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Sunday, March 29, 2015

world class webmasters- a Jurassic expedition


The glory days of fan sites and forums is slowly ebbing into an unnoticeable extinction as all new tech and software interfacing change the way fans find info now. IMDB and Wikipedia, bless them, grew into the bibles of info gathering, making it easier over time for deeper wikis and advanced searches to channel hunters and gatherers into camps, and before long, TV show creators learned the ways of the web force and started constructing their own wikis, blogs, and forums, which have become a staple of fandom, sending onelist and bulletin board forums the way of the dodo. The latest trash-glam fan support, thanks to Nerdist creating an all new band of marauders, is all about the competition of recapping- who can get theirs out the fastest, who can get noticed, who can outshine? Nerdist has become the Graham Norton/Oprah/Rachael Ray of fandom. Now it's all about syncing devices and live twitter interaction.

In the meantime, I'm still working on an old dinosaur fansite.


Well, the truly old dinosaurs have vanished. Remember geocities? "In 2009, Yahoo! succeeded in destroying the most amount of history in the shortest amount of time, certainly on purpose, in known memory. Millions of files, user accounts, all gone." Yeah, talk about an asteroid wiping out all life as we know it. But thanks to retro becoming uber fashionable with the nerd geekery upper crust, it's actually back. A lot of Lexx fans had stuff in the old geocities archives. I have no idea if salvage will be the next cool internet thing (y'all know I paid big bucks to help keep Xanga alive, right?), but CHECK THIS OUT.


That's right, Cloaked's original links to the Lexx game, comic, legos... Some actual content is still jaggedly missing, but the original pages are being revived, much like Prince bringing Xev out of stasis. (Does this mean I'll eventually be able to reaccess old youtube videos I deleted? There used to be a way to get those back, but then youtube changed a root command because too many users were resurrecting other people's embarrassing flashes of exhibitionism. But I'm going off track.)


I go off into these jaunts on days where I get lost in working on minor code fix-its, transfers, general maintenance, stuff most bloggers nowadays don't even know is a thing. Myspace was the ultimate code playground (like the evil side of facebook) until 'Tom' stomped it so flat smashing bugs that he had to rebuild it into the $6mil facsimile from Alpha Centauri. I was a huge fan of Lycos gears until they shut down, and as the years go by, internet life seems to be about trudging from one blog host to the next looking for an ecosystem that isn't already doomed. I facepalm every time I see posts on buzzfeed, omg, if that isn't the rock bottom of 'journalistic' digging and sharing, what is?

So, lately I'm learning how to figure out the percentage of proxy visits coming through translators. I don't think this is being done on purpose, like Codingfreak goes on about, and I know from my own laptop that my exact locations vary from browser to browser. One of my own proxies puts me in Florida, another in Monett, still another in New Jersey, depending on what device I'm using and even the blog I'm working on. Throw in the service my device is using, the browser using this or that service, the building I'm in, on and on. Some days I'm out in the wheat fields of Kansas when I accidentally ping one of my stat trackers. But back to the point, the Mountain View percentage thing kind of matching the outside the U.S. percentage thing makes sense now.


The weather app on my phone places me in four different geolocations just moving from room to room in my house because I'm in an oddball school-voting-city line-county line-whatever piles of districts. My IP might never change, but facebook has logged me in from several states. I've actually watched this happen live on my facebook login activity with SMS backup codes going between my laptop and phone, shut the log history, start over, it's incredible. Try it, you can watch yourself pop in and out of existence.

I know that the cities, states/regions, and countries I see in my stats aren't necessarily spot on. The info I get is generalized. Yes, I can use particular IP geolocators and actually see the real areas where most of my visitors originate, and I've even used maps to pinpoint a few neighborhoods, but odds are that actual locations are much more solid coming from campuses, hospitals, and military bases. I say that because one of my browsers insists I am sitting in the middle of a street about ten miles from my house, between a clinic and a restaurant. I know many of you probably never do all your logging in from open fields and industrial warehouses, but that's where the maps say some of you are. Once in awhile I get an actual house if someone is paying for all their bundled services locally and the host proxy service is turned off.


Stat counters are not an exact science. Well, at least not for those of us on the outside of those cool super computer nerd scenes in TV shows where all it takes is 3 seconds to find someone somewhere on the earth. I have found my blogs and youtubes linked to some really oddball sites in other countries, but usually the only way I find them is because of pingbacks, which are actually very annoying, so I turn them off. I've seen the difference between having bot filters and spam filters. If you want to run numbers up really fast, just turn your spam filter off, but then it won't be long until your site picks up a pile of trojans, worms, and all those little bugs that make up internet VD. I think I mentioned somewhere a few years ago that I once crashed my hard drive hacking a song off a super cool abandoned scifi site that was infested with code germs. Wound up paying $300 for a rescue that could have been avoided with a 99cent purchase from a legitimate sharing site. @bonenado will never let me live that down.

Why in heaven's name is all this even coming up? Because it felt so good this week to gab a little bit of code fix stuff with another genuine webmaster. Site building is a brain sport, a sort of joie de vivre that sometimes out rivals coffee and bacon in the mornings, and I'm seriously not kidding.


Becoming a webmaster for one's own enjoyment is a hobby. I use webmaster loosely, I'm obviously not building my fansites from absolutely scratch with a webkit, although that actually is how I got started years ago. I tend to be lazy (don't laugh) and choose to use the inbuilt preset parameters of blogs, which are making archiving and filing easier all the time, although I sometimes turn even that into a mountainous chore because simplicity needs a touch more elegance. (I'm sorry, creating a WordPress 'menu' is laborious and artistically dull, par exemple, not to mention stymied in its usage parameters.)

I'm a triceratops in a world of dying brontos, stegs, raptors, and T-rexes. MetaphoricallyTop 10 Biggest Errors in Jurassic Park Current fandom is all about trending on twitter. Lexx will never trend. The actors from Lexx will never trend. But I intend to leave solid evidence that Lexx was once here. Resurrecting sites is great, but broken links and missing images makes piecing fossils together ridiculously difficult for fans picking through the last vestiges of an ancient era that ended yesterday. The idea that the internet will contain all human knowledge is a joke. The idea that the internet is used to spy on people is hilarious. The idea that TV show recaps and trending is the bulk of what we have to show now for fandom loyalty burns my hide.


Fandoms have become a fleeting thing. Riding the live interaction wave of hardcore investment rivalries is exhilarating, yes, but it's not a real commitment. I call the continual reconditioning of audience jerking experience addiction. The same emotional and relationship stories are told over and over in different characters, settings, art forms. The same feelings are being evoked over and over in the audiences, no matter what is being watched.

As long as this formula holds and money keeps rolling around, the stories and characters that fall by the wayside will continue to be perishable. So many series have gone out of print, and I manage to get a few because someone in another country illegally recorded them and found out they could sell them to a warehouse to be remarketed (hopefully not illegally), and even though the condition is much poorer than originally created, it's better than never seeing it again at all. Fans screaming over cancellations is easily satiated with a continual barrage of new shows that themselves will fall by the wayside in the near future. Entertainment has become a bonanza on building roller coaster experiences, and it must be extremely profitable. Evidently, the more the fans are jerked around, the more merchandise they'll buy as quickly as possible before it disappears.

Lexx fans are more hard core than that. I honestly couldn't tell you whether or not this is fan-made or an actual original trailer. I caught Lexx from the very beginning on Showtime, including the featurettes before the first airing. When Lexx disappeared it really was ~gone~ until fans started their own salvage. It's available for purchase again, but it's been edited and some original content is gone now, from what I understand. The acquisitions page probably indicates why Lexx is so difficult to expand on, while other franchises right and left go through reboots galore. Because of this, Lexx remains unique and untainted, a true original.

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