1861 Son Of A Preacher Man.

Alex & Reggie come from two different versions of being taught how money should be used. Alex’s family is very civic minded, whereas Reggie’s is family minded; more selfish. He in particular hasn’t been taught that the very wealthy have a responsibility to the less fortunate. Alex’s family set up a system that allows a private library to act as a resource for the community. At the same time I doubt that Alex’s family would have ever just given away their money out of some sense of right. They kept money and power, but dole a bit out to everyone else to make them not want to murder them in their sleep. It’s a good way to keep your money and your head. If you just keep all the money, and don’t, at the very least, pretend to be doing charitable things with it people will eventually find ways to take that shit from you. The French revolution is a well studied example of that. Even if you earn your money fairly, if the balance between people with money & people without gets too out of hand it will eventually correct itself violently. I’ve seen it said that the United States, and the world generally, is on the tipping point of that problem. I’m not sure if it is or not, but it gets talked about more and more, so I’m wary. Even simple health care costs can cause people to be bankrupted, it’s difficult to buy a house, a car, or anything really. The young are dropping out of society as we’ve known it, and I can’t blame them for wanting to. But I digress. Reggie’s family at least has sense enough not to just give him everything he wants. It may annoy him, but he will, eventually, come to understand the value of money as it applies to the work required to get it. It’s possible that Alex was never taught that, but by virtue of other teachings came to understand it in spate of never being expressly taught. In spite of being born with silver spoons in their mouths they became very different people…

And now news from my world:
Project Wonderful, which is an advertising service I’ve used almost as long as I’ve been making this comic, is shutting down in August. For you guys this means very little. For me it’s the loss of a revenue stream that will amount to about $160 a month. Not an insignificant hit to be sure. I’ve actually considered dropping PW a few times in the last year or so because its value has dropped significantly. The prevalence of AdBlock, use of facebook & tumblr, & other factors, such as traditional media’s war on the internet, have made monetizing internet content much harder recently. Things are always changing. I’ve lived through a lot of them doing this comic for so long. From comic collectives, webcomic reviews, & everything else. Project Wonderful allowed me to monetize my work at a time when advertising was almost impossible for small creators. Unfortunately we’re going backwards in that regard. Most social media sites want your content on their platform & will try to keep your viewers there instead of moving you to the source. Facebook isn’t the kind of place you find the hot new thing anymore. People don’t become famous because of it the way they once did, and that’s happening across the entire landscape. It’s driving the growth of sites like Patreon. There was a time when you would be laughed out of the room for suggesting any kind of a subscription content service. I remember it happening more than once as the years rolled by, but now… Thing have changed. As the ability to make money via advertising wanes subscription services will become more and more necessary for independent creators to monetize their work. Or it will give power back to media companies and crush decades of expressive freedom we’ve gotten used to. It’s not an accident. The rich like staying rich. It’s all part of a gradual power grab that is meant to take the wild spirit of the internet and tame it for the people who want power and control. There’s just so much going on all the time that people have lost their will to resist the constant struggle against it all. People who do push back get labeled as villains of one shade or another. It’s happening to me more and more as I talk about the importance of protecting free speech. Dark days are ahead. Project Wonderful’s demise is an indicator of that.

It’s difficult for a small creator to buy advertising. Many services have minimum buy ins of $100 or more. Google controls almost all of the advertising on the internet. A gross imbalance of power. Their rules are draconian and once you’re out, you’re out. They don’t even have to give you a reason. That’s part of why I’ve never used their service. So much of my content MIGHT be against their terms of service I never risked it. Project Wonderful let you buy as much ad time as you could afford for as long as you could afford it. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked very well when it was at its most popular. I owe so much of my success to that service. I kept my PW ad spots up, even when the values started to drop, because I wanted my site to be a place where new creators could get noticed by the kind of dedicated readers I knew I have. It is important to me to help other creators find their audience. Losing a way to do that (which also benefited me) really makes me sad.

Things will continue to change as old media grapples with a world where people want to choose their content on THEIR terms. It’s scary to be caught up in that conflict, even in my small corner of the internet. I’ll have to push Patreon more now. As much as I don’t like reminding people about it all the time this is the new reality & things will probably get worse before they get better. I may just leave the old PW ad spaces blank, or I might put new ads there & hope they can make up the difference. I have a little time to decide. I don’t like the idea of there being no ads at all because I think people who don’t use patreon should at least contribute that small amount. My ad people are pretty good about keeping bad actors out of the ad feeds. (The fact that they have to is part of the problem)

I dunno. It’s depressing to lose a service that I have felt was a strong ally for the independent creator. I very rarely had to worry about what PW was doing, and that’s the best kind of service to work with. I will very much miss the simple ads served up from new voices and from old favorites. I’ll also miss having the ability to be one of those voices.

Anyway, if 160 of you want to join my patreon please do. It will make me feel less worried about the future at least.

31 Comments

I fear that if we only store knowledge on the internet from now on, we will ultimately end up with a lost age. After all knowledge is easily deleted

Or easily altered, if it’s digital.

It’s a little harder to alter history in a book that is already written without it being obvious. If the information is stored digitally and there’s no log being kept of what entity touches the data (which – insanely enough – very few companies keep track of who is doing what to their data in the background, as I’ve seen having worked in the NSA), someone could rewrite all that data and history and no one would ever see through it.

I’m not very computer or internet savvy, but I have heard of sites/services which allow you to archive a website. I actually did this for one where the creator passed away, but I haven’t really tried the result. As it only had short articles and a link to the main one, I don’t know how well this worked. Maybe it’s something the more savvy could use to preserve/protect parts of the internet that interest them.

There is such a product, several of them in fact. They used to call themselves Web Spiders; I don’t know the current name.

See my comment, below.

Of course, wealthy people giving back to the community is also extremely useful for tax write-offs. It’s not just making those millions, it’s keeping them by giving it away.

Course, they could save the money and spend it on taxes, cause we all know what a responsible steward of money the government is.

Our government isn’t fiscally responsible because the vast majority of those in charge of the budget are those with silver spoons who never learned the value of the dollar and the lesson stated above. That, and they unquestioningly follow the theory of an “economist” who stated governments should always be in debt in order to force people to keep investing in it because of the shear monetary damage that would be incurred should it fall. Of course, this theory only works with massive governments that people already don’t want to lose, and does not account for internal strife or significant outside pressure mucking things up. An unforeseen consequence is the ability to quite literally sell political influence (where you buy out debt in exchange for political favors) but that has lead to a lot of corruption that is helping to make people antsy.

books are nice, but digital is better
digital content can be easily stored, duplicated, shared, and it doesn’t need to be maintained/restored
libraries are on their way out, they’ll eventually be replaced by buildings with computers to access information

One EMP or bad solar flare and all that is over.

You don’t even need to go as extreme as an EMP or CME. Look into the northeast power outage of 03. To oversimplify it, an overloaded power line and software bug cause some people to lose power for over a week. Heck, i work in a call center. It is fun when the main servers decide they need a break.

That kind of outage is recoverable. A bad solar flare can destroy electronics and make magnetic storage unreadable. There was one in the mid-1800’s, but we weren’t using magnetic storage yet. Look up Carrington event.

Truth is, we will always need hardcopy storage of some form due to the liability of data corruption. Books and paper records are simply the best we have for now, and really, as long as deep data storage facilities are protected well enough, then keeping everything electronic is simply the most efficient way of media storage due to its ability to rapidly replicate information (don’t forget the whole burning of the Library of Alexandria annihilated virtually all records of Pre-Roman European history, and nearly caused ancient Egypt itself to be forgotten entirely).

But that is only because we have not developed something better. If we can find a way to physically copy information onto something that is electronically accessible but is not easily electronically modifiable that would be ideal. Solid state technology is a step in that direction, I think.

I am biased, I do like [books made out of paper].
However, one thing I like about printed books is: when I buy them, I can read them, and I don’t have to pay for electricity, or batteries, to operate them.

Also, with a printed book: I can read them as many times as I want to, without paying to power them.

Digital libraries certainly do need to be maintained. Storing 20 cat pictures on your cell phone is one thing, but when you get to replacing physical library building size, things quickly become more complex. If you store massive amounts of data and/or need quick access, you probably use a RAID array. If you do work with RAID arrays, you certainly have heard raid is no replacement for backups. I hope you test those backups or you may find things didn’t work right at the worst possible time. Depending on which side of the equation you are on, nice thing is, the people who professionally maintain the digital library typically get paid better than the paper library librarian.

The problem with digital data is that the more data you have, the more energy it takes to maintain it.

It’s not just energy to store it. You also have to have systems to monitor it’s integrity, systems to provide access to it, systems to protect it and systems to replicate it. All that takes energy.

Also, digital data is so much easier to tamper with and alter without notice. If you alter a book, it’s more noticeable. The problem is that most electronic libraries do not maintain a decent logging system to know who has looked at data and who has the ability to change data.

I work with the NSA, and I see a lot of problems with digital data if it is stored for a long period of time. Not only can it be abused, but it can be altered to change how people are able to use it.

As a heavy gamer, I argue against the digital push daily. Unfortunately gaming has gone into a spiral where it’s better and cheaper for companies to release their products digitally (And as a side effect where there’s no resale market, they make full price on every purchase and never need to lower prices). That’s great in theory because you can have the moment it’s out, but no company is going to keep servers running forever. You can’t keep all those games simultaneously downloaded without shelling out a couple hundred extra bucks on external drives or replacement hard drives. As it is we loose online games when their servers go down, imagine losing hundreds of single player offline games forever because the download servers went down.

Buy your media physically people, it will exist long term. Digital media will only last as long as the service providing it does. Remember if it’s digital, it’s a rental from a sever. If it’s physical it’s yours to do with as you wish.

I gave a look on the Internet and it indeed looks like a war with Google as the winner. I saw there exists things called “Buysellads”, “Adzerk” and “OpenX” but I don’t know what it’s worth

The sad truth is that google will win because its got lots of money behind it and these days it seems money wins…. anyways your post convinced me to turn off my adblock on your site and i signed up for paetron just need 159 more now :)

Funny thing…since Trump got in, there’s been more talk about treating Google as a public utility since, technically kinda-sorta, it breaks a couple of laws regarding monopolies. Worse, it’s being obnoxious about it.

https://www.westernjournal.com/ct/nunes-sends-google-warning/

And as for libraries, man, but they’re a problem. Offline backups are awesome because they work when “online” doesn’t. But they are cumbersome as all hell. They take huge amounts of space and require a lot of maintenance. They can’t store a fraction of what digital can in a space better meant for shoeboxes.

Worse, we’re entering an era where people who can’t remember life without the internet are starting to get some authority. Convincing them that the internet could stop–for more than brief periods of outages–is next to impossible.

Well, it will be a very hard lesson when the Internet does stop for a long period of time because all the countries in the world have a terrible track record of maintaining the infrastructure required to support networks and large repositories involved in those networks.

The biggest downside of electronic data is that unlike books, people can go in and alter data without it being noticed. We do not do a good job of policing our data and preventing people from altering it. We can barely protect data from people who want to look at it, let alone alter it.

You misspelled “appreciate”, but otherwise awesome development so far. Reggie is turning out to be rather decent. If he could only do something about his normal attitude, he might mature into a well rounded human.

I dunno if you remember smackjeeves (where I first found ya and been reading since! o/) but the admin there, Dan, just recently created his own sorta version of PW, I guess? For the time being, while it’s in beta, it’s exclusive to SJ but it sounds like he has plans to open it up later this year. It’s missing a bit of stuff in beta atm (such as ability to pay with paypal) but that’s being looked into as well.

It’s called bid.glass — this sounds relevant so I hope it’s okay to share links… bid.glass itself links to the site, but here’s some more info: https://www.smackjeeves.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=19619

I dunno, may be something worth looking into especially if PW is sticking around til August anyway.

Still very much enjoying the comic – thanks for all that you do~

I’m an old hand at google advertising ($m of bought ads). There is no one strike your out. If you do advertise on goog, only use search, not their display network which is 95% fake sites. As for signing up as a content provider, I would not hesitate to at least try it. They certainly are evil but at least competent. The ad industry is about 50% fraudulent metrics.

IMHO-
I try not to make predictions about technology, and machines.
For example-
In the 1930s, there were acres of magazines, + articles by “experts”, that said: “Soon, everyone will be using their own, flying car!”

It’s been about 78 years,…and I still don’t find a neighborhood full of flying cars.
[And no, I haven’t been alive for 78, or 78-plus years. My little smart-butts! You know who you are.] ;D

Flying cars an an absolute nightmare anyhow. We already have problems with elderly with bad eyesight/reaction times/decision making on the road, much less drunk drivers, without making driving a 3D awareness issue. Plus, nuclear-powered everything would mean a lot of limbless babies and radiation sickness. Lastly, “Experts” back then and now, are mostly just people who are good at sensationalizing things. However nowadays you do sometimes get someone who actually does have an idea about what they are talking about (though they usually don’t get called upon for a return).

I bought a utility called Tennyson-Maxwell Teleport that allows me to download a whole website or just one branch. I have stored lots of sites for later binging. Some sites are too cumbersome or just don’t work well enough for that kind of activity, although this one is remarkably well designed.

Fifteen years or so ago, an artist had his site taken over by a hacker (Rule 1: Don’t use the default password!). The hacker deleted all the content and posted some crude porn. The artist didn’t have backups on his home machine (a serious violation of smart) or anywhere else. I sent him an eMail and told him I had his entire site on my hard drive. He thought I was lying, but I told him I would send him the backup on a CD for $5. CDs used to be expensive, plus postage and the mailer probably cost me $5.25. So worth it.

There are a number of websites and comics that are gone forever (remember A Doemain of Our Own, No Outlet or Orville?), but I can still read them on my machine.

In a perfect world, I want all content to be individual subscription without ads, and I want to see ads only when I’m looking for something

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