Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Time Dilation Zones ... or, Gravity Sucks

We must be living and doing business on the lip of the gravity well of a massive black hole. It's the only thing that would even halfway explain what's happening with virtually everything we're trying to do at this time --

LORDS OF HARBENDANE, right? Keegan's earth-shattering new work that was supposed to be out and at Amazon in time for Christmas 2008 ... and it's now January 14th on this side of the dateline, and the proof copy still hasn't shown up here.

And as of this morning, we know why.

It was shipped by USPS priority on Dec 29th. Some bright spark in the packing department forgot to slap an international shipping label on it. USPS took FIFTEEN DAYS to figure this out and return it to CreateSpace...

It has just been re-shipped.

What can you say? Time dilation works in mysterious ways -- and it's hit us again, same day: we just had notification from iPower that the DreamCraft domain can't be moved away from the old InterNic dinosaur setup, into the Tucows zone, where the guys at DC can properly control things ... not for 60 days starting on January 8. The old registrar (the one that took 48 hours to bring the renewed domain back online) won't let go of it for -- you guessed -- two months.

Why? Your guess is as good as mine. Probably better. So ... we wait for the proof of HARBENDANE, and for DreamCraft to be released from its strange bondage.

Right now, we're waiting for a/c to be installed. The plant was purchased about a month ago and has been sitting under a tarp. The installation company FORGOT to schedule the installation. It was 110.6 F in the SHADE, in this neck of the woods yesterday. Time dilation strikes again!

It's also a month since I wrote a very nice letter to Google, to make nice and get my Google page rankings restored, since I'd swear to god(s) I haven't done anything to get myself on their $hit list. I'm (yes!) still waiting. They warned of a wait of "several weeks," and they weren't kidding. It's been two months, now, since anyone in the US found MK via a Google blog or web search. The Googlebot stopping indexing this blog about six weeks ago. (The fences are rusting, the weeds are feet higher, the rafters are full of cobwebs and vultures...)

What are my plans?! Fire up the engines, turn the stern to the event horizon, see if we can pull our way out of the gravity well!

Seriously ... the a/c ought to be on and working by evening today ... HARBENDANE ought to be delivered some time next week ... DC can shift its domain in March, and as for this blog --

If Google won't redress the problem, I'll delete the whole thing, strike a new blog and upload the majority of these posts, maybe two or three at a time. Of course, the time-sensitive posts will be lost (Prop 8 before 11/1/08 ... Christmas ... New Year), but I'll salvage what I can.

At that point, I'll also be asking regular readers for a bit of help: the more people who link to you, the more The Goog notices you. If maybe a dozen readers would link direct to the new blog, we'd be back up and running in no time.

Still -- it hasn't happened yet. Maybe someone nice at Goog HQ is, even as I type this, looking at this blog and saying, "What a great blog! Which nong shuffled this onto the $hit list? Let's just fix this problem, right now."

Time dilation is a curious thing. I know intellectually that most of the delays have only been in the order of 2 or 3 weeks, but to my frazzled brain cells it's been several years -- hence the rusting fences and gathering vultures!

And of course the final thing we're waiting for is to see the impact of the Internet filtering, which was SUPPOSED to be starting in a few days -- this being mid-January.

As per the impending filtering, the Rudd government is starting to revolve in shrinking circles are contradict itself. There's a feature running on iTWire right now: ...Conroy Cans Coonan's Free Net Filtering Scheme.

The title there references this: "The Australian Labor Government has closed the programme established by the previous Coalition Government which gave all Australian families access to a free PC-based Internet content filter under its NetAlert initiative. The filters were available through the NetAlert web site either by download or delivery on CD-Rom. The site now says simply that "The free availability of internet content filters from this website under the National Filter Scheme ended on 31 December 2008." However, free technical support for filters previously obtained under the scheme is available until 30 June 2010. Shadow minister, Nick Minchin claimed that the Rudd Government had "quietly closed the programme...under the cover of the festive season on 31 December." However, a spokesman for communications minister, Stephen Conroy, told iTWire that plans to close the scheme had been revealed in the May 2008 budget. He said that free filters were now widely available from ISPs so provision by the Government was unnecessary."

And the rub is in the last sentence. Read it again!!! Free filters are available from ISPs, so the government's meddling is not necessary!

And yet blanket, nation-wide filtering is? Hunh? Say what?

There's more. This is the next paragraph from the same feature in iTWire: "The spokesman also claimed that the scheme had been a huge waste of money. "The previous government spent $15.5 million on promoting PC filters. 163,000 filter licences were issued, and as at end of November 2008 only approximately 26,000 of these were still in use. Extrapolated, that means that only about two percent of households with dependent age children and an internet connection are using the filter."

Bottom line: parents don't care. If they cared, they would protect their kids. The means of protection are not just cheap, they're free. But 98% of kids have parents who don't give the proverbial stuff what their ofspring are seeing on the WWW --

Which leaves Stephen Conroy out there watchdogging the web on behalf of these "Couldn't care less" parents, and crippling the Internet for the whole country with mandatory filters that are largely ineffective. Woah.

In the current feature running in iTWire, there is also a throwaway remark that "Conroy's preferred option - mandatory ISP level filtering - is months away from being implemented."

It was supposed to all be in place and running before Christmas. Well, now we're looking at mid-2009 or so, are we?? I've said it so often before, I'm sheepish about saying it again: make the parents responsible. Make it illegal to expose kids to porn. Put a $5,000 fine on the crime of running unfiltered Internet connections in houses where there are kids. Then enforce the law, and use the revenues to pay for free filters supplied to every parent. Problem solved.

Turns out, time dilation seems to be affecting Stephen Conroy's neck of the woods too! All by itself, December '08 turns into mid-09. Which is a neat trick.

For Keegan, most of the things that should have been happening four and six weeks ago are going to be happening in the next 1 - 3 weeks, and it's weird. Seriously weird. I'll give you odds, Conroy would say the same.

Anyway ... the other side to time dilation (the point which physicists never remember to make) is, better late than never.

Want to know a bit more about how nutso Oz has become since Kevin Rudd took the reins? Go here:

...that little lot was racked up in one single year! Ouch!

Back to work, guys!


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