Saturday, December 31, 2005

assorted sound confusions CompuMusik

It's finished.

Want one?

Steven Streight CompuMusik

"assorted sound confusions" CD.

Email me your land address and I'll see what I can do. Post-dancehall break-beat pop-surrealist electro-violence warp-waffling crescendo-crushers.

Proudly made on on Mars with an Audacity audio editor as the only technology,

plus a CyberAcoustics CVL-1064 DNCT 4 (sensitivity: -64dBV/ubar, at 1KHz) VOIP (voice over internet) microphone.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

bloggers and poets

Bloggers and poets share much in common.

Both are concerned about self-expression, truth, transparency, authentic "voice" embodied in textual formations.

[IMG: "between sun and star" by steven streight 12,27,2005]

Here's a fragment from:

"The Poet and His Book" by

Edna St. Vincent Millay.


Me, by no means dead
In that hour, but surely
When this book, unread,
Rots to earth obscurely,
And no more to any breast,
Close against the clamorous swelling
Of the thing there is no telling,
Are these pages pressed!

When this book is mould
[read "blog is abandoned,
orphaned by my death"]
And a book of many
Waiting to be sold
For a casual penny,
In a little open case,
In a street unclean and cluttered,
Where a heavy mud is splattered
From the passing drays,

Stranger pause and look;
From the dust of ages
Lift this little book,
Turn the tattered pages,
Read me, do not let me die!
Search the fading letters, finding
Steadfast in the broken binding

All that once was I!

[END QUOTE--but the poem continues]

That's what your blog is: what is currently you. That's what makes it so powerful. It's a textual transformation of your thoughts, your ideas, your opinions.

Blogs, as I often say, represent the Rise of the Individual Voice against MSM/Government/Religious Information Hegemony.

And as a mirror of your mind, your blog is a testament to your sanity, comedy, and love for humanity, that microcosm of which is your blog audience.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

get yr CompuMusik CD now

CompuMusik CD
now ready to ship

Step right up and get your experimental electro-acoustic techno noise machine product!

Yes, you poor misguided creatures, the new Steven Streight CompuMusik smash hit album, the final version, is now done and starting today, being mailed out.

"Christian Noise Metaphysics" final public version for mass distribution, and soon to be followed by my "Assorted Sound Confusions" sequel, consists of the following "songs":

Steven Streight CompuMusik
"Christian Noise Metaphysics"

TT: 77:16

Made with Audacity audio editor, Cyber Acoustics CVL-1064 DNCT 4 internet microphone, and pneuma hagion love.

(1) transform the culture [0:30]

(2) zero to infinity in no seconds [5:58]

(3) thought cube disco [5:27]

(4) glory glory (radio edit) [3:41]

(5) war vs. everybody [3:50]

(6) Liberty by Shelley 1824 [6:23]

(7) new dimension disco [7:17]

(8) life pulsations booster [2:40]

(9) chalice and torch [2:05]

(10) vibrating foamular object (remix) [2:44]

(11) ethereal nature setting [7:38]

(12) light train signal [3:35]

(13) the glow [3:20]

(14) properties of linear detergents [11:51]

(15) digital angel jazz piece [4:55]

(16) painful flames of sorrow [5:15]

I added techno type instrumentation drive to a few songs, so they charge along more locomotively, picking up the pace, and lauching out into outer space.

If we find spam in outer space, will it then be "Outer Spam"?

If so, me and Sufjan Stevens will be there to meet it, greet it, and defeat it.

Check out the interesting products at Asthmatic Kitty Records:

Last night I bought Sufjan Stevens' "Come on feel the Illinioise" CD at WalMart, and it is an incredibly beautiful, Van Dyke Parks-type musical work, with a mini-orchestra and bizarre lyrics with a spiritual edge.

Song titles are generally paragraphs like Track 2: "THE BLACK HAWK WAR, or How To Demolish an Entire Civilization and Still Feel Good About Yourself in the Morning, or We Apologize for the Inconvenience but You're Going to Have to Leave Now, or, I have fought the Big Knives and will continue to fight them until they are off our lands!"

Or Track 6: "A Short Reprise for Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, but for Very Good Reasons".

Caution: Sufjan Stevens and his Asthmatic Kitty Records colleagues are making "secretly spiritual" music, so make sure you're on The Path first before listening to it, and know within your deepest self that you're at least taking a few baby steps toward turning into an Other Than.

Also check out the FREE music mp3 downloads at related site Sounds Familyre

And the very cool Secretly Canadian cartoon music video "Morning Wonder" by The Earlies

Now, back to my shameless self-promotion, with no monetary gain in mind.


Want a FREE copy of my new Steven Streight CompuMusik "Christian Noise Metaphysics" album recorded directly from WAV files onto a sleek gold Maxell Music Pro CD-R?

Email me your land address, and I'll see what I can do.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

P.S. As I don't operate a blog just to "accumulate comments", even so, I don't make electronic music just to "make money", which I think is a horrible reason for the making of any artistic entity.

Music designed to make money is typical RIAA product that sounds worse and worse with each successive CD by over-produced, super-hyped generic wankers and wannabes called "musicians", or "rock bands", or whatever.

Music designed to make money all sounds the same to me. You can actually hear the profit motive in every generic, imitative stroke of the strings and warble of the voice.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Blogs for damage control: strategy

Blog strategy for
damage control:


Blogocombat against negative
blog posters and commenters]

Dave Taylor, at his Intuitive Life Business Blog, asks for blogger opinions on how to use blogs to do damage control for a company.

A product is getting a lot of negative blogospheric commentary. The client wants to know how to do Damage Control. Apparently, the negative comments are half true, and half false.

Thus, the company is not entirely innocent, and this is a huge factor to deal with in the corporate response.

The client wonders if they should hire a real blogger to do the damage control. Start a blog that addresses the issues? Visit the blogs where the negative posts and comments are occuring, and enter the debate as an official representative? Or just let a regular PR company handle it all?

There are many complex issues to consider, but let me lay a groundwork, a foundation for an overall strategic orientation of blogocombat in this realm of Corporate Damage Control Blogging.

Know the Whole Truth: Tell As Much As Necessary

Be candid. The blogosphere is based on openness and straight talking.

Bloggers can smell a hidden agenda, an undisclosed unsavory fact, and a fearful self-defensive exasperation, so don't even think of trying to hide or be something you're not. Even though most companies aren't used to approaching the lowly consumer with an enforced honesty and mandatory sincerity, still, it must be done in this manner, or not at all.

How to say you did something dumb or wrong, without giving any room for implications that you are thoroughly dumb or wrong, that can be tricky. You need an expert writer, marketing strategist, and psychological detective as your Damage Control Blogger.

Politicians never admit they made any mistakes or have any regrets. This lowers their credibility, which is the opposite of what the politicians intended. They stupidly think that if they admit any weakness or error, the other party will pounce on it and blow it out of proportion. They fear that the public will get fixated on that weakness or error, and the other party will be able to base a whole campaign on opposing it.

This is paranoid, childish thinking. The truth cannot harm anyone, only lies and shadings end up causing real, irrecoverable damage.

Focus on Customer, NOT Corporate, Damage Control

But the first thing is this: make the client see that this public response must be all about Fixing Customer Damage, not protecting the company from bad publicity. The orientation has to be altruistic, customer-focused. That's the first thing to do.

Not "Damage Control", but "Customer Reconciliation". That's how it must be described and understood. Do whatever it takes to (1) tell the truth completely and simply, and (2) make the offended, disappointed customers happy and trusting again.

The client must *quickly* confess, admit they made a mistake. Then explain any exaggerations or errors in the opponent's accusations. Be honest and bold, but not arrogant or self-approving. The slightest stench of aloof grandiosity will anger the bloggers who expect truth, transparency, candor, sincerity.

Damage control ideally is done by the corporate person responsible. It's that simple.

And get the truth, then proceed from there, the full truth at its very ugliest. The bloggers will keep digging up details, so the Damage Control person has to know 10 times more than any dirt digger could ever come up with.

Even if you hire a PR agency or a blogger, you still have to get that Corporate Person who is Responsible, meaning who created the "problem", to explain his side of it to them, completely and very candidly.

Then, the Corporate Person, or the blogger, or the PR person must polish his verbal or written statements, guide him as you all, as a team craft the response. You may want to do a usability test or focus group study on it, prior to full launch into the blogosphere, whether it's a new Damage Control Blog, or a Damage Control Blogger who posts comments at those opposing blogs.

Realize This is Blogocombat

For damage control in the blogosphere, you MUST use a professional blogger: aggressive, intelligent, dipolmatic, known for confrontation, famous for winning blogocombat debates, and overwhelmingly charming, without being crafty in a negative, sleazy sense, but with street smarts.

This is the Job Description for a new kind of blogger, the highly specialized Damage Control Blogocombat Blogger.

This is what is needed. Some sharp-tongued, kind-hearted, fast-reacting blogger who can pulverize the opposing view, without offending good taste or corporate dignity. Some one the other blog readers will cheer as "funny, self-assured, and fair", someone people will like.

If it's a suit spouting corporate fluff apologies, or dubious pleas of innocence, it will turn off the blogosphere. The company spokesperson, the blogger, must be authentic and even somewhat critical of the company, stating his or her own negative opinion, to some degree, to establish a bond and a credibility with the opposing bloggers.

"Come on guys, you know XYZ Company has provided mostly great products for 35 years, and their service support isn't too shabby either. As far as customer-friendly, XYZ's not too bad, all in all. Now something slipped through the cracks, got past our inspectors, and we shipped some shoddy doohickeys. We're very embarrassed and hurt to think that some loyal customers will leave and never return. All for one dumb mistake. Sorry. To try to make up for it, we're racing to do whatever it takes to win you back and somehow compensate for the trouble we caused you...[etc.]"

Figure out what type, psychological style of blogs they are with the neg. commentary on the client. Then think of how best to talk to this crowd. Tough and brief? Or sweet and lengthy? Those are the two major divisions of styles.

Don't want to say a lot, but not too brief either.

But you or whoever writes the damage control posts *must* be able to talk on the wavelength of the typical anti-company commenter and the other readers and authors of these blogs. This is crucial. An aloof, arrogant discourse will be attacked as "more corporate fluff BS". A wimpy avoidance will be considered proof of organizational guilt and immorality.

A Damage Control Blogger who sounds like a press release, a corporate brochure, or a politician, will be rejected by the blogosphere, and the blogs opposing your client's company will do more that reject it. They'll use at as more fuel for the fire. Your whole Damage Control effort will backfire, and cause even more negative blogospheric commentary.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


"It's not your teenager's blogosphere anymore, and never was."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

NY Times blogging memo is right on

NY Times
blogging memo
is right on

If memory and archives serve me well, I think I've complained in the past about the New York Times policy or statements about blogs.

Not today. Today I have a smile on my face, though I haven't done all the fact checking that I need to pursue. Still, there's a good reason for my smile.

I can nitpick and find a few flaws, but in general, the new memo on blogging issued by the New York Times is very nice. They are starting to "get" blogging, which is more than I can say for the vast majority of MSM (morbid/main stream media).

[BTW, I think my "morbid stream media" meme is catching on. I won't take any credit really, but I have seen network TV news attempting to broadcast more "positive angle" stories lately, and the anchors are talking more about "our blog". Ha ha ha. Okay. That's good, I guess. We'll see.]

I got this juicy morsel from a MicroPersuasion email update that references Jonathan Dube, a very nice and smart guy, and his CyberJournalist dot Net site, which references the L.A. Observed site.

I quote from the text at CyberJournalist dot Net.


Here is the full New York Times memo on blogging (via L.A. Observed):

To: The Staff From: Jon Landman

December 7, 2005

We’re blogospheric.

Yesterday we launched a genuine, authentic, by-the-book New York Times blog. It’s Carpetbagger, by David Carr. It’s part of a new movie-awards-season web site called Red Carpet, which includes a bunch of things you won’t see in the newspaper, like weekly columns by Joyce Wadler and Caryn James. You’ll see a refer on today’s front page, which I boldly, if ignorantly, declare to be our first-ever page-1 refer to a web-only feature. At the very least, it’s our first-ever page 1 refer to a blog.

Within a few days, we’ll put up a real estate blog by Damon Darlin and others. More blogs are in the works. Even more are at the idea stage.

We’ve come late to blogging, obviously, though we’ve put toes in the water on a number of occasions, as when our movie critics sent running commentary from last year’s Cannes film festival.

But our new blogs are more than running commentary. Look at Carr’s. It’s full of links to film publications and blogs and web sites. It encourages responses from readers and hopes to start a lively conversation. Nothing is more important to the future of our web ambitions than to engage our sophisticated readers. Blogs are one way to do it.

It’s worth spending a little time thinking about blogs, and about ourselves. Blogs make some newspaper people nuts; they’re partisan, the thinking goes, and unfair and mean-spirited and sloppy about facts. Newspapers make some bloggers nuts; they think we’re dull and slow and pompous and jealous guardians of unearned “authority.”

It’s a pretty dopey argument. Indeed, some blogs are lousy. So are some newspapers. Some blogs reject journalism. Some practice it.

The point is, a blog is nothing more than a piece of technology. It allows people to compile thoughts, connect with others and interact quickly with readers. People can use it any way they want to. It has no inherent ethical or moral quality, though it does have its own special power.

We’ll use the technology our way. Our bloggers will have editors. They will observe our normal standards of fairness and care. They won’t float rumors or take journalistic shortcuts. Critics and opinion columnists can have opinion blogs; reporters can’t. (To quote Carr: “If the Carpetbagger delved into plot or relative quality – they didn’t turn me loose for my refined cinematic taste ­ flying monkeys would come out of the ceiling here at headquarters and behead him.”) We’ll encourage readers to post their thoughts, but we’ll screen them first to make sure the conversation is civil.

Some bloggers will accuse us of violating blogospheric standards of openness and spontaneity. That’s life in the big city.

We will use blogs to convey information, sometimes in conventional ways, sometimes not-so. Our notions of journalistic responsibility are perfectly compatible with spirited fun. Do we put David Carr online to be witless? Um, no. Actually, we think he’s pretty witty in the newspaper.

Blogging does impose obligations. Blogs have to be updated frequently. They have to be carefully tended. There are costs; David Carr and Damon Darlin will be spending time they could be using to write newspaper articles. Their bosses have decided that’s an advantageous tradeoff. I agree.

Thoughts? Bring 'em on.

December 07, 2005


I still have to check out the NY Times blogs, and I hope to have something good to say later about them.

What do you think about the memo and the blogs?

Post a comment and share your opinion with me. Thanks.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Sunday, December 04, 2005

What comment spam looks like

comment spam
looks like

I hate comment spam and those scumbags who post it to blogs. These spammer fiends are excess baggage we can do without. Be sure to delete every spam comment that appears on your blog.

Spam comments take many forms, have varied content, and often link to dangerous or dubious sites.

Never click on a link in a spam comment. You may get infected with spyware, and you will be boosting the search engine ranking or link popularity of the site, in some cases.

Comment spam is cyber-vandalism. It's the defacing of a blog by selfishly using your blog as a bulletin board to post their crap.

To avoid even the appearance of comment spam, I almost never post a comment with any kind of link in it. I especially never include a link to my blogs or to any of my blog posts.

Blog promotion specialists may tell you it's okay to mention a relevant post you wrote, and to include a post URL to it. I disagree.

Here's what I advise: post an intelligent, revelvant, unique comment, in which you mention, by title, the brilliant article you posted on your own blog. Let people click on the link embedded in your name, where the comment form asks for your homepage URL, to visit your blog. Then, once they're at your blog, they can find your essay.

Even innocent, benevolent comments can look like spam, when a link is included.

Now, let's look at a spam comment I received today. Since I have Blogger Comment Moderation and Word Verification, the spam problem has been greatly reduced, and is now completely ineffectual.

Comment Moderation delays the posting of all comments by my readers. It also means that all comments will be evaluated for spam characteristics, prior to appearing on my blogs. This protects my readers from malevolent web sites, and makes my blogs cleaner, more professional looking.

This comment quoted below was rejected as spam. Can you see why? Remember, not all comment spam looks like this. Sometimes it is just a linked phrase. But this one is fairly typical. Check it out...


from internet marketing manager

Hi there ,

You have a great looking blog with a lot of helpful information. I am book marking this page.

I was out searching for more info on advertising strategy ["advertising strategy" was a link to some dubious web site] when I found your page. Although Get Back to Cluetrain wasn’t exactly what I was interested in. I had to stop……..GREAT POST

I’m tryin’ to find more information on advertising strategy.

Have you ever thought of adding Instant Audio to your Website and emails?..... It will double your sales in the First 30 days.

Click on the link to see how this will change the power of your business.


Analysis of the
Spam Comment:

(1) "from internet marketing manager"

* this "internet marketing manager" is a bogus name that's not really a name at all, it's a title, and it means nothing, just done to make you think it's legit.

(2) "Hi there, you have a great looking blog, etc."

* my name, Steven, or nickname, Vaspers, is not used.

* this is a generic intro, can be pasted into millions of blogs to spam them.

* bogus flattery, again generic, is quick to follow.

(3) "I was searching for more information on advertising strategy"

* the words "advertising strategy" are a link to a dubious site.

* when the link is to a legitimate site, it is always commercial, trying to sell something, and this is a horrible way to try to promote anything.

(4) "Although Get Back to Cluetrain wasn't exactly what I was interested in."

* the spam program automatically fills in the title of my post, in this case it was "Get Back to Cluetrain"-- this is done to make the comment appear to be a legit human comment, but it's not.


* more stupid flattery to make you think the comment is legit and friendly, but it's not.

(6) "I’m tryin’ to find more information on advertising strategy."

* this is another lie, with the words "advertising strategy" a link again.

(7) "Have you ever thought of adding Instant Audio to your Website and emails?..... It will double your sales in the First 30 days.

Click on the link to see how this will change the power of your business."

* once again, the real purpose of this spam comment is *not* to contribute to the conversation I started about the Cluetrain Manifesto, but to drive traffic to some ignorant web site.

I talk a lot about Comment Spam. It's because such selfish acts are a blotch on any blog, and a major problem for the blogosphere.

I have actually quit visiting certain business blogs because the negligent or stupid business blogger would not prevent or delete comment spam on his blog. I got tired of seeing the crap, and I got tired of alerting the blogger to the spam.

Let's clean up the blogosphere by policing our own blogs for abusive, hate-mongering, sleazy, pornographic, off topic, and traffic boosting spam comments.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Blog Psychosis

Blog Psychosis

How do you know if you're at a crazy person's blog?

Or, how can blogging drive someone insane?

The atmosphere of narcissism that is embedded in the act of thinking, then typing, then posting a text to a blog is the same as in spoken conversation.

But the blogosphere records blog posts, so many people can read these inscribed thoughts and see these images, long after they were produced and published by the blogger.

Leaving a long chain of self-assertions, which we politely call blog posts, a trail, a stream of sporadic consciousness, in the blog realm is indeed different from spoken utterances. The distinct qualities of the blog enable certain sorrows to escalate into radical disturbances.

If, by looking back on your earliest posts, and following your mental coherence as manifested in subsequent posts, all the way up to the present, you feel you may be in trouble, don't worry very much. Although there is no cure for Blog Psychosis, at least you'll have plenty of company. Pass the creamer, please.

Some of these pronounced departures from mental health, induced by blogs and blogging, are described or manifested in so many other blogs, I will not trouble the reader with intricate analysis of them. Suffice it to say that Blog Psychosis occurs in five (5) major categories or states.

5 Major Areas of
Blog Psychosis:

(1) Blogistically Defined Ego: Spending too much time reading or writing blog posts, due to being obsessed with a blogistically determined self worth. The non-bloggy portion of the personality is being diminished by the erupting diarist identity.

(2) Discombobulated Blog Identity: Inability to be your bloggy self outside the blogosphere, resulting in a split personality, both of which are largely in the dark about the rapidly deteriorating dimensions of normalcy.

As blogger: you're funny and aggressive. Outside blogosphere: weak and inarticulate.

You're unable to resolve the conflicting selves, so you sell yourself short and engage in clinking or other social network delusions.

(3) Bloggy Ultra-sensitivity: Aberrant over-reaction to comments, lack of comments, TTLB ecosphere slidings, RSS subscriber mutiny, or shunning by other bloggers.

This is the pinnacle of over-blogging, the grand height of blog-induced pomposity, from the dizzying heights of which the blogger feels euphoric and elated, soon to succumb to the crash of ego-deflation in the real world.

(4) Blog-phantasmic Ordeal Syndrome (BOS): The emotive attachment the blogger feels toward their blog, and their blogger friends, is disfigured, due to exo-blogospheric turbulence, and takes on an insurmountable weight, because the blogger would rather deal with the endo-blog reality. You see this when all the blogger talks about is self, company, family, or ideology, all of which are falling apart due to negligence.

(5) Blogotonic Catastrophe: A more advanced stage of BOS, the blogosphere, and the blogger's imagined status or achievements within it, have now become the only thing that matters anymore, and it shows.

Health declines, clothes are soiled and tattered, and nobody comes over or calls anymore. When friends did visit, the blogger bantered vocally for a few minutes, but soon goes back to blogging, forgetting the presence of physical visitors in the room.

This can often be understood as an unrecoverable error, there being as yet no remedy for such an extreme disassociation from normalcy and consensus realism.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Monday, November 28, 2005

Blog vs. blogoid object

Blog vs. blogoid object

I mention the term "Pseudo Blogging" so often, I thought it might be nice to offer you a fresh definition, and a closer look at a couple of common decepto-blogs.

"Pseudo Blog" definition

The pseudo blog is not a real blog, it's a false thing in disguise. It shares some aspects of the true blog, while it deviates sharply from certain essential features.

You've seen them, haven't you? These fake blogs?

They call themselves "blogs", or someone on the internet refers to it as a "blog", but when you arrive, soon enough, you notice things aren't quite right.

Something odd is going on.

Cut & Paste Pseudo Blog

This pseudo blog simply takes content from other blogs and slaps it in as a post. There is generally no original writing, no commentary.

Even VTG material has been stolen and inserted into these slimey things.

Very carnivorous and anonymous, slippery, disconnected bloggery garbage floating on the edges of the blogosphere, barely in the realm.

Link Spam Pseudo Blog

You see very little, or no, content. Instead, lists of links, usually to gambling, pharmaceutical, or real estate loan "businesses".

This is the type of blog comment spam commonly links to. I am mostly going by what I've heard, for I will not foul my computer by visiting a comment spam link. You risk getting infected with spyware, print command loggers, Trojans, and other malware.

But I have visited some of these Link Spam Pseudo Blogs, when doing a Technorati search on my blog titles, and I thereby detected one of these blogs linking to my blog, or to a post at my blog.

Comment-disabled blogoid objects

You go to what you think is a blog.

You read an interesting post. It makes you think, laugh, or get angry, maybe all three. Now, you're fired up.

The post has triggered a strong reaction in you.

You have something clever and relevant to contribute in response, but... can't post a comment.

There are only "email this to a friend" or trackback functions, or no interactive functions at all. It's not a two-way communication vehicle.

You're face to face with either a valid "link log" (like Robot Wisdom), a blog that has no comments because it offers no commentary to the links it displays, it's a "pre-surfed web" blog, providing suggestions on interesting sites you could visit...

...or it's the dreaded, aberrant, unilateral "blogoid object".

I say it's not normal, because a blog's most distinguishing characteristic, besides being a revolutionary global self-publishing system based on universalized web content, is what it has in common with a slow chat room.

Blogs are conversation machines, not preaching pulpits. We already have enough one-way propaganda platforms for passive reception.

A blog post is meant to both inform/entertain and to provoke a reaction.

A blog post is responded to via a comment. Then another comment reacts to the post, the previous comment, or both. And on it goes. This is what makes a real blog.

A blog without comments is like a closed bulletin board that only administrators can post to. Visitors must shut up and listen, or not type and just read, then go away.

A non-comment enabled blog is like a Listen Phone, where the other side does all the talking, and you only have an earpiece to hear what is said, and cannot speak back. What good would that be?

A blog is an online conversation, where everyone's voice can be heard and valued to some extent.

Fictional Character Pseudo Blog

This is the type of fake blog that got the blogosphere all shook up several months ago.

A company needs a spokesperson. Some genius decides the CEO, Marketing VP, and Sales Manager are not suited or qualified to be that representative. So a "creative" person suggests they "invent" a personality to blog for the corporation.

Voila: instant recipe for sudden disaster. Customers don't like dealing with automated options on telephones, so what makes you think they want to interact with a blogger who's a Mysterious but Opinionated and Colorful Non-entity, or a Filibustering Donkey?

Mr./Ms. CEO, they mostly want to talk to you.

Not a cartoon or an imaginary person. Customers have real world problems to solve, and a Sagacious Talking Sandwich is not going to inspire any confidence in your company or products. Nor is it a wise customer loyalty-development strategy.

A character who does not exist, and who has adventures that never happened and illusory friends, how can this fantasy creature aptly present your corporate message and product line?

Ronald McDonald, Mickey Mouse, and a few other branded fictional characters could be successful as bloggers.

But to make up a character, with little relevance, or a contrived pertinence, and try to force it on the public, not good. They want to speak to a real live person, hopefully with authority to get something done, or tell someone who can.

There are also other types of Pseudo Blogs, which I've discussed in my archives, and I plan to discuss afresh in upcoming posts.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Sunday, November 27, 2005

Blogocombat: angry vs. passive

Blogocombat: angry vs. passive

I feel that my Vaspers Web Group, especially the blogs Vaspers the Grate and Blog Core Values, are a training system.

I'm attempting to train myself first, then others, in blog ethics and blogocombat. You really need both to be a New Super Blogger creating Blogosphere 4.0

What's worse?

Nice Wimpy Blogger: An ethical blogger who won't fight wrongs and malefactors, who trusts the delusion that everyone will like them if they try hard to please everyone?

Bloggy Hate Monger: An argumentative fight-picking blogger, with no moral goal, just showing off how clever or aggressive he can be?

I'll tell you what's worse, and all religions will probably back me up on this on. To your shock and dismay, the Nice Wimpy Blogger is by far, far and away, the worse. Give me the Bloggy Hate Monger any day.

This is not to say that I approve or incite random hate. Nor do I encourage bloggers to be bullies, sadists, or mind gamers.

I see the New Super Blogger-Blogosphere 4.0 realm to consist of soft-hearted, iron-fisted champions.

New Super Bloggers are highly intelligent, fearless activists for truth, justice, victory, free expression, democracy, universal compassion, and peaceful strength.

Sadly, it's easier to convert a Bloggy Hate Monger to ethical principles, than it is to get a passive, shy, timid Nice Wimpy Blogger to get some guts, some ambition, some furious fire about an injustice, scam, or act of brutality.

"Yeah, that sucks" is about all you get from the Nice Wimpy Blogger.

Then they go back to the comfort and pleasure of thinking about their own lives, what they possess, what they hope to have. I'm here to tell them what they'll never have: guts.

New Super Bloggers
of Blogosphere 4.0

I want all bloggers to be nice, but powerful.

Be charming, but stubborn.

Be sweet, but take a public stand.

Be smart and sophisticated, but mingle with the dumb and crafty.

Be kind, but hit hard and fast, when necessary.

Be open-minded and fair, but be a perpetually recurring nightmare to the enemy.

I'm not saying "stop being nice", although too much niceness can be a curse, especially in situtions that call for resolute conflict, confrontation, and combat. There's a time to smile and a time to scowl. A time to be gentlemanly and a time to punch a guy in the nose as hard and fast as you can. (Ecclesiastes paraphrase.)

If you're a Bloggy Hate Monger, sooner or later it will seem like the entire world is against you, you'll be so full of bitterness and hostility, you'll run out of targets and point it at yourself and the universe itself.

At this point, you'll seek spiritual substance to anchor the self. Then you'll be ready for the 9 core values of blogging, ready to join the war against the source of evil and stupidity itself.

I'll show you how, if you'd like.

You don't have to please me. You can be as passive and indecisive as you wish.

But what are you then accomplishing with your brief and sorrowful life? Self aggrandizement? But the unenlightened self is transitory, and has no intrinsic essence, longevity, or value.

Think of your fellow bloggers
who suffer for being bloggers...!

We need to stand for something more than paltry self-expression for self-centered auto-euphoria and vainglorious narcissism. So many bloggers fall in love with their own reflection as manifested in their self-expressive blogs.

But blogocombat heroes are hearing the trumpet call, and are serving the blogosphere with their fortunes, reputations, and even their lives. Some bloggers are inventing secret code language to bypass religio-fascist or secular-state totalitarian government censors. Some bloggers are being killed or imprisoned just for being a blogger.

Watch how the bloggers are swarming corrupt, selfish corporate behaviors. We, along with certain sectors of the MSM, and other activist segments of society, are even causing changes to occur. Product re-calls. Revision to corporate policies. Greater sensitivity to the Voice of the Customer and Individual.

Us nobodies, we're publishing blogs now. Now we will tell you how things are going to be from now on.

We blogocombat troops are making a big stink about anything we dislike, anything we feel is against the people, anything that is stupid, selfish, or bordering on criminal.

For example, the unseemly Sony rootkit DRM in recent music CDs.

Let this be a lesson in "Don't F*ck With Us, Mr. Corporation --yours truly, The Blogosphere 4.0"

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Vienna Conclusions

From Heise, Germany.

Microsoft, the "Vienna Conclusions," and the UN World Summit


The Vienna Conclusions drawn up for the UN's World Summit on the Information Society WSIS) were presented in an edited version in Tunis.

Digital Rights Management was inserted where "free software" used to be. It turned out that these changes were made at the request of Thomas Lutz, a member of the management board at Microsoft Austria, and ÖVP representative Carina Felzmann, who also heads a PR and lobbying firm.

The Chancellor of Austria published the text presented in Tunis. His office has yet to react to a query in this matter that heise online placed last Sunday.

Under the title ICT + Creativity, Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP) sent out invitations last June to a top-notch international conference for the WSIS. Microsoft was one of its sponsors.

In various panels on various topics, experts held discussions, with the results being protocolled in texts mutually approved.

These texts were collectively published as the Vienna Conclusions.

One of the panels was called Digital Rights / Creative Commons. Nii Narku Quaynor, then-CEO of Network Computer Systems Limited of Ghana and a former African representative at ICANN, chaired the panel.

Ralf Bendrath, political scientist at the University of Bremen and a monitor of the WSIS process for the Heinrich Böll Foundation, reported on the panel. Other participants included Georg C.F. Greve of the Free Software Foundation of Europe (FSFE), Richard Owens of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Georg Pleger of Creative Commons Austria, and Peter Rantasa of Music Information Center Austria (mica).

Bendrath and Greve were shocked when they saw the brochures distributed in Tunis (PDF file) (allegedly) containing the Vienna Conclusions.

Instead of the original text from "their" panel, they read a version that differed in several substantial respects.

To begin with, there was no talk anywhere of the "success of free software." In addition, the meaning of the section that discussed the revenue shift from content and digital works to services based on them had also been changed.

The statement that software should be seen as the cultural technology of digital society was watered down to "the practical and simple use of software."

Likewise, the following two passages popped up out of nowhere: "Commercial products bring innovation to the mass of consumers all over the world"; and "To ensure ongoing innovation, Digital Rights Management (DRM) development and deployment must remain voluntary and market-driven."

At first glance, this might sound consumer-friendly, but actually it is a jab against the EU's attempts to regulate DRM.

"DRM has nothing to do with innovation. The Sony rootkit also shows that there is nothing voluntary about DRM," argues Greve. "In Tunis, we tried to talk with the Austrians (about the editing of the text). But they were too busy celebrating the 'World Summit Award' and its funding with the sponsors."

When the television show ORF futureZone reported, "media professor" Dr. Peter Aurelius Bruck, "Editor-in-Chief" of the brochure that the Austrian Chancellor's Office published, started taking part in the online forum. While Bruck did not deny that changes were made, he did accuse the journalists at ORF of "misleading the public." After the conference he directed, he launched a public blog so that all of the texts could be discussed further. But Greve and Bendrath claimed that no one who took part in the panel was informed of this blog. Indeed, the blog does contain three postings on the content of the DNA Conclusions, two of which concern the Digital Rights / Creative Commons panel.

On September 27, three days before the blog was closed as announced, the entry "Comments from Microsoft Corporation" appeared, signed by "Thomas Lutz, Manager Public Affairs Mitglied der Geschäftsleitung Microsoft Österreich GmbH". He proposed that all of the passages that spoke of the success of free software or the revenue shift from content and digital works toward services be deleted altogether. Microsoft felt that they should not be kept because the goal of free software is to make it impossible for anyone to earn money from software. "This is so obviously stupid and nonsensical that it seems pointless to comment on it", Greve comments in his own blog: "Just another monopolist trying to uphold their monopoly by preventing freedom of markets – which is what Free Software really aims at."

The changes that Microsoft proposed were taken out without the members of the panel even being consulted. Further down, Microsoft successfully has the sentence concerning "innovation through commercial products" added to the text.


(Daniel AJ Sokolov) (Craig Morris)


What did the Vienna Conclusion state?

Here you go:

From Fellowship of FSFE blog


...The conference used lots of formulas like "ICT+Creativity=Content", which also implied that "Content-ICT=Creativity". In this light, I guess what we've seen here is the good old formula


And this is definitely not something that can be blamed on the Tunisian government, which has received a lot of heat during this summit. It goes to show things are never black and white here.

So this is the entire text of the workshop. Not the best text I've ever participated in, but -- especially considering all players involved -- also not the worst. You're invited to pick up the printed version and compare:

Text of Workshop 2 for Vienna Conclusions

Digital Rights and Creative Commons

Human creativity in its expression, results and distribution thereof is currently undergoing a massive transformation.

This fundamentally affects the rights of all of humankind. The rights of artists, musicians, scientists, writers, designers, programmers and other creative people must be preserved and strengthened to express themselves freely in their work, to develop and communicate through all media, and to determine how their works are used, including whether they are used for commercial or non-commercial purposes.

Because we all can be producers and distributors of content now, everybody should also have a right to get education that builds capacity and enables these cultural expressions. The public - as users, consumers, and citizens - has a right to access and use information and knowledge. This includes fair access to culture, but also a protection of fundamental human rights and civil liberties like privacy, freedom of expression, freedom of information, and the rule of law.

The new possibilities of content production and distribution also impact incentive structures and underlying economic models.

The worldwide copyright system is currently undergoing a transformation giving more choices to creators and users. Increasingly, revenue is generated not by selling content and digital works, as they can be freely distributed at almost no cost, but by offering services on top of them.

The success of the Free Software model is one example, licenses like "Creative Commons" that only reserve some rights and permit wide use and distribution is another. Distributed collaborative production models like Wikipedia also show that there are other incentives than money to create quality content.

In the digital age , the business models of copyright intermediaries will only be viable if they offer quality services on top of the content.

The challenge ahead is to develop an economy of sharing, collaboration and service that will, at least in the near term, coexist with the traditional economy of scarcity, control and technological restrictions.

Our knowledge and culture is the reservoir from which new content is created and in which creativity finds its fertile ground. It must therefore remain accessible to the public under reasonable and fair conditions. Copyrights and patents were developed in part to create incentives for production of quality content, and their role should be reexamined in order to meet this goal in the future while safeguarding the public interest in access to information and culture.

Software must be understood as the cultural technique of a digital society. With ICTs permeating all aspects of everyday life, software acts as social regulator. Similar to law, it controls essential parts of human interaction and creativity. Unlike law, it knows no exceptions and is ultimately binding.

It is therefore seminal for society to shape, make transparent and control the codified rules that in turn shape society. This is where freedom as a fundamental human right and prerequisite of democracy meets collaborative creative approaches.

Political freedom in the digital age depends upon technological freedom, which ensures access to the cultural heritage of humankind for present and future generations.


One of the spooky parts of the Vienna Conclusions, as I first read it, must surely be this:

"...the traditional economy of scarcity, control and technological restrictions."

What this means is that certain forces will perhaps try to keep information "scarce", they want to "control" it, and they want it to be difficult to share, due to unnecessary "technological restrictions", e.g., something like this: only a certified webmaster should be allowed to operate a web site, blog, or wiki.

I see a subtle attack on the wilderness of the web, the bellicose anarchy of the blogosphere, the unpredicable, unlicensed, uncensored exchange of ideas worldwide. There seems to be a desire to create a priesthood of caretakers, which is code for thought policing.

The UN seeks to control the internet, web, and blogosphere.

This cannot be allowed to occur.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

MSM and Blogosphere merging?

MSM and Blogosphere merging?

We are seeing the MSM attempt, sometimes indirectly via stupid bloggers, to invade and regress the blogosphere.

MSM wants to regress, make go backward, the blogosphere. If they can't kill it, they wish to warp it into their narcissus mirror.

MSM wishes to gaze into the political/journalist sector of the blogosphere, and see their own encouraging, substantiating smile returned in the image. And it's the image that sucks.

The image the MSM was created in was originally that of the people. What the people wanted, or needed to know. The image eventually devolved into the media being simply a sickly puppet of whoever paid to control the strings--religion, government, big business, or worse.

The media are the strings. The money and power manipulate the strings, as the mainstream audience, even the educated members, gaze in translucent hypnotic indeterminacy: meaning, easy to convert to any idea.

Having a tranced-out passive audience, a target audience that was everybody with a telefusion set (tele = at a distance, fusion = mental merger with the spot of light on a screen that expands into a full blown optical seduction with stories).

Telefusion was the ultimate MSM machine. Sleepy frowning robots, loaded with worries and coveting, ripe for tricked expenditures, inhabited the land now, swarming into mass windows of opportunity. It looks at you, via market research, as you watch it.

Then the blog came along.

Everybody, as though on cue, woke up from the MSM induced nightmare of eyes-wide-shut obedience.

Bloggers rose up against all wings of politicians, MSM flunkies and jerks, and other bloggers. Blogocombat was born on the bloody fields where Dan Rather and Trent Lott collapsed. Blogocombat has war-lust gleaming all over it, war against the strongholds of deception.

Will the blogosphere remain aggressive and free?

Will it continue to be the unvarnished, rough edged voice of the individual?

What changes are occurring in the blogosphere, that the blogospheric defense forces are not picking up on their radars?

What blogo-doppler can predict the next wave of genius or misanthropy to attempt to invade the blogosphere?

Now you can decide this one for yourself.

From Ad Pulp blog

"Craig to Branch Out Beyond Classifieds"
by David Burn
November 23, 2005


Guardian Unlimited: Craig Newmark has already revolutionised classified advertising in the US with his hugely successful website, Now he is planning to shake up journalism, which he says has "lost the trust" of the public.

The founder of the free classifieds site - the seventh most popular website in the US in terms of page views - is to launch a major online journalism project within three months that will copy his "wisdom of the masses" approach to advertising and apply it to journalism.

"Things do need to change," Mr Newmark said. "The big issue in the US is that newspapers are afraid to talk truth to power. The White House press corps don't speak the truth to power - they are frightened to lose access they don't have anyway."

Craigslist, which began in 1994 in the San Francisco Bay area as an information service, decides its business strategy almost entirely by following up on the complaints and suggestions of its users.

Posted by david burn


If Craig wants to bury the already dead MSM, he should think of all the things wrong with it, not just the part that's easy for him to transfer from Craigslist.

The negative slant prompts me to refer to it as the Morbid Stream Media. Always the negative, bitter, cynical, rain on your parade gloom from these freaks who pretend to be objective.

"Dan Rather really WANTED to believe the story was true": an MSM freak defending the poor research and overt bias of an objective news organization. As if this really WANTING constitutes a reasonable and fair motivation for Rather to stubbornly, unrepentently cling to his delusions and political mania.

Please don't import, Craig, the slime of the MSM along with the suspicious goal.

C-Span is the future. CNN is the past.

Posted by:steven streight aka vaspers the grate on November 23, 2005 12:53 PM


[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Blogomedia vs Blogosphere 4.0

Blogosphere 4.0

[NOTE: This is an exact replica of a post I published at Vaspers the Grate.]

One of the major blogocombat and blogoconstructivist projects I've been working on since early 2004, now going into 2006 with even more aggression, is Blogosphere 4.0

Blogosphere 4.0 is the forced evolution of the Blog Revolution from the Information Reformation that was Blogosphere 3.0 and into the multi-media, omni-functional mega blogs of Blogosphere 4.0.

Blogosphere 1.0 was Tim Berners-Lee and others who began "What's New" pages on the early internet and then the web. It consisted mainly of simple lists of other network locations and a brief commentary on what you'd find there. Thus, the first blogoid objects, the tech/dev update pages, were Link Logs. Not "diaries" of personal trivia drivel without focus or purpose.

Blogosphere 2.0 was when it became a geek trend to put up a variety of personalized pages, still generally oriented to the subculture of networked geeks, but adding ideological asides. This is where the "smart mouthed, sharp tongued blogger" arose in all its radiant energy and finesse. Blogocombat was born in corporate blogs, that were called "online gaming forums" at the time. Business blogs, or more accurately, product loyalty mosh pits, were filled with one geek hating another geek's favorite OS, computer brand, or industrial noise band.

Blogosphere 3.0 was born with Blogger, LiveJournal, Xanga, Metafilter, Technorati, and other factors that made it possible for non-geeks to have a personal page, or more precisely a constantly expanding book of pages called a "blog". Now anyone could, did, and does have a blog. That's both good and bad. Good because each new voice added to the blogosphere is another blow against the empire of MSM information hegemony. Bad because every crap blog does its part to lower the overall credibility, usability, and information value of the blogosphere.

Blogosphere 4.0 is now forming, based on the 9 core values of blogging, the fast pace of new blogging tools and communities, and a declared and definitive Total War Against Information Hegemony by religions, governments, corporations, and MSM mainstream media. The New Super Bloggers are being trained and unleashed, with Vaspers the Grate Web Group (VTG blog, Blog Core Values, Sleialgnion, Art Test Explosion, etc.) helping the transformative process.

Nothing is inevitable except uninevitability itself. Please keep that in mind as we now ponder...

Blogosphere 4.0

This article represents a brief and necessarily tedious introduction to the vast subject of What the Blogosphere Is...and Shall Maybe Become.

The following quoted text is from Open Source Media/Pajamas Media's "About [OSM/Pajamas Media]" page, a "letter" entitled "From the founders", an explanation of what I call "blogomedia".

[QUOTE--with STREIGHT running commentary embedded.]

From the founders

"Free speech, not free beer!"

[STREIGHT: ...but free beer isn't such a bad idea, either. Free beer just might make everybody's speech a tad more free, free and easy, free and even savage.]

In 1985, that's how the Free Software Foundation first described an idealized world wherein innovative ideas would flow freely though the collaborative environment of the internet. In casting about for a term that would denote freedom, not freebies, those who followed FSF coined the term "Open Source," intending it merely as a reference to the "source" code in which they programmed. It turned out to be much more than that.

The open source ethos helped drive the great boom in information technology that made the internet ubiquitous in the 90s and led to the creation of over 20 million personal weblogs--or blogs--in the first half of the oughts. But the term "Open Source" had a ring to it, as did the idea behind it, and the notion quickly spread, leaping to other fields. Linus Torvalds, the father of the open source operating system Linux, once said, "The future is open source everything."

[STREIGHT: What about Blogger, LiveJournal, Xanga, WordPress, Typepad, etc.?

How about the reduced home computer prices, low-cost dial up connections, expanding broadband availability, net music labels, iPods and podcasting, emachines, HP printers, Best Buy, designing with web standards, Google search, RSS/Atom feeds, Firefox browser, Windows OS?

All these, and many more factors, contributed greatly to the popularity of blogs and the historically significant speed of the blogging trend. Odd that "open source" is given all the honors of begetting Blogosphere 3.0 and its organizing philosophy.]

At OSMTM (Open Source Media), we believe that to be true—that freedom, openness and transparency in media is an inevitable

[STREIGHT: Whoa, hold on right now, what "freedom"? what "transparency"? what "inevitability"?

Some bloggers are free, others write in subversive code talk. Some blogs are transparently sincere, with upfront owner identification, staff bios, working links to reliable sites, easily found contact information, topic consistency, and trustworthy endorsements/testimonials/word of blog mouth. Nothing, like I said, in the blogosphere is or will ever be "inevitable". The inevitable crumbles before the onslaught of the fiercely advanced possible.

Sure sign of sloppy thinking, this "it was inevitable" business: a hind-sighted, after-the-fact phrase.

It was not looking "inevitable" while the idealistic innovators and implementaton pioneers were wrangling with it. It didn't seem "inevitable" to investors, nor was the general public much impressed.]

result of the technological advances

[STREIGHT: It's not just "technological advances" that create democracy, free expression, independent, non-conformist thought. There has to be an underlying philosophy.

Look at Red China, North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia for technology without correct philosophy. A certain morality, a foundation for freedom and human rights, must prevail, and not just raw "technological advances".]

that have given every citizen the chance to breathe deeply of the news, thought and opinion that hovers in the ether between us.

[STREIGHT: Is that what you call what "hovers in the ether between us"?

I think we must examine and explain what this "news, thought, and opinion" really are, and why "facts, faith, statistics, research data, photos, digital art, cartoons, audio theatre, scientific webcasts, project collaborations, PDF files, music, video, podcasts, comedy", etc., are excluded from this vision of the mythical, illusory Blogomedia.]

Readers unfamiliar with blogs are sometimes puzzled by the concept, thinking that they are mere online "diaries," where egoists and sentimentalists

[STREIGHT: omission--"and political pundits, usability specialists, college students, interns, web designers, bored lovelorn teenage mall rats, scientists, economists, anthropologists, mommies, police chiefs, and others..."]

record their thoughts and feelings

[STREIGHT: how are feelings expressed but via thoughts via text via typing? Also they record or display facts, stats, figures, critical analysis, photos, digital art, computer games, podcasts, interactive devices, mp3s, etc.].

But the phenomenon of blogging is much more than that; it's the modern equivalent of the Gutenberg revolution, a way of putting not just published material in the hands of the public—but publishing itself.

Where journalists once gave us "experts say," blogs give us the experts themselves.

[STREIGHT: "experts"? maybe--plus a buttload of nincompoops, ninnies, and no-skill numbskulls.

To err in delusions of grandeur makes the blogosphere open to legitimate sarcasm and disparaging remarks. A sober assessment of the blogosphere's advantages and problems is mandatory.]

And where faceless, "objective" editorial boards once handed down opinions and endorsements, bloggers sound off, the numbers on their public sitemeters lending them unassailable credibility as voices for the rest of us.

[STREIGHT: This "numbers on sitemeters" and "unassailable credibility" are false assertions, exposing an extremist view, a fantasy blogo-utopia that cannot and will not exist, where every blogger is nice, trustworthy, ethical, sincere, charming, intelligent, and soothing. And tells you what you already understand or believe. Yawn. zzzzzzzz...

The number of hits a web site or weblog gets is no indication of value, authenticity, or trust. Many hits could have been curious web surfers attracted by hype and alienated by content, never to return. This is like judging the literary, intellectual, or moral superiority of published books by number of copies sold. Or the musicianship of a band by total CD sales.

Popularity can be based on other considerations than "credibility" or "integrity". Often, a comical writing style or prior celeb status helps a blog gain readership. Some blogs are like vanilla trainwrecks: bland performances of lonely isolates that captivate and addict with nudity, odd anecdotes, or nasty language and rantings of clinical madness.

"Numbers on sitemeters" is an attempt to convert the New Non-media of Blogs into the Old Mass Broadcast Media parameters and terminology, called "message receptors" or "market reach" by advertising, "target audience" or "pairs of eyeballs" by marketing buffs, and "butts in seats" by Hollywood.]

OSM's mission is to expand the influence of weblogs by finding and promoting the best of them, providing bloggers with a forum to meet and share resources, and the chance to join a for-profit network that will give them additional leverage to pursue knowledge wherever they may find it.

[STREIGHT: Er, don't I already enjoy such liberties and powers now, without you? And that "pursue knowledge wherever they may find it", not the most exciting user-benefit promise I've ever seen, means "pursue the knowledge we say is knowledge, which you'll find right here on our website.", does it not?]

From academics, professionals and decorated experts,

[STREIGHT: Experts are now "decorated"? all lit up like a Christmas tree? I'm an expert on blogology, so who will decorate me? Make it gothic country bubblegum style, please. Not Pink Freud.]

to ordinary citizens sitting around the house opining in their pajamas, our community of bloggers are among the most widely read and influential citizen journalists out there, and our roster will be expanding daily.

[STREIGHT: This "roster...{that is} expanding daily", what does that remind you of? The blogosphere itself perhaps?

If your blog is sucking the "best bloggers" into it, isn't this an abnormal Sub-blogosphere?

If your roster expands daily, I know for sure I won't have the time or energy to read it daily. Too many bloggers in one measly blog.]

We also plan to provide a bridge between old media and new, bringing bloggers and mainstream journalists—more and more of whom have started to blog—together in a debate-friendly forum.

[STREIGHT: A "debate-friendly forum"?

Is this a forum that's "friendly" toward debates as a concept?

Or is it a wimpy "debate forum" that is "friendly", well-behaved, sedate, boring, monotonous, limp, tiresome, snobbishly dull? The emaciated, castrated "Bloogosphere" or "Blogomedia" where everybody gets along without any harsh words or disruptive ideas. Bah!]

In the 1960's, the medium may have been the message, but in the new century, it's time for the medium to get out of the way.

Call it the blogosphere, call it citizen journalism, or call it (we hope) Open Source Media—but the next phase in the democratization of ideas has begun. Stick around, read some blogs, and come back often. Our door will be open.

[STREIGHT: How is this contrivance any different from a typical "portal page" that MSN, Google, Yahoo, etc. try to attract us to? "Start at this blog--and may your further adventures and explorations, with us as your perpetual starting point, be merry and fruitful." Y'all come back now, y'hear? Hillbilly aesthetics.

The "next phase" is not this Blogomedia utopia of sleazy MSM journalists shaking hands with stoner pizza mongering blawggers. The "next phase" will be what I declare it to be: Blogosphere 4.0 with the taste of vengeance in its sharp-tongued mouth, a massive, all-out assault on the MSM and religio-politico-corpo information hegemony.]

Charles Johnson

Roger L. Simon


Thanks to Paul Woodhouse of the Tinbasher blog for notifying me about this scandal. Who shot whose dog with a rifle?

I am the Sign pointing to the Light.

Vaspersians arise and take over the Blogosphere 3.0

(using posts, comments, emails, trackbacks, web forums, RSS feeds)

thereby transforming into the Blogosphere 4.0

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Buddha fire sermon and blogging

Buddha fire sermon
and blogging

This teaching by Sakymuni Siddhartha Gotama, the "buddha" (awake one), pretty much explains everything. It was presented shortly after his enlightenment.

I will relate this "fire sermon" to blogging.

(Buddha image from Buddha Net web site)

Fire was a false, deceptive idol that the ignorant Brahmins considered to be "male", the god "agni". Buddha wisely observed that fire worship contains cruelty, violence, patriarchal repression, and other obnoxious elements.

For more background on this, see the information at the University of Miami on The Fire Sermon.

[QUOTE--part of the Fire Sermon of Buddha]

And there The Blessed One addressed the priests:—

"All things, O priests, are on fire. And what, O priests, are all these things which are on fire?

"The eye, O priests, is on fire; forms are on fire; eye-consciousness is on fire; impressions received by the eye are on fire; and whatever sensation, pleasant, unpleasant, or indifferent, originates in dependence on impressions received by the eye, that also is on fire.

"And with what are these on fire?

"With the fire of passion, say I, with the fire of hatred, with the fire of infatuation; with birth, old age, death, sorrow, lamentation, misery, grief, and despair are they on fire.


Buddha goes on to explain how all the senses, sense impressions, and ideas created by dependence or attachment to these impressions, are all "on fire".

As Ecclesiastes states: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, the ear is not satisfied with hearing.


* A music lover never has enough CDs (I can vouche for that!).

* A sex addict never has enough sexual adventures.

* An alcoholic will probably drink himself to death.

* A glutton gets fat and may die of obesity-related sickness.

* A politician never has enough people kissing his skanky ass.

This is the law of craving, which leads to sorrow whether the craving is fulfilled or denied. Both satisfaction and deprivation of inordinate pleasures result eventually in suffering.

Capitalism, unfortunately, is largely based on craving, keeping up with the neighbors, possessing more and more materialistic crap. What you have is more important than what you are morally, intellectually, altruistically.

What is craving vs. right desire? Craving is seeking and demanding what you don't really need to survive, function professionally, or be your best in this world.

For example, a salesman may need more suits than a carpenter. So for the salesman to desire a new suit may not be a wrong wish. But to want an extremely expensive suit just to show off how much money you have is terribly wrong-headed and ridiculous. I especially hate to see these asshole televangelists strut around with shiny expensive suits and big gaudy gold jewelry. Those televangelists are a million miles away from Jesus and the gospel, no matter how "good" they "preach".

When your craving is satisfied, the satisfaction reinforces the wish for more, and more, and more.

Whey your craving is not fulfilled, the deprivation causes the craving to rebel against the impediments, making you miserable.

You become unhappy because you can't have what you lust for, whether it's power, music, food, drugs, sex, prestige, trinkets, etc.

An item that makes a person happy or "high" soons causes the person to want, then strive for, then demand, then perhaps even seize by any means.

As a blogger, we should not "crave" comments, A-listing, popularity, or fame.

What bloggers ought to do, in my view, is to Keep Perfecting your blog, your posts, your responses to comments, and your comments that you post at other blogs.

Keep Perfecting. Forget Craving. Keep Perfecting.

If you must crave, crave Perfection, more complete wisdom, based on your desire to be always bringing wonderful benefits to your blog readers.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Monday, November 14, 2005

Blog Topic Selection System

Blog topic tips

Have you ever wondered what to blog about?

Ever felt frustrated, having nothing to say?

Have you perhaps even felt close to just giving up, and not blogging anymore?

Please wait. Don't give up. Maybe I can help you figure out what to say. I may be able to give you a Blog Topic Selection System you can keep in the back of your mind.

Here it is.

I think all these pointers apply to all types of blogs: personal, business, political, technical, journalist, artistic, religious, etc.

a Vaspers The Grate

Blog Topic Selection System

(1.) Other Blogs.

Visit another blog you admire, in the same topic field as yours. Read a few recent or archived posts, then react to something they said.

Or visit some other blog that's in a very different field, read some posts, and try to think of how some information in it could be of benefit to your readers. Quote some of the information, with proper credits (notice how I do it in my blogs: author name, blog title, date, typed URL and hyperlink the title of the article so readers can quickly go to it, [QUOTE] and [END QUOTE] markers indicating what is being quoted.).

WARNING: Some blogs or web sites will not allow you to quote anything at all (usually uptight MSM news sites), or severely limit quotes to a few sentences (Joel Spolsky's Joel on Software blog, for example).

(2.) Reader Needs & Interests.

Think about what you know about your readers. Think of comments they post on your blog. Do your comment posters ask for clarification on anything? Do they like music? Do they like art? What type of readers are you hoping to reach? Write something that will draw such readers to your blog when those people do a Google search on a related key word or phrase.

What expertise or experience do you have that might benefit your readers? Write about that. Or go get some new information online or in a library, and after you've done enough research, write about that.

Nearly everybody needs to know more about HTML, safe web surfing, computer security, network security, prevention of Identity Theft, keeping young people from online predators, web design, RSS, tags, digital art, digital cameras, blog template tweaking, how to add images to your blog sidebar, and so forth.

(3.) Blog Visitor Stats.

View the web statistics on your blog, through whatever site stats service you use. Do you have a lot of readers in Africa or Belgium? Maybe you could write something about something related to their culture, their food, their traditional music styles, whatever.

(4.) Raging Blogosphere Controversies.

If you're reading this sentence on this blog right now, you're already in the center of the maelstrom of blog debates. I try to stay current with the blogospheric controversies, such as character blogs, comments enabling, blogs vs. MSM, and such. Other blogs also deal with such things.

Another way to stay up to date with blogo-combat is to Google various words or phrases related to various topics of debate.

(5.) Serious Issues of the World.

You could write something about disaster relief, Islamo-fascists vs. good Muslims, world hunger, pacifism vs. war-mongering, etc.

I personally avoid most of these issues, because I'm basically non-political. But I did post a lot about the Iraq elections, and some about the UN wanting to control the internet, the McCain-Feingold insanity about blogs being political financial-equivalent contributions, and debt relief for Africa.

(6.) Poetry, Literature, Art, Music.

Variety is great in any blog. So try not to post the same old stuff all the time. I tend to like to express my rage at mediocrity, stupidity, and the mainstream media. Thus, I have to deliberately think of less angry things to post. One guaranteed way to add variety and light to your blog is to pick up a book of poetry or classic literature, read something, then quote it with proper credits, and make some observations about it.

Or write about some artist, artwork, musician, or music that you like, or have recently discovered. Most people have some interest in artistic and philosophic items, as long as you keep it simple, interesting, and relevant to other aspects of life. I write about net music labels, deconstruction, and literary figures like Proust and Rimbaud now and then.

(7.) Television, Films, Radio, Podcasts.

You could write about something you saw, read, or heard on other media.

For example, I saw on tv a 60 Minutes report about 13 guys, paramedics from New York City, who were the only medical help in the Kashmir region of Pakistan, Taliban/Al Queda country, where the earthquake hit. These brave NYC paramedics were there just to help the injured and sick, but as a consequence of their benevolence, the Pakistani people were seeing America in a new and loving light.

The paramedics were winning hearts and minds, and stemming the tide of terrorism, without that being their main intention. This would be a perfect example of something to write about.

(8.) Personal Experiences Relevant to Others.

Finally, let me suggest you think of a conversation, episode, past job, family situation, or anything that happened to you. What did you learn from the event? What do you regret? What are you proud of? Could relating this event make others laugh? Make them smarter?

We all have interesting personal anecdotes, funny stories, weird events, that others could benefit from knowing about. You could write about them once in a while, letting your unique personality shine through.

How about the time I found a rat swimming in a toilet I was getting ready to sit on, at ACT Bending & Steel, a factory I worked at, located by the Illinois River. Have I ever told you how my foreman came in, hobbling because his girlfriend had shot him in the leg with a pistol, and how he smashed the toilet and rat with a huge iron crowbar? Now you know.

Too much of this can backfire. So be careful not to blabber on and on about personal trivia that others may consider too self-centered and not relevant to their own lives. Too much drivel about your baby, your web design genius, your hatred for the MSM, George Bush, or Hillary Clinton, too much private ax grinding of any type can repulse people. I have to be careful of this myself, so I'm preaching to me as well as to you.

There you go.

Have I forgotten something?

Do you have some other method for coming up with blog posts?

Email me, or post a comment. Thanks.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Individualism and Art: Alison Lapper pregnant

Individualism and Art:
Alison Lapper pregnant

This is a sculpture by Marc Quinn being exhibited in Trafalgar Square.

It's a great example of controversial art and defiant individualism, doing what seems right to you, no matter what anybody else thinks about it.

I can't wait for Carrie Snell, of the infamous A Grain of Salt blog, to see this.

Carrie is pregnant now and I post this to cheer her up about how she looks with a baby in her belly.

This is a "differently formed" woman who is proud of her body, even though it looks a lot different from most other human women.

I got this via the blog Learning Aesthetics

in the post "knowledge"

The blog author is feeling sad, thinking of quiting the blog scene. Please don't quit. We need you. I am very impressed with this discovery on your blog.

The original article is at The Guardian.

[QUOTE--from The Guardian article]

Lapper, 40, an artist and photographer, said:

"I am very hopeful that this sculpture will make a difference.

If you look at it, it is very beautiful as a piece of art.

Disabled people are not vulgar, or ugly, or grotesque, and hopefully people will recognise that."

She recalled the exhausting day four years ago when Quinn, best-known for his self-portrait made from 9 pints of his own frozen blood, cast her naked, pregnant body in plaster. "Who would have imagined that five years on it would be in Trafalgar Square?"


Be yourself--don't submit to any religion, tradition, politics, or peer pressure that doesn't seem right.

Think your own thoughts. Blog your own blog, and be confident that, even if you don't get a zillion comments, someone is blessed and benefiting from your individual voice.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Saturday, November 12, 2005

Fight for goodness, blogger

Fight for goodness, blogger

I personally feel that each and every blogger has a duty.

Your duty is to fight.

You ought to consider engaging in some blogocombat now and then. Isn't there something you really hate? Something that is horribly wrong in this stinking world? What annoys you? What could you warn others about?

It's nice to post brilliant thoughts, clever jokes, fascinating anecdotes, cheery stories, and astute analysis.

But don't you care about others and the dangers they face?

Don't you wish to somehow make this world a little better?

Then get on it.

Find something you can write about, something that you know, that most people probably are clueless about.

You surely know something I don't know, something I need to know.

Post it, then slam a comment on to this blog to let me know what you posted.

It's fun to fight.

Relish your life and purpose on earth!

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Gotta go rake pretty autumnal leaves, so my wife will be happy.


Urgent Warning about Sony music CDs

Urgent Warning re Sony BMG

NOTE: This is an exact replica of an article I published at Vaspers the Grate.


Sony has been forced by Blogospheric Wrath, and other forces, to temporarily stop this sleazy policy.

NEW: Fox news provides an Associated Press report, dated Nov. ll, 2005, on how Sony is "temporarily" suspending production of this "anti-piracy" scheme:

"Sony to Stop Controversial CD Software"


Sony defended its right to prevent customers from illegally copying music but said it will halt manufacturing CDs with the [DRM brand] technology as a precautionary measure.

"We also intend to re-examine all aspects of our content protection initiative to be sure that it continues to meet our goals of security and ease of consumer use," the company said in a statement.

The antipiracy technology, which works only on Windows computers, prevents customers from making more than a few copies of the CD and prevents them from loading the CD's songs onto Apple Computer's popular iPod portable music players.

Some other music players, which recognize Microsoft's proprietary music format, would work.

Sony's announcement came one day after leading security companies disclosed that hackers were distributing malicious programs over the Internet that exploited the antipiracy technology's ability to avoid detection.

Hackers discovered they can effectively render their programs invisible by using names for computer files similar to ones cloaked by the Sony technology.


Please notice how Sony stupidly says they have "goals of security and ease of consumer use".

This is outright bullshit, people.

Their number one goal is profit, not network security or consumer happiness. If they gave a flipping fig about corporate network security, they would have never moved forward with a rootkit installation approach to DRM (digital rights management).

Every IT guy or gal knows this is a wrong-headed, supremely selfish strategy.

Thanks, Sony assholes, for opening vulnerabilities in corporate networks, so all the hacker cracker cyber-vandal bullies can slip right in.

Guess how long it will take for cyber criminals to exploit these security holes now blasted wide open.

I sure hope your company doesn't allow employees to listen to music CDs on the company computers as they work.

See the recent Google SE results on Sony CD DRM:

Make the scumbags feel our WRATH!



List of infected Sony CDs

Trey Anastasio - "Shine"
Celine Dion - "On ne Change Pas"
Neil Diamond - "12 Songs"
Our Lady Peace - "Healthy in Paranoid Times"
Chris Botti - "To Love Again"
Van Zant - 'Get Right with the Man"
Switchfoot - "Nothing is Sound"
The Coral - "The Invisible Invasion"
Acceptance - "Phantoms"
Susie Suh - "Susie Suh"
Amerie - "Touch"
Life of Agony - "Broken Valley"
Horace Silver Quintet - "Silver's Blue"
Gerry Mulligan - "Jeru"
Dexter Gordon - "Manhattan Symphonie"
The Bad Plus - "Suspicious Activity"
The Dead 60s - "The Dead 60s"
Dion - "The Essential Dion"
Natasha Bedingfield - "Unwritten"
Ricky Martin - "Life"

DO NOT BUY, or play on your computer, any of these CDs!


Listen up, for your own good.

Protect yourself from evil psycho-capitalistic schemes.

Boycott Sony BMG. Look closely at any music CD you buy. Make sure it's not on the Sony BMG label. A Sony BMG compact disk is bad news for your computer.

Get fired up with real aggressive hate, and take your rage out on Sony BMG. Scumbags.

blogosphere = blogs-of-fear

Blogs causing fear and dread, with massive financial loss, in deserving targets.

Boycott Sony BMG. Never buy any Sony BMG musical artist products. To buy any Sony CDs may pose serious threats to your computer and network. Scumbags.

Warn everyone you know about Sony BMG, their music products on compact discs, and their selfish, destructive, anti-consumer policy regarding DRM (digital rights management/manipulation).

Here's a follow-up to my original warning, "Are Sony CDs evil?" The answer is a resounding "Yes, they're evil alright."

I'll let John Borland at CNet explain it again to you.

"Sony CD protection sparks security concerns"
By John Borland
Staff Writer, CNET
Published: November 1, 2005, 2:15 PM PST


Mark Russinovich was doing a routine test this week of computer security software he'd co-written, when he made a surprising discovery: Something new was hiding itself deep inside his PC's guts.

It took some time for Russinovich, an experienced programmer who has written a book on the Windows operating system for Microsoft, to track down exactly what was happening, but he ultimately traced it to code left behind by a recent CD he'd bought and played on his computer.

The SonyBMG-produced Van Zant album had been advertised as copy-protected when he'd bought it on, and he'd clicked through an installation agreement when he put the disc in his computer. What he later found is that the software had used a sophisticated cloaking technique that involves a "rootkit"--something not dangerous in itself, but a tool often used by virus writers to hide all traces of their work on a computer.

What's new:

Copy-protection software on CDs produced by SonyBMG is cloaked by a technique that involves a "rootkit," which is designed to hide and protect the software on the user's computer.

Bottom line:

Rootkit tools often are used by virus writers to hide malicious software, and security experts say rootkit mechanisms used by recording companies could be misused by others. That threat is only theoretical so far, but the debate continues between consumers and record companies about what copy-protection technologies are necessary and appropriate.

"We're still trying to find a line between fair use and digital rights management, and it is going to take issues like this, with discussions between lawmakers and industry, to come up with what's fair and honest," Russinovich said. "But I think this has gone too far."

Russinovich posted a detailed step-by-step account of his findings on his blog, drawing immediate criticism of SonyBMG's technology from some inside the security software community.

The passionate response underlines the power copy protection retains to inflame emotions and spark bitter debate, despite the growing string of chart-topping albums that have been released over the past year with the protections included.

A handful of security companies weighed in on the issue, saying the rootkit could present a possible--if still theoretical--risk to computers.

The creator of the copy-protection software, a British company called First 4 Internet, said the cloaking mechanism was not a risk, and that its team worked closely with big antivirus companies such as Symantec to ensure that was the case. The cloaking function was aimed at making it difficult, though not impossible, to hack the content protection in ways that have been simple in similar products, the company said.

In any case, First 4 has moved away from the techniques used on the Van Zant album to new ways of cloaking files on a hard drive, said Mathew Gilliat-Smith, the company's CEO.

"I think this is slightly old news," Gilliat-Smith said. "For the eight months that these CDs have been out, we haven't had any comments about malware (malicious software) at all."

A SonyBMG representative said the software could be easily uninstalled, by contacting the company's customer support service for instructions. Those instructions are not specifically available on the Web site that answers questions about the company's copy protection tools.

Rootkit realities

Rootkit software has been around for over a decade but has recently come to increased prominence as more writers of viruses and the like adopt it for their purposes. Essentially, rootkits are tools for digging deep into a computer's operating system to hide the fact that certain software files exist or that the computer is performing certain functions.

Unlike other, less-powerful means of hiding files on a hard drive, rootkits are created to be extraordinarily difficult to uninstall without specific instructions, rooting themselves in an operating systems' deepest recesses in order to prevent their deletion.

In the case of the SonyBMG software, trying to remove it manually could shut off access to the computer's CD player, researchers said.

Security researchers note that simply hiding something doesn't make it a threat, and the SonyBMG software is designed to hide the digital rights management tools that prevent unauthorized copies of the CD from being made.

However, it does remain active in the background of a computer, taking up a small amount of memory, even when the CD is not being played. Thus the rootkit software does have the potential to be misused by others, according to some researchers.

The First 4 Internet software's technique for hiding files is broad enough that it could be adopted by virus writers, allowing them to hide their own tools on computers that have run the software from the CD, say some security experts.


Now, please go read the entire article. Then Google the phrase: "Sony CD", and see what more you can discover. Expect butt-kissers to rise up to defend Sony, and to moan about "music pirates", and other ignorant greedy whinings.

This really stinks, for any company to go this far to protect, not artists, not consumers, but their bloated compensations and profits.

It's all about squeezing the maximum amount of hard earned cash from unsuspecting consumers.

Do something important with your life. Here are five (5) simple tasks you should consider performing...

5 Basic Ways to Fight Back

(1) Research: investigate the matter via Google or other search engine probes, using various keywords and phrases.

(2) Non-comply: Never agree to any Install Agreement dialog box that appears unexpectedly with any product that normally requires no special installations, like a music CD.

(3) Boycott: refuse to buy any further products from a company that has such a piss poor attitude toward customer service and consumer relations.

(4) Protest: email complaints and hatred to the CEO of any offending company. How dare these scumbags be so brazen in using malware type cloaking to secretly invade your computer, and to introduce potential vulnerabilities into your network.

(5) Revolt: post warnings and advice on your blog, regarding such dangerous, arrogant, and counter-productive corporate behavior. Send emails to friends, associates, other bloggers about this problem. Tell others at work, at church, in the mall, on the street, everywhere, about the dangers and risks associated with such products.

Information without transformation is useless.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate