Texas AG: MySpace Should Be Safer

My law school buddy and current Texas attorney general Greg Abbott has turned his attention to MySpace.com in the wake of another arrest of an internet predator.

From the Houston Chronicle article:

“Abbott said Web sites like MySpace – a social networking hub with more 72 million members – should make it harder to find profiles belonging to underage youth and should use software that automatically scans all uploaded photographic images and blocks those that are pornographic.”

As more and more governmental officials begin to take a hard look at the social networking services, MySpace and its kin should take meaningful and significant action to address this problem, even if it means a loss in user numbers. Because if they don’t address the safety issue in a meaningful and effective way, someone is going to do it for them.

Smoke and mirrors and baby steps aren’t going to satisfy the watchdogs much longer. And once the government gets into your business, it’s hard to get them out. Just ask Microsoft.

Second Life Land Giveaway

OK, I still own too much Second Life land, which costs me money since your Second Life monthly fee is based on how much land you own. I’m going to give away three tracts of land and here’s how it will work.

I have three tracts of land that I am going to give away.

Tract One

tract1The first tract is a 3,872 square meter tract, with roadside frontage. It has a castle on it that I built myself (thus it’s unique). You can keep the castle or trash it and build something else.

This tract is located at Sabine 191,173,65 and is just up the road from my house and the other tracts I am giving away.

Tract Two

The second tract is a 2,496 square meter tract that is beside my house and behind the third tract described below. It has no improvements on it and is located at Sabine 215, 147, 63.

Tract Three

tract2The third tract is a 2,240 square meter tract, also with roadside frontage. It has a house on it, which you can keep or trash and build something else.

This tract is located at Sabine 145, 123, 60 and is right beside my house.

The Rules

If you’d like some free land and even a castle or house to go on it, all you have to do is link to this post. I will gather the entries from three sources: Technorati, Google (see the “Other Blogs” links in the left column) and Trackbacks (as shown below). To be eligible, a trackback must actually link to this post (no nofollow tags).

On Monday, May 29, 2006, I will put all of the entries in a shoe box, shake them up and ask Cassidy, Delaney and Raina to close their eyes and pick one. Tracts 1, 2 and 3 will be given away in that order.

You can enter for yourself or a friend. Only one entry per blog, but if you have more than one blog, you can enter once with each. I just want to get this land off of my books and maybe gain some good neighbors in the process.

As a bonus, I’ll pay the first month’s land use fee ($25.00) for the first winner picked who doesn’t already have a Second Life account.

My Favorite Records:3 from the Grateful Dead

This is the another installment in my series of favorite records.

We’re into the G’s, which means that I’m faced with which Grateful Dead records to put on this list.

I am a long, long time Grateful Dead fan. I own most of their studio records and many of their archive releases. I saw them in concert numerous times and named my oldest child after one of their songs.

So which records should I pick for this list?

Aoxomoxoa, with St. Stephen and China Cat is great. Workingman’s Dead is an acoustic masterpiece that cemented the love that Europe ’72, my initiation to the Dead, began.

Mars Hotel has three of my favorite Dead numbers: China Doll, Scarlet Begonias and Pride of Cucamonga. Blues for Allah is an improvisational masterpiece.

Reckoning has my favorite version of Dire Wolf and the version of the song that I named Cassidy after.

It’s a really tough choice.

I’m going to swallow hard and pick just three.

Blues for Allah
Europe ’72

And the one that if you made me pick would be my favorite-

American Beauty

If I was in a fantasy record league, I’d start American Beauty every game. I challenge anyone to find a record with stronger songs from beginning to end. I can honestly say that there’s not a song on the record that I’d rank less than a 9.5 on a 10 scale, and there may just be 10 straight 10’s on this record.

I could easily add several more Grateful Dead records to this list. Then you add all of the archive recordings which have been released over the years and you end up with the most impressive collection of music ever assembled by a band not called the Rolling Stones.

If I had to pick only one band to listen to, the Dead would beat out the Allman Brothers based partially on a larger catalog. Almost every Grateful Dead record is a magical experience. Add in the live recordings and you have a lifetime of great music.

One More to Start the New Week

I found another gem on YouTube.

If you were lucky enough to see Mother’s Finest live, you know what I’m talking about.

The Year of the Westerns

gunsmoke-721467I came across this neat site (but they need to lose the lame pop-up ads), which tells you the top rated TV shows for any year from 1950 to 2000. I was born in 1960, which seems to have been the year of the western. Maybe that explains why I like them so much.

Here are the top 6 shows from 1960:

Gunsmoke
Wagon Train
Have Gun Will Travel
The Andy Griffith Show
The Real McCoys
Rawhide

Here are the top 6 from 1966, the year Raina was born (the year of the somebody show):

Bonanza
The Red Skelton Show
The Andy Griffith Show
The Lucy Show
The Jackie Gleason Show
Green Acres

And finally from 1998, the year Cassidy was born:

ER
Friends
Frasier
Monday Night Football
Veronica’s Closet
Jesse

Delaney and Luke came along after 2000, so no lists for them- at least not on that site.

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The Sportsification of the Internet

When I was a kid, long before they were almost good, I was an Atlanta Braves fan. I remember watching Hank Aaron, Dusty Baker and Ralph Garr in the outfield. I remember Jerry Royster, Biff Pocoroba and Phil Niekro. I followed their batting averages and ERAs by reading the newspaper and listening to the radio, often with an earpiece after I was supposed to be asleep. After TBS launched in 1976, I watched a lot of games on TV.

Baseball is a great game, because it is all about the stats. I kept a little handmade chart with my favorite players’ names, positions and stats. Throughout my youth I knew the stats for a lot of players.

It never even crossed my mind how much they got paid.

Now, everything about professional sports is all about the money. Every time a professional athlete is mentioned, his salary follows like a Sr. or Jr. Cal Ripkin, Jr. has turned into Chipper Jones, $13M.

It’s not just baseball. The important golf stats used to be stroke average and tournaments won. Now all they show in the papers is how many millions the player has earned this year. Tennis is the same way. The NFL is just as bad. Don’t even get me started on the NBA.

The evolution of professional sports from pastime and passion to business and bling bling turned many ardent fans into bored cynics.

theocho-758706Now the same thing is happening to the internet. Go visit any of the popular sites that track and comment on the internet and internet related applications. While lip service is, for the moment, still given to how cool or useful an application or service is, the focus is clearly and quickly shifting to how much money someone has, will or might make off of that application or service.

Read TechCrunch for a week and you will see this trend. Look at how many of the posts on Techmeme (nee Memeorandum) have to do with money or the prospects thereof. In this age where every application developer and his dog are trying to live off of ad revenue and every consumer and his dog are buying TIVOs and XM radios primarily to avoid ads, more and more people and trying to stuff more and more advertising into their applications and content streams.

The mindset that made geekdom cool is dying in favor of the talk that made Wall Street insiders rich. It’s almost like the “if you build something cool, it will sell itself” approach has been forgotten and people are trying to reverse engineer from the other end of the rainbow- the much coveted IPO or sale to Yahoo.

Don’t get me wrong, money is good. Our economic system is based on people making money. Like everyone else with a real job, I spend a lot of my time trying to make money.

But every single thing in our lives shouldn’t be about money. Those parts of our lives that don’t involve money are shrinking rapidly.

We need to protect those parts of our lives the way we protect other things that are valuable to us. For two reasons. One, it’s important for our spiritual and physical well being and it helps give our kids a balanced view of the world. Two, for those less idealistic, reverse engineering a made fortune is no substitute for good business.

The only true roadmap to wealth is to do something really well. Build something people want or need. Provide a service that people will pay for. Shortcuts generally either implode on their own or end up as part of some greater fool exit strategy.

I hope we can stop all the madness before new social networking applications start showing up on The Ocho.

Luke the Baptized

Luke & GigiLuke was baptized during our church service today. Gigi and Papa were there, as were his Godfamilies the Clarks and the Veldmans, and Delaney’s Godfamily, the Fenrichs. We had a big crowd and Luke handled it like a champ.

Afterwards, everyone came over for a fajita lunch and swimming. Cassidy, Evie and Rachael wrote and have been practicing a musical about owls, based on some baby owls we saw in our yard the other night. They prevailed on me to make a stage out of the deck in the new yard, complete with offstage areas behind some camping air mattresses, on which they performed their musical to thunderous applause.

FriendsThe kids practiced their swimming strokes a little, played games and took turns jumping off the big wall into the pool. I got some good shots, including this one of Larsen, Evie and Cassidy. After cake and ice cream, the kids each recorded a message in an audible photo book for Remy, who is moving to Michigan in two weeks (this being a profoundly sad thing for us). Afterwards, the kids went to Rachael’s dance recital and Evie’s piano recital.

Between getting up at 6:30 a.m. for swim practice yesterday and the busy day we had today, everybody is pretty wiped out. I think it’s time for Daddy to take a little nap.

Unless, of course, the kids want to play a little soccer.