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Welcome to our Guest Blogger

Ian Argent has generously offered to do some guest blogging while I’m busy trying to recuse clients from untoward disaster. Ian has guest blogged on here before when Bitter and I were in Hawaii back in 2010. He also blogged, before he got really busy (having kids and all), at his own publication: The Lair.

I had planned a big announcement with fireworks, mariachi bands, and giant fighting lizards, but Ian hit the “Publish” button instead of the “Save” button on his first post by accident, before the announcement could be made. I’m sorry to say that was a violation of the lizards’ contract and they cancelled, so here is just this announcement instead.

Ian is currently a resident of the People’s Republic of New Jersey, and also a gun owner, so have pity on him. Like many people, he is trapped behind the Iron Curtain for now. As am I, at least for several hours each week until my current engagement completes (sometime in September, at least I think).

Some Unfortunate News

I just got a call from Clayton Cramer from the hospital. It seems he had a mild heart attack, and then a mild stroke due to the angioplasty procedure to deal with the blockage in his heart. This quite surprised me given that he’s been doing so well since his aortic valve replacement.

He asked me to post this, since his blog won’t be updated for a few days and he wanted everyone to know what happened. Clayton has been a great contributor to the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, so any thoughts and/or prayers you can send his way are appreciated. For a guy that just had a stroke that affected speech, he was pretty intelligible on the phone, so I’m hopeful he will make a speedy recovery.

Beeping, Blinking and Flashing!

It’s nearly 2AM, and my work was interrupted about an hour and a half ago because a relatively mild storm knocked our power out. I was this frigging close || to ending the crisis at the client and getting us some breathing room. It amazes me I weathered Irene and Sandy without losing power, and now I’m pushing two hours being out from a practically nothing storm. I have three UPSes to power my whole operation at the home office, and when things start running down, I feel like this:

We’ve already run down the UPS that powers the server. That’s on double backup, which consists of a marine deep cell battery with a 300W inverter. The blog will stay up as long as that lasts, but in the morning if we still don’t have power, it’s generator time.

Juggling More Flaming Torches

Today I started an engagement at a new client, so my blogging schedule is going to be thrown for a loop while I try to figure out how to work everything in. It’s high-performance computing work though, so there’s not much of a learning curve, and I can hit the ground running. But starting a new client is still pretty much like starting a new job, and I still have my current work to do as well.

For the past few years I’ve been working on special projects internally, trying to develop a product pipeline that can sustain the company more reliably than billable hours. But thanks to the awful winter we lost a boatload of money in the first quarter, so volunteered to go billable for a bit to help make it up. Everyone else on my projects has to juggle billable hours with internal project work, and I didn’t think I should be any different.

Unlike our opponents, who do this for a living, or who are stinking rich enough to not need employment, I have a mortgage to pay, and I like eating better than ramen. This first week might be a little rough blog wise, but I’m working with Bitter to help make up the short-fall. After that I should have a new schedule figured out and things will appear to return mostly to normal.

Bear With Me

We’re having some issues with the firewall this morning. It shouldn’t affect the blog. It’s more a problem with my link to work, but the blog might go out for a minute or so at a time while I reboot and reload things. Blogging will continue once I have this sorted out.

How Things Have Changed

Kevin Baker’s “The Smallest Minority” was one of the blogs I’ve read since before I was blogging, a short list that also includes Jeff Soyer and Say Uncle. Many more have come and gone, like, well, Bitter’s old blog, whose archives we just recently restored after the Russians made off with her domain a few years ago (first it was, and then Crimea. Where will it stop?) I was sad but not surprised to see Kevin announce he was semi-retiring. Most of us that have been doing this a while understand. It’s easy to get burnt out constantly having to follow things in order to have something to write about.

This blog has gone 7 years, and after a while, you do a post, and feel like a broken record repeating what you know you said back in 2010, and probably in 2008 before that. Having spent 7 years following every stupid thing media reporters have said, there’s hardly anything that’s new anymore. Our opponents in the gun control movement haven’t had a new idea since the 1990s. Despite the Bloomberg outfit’s new energy for gun control, nothing they are trying is something we haven’t seen before. Moms Demanding Action? I know I’ve seen this before. Oh yeah:

And take a look at that crowd. It was never a million moms, but it’s impressive. Do you think the Bloomberg gun-control organizations could accomplish something like that today? That’s how much the issue has changed in 14 years. I feel like eventually all the blogs I started with will be gone. A lot has changed in blogging too. I wish Kevin Baker the best in spending time on real life. I’m sure it will be enjoyable. I’m still going to hang in there for now, but I won’t be blogging forever.

Has Anyone Noticed Google Alerts Ceasing to Work?

One thing that makes it hard to find stories is Google Alerts either seem to not work entirely, or are very incomplete. I’m really hoping that Google isn’t planning to put Alerts out to pasture with Google Reader. Alerts are a core function of their search engine, which is kind of their core business. I can see Google putting Reader out to pasture, but Alerts? I hope not. But over the past several months, my alerts miss the vast majority of stuff out there.

Blog Maintenance Tonight

I think it’s about time I upgraded the blog server. I’ve been using Ubuntu 10.04.4 LTS for a number of years now, and while I still have another year to go before that version’s End of Life date, it’s getting a bit long in the tooth. Additionally, there’s some Denial of Service vulnerabilities with this version of Apache, and I’d like to get the upgrade out of the way and get to the latest LTS version of Ubuntu. I’ll do this sometime after 9PM tonight. It shouldn’t take very long, and disruption to the blog should be pretty minimal.

Happy Ice Storm

We were supposed to get more of the white stuff, but it’s turned into a full on ice storm! Power is out and we’re running on generator. The blog will remain up as long as I have gasoline and the fiber stays on. We already had one large branch come down. My UPS equipment is less than thrilled with the output of the generator, but they are taking it most of the time. You might have noticed a brief period of downtime earlier, as the outage happened when we were asleep and the UPS drained down before we could fire the generator.

UPDATE: Power came back just as I went out to get more of the precious juice for the generator. Everything is back to normal now, except for the fact that I have several large tree branches down in the yard.

The Death of Community Blogging

The signs have been around for a while now that what I would call “community blogging” has been on its death bed. There’s no greater evidence for that than the fact that The Volokh Conspiracy has decided to move over to the Washington Post, and will in six month go behind their paywall. As a regular reader who learned a whole lot from 10 years of reading The Volokh Conspiracy, I would be more inclined to pay the Conspirators for a subscription directly than I would to fork over my money to the enemy, which is the Washington Post.

I certainly don’t think that anyone owes anyone else content, but it’s sad to see what’s been happening to blogging. I would classify community blogging as that done primarily for the purpose of civic engagement, with profit being an ancillary purpose at best. There have been plenty of blogs and bloggers who have made the transition from community blogging to either commercial blogging or professional writing. I have no problem with people deciding to do what’s best for them.

Maybe I’m just being an old fuddy duddy but I miss the days when bloggers thought themselves an insurrection against institutions like the Washington Post, and other commercial interests that didn’t give much of a crap short of making a buck. Maybe in the end we’ll gain something from the transformation, but I do have to say I miss the good old days.

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