Category Archives: communication

So Much to Blog About…

It’s been so long since I blogged outside of manga and anime that I feel a little overwhelmed by all the potential stuff that is going on that I could ramble on about.  I feel like the world is changing at an accelerated pace.  Also too much has happened in the past few weeks.  Here’s a list of stuff that’s clogging my brain:

  • Tokyo Pop bankruptcy — what series are going to be left hanging and do I have any time to finish up the translation of some of the series myself?  I probably don’t since I want to leave bandwidth for any new series from Bisco Hatori or Akane Ogura.
  • What’s the heck is Akadot doing?  — They are taking a great risk in changing what they sale.  I can no longer visit their website without being greatly offended.  But, I guess in the end, porn sells.  So I guess, more power to them, but they’ve lost me as a customer and an advocate. Additionally, they just found out that they can’t sell porn though the Kindle, which their parent company admits is an important source of revenue.  Oops…
  • The Epsilon Break-in — Now I can’t trust any e-mail I get from any company. :/
  • Osama Bin Laden is dead — nuff said.  I’m not worried about retaliation like other people.  I’m just relieved more than anything.
  • Royal Wedding Curiosity — I saw the pertinent clips
  • My iPad 2 –Flip Board has changed my life.  I take my iPad 2 to bed with me.  It’s my second husband.
  • Ad supported websites are a lie.  You can’t make much money from Google ads because less than .001% of visits result in the visitor clicking an ad link.  It would be far better for me to sell advertising space myself.

Honestly, I think a lot of my blogging has become Tweets on Twitter.  On Twitter I can write a few quick thoughts and let them float through the ether.  It’s more efficient than “rambling”.  The immediacy of Twitter is nice and I get more community feedback from Twitter than I do from this blog now that I’m on the outside world.

Mobile Manga

Google Analytics has now added separate segmentation for mobile users.  I’ve been looking at mine lately and I don’t have many mobile users visiting my blog.   But, then again, my anime and manga blog is not mobile friendly because the widgets and the large images make it slow to load over mobile.  Also, since I deliver my manga in zip files that are usually 5MB or larger, mobile viewers can’t view my work.  I’ve found on my iPhone that I can’t download the zip files, so there really is no reason to view my blog unless the reader wishes to actually read my prose.   I wonder, though, since most mobile screens are so small,  are they relevant manga viewers?   But then I consider the future.  The tablets are coming and, so, perhaps, I should be prepared?

Many of the manga aggregation sites I visit are in the early phases of experimenting with delivering manga images via mobile devices.  I’ve attempted to read manga on my iPhone and it’s no fun because my iPhone’s screen is too small.  I’ve also read manga using my mini-note.  The problem with the mini-note, though, isn’t the size, so much as the image needs to be rotated 90-degrees to see a full manga page at a reasonable size.  (By the way, I’m still waiting for that little application on my mini-note that rotates the screen and remaps the mouse pad and the arrow keys so I can use it as an e-reader…)  My guess, though, is that the manga aggregation sites are welcoming the tablet PC with open arms and making preparations for explosive growth.  I wonder how this effort compares to that of the actual the actual manga license holders and legitimate distributors?

So far, the mobile manga efforts appear to be rudimentary.  The sites are using simple “liquid layouts” and have stripped out most of the content. leaving the page image and basic navigation.  The images, too, are smaller and more compressed.   Here’s an example of the difference between the default site and the mobile site from the One Manga website:

Default Site

Mobile Site

One Manga gives the viewer 3 size options, but there’s nothing fancy like Google maps’s ability to zoom in on an illegible section.  Regardless, it’s a good start and they are thinking ahead to the coming technology.

I think it’s very interesting that the folks who are taking the first steps toward mobile manga delivery are not the big publishers.   Again, we have a situation where resistance to evolving technology or the inability to adapt quickly is leaving big businesses open to somebody else meeting the unfulfilled wants and needs for their products.  With respect to sites like One Manga, the product is being given out for free by fans who are doing the manga translations as labors of love.  But as a consequence, the expectation that manga is free online is being reinforced further.  This may also prevent mobile manga delivery from being one of the value adds that could have been monetized directly by the legitimate distributor.  Regardless, I applaud One Manga and sites like it for their foresight and a willingness to innovate.

There’s a lingering question, though.  If One Manga and sites like it aren’t doing this for money (perhaps they get enough money from advertising to cover the cost of servers), then why are they constantly moving forward and innovating?   I wonder has it ever occurred to big business that money isn’t the only thing to compete over?   But more on that at another time…

Standing Around the Accident – Meltdowns in Blogs and Twitter

Living life on the Internet continues to interest me.  One of the things I’ve seen recently are people, mostly young women, complaining about having web stalkers or people who flame them in Internet after they write or tweet soul bearing confessionals.   This reinforces my belief that people who bare their souls on the Internet will eventually get hurt emotionally.

In general, I don’t like to read to these types of blogs for the same reason I turn my head when I spot an accident on the side of the road.  I don’t want to see the gore.  However, I don’t think that’s how most people are.  There are people who love to stare at accidents and then comment on it as if they know what happened and where to place the blame.

One thing I can say is, unless the person is a professional blogger, blogging in public, in general, doesn’t help a person’s career.  Ranting backfires.  Readers may enjoy reading the author’s meltdown, but in the end, whether the reader agrees with the rant or not, I don’t think much respect is gained by the ranter.  Furthermore, some conservative readers may even think someone who rants is mentally unstable.   This I’ve learned first hand and, due to that tough lesson, I now keep my blog rants private.

I’ve questioned now that I’m in the middle of a job search whether I should continue to blog and whether I should make a potential employer aware of my Internet activities.  In general, I think employers view blogs and participation in social networks as a risk.  I only advertise my web presence when I think it’s an asset for the job.  But when I apply for a job that doesn’t involve the Internet or when applying to “conservative” companies, I remove of all of my web activities, with the exception of an e-mail address from my resume.

So here are some blogging rules I abide by in order keep my nose relatively clean (nothing I list will be original):

  • Never blog about anything negative in your personal life.  Yeah, yeah, you want to blog about your health problems — but before you do that, ask yourself whether this would give your employer or potential employer a reason to get rid of you or not hire you at all.  Also, there are large factions of people who believe that expressions of negativity are taboo, evil, and denotes a person who is depressed or crazy.
  • Never blog or tweet about your drug, drinking, sexual, and taboo lifestyle activities — and please don’t post pictures of your escapades
  • Never blog about religion or politics
  • Never write about non-celebrities or non-public people by their name
  • Never blog about your workplace, co-workers, or anything having to do with your job.
  • If there is an internal blog or social network in your company,  DO NOT use them unless you have to and limit it strictly to work related matters.  Don’t express any personal opinions about the company, management, projects, or anything.  Remove all emotion other than positivity and  keep to the facts — in other words, use the tools to encourage and inform.  NOTHING will get you fired or laid-off sooner than posting something to the public that pisses off a manager or executive, regardless of whether you post internal or external to the company.
  • Keep your rants private
  • Keep your self righteousness to yourself (still working on that myself)
  • Don’t follow or allow yourself to be followed by people who violate any of rules above.  Following and be followed is tacit consent, so don’t consort with anyone you wouldn’t want your employer to know about.  (If you want to follow a “train wreck,” pull RSS feed into a reader or your e-mail program.)
  • Use an alias

The Internet is one big landmine.  Hopefully, things will improve as more web savvy people move into leadership positions.  Until then, though, my suggestion is to put a lid on it and keep your negative emotions and life’s details private.

Twitter Not Helping Me Much…Maybe???

I’ve been experimenting with Twitter to broadcast my scanlation releases and looking at my blog analytics, Twitter is completely ineffective.  Of the 69 sources of visits to my blog, Twitter accounted for 1 out of the over 2000 visits to my anime and manga blog last week.  Most of the visits to my blog originated from the popular manga websites, Google searches, links from other people’s blogs, or people directly going to my blog.

And here comes the VERY BIG BUT

There is a big unknown, though, with respect to Twitter.  I often don’t directly “follow” people on Twitter because I don’t want to broadcast to the world or the person that I’m following them, so instead I pull an RSS feed of the tweets into Outlook.  Clicking on link from Outlook gets counted as a “direct” visit to my blog.  I don’t know how to get information on pulls from RSS feeds, so I have no idea who pulling RSS from my Twitter or my blog.

Soooo….now a simple comparision:  there’s a BIG jump in visitors from the popular manga sites on days when I release compared to days in between releases.  On the days that I release, 70 – 80% of traffic comes from those sites.  On the days in between most of the traffic comes from Google searches and direct visits (about 50% combined).    I tweet the release at time of the release, so from this I conclude, that Twitter is most likely ineffective and the best way to get the news out about my scanlations is to go where the audience is and that appears to be the popular manga websites and their forums.

I don’t know how Twitter is working for other people who are trying to promote themselves or their products.  But this is my story and I imagine it’s not an uncommon one.  What does this mean for Twitter?  Well, it may not be the best tool for advertisement as hoped, but I think it needs more time and some serious studies to make a conclusion either way.   As always, its good to know where your audience is and to tap into those sources.  Following that logic, if your audience isn’t on Twitter, you certainly aren’t going to bring them there and it’s probably best not to waste your resources on maintaining a Twitter account.  A good way to find out if people are tweeting about you or your product is do a search of Twitter and see what comes up.  I did is for myself and my “product” and not much came up.   As for my future on Twitter: the experiment continues …

When Laptops and E-Reader Converge in the Classroom

I’ve been hearing bits and pieces of news stories about the digital revolution that is happening in the classroom.  Coupled with the histrionics about state of the US education system and the seemingly constant cutbacks, it’s got me thinking about how the digital revolution can help.

Let’s face it, textbooks are a scam.  Most cost over $70 each, with some college textbooks approaching $200 each!  K-12 schools struggle with wear-and-tear of paper textbooks and publishers put out new editions yearly, thereby putting a damper on used book sales.  It only seems natural to go to electrons to cut the cost of firing up a printing press for a limited run of specialized books and to save schools the burden of having to replace worn out or outdated textbooks (not to mention the trees).  When coupled with input features like highlighting and notes, digital books are just as powerful, if not more, than paper books (especially considering in K-12 public schools, student cannot write in the textbooks).  The news reports that electronic textbooks run about half the price of paper textbooks.  There are also experiments around teacher tailored content and textbook mash-ups to add diversity to the content.  This is all very exciting and I can’t wait to see how the copyright laws will change to accommodate these innovations.

The most exciting thing to me about the classroom digital revolution is all the technology that will spawn from it.  I can see E-readers converging with laptops as E-readers gain functionality and laptops limit functionality to meet pricing goals.  There will be new ways of collaboration within a class, between classes, and potentially on a worldwide scale.  I can see blackboards replaced with large touchscreens that broadcast the content (both visual and audio) to the student’s devices.  The blackboard can seamlessly display handwritten content as well as display content from the Internet, and feeds from places outside the classroom.  There can be fun stuff like class polling, instant pop quizzes, and in general, easier ways for more student to get more involved in the class.  Of course, this also facilitates cheating — but I think this just requires a new way of looking at learning and understanding how people will collaborate in the future given all the new technology.  Maybe in the future, it’ll will be commonsense to ask those available for assistance and to be able to search to the find the answers needed on a test — that is the way work gets done now, isn’t it?  Anyhow, this all means that screen technology will have to leap to bigger manufacturing formats (or better stitching of smaller units into big ones) and there needs to be a significant jump in durability to withstand the beating a chalkboard takes and the abuse children inflict upon paper textbooks.  There will also be breakthroughs in collaboration.  Something constant has to stitch all the communication together and it doesn’t necessarily have to be one piece of SW, but rather there needs to be a set of protocols so all software can work together regardless of device (I imagine most of that’s in place now, and it’s just a matter of following the rules).  That’s a tall order, but I’m a believer!  The digital revolution is a big task!  Lots of hardware will be needed, lots of people will be needed to design the hardware and the software, and lots of people will be needed to install the infrastructure.  The contracts will be huge!  And in the end the digital divide will be no more and there will be efficiencies gained with the demise of the paper textbook (plus battery and power optimization technologies for convenience and greenness).    I think it will be a leveler and hopefully lead to more prosperity for everyone.  Or so that is what this wide-eyed idealist believes …

US Patriotic Song Lyrics

Here’s a nifty website I ran across as I looking for the lyrics to “America the Beautiful.”  It has a list of US patriotic songs and complete lyrics.

Link

Strangely enough, I knew the most lyrics of the Marine Hymn — I’m not sure why either.  Eitherway, I was very surprised at how many verses the songs have and the fact that I only know the first verse of most of the songs.  “Yankee Doodle Dandy” is a mystery to me — it gives my the image of a patriotic “Pirates of the Caribbean.”  “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” is powerfully descriptive, but I must say I like the clean straight forward nature of the Marine Hymn best.

Anyhow, if you have 15-minutes, take a quick look at the songs.  There all very nice!

Teens are Not Driving Twitter Growth

Thank goodness someone is finally debunking the myth that children and teens drive all technology movements!  Forgive me, but teens are NOT all that tech savvy.  Here’s an interesting article about how adults are driving Twitter adoption while teens stick to texting over mobiles.

Link

It is interesting that the teens interviewed for this article said that Twitter is for professionals and that Twitter is redundant with texting.  I think the important thing, and this sorta gets glossed over in the article, is the one-to-many nature of Twitter.  Teenagers’ lives revolve around their friends.  I recall, as a teenager, people outside of my immediate clique were non-existent.  So it makes sense to me that teens would want to stick to ways that maximize connections within their clique and texting over a mobile is probably the best way to do that now.

I also think it’s a good thing kids and teens are not adopting Twitter en masse.  About 90% of the folks that try to follow me are either people peddling porn or people peddling some sort of get-rich-quick scheme.  For me, the number of people I have to kick off my Twitter almost makes it not worth doing.  I think most kids are smart enough to stay away from unsavory people, but at the same time, people can disguise themselves as normal and “Twitter Stalk.”  Thinking about children’s safety, I wouldn’t want some unsavory people stalking kids over the Internet.  (I think, though, that starts with teaching kids about the dangers of the Internet and technology, rather than banning or limiting use.)

As for the “professional” aspect, I can sorta see that.  I mainly use Twitter to “advertise” my manga activities and the people I follow are mainly “advertising” too.  I could see teens following a string of “advertisements” they want to know about, but I don’t see them actively Tweeting into the vast ether.

Anyhow, it is an interesting article and one that I will probably mentally chew on for the next few days.