Hello… and Goodbye!

July 23, 2008

Hello friends-

As you can see after much difficulty and frustration, I got Scott-O-Rama.com back online finally with a spiffy new look (if I can say so myself).  It is ironic then that this will be my last blog post.  Please let me explain.

When I went on my second blogging hiatus back in March, it was because I had lost all my motivation to blog.  It seemed like blogging was something I felt compelled to do, not something I enjoyed doing.  I was having difficulty organizing the random thoughts in my head into intelligent (well at least readable) blog entries. I also found that I was writing for an audience and not for myself.

I had originally intended to return on May 1st, but that soon became June 1st and then that became July 1st and so on.  Part of the reason for the delay was I wanted to give my blog a new look, and it took me a long time to decide on something.  I was hoping that a fresh, shiny new blog look would inspire me again.  It didn’t.

(I also intended to implement Disqus for comments.  I haven’t done that because now it would be pointless. I highly suggest for other bloggers out there to consider using it on their blogs though.)

During my time away I also talked to a lot of my blogger friends about the state of the blogosphere so to speak.  It is my feeling that the blogosphere has changed significantly from the time I started my blog until now.  For the first couple of years it seemed there was a huge (gay) blog community.  Everyone had a blog, and we all knew each other and commented on each blogs on a daily basis.  Slowly that began to break apart.  People found that they just couldn’t keep up with the blog reading let alone writing.  I would say of that initial blog community, less than half of them are still online.  Those that are still around are significantly less active.  Funny what happens when real life gets in the way.

On top of that, the rise of MySpace and Facebook followed by Twitter and Plurk stole people’s attention away from blogs even futher.  Suddenly it wasn’t necessary to read or write big long blog posts to stay in touch with your online friends.  You could challenge them to a game of Scrabble on Facebook or write a 140-character or less tweet/plurk to tell them what you were up to.  Eventually these “micro-blogging” communities will fade in popularity too, and something else will replace them.  As evidence of this cyclical pattern of the web, I would ask the old-timers if they remember Tribe.  At one time, it was the hot spot for the gay social online community.

While I’ve been on hiatus, I’ve had a chance to concentrate on some other areas in my life.  Buckaroo and I adopted a new puppy Kayla.  Although also an Australian Cattle Dog (at least primarily), she’s completely unlike our other dog Karter and our dear late Bailey.  It took a little readjusting of our expectations, but Kayla has brought us much joy.  Through this and my pursuit of other interests, I discovered that I no longer felt a need to return to Scott-O-Rama.com.

The other part of all this is that I’ve been very vigilant in keeping my online persona “Scott-O-Rama” and my real life persona separate.  Only a handful of my online friends know my full name or Buckaroo’s real name.  Likewise very few of my real world friends have been told about my blog.  I’ve had some real problems keeping the two identities separate.  Friends that know both of the real me and online me have been caught in the crossfire causing me more and more frustration, and I’ve come to resent my “Scott-O-Rama” profile because it no longer feels honest.

If everything would have gone as planned and my blog online relaunched last Sunday, I wouldn’t be writing this post now.  I would probably be spending a few more months with the growing conflict between online privacy and connecting with real life friends online.  Fortunately, however, I screwed up some DNS records on my domain and while I waited for that to be straightened out, I came to the somewhat sad realization that it was time to let go of Scott-O-Rama.  Once I made this decision, I’ve felt a sense of relief so I know it’s the right choice.

Although my blog will remain online for a month or two longer until my hosting subscription expires, I am closing down Scott-O-Rama and saying goodbye.  I am also going to begin deleting or closing my “Scott-O-Rama” profiles on places such as Facebook, Twitter, and even my beloved Plurk.  I’ll probably step away from the online world for a bit and experience this thing called “First Life“.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate you all for the past four-five years.  This site has been so cathartic and theraputic, and your words, comments, and e-mails have really mean a lot.  I’ve so enjoyed the witty comments, the thoughtful debates, and raw emotions.  It is with a heavy heart I say “goodbye”, but I know I need to move on to a new phase of my life too.

Wishing you the very best life has to offer,


P.S. Buckaroo wishes to thank you all as well and says “Happy Trails…”

The Eye Candy Albums have been moved.  You can now find them at www.men-o-rama.com.  Please update your bookmarks & links accordingly.

Yes, I’m Coming Back… Sometime… I Think

June 12, 2008

Recently I’ve received some really nice e-mails, tweets, plurks, etc, asking me when and if I was ever going to come back to my blog.  Thank you.

The short answer is yes, I do hope to be back soon.  I’m still working on some behind the scenes things on my blog before I start it up again.  I’m also trying to make some decisions about the direction, focus, and identity of the site when (if) it comes back.

Join the conversation on PlurkIn the meantime, I have been fairly involved with different social sites.  You can see what I’m up to or just stop by to say “hi” to me by following me on one of these sites.  My favorite at the moment is Plurk.  There’s a whole bunch of us from the gay blogosphere on there involved in different little conversations, and I’d love to have you join us.  Fair warning though: it can be addictive.  Just ask VUBOQ.  I’m also on Twitter, Facebook, and a few others.

On a side note, it’s very easy to update your status on Plurk, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and many more in one shot using Ping.fm: http://ping.fm.  The site is not a social network itself; it just gives you the option to update those other sites easily.  It is especially handy to use on a mobile phone or iPhone.: http://ping.fm/mobile/. Use the beta code “tastyping” to join.

See you soon.

Special Break From Hiatus: Bossy’s Excellent Road Trip

April 6, 2008

Hi everyone-

I’m still on hiatus, but I just wanted to share this with you: I MET BOSSY!!!

Sorry for the all-caps exclamation there, but I have a major gay-guy-crush-on-straight-girl with Bossy.  In fact, if I were straight (yeah right… like that’s going to happen), I would totally have to bump off Bossy’s husband so that I could marry her.  My only fear is my love would be unrequited.  You see, Bossy’s already putting the moves on Buckaroo.

Anyway, we had a great time last night meeting not only Bossy, but her friend Wendy, and fellow bloggers Jen, Erin, Sheri, and my blogger-turned-real-life-friend, Ed.  Every single one of them were witty and entertaining.  I must admit that I was quite apprehensive about meeting a bunch of strangers, but I felt almost immediately at ease with this group.

According to the 8.2 million e-mails clogging my inbox during the planning of this event, there were supposed to be even more bloggers in attendance.  If I ever find out who those no-show bloggers were, I’ll hunt them down and kill them (well not really, but I might leave a nasty comment on their blogs- take that no-shows!).

Ed, Buckaroo, and I didn’t tell Bossy who was who when we first arrived, but instead made her guess.  She didn’t get any of us right.  Not sure what to make of that since she should have immediately recognized me from my fab-u-lous-ness, but I’ll forgive her anyway.

Here’s Jen, Bossy, and Sheri:

Click on picture to embiggen

As you can see by the look on her face, Bossy is in utter awe of being in my presence.  That happens a lot.  I get used to it.

Bossy has many more stops along her excellent road trip.  If she comes through your town, I highly suggest you take the time to meet her or at least throw her some spare change or something.  I worry however that she’ll meet someone along the way she likes even better than me, and I’ll be left Bossy-less.

Ahhh… who am I kidding?  How could she possibly like anyone better than moi?

That’s it for now.  Look for me to be back from hiatus somewhere around May 1st.  See you then, and don’t forget to follow me on Jaiku.

P.S. Bossy is getting (even more) famous!

Hiatus, Part II

March 23, 2008

Yes, as the title of this post implies, I am going to take another hiatus from my blog effective immediately.

Why? Well, I’ve been having quite a bit of internal debate recently as to whether or not to retire my blog. I just haven’t felt very inspired to write much recently, and it seems my political-themed posts have gone over like a lead balloon. As I mentioned at the beginning of the year, I have been refocusing my priorities to concentrate on areas of self-growth and self-improvement that I’ve been neglecting. Right now blogging just isn’t high on that list. The weather here in Arizona is absolutely gorgeous right now, and I want to take full advantage of that before the hot summer arrives.

Given all that, I would be inclined to quit blogging altogether save for two things: I’d miss the friendships I’ve made through my blog, and believe it or not, I still think I might have something worthwhile to say again: something political, something heartwarming, something thought-provoking, and yes Craig, perhaps even something funny.

Going on a second hiatus is pretty risky as last time I did it my blog readership dropped by at least half and never fully recovered. That may be the case this time as well, but shutting my blog down completely would lose all my readers. I’m afraid I’d come to regret the decision down the road.

I also lost a lot of readers when I shifted to writing more about current affairs and politics. I’ve even received complaints via e-mail about it. I guess this is the way I see it:

Imagine that I am walking down the street, and I see a building on fire. Very few other people notice or are aware the building is on fire and that people could be getting hurt by it. I try to alert other people to the situation so that they can help do something about it, but instead they say to me, “Ya know Scott, I used to like you better when you didn’t talk about burning buildings so much. Can’t you be funny again?” Of course, after the fact these same people will be the ones asking when the building burned down and why nobody did anything about it.

That’s not to say that I’m going to be so politically/activist-minded when I come back as I have been, but I do see it as my responsibility to use my blog as an opportunity to help people see the world that they live in. My blog is just a small drop in the ocean, but together we can make a difference. Take the recent provision providing retroactive immunity to telecommunications providers who helped the Bush Administration conduct illegal wiretapping prior to 9/11. Thanks in part to the roar on the blogosphere, the Democrats in the House stood firm and kept the provision from being included in the larger security bill that was passed.

When I come back from hiatus, I’ll still provide information on subjects like that, but I hope to write more about my own life and experiences. God knows that’s material ripe for picking.

As I said, I won’t be gone long; look for me again sometime in May. The easiest way to know when I return is to subscribe to my blog’s feed via e-mail or a feed reader like Bloglines or Google Reader. You can always unsubscribe as soon as you get notification that I’m blogging again.

Thank you so much for being a reader. It means a lot to me. See you soon!

P.S. I’ll continue to update my status on Jaiku in the sidebar. If you want an invitation to join Jaiku yourself, e-mail me.

Sad News From A Friend

March 13, 2008

Rocky and TobyMy good blogger and real life friends Ed & Todd just received some very distressing news regarding their dog Toby. Both Buckaroo and I are extremely saddened as we both have met Toby and know what a special dog he is. I know what Ed & Todd must be going through, and I’d ask that you keep them in your hearts and prayers.

That’s Toby in back with their other dog Rocky in the picture to the right. You can tell even just by the picture that he’s a real cutie.

Update 3/31/2008: Ed & Todd lost Toby today. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

ADDITIONAL BLOGOSPHERE NEWS & REQUEST: Please also keep our fellow blogger Howard in your thoughts and prayers. He was rushed to the hospital to have an emergency appendectomy early this morning. Buckaroo and I send our well wishes for a speedy recovery.

Entertaining Guests; Be Back Soon

March 10, 2008

I should have mentioned this earlier, but my sister and a friend are visiting this week from out of town (she actually arrived a few days ago).  Since I’m spending a lot of time with them, I won’t be able to blog until after they leave next week.  If I can squeeze something in, I will.  Otherwise look for me to return around March 19th. 

Thanks for your patience!

How Yesterday Changed Your Life (And You Didn’t Even Know It)

March 7, 2008

Yesterday a seismic event occurred in the world of technology, yet most people didn’t even feel a tremor.  The impact of it though will most likely have a direct effect on your life the same way the PC did back a decade or two ago.  So what the hell is the watershed event I’m talking about?

At a special event yesterday Apple finally took the wraps off of its iPhone SDK (Software Developer Kit).  I can hear you now: BOR-ING!! Yes, for the most part the event was boring.  There was a lot of highly technical talk about programming and whatnot.  Major snooze fest.  But the fallout from it will also probably change your life.

So how will this effect you?  Well up until now the iPhone has been an incredibly cool, multimedia and web-enabled phone.  It has some neat things on it like widgets, maps, and e-mail, and of course it has all the features of an iPod too.  There has also been a lot of website applications designed specifically for the iPhone (I even optimized Scott-O-Rama for the iPhone).  Yes, the iPhone is leaps and bounds above most of its competitors’ offerings (although some are catching up slowly), but at the end of the day, it’s still really just a phone and/or iPod.

Not anymore.

Prior to yesterday only Apple could develop software for the iPhone.  Now that they’ve opened it up to everyone, the iPhone is suddenly going to be transformed into a true mobile computer, not just a phone.  Applications and games you know and love will be developed specifically for the iPhone.  During the presentation, Apple showed several of these that are already in development.

First let’s talk about the games.  I’m not a gamer myself, but the Nintendo Wii has peaked my interest because of its motion-based controls.  One feature often overlooked about the iPhone is that it has a full 3D accelerometer in it similar to the one in the Wii’s controllers.  Apple had two game developers, EA and Sega, demonstrate games that they are developing for the iPhone including Spore and Super Monkey Ball.  Simply by moving the iPhone around, the player is able to control movement in the game.  They can also interact via the touch screen.  The games demo’s aren’t necessarily stripped-down versions.  They had the same full 3D effects and spacial stereo sound you would find in the regular PC or console versions.

Here’s a clip of EA showing off their forthcoming game Spore (created by Will Wright of “The Sims” fame) on the iPhone:

The demo of Super Monkey Ball is here.

Yes, the games were very cool, but in my humble opinion, that wasn’t the most exciting part.  What I was most impressed with was when Apple invited developers from Salesforce.com and Epocrates to demo what they were developing for the iPhone.

Now anyone that has ever used a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) program like ACT or Salesforce.com to manage their sales knows that a laptop is invaluable when meeting with clients.  Who always wants to lug around a laptop though?  The Salesforce.com developer showed off an iPhone version of their product that was every bit as full-featured as the PC version.  In fact, since the iPhone can connect to cell networks or WiFi for data, the iPhone version could be be automatically updated with new information in places where WiFi isn’t available, something most laptops can’t do.  They showed how the office could “push” new information about a client to the sales representative working out in the field so that they could react quickly to a competitor’s offer.  The iPhone could even show the rep his location in relation to where the client was located currently via the Google Maps app on the iPhone.  All this, and it also fits in your pocket.

I liked Epocrates’ demonstration even better.  Their company makes software used by doctors and medical professionals.  In their presentation they showed how a doctor could quickly reference information from the iPhone such as drug interactions, patient information, and more.  They gave an example where a patient might tell a doctor that they are taking a three-sided orange pill, but they forgot the name of the prescription.  The doctor could pull his iPhone out of his pocket and, using their software, quickly look up all prescription drugs that met that criteria.  No need for the doctor to go access a computer or keep the paitent waiting.  All the information he needs is right there at his fingertips.

Here’s Epocrates’ presentation for anyone interested:

So this may all sound handy, but how will that change your life?  Well think about it.  Now instead of merely carrying a phone with you, you’re suddenly carrying a full-fledged computer (the iPhone actually runs on Mac OS X, not some special “mobile” operating system).  Programs on your iPhone might begin to replace or at least work in concert with the ones on your PC.  It could sync data wirelessly without even having to find a WiFi hotspot.  You’ve got instant access to your e-mail, instant messaging (they demo’d AOL Instant Messenger on the iPhone too), the Internet, or whatever you need.  You may ask “don’t Blackberry’s, Windows Mobile, and other phones do that too?” Well, yes and no.  Most applications on so-called smartphones today are highly stripped down versions of the desktop PC software.  They’re functional, but almost barely so.  With the iPhone’s new SDK, developers can now create programs that are as robust as their desktop PC counterparts.

Think about a software program, any one will do, that you use for work or at home.  Could it run on an iPhone?  The answer is most likely yes.  Let’s say you’re with some friends and you take a picture of them.  You can edit, caption, e-mail the photo, and then upload it to a site like Flickr right there.  How does this differ from current camera phones?  You can do advanced editing on the photo right on the iPhone.  No need to go home and download it to your PC first.  Need a new application or program?  You’ll be able to browse, buy, and download the application right on your iPhone.  Again, no need for PC involvement.

On the more geeky side, the iPhone will now fully sync with Exchange servers.  What the heck does that mean?  In most corporate environments today, employees can go to any computer in the business and sign-in to use it.  Their address book, calendar, and e-mail are all available no matter which PC they sign in from.  Now that same thing will be true of your iPhone.  If you schedule a meeting in your calendar on your desktop PC, it automatically shows up in your iPhone calendar.  You can browse your fellow employees’ free/busy times and look someone up in your corporate directory right from the iPhone just as you would your PC.  If you’re worried about security should you lose your iPhone, Apple showed how business can “wipe” a lost phone of all the sensitive data, contacts, etc. instantly and without user intervention.

So am I exaggerating when I talk about how big of impact this is going to have?  I don’t think so. Famous Silicon Valley venture capitalist firm KPCB announced that they are creating a $100,000,000 investment fund for companies developing software for the iPhone.  John Doerr, a partner at KPCB, believes that the iPhone will be “bigger than the personal computer” and that is why they created the fund.  While speaking at the event, Doerr reminded people that EA started with a $2 million investment, Amazon.com with $8 million, and Google with $24 million.  In other words, Doerr and his company see almost unlimited potential for the iPhone.  Since they’re backing it up with $100 milion, you know he’s not just throwing words around.  Even if you’re not a fan of Apple or the iPhone, you have to admit the competitors will be hard pressed to keep up.  I have a strong feeling that within just a few years, not just geeks, but the average person will be carrying around true “mobile computers” like the iPhone or something the competitors manage to develop.  We’ll wonder how we ever lived without them.

So yes, yesterday was a very important day in the future of personal technology, and you probably didn’t even realize it.  Aren’t you glad you have geeks like me around to keep you informed of these things?

A couple of additional notes: In referring to the iPhone, I also mean the iPod Touch except in instances where data transfer via a cellular network is involved.  The iPhone version 2 software will be available in a couple months (June?) and be free to existing iPhone owners and available for a small fee for existing iPod Touch owners.  You can watch Apple’s full presentation here, but it’s pretty geeky in nature.


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