Saturday, December 15, 2007

There's a lively discussion going on at Suburban Oblivion about the difficult changes that Google has made to their Blogger comment interface. I want to repeat here what I said there in comments because it gets to the heart of the matter:

Speener said: “What galls me about this is the total ignorance of what blogging is about. Sometimes I comment, and then go back to blog about what I just read. The idea is to encourage community, to share with your peers, to circumvent the structure that we’re so often asked to adhere to for no good reason.”

Exactly! I’ve had my blog since June of 2004. I have 112 blogs in my blogroll. I have found myself starting to click on a blog from my blogroll to pay them a visit and stopping upon realizing that the one I was considering is a blogger blog, knowing the difficulty I’ll encounter when attempting to comment. These are the steps as I experience them:

1. Click the link;

2. Read the post (which may or may not include clicking links and reading other things);

3. Click on comments;

4. Click on the “This page displays both secure and nonsecure items…” warning (BTW, “nonsecure” is not a word);

5. Begin writing my comment;

6. Realizing it’s blogger, I open another tab to sign into blogger, something I have to do over and over regardless of the fact that I’m signed into my google toolbar;

7. Go to my blog to pull out the code for the link (I realize I could eliminate this step by learning the code for the link - working on that one);

8. Copy and paste the code into the comment field at the end of my comment;

9. Enter my blogger username and password into the username and password field (this, despite the fact that I’m signed into both my google toolbar and blogger);

10. Sometimes I have to do #9 twice;

11. Post my comment.

Now, I’m thinking that I should put an asterisk by all the blogger blogs in my blogroll just so I can know if I’m going to head over there, what kind of time and effort commitment I’m making. Like Speener said, it shows their “total ignorance of what blogging is about.” *sigh*

Sunday, December 02, 2007

So much for "Don't be evil"

So much for "Don't be evil", supposedly Google's "motto". As described in Wikipedia (emphasis mine):

"Don't be evil" is the informal corporate motto (or slogan) for Google,[1] established by Gmail inventor Paul Buchheit[2]. Paul, who suggested the slogan in a meeting, said he "wanted something that, once you put it in there, would be hard to take out," adding that the slogan was "also a bit of a jab at a lot of the other companies, especially our competitors, who at the time, in our opinion, were kind of exploiting the users to some extent."

"Don't be evil" is said to recognize that large corporations can often maximize short-term profits with actions that destroy long-term brand image and competitive position. By instilling a Don't Be Evil culture, the corporation establishes a baseline for decision making that can enhance the trust and image of the corporation that outweighs short-term gains from violating the Don't Be Evil principles.

I was cruising along happily in the blogosphere as Sophmom, with all my Sophmom activities tied to my soph underscore mom at yahoo dot com email account. This included my primary blog that I'd very happily maintained at Blog-City since June 2004. Initially chosen for its ease of interface, I'm happiest there because of the wonderful (and personal) customer service (blessed Mayoress) and what can only be described as excellent search results (Google Gods please don't get too mad at me for this post). It was only logical to have a Sophmom's Dotcalm at Wordpress just to prevent anyone else from confusing the matter, which I did at Blogger as well (obviously). Now, Wordpress lets anyone comment and leave links, but some blogger blogs only allowed comments by those with blogger "accounts" so it made sense to have one. Since I was leaving links to this blog from time to time, I figured I should post something here, so I do (not particularly often - but I do); although usually (or at least once upon a time) when posting anywhere, I post as Blog-City Sophmom.

It started for me when I decided that I needed a Gmail account in my real name. Now, there was an element of not wanting anyone else to have it, but I also thought that I might migrate some of my Yahoo activity to Gmail, having heard good things about it. Then the oddest thing started happening: no matter how many times I signed in to my Google toolbar or blogger using the Yahoo email account, once signed in, I was automatically reverted to being signed in to my Gmail account. I don't like the notion of mixing Sophmom and my real name online, even if I'm the only one who sees it because I've spent three years working hard to keep them apart. I have my reasons and they're important. Lots of people who read my blog know me in "real" life and I've actually broken bread and lifted a glass with plenty of folks I've met online. But there are one or two (okay, exactly two) people in this world who, if they realized *I* am Sophmom, would just take all the fun out of it. But that's beside the point. I should be the one who gets to decide which of my email accounts is tied to which of my blog accounts and Google has taken that out of my hands and forces me to default into their product(s).

Then the commenting format changed, this weekend, without so much as a "Yoo hoo, y'all, we're gonna change it up a little," from the "Don't be evil" folks in Mountain View. Suddenly, when commenting on any blogger blog, I can't comment as Blog-City Sophmom, but must post as either a linkless guest ("nickname" - how lame is that?), anonymous (on blogs that allow it) or as blogger Sophmom. Now, I'm smart enough to figure out how to put an html link to my real blog in the body of the comment, but, still, it's just so, well, evil. It’s short-sighted and violates the spirit of the internet that Google, from the beginning, has claimed to embrace.

I'm sorry, y'all, but when Google gets to decide which email I use to sign in and which blog link I leave when I comment, they've taken a choice away from me, stepped over their own line, violated their own standard.


Suburban Oblivion has also posted about this.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It was graduation weekend for The Youngest, although he still has some work to complete before he'll be really finished. I'm guessing that means the fine folks who run his alternative high school think he's going to get it all done. The graduation was actually wonderful and it was great for The Oldest to see so many familiar faces from his alma mater, particularly with his freshly minted dual undergraduate degree. The speaker, Emory professor Jonathan Prude, gave an exceptionally wonderful commencement address about the importance of being open to change even though it might sometimes mean accepting our own imperfections to the point of embracing the fact that one's being or one's actions actually need to change. If I could pick a number one life lesson that would be it, to get up every single day remembering to be open to change, perhaps especially if it has to include looking really hard for and at what I'm doing wrong, as difficult as that can be, as shrouded in fog as we sometimes are to ourselves.

The graduation celebration included a fairly unorthodox and extremely long "baccalaureate" Friday evening and was bookended by the opening games of our spring baseball season, so I'm headed into the work week invigorated (read: beat up ten ways to Sunday) by such a busy stretch. The baseball was excellent. We scored twenty-six runs in two games. The good news is that we won both of them. I seem to remember last spring (or was it spring before last?) starting out by scoring sixty something runs in four games and being 1-3 (not easy to do). I like my players. Only a handful of them are returning from previous seasons as most of my regular guys have graduated, but we've got a pretty good dugout vibe, even with the two that the league gave to me out of the rec pool (I think... well, at least one of them). We have three games in four days starting Wednesday, so we'll get to find out just how deep we are in pitchers, right out of the box.


So, y'all, what was Alec Baldwin thinking? The voicemail message was bad enough. I mean, most of us can relate to completely losing it on occasion, although, in my mind, I hope we all reach a point in our personal evolution (by the time we're his age?) when we cease to interact with anyone in that manner. Calling names is pretty immature, if you ask me, whether it was directed at his daughter or his ex. The fact is that when you start calling names, in my humble opinion, you've lost and you're the one who looks like a jerk. Still, he had to go and make it worse in the spin cycle, by saying he wants to quit 30 Rock (from
According to the transcript from "The View," Baldwin said he intended to take "three years or five years, it doesn't matter," and focus on the problem of divorced parents and their children. He has a book coming out about divorce litigation, possibly this fall, he said.

"There were bills that were proposed in (by California lawmakers) that were killed which were about equality and co-parenting and divorce litigation and ... this is work that I've been creeping up on, but I've been busy," he said.

Acting has lost its importance to him, he said.

"I've had enough of this quite frankly to last me a lifetime, especially in the modern tabloid world and ... there's a bigger thing I want to do, there's a more important thing I want to do," Baldwin said.

Sophmom to Alec: Don't quit your day job, darlin'. It is that which provides you with the platform from which to do this other, "bigger" work.


The Supreme Court of the United States, in a controversial ruling, recently upheld a ban on partial birth abortions, sending a chill up the spines of those of us who are old enough to remember the bad old days of coat hangers in dirty back rooms. Now, I'm not what I would call pro-abortion. I was pregnant six times in seven years resulting in my three magnificent sons and three terribly difficult miscarriages (as if there's another kind). The first miscarriage resulted in my passing the fetal tissue at home, an event that was painful both physically and emotionally. One that I found friends and family reluctant to discuss with me, causing continued emotional distress. I was a bit more experienced for the next two failed pregnancies and, with my doctors, was able to choose to have a procedure to remove the pregnancy after it was determined to be unviable but before my body rejected it, a much more humane and medically safer way to experience this loss, and, at least technically, considered an abortion. Partial birth abortions are not "birth control" abortions. It's a horrid medical procedure that is virtually always an extension of an agonizing medical problem. There's a great post over at Firedoglake about how a partial birth abortion can save the life of a (viable twin) fetus, or could have, had it been allowed, about the unintended consequences of this ban. Go. Now. Read. What I'm trying to say here, although I'm going the long way around the point (and keep revising trying to get it right), is that it seems to me that the anti-abortion forces are cruelly self-serving (if not downright selfish) to use the tragic and painful health care decisions of women making impossibly difficult choices about their pregnancies as a platform, a springboard from which to try to overturn Roe v. Wade and that I am frightened about any legislation that limits the decision making of women dealing with unviable pregnancies. *sophmom ducks*


I watched the democratic presidential debate last Thursday night and got so into it I completely forgot to watch the new episode of Gray's Anatomy. Was it just me, or were Clinton and Obama just falling all over themselves to be sweet to and supportive of each other? I swear, by the end of the night, I'm thinking that her right arm and his left had to be sore from waving at each other in agreeable deference. It looked to me like they were already running mates. I thought Joe Biden came off looking pretty dang presidential. His debate performance, perhaps solely his historic one-word answer (when he was given 90 seconds), landed him the entire hour of Meet The Press on Sunday morning. He needs it, as his early gaffes left him way behind in raising funds. I had a dream about him over the weekend. He was standing in a pool holding a press conference with his head just barely above the water and the reporters in the bleachers asking him questions like it was all perfectly normal. I wish him well and hope the folks who can afford to do so will throw him a few dollars just to keep the race interesting. In my opinion, the other most interesting debater was Dennis Kucinich, whose self-deprecating humor and unabashedly proud pacifism landed him a key guest seat on Real Time with Bill Maher (y'all knew I wasn't going to get through a post this long without mentioning Bill). Kucinich was funny, but without there being any question about who he is and what his steadfast positions are, as he claimed the high ground, pointing out that he saw it coming, and that took the unpopular stance of opposing the war when the rest of Washington, including both the Congress and the Press Corps, were following the cooked up and half-baked machinations emanating from the White House. What could possibly be more presidential than standing up for reality amidst hysteria, than seeing the truth despite the fog, than taking an unpopular position because it was, well, right? If everyone who wasn't supporting him because they're sure he doesn't have a chance would support him, then, well, he might have a chance. JMHO.


Once again, I've gone long (big surprise there, huh?), and if you're still reading you have both my thanks and my sympathy. I will leave you with a musical finale, Dispatch performing "The General" on the Late Late Show (thanks to YouTube):

Peace, out, y'all.

Saturday, January 27, 2007