Las Vegas: The Addiction (not Gambling, Internet / Blogging)

In my last post I lamented the near lack of free internet in Las Vegas and how I couldn’t see paying for it. I was planning on schlepping my laptop to the few free hotspots, just to check my email a time or two.

My husband said I should just bite the bullet and pay for it since I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t. And he was ever, ever so right. I don’t know what made me think that I could not buy it when I have my laptop with me and have wireless right there waiting for me, all I had to do was put my credit card number in and I was surfing. In some weird way, it was infinitely worth paying the $10/day to be able to get on and check my email, check my blogs, look things up and write posts whenever I wanted.

We are quite happy to play penny slots for all our little gambling (and free drinks) breaks, but I’ll put $10 a day in just to be able to be connected. And I think, how much do I really use it? Couldn’t I just do a couple of hauls to a hotspot and be done? And of course, I could do that if I was broke. But I’ve got $10 in my pocket and its going to buy me access.
And although for probably no good reason since I doubt that many people read my blog, I still feel a need? desire? responsibility? fear of losing people? to make sure I post regularly. Sean and I were discussing this in the elevator, about the whole blogging experience and the mindset of a blogger. About how for the blogger, the act of blogging seems to be a really creative outlet and a way to clarify one’s thoughts. And the surprise of having people actually read and get something out of something you have posted is both gratifying and a real impetus to keep blogging. But the downside is that it is easy to start feeling a pressure to please people instead of just doing it and letting whoever may be interested read it and not worrying about it.

It is also somewhat addictive to have a lot of people read what you wrote. I blogged about the Skype outage last week, just because I use Skype and had wondered why I couldn’t connect and then found out it had crashed. And suddenly I had a ridiculous (for me) number of hits on my post. I posted it at 4:30pm and by 4:34 I had like 600 people read (or at least view) it. I thought I was getting spammed or attacked or something.

But it was just that everyone was trying to find out what was going on. So I wrote another post the next day with more information and it was really being read. And then another. And at some point, I realized that I had quit blogging about it just because I had something to say about it and started blogging it because it was a hot topic and people would read what I wrote. I knew if I wrote something even remotely interesting or intelligent about Skype right then, people would read it.

While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with writing about what people are interested in, when I find myself writing just for other people’s interest when I’ve pretty much lost interest in it myself and even worse, just to increase my hit count, I have to re-examine what I am doing and why.

I have always been a writer and have been on many lists and boards where people read and responded to what I wrote. But this is something beyond that. This is a medium that has people coming to my blog to read what I have to say. And a surprising (to me) number of them. And they even come back to see what else I have written.

I’ve never had a group of people who wanted to read what I had to say and I have to say that I really get a great deal of satisfaction and gratification from it. But it can also be addictive. I want to enjoy that people read what I write, but I don’t want to need it. I don’t want to obsess about it.

And I think it is wise for people to be aware of some of these pitfalls and potential dangers that are inherent in many of the Web 2.0 tools. They are wonderful, creative outlets and can enhance one’s life immensely. But I think everyone needs to make sure they are monitoring their involvement and motivation.

It is a truly fascinating time for people with all the amazing ability there is to create and interact. But just like me, I’m sure there are others who may need to step back periodically and look at it and make sure they are in control and are not being manipulated (most likely, by themselves).  And really, who shouldn’t do that regularly about most everything anyway?

Thank you for reading 🙂

~Susan Mellott

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Skype is Back Up! Well, off and on…

Skype is up again!  Well, it is fluctuating on and off but it appears to be getting there.  Skype Heartbeat issued this statement at 2:15am GMT saying essentially that they are working on the problem and feel they are making progress (could they say any less and still issue a statement?).

I’m going to bed and hopefully it will be good to go tomorrow morning.  And I do have to say that I think Skype is in general a very reliable piece of software.  I can’t remember it going down before.  But the problem is that so many people rely so heavily on Skype now that Skype going down is like losing your entire phone service.

I got an email from someone who said that their business phones were run completely through Skype and they are having to try to contact people (and be contacted by people) completely through email until this gets resolved.  But I’m betting it will be fixed when I get up (fingers crossed).

And if people doubt that Skype is a major player and extremely important to people, just because of my posts on Skype being down, My first Skype post was #27 on the Top Posts on WordPress.com today and my All Things Web 2.0 blog was #5 in the WordPress.com list of fastest growing blogs.  Ah, the fame!  It will be back to reality tomorrow though 🙂  So Thank You Skype for that, anyway 🙂

Susan Mellott

Skype is down – Are there Alternatives? Yes!

Well, there has been an overwhelming interest in my last post about Skype being down. So I thought I would do a little research for people into what alternatives there were. Gizmo seems to be the big competitor and is highly regarded. Here is a great article by ZDNet on Skype vs. Gizmo and the comments are equally interesting. Here is a list of some popular voip providers with a little bit about each one. And here is a much more in-depth comparison of Skype to Gizmo called Crowning the King of Free Talk-Skype vs Gizmo. And here is a list from C/Net Download.com of bunch of net phones, sorted by user rating (although it is confusing because the rating and number of users don’t seem to match when you go to detail of each – maybe best to sort by editor rating?).

And of course, let’s not forget the wikipedia entries for Gizmo Project and Skype and a very comprehensive entry on Comparison of Voip Software (I’d only check out the ones with links, there are a million of them on here).

That is a lot of information, but for even more, you can search on “free internet skype gizmo reviews” and get a ton of information about Skype, Gizmo Project and other VOIP software.

If you are here because Skype is down, I’d check out Gizmo Project. It sounds easy and good and of course, free. And if you are just trying to figure out what to use, these reviews and information should help. At one time I would have said Skype, hands down. I still really like Skype, but I can’t say I feel it is the only game in town anymore.

Here is a link to the original post from Skype. And again, you can go here for updates from Skype on the situation. This is their latest communication:

“Hello everyone,

Apologies for the delay, but we can now update you on the Skype sign-on issue. As we continue to work hard at resolving the problem, we wanted to dispel some of the concerns that you may have. The Skype system has not crashed or been victim of a cyber attack. We love our customers too much to let that happen. This problem occurred because of a deficiency in an algorithm within Skype networking software. This controls the interaction between the user’s own Skype client and the rest of the Skype network.

Rest assured that everyone at Skype is working around the clock — from Tallinn to Luxembourg to San Jose — to resume normal service as quickly as possible.

(Updated at 10pm GMT)”

~Susan Mellott

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