He is a most peculiar man

JISHOU, HUNAN — In the strange virtual society that is the Internet, there are celebrities, both major and minor. Some are famous people in the “meat world” — George Takei, for instance — and others have carved out a niche mostly in the virtual world. Take for example, the blogger, Charles C. “Chuck” Johnson, proprietor and main instigator of a “news” website and a seemingly never-ending stream of tweets that range from self-congratulatory paeans to his many godlike attributes to cheap antagonistic slams of victims of various crimes like rape or murder. To get a taste of Johnson’s prodigious output, take a look at my Tweet-based Dossier on him. I started the dossier mostly to record his assertions of Supreme Godhood, but it’s nearly become obsolete, as several other websites, including The New York Times, have picked up on the infamous Mr Johnson and some of the more, um, colorful escapades of his 26 years on this Earth. The storm surge that breached the levee was Johnson’s attempt to besmirch “Jackie,” the pseudonymous subject of a Rolling Stone article about her rape while a student at the University of Virginia. Johnson’s apparent raison d’etre is to ruin the credibility of ...

In which Chuck C. Johnson discovers my “tweet-sourced dossier” on him

JISHOU, HUNAN — Some explanation is needed here, if you’re to understand the following exchange. Charles C. “Chuck” Johnson is a self-described “award-winning journalist,” who has been burning up Twitter and his own “news” website (gotnews.com) recently with ebola hysteria. He has published the home addresses of American ebola victims — and their relatives — and waged a one-man smear campaign against nurses Nina Pham and Kaci Hickox. Over at Little Green Footballs, which is run by another Charles Johnson (absolutely no relation!), Chuck C. Johnson is alternately a subject of horror and ridicule. Since CCJ’s self-referential tweets are so amusing, I took it upon myself to use them to compile a “tweet-sourced dossier” on the prolific blogger. You can view it by clicking the preceding link, or finding in my Pages index at right. Anyway, Chuck found the dossier and tweeted about it yesterday. I’ve captured the exchange using Storify. [View the story “Obsessed and wrong? You be the judge.” on ] At this point, the conversation ended. [NOTE: It’s quite long. If you just see a handful of tweets, you’ll need to visit the Storify link.

Runaway plugins re-send my blogs to Twitter, Facebook

JISHOU, HUNAN — Today’s website weirdness is the simultaneous flooding of my Twitter and Facebook feeds with “edits” of previous posts from this blog, some from as far back as 2006! I was sleeping at the time, so I know it wasn’t me! I have two WordPress plugins that link to my Twitter feed and Facebook timeline. If they are behaving themselves, as I post something in this blog, WP-to-Twitter sends out a tweet with a shortlink, and Wordbooker puts a snippet in my Facebook timeline. Some weeks ago, I added another plugin from AtContent, a blog sharing service. Last night (China time), I decided to re-post an interesting article from another AtContent user, and activated the plugin. Then I went to bed. In the morning, I found an urgent email from my friend, PK, telling me my blog had run amuck. And sure enough, my Twitter feed had tweet after tweet of blogs, in somewhat random order, and my Facebook timeline contained blogs from years ago. So, I pulled deactivated all three plugins, and went about cleaning up my Twitter and Facebook feeds. Right now, only the Twitter plugin is turned on. I’m going to turn on Wordbooker just ...

Facebook does it again

JISHOU, HUNAN — Facebook readers, after Nov. 22, if you want to read my blog, you will have to come here. Facebook in its ineffable wisdom is shutting off external feeds to Facebook Notes. Here’s what I read today as I opened FB: You currently automatically import content from your website or blog into your Facebook notes. Starting November 22nd, this feature will no longer be available, although you’ll still be able to write individual notes. The best way to share content from your website is to post links on your Wall. Well, that’s just great if you have 24/7 access to Facebook, but I don’t. So, thanks for nothing, Facebook techs. Maybe some clever coder will work up a WordPress plugin to at least post links to my FB status, but it seems FB is trying to close off all external access, except for approved apps and moneymaking links. [Correction: I found Status Updater, a WP plugin, that can send a link for each post to my FB Status. Setting it up is not very straightforward; you have register it on FB as a new FB application. If it works, it will update my status every hour. We’ll see.] ...

Now I can tweet ,too!

JISHOU, HUNAN — By way of this post at China Geeks, I can now use my phone in China to send texts to my Twitter account. It seems there is a Chinese service, fanfou.com, that allows its users to feed fanfou posts to an existing Twitter account. Of course, whether I remember to use it remains an open question. I haven’t developed a Twitter habit, since direct access to it is blocked in China. Another issue is this work-around only works in one direction. I can send tweets out, but I can’t read comments or replies. Meanwhile, I noticed that my blog posts were not automatically being tweeted. In the process of updating a plugin, I managed to disable the automatic feed. So, this is a test of that, too.

Some website tweaks 1

JISHOU, HUNAN — I’ve belatedly gotten around to allowing readers at the website to share posts with friends using Google+, Facebook and Twitter with three WordPress plugins. The buttons to click will be at the end of each post. Since all three of these fine services are blocked in China, I need some feedback to see if the buttons look OK and their functions are working. My proxy connection comes and goes randomly. One of the plugins also allows sharing with services like digg, del.icio.us and reddit. Pardon the dumb question, but in this Facebook-Twitter-Google+ age, does anybody really use those services anymore? I don’t want to clutter things up with lots of superfluous buttons.

Google, Twitter and SayNow conspire to help Egyptians

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY — The Egyptian government has cut off Internet access, but now folks there can text to an international phone number to tweet with the hashtag #egypt. Google, Twitter and SayNow, Google’s latest acquisition, made it possible. Details are here.


#stupidscientology From Pharyngula: The “Church of” Scientology is upset that some official in Wales called the CoS “stupid” in a tweet. PZ suggests adding the tag “#stupidscientology” to your tweets to protest that CoS is now trying to get the guy fired. I can’t use Twitter from China, so this is my contribution. My WordPress posts are automatically sent out with Twitter.

Should I join the Twitter crowd?

JISHOU, HUNAN — Since I am all into this Web 2.0 shtick, a few months ago I signed up for a Twitter account. Then I did nothing with it. Until today. Twitter is great if you have mobile Web access. I was using a prepaid T-mobile account in the USA, and we prepaid peons get no Web joy from T-mobile. My situation is not much better here in China: no Web access, but for some odd reason I can send MMS emails out, but not receive emails. Well, it seemed to me that if Twitter is such hot stuff, it would allow you tweet using email. As if. Twitter.com has no such service in place, though it seems painfully easy to implement. A quick Google search turned up a third-party solution: twittermail.com. Twittermail gives you a secret email address. When you send a message to that addy, it automatically becomes a tweet. I tried it, and it works! Whether I actually use the service to tweet now remains to be seen, but at least I know I can do it when I want to, from anywhere in China. (China Mobile service is pretty universal here.) Then I got to thinking. ...
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