Day one. Jour un

Hello, my name is Sam and I've been using the Internet for over ten years. To my amazement, blogging is a fad that hasn't gone away. I've never blogged. I'm not Howard Deen and I'm not running for President so what is the point?

However, I've realized that I have occasionally been reading blogs. And since you can search blogs with search engines, they can be useful sources of editorialised information.

For example, I just spent a great deal of time reading about Shanghai's Maglev train on a guy's blog. I got to that blog for Live from the third rail, a blog about public transportation.

I have a web site. In fact, I was one of the first members of Geocities. Then I got bored and stopped. Geocities canceled my site and now the only way to access it is with the Internet Archives. Unfortunately, the archives are incomplete. I set up a new web site (with Geocities). What amazes me is web publishing was easier then than it is now! My web site back then was cool with wallpaper and scrolling messages and wav and midi files. Ah, those were the good old days.

Now I'm clueless. Web publishing is so much more complex. Geocities is now harder to use. Plus, I got hooked on the idea I could make money from my site (something that never would have occurred to me when I was publishing my site in 1996 from my dorm room). So I went and put Google adds on my pages. Then I tried to generate traffic by posting clever advice postings in newsgroups. When that didn't work, I posted topless pictures of young stars (now that would have worked in 1996!). I've forgotten how to html. So every time I make a change, especially with all that Google Add sense Java script, it takes for ever.

There are errors on my site and I can't be bothered to change them. I'd have to buy some decent software or hire a highschool kid. But I don't want to spend money, I want to make some! Anyway, my site has generated a grand total of US$5.59.

But this guy in China with the Maglev posts claims he generates 45.000 visitors a month!

So this is why I'm going to try blogging. If a guy/geek in China (China!) can generate that kind of traffic, why not me.

I'm not yet a complete convert to blogs mind you. And if it does turn out to be a fad I reserve the right to say that "I told you so" and invite you to my web site. And we could discuss what a crazy fad it was in a newsgroup, listserv or in IRC.

Here is what I really don't get about blogs. Posting to the Internet is like writing in a diary that everybody can read, now or in 20 years.

Yet many bloggers post pictures and other personal identifiers.

When they run for office, even for the condo board, some enterprising Internet surfer is going to find these old posts, take them out of context and embarrass the hell out of them.

So here is my disclaimer: If someone figures out who I am, now or in the future, please be advised that all the embarrassing posts in this blog were added by one of my enemies/opponents/ex-girlfriends/ex-wives in and elaborate attempt to discredit me. They hacked into my blog, possibly using my password which is on a Post-it on my screen, in order to usurp my identity.

However, if by alternative measures (writing style, opinions) you conclude that is was indeed me, than please understand that I was probably drunk, hungover, trying to impress a girl, smoking pot (in a country where it is legal), deprived of sleep or purposely trying to provoke a reaction by posting the exact opposite of what I believe in. But most importantly, realize that my opinions change constantly. And I am very opinionated. I really do like a good argument, and I do play devil's advocate.

Live from the third rail

China's Howard Deen

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