20 years of blogging

My first blog post appeared on February 21, 2001, so today is my 20th anniversary.
I launched on Digital Media Tree (still alive and kicking), a platform created and maintained by Jim Bassett, and continued near-daily blogging there until 2007. I created tommoody.us in 2004 as a side project and made it my permanent home in July 2007.
In the early '00s many writers started blogs and used them as platforms to get noticed by major media. My trajectory was the opposite: I had "done" institutional writing for many years and wanted something more freewheeling.
The blog took my life in many unexpected directions and I'm still bullish on the form, even though the career-minded fled long ago for "social." Silicon Valley's reconstitution of the blog template into enormous silos of content struck me from the beginning as another form of institutional straitjacket.
So here I still am.
From 2001-2007 I had comments enabled and the resulting conversations helped build a readership. Many never forgave me for closing comments in '07. In 2001 there was no comment spam and anyone could chime in; after a certain search engine "monetized" content, giving spammers an incentive, I would have had to add a moderation plugin such as Akismet and I opted not to do that, not wishing to deal with the daily drip of "why didn't my comment appear?" questions. I was also frankly tired of people getting up in my face -- I had spent years writing for magazines without the joys of immediate feedback (except from editors) so I just went back to that as my default position. I learned that if readers are annoyed with my content here they usually find a way to get that message to me. (It's still happening.)
Another large change was dialing back political content. In the '00s I suffered from Bush Derangement Syndrome and sounded off every time Dick Cheney did something horrible.
Post-Snowden that kind of editorializing felt more problematic. I didn't stop having politics but began looking for ways to implement them that didn't result in a Stasi-like dossier of personal foibles. Fortunately most of the Bush ranting just seems quaint now.

around the web: computers-R-stupid edition

Pepe Escobar on AI predictions in the 1980s.

• Maciej Ceglowski on The Website Obesity Crisis (hat tip John Romero). Published 5 years ago and sites have only gotten fatter and slower, tommoody.us included. One of my New Year resolutions is getting a WordPress theme that doesn't use fonts from Eric Schmidt's company (how did that happen?). The font files aren't that large, I don't think, but there's a slight hang while they load that's annoying. I also don't think a page like mine needs all these damn scripts. I do remove embeds once they drop off the front page, because I hate embeds.

retired CD-R design


The MAM-A company (recently sold to an outfit in Chattanooga called WTS Media) changed the design of their CD-Rs and no longer offer an edge-to-edge white printing surface on their gold discs, as seen above. Now there is an obnoxious, bling-y 3mm gold rim around the white. I am rethinking my CD-R design for future releases, since I won't be making more copies with that design.

yes, vimeo does have ads

A quick recap on a much-updated post:
Vimeo proudly claims to be ad-free but this isn't true. If you challenge them they qualify it by saying "there are no ads on our platform." Most people would assume "our platform" means Vimeo (just as Facebook and YouTube are commonly called platforms) but their own in-house definition of "platform" is "the video player." Below the player, in the region where comments and older videos are located, they serve annoying banner display ads. They claim that is only on "some" pages but that's not true either -- as of this writing I am seeing them on all my pages.
The "Plus" plan ($7 a month) serves ads but you can get rid of them by paying $20 a month for a "Pro" plan.
In true corporate style, if you point these inaccuracies out, the customer support staff tries to snow you by saying that "as a Plus member you will never see ads." Good to know!

ads on my vimeo pages - ugh

Note: this post was originally titled "Amazon Fire puts ads on my Vimeo pages." It took me several emails to Vimeo customer service to determine that Vimeo is actually the source of the ads. See Update 2 below.


Pardon the bad photo but this was eyebrow-raising. I've been using an Amazon Fire tablet (given to me as a gift) in order to test the responsiveness of my page layouts on a mobile device.*
I popped over to my Vimeo account and discovered obnoxious ads on pages with my "art" videos. I thought with a Vimeo Plus account ($7 a month) this wasn't supposed to be happening. I've gotten conflicting responses from Vimeo customer support. Kaitlin F. says that, yes, "...we do have limited display advertising below the player on some vimeo.com pages. As a Plus member, you won’t see display ads when you’re logged in to your account. However, Basic members and logged-out viewers will see display ads on your page." I asked how long they'd been doing this and got a reply from Bri W.:

Vimeo never displays ads on any part of our platform. It sounds as though you are visiting your video page via the web browser within Amazon Fire, which is the most likely source of the ad placement.

A friend has suggested that Amazon has some backdoor deal with Vimeo, where Vimeo allows them a certain amount of screen real estate, which Amazon uses to send me targeted ads on my Fire tablet. This way both entities have plausible deniability as to who is serving me ads.

Is it possible for the Fire to inject ads on pages of companies they don't have a licensing arrangement with? Anyone familiar with the dark arts of web development and marketing, please drop me a line if you know.

I find this all pretty disgusting.

*i.e., pages of this blahg are supposed to change size and shape depending on what type of screen they're viewed on

Update: Customer support person "Rachel" continues the straight talk:

I can confirm that Kaitlin's previous message is correct, and there is a slight misunderstanding with our last email to you. We do have limited display advertising on Vimeo, however as a Plus member, when you are logged in viewing your own videos or any other videos, you won't see display ads on your page.

Our last message meant to explain that we don't display any third party ads within the Vimeo platform.

If a viewer is on a Basic membership or are logged out, they will see display ads from Vimeo on your page. If you are looking to remove the Vimeo ads on your video page for viewers, our Pro membership offers this.

My increasingly frustrated reply:

Please see the attached photo. (It's an ad for "sidestage.com" placed within my list of personal videos.)

Is this a "display ad"? Is it being served by Vimeo?

I don't understand the distinction you are making between a "display ad" and a "third party ad."

Isn't the ad for sidestage.com both a display ad and a third party ad?

In either case I don't like seeing it and don't think I should have to pay more to get rid of it.

I'll ask my original question -- when did you start doing this? I've never seen ads before on my pages.

Update 2: More straight talk from Customer Support person "Jess":

I think the confusion lies more with the distinction between a Vimeo page and the Vimeo Platform.

We never display advertising of any type on videos in our player (within the Vimeo platform), however as we mentioned Basic members may see display ads on a Vimeo page.

OK, It's pretty clear that Vimeo shows ads to anyone who isn't a member, unless a member, who doesn't want his audience to see ads, pays more than I'm currently paying. This has nothing to do with Amazon. Vimeo doesn't like to admit they're doing this, hence all the bafflegab about "the distinction between a Vimeo page and the Vimeo Platform." Staff claims that serving ads is not a recent practice but they "don't have an exact date of when this started."