Oo! New glasses? Haircut? Redesign!

It's not a radical change, but my online self is now looking more put together thanks to the skilful minstrations of Mr. Lance Arthur.

Do let me know if you find anything amiss, but, frankly, after the work he did both for appearance and cleanliness of the underlying code, you're more likely to find something working that used to be broken (or at least kinda janky).

The biggest changes took place on Discardia.com, which is now not only prettier, but more functional and a far better reflection of Discardian principles.

Hiring someone who actually knows what they're doing is worth every penny.

Ch-ch-changes

As you can see, exciting changes are taking place around here.

It took me quite a long while, but I have—over a decade after it ceased being my day job—finally embraced the fact that since I'm not a web designer anymore, that means I can hire someone else to do it for me. Because the someone I have hired is also one of my most trusted friends, this revitalization of my sites will take place with the same devil may care attitude as changes I made myself in the past. You may see all sorts of crazy, halfway-to-their-final-state stages of the process. Pardon, as they say, our dust.

[animated gif of construction guy]

Details filling in as I go

Yes, it may look a little sparse around here with my tweets automatically popping over, but don't worry: I'm adding proper titles, additional quotes, better (perhaps more long-term durable) forms of the links, embedded videos, etc. every few days or weekend.

When I looked back on the pre-Flickr, pre-Twitter years of this blog, I realized how much clearer a picture I had of what was going on in my life and capturing my attention. It's my intent to restore that richness to the blog going forward and—as time permits—to bring into the archives of MetaGrrrl.com those things I shared elsewhere on the web.

Thanks for your patience as I work out the kinks of this single lifestream stuff. 🙂

Exposure is not why I blog.

Was there some kind of major staff change at @typepad? Email/blog stuff now all SEO this, SEO that. Ugh. Sign me "saddened 9 year customer".

They reply:
@MetaGrrrl We just know that a lot of our users are interested in SEO stuff. Is there a specific issue there that's worrying you?

I react:
.@typepad In the wake of this ("Google Is Working On Making SEO Matter Less") you really don't see the negative connotations of the term SEO & ad-over-content culture?

Just using the term in a tweet prompted auto-following by "social media management" & "network marketing pro" types. Ugh. Not the web I want.

Then Ed chimes in:
RT @vielmetti: @typepad, I'm not producing content, I'm writing.

Intellectual property, the online life, and physical death

The recent loss of my dear friend Brad Graham and the memories it brought up of another wonderful person we lost too soon, Leslie Harpold, has me thinking about what might happen to my online presence when I die.

In remembering Brad, many of us began to worry that his wonderful voice online as expressed in his Bradlands.com website might be lost to us as Leslie's was.

I'm fortunate to have a family that understands and celebrates the important role the Web plays in my life. My mother – who could, as my principal emergency contact on all documents calling for such a thing and beneficiary on any life insurance policies I've ever had, argue persuasively that she is my primary heir – has a thriving online life herself, primarily through Flickr. She's also, like me, a writer and would, I think, understand my desire that my works be preserved.

However, the legal position is unclear. My websites have always had copyright statements – either explicitly or implicitly "All Rights Reserved". Some of my Flickr content is Creative Commons licensed, but I have not taken the time to review and update all of my public creative output and its stated license terms.

And why is the legal position unclear? Because I do not have a will. Because of course I'm not going to die anytime soon. Of course. Never mind that Brad was younger than I.

So, yes. I should make a will. But I'd also like to find a way to make it easier for people to declare their intentions without that step.

We in the United States have CC0, which is basically a "No Rights Reserved" license. We have traditional copyright which protects our work for 70 years after our death. But we don't have an easy way to say "While I'm alive, this belongs to me, but after I die, I want to give it to the public domain."

Evan Roth has suggested an "Intellectual Property Donor" sticker for the back of your driver's license, just like an organ donor sticker, but it's unclear that this would be binding since it does not appear on the works to which it applies. It seems to me that a succinct statement which could appear on the work itself, much as a copyright statement does, would be easy to use and legally stronger.

I've got some homework ahead of me, learning more about this topic. I'll be looking at sites like The Digital Beyond and, in particular, their list of service providers in this space. I will also be attending the session "Become Immortal: Understanding the Digital After Life" at SXSW Interactive in March.

Please share your thoughts in the comments and let me know if there are other resources I should be checking out.


The clever Lillian Chow remembered the details of what I only had a vague echo of in my head: Neil Gaiman wrote a great post about this concern and provided, with assistance from lawyer Les Klinger, a tool – a simple will – to help address it. This takes the approach of naming trustees rather than turning things over to the public domain, but it does provide a model we could start from.

Any estate, copyright or other lawyers want to weigh in in the comments on that idea and/or on a phrase which could be used on the bottom of a website to reference it. Something like "Copyright © John Doe during my lifetime, transferred to public domain upon my death, per my will."

Step by slow step, pulling it all together

*phew* Even for web geeks sometimes this stuff can be such a long slow haul.

What I want is for my blog at MetaGrrrl.com to reflect all my online publishing as MetaGrrrl. That means, currently, that I want to have my tweets from Twitter and my photos from Flickr to appear inline along with longer blog posts.

It would also be swell if when I post to my blog, that would also be reflected in Twitter with a tweet.

All of this is made much more complex by the fact that I use advanced templates. Yes, I'm greedy; I want the maintenance ease of TypePad and the control of Movable Type. Fortunately, Six Apart usually gets me at least 80% of the way to where I want to go and frequently does so with more ease and elegance than I expected.

In theory, I've now linked my Twitter account to my TypePad account, but so far I haven't seen it actually work. Perhaps that's because the new little mini Compose function doesn't actually share out to Twitter, which seems bizarre since it's intended for short content, but might be true.

Aha. Finally found a Share This Post help page with some screen shots and I wasn't getting the options in the interface. I deleted the Twitter account and re-added it and now it seems to be tickety-boo.