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No Agenda podcast #760

No Agenda: How to have a successful podcast with no advertising

No Agenda podcast artwork. Show #760

The No Agenda podcast with Adam Curry and John Dvorak uses a value for value model to support a great podcast that deconstructs the media and our omnipresent propaganda machines. It does so with no advertising. There are two shows a week, each about three hours, and is entirely supported by users. (Unlike NPR, there really are no ads). They’ve done 760 shows so far and generally raise about $3,000 a show, allowing them to focus full-time on the podcast.

Because there are no advertisers or corporate funding, No Agenda can investigate whatever it wants. Unlike too much other media, they go to original sources, read congressional records, then deconstruct it. They are highly opposed to the current bullshit meme of red vs blue, Republican vs Democrat. They skewer anyone who needs it. Curry likes to play the crackpot (indeed, they call themselves Crackpot and Buzzkill). He’s anything but. There have been multiple times he’s said something I thought patently ridiculous that turned out to be true.

Dvorak and Curry work hard at the show. It’s is superbly produced, never a dedicated  falters. They make it look easy. It’s not. They’ve built an audience that cares about what they say and in return get contributions.

Curry and Dave Winer played a major role in inventing podcasting. I was at the Gnomedex 2005 convention when Curry did the keynote speech and Apple announced podcasts would be on iTunes for free, a hugely generous move that put podcasting into the mainstream.

Curry explains how value for value works in a CUSP talk in 2012.


Posted in Blogging


Password Hell: WordPress Jetpack Protect, LastPass collide


So, I tried to log into this blog last night and it said “wrong password.” Hmm. I try two more times and WordPress pops up a message saying it’s blocking my IP because I must be evil, and points me to cryptic instructions explaining how to allow myself back on my blog by whitelisting my IP address. Sigh.

If you are blocked from entering your site, you can enter the IP or IPv6 address(es) via by visiting My Sites → Settings → Security → Whitelist. You can also whitelist one IP address by setting it as the JETPACK_IP_ADDRESS_OK constant in your wp-config.php  define(‘JETPACK_IP_ADDRESS_OK’, ‘X.X.X.X’);

Many earth people would probably look at that and go WTF? However, being as I’ve bashed around WordPress for a while, I knew what to do, which was FTP to the server and add the magic line to wp_config.php.

This stopped WordPress from blocking my IP address. Since I always come prepared, I logged in using another admin account and changed my main account password back to what it was.

Here’s what happened. I use LastPass as my password program. It has a dubious option to auto-change passwords, which I must have accidentally clicked for my main blog account. It changed the password, which is ok, except it didn’t put in a user name. So LastPass then had two entries for my main blog account and both were wrong. Thus I couldn’t log in. And after three wrong attempts, WordPress blocked my IP address.

However, after getting unblocked I could log in using the backup account. Which is why you should always have backup accounts. WordPress has a useful plugin called JetPack that has many great features. JetPack Protect was enabled. It stops brute force attacks and is what locked me out of my own site.  It also keeps asking you to re-login and answer math problems, which is really annoying. So I disabled it.

Now everything is back to normal. Whew.

Posted in Blogging


Michael Moore redesigns blog as social media portal


Michael Moore shows us one possibility for the future of blogging. His newly-designed is now a one-stop portal for his Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr posts. Social media will now be the primary way he communicates. His blog now aggregates it in one place and provides links to other articles too. He plans to drive lots of traffic to other sites too.

This is a new way to do a website. Every word I write on Twitter and Facebook is mine. I don’t have someone writing these things up for me — all posts you read are conceived and typed by yours truly. I have no website staff. I charge no one to use this. I refuse to allow ads on my site or to make money on it in any way. There are no investors and no outside money funding this. All costs come out of my pocket and no one reimburses me. How can I afford that? Because you’ve bought millions of copies of my books and millions of tickets to my films. So YOU paid for this. I thank you for that — and now I want you to use what you paid for!

Posted in Blogging


Sin City Siren. Feminism live from Las Vegas!


Award-winning journalist Emmily Bristol blogs hard and thoughtfully on feminism at Sin City Siren. She has an engaging writing style  and is unafraid of wading into online conflicts. Sin City Siren has a considerable following, and for good reason. It has content not easily found elsewhere, the posts tend to be long and informative, and they take a stand on feminist issues. This blog is a leader, not a follower.

Emmily recently listed her most popular articles for 2013 (Part 1, Part 2). These excerpts give the flavor of this the blog.

How to have a bikini body — put a bikini on your body:
One of the posts I’m most proud of this year is Feminist in a fat-shaming world, in which I take on a lot of negative fat-hating that goes on in the media and I offered my 10 secrets to beauty, which had nothing to do with diets, fashion, makeup, or any fucked-up beauty standard that limits the beauty of the human spirit.

SLUT RIOT sparks interest and conversation about the racism and patriarchy of shaming:
In the heat of August, SCS intern De’Liza Galimidi and I launched a week-long campaign to talk about slut-shaming and related negativity toward sexuality, empowerment, and desire. In the white woman’s parlance, that usually comes down to being called a slut, but it takes many forms (ho, bitch, hoochie, fast, etc.). The campaign, called SLUT RIOT, featured a diverse panel of guest writers, including the perspective of a sex worker. We might not have answered the problem of slut-shaming, but we started a conversation that continues, as many of those posts still get hits every day. Perhaps we’ll start another RIOT in 2014 to take it to the next level!

Las Vegas Review Journal columnist calls Hispanic girls “easy” and insinuates sex with yours truly:
One of the weirdest aspect of the comprehensive sex ed bill debate was the very public crossfire. In the age of social media, politicians, pundits, parents, and people of all persuasions lobbied and vented in the public sphere. One of the strangest spectacles was a back-and-forth between me and disgraced Review Journal publisher Sherman Frederick…. You don’t get to call me a whore in front of the whole world. I’ll stand up for myself and every other person who has to deal with that misogynistic bullshit all day long, twice on Sundays.

Panty raid, or, why aren’t there Spiderman underwear for girls?
This post was a surprise hit. Frankly, I was venting my frustration on how it is impossible for me to find underpants for my daughter that feature her favorite superhero, Spiderman. You can find underwear with some female heroes, like Wonder Woman and Super Girl. That’s great. But why the gendered lockdown on underwear? It turns out, I’m not the only parent with this issue, as I share in the post, another mom started a petition to get Spiderman underwear for girls. I’d take it a step further and just make all characters available for both styles of underwear — girls and boys. Until then, I’ll keep complaining.

Posted in Blogging


WordPress Jetpack has powerful features


Jetpack is a free plugin for self-hosted WordPress blogs from that adds a plethora of new features and functionality. Stats and Shortcodes are among the most popular of its thirty modules. I’ve just added three powerful new Jetpack features to my blogs and to client blogs. They are Publicize, Photon, and Enhanced Distribution.

Publicize. Autopost to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Crossposting from blogs to social media is important, as focus inexorably shifts from blogs to social media. A blog is great for branding and as a home base. However, there is increasingly engagement on social media than on blogs. Jetpack Sharing appears on the Edit Post page directly under Publish. You can choose which sites to crosspost to. Best of all, it does a superb job of formatting the posts. It doesn’t schedule autoposts in the future, maybe a future version will.  If you need to autopost in the future, use Hootsuite.

Photon. Content Distribution Network for images.

CDNs host blog data and images on their servers across the country and planet, which cuts load on the blog itself and speeds delivery to users. The original images remain on your blog. The CDN copies them to its servers and that’s what users see. Some CDNs practically require a PhD to configure (Hi W3TC!) and while they offer much more, Photon will put all your images on WordPress servers with one click. Highly recommended.

Enhanced Distribution gets your content out there faster.

The plugin in author explains:

Turning off Enhanced Distribution will prevent your published posts and comments being sent to the companies that consume the firehose. This doesn’t mean they can’t get the data; it’s all available on your site feed. It just means they get it faster and they don’t have to poll your site.

The benefits might not be immediately apparent but they are there. Every company that receives firehose updates has the opportunity to show your content to more people.

Performance used to be an issue with Jetpack as it bogged down the site. These issues appear to be resolved. However, you should disable all JetPack modules you aren’t using.

Posted in Blogging


Why the progressive blog movement failed


Ian Welsh. The liberal / progressive  blogs movement failed because of a lack of core beliefs and obsequiousness to the Democratic Party, which mostly co-opted them. I never expected them to succeed since they had no real plan for how they would take over the Democratic Party or how they expected not to be corrupted and co-opted while trying. To me, they seemed earnest, well-meaning, and naive. My politics were forged during the radicalism of the 1960’s and I’ve never believed voting will accomplish much.

Unlike the Tea Party, most left wingers don’t really believe their own ideology. They put partisanship first, or they put the color of a candidate’s skin or the shape of their genitals over the candidate’s policy. Identity is more important to them than how many brown children that politician is killing.

Tea Party members are partisan too. The big difference is the Tea Party will stand and fight. Quick, tell me, what does the Democratic Party stand for? Not much, far as I can tell. The prog blog movement too often got caught up in championing vaguely progressive candidates then collapsing into supporting the establishment candidate because of the “lesser of two evils” theory. Nader got that quite right when he called it the “evils of two lessers.” And of course netroots was almost completely opposed to third party runs or anything that seriously questions the existing system or capitalism.

So progressives have no power, because they have no principles: they cannot be expected to actually vote for the most progressive candidate, to successfully primary candidates, to care about policy first and identity second, to not take scraps from the table and sell out other progressive’s interests.

Liberals and progs wanted to reform the Democratic Party from within. This can’t be done. It, like the Republican Party, is corrupt and utterly beholden to special interests.

The Avocado Declaration remains completely relevant.

Peter Camejo wrote The Avocado Declaration in 2004. It details how a prime function of the Democratic Party is to siphon real protest into itself, where it then renders it inert. This has been going on for quite some time. After all, the Democratic Party backstabbed the Populist Party in the 1890’s.

He wrote this from a Green Party perspective as a vice presidential candidate on the Nader ticket. However, his analysis of how the Democratic Party pretends to be the friend of social movements before attempting to co-opt or neutralize them, remains on target and cogent. Both parties are corporatist and do not serve the people. That’s his primary point.

Interestingly, mainstream Republicans though they could co-opt the Tea Party and instead almost got jacked by them, with the result that their party is now fracturing.

Jerome Armstrong has a long comment to Welch’s post with detailed history, a must-read, about how and why netroots imploded.

When Democrats sided with the banks in 2008, and the progressive movement balked at primary challenges against those bankster-sponsored incumbents in 2010, it was all over.

Posted in Blogging, News, Politics

mobile site

New WordPress mobile theme for Polizeros

mobile site

Polizeros now has a snazzy WordPress mobile theme for smartphones, with a slider bar, two menus, easily accessible posts, and more. Please look at it on your smartphone and let me know what you think. Thanks!

The image shows what the  mobile site looks like. It’s uses WPTouch Pro 3, which has three themes and is hugely configurable from the WordPress dashboard, no code tweaking required.

I had to hold off on going live with the mobile site because the previous disk cache Polizeros was using, W3 Total Cache, in addition to being highly temperamental is a bit tricky to configure for mobile themes. Polizeros now uses WP Super Cache, which is way easier to configure and more reliable too, if somewhat less powerful.

There are tens of thousands of plugins and themes for WordPress, a sure sign a product has an enthusiastic user base. W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache are free and have been downloaded millions of times. The authors make money by configuring sites and doing custom coding and no doubt spent hundreds if not thousands of hours developing their products.

WPTouch Pro 3 costs $40 a year and is well worth. Duplicating what they’ve done would take a team of programmers. That’s the beauty of WordPress. Chances are someone has already written a plugin for what you want to do. (The only thing you have to watch for is Dueling Plugins, plugins that bork something else. Oh, and only download plugins from or sites that you know to be reliable.)

Check out Cara Scissoria Greetings Cards. I just re-launched it using WordPress, WooThemes, and WooCommerce. It’s a full-featured e-commerce site that doesn’t look like a blog. WordPress is excellent for CMS and e-commerce too.

Posted in Blogging

Google ranking advice changes – build sites users will share, not links


Google just changed their advice for webmasters wanting to improve rankings. Incoming links are now much less important. Instead, focus on building a site people want to use and share. They appear to be focusing on social media as the driver of rankings which, when you think about it, is a momentous change.

Their old advice was

In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.

Google now says

In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.

SearchEngineLand has more.

Posted in Blogging

SEO is dead. Long live social media


Social Media is Dynamite details how social media is becoming the predominant way of communicating on the net, making parts of the web somewhat obsolete.

SEO and old style websites are likely be less and less relevant. Social sharing will drive site visits and the social sites will become the place more time is spent on. Social is already more popular on the web than pornography.

TV, radio and newspapers will also be less relevant, as people spend more and more time on these social sites.

We had breakfast in a hotel this morning. No one was reading newspapers. Instead, people were getting news from their smart phones. This is a sea change from ten years ago when everyone read newspapers during breakfast.

This shift does have a down side as sites may overtly tailor their content to fit what advertisers want so their tailored ads appear more like content. The division between advertising and content looks to be very blurry indeed.

Advertisers will take up real estate on your social feeds. And they will get cleverer. Ads will become engagement snares.

Out bound selling will transition into content creation for inbound prospect attraction sites.

Posted in Blogging

When did Google become the Internet police?


PC magazine columnist John Dvorak had access to two of his websites blocked by Chrome and Firefox last week, based on a blacklist from Google. This is done at the browser level and is very difficult to change because Google essentially has no way for websites to ask questions and get a fast response. You must inquire via Google Webmaster and then unbelievably have to prove you own the site by adding a DNS entry. Then you sit and wait for Google to clear your site. This can take days or even weeks. Dvorak is so high-profile that Google responded in a few days. The rest of us might not be so fortunate.

Not only is Google attempting to control access to the Internet, a power which is way too easy to abuse, they don’t do a very good job of it. Dvorak reported back to Google that Google itself said Google was infected (see screenshot in his PCmag article.) And we’re trusting our net access to these bozos? This is made worse by Google customer support for things like this being essentially non-existent.

Any registry of malware sites should be independent, not controlled by a single company, be transparent about what it does, and should insure fast response (and re-spidering) in case of problems. No browser should preemptively stick a scary warning in your face, that’s what anti-virus and anti-malware software is for,

With little fanfare or notification Google has put itself into an awkward and compromising position. Conflicts of interest and potential for abuse are written all over this initiative.
Even though it seems like a good idea to Google, it’s not. It is currently working for the benefit of users, but can anyone guarantee that it will continue to do so? This is like the monkey with a gun. He hasn’t shot anyone yet, but is it a good idea to give the gun to the monkey in the first place?

The lack of outrage by the computing community is quite baffling, to say the least. Instead I was attacked for complaining. I’m still waiting to be cleared from the blacklist as this is written.

People are scared of Google, afraid if they offend Google they could get blacklisted. I do not trust Google to not be evil, not even inadvertently so. Dvorak and Adam Curry discuss the Google as Internet Police on their No Agenda podcast #510.

Posted in Blogging


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