Sunday, December 31, 2017

2007 to 2017

Last  year, for the new  year, I wrote about the year 2006, 10 years prior, and how it was a vital year for J-Dubb's Theatre. I had just started this blog in October of 2005. After having some fun, those first couple months, the blog slowly began to slide into becoming one of those blogs that is abandoned and forgotten, shortly after having started. It was in 2006, that J-Dubb's Theatre got it's second wind, which would propel it to the next stage.

While 2006 was important to the longevity of the blog, 2007 was even more important, as this was the year that J-Dubb's Theatre took on its best known form. In February of that year, I began posting videos to YouTube, as an extension of this blog. In the ensuing years, the J-Dubb's Theatre YouTube channel became dominant over the blog, and videos became primary over blog posts. In 2005 -2007, J-Dubb's Theatre was a blog. In 2007, it became a blog with videos. After that, it gradually evolved to being a YouTube channel with a blog, and after several years running, the blog itself would cease... for the most part (with a few exceptions, such as this blog post). 

Over the last ten years, my videos have had many viewers, and I've made friends and associates through YouTube. Most people who have heard of J-Dubb's Theatre, think of videos. Most of them don't even know that there ever was a blog, and those few who did read this old blog, still associate J-Dubb's Theatre with YouTube videos, rather than the blog from which those videos began. Having the word "Theatre" in the name makes sense for a video production entity, but when I named this blog "J-Dubb's Theatre", I had no idea that I would be making videos, and that the blog's namesake would carry over to those videos. I came up with that name as a spin on the name "Masterpiece Theatre". 

In 2007, the "YouTube Community" became a prominent topic for J-Dubb's Theatre, as well as memes and general Web stuff. 

 
 Scene from the first major YouTuber collab video, "LisaNova Does YouTube", uploaded July 10, 2007

The pipe, which I had in the blog's title banner image, became a prop which I included in every video. Later on, I would introduce each video by removing the pipe from my mouth, and saying, "J-Dubb Here". 

 Also, the J-Dubb's Theatre tune was developed in 2007. When I first began uploading videos, I used background music from a site called "Freeplay Music". I began to regard a song called "Shopping Spree" as the "J-Dubb's Theatre theme".  I then composed a tune based off of Shopping Spree, for a series called "The Network". This series started, that Summer, with a series of videos which involved me interacting with the YouTube world. This series was one of the most memorable parts of 2007.

LisaNova uploaded a collab video called "LisaNova Does YouTube", which involved YouTuber, LisaNova, kidnapping several other prominent YouTubers. I remember, when I watched her video, how cool it was to me, to see all these familiar faces from YouTube in a video together. This was a first for the fledgling YouTube. I started daydreaming about myself being in that video, having my pipe and saying that recognizable line, "J-Dubb here". Then, the naysayer voice in my head reminded me that nobody would actually recognize that line, or know who I was, because I wasn't famous like these guys. 

So, I came up with the idea to do a response video, placing myself behind the scenes of "LisaNova Does YouTube", where nobody knows who I am. I would then wonder around, crossing paths with YouTubers who don't know who I am. I was going to call this video "J-Dubb Who?" I got the idea to buy a ski mask, and play the "Insult Alien", a YouTube troll from the old days. At this time, I was watching the Lonelygirl15 series, which involved a group of fictional Vloggers, trying to evade a secret society called "the Order". So I decided, at the end of the video" I would get kidnapped by the Order, and my next videos would detail my escape.

It didn't quite work out this way. For one, I couldn't find a ski mask in July. For another, my video idea was just too long, so I cut the premise down to being just a spin-off of LisaNova does YouTube, and eschew the involvement of other YouTubers who weren't in the video. I changed the name to "J-Dubb Does LisaNova Does YouTube".  I did, however, include an Easter Egg after the credits, which led to the following video, in which I get abducted by The Order. 

The Lonelygirl15 series had a whole community of people who did their own spinoff videos, so I decided to do my own. This video, filmed as a collection of surveillance camera footage, detailed my capture by, and escape from, The Order. I posted the video to my blog, under the pretense that The Order had hacked my blog and posted it. I then posted a series in which "the resistance" had taken control of my blog, and were updating the viewer on the search efforts for me. 

My next few videos were originally intended to detail my efforts to evade The Order, but, I decided I didn't want J-Dubb's Theatre to become a Lonelygirl15 fanfic channel, so I took things in a different direction. I came up with an idea to introduce a new antagonist. I had watched videos talking about YouTube as the new competition to the television Networks, as well as discussing the "New Media" as a mutual participant enterprise, as opposed to traditional media, which involves the viewer as a passive entity. I liked this idea. The Networks had cancelled shows like "Firefly" and "Farscape" while in their prime, and left "John Doe" on a cliffhanger forever. In new media, it's the creator who decides what to air, and not some network. I liked the idea of YouTube as the champion over the television networks.

My new antagonist was a secret society who was a rival to The Order, known as "The Network", in that they controlled society by owning and controlling the television Networks. The Network exercised power and control which The Order wished to take. My continuation, called "The Network", which I split into two parts, began with my being pursued by "The Order", followed by the mysterious disappearance of my pursuers. I am rescued by the Insult Alien, whom I had originally intended to be a part of J-Dubb Does LisaNova Does YouTube. As the Insult Alien begins to disappear, he explains that The Network is causing YouTubers to disappear. He is then replaced by The Cuddle Alien. 

After I return home, I go to YouTube to find that YouTubers are disappearing and being replaced... including myself. As I disappear, I find myself in an ethereal plane confronted by a being known as "The Executive" (later revealed to be named Belphegore) who looks like my friend, Jon. (In a later installment of the series, it is revealed that Belphegore merely took on the image of Jon, clearing up the confusion as to why one of the disappearing YouTubers, also played by Jon, looked like Belphegore.) The Executive was having trouble getting me to disappear, due to what The Order had done to me, and I end up defeating him... for the time being.

Originally, I considered J-Dubb Does LisaNova Does YouTube, Unsecure Transmission, and The Network, to be a series involving my adventures in YouTube land. After continuing the Network, later on, I decided that LisaNova Does YouTube was irrelevant to The Network Series. 

For The Network, I composed two tunes based on Shopping Spree. When I finally returned home, and sat in the familiar chair from my older videos, a piccolo  version of the tune plays. Later on, when I pick up the J-Dubb's Theatre pipe, and place it in my mouth, a mute trumpet version of the tune plays over a "hero shot" of myself. After The Network, I began to intro my videos more and more frequently with those two versions of that tune, until they became the standard intro for my videos. I stopped using Shopping Spree after 2008, for licensing reasons, but the tune I created from it has become synonymous with J-Dubb's Theatre. In fact, people associate the tune with the pipe.

So, 2007 was an important year for J-Dubb's Theatre. In that year, J-Dubb's Theatre took on the form by which it would be known. Just like Nintendo, a card game company, deciding to make video games, and Hasbro, a hardware company, deciding to make toys, In 2007, J-Dubb's Theatre, a blog, began producing YouTube videos.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Farewell Photobucket



This past Summer, I got a bug in me to start writing on my old, sparsely used, blog, again. I had a couple of posts I wanted to write. But, when I got to my blog, I found that my title image had been replaced, as shown above. Also, the green pipe logo which I used to have to the left of every blog post title, had been replaced by a translucent rectangle which covered the title, as shown below.


Of course, since each day of my life consists of an infinite amount of time, it was no problem to figure out how to fix this, and then proceed to writing the intended blog posts...  oh, wait, that's not how it worked.

So, I decided I would figure out how to fix my blog, and then I would go about writing up those blog posts which I had in mind. My title image, and the green pipe image, had been hosted by Photobucket for over a decade. Apparently, what happened was, Photobucket had decided to only allow image hosting to people who were willing to pay 400 dollars per year for a premium account. I went to access my CSS code, in Blogger, so that I could remove the broken links, which were taking up space on my blog, but couldn't find the code with the embedded images, anywhere. Over the years, since I originally designed my blog, Blogger has made some changes to its design interface. There is now more of a non-coder friendly design tool. But, it seems, I no longer have access to edit the full code, in which I had embedded those Photobucket images.

One person recommended deleting my Photobucket account. I was more than happy to delete an account that had become progressively less user friendly, and was now taking up my time to figure out how to fix my blog. But then, I realized that there was nostalgia in my "Bucket". In fact, my Photobucket account parallels the history of J-Dubb's Theatre. I began my account in late 2005, so that I could post images on a forum in which I had begun to spend a lot of time. There are inside jokes galore, from years past in my "Bucket". It was on this forum, that I revived my old Air Force nickname, "J-Dubb", and began using it as a handle around the Internet. Maybe a month or so, after becoming involved in this forum, I started my blog, which I named "J-Dubb's Blog", and shortly after changed to "J-Dubb's Theatre".

In 2006, I used my Photobucket account to host the original J-Dubb's Theatre banner image at the top of my blog. I then used it to host the little pipe icon, which replaced the arrow icon that originally precluded the title of each blog post. Sometimes images, for whatever reason, wouldn't load into a blog post through Blogger, so I'd host them on Photobucket. Eventually, I changed to my current title banner image, hosting that on Photobucket, as well.

In 2008, I began taking pictures of a certain tree once a month. I uploaded these pictures to Photobucket, and used a slideshow tool to show the month by month progression of this scene.

Also, in 2008, I used Photobucket to post images on another forum, whose sole purpose was to be "anti" the previous forum. In 2010, I began using Photobucket to upload pictures taken by my friends and myself, of a little plastic alien. In the smartphone era, I downloaded the Photobucket app. In the beginning, Photobucket was the easiest way to transfer an image from my computer on to my phone.

By this Summer, however, I no longer really had a use for Photobucket. I haven't used forums for a long time. Photobucket had removed the slideshow feature, which I used to make slideshows of the monthly tree picture, and I had been using Sony Vegas for this for the past several years. Pictures had been gradually disappearing from my albums. It got to a point where the website was so laggy from all the advertising, it was virtually unusable. And I no longer needed it to transfer images to my phone, as I could now download them from email.

So, I decided to transfer my "Bucket" to Google Photos, and delete my Photobucket account. This turned out to be a tedious process. I had to download my pictures one at a time, as Photobucket's bulk downloader doesn't work. Upon uploading my images to Google Photos, I decided to change the date of each one to the date in which I had uploaded it to Photobucket, and saved them in an album titled, "My Bucket". I then went to "my account" to delete my Photobucket account and see if it would fix my blog...   buuuuut, of course it wasn't that simple. Instead of immediately deleting my account, there was a three day wait with an "undo" option, which I would have to wait through to see if my blog had been fixed. All I wanted was to simply write up a blog post while taking a quick break from the things I needed to do, and had found a several days project thrust upon me.

After the fourth day of my three day wait, my account finally made its way into oblivion. But, of course, this didn't fix my blog. My Photobucket account had been deleted, but the broken image links were still in the code, and still showed up as image placeholders on my blog. I was able to replace my title image using Blogger's current layout design function, but could not access the code to remove the broken images. Of course, the next step would have been to contact Blogger, but... who got time for this? I had already wasted too much time, and had other things to do. So I left it aside. I'm just now getting around to writing about this, even though my blog isn't completely fixed yet.

Years worth of blogs, forums, and websites are now littered with broken Photobucket images. Photobucket has been accused of extortion, and even blackmail. Now, there's a point where Photobucket is probably between a rock and a hard place: on the one hand, as they become less relevant, they need to find new ways to increase their revenue. On the other hand, being less relevant, people are more likely to dump them, than pay for their services...  let alone, 400 dollars a year!!

And so, it's time, after all these years, to say "audios" to Photobucket.