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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

The quick brown fox jumped over the lay dog

Well his is awkward.  Wanted to do a gadget video for the 
Gi Wi show.  I was going to show all three, well four, of my bluetooth keyboards, including this new iClever keyboard I really like.  When it works.

My third one was an iClever keyboard, foldy thing, lovely form factor.  Had to stop using that one when the D key stopped working. iClever keyboards are tri-fold, and it happened the D key is right on a fold, so I figured that was why it failed, so I got another of the same kind.  Worked fine, until the one letter key stopped working, not on a fold.  Can"t directly tell you which key stopped working, because I can"t type that one.  But okay, alphabet, X, then Y, and then... yeah, that one.

Hard to write an email to the GisWis without that key doncha know.  (sigh)

Saturday, August 28, 2021

A bit of copy-and-paste from Twitter, because I can.

Was chatting with @jangles on Twitter and decided much of my post-by-post on twitter should be a longer-form article. And this ain't it, but this was easier.


 Funny, as you'd of course, know, we at #SecondLife have "owned the term" #metaverse for a long while now.

 I'm often struck by the similarity between the current "story" and GK Chesterton's "The Everlasting Man," where the character of The Church keeps coming back with "we've been doing that for ages now..."

 I am an expert on absolutely nothing, but I'd be happy to come on FIR and rant outrageously on the ongoing missed bet of #SecondLife. I'm sure @LindenLab wouldn't want me to. Not that they can apparently be bothered. (Heck, you've been on -my- podcast...)

 I shall have to skip ahead a bit then, I'm about a year behind on one of my podcatchers, not quite as far on the other, but I follow the FIR podcasts on both. So you and I are publicizing #SecondLife. Where's @LindenLab ? Didn't they used to have @EdelmanPR ??

 Stop by and say hi to Grizzly Silversmith sometime you're in the neighborhood. (grin) If they listened to me (they don't), @LindenLab would have you lead their PR efforts.

 "Including the community." The community is not virtual (checks) yep, I'm still a real person, all of us are. As for SL being "too fringe," well by definition if it does achieve mainstream adoption it's not "too fringe." And as for that technobump, all of them have one.

 Every online service has a "learning curve," a bump to get over to understand it enough to live there. The Wild West was supposed to be the theme, but the Rail Barons made an uglier and more industrial foundation, till it was no longer wild.

 Another often forgotten aspect of the Snowcrash Metaverse. SL tried to create the Metaverse and then bring businesses in. In Snowcrash, the businesses created their own connections, -then- everyone else came. Why and how is a good question. Check out M. Darusha Wehm 's series.

 Darusha's series creates imagery of a society built around a 3D immersive online reality, true. But the interactions of most are very pragmatic -- it's where you work, and on top of that it's a place to live. And life there can be as intense as anywhere else. Anyway...

So many of the obstacles of the Metaverse have already been faced, and to an extent overcome, well or badly. So many we haven't resolved are dealt with by the VR wannabes with vague waving of hands. Wanna see how AR does and doesn't work? Come to SL.  

Wanna see what happens when you open up your society to all comers, nice or not so much? " Ich bin ein Berliner." We've already been there, and we didn't find a great solution, but I suspect neither will They. But we will "pay any price, bear any burden..." We've proved that.

 So "I for one welcome our new Metaverse Overlords." Yeah, right. I ran a BBS back in the 1990s, and along came the Web with their so-much-better alternative, which doesn't work near as well, and sometimes not at all. I'm not skeptical, I'm realistic, because I live the reality.

 So, yeah, Metaverse guys, bring it on. But don't bring something lesser or something phony. Bring something better, or don't waste my time.

 I note that, sure, the VR Metaverse wannabes sometimes might produce a "butterflies and flowers" loving and cozy environment. But that's what you get if the only people who -can-come have to afford an expensive 3D headset. We've got "regular folks." Many are nice, not all are.

 If you want a snide comparison, the founders of the US created a noble society "where all men are created equal." In a society where all MEN were also land owners and often slave owners. Easier to be noble when you own someone else who does the work, and they're not included.

 Ditto for what the US actually became. Easy to say if you give folks all the truth they'll make wise decisions. But many won't, many will be manipulable, and some of those fooled will be the loudest voices when the news is circulated. And then there's news.

 I have a half-assed theory. Human societies always depended on our storytellers to inform us what is normal and righteous in our tribe. In the '60s our storytellers were TV fiction and TV/newspaper news. Now our storytellers are algorhythms, in particular Facebook and YouTube.

 But those algorhythms are -not- at all focused on providing with truth, righteousness or what should be. They search for engagement. And getting y'all pissed off is more engaging. So I suspect we're taught our truths are all about being pissed off. Anger and indignation are News.

 So my suspicion, my theory if you want to go that far, is that we're being taught our societal truth, our normal, is anger and rage and hate. We may, to save ourselves, need to kill the messenger. We need our storytellers back.

 I don't think you can kick off the bad behavers, because the algorhythms are telling them that hate and rage are anger are our social norms. So the behavers aren't going to stop, because they're being told by our Storytellers that -this- is Normal and Right.

 The part about convincing Managers to convince employees to support righteous behavior assumes that Our Glorious Leaders at the top actually want employees to actually -have- opinions, rather than wanting them to shut up and not say anything negative about the company.

 I saw with my last employers on the one hand create several mechanisms for employee communications -- and then make sure that "regular" employees never say anything they weren't told to say by the Bosses. Communication is both ways, or is non-existent.

 I understand why, I don't know I'd do better as a Boss, it's unlikely I would. But if you're unwilling to ask, you can't complain when you don't get answers. And when you get a Potemkin workplace, you get what you asked for, worthless as it is.

 And no, I understand exactly why I'm mostly unemployable. Might be another Autistic thing. I will tend to give an honest answer. And I tend to be utterly baffled by less-than-honest questions.


Thursday, December 17, 2020

Content First

Was thinking about content this morning, while trying to go to sleep, and failing.  Happens a lot lately.  What, you, too?

Back in the 1990s, I was a full-charge secretary.  I spent much of my time typing correspondence and some articles for newsletters.  Typing, not doing data entry, which is what I've basically done for the last couple decades. Back then, there were two popular word processing programs, WordPerfect and Microsoft Word.  And they had two very different philosophies about content creation, philosophies which are still influencing us today.

I was a WordPerfect guy, and at the time, WordPerfect (5.1 for DOS by the way) was the most popular word processing software.  Arguably it still is, since nobody does word processing as such much anymore. Microsoft being MS, came out with Word, I'd suppose because they needed one of their own.

I wasn't around for the creation of WordPerfect.  But WP felt to me like it was created for all those folks who'd been typing for years, professional typists, back when typing was a skill with both hands, not an accident with your thumbs and spell-check.  Typing was up front.  Creating content was the first thing you did, and in many cases the last thing and all you did.  WP did a fair amount of predetermined formatting, including full justification, and you could just go with that and have a perfectly serviceable letter come off the printer -- at least in a world where "letter quality" meant looking like it came out of a decent typewriter.

If I wanted something bold or underlined, I could certainly go back later and bold it or underline it, check spelling and capitalization, use different fonts, create headers and footers and such. But content creation came first.

MS Word (in my view as a WP guy) started from the other end.  Pick your fonts, headers, footers, formatting of various kinds.  Define your paragraphs, sub-paragraphs, sub-sub-paragraphs.  Insert pictures and graphs and clipart and borders and-and-and... and after all that, if you had any time or space left, type a little content.  Yes, I'm being snide, I'll say that freely. But I wouldn't say I'm being inaccurate.

The result was a lot of contentless content, a lot of more or less wordless, worthless works.

These days, pointing that out is like arguing about preferences for PCs or Macs.  Few seem to have a use for either.  And hey, I'm old enough to talk about something I did in the 1990s, so many didn't bother to read this far anyway. I'm typing this in a Blog, which is ancient tech these days, too.

But seriously. What do we have for content these days?  We talk about the Death of Print Media, and maybe that's happening. But that's text printed and distributed on paper, with all the troubles that go with that. Paper has it's place and it's advantages we should talk about sometime. The business model, certainly, is falling apart. But that business model is vastly changed from when newspapers started.

And it's still text. Still the "written word." Still "long-form content," with all the thought and research and consideration and preparation that entails.  (Present company excepted; I just started typing.)  It still has value.  Add a picture, if the picture adds value and meaning and information. But start with the words.  Start with the content.

Newspapers had headlines, sometimes huge "lurid, large type" headlines. But those would hopefully be followed by actual content, explaining what the headline means, who did what when and where, and how they did it.  Not why, why ain't news, that someone said "this is why," that's maybe news.

News.  There's a word for ya.  Everyone wants to be a Journalist. But Journalist had a particular meaning from particular circumstances.  There's a perfectly respectable job called News Reporter. Tell folks Who What When Where and How, you're a news reporter.  And don't get me started on "unbiased Journalism."  Oops, too late.

Way back when I was a wee tot, it was hard to travel to other countries, or even to other states or cities for most people.  (Still is, but we pretend it's not.)  Someone got the opportunity to travel to someplace "exotic," they might keep a Journal of their travels, and send occasional excerpts from their Journal to a paper back home for publication. That'd be a Journalist. They'd be sharing their own experiences and their own impressions and their own, very personal, feelings about that place and time and those events.  Biased?  Of course.  There is absolutely no such thing as "unbiased Journalism."

Then there's news reporting.  Respectable, honorable, ancient profession.  Who did what when and where, and how they did it, and often what people said about it. By definition, if you're doing it right, it's not particularly biased. If the writer is expressing their opinion, then it's Opinion, not news reporting.  Perfectly legit to give an opinion, while making clear that's exactly what it is.  There's usually a page or two devoted to exactly that in a "newspaper" of whatever format.

Now, I'll grant ya, newspapers and other outlets are owned by people who want to make money. And there's some owners who lean on their outlets to push their own agendas. Been happening since Gutenberg. Sure, there's the Hearst papers, and the newer clones. Most of the founders of the US owned printing presses, seems like.  Feel free to check my math on that, though.

We have TV, we have various media resources via the Interwebs, some of which are TV-ish, as blogs and such are newspaper-ish (some with more "ish" than others) in terms of the technical style of the content. But look closely. How much of that YouTube channel isn't actually content?  How much is gee-whiz graphics and chatter and what they used to call hail-fellow-well-met?

Non-video websites (rare as they are anymore) are more of the same, seems to me. Plenty of graphics and borders and pictures, and yeah, video.  Lots of "Hi there, I'm such-and-such..." and pictures of their pets and their lunch.  And not much to say, really.  They give their opinions, and don't make much effort to say that's what they're offering. Or they basically offer nothing much. "Lorem ipsum" in 40-point bold italics.  Very pretty, I suppose.

Let me declaim my disclaimer here.  This is rambling and somewhat incoherent. To quote a Robin Williams bit, "That's not writing, that's just typing!"  But it's conceivable I have a point.  And it's a point about paper, certainly, but also YouTube and Twitch and all the others like them, and it's about blogs and podcasts and what-have-you.

Please, create content.  Start with content. If you need a picture or a graph, add one. Don't turn your work into an illuminated manuscript.  We haven't fallen that far quite yet, I hope.

If it's Opinion, say so, if it's Journalism then be clear to yourself and everyone else that's exactly what it is.  If you're going to provide news then provide news, and not Journalism and not Opinion. And be proud of being a News Reporter if that's what you're going to do. Don't let anyone or anything turn it into something else.

Start with the Content.  Worry about the Pretty later, if you have time and think it's important. But do that part in privacy, and wash your hands after.

Further Deponent Sayeth Not.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

GG20200616 -- Eugenics by G K Chesterton Part 2 Chapter 8 and 9

"Eugenics and Other Evils," by G.K. Chesterton, published in 1922.

Chapter 8 -- The End of the Household Gods:

"The only place where it is possible to find an echo of the mind of the English masses is either in conversation or in comic songs. The latter are obviously the more dubious; but they are the only things recorded and quotable that come anywhere near it."

Chapter 9 -- A Short Chapter:

"Round about the year 1913 Eugenics was turned from a fad to a fashion. Then, if I may so summarise the situation, the joke began in earnest. The organising mind which we have seen considering the problem of slum population, the popular material and the possibility of protests, felt that the time had come to open the campaign. ... But as a matter of fact this is not the first chapter but the last. And this must be a very short chapter, because the whole of this story was cut short. A very curious thing happened. England went to war. This would in itself have been a sufficiently irritating interruption in the early life of Eugenette, and in the early establishment of Eugenics. But a far more dreadful and disconcerting fact must be noted. With whom, alas, did England go to war? England went to war with the Superman in his native home."

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