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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Eugenics by GK Chesterton - the Promo

I'm going to be reposting my old recordings of G.K. Chesterton's "Eugenics and Other Evils."  I heard the other day that the idea is making a comeback.  Again.  And Chesterton said what needed to be said rather well.  He could make a point, stick it in your gut, and make you chuckle when he did it.

And, sad to say, it does need to be said.  Again.  Coming soon to a podcast near you.

Listen now?

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Something of a Disappointment -- BlackWeb Bluetooth Keyboard review.

Got myself a new keyboard to work with my Amazon Fire tablet.  I've had a Bluetooth keyboard to use with the thing, which requires AAA batteries periodically and which is small but not as small as I'd like.

This one is from Blackweb, and is advertised as a "magnetic" keyboard.  Don't think it is, I think the tablet case that came with it is magnetic and the keyboard has metal inside to be grabbed by the magnets.  Not sure, doesn't matter.  I wanted this one because it's USB rechargeable, and about the same dimensions as the Fire so it'll (more or less) fit in the same case conveniently.  Sounds good, right?

Yeah, well...

When they were managing to squeeze the keyboard into that small of a space, while they did a "full" QWERTY keyboard for all the letters, they put the punctuation in non-standard locations, just to fit it all in.  I've been a touch typist since, say, the late 1980s.  It's cramped-but-fine for letters, but my fingers expect the punctuation to be in The Usual Places.  So I type my letters, stop and figure out where the heck they put the single-quote or the dash, figure out which function key to use to get that characters to type...

Which, sad to say, makes the keyboard pointless and worthless.  If I want to take forever to type something while mobile, I can use the on-screen keyboard.  Or I can use my existing Bluetooth keyboard, which is inconvenient to carry around, and inconvenient what with the battery thing -- but is a usable keyboard.

This was a somewhat clever idea, but the execution sucks.  E.g., I tried to type this on my new keyboard.  Had to stop, didn't feel like typing till 3 am.  If one was -not- a touch-typist, it might be something you could get used to.  But if you're not a touch typist, why buy a keyboard to carry around?

Not quite as bad a purchase, a full-sized keyboard from WalMart's generic brand Onn.  I have three half or non-functional keyboards in a pile to throw out, and I needed something more usable and reliable -- which for me implies a wired keyboard.

So what do I think?  Well, it's a keyboard.  I can touch-type on it just fine.  The characters and punctuation are in the places my fingers expect.  Mostly.

Instead of the home-end-insert-delete and such keys being three across / two down, they're two across three down.  So I have to stop and look where the heck those keys are when I want to use them.  Designers.  Hate 'em.  Tis enough, twill serve.  But for a touch-typist it's a pain in the butt.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Nothing New Under the Sun

Saturday, January 4, 2020


I don't feel verbal right now.  You folks on the Spectrum know what that's like.

My employers have decided to make changes with the beginning of the year.  Because it's January, and you change things in January, so let's change things.

Being on the Autistic spectrum, I deal with change about as well as you might expect.  Extreme stress, anger, severe depression.  They dropped the bomb on the big change for me today.  Because I work on Saturday.

I won't be working on Saturday anymore.  That's not the big change.

I've been working for this company for over ten years, after a prior job, doing the same thing, ended when my employers packed up their carpetbags and left town.  "Displaced worker."   I originally took the job with the promise that it would never require sales.  Never.  They didn't keep that promise, and I stayed, because I'm an idiot.  Or at least I'm Autistic, and while I suck at sales (as is to be expected), I suck more at job seeking.  Social skills are kind of important for job hunting, doncha know?  If you doubt that, don't make any eye contact at your next job interview.

So, in the last few years, they moved all of us to work-from-home.  They gave various arguments, but I suspect it's just cheaper for them, given we pay for the electric and network service for what has to be treated as their office space in our homes.  They had me taking calls on maybe 10 different inbound programs.  Thought I was doing well, and then...

Today they announced I'm being taken entirely off all inbound work and doing full-time outbound til God-knows-when.  Basically sales.  Full time.  M-F 9:30 - 6.  Sales.

"Hey, let's have the Autistic guy do sales, that'll work out swell!"

I know it's not because they think I'll be good at sales.  I know it's because they do not value my talents, skills, or decade of experience.  Effectively, they said so in writing.  (Another story I may tell you sometime.)

Ideally, I'd now go looking for a new job and get out of this.  Except it's northern Minnesota in January, and I don't drive.  And I'm over 60.  And while being Autistic makes me mind-bogglingly ill-suited for this job, it also makes me either ill-suited for other jobs or at least a hard sell.  Because they can always hire a younger, non-Autistic person.  And as I mentioned, I'm not a good salesman.

And you know, simply because I've done This Thing for  These Guys for so long, I'll get offer after offer to do the same damn thing, which is a painfully bad idea.

The one talent of mine they really could have used came a few years ago, when they decided to do a podcast.  I saw that mentioned in the company newsletter, and I emailed them to point out I had (at that time) nine years of experience as a podcaster.  Even talked to the main communications guy about what was needed.

Did I mention I'm not a good salesman?

They picked someone else to do the podcast, who had never ever done a podcast.  But she'd gone to college, and they (also college grads) understand people like themselves.  And I don't know, but I'd bet she's not on the spectrum.  They did four episodes over a three year period... and stopped.  You know that rule-of-thumb where if you haven't done at least five episodes, you haven't started podcasting?  They don't know that one.

I know why it failed and what needed to be done differently.  But they haven't asked, and they're not going to.  In my more cynical moments (and it's hard to get more cynical), I suspect someone in the C Suite said "we should have a podcast!" and someone else got stuck with the unwanted project.  Now they can say, "Well we tried, and it didn't work."  Not Invented Here, laissez faire capitalist version.

So anyway, change.  Deep dark depression, excessive misery.  Not considering "a permanent solution to a temporary problem."  But those of you on the spectrum know how it feels when it becomes so urgent to Do Something that you can't do anything, can barely move, can barely breathe.

So, I slept all day.