Category Archives: Web/Tech

Mediocre White Men are So. Fucking. Fragile.

So I’m in Facebook jail again. Because of fragile white men. Again.

Wednesday, I posted this:

And OF COURSE some mediocre white dude had to tell me why I’m wrong for enjoying these tacos. It was such a stupid thing, it was more amusing than anything else. We all had a good laugh, he was widely mocked and ridiculed as he deserved for his idiocy, and we all went on with our lives. But I couldn’t stop thinking about how … exhausting this shit is, how these children run into a room, make as much noise and as much of a mess as they can, and then run just as fast to mommy and daddy when someone who was already in the room is like, “Hey, could you not?”

Anyway, I wrote a post about mediocre white men and their uncontrollable urge to correct everyone all the time, and that post has landed me in Facebook jail. See if you can find the part where I broke a rule:

Remember when that dude was gatekeeping tacos and was really angry about it?

I’m working on a theory that no matter what it is, there is some mediocre white dude out there who will tell you that you’re wrong for liking it, not liking it the right way, and will be angry about it when he does. It literally does not matter what it is. If it’s a thing you like, and you talk about how you like it, some mediocre white dude will show up to be mad about it.

Like, I’m a white dude. I don’t think I’m mediocre, but as a white dude who feels good about himself, I have to at least entertain the notion, right? On account of all the empirical evidence, I mean. I’m a white dude, and I just don’t get mad about stuff like how you eat a taco. Or what you call some activity with a local idiomatic name. It just doesn’t matter to me, and it certainly isn’t worth my time to be mad about it. Sure, I joke about Scalzi’s burrito abominations, and I will stab you in the throat with a french fry if you try to put ketchup on my plate, but none of that is, like, serious.

What is it with mediocre white men? Why are they just CONVINCED that everyone they encounter needs to be corrected for some reason or another? Is there a class or a meeting or something that I just didn’t attend? I don’t have this impulse in my life and I cannot wrap my head around it.

And TACOS? Like, THAT is the thing you’re worked up about? Not creeping Fascism, not Putin’s war crimes, the rampant inequality that is fundamental to the existence of America, gun violence, racism, homophobia, bigotry. Nope. Fucking TACOS, man. I AM HERE TO HOLD THE LINE ON TACOS (also I am factually wrong, but that doesn’t matter because) I AM HERE TO BE THE KING OF TACOLAND. LOOK AT MY DIPLOMA FROM TACO UNIVERSITY WHERE I WAS CLASS PRESIDENT.

…okay, buddy. If it’s that important to you, take this taco outside, and go yell at it until you feel better. If you need to yell a little more, there’s a wall over there waiting for you. I’m just going to sit here and enjoy my taco.

Yeah, I don’t see it, either. I appealed. It will be overturned like it always is. Until then, I guess I can’t TACO ’bout fragile white men and their tissue paper egos on my own Facebook. Okay.

Let’s do a Flashback Friday

Yesterday, I blew it all up. All the websites I maintain on my server, including this one and Anne’s, blew up when I did … something.

I exhausted my knowledge, and I exhausted my patience searching forums and documentation to figure out what the hell I’d broken, and how to fix it.

So I asked my friend for help, and he saved my bacon. (He probably saved some of your bacon, too. I bet you never even knew your personal bacon was at risk; that’s how nefarious today’s bacon mafia is. THANKS OBAMA.)

While I was trying to solve it myself, I saw that my /public_html directory was a shitshow that needed massive attention. Imagine the directory is a room. In that room are shelves, and on those shelves are the books and drawers where website content lives. This room should be nice and neat, so it’s really easy to find what you need. When something is out of place, it’s super easy to see, because the rest of the room is so orderly.

Now take that imagined room, and replace it with a teenage boy’s bedroom at the end of the week. Into that room, I dumped like fifty bags of website bullshit with the intention of cleaning it all up …. someday.

So that was like ten years ago. I know. It’s so embarrassing. As soon as my buddy finished saving the aforementioned bacon, I went into this appalling mess, and cleaned it all up.

In that process, I came across some old images that made me smile.I’m going to be promoting Still Just A Geek soon (YOU CAN PRE-ORDER IT HERE AT A DISCOUNT PLEASE DO OKAY THANKS) and these images from the time Just A Geek was written are going to be relevant and fun to share during the promotion.

One of those images is a screenshot of my website from 2005, when I had done all of it on my own. The layout, the php includes, the PERL, the whole thing. It was a lot back then (it still is, at least to me) and I’m proud of what late 20s/early 30s Wil was able to accomplish.

This very website, in September 2005

It’s all so much easier today (yesterday’s blowing up notwithstanding) and I love that. I love that the distance between “I want a blog” and “I have a blog” is a few clicks. When I did this back in the early aughts, there were at least two HTML books and months of studying to understand gzip, ftp, chmod, mod_rewrite, and holy shit configuring an Apache webserver in 2001 between those two things. I’ve compared it to owning a classic car in the 70s. It wasn’t enough to keep it the fluids topped off; you needed to be some level of a mechanic to hold it all together. It was just part of the price of admission. It was a lot, but I don’t regret it for a second. I learned a lot then (which I’ve clearly forgotten) but I am so happy that some of us who did the heavy lifting back then decided to develop tools and methods that would make it so much easier for everyone who followed us.

Turns out that I was one of those people who was always under the hood then, and I’m one of the people who just want the damn thing to work, now. Thanks, me from the past!

radio dot wil wheaton dot net

I’ve been experimenting with a Shoutcast music stream that Mysterious Kevin helped me set up. I have a bunch of different playlists that I rotate through, including 70s punk, 80s metal, 90s ambient electronica, and 90s grunge. I mix in a bunch of random weird and strange files that I find online, including excerpts from Star Trek Power records, ancient European commercials, audio bloopers from various TV shows, and other things you’d expect to find on a mixtape. If you’ve ever heard my podcast mixtapes, you know what to expect.

You should be able to listen to this in any browser, or you can download the .pls file to stream in VLC or the media thingy of your choice. I also think this little player thingy should work right here. If I configured it the way I want, it should even be playing AUTOMATICALLY LIKE MAGIC (I reconfigured this so it doesn’t autoplay, based on your feedback.):

The current playlist (which I expect to keep live all week) is the 80s metal collection. It features some Sabbath, Maiden, Van Halen, Metallica, Scorpions, and stuff like that.

Unrelated: this new WordPress composer (BLOCKS AND BLOCKS AND OTHER BLOCKS IS HOW WE DO IT NOW) is really weird and makes me feel like a very old man who used to hand-code blog entries in raw HTML. I’m sure it’s very powerful and flexible when you get used to it, but right now I feel like I’m writing with someone else’s hands.

ALSO UNRELATED: The Star Trek cruise was amazing and deserves its own entry, but I’ve been decompressing and catching up on work since we got back, and I haven’t had time to sit down to properly compose my thoughts.

RELATED: Van Hagar sucks.

Oh, and also…

The world is a terrible place right now, and that’s largely because it is what we make it.

Marlowe Wheaton is adorable.
Here’s a picture of Marlowe to make this post suck less.

As most of you know, I deactivated my Twitter account earlier this month. It had been a long time coming, for a whole host of reasons, but Twitter’s decision to be the only social network that gives Alex Jones a platform to spew hate, hurt innocent people, and incite violence was the final straw for me. But I haven’t regretted leaving for even one second. Having that endless stream of hate and anger and negativity in my pocket wasn’t good for me (and I don’t think it’s good for anyone, to be honest).

I was on Twitter from just about the very beginning. I think I’m in the first couple thousand accounts. I remember when it was a smallish group of people who wanted to have fun, make jokes, share information and tips on stuff that was interesting, and oh so many pictures of our pets. It was awesome.

It started to get toxic slowly at first, then all at once, starting with the misogynist dipshits who were behing the gate-which-shall-not-be-named. That was clearly a turning point for Twitter, and it never really recovered from it. I watched, in real time, as the site I loved turned into a right wing talk radio shouting match that made YouTube comments and CSPAN call-ins seem scholarly. We tried for a couple of years to fight back, to encourage Twitter to take a stand against bad actors (HA HA LIKE ME BECAUSE I AM A BAD ACTOR RIGHT YOU GOT ME HA HA HA). Twitter doesn’t care about how its users are affected by themselves, though. Twitter cares about growth and staying on the good side of President Shitler’s tantrums.

I mean, honestly, the most lucid and concise indictment I can give Twitter is: it’s the service that Donald Trump uses to communicate with and incite his cultists.

Anyway, enough about how terrible Twitter is. We all know how terrible it is. That’s never going to change, by the way.I know some very good people who are working on making Twitter better, but I honestly don’t think they can overcome the institutional inertia that has allowed it to get to the point its at now. It may get incrementally better, but the fundamental problem of random, mostly-anonymous people being terrible isn’t going to change, because that’s not a Twitter problem. That’s a humanity — and specifically a social media — problem.

I thought that if I left Twitter, I could find a new social network that would give it some competition (Twitter’s monopoly on the social space is a big reason it can ignore people who are abused and harassed, while punishing people for reporting their attackers), so I fired up this account I made at Mastodon a long time ago.

I thought I’d find something different. I thought I’d find a smaller community that was more like Twitter was way back in 2008 or 2009. Cat pictures! Jokes! Links to interesting things that we found in the backwaters of the internet! Interaction with friends we just haven’t met, yet! What I found was … not that.

Continue reading… →

take two minutes today to tell the FCC to protect network neutrality.

Without the Internet, I’d be just another failed actor struggling to make ends meet. Because I had the same ability to put together a website and reach an audience as anyone else, I was able to put my words on your screens, and eventually into a book that got into many of your hands. If Comcast or Verizon or AT&T or some other big telecom decided that regular guys like me had to pay some sort of protection money to have the same ability to reach you as Google or MSN does, I never would have been able to get WWdN off the ground, much less found Monolith Press, publish Dancing Barefoot, and start an entirely new career as a writer or have a second act in my acting career. There would be no Tabletop. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty happy that Tabletop is in the world.

We successfully fought to keep the Internet open and free just a few years ago, but it’s under attack again, another disastrous consequence of the Trump administration.

Here’s Consumerist on what is at stake (again) and why we are here (again):

Why is it in trouble?

The FCC that passed the Open Internet Rule was led by chairman Tom Wheeler, during the Obama administration. When the Trump administration took office in Jan. 2017, the FCC changed too.

At the end of January, long-time net neutrality foe Ajit Pai was promoted to the big seat and became the Commission’s chairman.

Pai has been gunning for net neutrality since the day it was adopted, if not sooner. So although in 2016 a federal court upheld the rules, Pai wants them reversed — and now, he has the means.

Because gaining a majority at the FCC is, on many key issues, basically a matter of partisan math, Pai will absolutely succeed if he wants to, regardless of literally tens of millions of people arguing against it.

Today is a day of action. Today, we are asking all Americans to take two minutes and contact the FCC, to make your voice heard, and make sure the FCC knows that you want network neutrality to be protected. Ars has a good collection of essential reading about network neutrality, but if you only have time to read one of them, here’s a concise guide to writing a comment to the FCC.

Two minutes, you guys. That’s all we need from you today. Please, take action.