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Below are the 5 most recent journal entries recorded in LiveJournal ODiots' LiveJournal:

Thursday, June 12th, 2003
4:55 pm
Contact Optional
Because I tend to be reclusive for much of what I do, one of the very first things I almost always do when I set up a new LiveJournal account (which happens quite regularly for me) is to head immediately over to edit my user profile --- "Your Settings / Personal Info" in the lefthand navigation bar --- and in the section with "Privacy Options," I unclick the box next to "Show your contact information on your LiveJournal." After saving that new profile setting, the e-mail address I use for setting up the LiveJournal account no longer displays on my new journal's profile page.

Yeah, you can't be at LiveJournal for as long as I've been without being saturated with the knowledge that LiveJournal is as much if not more a community as it is an individual journalling tool. so yes, I do agree with what LiveJournal advises on that profile editing page --- that you should consider listing your e-mail address so that others can know how to reach you. OK, and I can always go back at any point and set the checkbox back to displaying my e-mail easily enough.

This might seem a small feature once I get my butt back in gear and get around to writing more about all of the gigantic differences between LiveJournal and this odiot's original journalling host site. But even for this one seemingly trivial thing, LiveJournal shows the distinction between the real thing and a sad, sorry pretender. First off, here at LiveJournal, the journalists who make up the true value of the site are given their due respect: we are allowed to make the choice ourselves regarding whether and how we want contact information handed out. At that other website, for years the odgods made the decision for you, threatening to delete your entire journal if you so much as hinted at connecting your journal to a real name or contact point.

Even after the absurdity of that odiotic position and allowed odiots to display e-mail contacts, the odgods' eternal lack of respect for its own stable of writers left odiots with no site-hosted tools for handling the contact information. Bringing us to one illustration where the LiveJournal feature shows its superiority over odiotland's simple display of contact information. In the search box near the upper right of standard LiveJournal screens, enter "brad@danga.com" and select "Email" in the selection dropdown box to the right of that entry. when you click the search button with that, it takes you to the journal that carries that e-mail address (in the case of this example, the main journal for the creator of LiveJournal). And if you did go there, you could have come back to this journal by searching for the e-mail address "odiots@opendiary.com" (as in, guess who and where). Want to try finding someone by e-mail address at that other website? Can't be done.

But now if you made your journal's profile so that your e-mail does not show, go back and review your privacy options more carefully. Not only can you switch on or off whether your e-mail address will display, but you can get selective in who gets to see it if you do display it, at least in terms of the group you define as "friends" within the LiveJournal community. You can also choose to display your e-mail in a way that will convey the information to real journal readers without throwing the e-mail address into the nearest spambot's hopper.

And there's more! LiveJournal thrives on community contact in ways that the odgods never dared dream, so you'll see other contact features in the profile settings. But more on that in a subsequent post.
Tuesday, May 20th, 2003
4:36 pm
Forever Yours
Been a while, I know, I know.

Which raises the first of very very many things I need to be catching up on if I care to continue this particular journal: journal permanency.

That other place where a journalist is respected as no more than an odiot: you can't relax, do a stay in a hospital, get too involved in a project at work, have a baby, veg out a while, get the least bit distracted, go on an extended vacation, or do anything at all that takes you off their leash for too long, or else they delete everything you had there (unless you pay their excessive ransom costs to get back a right they never should have taken from you in the first place). Never mind that lots of the sorts of things that might have had you out on break are exactly the sort of things one might frequently want to be journalling about. As with so much everything else there, your journal or your readers or the value your writing might bring to their enterprise isn't the issue: you write when they want you to write, or else you get dumped. It's even a "rule," as though one needs to set up rules in order to mismanage things so poorly as they do. Times were way back when, they'd at least archive your journal; but when it became obvious to them that handling large volume was beyond the odgods' very limited programming abilities, they chose the easy way out, complete with silly excuses for their disrespect of their writers.

Here at LiveJournal, once you set up a journal, it's yours as long as you want, even for a free account. You yourself still have the choice to selete and purge it, yes. But if you don't delete, then you can be away for business or pleasure as long as you please, and your livejournal will be waiting for you here when you return. It's a small way of showing respect for the community's writers, perhaps, but it's a very important one, for its symbol of the value LiveJournal places in its content, for its nod to the strong database expertise of LiveJournal developers, and for its practical value to each and every livejournalist.
Thursday, April 5th, 2001
3:44 pm
Comfy Character Count Constraints
If you've come to LiveJournal from a certain other internet diary community wannabe, you've probably got bruises from numerous bumps against some extraordinarily tight limits on character counts for various diary fields. Worst has been the character limit for notes attached to diary entries: even after widespread user complaints forced the diarymasters to loosen the straitjacket on notes, the limit remains far toolow to prevent annoying stretches where a comment needs to be carried across multiple sequential notes. Frequently the same chop job needs to be performed on diary entries themselves, forcing an artificial "part 1, part 2, et cetera" breakup of the diary. For special fields such as diary title and journal entry subjects, the character count ration is so tight that the diarist frequently has to give up any thoughts of providing anything suitably descriptive, much less add any special HTML tagging or style.

If there are any character count constraints on LiveJournal entries or notes, I've failed to hit them, even after some rather absurd experiments that violate any reasonable limit on the length of decent discourse long before they violate any LJ system constraint. Take the full content of a complete multi-part diary entry�not a diary note, but a full diary entry spanning several full entries under that other site's limits�and cut-and-paste it into a LiveJournal note to a journal entry, and LiveJournal takes it all without so much as a blink. Cut-and-paste that same material multiple times over and over and over again into a LiveJournal entry, and you won't be forced to span it over different segments. Simply put, at LiveJournal you're free to be about as verbose as you feel you need or want to be!

Some odiots might be too myopic to see this as an improvement, stupidly arguing that release of character count constraints open the door to the supposed "abuse" of run-on never-ending journal entries, worse still for notes left by readers. That's about like accepting police state monitoring of bedrooms to keep a handle on morality. Besides, if verbosity control is the goal, those odiotic character contraints don't do the job: in fact, they worsen the situation by adding the extra structural pieces needed to handle the multiple notes and multiple entries for writers who in the end will be just as verbose as they care to be, limits or no limits. Whether or not excess verbosity ought even be criminalized, it's simply a poor attempt at an excuse for what is nothing more than diarymaster arrogance, disrespect of journalist needs, unnecessary structural control, and just plain poor programming.

Like that other diary website, LiveJournal does place character count constraints on title and subject fields. And unless a cyberjournalist wants a page-long title like some 1800s scholarly tome, generally limits in this case make a bit more sense. Even so, LiveJournal's constraints on each field are significantly looser than at that other website.

Furthermore, LiveJournal is more HTML-friendly to title and subject fields, so the cyberjournalist has less fear of wasting too much precious character ration on style or format coding. First, for broad journal-wide HTML/CSS specifications desired for a particular title or subject field, a livejournalist is given complete freedon to specify code outside of the field itself that would be applied to each such field, via style templates and journal overrides. Moreover, even for one-time coding changes, LiveJournal makes it easier to externally define style classes that could then be referenced internally by the relevant field, making it easier to include individualized HTML/CSS without taking up too much of the character ration.

I could say so much more on this topic, but for now�
Tuesday, March 27th, 2001
11:09 am
No Banners, No Pop-Ups, No Third-Party Cookies, No Commercial Links

Had me a really nasty nightmare the other night. Retired to the solitude of my private study, lit the lamp and dipped my quill, and opened up my journal to chronicle the day's confidences. Out jumps this snake oil salesman, all up in my face, blocking my view until I squished him with my army boot like a roach. Maybe I'd've been better entertaining myself with him than with what'd become of my journal, all cluttered up with roach eggs defacing most of the space I'd had on every single page: there was barely room to leave my own marks. Damned thing smelled like dead roach, too, but they told me they had something to fix that and sent in a troop of roaches to blow their foul breath all around the room. Ran my butt out of there fast as I could, only to find several of them clinging to me, trying to suck my blood. Kicked myself out of bed to wake my poor head up to the reality that the sooner I get all of my old journal material transferred from that fetid other pretender of an Internet journal website and settled in over here at LiveJournal, the more peaceful and clean my journalling dreams will be.

The part of the LiveJournal experience that I value the highest is that LiveJournal serves up the most advanced Internet journalling tools and capabilities without burdening livejournals down with separate pop-up advertisements, banners, third-party persistent cookies, or any other invasive commercial links. For LiveJournal free account and paid account both, that is a truly open, free service that respects its journalists as something infinitely more precious than some sponsor's "impression" count.</p>

Give that other website only this much credit: maybe it takes their sort of abuse to completely appreciate how good we have it here at LiveJournal. For those who have never had to put up with the extreme in e-commercialization of journalling, here's the sort of trash you won't see at LiveJournal:

  1. No Banner Billboards�Whether you have a free account or a paid account, LiveJournal does not clutter up your journal with banner traffic. In stark contrast, the diar site I came here from is so anxious to bleed every possible commercial hit, that even input and edit pages are loaded up with banners, as if anybody ever goes to submit a journal entry and decides instead to click on a banner. Then somehow it really just completely just loses the feel of a serious journal to pour out your heart and see it get just one small corner of screen space lost in a sea of advertising pollution. And if you hate banners as much as we do, check this out on that other site: take your diary completely private!�although nobody else is seeing those banners and although you'll die before you ever click one, the site still needs to show its sponsors traffic "impressions" in order to keep their site so supposedly "free."

  2. No Pop-Up Advertisements�So everyone just ignores the banners and just acts like we all had tiny displays, right? Hard-core commercial interests don't like being shrugged off so easily, so now that other diary site has started popping up annoying advertisement windows that require your attention�even if only to close them, which is what everyone does�before you can get to any diary material. LiveJournal doesn't abuse its writers and readers with such crass sales gimmickery: just straight, pure journalling.

  3. No Persistent Third-Party Cookies�But even the banners and the pop-ups are not the most venal, invasive habit of that other diary site: the selling of private information about you without your permission via persistent, third-party cookies. For a price, that other diary site lets a separate company use a cookie that hangs onto you like a blood-thirsty parasite, collecting information on where you've been before you surfed to the diary site, then keeps on collecting private information on you long after you've left that diary site. And do you really believe that site's bluffs about anonymity and confidentiality?�you won't if you peek into how the cookie-holder identifies the information it collects: even if you avoid signing into that diary site itself, they can frequently finger you by name through their cookie's attributes!!

    Now sure, that other diary site and LiveJournal both use innocuous local cookies to handle journal identification control. But in very marked contrast to the anything-goes commercialized cannibalism so common at that other diary site, at LiveJournal you can write and read journals without handing over your wallet for some stranger to inspect.

LiveJournals look as different as they truly are: they belong entirely to the livejournalists themselves. In fact, if you want to re-design your livejournal so that it doesn't even refer explicitly to or link back directly to LiveJournal itself, you're even permitted to go to that extreme to have it look and feel totally yours!!

Quite regularly that other Internet journal website boasts of server improvements that are supposed to be radically improving their speed and performance�usually claiming double the speed, once ridiculously promising an astounding 500% increase. Today their performance isn't measurably better than it was two years ago. Turn my local street between my house and the first stop sign into a 16-lane highway, and it doesn't get me to work any faster. So too, whether or not that other diary site's managers are telling the truth about their own equipment upgrades, diaries there will still slog it throughthick mud as long as the bulk of the source code is reserved for advertising sponsors who require onerous linking to the advertisers sites as part of the page load process. At LiveJournal, all server and system software upgrades directly benefit the livejournalists, since the only content being delivered is the livejournal itself.

Monday, March 26th, 2001
4:47 pm
Closed Case: Live

LiveJournal is a far superior Internet journal service and community, compared to the one I left to come here!

Those who are with me here, try this experiment out every way you know how, from both sides:

  1. First, any thing you could have done over at that other Internet journal site, duplicate it here. For virtually everything, you'll find that extremely easy to accomplish; indeed, LiveJournal gives you tools to do so more easily than you could have done back there at that other site! For the very very very few marginal things that might not be exactly subject to full duplication here (one thinks of the circles or the themes, for instance), LiveJournal has alternatives that are much better (for example, community journals); so why bother to duplicate an inferior feature?

  2. Now, take every LiveJournal feature and capability and attempt to duplicate the effect and results over at that other Internet journal site. Can't be done, even with some of the most basic and useful features!!

I can attest to this about as well as anybody might. Back at that other website, I did every thing that could possibly be done, and then some. While their policestate-minded masters were doing everything in their power to turn back the progress of the Internet by banning images and hypertext links, I had all of that and more. I used every single feature to its fullest and beyond. Even to this day, as I continue to pull down the numerous journals I had at that site, some of the last remaining ones still stretch beyond what they wanted a cyber-journalist to have the freedom to do.

And here at LiveJournal, as much a newbie as I still am at this point, I've also quickly stretched out and made myself at home, well enough to be able to speak with some degree of experience about what is and what isn't.

LiveJournal quite definitely is!! That other site not only isn't, but continues to run blindly in the other direction away from what a serious cyberjournalist needs, wants, and deserves!

My first entries here, then, will simply be an unabashed testimonial to LiveJournal, pitched for those who might be coming here from there, that other place, those who were imprisoned there will know. Then, to point out a few things that might make those emigrants feel a bit more at home here, kinda like how Microsoft Word includes help for WordPerfect users who want to convert. Eventually, some of what I have on my mind to unleash here might be of value to almost anyone, even if you've not come here from that other pretender of a website, since part of my point has to do with making the most of what LiveJournal has to offer, and that theme has tips and advice and stuff in it that might have a broader appeal, maybe.

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