order it easily and direct – which is always the preferred method! For other sources – such as Amazon in the United States – it will take a little longer, since we cannot add it to our list there until the ISBN has been registered and Amazon updates its database with new publications.
For anyone who honestly believes that the Internet is going to bring them fame and riches, sorry, but it’s time to come back down to earth and face reality. There are very few people who can claim to have made their fortune through the Internet, although these people are often highlighted way beyond their worth and, thereby, give a false impression of success, the bulk cannot even make a decent living. For many the Internet, as a sales medium, is a sideline, another means of having their product on show to a potential mass market, but little more than that. The number of people offering items for sale through the Internet is so massive, that many simply fall by the wayside and are never seen. The major names – such as Amazon and eBay – take all the interest and smaller sites, unless very specialized and known to people who have a real interest in their products, just sit there with the occasional visitor, but little more than that.
Regardless, it is worth experimenting, but certainly not with all efforts relying on one site, one market. I have tried several over time, including the building of my own shop, including Amazon – which was a massive struggle and hardly seems worth the time spent – including eBay – which proved a total failure thanks to the rules and regulations they set as barriers to real traders. One which I have also tried, and which is gradually approaching the end of the trial period, is Etsy, a small site devoted to handmade and personal items of high quality. At the end of my six month period I will disable the account and concentrate on those areas which clearly work. As with Amazon – the US site, not the European ones – it has had visitors, but little more than that. Whilst the money spent on putting items up for sale on Etsy is small, certainly compared to major sites which demand an arm and a leg is fees, even this small sum has not proven effective.
Not that I am giving up on my experiments, on my search for the right marketing platforms, but I am honing my efforts down to sites which prove themselves effective and price worthy. I will be concentrating on expanding the shop over the coming months, and leave external sites to their own devices.
Love & Kisses, Viki.
Today is another good day, as far as my small publishing business is concerned. For many, perhaps, not a massive day, not one to write about in future history books, but a good step in the right direction nonetheless. Yesterday I completed the re-writing of my publishing website from the very basics of web design through to the text, links, everything that goes with a good site giving information. At least, I hope that everything is there!
I also applied for a new web domain with one of the many, many new Top Level Domain endings which are on offer, and one which, I hope, will fit in with the whole. That said, I am not sure whether the PUB TLD is designed for publishers or for bars! I hope that more publishers will take it up than landlords, otherwise I am in completely the wrong place. The new domain came through much quicker than I had envisioned, and allowed me to publish the new site immediately, even though it is still placed fairly and squarely as a sub-domain here.
Photo Credit: JoelMontes – Creative Commons
There are probably a few more things that I need to do, a few changes which need to be made, perhaps further enhancement but, at the moment, viktoriamichaelis.pub is open to the writing public on our Internet and has even had its first few visitors. The link is also in my menu, so that it is always present should anyone visiting here be overcome with a desire to look further!
Not that I am expecting a rush, but people need a place to go for their information, and I have no problem in offering such a place. Now I just need to work on putting links into the shop, so that those who find our published books can also see what lies behind them.
Love & Kisses, Viki.
We all know that statistics often reflect the desire of the people financing them to create a certain impression, to give out information which is biased in one form or another. In much the same way polls are conducted in order to gain an oversight of opinion and, according to the institution or company initiating them, also reflect a certain bias well in advance.
When it comes to journalism, and certain if not all news sources, the bias is even more defined, even more clear to those in the know: who can claim that Fox News isn’t biased in a certain way, as one from many examples?
Screenshot Source: Yahoo Finance
Internet polls are much the same. We have a limited number of questions, often without any background information, in a box on the sidelines of a website page. Click on one of the options offered, and you’ve registered your vote, made your opinion known. But is it really your opinion? Is it based on facts, or merely on the questions posed?
For me the poll illustrated above is a prime example of a lack of facts, a lack of choice. Given the chance, I would have clicked on the ‘glut in the market’ answer for the declining price of oil, which strikes me as being closer to the truth. Given the chance.
But, with a lack of a decent choice many people automatically rely on their formed opinion – which could also reflect the truth, but relies mainly on what they have read in the press anyway.
Screenshot Source: Yahoo Finance
Ask anyone about pricing, and they will always go for the ‘over-priced’ option, if it’s there.
Love & Kisses, Viki.
It seems as if hardly a week goes by without another report of a website being hacked, of passwords, credit card details, social security numbers, selfies, everything personal becoming available to the masses thanks to the unscrupulous. The latest to be hit is that Internet giant of security, who tend to keep their own security measures very close to their collective chest but are quite happy to collect and use all of your own personal information, Google. It seems that someone managed to get hold of a mass of Google Mail passwords, which means that anyone who can read the files has access to the entire spectrum of Google accounts, from Google Plus right through to YouTube.
The Empire rises and falls on the strength, or intelligence, of its members. And yet, as we all know, it is so simple to be secure. You don’t need weaponry, or even complicated algorithms to protect yourself, just a good, complicated and secure password and the will to change it frequently.
Photo Credit: luxuryluke – Creative Commons
That said, no matter how secure you may believe that password to be, there will always be someone who finds a way to access it. There will always be a leak, a backdoor, a loophole, or even someone disgruntled enough to access the information and sell it to the highest bidder. If governments are quite happy to buy the personal information of errant taxpayers holding Swiss banking accounts, why not ordinary people too?
The answer is simple, and it lies fairly and squarely in the hand of the user: don’t trust anyone. Not even your mother, and most certainly not that new boyfriend who is really interested in having a few intimate selfies sent to him! Change your password frequently, making sure that it is complicated and hard to break, and hope that it is frequent enough to beat those constantly trying to find it, those who have access to what you don’t want them to see.
Love & Kisses, Viki.
There has been quite a lot of talk about net neutrality, about speed on the Internet, about giving users a certain amount of bandwidth before companies are allowed to slow down their usage. In Germany normal Internet usage, as far as landlines are concerned, has been promoted and financially supported by the government to ensure that faster speeds are achieved. There are even cases of telecommunication firms being taken to court to ensure that they do not slow things down.
Source: unknown, via Tumblr
With mobile connections it is a completely different story. Each contract has a set amount of bandwidth available to the customer according to what they are prepared to pay, ranging from a mini 200 MB for a month up to 1.5 GB. The chances of this changing are small, as the government has not addressed this issue as yet.
So what will the Internet look like of bandwidth is limited, if the speed of access is slowed down? Hopefully we will not find out.
Love & Kisses, Viki.
Many students in Germany have already returned to school, some have the pleasure of waiting until Thursday and for those just starting out on their school career, the first school day is Saturday. Each individual State in Germany sets its own term times, which can be weeks apart from one another and causes some consternation when it comes to planning their summer holidays.
Photo Credit: mortsan – Creative Commons
I have sorted out my text books, ensured that my pencil-case – metaphorically speaking – is full, and am looking forward to the final year of this course. I’m not necessarily looking forward to the mass of examinations which are on the horizon, but they are all a part of the whole. If you can’t take it, I am told, whilst knowing what the future holds, then you shouldn’t have taken this path in the first place.
As with every year it will be interesting to see who is still there, and who already has plans for their future after college. For me studies will continue after this year, although I haven’t officially notified the college yet. As some will remember, I hinted that I’d been offered a place to continue with a new, higher course after completing the present course, and I’ve decided to take up the offer. It means a few more years in Germany, which is not so bad, and a stable future for the time being, which is good. After that, we shall have to wait and see.
Love & Kisses, Viki.