Friday, August 23, 2019
Jeff Jarvis made a valid point which got lost in the shouting. His original point was, as I heard it, we need to be very careful about how we regulate the handling of the vast amount of data we are allowing to be accumulated. The argument devolved into an almost-shouting match, and the objections presented to Jeff's point amounted to claiming that he was arguing for not regulating the use of that data. So then he had to devote time and energy to defending a stand he hadn't taken in the first place.
Should the capture and use of such data be regulated? Probably, though I'm not sure what the right way would be, I'm sure there isn't a simple answer with no possible flaws. Jeff's argument as I heard it was partly about the baby and the bathwater. Write your regulations too broadly and you lose what good might come from the existence of that data. And what good will that be? I don't know. You don't either. Neither does Jeff. "Of what use is a newborn baby?"
Likewise, legislation written with a battleaxe can demolish elements of the free discussion to which we now have access. It can get ugly and bloody, but muffled silence is not an improvement. Google, Facebook, et al, are not the ideal custodians of public discourse. But for now they're what we have.
And simply because legislation claims to be for protection of privacy or restriction of excessive power, that doesn't mean it is. A solution that claims to protect doesn't always protect. I saw an article the other day, mentioning how shocked the administrators of a school were to discover some first graders had taken a gun from an unlocked box in the school's administrative office -- likely put there for Protection. "But it's for the children!" Uh-huh. Heard that song before.
My own belief is that there should be an open mechanism that allows communication among a few billion people worldwide. I don't think it should be run by Mark Zuckerberg. But the US Government wouldn't be my choice either. I honestly couldn't tell you who should.
We don't want multi-billion-dollar multinationals censoring our speech. But we have folks introducing laws requiring them to do so -- and the people introducing those laws are also people we don't want censoring our speech. So they pass laws that allow them to do the censoring at one remove, in obscurity and with no accountability.
So, Professor Jarvis, you are correct. You didn't offer a solution. But you did clearly state what the solution is not.
Sunday, July 21, 2019
Wierd. Just installed the Blogger app, and at best I'd say it's a lot to get used to. It makes obvious how to add a title (fine) and labels (okay)... but I sure would have expected entering actual content should be obvious, too. Not unfindable, but not obvious.
On the other hand, it doesn't appear to have that "feature" of doing a line through when I put in double hyphens -- like that for example. Probably worth making sure, huh? ;-)
I have seen reviews on Play Store contending that this has some issues with uploading pictures. Since I use pictures for essentially nothing on my blog, I may never notice those issues.
So in other words, so far, so good.
Given I'm essentially blind in my left eye, and my aging Fire has a failing backlight... I selected the wrong thing. I managed to uninstall my podcatcher app, BeyondPod. Same color icon, right next to each other in the alphabetical listing.
So BeyondPod is gone.
So are the six months of podcasts I was behind.
So are those special URLs with the arcane jumbles of random-ish characters that Patreon gives you when you're supporting a podcast, that I had to key in manually.
Guess I get to reconstruct things on my older Amazon Fire. Less storage, but at least the backlight works.
So, initial impression, it's Kinda Cool. Going with what I have en masse, months and months of podcasts, that's what I tested with. I notice that people on the podcasts I listen to talk very quickly. And the app struggles to keep up, kind of munges together the different participants in a conversation
Trouble is, deaf people might get no useful content from this at all. Somewhat hearing impaired folks, and I am a bit, would mostly need the help with the harder words and proper names and those are exactly what the app misses.
So it's a clever toy, and yet another maybe-someday-it'll-be-useful gadget. Feel free to play with it, but don't bet your life or livelihood on its accuracy.
Friday, July 19, 2019
Usually I would use my credit cards to cover what needed to be covered till payday. Not a great solution, not at all. Credit cards are hideously expensive. I have managed to pay a bit over the minimum payments on all my cards, too. So on paper I'm a fair credit risk. But my debt is, honestly, way over anything I could pay in any short period of time. Under current circumstances, I can never pay it all off.
After 12 years with my current employers I make 41 cents an hour more than I would be making if I started last week. I'm reminded someone in the last Presidential election said it just wasn't right that someone with a fulltime job would end up broke all the time. The person who said that didn't get elected, and the person who did wouldn't understand it, ever.
I suppose some of this, and some of the pain of this, comes with age. When I was younger I could believe "but someday I'll get something better and be able to fix all this." Men my age don't get offered something better. Best money I ever made was in an auto parts processing plant in southern Michigan. We don't have plants here in my home town. The jobs that are available would be great for high school kids getting that first job. Hell, my current job would be. But I'm not a high school kid anymore.
In the past I always had someplace I could push or squeeze to get out a few more dollars. I'm out of those places. I don't think anyone in my family is better off, so I don't have anyone to ask for help. There are no miracle fixes to hope for, no someday to look forward to.
When we were kids, they told us if you work hard and live an ethical life, you'll get what you need. I've worked as hard as I can, and been reasonably well behaved, I think. And here I am.
Here's that rainy day.
posted from Bloggeroid
Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Thursday, July 4, 2019
Did I already say that?
posted from Bloggeroid
Tuesday, July 2, 2019
I do telephone customer service. I work hard and try to provide the best customer
service I can. Up to a point I can put up with a lot from the customers who call in, because up to a point, that's the job.
But there seems to be this belief that if someone has a customer service job, it is perfectly fine to treat them, treat us, like dirt. We are not worthy of being treated with respect and dignity. Perhaps it's the depersonalization. I'm just a voice on the other end of the phone, so I'm not fully human, and not worthy of dignity, respect, or even fairness
My employers seem to believe that all of us are interchangeable, valueless, and easily replaced. I don't know all employers, but I'd wager that's par for the course. We are pushed harder and harder to act like machines and not complain, and if we go along, they replace us with machines
Experienced customer service agents are chewed up and spit out -- and then customers complain they "can't get a person," and employers complain they "can't get good help," as they pick the flesh of their last agent out of their teeth.
The good days are good, as with any job. The good days get more scarce, year over year. The trouble with treating any worker as expendable is that sooner than you think they will be expended. And you'll go from having good experienced people, to adequate inexperienced people, to folks who can only read what's on the script -- which is fine, because they work cheap and are easier to manage.
The only reward for a Job Well Done is another job. And sometimes not that.
"She said a good day, ain't got no rain. She said a bad day's when you lie in bed and think of things that might have been."
posted from Bloggeroid
Sunday, June 30, 2019
The episode is from January, you can go find it. My only observation was, that all three stories were pretty crazy. And all of them were quite plausible.
Which says something about Dubai, and says something about our perceptions of rich people. Well, okay, my perceptions. The rich, they are not like us.
posted from Bloggeroid
Saturday, June 29, 2019
Mainly, I didn't have to do the Dayjob. Which was very good. My dayjob makes me intensely unhappy after 17 years doing the same thing for two different companies. I shouldn't have tried being clever starting with my current employers. Got out of media studies & production school and these nice folks were catching calls for a public radio fundraiser, and I thought it'd be a good place to start for a little while. Twelve years later...
Anyway, whining-about-dayjob isn't terribly interesting, so, moving on.
Did get to do some things I like. The week started out looking very bad. Saturday morning the weather thing on my phone was claiming it was going to rain basically all week. Boy was I down at that point. By a couple days out, though, started getting a few sunny days, with occasional rain. Even had a couple days at 80 degrees F or higher
I take great enjoyment from going to rummage sales. I don't feel compelled to buy more Rummage, our house is plenty full of Rummage already. But rummage sales give me a place to go, and when I get there, generally speaking, is still out in the sun. Might well buy nothing at all. But from time to time I find that one small thing that is unique-ish and serves a purpose for me -- even if the purpose is me staring at the thing while it sits on a shelf and I do nothing with it.
I use an app on my phone called Garage Sales Everywhere. It filters through the appropriate listings in Craigslist, and sends them through Google Maps giving me a map that (usually) shows where those events are relative to where I live. Sometimes I walk to the sale, sometimes I might ride my bike, and very rarely I might take a bus. The busses now have bike racks on the front so I could bus near and bike around an area. I get a bit of exercise and maybe I actually buy something, maybe not.
Last couple days I walked up the hill to Piedmont Heights. It's up a pretty steep hill, way to steep to bike up or down for me, and not easy to walk for that matter. But I feel like I've accomplished something when I get there, even if I don't end up buying stuff.
(Why yes, this is the exciting part of my RL life...)
Far as SL goes, I've done a bit of that, too. In fact, I picked this particular week off because it's also the time of SL16B, the Second Life 16th Birthday event. I originally intended to do what I'd done in the past, a couple of events DJing and a couple singing. Yes I do sing in Second Life. There's significant tech involved, but bottom line it's still me in front of a microphone.
Just did the DJing so far this year. I've been an SL DJ for 10 years, so I'm pretty good. I'm always a bit anxious about singing in comparison. Got in touch with a friend who'd been in charge of some of that stuff at previous SLBs. Turns out Linden Labs, our Glorious Leaders, may their tribe increase, decided to run the event themselves this year instead of having user volunteers manage it. This may be perfectly fine. But without the comfort of working with someone I know, I didn't feel up for singing this year.
So the main vacation thing I did was not work, but I also did some Non-Work Stuff. A small vacation, but adequate to its purpose. Couldn't get the week of Independence Day off, but the week after I'm out again for a few days
I think I'm going to be unhappy having to go back to day after day of Dayjob. (sigh)
Friday, June 28, 2019
Turned out this time's was one digit different from last time. It was 17. So, no, I didn't win the MegaMillions. Again.
I'm thinking perhaps I'd have done better to have some other sort of retirement plan. Maybe that 401K thing they have for work. Teensy bit late, though.
If I'd taken the money I'd put into MegaMillions and put it in my 401K instead... I'd still be broke. But a boy can dream.
Thursday, June 27, 2019
Went through several groups that purport to offer help on scripting. I'm fairly good with the bits I've done before, but llHTTPRequest I have used vanishingly little, though with some success.
Found exactly one person who helped a bit. He couldn't stay long.
Other than him, what did I get for asking? Asked in a couple of different "Support" groups. Got answers that translate to "See, I'm smarter than you, nyah nyah nyah?" This they call help.
The LSL Wiki is like most references. It will answer all your questions, if you already know the answers.
What an utterly poisonous experience. I'd like to believe there are better folks out there somewhere. But maybe they all left Second Life, as they all appear to have left Washington DC.
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Google Voice to Randomly Selected Words That Are Almost What You Wanted To Say doesn't work very well. But you knew that. It might be that my porch is 15 feet or so away from a busy street, and there's just too much traffic noise. Maybe.
This is another alternative. I have a little Bluetooth keyboard, barely usable for touch-typing in size. I could type posts using this, and it has the advantage of being typing. I've been typing badly since the 1970s, and well since the 1990s, back when people actually typed letters on paper and put them in envelopes with stamps on them. You know, like writing. English. Whole words, sentences, all that effete snobbery.
This speeds me up because I'm a quick typist, and slows me down because I'm a careful typist. This also adds errors, because I'm mostly an out-of-practrice typist. The current Dayjob mostly doesn't call for typing, just data entry. If you're my age, you know the difference. If you're not, you're likely convinced UR typing LOL!
Voice to text is another of those Science Fiction technologies that never got as good as it was supposed to. If I were to go all crochety-old-guy I might say all technology turns out like that. I won't, but I wouldn't be far wrong if I did. (he said with a smile)
Mature technology is boring. A telephone
That piece of glass in your pocket you call a phone may be capable of making a call, but if it wasn't, you might never know, because you probably haven't used that in years. It does a thousand other things, barely adequately or unreliably or both. And maybe makes phone calls.
A television shows you moving images of stuff happening a long way away. You may have a large flat black thing you call a television. You use it as a monitor for your computer or your game system or that camera inside your doorbell, and when you watch moving images it's often movies from back when people talked on telephones on their desk or stuck on the wall.
I recall noticing in an old Bogart movie (like there's another kind) that much of the plot was driven by where phones were. They're at the isolated house, no phone there. If someone gets in the car they can drive to that place down the road where there's a phone, and so on. The old Lou Grant TV show, at the time an edgy example of modernity (such as it was) had plots often driven by whether a reporter could get to the nearest payphone before the other reporters.
Payphones. You put in a quarter to call someone. Ask your grandmother.
Computers were gonna be so cool. I was thoroughly chuffed (ask a Brit) to get my first computers of my very own. Programming was magical, and by typing in the right stuff I could get my very own Personal Computer to do what I wanted it do do, limited by the very few things it actually could do. Computers were amazing and magical. And now you have a computer in your microwave to beep at you when your popcorn has started producing smoke, probably more powerful than the ones I bought as a kid.
So does your smoke detector, you know that thing that lets out one beep every 20 minutes to remind you that you didn't replace the battery. If you'd replaced the battery, it'd be beeping louder because of the popcorn smoke.
Self-driving cars. We seem to be having trouble producing self-driving cars, possibly because we've kinda sucked at producing self-driving people. And then there are the meta-issues. We produce more and more technologies to (supposedly) do all the jobs we don't want to do. But the people who don't want to do those jobs are the people who program the tech and the people who own the companies who sell the tech. And we're approaching a world where they won't be selling the tech, because the people who used to buy the tech no longer have jobs and can't afford it.
Apple makes 84 billion dollars instead of 89 billion dollars... and that couldn't possibly be because $1000 is a hell of a lot of money for a phone, could it?
So, yeah, I could use this setup to do blogposts... but they'd still be old-man rants. You may even have decided I'm a Luddite, though you have no idea what a Luddite actually was. Just remember, 30 years ago, I was you.
posted from Bloggeroid