gwynhefar: (Default)
"1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;

2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;

3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really." --Douglas Adams

How to Stop Worrying and Love the Internet (1999)
gwynhefar: (Default)
Hey, I thought I'd throw this out to the collective wisdom of my LJ friends. Can anyone think of specific examples of promising internet services or technologies that never quite caught on, and also examples of the same which were initially unpopular or not well-regarded, but then became surprise successes?
gwynhefar: (birds of a feather)
I am, and always have been, a book lover and a fangirl. I admit it - I don't just get enjoy books - I get obsessed with authors, devouring everything they've written, dreaming up fantasies of somehow being transported into their worlds, meeting and befriending their main characters, and generally writing epic Mary Sue fanfics in my brain long before I'd ever even heard of fanfiction.

People like Susan Cooper and Robin McKinley were queens in their distant palaces, sitting on their finely crafted literary thrones and generously dispensing amazing tales for my grateful and worshipful enjoyment. I remember vividly a point in middle school where I had to do a report on my favourite author who was, at the time, Anne McCaffrey. Being that she was a contemporary genre writer, I had a hard time finding some of the biographical information I needed. So I sent a letter to her publisher, asking for the information for my report. Several weeks later I received a rather stuffed envelope from Ireland - Anne herself had written me back. Ok, so she included her standard FAQ (although it wasn't called that at the time), but she also included a letter just to me, answering my specific questions and wishing me luck on my report. The letter was type-written, but it was also *hand-signed*. I was over the moon. I still have it. It was this incredible moment of connection between me and someone I viewed as being the next best thing to royalty.

Today, responded to a post on Peter S. Beagle's Facebook with a question, and two minutes later, Peter himself responded with the answer. And yeah, I gave a little fangirl squee, but nothing like the reaction Anne McCaffrey's letter evoked twenty years ago.

What has changed?

The short answer is "the internet." Ok, so the internet existed when I was in middleschool. But it wasn't something *ordinary* people used. It wasn't until the early nineties with the development of internet service providers like America OnLine and Prodigy that the general public began to interact online. I was, unsurprisingly, an early adopter - my family had AOL (one of my friends had Prodigy, and we had long arguments over which was better). The internet, for me, became more than anything else a way for me to indulge my inner fangirl. I'm embarrassed to say that there are still floating out in cyberspace posts I made on the Mercedes Lackey fan list in the mid-nineties signed "Gwyn'he'far shena Tale'sedrin."

Of course, the fact that the fans were online meant that the authors would eventually follow. The invention of Web 2.0 technologies like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. meant that the social gap between celebrity and fan as narrowed to the point that in some cases it's nearly non-existent.

This is the world we live in now. And it's *incredible*! The revelation that authors are real people too sounds like it should be obvious, but it's something I just didn't *get* before things like author blogs. However, when you spend your time reading about the latest antics of Poppy Z. Brite's many cats, Patrick Rothfuss complaining about the all the folks who keep asking when the new book will be out (It'll be out when I'm finished, dammit!), Robin McKinley grumbling about reading proofs and wondering why she thought writing would be such a great career after all, and Neil Gaiman posting pictures from *inside* the Academy Awards, well . . . it's hard to maintain that difference.

And that's not even mentioning the wonderful published authors I have actually following and commenting on this blog. *waves*

Is my fangirl squee gone? Hell, no. Hey, Will Shetterly is following me on Goodreads, and did I tell you - Peter S. Beagle actually answered my question! *squee*

But the artificial divide is shrinking. And I'm glad. Reading about writers I admire and respect talking about writer's block and recalcitrant characters and days when they spend four hours writing 100 words is what gave me the courage to actually start writing myself.

There was a time when I thought being an author meant you were somehow touched by Grace, above the rest of us puny humans. I have to admit, all things equal, I like them down here on earth better.

Names

Jul. 25th, 2009 05:32 pm
gwynhefar: (Default)
About 95% of the results you get when you google "Gwynhefar" are me. The rest refer primarily to a blurb about Mists of Avalon that misspelled the character's name in the book (I admit, in fact, that that misspelled blurb is where I got my particular spelling variant of the name, although the book was not the inspiration for taking the name), an apparent short story by Mercedes Lackey I've never read, and a handful of other random people who have the audacity to use what I've already claimed.

I had no idea I'd created quite that large an internet footprint. And that's only the ones where I used the full "Gwynhefar" name. The google results for "Gwyn Raven" are a bit more ambiguous, due to the aforementioned Lackey's unfortunate use of the hyphenated last name Gwyn-Raven for her psychic dynasty, something that, in fact, interfered quite a bit with my enjoyment of the series when I read them, since I had already been using the name Gwynhefar Raven for quite some time before I got around to reading Lackey's books, and to see what I already considered *my* name popping up on every other page was quite distracting.
gwynhefar: (Default)
I always find it rather interesting when I run into a friend or someone at work and they refer to something I've posted on LJ or on Facebook. It's like a single conversation that spans both internet and real life communications without pause or interruption. Kinda cool.
gwynhefar: (WTF)
I went to reply to an email from a friend of mine through gmail and immediately got a 'message undeliverable' notice. I was confused, since what I'd done was hit 'reply' from within her email, which should have sent the message right back to the email address she'd sent hers from. I looked closer and the notice mentioned that the address that was undeliverable was 'upgrading1 at live dot com'. That is *not* my friend's email address. I looked it up, and it's apparently a phishing address. I went back to my friend's email and hit reply again, and this time paid attention to the pre-filled-in address. Sure enough, it was the upgrading1 address again. I had to manually replace it with her actual email address. I know her message wasn't a phishing attempt - she was writing to confirm our dinner plans for later in the week. So how did the phishing address get in the autoreply field? And what can I do about it?

Genealogy

Dec. 31st, 2008 03:12 pm
gwynhefar: (did you know you could fly?)
So, I'm thinking. I've been doing genealogy research for a few friends of mine and others have indicated interest. I don't mind doing it, but it does take time. And I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with ways to make a little extra money, as things are quite tight at the moment. So, I think I'm going to start charging. I'm thinking $5 per name you want me get info for if you're only looking for a few names, and a by-the-hour rate to be decided for more in-depth family trees. I can't imagine it'd bring in much, but I'm getting good at this after so long doing my own, and I might as well have something to show for it.
gwynhefar: (shakespeare)
Narrator: In A.D. 2006, Web was beginning.
Captain: What happen ?
Mechanic: Somebody set up us the journal.
Operator: We get signal.
Captain: What !
Operator: Main browser turn on.
Captain: It's you !!
CATS: How are you users !!
CATS: All your base are belong to Frank.
CATS: You are on the way to 404.
Captain: What you say !!
CATS: You have no chance to reach your page. Make your spelling correct.
CATS: Ha Ha Ha Ha ....

Second Life

Nov. 5th, 2008 02:05 pm
gwynhefar: (Default)
Ok, I have to do a presentation on both the pros and cons of creating a library presence in SecondLife. So, on the pro side, can anyone give me examples of really good Library/University/Education sims in SecondLife? I've got a few, but I need more.
gwynhefar: (ancient and forever)
In honour of Google's tenth birthday, they have put up the oldest version of their archive, January 2001, for search here. In many cases, even if the results are no longer on the web, you can view the page using the Internet Archive link next to the description. I googled my name and found a couple of old pages I had completely forgotten about (including a forum post from my Mercedes Lackey phase that was somewhat embarrassing).

Have fun!
gwynhefar: (Default)
I was wondering, in the contemplative way I tend to do when depressed, what effect if any other people with depression feel the internet has on their condition?

I'm in the middle of one of those (thankfully mostly rare) episodes where I withdraw and become completely antisocial. I don't want to see anyone, I don't want to talk to anyone, I don't want another human being to acknowledge my existence. I wish I had an invisibility cloak and a cone of silence so no one would see or hear me right now. It'd be nice if it worked two-ways, as I don't want to see or talk to anyone right now either.

Except whatever it is that triggers that unreasonable desire to hide from other people both in person and over the phone, isn't triggered by the internet. I'm at a point where someone walks by or the phone rings and I cringe. But I have no problems answering email or writing this post.

So, question part one: does anyone else experience this strange dichotomy (assuming you even get the antisocial episodes to begin with)?

Question part two: If yes to question part one, do you feel that communication over the internet helps or hinders your recovery? I'm not really sure myself about this one. On the one hand, because I feel comfortable communicating online despite my current antisocialness (is that a word?), I'm at least having some form of human contact, albeit limited. Part of me thinks that this contact is healthier for me than no contact at all, and might even pull my out of my slump faster. On the other hand, the availability of email and other forms of online communication facilitates my hiding from more personal interactions. I've already returned my mother's phone call from last night via email, something I almost never do with her, because I really don't feel like talking to her but if I ignored her she'd just keep calling. Not having access to online communication would make it more difficult for me to maintain my isolation, and forcing myself into interpersonal relations, however uncomfortable they may currently be, might also be healthy. I'm just not sure which is better.

Any thoughts?
gwynhefar: (Ooops!)
Chaos as YouTube ordered to turn over all user viewing histories

I hope I'm not about to get sued because I watch fan-made music videos utilising clips from tv shows that I'm sure were taken without permission. What kind of idiot judge thought this kind of thing was fair? Talk about your privacy violations. And I don't see any mention of safeguards to ensure that Viacom only uses the information with regard to their own stolen videos.
gwynhefar: (Chaos Theory)
My stupid computer is being annoying again. I'll be connected to the internet, and in the background I can watch files downloading so I *know* I'm connected. But Firefox will return a 'Page Not Found' every time. And then without warning it'll go back to working. And then it'll stop. It's annoying as all get out and I can't figure out why it's doing that.

MyMiniCity

Dec. 18th, 2007 01:26 pm
gwynhefar: (bored now)
Remember to help me build my city. You can visit once a day to add to my population.
gwynhefar: (Default)
I went and created a city at MyMiniCity.

So please visit it and help me out.
gwynhefar: (Default)
Why is it that Firefox seems to be updating every other day or so? It's beginning to get really annoying.
gwynhefar: (DW Oooh Shiny)
After much trial and travail, much downloading of conversion software and clipping of mp3s, much touch-tone typing and much bandwidth buying, I have managed to get The Llama Song as my phone ring tone.

I am much pleased.
gwynhefar: (Schroedinger's Cat)
Just yesterday I was looking for a particular Robert Frost poem, and opened up one of my high school English textbooks and tucked in the front was a looseleaf paper with a list of IRC and Gopher client addresses on it. Oh how complicated internet browsing used to be!

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