The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free

Nathan J. Robinson writes in the Current Affairs:

[T]he New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the New Republic, New York, Harper’s, the New York Review of Books, the Financial Times, and the London Times all have paywalls. Breitbart, Fox News, the Daily Wire, the Federalist, the Washington Examiner, InfoWars: free!… This doesn’t mean the paywall shouldn’t be there. But it does mean that it costs time and money to access a lot of true and important information, while a lot of bullshit is completely free.

We wonder why people picked up fake news and spread lies. They don’t want to pay for content; therefore, they rely on free shit.

Robinson on ads:

It’s hard for small media institutions to figure out the right balance of depending on ads, paywalls, and donations. The money has to come from somewhere, after all. A lot of the times, that means a heavy dependence on ads—the traditional model of magazines has been ad-revenue based, not subscription-based—so that paywalls are actually the less corrupted model; a podcaster who sells their product on Patreon rather than giving it away but filling it with mattress and “box-of-shit-a-month” ads has an important kind of freedom: they only have to please the audience, not the sponsors.

I am experiencing with magazine-style advertisement on this site and I will avoid selling it mattress and “box-of-shit-a-month.” I want to sell ads that actually like seeing myself. We’ll see how it goes. If it doesn’t work out, I can just take down the ads and replace them with pretty pictures.

Let’s Talk About Ads

I have been blogging vigorously for seventeen years and I still love doing it. The only downside is that I have not been able to make just enough money to pay for the hosting and the domain name. I tried Google Adsense, Amazon Affiliates, text ads, and small graphic banners, nothing worked. I even tried support from readers. That hasn’t worked either.

Back in May, which seemed like ages ago, I started adding photography to accompany the blog posts on this blog. The photos don’t have to be related to the blog posts. My goal was to add rich visuals to the layout. It had been a fun experience selecting the photos and I could always rely on Unsplash Source to load up random images. I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog posts and looking at the photography.

Today, I am extending this concept with paid advertising after thinking about it for several months. Because of the prominent space, which takes up at least half screen of my site, I have to be careful in choosing the right clients and their messages. My ideal ads are from products or services I care deeply about. Although I am not limiting the kind of ads on my blog, I would rather promote things that I enjoy such as typefaces (with Vietnamese diacritics), books, brand recognitions, and digital products.

This is an experimentation. I am not sure if I can make it work, but I want to give it a shot. I emailed several type designers to see if they were interested promote their typefaces with Vietnamese language. As much as I felt uneasy cold-calling people, I was surprised and relieved to get their support.

If you have a product or service you would like to promote to Visualgui readers (over 170,000 pageviews per month), get in touch.

Shall We Dance?

Seeing my mother recovering slowly but steadily gives me hope and happiness. She fell and fractured her bones a few months ago. She spent three weeks in the hospital and additional three weeks in rehab before she came home. She was miserable and in tremendous pain, but she has always been a fighter.

Three weeks ago, she could barely walk with her walker. Watching her taking every heavy, painful step broke my heart. Standing next to her to make sure she wouldn’t fall and encouraging her to keep moving were all I could do. She struggled, but kept on fighting.

Now she can walk without her walker. We walked together hand in hand just to make sure she wouldn’t lose her balance. Facing each other, she took a step forward as I took a step backward like we danced. We danced slowly on the kitchen floor. She followed my lead like I taught her to tango twenty years ago. The splash of nostalgia almost made me cry. I held her soft hands a bit tighter. I cherished every step we took. I set aside all my distractions to focus on her: a doting mother who devoted her entire life to her son and a strong mother who made all the sacrifices for her son.

I will always remember these special moments with my mom. I wish her a speedy recovery so we can spend more quality time together. I love her from the bottom of my heart.

Nhớ em

“Nhớ em nhiều nhưng chẳng nói / Nói ra nhiều cũng vậy thôi / Ôi đớn đau đã nhiều rồi / Một lời thêm càng buồn thêm.”

Đêm nay anh nhớ em lắm và không phải nhớ những thứ ấy. Anh muốn gọi điện thoại cho em nhưng chắc em mệt mỏi lắm vì cả ngày phải lo cho con cái trong lúc anh vắng nhà. Thôi thì để em ngủ cho ngon giấc. Vả lại có nói những lời lẽ yêu đương hoặc nhớ nhung em nghe cũng đã nhàm chán.

Anh nhớ từng cử chỉ của em. Lúc em nướng một ổ bánh bông lan thơm ngon, hay những phút giây em nâng niu cho Vương bú, hoặc những lúc em chăm chỉ nấu ăn trong bếp, anh chỉ muốn hôn em nhẹ vì nhìn thấy em thật dễ thương.

Nhiều lúc anh cứ muốn bày tỏ tình cảm anh dành cho em. Nhưng gần đây anh phải cố nén lại những lời lẽ không cần thiết. Cho dù anh biết một điều thật giản dị. Càng xa em ta càng thấy yêu em.

Jonathan Haidt: The Righteous Mind

To explain why people are divided by politics and religion, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the principles of moral psychology. The key differences between liberals, libertarians, and conservatives are in the six moral foundations: Care/harm, Liberty/oppression, Fairness/cheating, Loyalty/betrayal, Authority/subversion, and Sanctity/degradation. Liberals value the first three. Libertarians value Liberty the most. Conservatives value all six equally.

Haidt suggests that liberals have a harder time understanding conservatives than vice versa because liberals don’t see how Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity have anything to do with morality. Haidt wrote this book in 2012; therefore, his suggestion might be convincing then. Reading it now, however, I don’t buy it. The Republicans have shown again and again that they have lost their morals, their principles, and their goddamn souls to the authoritarian. They bowed down to him and stood with him even if he embarrassed them. Take Ted Cruz for example. Even when his father and his wife were insulted, Cruz had no spine to stand up for his loved ones. It’s a damn shame.

Haidt ends the book with this statement, “We’re all stuck here for a while, so let’s try to work it out.” I say, “Good luck with that.” Barack Obama tried to work with the Republicans when he first became president and where did that lead him? Republicans always wanted to hold power, but they didn’t want to do anything. The country is deeper and further divided in the past four years. If we want to work it out, we need a president that unites us first.

The book is an intriguing read, but it doesn’t apply to the current political turmoil. We are now living under a leadership that has no morality.

Bác sĩ vịt

Tôi đóng Facebook được hai tuần nay nên không hay biết gì về những chuyện bàn tán trong cộng đồng người Việt ở Mỹ. Hôm qua tôi về thăm mẹ. Lúc đang ăn tối, mẹ mở Facebook lên và nghe Bé Tí, nghệ sĩ hài và fan cuồng của ông Trump, nói về cái video của các bác sĩ cho rằng thuốc hydroxychloroquine có hiệu nghiệm trị coronavirus. Bé Tí cho rằng những công ty lớn như Facebook, Twitter, và YouTube cấm cái video này là vì họ muốn giúp đỡ ông “Sleepy Joe” nên che dấu sự thật.

Rồi người bác của vợ tôi ở Texas email cho mọi người trong gia đình báo tin mừng rằng thuốc trị coronavirus bằng hydroxychloroquine từ Dr. Stella Immanuel ở Texas. Bác có kèm thêm một từ báo Việt viết về tin này. Nghe tin được bàn luận xôn xao trong cộng đồng người Việt nên tôi muốn tìm hiểu thêm một tí về nhóm bác sĩ này, nhất là về bác sĩ Stella Immanuel ở Texas. Phải công nhận rằng bà đưa ra những nhận xét khoa học thật thú vị. Chẳng hạn như về phụ khoa (gynecology). Bà cho rằng bị u nang (cysts) hoặc bị lạc nội mạc tử cung (endometriosis) bởi vì con người làm tình với yêu quái lúc nằm mơ mà ra.

Tôi khuyên mẹ tôi đừng xem video của cô Bé Tí nữa. Cô đưa ra những thông tin điên cuồng vì sự mê muội của cô dành cho ông Trump. Tôi hy vọng người Việt trong cộng đồng nhận xét được những nguồn tin giật gân và thức tỉnh sau cái chết của Herman Cain. Ông Cain tham dự rally của ông Trump vào ngày 20 tháng 6 ở Tulsa, Oklahoma và ông đã không đeo khẩu trang. Hai tuần sau ông bị nhiễm COVID-19. Hôm nay ông đã qua đời ở tuổi 74. Một cái chết thật đáng tiếc. Tôi biết rất nhiều người Việt trong cộng đồng cho rằng COVID-19 chỉ là trò đánh lừa nhưng tôi khuyên mọi người đừng nên đùa giỡn với tính mạng của mình và của người khác.

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COVID Killed Cain

On June 20, Herman Cain attended the idiot-in-chief rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma without wearing a mask. Two weeks later, he tested positive for coronavirus. Today, he lost his life to the virus at 74. It’s a damn tragedy that could have been avoided. The idiot-in-chief has a hand in this. His rally his responsibility. I hope the Republicans wake the fuck up and realize that this virus is not a hoax. I also hope that they can see how idiot-in-chief continues to let the virus kill Americans. We need to put a stop to this incompetent, heartless leadership.

Realigned Vietnamese Typography

Spent the last few late nights tightened up Vietnamese Typography. Every page had been updated, but the recommendation page got the most attention. I wanted to make the Vietnamese specimen for each typeface more prominent. I also added a list of information for each typeface. I got rid of the rating. It doesn’t seem necessary. I also featured two new typefaces from Okay Type. Harriet and Alright came highly recommended to me by a Vietnamese type enthusiast. I really love Harriet. I might license it for the future design of this blog.

Name Sans Supports Vietnamese

I had the pleasure of working Stephen Nixon on adding Vietnamese diacritics to the latest expansion of his Name Sans. Nixon writes:

By popular demand, Vietnamese is now supported! Thanks to Donny Trương for his excellent resource on Vietnamese Typography, as well as for his specific review of the Vietnamese characters of Name Sans, which helped reveal some opportunities to make them more natural & unified. This was a push, but totally worth it for all the people it will enable to make use of Name Sans! This adds Áá Àà Ảả Ãã Ạạ Ăă Ắắ Ằằ Ẳẳ Ẵẵ Ặặ Ââ Ấấ Ầầ Ẩẩ Ẫẫ Ậậ Đđ Éé Èè Ẻẻ Ẽẽ Ẹẹ Êê Ếế Ềề Ểể Ễễ Ệệ Íí Ìì Ỉỉ Ĩĩ Ịị Óó Òò Ỏỏ Õõ Ọọ Ôô Ốố Ồồ Ổổ Ỗỗ Ộộ Ơơ Ớớ Ờờ Ởở Ỡỡ Ợợ Úú Ùù Ủủ Ũũ Ụụ Ưư Ứứ Ừừ Ửử Ữữ Ựự Ýý Ỳỳ Ỷỷ Ỹỹ Ỵỵ, plus the relevant stylistic alts (e.g. stylistic set 1, Rectangular Caps).

The new release also comes with a variable font that holds 33 font files from display to text. Name Sans is still a work in progress. If you are a type nerd and have’t licensed Name Sans yet, get it now before the price goes up in the next release.

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