25 May 2009

Fiasco--I need to retract a post

In an earlier post, I expressed surprise that the Wall Street Journal was apparently blocked on DoD networks. I thought, mistakenly, that the DoD had gone so far as to block the Wall Street Journal from their networks after a long line of banning a number of other military-related websites. Unfortunately, I was incorrect. After talking with some people who are in the know on these issues, I realize where I made my mistake.

It's actually a simple one to make--the DoD's ad-blocking software has some odd quirks to it. Strangely enough, links in official Army e-mail (known as "AKO mail") are blocked, since the software apparently interprets links in an e-mail as spam.

Additionally, results for very legitimate websites in Google--such as the Wall Street Journal--usually come up with an ad for that particular site as the first link, and not the actual link itself. If you click on the ad--even if it clearly says "Read the Wall Street Journal at www.wsj.com"--it will be blocked. If you type in the URL on the other hand, it's not blocked.

Ordinarily, I'd go back and simply delete the inaccurate post and that would be the end of it. Unfortunately, I got a link to it.

Now, this link actually came as a surprise to me. I used to think that only a handful of people read this site. It should have tipped me off as to how many visitors I was getting when my parents actually said they were reading my blog. They can't even come up with a password more complicated than "1234", and they found my blog! (Oh yeah: Mom, you might want to change your password soon.)

Well, it looks like I had more fans than I initially thought. And one of these people is someone that I'm actually a huge fan of as well.

Thomas Ricks, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist from the Washington Post and the author of one of my favorite books on the Iraq War, has made reference to me on one or two occasions on his blog at Foreign Policy Online. I actually own not only the Kindle copy of the book, but also a hardcover edition of the book, which I have with me here in Iraq. See:

Yes, "The Gamble" is not only on my Kindle, but it is also cradled in my bookshelf (yeah, I had a bookshelf shipped over here) among T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Thucydides, a book about John Boyd, The Alphabet of Manliness, a book on pick-up artists and, finally, a book on Tantric Sex sent to me by one of my fans. Some things you can't make up...

Anyway, unfortunately, Mr. Ricks quoted me on the WSJ story that I now learned was inaccurate, which actually gained him some negative comments. For that, I sincerely apologize. In fact, if Mr. Ricks is ever in the Upstate NY area when I re-deploy, I am hereby offering to make it up to him with a copious amount of Sackets Harbor 1812 Amber.

In all seriousness, I apologize for misinforming Mr. Ricks--it was an honest mistake.

No comments: