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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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I belong to a lot of social networks. Pretty much any time I hear about a new one, I sign up for the "bbrown" username. I have learned my lesson about waiting to register for these things: having a common first name and surname, the late bird gets the "bbrown217" or other such contortions. (I almost had, after Burr-Brown was acquired by Texas Instruments in 2000. I checked every day waiting for the expiration hold to come off. Every. Single. Day. Except on my birthday, that is, because I was busy. Guess when the hold came off. I still bristle at that loss.)

But I have to say that I don't have much passion for any of them. I like Twitter a lot—mostly because there's a high signal to noise ratio on the people I follow and the 140-character short form makes it drop-dead easy to write something. But mostly I don't care for them because your content is locked away, subject to the whim of the provider to allow you to export it out of its cage.

I may be biased, but owning your own domain and hosting your own content is the best and safest form of expression. As long as you pay your bills, no one can really silence you and you—mostly—get to decide what the public can see. On the social networks, other people can decide that your views are "hateful" or "spam" or "worthless tripe" and get it taken down.

Over here, though, I get to say whatever I want however I want. This is my soap box.

In my time on the Internet, I've seen many sites come and fade into obscurity. I've seen social networks actively worked and then slide into disuse—fallen prey to passing whims both personal and corporate. This Web site's been active for the better part of 9 years now and there's no reason to suspect that it won't be around for another decade or two.