Archive for March, 2009

What Happened to the Ads?

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

You may have noticed that Google ads have been disappearing from my site. I took them out of the convention list pages about a week ago, and removed them from the blog just a few minutes ago.

I’ve had Google ads on the site for the past five years. The initial intent was mainly so I could look at the ad statistics and find out how many people were viewing the site (with JavaScript turned on) as opposed to the various bots which just scrape the pages. There was also a fantasy that perhaps I’d generate enough ad revenue that the site would pay for itself.

The ad revenue never really amounted to much of anything and although some of the ads were relevant, an awful lot of them weren’t. Most people visiting the site were looking for things related to various fandoms, a lot of the ads were for hotels and convention centers, not necessarily in the same cities as the conventions. And then there were the rather “spammy” ads for alleged weight loss programs.

The final straw came a couple weeks ago. Google announced that they were changing the way the ads worked. Instead of just making them (allegedly) relevant to the page content, they were going to track the sites you visited and base the ads on the type of sites you visited.

OK, sure, that way the ads are more interesting to you, and perhaps you’re more likely to click them that way. But having a company track my movements for marketing purposes just feels icky. And to make it worse, not only did you have to explicitly opt out, but Google made it the content owner’s responsibility to notify you (via a privacy property you’d probably never look for) of Google’s actions.

So, I’m removing the ads. I do feel that content owners deserve to be compensated for their work, but I think Google crossed a line.

How Will It End?

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Battlestar Galactica ended last week. The final episode isn’t available on Hulu yet — so I haven’t seen past Daybreak part I — but I’m left wondering about a massive knot of loose threads. (How did Kara get resurrected? What’s with Baltar’s visions? Are they representatives of a third type of cylons?)

I expect they’re going to rescue Hera and defeat the “bad” cylons. And I strongly suspect the Galactica will be destroyed in the process. But doing all that in a satisfactory way, and finding a place for humanity to live (even if it’s just going back to the colonies) — all in a single hour….

That’s really tough to swallow.

I can’t help thinking they’re either setting up for a (made for TV) movie, or else the final scene will be Zack stepping out of the shower and the last four years have all been Kara’s dream.

New and Updated

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Emerald City ComiCon
CHS Otaku Fest
Supanova Pop Culture Expo
Realms Con
East Coast Black Age of Comics Con
Context 22
Florida Extravaganza
Infinite Bits
Bubonicon 41
Ohio Science Fiction Film Marathon
Sci Fi Shows — London Expo
Dark X-Mas
Technicon 26
Aftershock 2009.2- Chain Reaction
Hub Productions
Otaku Omaha
ConCom Con 16
Anime Next
HorrorHound Weekend
Northeast Filk Convention – ConCertino
Midwestcon 60
Trek Fest
North Carolina Gaming Con

Galactica meets the U.N.

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

I’ve been watching the final season of Battlestar Galactica on Hulu. I’m a week or two behind right now*, but when I saw a Washington Post article about a Battlestar Galactica event at the United Nations, I decided to risk the potential for spoilers and dive right in.

Along with obligatory praise between the BSG people and the UN representatives, the article (and the UN event) also delved into some of the real-world ethical concerns the show raised. (e.g. Waterboarding a cylon as a proxy for a suspected terrorist.) I was also quite amused by the mention that Edward James Olmos apparently had a tendency to refer to the character of Admiral Adama in the first person.

All in all, it’s probably one of the best bits of news coverage I’ve seen for a Science Fiction related event.

*The last episode I saw was the one where it turns out Ellen Tigh is an utter bitch regardless of whether she’s a human or a cylon.

New and Updated

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Atlanta Anime Day
National Block Party
New England Fan Experience
Who Blackpool
Pacific Media Expo
GameCon Memphis
Horror Realm
10th Planet
Mini MegaCon
Gamicon Tau
Gamer’s Reunion
Con Nooga
Total Confusion
Capricon XXX
Kawa Kon
Gallifrey One
Shore Leave 31
Carolina Games Summit
Winter War

Netflix Streaming Doctor Who

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

I seem to be on another of my Doctor Who kicks. 🙂

Working my way through Season 4 of Doctor Who, I paused after watching “The Stolen Earth.” Time to take a break and savor the show rather than rush through the final episodes and then wait indefinitely for Season Five to come out.

So in the meantime, I went digging through the Netflix list of episodes and discovered that seasons two and three are now available for streaming. (Season one has been available for at least six months.)

Since I’m in midst of watching Rose return, it seemed only natural to go back to the end of season two when she left. While I’m going back and watching the previous seasons, I’ve also made a point of watching the great chase scene from “The Runaway Bride” and Sarah Jane’s life-altering discovery of the T.A.R.D.I.S. in the closet in “School Reunion.”

I haven’t seen “Blink” since before it won the Hugo. So tonight, along with possibly updating the convention list, this may be a good time to remedy that. (Am I alone in thinking “Silence in the Library”/”Forest of the Dead” would be a good candidate for another Hugo? I just love the portrayal of The Doctor’s future relationship with Professor Song and how that’s impacted by his time travel. I wouldn’t mind seeing future seasons touch on that thread.)

Broadband is wonderful.

Doctor’s Visit – Season Four

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

It took a while, but Netflix has at long last delivered the third through fifth disks from the fourth season of Doctor Who. They’ve been in my queue for a while, but even when the status changed from “Long Wait” to “Now” it still took a while. Even Wall-E arrived faster! (As much as I’d like to believe this is because of Doctor Who’s popularity, I suspect it has more to do Netflix buying many more copies of the Wall-E DVD.)

What I’ve seen so far from the first two disks of Season 4 has been enticing. The Doctor seems to be getting edgier, and perhaps a bit more bitter about being the last of his race. I’m not sure how I feel about Donna as the companion (she reminds me of a particularly bossy ex-girlfriend), but I suppose there’s room for the character to grow.

And speaking of companions… I’m more than a little intrigued by Rose’s brief appearance at the end of “Partners in Crime”. I’ve been trying to avoid finding out about the show before I watch it, but clips I’ve stumbled across on YouTube make it clear that she’s coming back. And I can’t overlook that The Doctor is still carrying Martha’s mobile.

It may have taken a while for the Season 4 disks to arrive, but I’m quite willing to believe it was worth the wait.