Archive for February, 2006

Random Ramblings

Friday, February 17th, 2006

Since I’ve decided to celebrate the anniversary of my birth today, I won’t be updating the page… except for this update… and the one below that I posted shortly after midnight.

Oh, and if you tried to email me in the last 24 hours and it bounced, try again! Problems with DNS last prevented anything from getting to me.


Friday, February 17th, 2006

Sometimes when running your site out of your home, you’ll forget that in addition to being the Editorial Team you are also the entire Server Team. When things go wrong, you invariably end up calling yourself to get the problem resolved.

<WARNING, Quasi-technical babble from here on down>

I had been using the free DNS services provided by since September of 2002 when the original DNS I had chosen (DNS2GO) decided to charge for their services. I’m running this site on a shoestring, so anyplace I can save a couple of bucks is worth it… usually.

About halfway through the day today, I found that my site was no longer available to the outside world. We had a wind advisory and a fairly healthy thunderstorm, so I figured I had a brownout and the old ‘Socks just needed a reboot.

I get home and this is not the case.

It would seem that on September 9, 2002 I signed up for’s services using an email address that I checked on a regular basis. Just over 3 years later with no problems, I checked that email address on the average of about once every two months to make sure that it still exists. Had I checked it slightly more frequently, I might have seen this note floating at the bottom of my inbox:

Please be advised that is scheduled to turn down by 2006.02.15.

Other than my IP address, that’s the whole email. I assume that ‘turn down’ means ‘turn off’. I mean, I assume that now since the service was gone and the page just gives the extremely helpful message that ‘ is closed’.

So, in a scramble, I desperately looked for an alternative solution and eventually settled on Which I’ll use until the donations become mandatory.

Doing something about it.

Sunday, February 12th, 2006

In a recent blog entry over at 1up, one of the editors makes known in a rant that she’s tired of seeing people rant about the quality of the journalism (or lack thereof) in professional game sites. One quote particularly stood out for me:

What I want to say is very simple. If you see a problem, maybe the best way to address it isn’t to shout about and point wild fingers, but to do something about it. Contribute positively – not by publishing bitter editorials. I’ve been, in the past, guilty of unleashing my frustrations that way too. But there’s no point in being sanctimonious about anything. Just, you know, do something. Do something positive. Do something with integrity. Do something to fix the wrongs you see. “

She raises a few interesting points, which I felt compelled to address.

  1. “Contribute positively – not by publishing bitter editorials.” I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of publishing articles on occasion that expose my perceived failings of online journalism (although they apply to all forms of written communication). Whether it’s a matter of poor grammar or style, unsubstantiated claims, or writing that’s obviously deficient, I do take notice. I hold, perhaps unfairly, people who write for a living to a higher standard of composition than I do some schmoe on a message board. I do not expect people to produce perfect work (there are probably a few typos on this very site), I simply hold them to the same standard I adhere to myself. To that end, I have indeed thought to myself that I can do better than some of the journalists out there given the opportunity. That’s one of the reasons I created this site, The Closeout Warrior and, on occasion, contribute to Stage Select.
  2. “But there’s no point in being sanctimonious about anything” – I think ‘sanctimonious’ is a bit strong in this case. I can only speak for myself in this regard, but trying to find the time to write a well thought out piece in between earning my weekly bread and playing a game or two to have something to actually discuss is difficult at best. A fair slice of my time is spent perusing game sites to glean any information that I may have missed so, if nothing else, I can remain topical. To that end, I tend to read a lot of websites. By the time I get to sit down and actually craft an article, more often than not it will be about what stuck in my mind most recently. If I found that spelling and grammar errors got in the way of an otherwise good article, then that will be the topic du jour. The tone may come off as sanctimonious or even condescending, but, rest assured, anything I am doing is just observing, not editor bashing. The trick is filtering the baseless complaints from the constructive criticism.
  3. “Do something positive. Do something with integrity. Do something to fix the wrongs you see.” – Here is where things get a bit tricky. One of the great things about mass media is the reach that it enjoys. This is also one of its greatest problems. There is simply no way to please everyone. Most sane people realize this. Those that don’t understand this simple concept will whine about what they don’t like until it is ‘fixed’, nothing will be good enough for them until they are in charge of disseminating their own brand of information. Within the group of people who know that it is impossible to please everyone there is a subset of people who believe, either rightly or wrongly, that they know what will make the media better. It is easy let the noise of the chronic complainers overlap the signal coming from this sect of the audience and to squelch all of it summarily. To use a parallel example: Suppose the Wall Street Journal published an article that had some minor spelling errors or had some other failing, perhaps nothing critical, but an oversight. What would be an appropriate, constructive response? Writing a letter to the editor? Writing a post about it on your blog? Calling everyone you know to tell them you could do a better job than those hacks? All of the above? None of the above?

    While I can not argue with the fact that it is often far easier to point out a mistake than to correct one, it is also true that if you are able point out a mistake to someone who is more easily able to fix the mistake than you are, then it is more likely to get resolved.

Believe it or not, people who rant and point fingers actually are doing something about it. They are doing at least as much as people who run an editorial in their local newspaper about the President’s latest actions or the taste of the latest coffee at their favorite coffee house.

I don’t have the ability or desire to physically go and correct every problem I see. I also am not foolish enough expect everything to be created specifically to cater to my desires. However, I do have access to a cache of words and the ability to put them in an order that will be meaningful to someone with the power to fix or alter that which I perceive is lacking, or at the very least provoke some thought or discussion on the matter. That is ‘doing something about it.’