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Ides of May

by @shadowspub

Who the Heck is Wilma?

If you have been in PYPT at the end of the show or listened to the recording, you’ll hear a pattern of me ending the show with “goodbye Wilma”. Wilma had a pattern of behaviour that left an indelible memory on my life.

I was raised in rural Ontario in the 1960’s (yes, I’m showing my age). In those days most homes had what was called a party line phone. No, we didn’t use the phone to play music while we held a party. There were multiple families on the same phone line. Each family had a specific ring. In theory you only answered the phone if it was your ring.

Telephone companies were local. The switchboard would receive incoming calls where an operator (or several if it was busy enough) would answer the incoming call and then manually connect the call through the switchboard. Operators were notorious for opening keys and listening in on conversations. Nothing like getting their gossip right from the horse’s mouth.

Operators were not the only ones known for a pattern of listening into others calls. Say hello to Wilma. She was the wife of the farmer who lived next door to my family. Now you’d think that raising a family, looking after a home and doing the many other chores farm wives did that she’d be too busy to listen in to others calls.

I never really knew if the party line was not very busy and taking time to pick up the receiver and listen in didn’t take her away from other duties or if she just willingly gave up the time. She did manage to pick up the phone on an awful lot of calls.

On occasion my mother would be asked over for coffee in the afternoon. She took me along on many of those occasions, warning me within an inch of my life that I was not to open my mouth at anything Wilma did while we were there.

It was a bit of a wise thing for her to do ahead of time or I likely would have had something to say when Wilma nonchalantly reached over, picked up her phone and listened in while the visit was taking place.

The first time it happened, I was shocked. At home, if we as much as moved toward the phone when it was not our ring, our mother would roar to bring us to an abrupt halt. She never batted an eyelash at Wilma’s behaviour, reminding me later, we don’t tell people what to do in their own homes.

She became so well known for this pattern of eavesdropping behaviour that we would finish our calls by saying goodbye to our caller and then say goodbye to Wilma who was likely still on the line. She didn’t often hang up during the call, didn’t want the click on the line to give her away, even though everyone knew she was already there.

I told a shorter version of this story in PYPT one night and someone suggested commented at the end of the show that I didn’t say goodbye to Wilma. From the quip, my pattern of bidding Wilma goodbye at the end of the show emerged.

If there’s an afterlife, I expect that Wilma is comfortably seated on a couch with a phone to her ear. No comment if that is a torment or heaven for her.

Goodbye Wilma!

 

Steem — So Much More Than Steemit

I wrote this post to put up on sites off the Steem blockchain like Medium. I did provide a link to it in my recent post with my thoughts on the Steem blockchain. Some people have asked me to post it here as they don’t like not having access to a night mode on Medium. I find that rather interesting as I generally curse sites with dark themes because they bother my eyes while those who prefer the night mode find the light themes bother their eyes.

Back in March 2016, the Steem blockchain came into existence. Ned Scott and Dan Larimer formed Steemit Inc., to develop this blockchain. In July 2016 they released a front end for the blockchain called Steemit.com. It was released as the first social media platform built on a blockchain.

The more accurate description would have been blogging platform. The only social part of it was the discussions taking place in the comments. Content creators received votes on their content from other stakeholders. The more stake the voter had, the higher reward the content creator received. Content creators split their rewards with ‘curators’, the people who read and upvote the content. To date, almost $60million (US) has been rewarded to Steem users.

The Ugly Front Door

If you had visited Steemit.com back in July 2016 and then visited it now, you would think not much had changed. The site looks a lot like it did then. What you’d not know unless you explored further is that Steemit.com is the ugly front door to a rapidly expanding and growing ecosystem.

The STEEM blockchain is faster and more robust than those powering Ethereum and Bitcoin. It’s able to handle over 1million transactions per day while the other two are closer to 500,000 transactions daily. This capacity allows the STEEM blockchain to handle social applications at scale. There are currently over 300 Steem-based apps.

Exploring The Ecosystem

There are other frontends currently available like Steempeak and Busy. Mobile access through apps like Partiko and eSteem. More frontends are in various stages of development like Steeve which uses AI to suggest posts for users to explore or Wordrow which is going to bring curated Fiction to the forefront and a publishing house called Steemhouse Publishing.

D’Apps access the Steem blockchain to empower users to continue to earn STEEM or SBD (Steem Backed Dollars) and build their accounts. It’s difficult to keep up to the various options available to members.

Even Off-Blockchain Sites Can Benefit

Some D’Apps allow non-blockchain sites to feed back to the blockchain like Steempress, a WordPress plugin which will cross-post a blog post on a person’s self-hosted WordPress site to their Steem account. Comments made on the post, appear on both the blog and Steem. There are also WordPress plugins which allow Steem to be a payment option. Share2Steem allows members to post to sites like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch or Medium and share those posts to Steem where they will earn rewards.

Games on the Blockchain

Games are being developed on the blockchain. One of the most popular at the moment is Steem Monsters. You can buy virtual cards and engage in battles in the game. Other games are in development.

D’App Development in Early Days

Many of the D’apps lack the versatility and audience that their off blockchain counterparts have but it’s early days. For those fed up with YouTube, there is DTube where an active community of vloggers upload videos and receive rewards. For live streaming, there is Vimm.tv which allows you to stream but doesn’t record the feed.

Earning While Moving

Want to earn some Steem for being active? There is an app for that. It’s called Actifit. You choose the activity and then post your activity report directly from the app to the blockchain. The developers have linked it up with Fitbit on the Android version but are still working on the IOS version.

Open Source Developers

Open source developers will find a community through Utopian where they can work on their projects and find other creators needed to advance their work.

Vibrant Communities

Many come for the rewards and end up staying for the community. At this point, many of those communities haven’t formed on the blockchain, they are formed through the chat site Discord. Originally built for gamers, Discord has become the home for Steemians who come together to network and work to build community on the blockchain.

From several of those discords, a network of live voice shows has developed. Some are just held within the discord, some are streamed live and then uploaded to DTube or YouTube. The topics are varied, almost all of them serve to support and promote the content which is created on the platform.

There is A Learning Curve

It’s not an easy platform to find your way around. Not everyone stays. There are efforts by members of the platform to connect with promising newcomers and give them a guiding hand. One of those projects is called the Welcome Wagon. It invites in new Steemians, mentors them intensively for a week and then provides ongoing support and community while encouraging the members to spread their wings into other communities.

Different Than Other Social Media

Generally, those who stay until they get their feet under them are committed to staying. As they start to see the depth of what is happening, they get curious about what more is to come. They also notice that while there are some dark areas of the platform, for the most part, the interaction on the Steem platform is far more respectful than found on other social media.

Fewer nasty trolls get to create havoc. While posts and comments can be upvoted to earn rewards, they can be downvoted and lose rewards. The community will often come together to remove any gains a troll tries to get. In a sense, it pays to be kind on Steem.

I’m ShadowsPub on the Steem platform. I joined in August 2016 and have watched it grow from the Steemit frontend to the ecosystem it has become. I’ve created a discord community called the Steemit Ramble from which several shows are broadcast each week. You’re welcome to come visit and make yourself known.

Originally published on my Medium account. 

 

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