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April 02, 2006

Murderous Rage

Nothing makes me want to go out and strangle a cat more than writing up a long entry only to have something go horribly wrong and to lose it all while uploading. Say what you will about the typewriter age, but that, at least, never happened.

So, Adam R., rather than responding to your e-mailed question about whether I use Internet filters on Athena's computer in great and substantive length, you're going to have to settle for the super-brief response:

1. No Internet filters, because they're a stupid idea.
2. Instead we talk about what's appropriate for her to see and what's not.
3. At the moment it's not too much of an issue because currently her Internet interest is limited to a small handful of age-appropriate sites.

You'll have to trust me that the longer response was both more interesting and rather better, but since at the moment what I really want to do with my computer is to put my foot through it, this is going to have work for you for now. Sorry about that.

Posted by john at April 2, 2006 10:26 PM

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Comments

Brian Greenberg | April 2, 2006 10:38 PM

Damn, I hate when that happens...

For what it's worth, my five-year old uses the internet all the time. I created a homepage for him that contains large, friendly pictures from his favorite (age-appropriate) web sites, each of which are hyperlinks to those sites. The homepage has its own icon on the desktop, and he knows to click that when he wants to use the internet.

For age 5, he's surprisingly fluent in e-mail, web browsing, and various other things technical, but I don't think he knows about the address bar on the web browser yet. My guess is he'll figure out the Google toolbar first (to look for things he's interested in), and then later, we'll talk about random surfing and inappropriate content.

Bottom line, though, which I think you are implying above, is the best filter ever made is their parent - either surfing with them, or showing enough of an interest that they know you care...

Jim Winter | April 2, 2006 11:00 PM

John, sounds like the first round of apocalyptic spring weather has hit your neck of the woods already. Did you have a power outage during upload? The sirens just went off down here, and the Weather Channel, in a shameless bid for ratings, is predicting the total and utter destruction of Cincinnati overnight.

Which is going to make the drive into work an even bigger bitch than it was going to be. Imagine commuting through the post-Armageddon ruins on Opening Day. Hopefully, the Convergys Tower will still be standing so I can park away from what's left of the stadium and avoid the crowds.

Andrew Cory | April 2, 2006 11:19 PM

This might be a stupid question, but why don’t you write posts in your word processor before copy/pasting them into a browser for uploading? I do that (‘cause I can’t spell for beans), and I’ve never lost a post...

John Scalzi | April 2, 2006 11:55 PM

Sometimes I do; this time I didn't.

Wan Zafran | April 3, 2006 09:39 AM

Hey John,

I feel you, man. Been through this a lot of times already. In fact, I've gone through it so many times that nowadays, before every upload of any blog/text-document/writing I commit myself to:

1) Saving the entire written document in a temporary text file, and;
2) Holding on to that text-file until the file I want to publish is right there in my server or database.

Do you have Google Desktop? It helps.

Many times have I run into some browser problems while I was uploading something, or my database just went kaboom, and I lose all that I was working on previously.

In such situations, Google Desktop's text-caching ability is a life-saver.

Google Desktop takes a snapshot of your currently accessed document as you are writing it, and since writings in blogs can't be "saved" on the desktop, it helps in case anything goes wrong because you can easily retrieve 'revisions' from the cache.

Cassie | April 3, 2006 10:45 AM

Poor kitties.

We use Yahoo Parental Controls, which is grossly imperfect because it blocks me from using sites/programs that I shouldn't be blocked from and takes too long for my kids to get permission. However, the stuff my kids are misled to going and looking at through their online games is appalling. My presence beside them wouldn't stop the prOn from coming through when the link looked innocent enough. I prefer the inconvenience.

Q | April 3, 2006 11:32 AM

Why a cat? Despite their general intelligence, and despite what they may tell you... they had rather little to do with creating anything internet related... though my cat still claims to have given Al Gore the idea... but... you know...

Why not a murderous rage to strangle a gecko? Especially that little Geico fella... he's just asking for it, the little smug bastard.

John Scalzi | April 3, 2006 11:34 AM

Q:

"Why a cat?"

Because they are handy, and dog is too large.

Charlie | April 3, 2006 12:28 PM

Actually, a good modern editor will autosave your work, to be recovered in the event of a crash or failure. I know OpenOffice does this - just last night, actually, I had a power failure while I was working on a paper. When I booted up afterward, OO popped up a nice dialog to the effect of "Something went wrong, and File X was lost. Would you like to try to recover it?"

Come to think of it, emacs has had an autosave feature for 30 years. But who pays attention to emacs these days?

Adam Rakunas | April 3, 2006 01:54 PM

Thanks for the answer, John! Hope you weren't too hard on the cat.

John Scalzi | April 3, 2006 05:03 PM

The cat has a number of lives left.

Jon Marcus | April 3, 2006 09:01 PM

Cassie, how old are your kids, and what kind of game sites are they playingon ? (If pr0n is popping up that aggressively, there's probably a fairly high malware risk as well...)

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