Web 2.0 Is Time Consuming, Sometimes Tedious, Sometimes Thrilling. And It Makes Some Entertainment Professionals Look Better Than Others

Music “Cry” by Godley & Creme

This post I hope is more realistic than ranty but one of the many things I do is look into various Web 2.0 sites to decide whether or not it’s worth my time to sign up for them and build things on them, the way I blog here, keep photos at Flickr, keep videos at YouTube and keep audio files at MusicWebTown.

I have received a few emails and a few contact form requests through my blog here from people who want to know whether I have a MySpace page.

I have signed up for a MySpace page and I use it a little bit
but basically I prefer to be contacted via email rather than carrying on conversations at MySpace via their email and messaging systems …the contact form here on the About Page of my blog is the best way to reach me if you have a really pressing question to be answered. I get to contact form requests a lot faster than I get to MySpace emails and messages.

What I am using my MySpace page for (besides to redirect people interested in what I do online to this blog and at Flickr, YouTube, and MusicWebTown) is to add to the Friends section the following kinds of people:

1) Entertainment professionals who have worked on projects with VDO
2) Entertainment professionals in training who have worked on projects with VDO (there’s a certain college student who just finished an internship on CI who fits this category and I expect that over time I will find more and more amateurs, extras, and behind the scenes people to network with)
3) A few entertainment professionals who I would like to see work with VDO or whose work I really love
4) Fans of VDO (both casual and hardcore)
5) A few personal friends whose only online presence is on MySpace (so far thankfully no one fits this category)

What I don’t like about MySpace is how busy/cluttered/unprofessional looking it is. There are a lot of ads there and I am trying to minimize how many ads people who are exploring what I do are forced to see. I don’t like ads and clutter on web pages the same way I don’t like looking at all the logo bugs etc they put on broadcast and cable TV shows and I’m assuming most of you don’t like them either so I try to avoid sites that are chock full of ads and pop-ups etc.

Also it is a pain to relearn how to redo the appearance oriented stuff at MySpace. I finally figured out how to make my MySpace page less hideous looking than its default version, but it took forever to do simple things like make all the headers the same color (to me orange headers are hard to read and I can’t believe those are the default header colors at MySpace) or make actual working links to my pages here (I can’t believe I finally got that working – hooray!). There’s still stuff not working on my MySpace page the way I want it to work but I can live with it for now. But it’s a really clunky to use site.

MySpace is kind of weird to me in that some of the pages that people have created are pretty good-looking considering how much stuff MySpace wants you to put on your pages. There is a whole huge cottage industry around creating things for MySpace pages, some of which I don’t understand, like all of the funky graphics people leave in their Friends comments section etc just to say ‘hello’ to each other each day. That sort of seems pointless to me, but then again what I do on my sites isn’t exactly vital to the survival of mankind so I guess I shouldn’t knock it too hard.

The other thing about MySpace is how scary/juvenile it can be. Some of the pictures people post there of themselves are really off-putting. I don’t get why anyone would want to post pictures of themselves in varying states of undress and/or intoxication and/or potentially embarassing foolishness that could haunt themselves for the rest of their lives but that’s just me and my pre Web 2.0 generation.

The thing is that because MySpace has become so popular that it is sort of a necessary evil. I think a lot of actors and entertainment professionals realize that to reach all of their potential audience (especially the youngest segments), they need to have a presence on MySpace. Some of the actors are smart enough to have also set up their own websites and redirect people to their sites. An excellent example of this is Anthony Michael Hall’s pages. His MySpace page is decent-looking enough but his personal webpage is far more useful and attractive. For those who don’t know who I’m talking about, AMH is the lead actor of ‘The Dead Zone’ on the cable TV network USA (the new home of CI). AMH also did a cameo in ‘Happy Accidents’ so his site is worthy of inclusion in my blogroll for that reason alone.

But then there are actors like Robert Sean Leonard who only seem to have a MySpace page and no webpage of their own. RSL (a star of TV’s ‘House M.D’) has heavily tricked out his MySpace page but it has annoying things like its black text on black background layout (hard to read), music that starts playing automatically (the House theme which you might not want to be blaring out of your computer’s speakers), and general weirdness in how the page loads and displays. If RSL had a website, I’d be thrilled to put it in my blogroll because he’s one of VDO’s co-stars in Ethan Hawke’s ‘Chelsea Walls’ (and he’s also an excellent actor and musician). But I just can’t see including MySpace pages in my blogroll, even if they are the entertainment professional’s only web presence.

So I am afraid that for the sake of completeness and to be sure that I and anyone else who wants to learn more about the people who have worked with VDO can do so, I will have to keep my MySpace page. But please understand that this page is the pariah in my family of pages and will only be of limited utility, essentially just for checking up on who is in its Friends section.

In the highly unlikely event that AMH (or his people) stop by to read this, keep up the good work at your site. In the equally highly unlikely event that RSL (or his people) stop by to read this, I’m begging you to please get a real website somewhere other than MySpace. If you do I promise to link to it in my blogroll :-)

Sites mentioned in this blog post:

Anthony Michael Hall on the Web:
AnthonyMichaelHall.net

Anthony Michael Hall at MySpace:
Anthony Michael Hall at MySpace

Robert Sean Leonard at Myspace:
Robert Sean Leonard at MySpace

VDO Vault on MySpace:
VDO Vault at MySpace

PS In the also highly unlikely event that VDO (or his people) stop by to read this blog, Happy 48th Birthday a day early to you Vincent D’Onofrio. May you continue to be blessed with the affections of your friends and family as well as the good wishes of your fans on this and every day.

As per my usual policy there will be no blog post on June 30th 2007 as it is (only) the second anniversary of my mother’s accidental death and it is a time for quiet reflection offline with my family in remembrance of her life and spirit.

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State Of The Vault Sites Report: Right Now I’m Loathing Web 2.0

Music ‘Missing (Todd Terry Remix)’ by Everything But The Girl

I guess I am something of a bad blog mommy in that I have been very slow to update pages here but you need to look at things from my perspective:

1) I still have ungodly numbers of photos to scan in and up load to Flickr in some semblance of order…this does not include items that either do not fit on my scanner…
2)…for which I either need to buy or borrow a digital camera…
3)…or in the case of my slides for which I need to get access to a decent slide scanner. I have spent a week or so trying to fake it with my scanner and various kinds of backlighting and my scanner is simply not going to let me do what I want to do. It has me very annoyed to say the least.
4) There are all kinds of ‘next level’ things I need to start doing (for example: text files anyone?) but I am having trouble figuring out the best way to get them online and make them organized and usable…
5)…and yet not look as God-awful and cluttered as a lot of the badly implemented sites out there like Blogger and Myspace etc. I hate ads and dancing hamsters and unrelated crap on pages, especially when they’re under my control.
6) Then there is some truly rare video that I have to figure out how to efficiently get into an uploadable form and get uploaded for which I could either drag my eMac out of the basement…
7)…and upgrade its OS and finally learn how to use my Formac Studio TV and Final Cut Pro plus set up its external hard disk…
8)…or outsource the job to a friend which involves stuff being sent out of state etc.
9) Then of course there is email in my inboxes at various sites plugging new Web 2.0 apps which promise to be fabulous…
10)…but most of which are duplicative of my efforts here, waste my time, and produce ugly useless and/or pointless results (like Squidoo or Twitter).
11) Of course there is stuff to be organized before it can be digitizied and uploaded.
12) There is maintenance to be done at the sites I care about (here, Flickr, You Tube, and Musicwebtown)
13) There are post topics I need to get up here already…
14)…some of which are the continuation of old topics…
15)…and some of which are new topics.
16) Couple all the above with stuff still being found and acquired for my collection…
17)…requests to join discussion groups (which respectfully and regretfully right now I have to turn down for now)…
18)…emails to be answered (and I am trying hard to catch up on them…I enjoy answering your questions and am trying to do a good job on that with each one so pardon my snail’s pace)…
19)…and real life demands…
20…and color me overwhelmed.

So if I go AWOL for stretches of time it’s not because I don’t like doing what I am doing or I hate the people who come here. It’s actually exactly the opposite. But my creative process is just extremely slow. I wish it were faster, but I prefer good, thorough and well thought-out over fast.

Others who are either blogging or running websites or discussion forums or make videos online etc will understand this lack of swiftness intuitively.

My only frustration is with my tools to do what I am doing. I’m not mad at anyone other than maybe the people who make such klunky software and myself for not being instantly able to figure out their ‘neat toys’.

Keeping The Vault Busy & Happy: WordPress.com Adds Custom Headers

Just when I was hardly motivated to add another photo or post here, wordpress.com goes and adds custom photo header capabilities to the template I use (Contempt a Kubrick variant).

So expect the look of the blog to keep changing as The Vault fools around with uploading photos and experimenting to get that ‘just right’ looking header for this blog.

It’s like Christmas in June here :)

Skype Voice Contact For The Vault Is Almost A Go!

Well I think actual voice conversations using Skype will be a go, but as I’m at the local library checking out how this blog displays on a different type of computer than my own, I can’t test part of how Skype works (namely me talking to others with my very own voice: it’s not something polite or cool to do in a library, even if it’s one as friendly and laid back as this one).

I am playing a hunch based on something my best friend the electrical engineer and guy who can build computer hardware told me a few years ago (and for some strange reason I remember): USB is pretty much USB so it shouldn’t matter that the headset I just picked up at Wal-Mart on clearance (for $15.00) says “Playstation-2” on it (and no I don’t have a “Playstation-2”). The point is that this headset uses USB instead of the older teeny tiny jack so that I should get better sound than the other headset choice Wal-Mart had available ($19.99 for older technology…go figure). I didn’t expect to be able to get a USB headset for under $20, so I’m pretty happy with what I found.

I can say that the Playstation 2 USB headset sounds great even if I look sillier than Vince Vaughn did wearing his in ‘The Break-Up’ in a scene where Gary is talking trash to some kid while playing football on his video game console. I have tested out several websites that have sound, and I can’t believe how clear the sound is…this is very cool!

If this works, I am so looking forward to kissing my long distance carrier bye-bye and being able to talk with friends pretty much whenever we feel like it for free!

Web Services: Got Skype? The Vault Does!

Skype profile icon for VDO Vault

If you’ve checked out the blogroll (a.k.a. the links on this site), you’ll see that under the ‘Web Services’ section, I’ve added a link to Skype’s website. You really ought to check them out :)

I figure Skype will be a nifty way to chat with friends and my favorite memorabilia suppliers around the globe first via a conventional chat program that is way more secure and robust than what I’m used to using at Yahoo!, then via worldwide phone calls using Voice over IP (they’re free for both sides if each one is calling via the Skype program!), and eventually maybe using video calling — I must admit to being a little camera shy though and I don’t have a webcam…anyway, at least not yet.

The pic above I chose for my Skype icon instead of my usual VDO Vault head shot avatar — note the phone and the microphone taped to VDO’s chest. It’s kind of the obvious best choice for my profile, given what Skype does.

Speaking of phones and microphones, I gotta go get either a PC mic or a headset…until then if you Skype me (hint: if you are already a Skype user, my profile name at skype is pretty close to the title of this blog), please use the chat function.

Oh and I have a fiendishly clever idea for a way to use a new service at Skype, but I’ll post more on that later :)

Technology can be fun :)