How can I keep current with changes on this blog?
This blog is updated when I have time and when I am motivated. That might be several days in a row or only once a week. Obviously, you can see if there is anything new by doing in the future what you did to get here today. To save you the trouble of trying to remember the URL for this site, you can add it to the "Favorites" section of your browser.
In addition, Realitybase provides two options for you to get notices automatically when there is a new posting to the Journal. You can choose to receive notices (i) as emails or (ii) as "RSS feeds" in the Favorites section of your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.) They are called "subscriptions," but they are free.
RSS Feeds to your Browser
When you click on "Realitybase RSS" (under "Subscribe" near the top of the sidebar) and the subsequent screen, you can "subscribe" to changes to the Realitybase journal (in other words, my new posts). Excerpts will be automatically downloaded periodically (at an interval you set) to the Favorites section of your browser, where it will be labeled "Realitybase Journal."
Similarly, by clicking on "Journal Comments RSS, you can subscribe to a feed that downloads all Realitybase comments to your browser. Unfortunately, the default label for this is "Journal - Comments" and I can't change it. But you can rename this as "Realitybase Journal - Comments" in the screen that comes after your initial click on the RSS subscription icon. Or you can change the name any time after subscribing by right-clicking on the feed name in the Favorites section of your browser.
Perhaps you only want to follow my posts and the comments on one topic, say economics. There is no way to limit the feeds you will receive, but when your browser announces an update, click on the feed in your browser and use the "Filter by category" feature to see if there is anything new in economics.
Still have questions? After you click the subscription icon in my sidebar, you should get a screen that lets you click through to FAQs about RSS. These are provided by my blog hosting service and will probably answer any remaining questions you may have.
To un-subscribe from an RSS feed, simply right-click on the feed name in the Favorites section of your browser and click Delete.
If you prefer to receive update announcements as emails, click on "Journal Updates by Email," again under "Subscribe." You will see a screen in which to enter your email address and a security screen in which you read and type in some characters that are intended to be unreadable by computers trying to send spam.
The sender of the email will appear in your email program as "Realitybase Journal." You will get an email only if there is a new posting. You will not receive any notice of new comments.
You can unsubscribe to the email service by clicking the link at the bottom of every email.
How can I post comments on a blog without getting spam, unwanted notoriety, or crazies at my door?
An important security measure is to avoid having your email address published on a website because there are "bots" that do nothing but prowl the web vacuuming up email addresses to which spam can be directed. When you post a comment to this blog, listing your email address is optional. I suggest you not disclose it.
If you want to take an extra measure of care, you could create an additional email "account" with your internet service provider (such as Earthlink or AOL) and use that instead of your main email account for any internet activities you regard as risky. Most ISP's make it easy to maintain several pseudonymous accounts.
You should obviously avoid posting other personal information, such as street address or phone number, on any website unless you have a business reason for wanting to be found and you're willing to be found by some who are not in your target audience. Keeping personal information off the internet is increasingly hard to do, however; for example, if you make political contributions, the information the recipients are required to collect from you will likely be published on the internet.
Whether you sign your comments with your real name or a screen name is a matter of personal choice. I am using a screen name here for whimsical and rhetorical reasons, not for anonymity. My real name is in About Me, and I generally use it when I post comments elsewhere. I think signing comments tends to make authors more careful about content and tone and to cause others to take them more seriously. (The New York Times blog comment policy agrees.) Custom on the web has developed differently, however: first names only, initials, and other screen names in blog posts seem to vastly outnumber real first and last names.
How can I create a hyperlink or formatting in my comments?
You have to know a little bit of HTML language to do that, but only a little bit. This link takes you to a website with very clear instructions on how to do the things most commenters care about.