Changes at deviantart

I’ve been part of the community for a long time. My current username is about 7 years old but I’ve been there longer than that. The service is going through an evolution that I don’t welcome.

They’re replacing their default “green” user interface with a UI that the site owners call Eclipse. According to one user survey, over 95% of current users prefer the traditional design.

It appears their goal is to transition deviantart from being an artists’ social media into an art gallery. They emphasize presenting popular works in an easy-to-access form rather than helping a community thrive. Finding users that fit my style is becoming more difficult.

On my home page, a visitor sees some technical statistics first in bold letters. They aren’t a good measure of how I contribute to the site. I don’t want to stare at those statistics and feel less than.

It looks like their developers have optimized for a small number of use cases. My interactions with the site doesn’t fit those cases. Unfortunately, they may be emphasizing the use cases that create revenue, so my small footprint isn’t relevant.

Technically, the new interface has rough edges and performance problems. Although they’ve been beta testing Eclipse for over a year, there are still hiccups and delays. The thumbnails are bigger and a little slower. I’ve had some simple actions flagged as slow scripts by my browser.

Some people are likely to jump ship when a site changes. I’ll transition from being a multiple-visits-a-day user to a coming-when-I’m-bored user. I’ll just drift away and sadly, my friends on deviantart won’t be so important any more.

I haven’t seen reports of people finding alternatives. Tumblr, Instagram and perhaps flickr are obvious choices, but I haven’t searched for the best fit for me.

Snow angels

With all of the heavy awful news, I thought I’d give you something light and funny. I got a lot of jokes in this past day.

It had a really pretty snow this morning. I was talking to my roommate and remarked that I was definitely not going out to make a snow angel. I was thinking of the song “Alienation” by Morning Parade.

The song alienation was it’s own paradox. Is is one of my favorite songs. It’s title “Alienation” reflected my feeling at the time of being alienated. I promised something lite thought so enough of that.

So make angels in the snow, love a little more
Live with no regrets, for everything you do
Because although the lights are on, there is no one home
And everything you are, everything you were
Everything you’ve been’s not everything you’ll be
We’re really all the stars that bust in the universe
Of our alienation

What do you call two twins who live together.

Wombmates ba dum dum

I’ve got lots of stage and pen names. Here’s the (very long) abbreviated list
B.S. – rapper
Bill D. – vocal artist
W. Wayne B. – poet
smilingy – deviantart
Smiling Y – purported business that has made virtually no money… ever…

A logo I commissioned for Smiling Y

BWS/WBS – artist (They have two different themes; can’t remember what)
sesquized – email – a domain that is supposed to be private… I give it to all of the potentially annoying business, charities and politicians.
Bill W. – anonymous. don’t tell any one. hear hear
I’ve got a Korg Poly 800 ii keyboard. Haven’t got a name for him
… I’ve run out of ideas (a couple times over)

Lite only can go so long. Have a great St. Patrick’s Day. I’m speaking at Anthony Wayne Toastmasters at Ivy Tech on Coliseum in Fort Wayne. We start at 6:30. Another stage name that week too: ‘Bill O’Smith’ (I didn’t make that one up, blame Berniece and Dave Wilkins.)

My home is a mess. a big mess. Not that I’m complaining. It proves I don’t have OCD. Hopefully it doesn’t look like I’m a hoarder… no shame in that.

lite lite lit li t


Thought bubble
In the book “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other,” Sherry Turkle said “With some exceptions, when we make ourselves vulnerable we expect to be nurtured.” (p. 235) She’s referring Erik Erikson and the expectations coming from basic trust. That’s something that’s completely counter to the way that the Internet often works. For the most part, any time you put yourself out there, you’re at risk of being attacked or ridiculed rather than built up and comforted.

One place for this risk comes from places that encourage intimacy. It’s not always easy to trust people to begin with. Letting your guard down out there in the social media dystopia isn’t always safe. If one makes comments that might be too hard to share in person, it can still end up hurting.

One reason for this is that anonymity allows people to be more negative and exhibit the dark tetrad personality traits when, in person, they wouldn’t act out. To them, the idea that people have feelings or that they are afraid of being humiliated is alien. Often, the enemy only feels good by getting some lolz.

Sometimes you can find a community of like-minded people where you can be safe. This reflects Sherry’s comment “Communities are places where one feels safe enough to take the good and the bad.” (p. 238) I’ve found some, like deviantART, are different than most social media. One reason is that to belong there, you have to put in some work. You can’t just repost an inane meme and belong. A member of dA is a creator. A pretender just looks around and is lurking.

Every time you get in front of a computer screen and post something on Twitter or Facebook, it’s possible to misstep and be misunderstood catastrophically.

Taking over and other notes

I went out and looked at my morning glory today. It’s taking over my dome. I just wish it would start blooming. It’s got gorgeous big leaves. I took some pictures but haven’t looked how they came out. The leaves were wet so that might help the images seem a little more interesting.

I’m thinking of buying a Moto X2. I have to decide whether the $300 is worth spending to get a better GPS. The specs say that the Moto has more GPS standards that it supports than my Galaxy S3. I need to look at more reviews, but one forum and people criticizing the S3 and praising the Motorola phones. Some of the people in the forum were confused and thought that the question was to find a more accurate GPS which doesn’t make much sense, but other people understood correctly that he was asking about reliability and not accuracy. I’m not able to trust the old phone for going on trips because it drops signal way too easily and takes forever to get it back. I’m hoping to keep my current phone in my car without a SIM for the purpose of its camera. Nobody has anything good to saw about the Moto X2’s camera.

I was trying to edit the previous Journal article on deviantArt to fix a few typos but Fella woouldn’t let me. I send a support request, so hope it gets solved soon. Here’s my main gallery:

Tomorrow is the first day of me not taking any classes. (In other words, classes start tomorrow and I won’t be taking any.) I’m not sure how long the library access will stay live.

I was listening to a cooking program on NPR this afternoon. It was striking how much the show host was including wine as an ingredient or giving the type of wine that goes best with the dish. It was really enjoyable to see how enthusiastic she was and swift on her feet to answer questions and describe fairly intricate dishes from memory.

I’ve got 7 containers of crushed tomatoes in my freezer last night. I put up about 15 tomatoes yesterday. There are 7 or 8 on the vine that are close to being ripe, so I might harvest a couple more tomorrow. I haven’t made soup in forever and the tomatoes would be a good ingredient, or perhaps to make pasta sauce too. I was thinking today to go searching thru the local libraries’ catalogs to find some new cookbooks. The radio program inspired me to get creative. I have a PLAC card so that I can borrow books from any public library in the state.

I had an incident yesterday. I was leaving the gym and when I got out I had a tire that was completely flat. At first I didn’t think I could take off the lug nuts but I thought about a better way and took off the lug nuts. A guy that was exercising outside came out and helped a little. I had a problem getting the tire off the axle. I ended up calling the roadside assistance service from my insurance.

The service guy pulled up on a motorcycle and had an electric drill to quickly tighten the lug nuts. He showed me that I could have fixed the tire without his help… I just needed to bang the flat tire’s rim with the spare tire. It’s an example of me not thinking outside of the box to figure out how to use the tools I had to solve a problem. Today I had dad show me the right place to put the lift for the car. Yesterday I was too close to the wheel and broke a plastic clip on part of the fairing below the wheel. Now I know where to put the lift next time.

So, several good things happened yesterday that seemed to be God’s help. I parked the car facing north, which I usually don’t do. This meant that while I was waiting for the service call to come, I wasn’t baking in the sun. Also, because I was parked that way, the tire was immediately visible as flat and I didn’t have to start driving off to realize the tire was flat and possibly damage the wheel or tire worse. In addition, while changing the tire, I saw the screw that punctured it and it was in the middle of the tread which should be an easy place to repair.