Owning my own content

14 years ago, I started a blog (this one, in fact). At that time, it was kind of normal to blog about things. Life, opinions, whatever.

Nowadays, almost nobody does that anymore because social media. I left social media a few years ago, primarily because it’s a big waste of time. But also it started to occur to me that anything I say there can be used against me, and that if it’s unpopular enough or offends the wrong person, it’s even likely to be removed.

Outside of social media, there are hosted blogs, such as medium, but these suffer from the same issues — at the end of the day, your content can be censored because it displeases the platform’s moderators.

So now that I’m saying things again, it’s back to 14 years ago. That means my posts will not have access to social media network effect explosion potential. People will have to actually want to come here and read things. It also means I had to go through the work of getting this blog set up self-hosted, and I have to spend time and money to maintain that.

Yet, it also means that I get to say what I want. The content belongs to me. And readers know that I’m not censored.

In 2020, this is the right trade.

About the name ‘phauna’

Do a google search for ‘phauna’, and this site is the #1 hit (woot!). The #2 hit, however, is Internet Security Systems’ definition of the term as something to do with virusy wormy trojany software. This site, however, isn’t about that at all.

Way back in high school, I played a lot of computer games. For reasons I can’t really remember exactly, I always signed on with the handle “WarChicken”, and sometimes “PeaceCow”. WarChicken came first, and I guess PeaceCow was there for diversity’s sake. I think the Cow/Chicken duality might have something to do with this cartoon my little brother was into.

In college I started getting into linux, and I found out that I could run a server that did neat stuff on the internet. Stuff like host web pages, and email accounts, and shell access. I could even do all this with the crappy box under my desk. At various points I had multiple servers, so that I could dual-boot one into windows for game playing, or so I could use one as a server and one as a desktop, or whatever. In linux, the name of a computer is important, so I named mine “warchicken” and “peacecow”.

One day I decided to get a domain name, so that people could type something simple into their browser to find my server. After some thinking, I decided to go with something that unified the names I had been using, but I also wanted it to be sufficiently geeky because, well, I’m a geek. Thus the domain ‘phauna.org’ was born, in reference to warchicken and peacecow, which are animals which is kinda like fauna which when spelled more crazy is phauna.

At various points since then, I’ve had some more names under the phauna banner. At one point there was “swisspig”; the swiss are always neutral. I think xwjl came up with that one — he certainly did the ascii art that was displayed on login. There has also been “wanderingdonkey”, which was a really crappy box that I just played around with, and a laptop named “lovebird”.

And that’s basically the whole story. So no, this site is not a hacker/phisher site, it’s mostly a personal server (currently the web/email server is peacecow, and warchicken’s my desktop at home) that happens to have a totally sweet name. So if I’m on any terrorist lists out there, well, I don’t belong :).

  |    |                 
  |    |            (__) 
  |    |            (oo) 
  |    |     /-------\/  
  |    |    / |     ||   
  |    |   *  ||----||   
  |    \______^^____^^___
  |     _________________
  |    /                 
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  |    |                 
 /      \       
      \    __//   /
          /.__.\
     -    \ \/ /   -
       ,__/    \
     -  \- WAR! )   -
         \_____/
    / _____|_|____  \
           " "

new email notification feature

I’ve replaced the wordpress email notification plugin with a feedburner subscription on the blog. If you had signed up for the email notifications, please do so again via the new box.

The old plugin didn’t notify on all posts (in particular, when they were scheduled for the future). Feedburner does.

I’m deactivating the old plugin just after this post.

Google feedback?

Google likes to talk about how they’re user-oriented, and this back-and-forth is how they make their software projects happen:

User feedback is always an important part of our product development process […]

(from http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/02/real-world-testing.html)

But what I want to know is, for general feedback, how do you give it to them? They certainly don’t make it easy to give feedback on their more established services. For example, here are two bits of feedback I would give:

  • In google groups, you can only create 5 groups, and then you get the following message:

    You may not create any more groups at this time. Please try again later.

    When should I try again? I have no idea. I did a google search and found a few other people who were saying they had waited 72+ hours and still unable to create more groups.

    The message is a dead-end, leaving you knowhere to go and no idea how long to wait.

    This is almost scary enough to get me to try a different groups service, as I need 15-odd groups.

  • iGoogle is google’s new name for their personalized home page. I think this name is too marketing-department-and-internet-bubble-esque.

Being the good web 2.0 citizen that I am, I’d like to tell google about these experiences but I don’t know (and can’t figure out) how to provide feedback. If google’s model is truly centered around the user experience, they are making a big mistake by not encouraging feedback flow more actively.