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User Journal

Journal Journal: Where are those GREAT people #PresidentTweety promised to hire? 47

Don't forget that #PresidentTweety promised to hire the best and most competent people. He claimed that running his possibly successful businesses (though we still can't tell without seeing the details in his tax returns) taught him how to get GREAT employees.

Yesterday Spicer stood on the White House podium and said Hitler didn't used chemical weapons. This fiasco proved yet AGAIN that Sean "Schadenfreude" Spicer is NOT the best and most competent spokesperson. I just realized that my amusement at Spicer's incompetence has crossed that line. Yet more amusement that it was a rather horrendous German history "mistake" that invoked the German word for that special emotion.

Remember that Trump hasn't even replaced all the people he fired when he occupied the White House. He doesn't even trust the staff members he couldn't fire. Sean Spicer proves that competence is NOT the issue, so that means the Donald can't even find enough people who are sufficient loyal and willing to work for him.

The only competent people now appear to be some of the SAME generals he was denouncing when they worked for President Obama, but they are faced with the option of obeying Trump's orders or ending their careers. Of course, even there Trump managed to employ an utterly incompetent general in Flynn.

The main accomplishment of #PresidentTweety's first days has been to decapitate the American government. What more could Putin ask for?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Principles of taxation?

There are various principles for personal taxation. I favor progressive taxation that increases the tax burden on people who can afford it, mostly because they are getting most of the benefits from the civilization that the taxes pay for, but also because poor people are human, too, and their suffering should be reduced when possible.

It is obvious that the current principles of personal taxation are working to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. My interpretation of Ryan's proposed "tax reforms" is that the so-called Republicans have realized they can't squeeze any more blood out of the poor people, so they are going to squeeze more out of the people who aren't poor. Yet. Unfortunately, this will NOT solve the fake problem of the super-rich people. There is NO amount of money that would "solve" such greed.

The usual principle given to justify consumption or sales taxes is that they are equal for everyone. A common buzzword is proportional taxation. However the reality is that they are actually regressive because poor people have to spend all of their money and get taxed on all of it. If the rich people spent all of their money, then they would become poor, and it never works that way. However, there's a much more serious problem with taxing consumption. Taxing something tends to discourage it, but consumption is fundamentally a good thing and should be ENCOURAGED, not discouraged. Consumption is what drives the economy, and the main job of the government is to make it as smooth and as convenient as possible for people to buy stuff, but sales taxes are like throwing sand into a machine.

Corporate taxation should also be considered in the broader topic of taxation. Obviously the current American tax system supports corporate cancerism with many industries collapsing to one or two companies. Capitalism requires meaningful competition (per my sig), but cancer worship is NOT capitalism.

I would like to propose a new principle of corporate taxation to increase human freedom. Progressive corporate taxation based on market share. Once a company's market share gets too high and starts reducing the customers' freedom, then its tax rates start rising. Don't think of it as a penalty for success. Rather the winners are being rewarded by being encouraged to reproduce and COMPETE with more choices. Going farther, I think there should be special tax incentives when a giant company divides itself into directly competing companies.

Rather than protecting a monopolist's profits by fighting against innovation and dangerous changes, the company's would be motivated to keep right on competing and innovating. In cases where there really is a natural monopoly, the extra taxes should mostly be invested in (1) carefully regulating the monopolist and (2) researching (and even investing in) ways to break the monopoly.

Lots more details available upon polite request, as the old joke goes.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Hate crimes in Seattle U Dist 3

So, the Neo-Nazis are getting bolder in the U Dist. Was going to lunch with a friend and ran into one who yelled various threats and racist aspersions at me. Apparently he had been doing this for quite a while, and others had called 911 too. He was obviously trying to provoke a physical reaction (my friend is Filipino) from me but I was pretty calm, since I know what to do. This is why you have to have leaders who don't promote garbage like this, it encourages the loons.

Just after me, he did a similar thing to a young couple and the guy started brawling with the male of the couple.

I blame the President and his VP Trump.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Where did capitalism go? 1

American capitalism has died. Old-fashioned capitalism has now mutated into something that we should call corporate cancerism. The Russians have basically the same thing, though they got there by a different route. Now we are witnessing a battle royale between two strains of economic cancer.

Corporations win, humans lose. Have a nice day?

User Journal

Journal Journal: How the spammers almost nuked Rosetta@home

Not that they meant to. Just more of their collateral damage. Let me explain:

It seems that the DNS problem was ultimately due to increased security for domain registrations. The driver for making the domain registration process more secure is that spammers and various other cyber-criminals need domains to abuse. I'm going to lump all of them under the tag "spammers" because the spammers were the first cyber-criminals and because I really HATE spam. Also, I believe that spamming was the entry point (gateway drug?) for most of them, the first step in losing their souls, so to speak, as well as the source of most of their seed capital.

The abuse their domains in MANY ways. You probably know that 419 spammers like to use bulletproof domains to harvest their suckers. The anti-google PageRank attackers want vast networks of controllable domains for the links they can create.

However, in the case of BOINC the threat of a hijacked domain for ANY project is vastly greater. I know it's hard, but imagine there is a bug in the BOINC client. Imagine that bug allows a downloaded work unit to hijack (AKA pwn) the computer. Now imagine that the spammer hijacks the project's domain and captures ALL of the client computers for his zombie network. This spammer now "owns" the most powerful spam-generation system in the world and could probably DDoS attack the Pentagon with his spare cycles.

As a sort of sick joke, I sort of blame Al Gore. If he hadn't been so competent and effective in giving the nice creators of the Internet all that nice money, then maybe they would have considered real-world economics in the design. SMTP didn't have to assume the world is full of nice people who deserve "free" email. (No such thing, per my sig.)

Solution time? Really hard to get all of the worms and cats back into the bag now, but focusing just on email, I think there are two basic approaches. I used to advocate for a non-SMTP-based email system with tracking that would automatically slow down the spammers so their marginal costs would rise to infinity from the present zero, but now I think it's too much trouble.

Instead, what I would like now is an anti-spammer tool that would let nice volunteers donate bits of their human time towards breaking the spammers' economic models. Actually the same tool could be extended to fight against most kinds of cyber-crime, and I still think most people are nice, notwithstanding how much the spammers seem to outnumber us. One implementation would be as a "Fight spam" button added to an online email system (such as Gmail).

If you choose to be a good Samaritan, then it would parse your suspected spam and let you confirm the analysis in a webform. There would probably be several rounds of iteration, where you would adjust and correct the analysis and help select the best countermeasures and their priorities.

As the joke goes, lots of details available upon polite request. Even better if you have a stronger and more constructive alternative.

User Journal

Journal Journal: In response to a story about the google's AI to recognize objects in videos

Oh wait. The summary says it can recognize a dachshund. Proof enough for me! Everyone knows dachshunds are the most EVIL breed of dog.

Actually every article about the google tends to sadden me. Such a nice little child company grew up to be such a monster. Dare I say EVIL? Yes, notwithstanding finishing yet another book about the google yesterday amid all of the protestations of how much the google wants to be a good and friendly little boy. The tools remain as morally neutral as they ever were, but things have changed anyway.

The "Don't be evil" slogan has mutated to "All your attention are belong to us."

The mission of making all of the world's information accessible and useful has changed in a more complicated way. Information is overabundant, even super-abundant, so the google had to prioritize. Turns out the highest priority information is what the advertisers want to pay for YOU to see and the ultimate utility function became the corporate profits. Yes, they are still throwing a few crumbs at the residual humans who produce the content that carries the ads, but the big winners are all corporations. Ultimate victory of AI?

There are two problem with "shareholder value" as the sole criterion of goodness. The minor problem is that share price is a delusion. The major problem is that it defines an unsolvable problem, even if you don't call it greed. There is NO share price that represents maximum shareholder value. No matter what you did yesterday, the corporation has to work to make the share price higher today, even if it ultimately makes the corporation EVIL.

Speaking for myself, I can't call it super-greed because corporations are inhuman, notwithstanding SCOTUS. Only humans have such emotions as greed.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Reactions to General will 2.0: Rousseau, Freud, Google 1

Reactions to General will 2.0: Rousseau, Freud, Google by Hiroki Azuma (äèæå--2.0 ãfã½ãf¼ããfãfããfãããf¼ããf)

In summary, a tremendously provocative and rather interesting book, but too flawed and immature to be important or influential. It makes me feel like I have to start with rationalizations about the book's limitations. I think there're three kinds of problems that affected this book.

One is that the translation itself seems somewhat suspicious, Either because the material is so difficult or possibly because the translators own philosophies were brought into the picture, especially if either of them is a libertarian. In my page-based notes I will include a few specific questions about the translation, but I think there's more a general problem manifested in the confusion of proper nouns with generic usages. Quite frequently the book uses terms such as "general will 2.0" that should be capitalized and treated as proper nouns, but which appear in lowercase. It is barely possible that this reflects a feeling that the frequent capitalization would have made the book feel too heavy in some way, but I think it much more likely that it reflects the lack of capitalization in the original Japanese. (There are no capital letters in Japanese.)

The second problem could be described as a kind of trauma due to the disastrous earthquake and tsunami of 2011, immediately followed by the nuclear-power-plant disaster in Fukushima. My own trauma was relatively minor, just that I voided elevators for a few months, but perhaps the author had tighter connections to Fukushima or for some other reason felt the disaster more deeply. He gives the impression in the introduction that he was forced by the earthquake into rethinking many of the points raised in the book in ways that prevented him from merely polishing the original essays. His choices were to present them almost intact from the magazine serialization or completely rewrite the book.

The third problem can be described as a kind of forced extension beyond the original conception, especially as regards Rousseau. He is trying to rework the philosophy of Rousseau in a way that goes beyond the plausible implications of the original philosophy of the "social contract". I think it started as an interesting thought experiment, but he went so far that he at some point even the author understood that the connection to the original was overstretched. Even with the stretching, it's thought-provoking, but I felt it was not a mature conceptualization. There was some additional confusion caused by the layering in of later philosophers and thinkers, especially as regards Freud.

So here are my page-based comments:

On page vii I saw the first thing that made me worry about the translation. Near the bottom he says "I was able to assume the place ..." in a way that sounds quite pompous and assertive, even aggressive. I suspect the original Japanese may have represented a gentler conception that should've been translated into something like "I found myself thrust into a place ..."

On page xii he notes that it is September 11, 2011, which is exactly half a year since the disaster of the great earthquake. As an American I was struck but that the date was also exactly 10 years after the great and similarly traumatic disaster of 9/11 in America. It would have been even more striking as the double anniversary. (The 9/11 disaster was mentioned on page 60.)

On page 6 he talks about the Google's mission statement of organizing the worlds information. My main reaction was negative in light of my reconsideration of that mission statement in favor of giving priority to accessing the advertising information with the new utility metric of the paying advertisers' profits. I wonder if his generous and friendly interpretation was still plausible when this book was written?

At the bottom of page 11 was another sentence that made me wonder about the quality of the translation. It uses a very unusual word, "sublated", in such a way that it could not be clearly interpreted from the context. Perhaps a dictionary-based translation? Following the literal Japanese, but the result was not clear in the actual context. Better writing or a better translation should have made this concept clear. There are other examples in the book where free translation was clearly used. For example the "two heads are better than one" expression is used instead of a direct translation of the Japanese expression about the three men being wiser then Buddha. (ääåãOEãæ-æ®Sã®çY¥æ was referenced in a note.)

On page 53 there is a confusing note about the two Japanese forms of ææ and æå--, which are homonyms with closely related meanings. (One kind of åOEéYç義ã) However my main reaction to this footnote was to realize that all of the Japanese intrusions in the book would have benefited from the inclusion of proper Japanese. The use of Romaji was as usual ambiguous and confusing. If you don't already know the Japanese, then the Romaji is just gibberish, and if you do know the Japanese, then the Romaji is just intrusive.

On page 69 he's discussing the shallowness of conversations on the infamous Nichanneru (2ããfã"ããï¼Y). Reminds me again of Nicholas Carr's excellent book The Shallows.

On page 70 the second note is talking about the creator of the Google's Japanese input system, someone named Taku Kudo. One of my reactions was to wonder if he was might be related to the security expert Kudo-san at IBM Japan, but mostly I was curious about the extra features of Google Japanese input.

What struck me about page 73 was his essential confusion about the nature of freedom. However I think it helped to trigger me to think more about the meaning of constraints based on reality within the context of my own equation defining the most important sense of freedom. [#1 Freedom = (Meaningful - Coerced) Choice{5} â (Beer^4 | Speech | Trade) in my favorite sig.] Not sure if this is when I started wondering about some way to work the word constraint or reality into my sig, but it also reassured me about the usage of "Coerced" there.

My main reaction to page 79 was probably do to his apparent confusion about the you effective use of personal time. This is also another intersection with The Shallows.

Page 81 i talking about island universes from a libertarian perspective, but this is a concept I now map to do-it-yourself brainwashing.

Page 86 represents another other intrusion of libertarian fantasies. He's trying to rationalize minimizing government without considering the essential blindness of masses of people. The kinds of data he is collecting here are fundamentally incapable of revealing what should be done, incapable of dealing with the notion of change itself, but only capture the static conditions. I7m doubtful that the author understands that leadership requires unified vision, though this might be an overlaying of the libertarian conceptions. There's also some confusion with his use of the word "database" throughout the book, where he was probably thinking about something like "big data". Perhaps the use of big data came later, so he was forced to use the approximating word database?

I had two reactions on page 96. The main one was feeling his interpretation of Google PageRank was quite shallow and even inaccurate. I also had trouble with his interpretation of Freud here.

Not certain what caught my attention page 113, but perhaps that is where I realized the confusion between database and big data? The closing paragraph of that chapter was quite confusing to me, though that might be another translation problem.

Page 115 he had me thinking about reality-based constraints in relation to freedom.

On pages 136 and 137 he made me feel like he was confused about how the wisdom of crowds works, even though he refers to that book. The independent perspective of the individuals within the crowd is key to avoiding mob-based decisions.

The third note on page 139 made me think of time-based economics, although that general topic is clearly beyond his thinking in this book. I think that was the main problem that caught my attention on page 145, too.

On page 150 he's talking about the Japanese website Niconico, which has a real-time chat mode similar to YouTube's. He's talking about the problem of an overabundance of comments on the right side. This make me think about an obvious solution. Most of the comments should never be displayed, though perhaps they could be saved somewhere else for later reference. The displayed comments should be throttled to a slow speed to make sure they can be read. After each comment that makes it onto the display there would be some number and buttons. The first number would represent how many comments had been skipped before accepting the displayed comment. This would give a real-time indicator of the activity of the discussion. A thumbs-up and thumbs-down button would let the audience try to push the comment up or down the list, with a number for the net value. If the comment is accumulating a lot of positive reactions, then will tend to rise in the stack of displayed comments, but if it's getting negative reactions it will sink. There should also be a button for "the subject has changed". If enough viewers click on that one, then the comment will disappear to make room for a new comment. This system would then semi-automatically create a time-based list of the most important comments associated with each part of the video. More ideas and details available upon request, but that offer feels like a joke these days...

The discussion of Twitter on pages 182 to 184 was also thought provoking. It made me think of a new way to make Twitter much more interesting and useful. You should be able to sort and group the accounts you are following so that the different kinds of information appear in separate lists. On a large screen computer you would be able to display the lists side-by-side. For example the Twitter feed of your family members and close friends might be in the first column on the left side, while the second column might be for news sources and the third column for celebrities you are interested in. On a small screen device a sideways flick could switch between the columns representing your groupings. Another new idea of the sort I like to think about...

On page 204 he suggests that Google and Apple are influenced buy their shareholders. Seems to me to be a remarkably naÃve statement, based on my firsthand experience as an Apple shareholder and most starkly in a recent interaction with Sony. They are not interested in new ideas or any sort of "guidance" from shareholders. That's part of a more general problem and made me think his economic models are too naÃve by half.

Those are my page-based reactions to the book. They sound somewhat critical, but I'm still interested in many of the topics he raised. Not sure if I can actually recommend the book, but I'm thinking of visiting the coffee shop (or maybe it's more of a discussion salon) that the author manages.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Generalizable comments on Google+ 1

[Just the repost. Mostly relevant to Slashdot with the trivial substitution, but I don't think Slashdot is worth that much effort (and still wrapping up my affairs here before another hiatus).

Is it possible to have a civilized discussion using Google+? What are the rules for most effectively dealing with trolls and other rude people?

Just asking because it appears that the google has changed the rules again. I'm only sure that I don't fully understand the rules. However, I am also sure that I don't want to waste the time playing with trolls or even cleaning up after them.

My own preference would be to avoid seeing their mindless trollage in the first place. I still think that the best tool or feature for that purpose would be an age-based maturity filter. Should be an option, but I would set mine for about 2 months since I believe few sock-puppet identities last that long. A 2-month maturity requirement would render them invisible to me.

A bit of a diversion now, but if this topic has already been discussed (and I bet it has), then I was unable to find those discussions here. There is a search function, but it was not helpful. What if the google took the words and sentiments of my draft comment and used them to pop up relevant discussions for me to consider? Then I could see if my question had been answered, or even better, I could explain what was different about my problem and what parts of the answer didn't fully apply. (Going beyond that, the prior participants could be notified the topic had become active again.) Now back to our irregularly unscheduled discussion of how to have a "deep, thoughtful, and polite" discussion in Google+ (or anywhere on today's exceedingly messy Web of fake opinion).

In the unclear area is the question of long-lived trolls. I don't even know if Google+ has a block function or some kind of kill list.

I actually think the deeper solution would involve reputation-based filtering based on a symmetric relationship to each identity's contributions. If someone rates a comment favorably, then that favor should also accrue to the person who wrote the comment. I actually think it should have an option for higher dimension ranking, and most of the dimensions should allow for both positive and negative rankings.

Lots of details available upon request, but let me confess that I'm NOT anticipating a deep and thoughtful discussion here. Hoping for such, but all my hopes seem increasingly feeble these days.

User Journal

Journal Journal: This one didn't make it a day 1

Seriously, didn't even make it to 3 pm.


Resign now. Take completely compromised Pence with you and tell President Bannon he's going back into cold storage in Argentina again.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Like Owen Wilson in Armageddon 7

So the Fuckhead Of The United States is having literally the worst first month of a presidential term and his big idea is a 2020 campaign rally in fucking Florida this weekend?

Oughtta just nuke the whole country, it's the only way to be sure at this point. Fucking Yanks.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Is the google thrashing? 8

[Published elsewhere including the links, but the likelihood of constructive or even thoughtful reactions here on Slashdot is too small to worry about fixing it up properly.]

Is the google thrashing?

Why does the google appear to be thrashing? There are so many obvious problems to be solved, but (at least from the outside) it appears that the google has stopped moving towards those solutions because of the thrashing.

I do not think it's because all of the important innovations have been implemented. My current theory is that it's because the google has reached the limit of conventional money-über-alles economic models.

From an emulation of Laszlo Bock's head?

[Are the details available upon request?]

Okay, that's the 'teaser' I sent to a Googler of my acquaintance. More likely it should be described as a 'brain fart', but I'm going to try to flesh out some of the details here. Anyway, the 'teaser' has served MY purpose in that it got me to start writing this:

Starting from the back, perhaps this should be regarded as a kind of twisted and consolidated review of the google-related books I've been reading recently. Laszlo Bock's Work Rules! is the most recent, but among the 30 books I've finished so far this year, there is also How Google Works by two insiders and outsider Ken Auletta's book from 2009. I see Nudge and I remember recently reading a couple of other books mentioned in Work Rules! but I think he should have read Rework, too. (Considering the missing bits, he should have included the story about the three masons, too. (That's a weak version of the story, but I can't find a link for a version in which the third bricklayer understood he was glorifying god.))

Distracted again, but I can't help it. The world is overly connected and the solutions of the interesting problems are usually under-constrained. Imagine that the google wanted to create a happier-life search engine? Among other purposes, it would help people find satisfying and rewarding purposes for their lives, possibly even including gainful employment? Oh, wait. Where's the money?

Now I went and jumped a step, so I have to back up to the head emulation topic. (Unless you, the mysterious and unknown reader, have already read some of my writings on that topic?) In brief, a good writer creates mental models inside the heads of his readers. For example, Raymond Chandler can cause your brain to run an emulator of Philip Marlowe. (Serrendipitously, the centennial celebration of his character mentions "googol" on page xiv from a time machine in 1988. (Is the google thrashing again with this false positive? The copy I'm holding here only has 370 + xiv pages.) (This double parenthetic note now reminds me of The Shallows and how the Web tends to divert from deeper thinking.)) However, I think a really good reader does a sort of converse operation on the author's mind, so my goal in reading a book is to think like the author... To a degree, I hope I'm still thinking like Laszlo Bock, notwithstanding?

Okay, so now I can return to the solutions that the google has stopped pursuing. I think the Google Books project (that I've already linked to) is a good entry point. This project was certainly consistent with the google's original high "mission" (or goal) of making the world's information accessible and useful. From here it appears that the project mostly came to naught on the rocks of the publishers' unbounded greed. Their economic models DEMAND more money, and there is no limit on that "more". (This is actually an aspect of the larger problem of the distortion of copyrights, but I've already been diverted too many times this morning...)

The same kind of focus on getting more money has changed the google's perspective of the company's mission. Now the most important "information" that has to be made "accessible" is the paid ads and the ultimate metric of "useful" is the sales figures of the corporations that are paying for the ads. Even the google has to follow the money, and the delusion of the free lunch allows us to think we aren't paying for it. (Another diversion into "#1 Freedom = (Meaningful - Coerced) Choice{5} â (Beer^4 | Speech | Trade)" beckons, but...)

Now I've popped the stack all the way back to the topic of thrashing... Hard to describe what it is... It's the internal chaos within the google that prevents deeper focus on the really hard problems? It's the diverting-but-shallow links that always beckon? (I've been fighting with many of them already...) It's the elitist closure that results from the googlers associating primarily with the tiny intersection of (1) extreme creatives, (2) super-productive engineers, and (3) money chasers?

Time for conclusions? I think there are a number of obvious problems that could be addressed, but I certainly wouldn't look to the google for solutions. At this point I can barely hope that their search results might lead in helpful directions. It also seems that the google itself has realized there is a problem and that they have reached their limits. At least that's my interpretation of the reorganization under Alphabet.

Wish I could go deeper, but my muse is already exhausted. Better luck next time?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Is Flexnet's Agent running on your computer?

Not the first time I've noticed this on Windows 10... In your Task Manager you may be able to find an agent.exe process that runs from time to time. It's identified as the Flexnet Remote Desktop Connection software. Uh? But I didn't know I was running a remote connection to my desktop. You?

How serious is this version of the Microsoft ppyware problem?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Seattle is Resistance 3

So, for those of you don't realize it, I'm a catalyst. I've fought against my basic nature for years, but it's what I do.

and right now, my job is saving America.

No pay, hard work, it's connecting stuff, using some ancient protocol builds that are in everything to bypass security that never did work, and providing little pushes that get things done.

Expect more. Just starting.

It's immaterial if you know I used to have a four digit slashdot account and spaced my old password from my old account at one of the first ISPs, or that I used to hack things before the USE*NET wars, or was there at the start of the events that created EFF and all that.

I just do things. Never for personal gain.

This is one of those times.

User Journal

Journal Journal: A return from facebook 5

Hi world,

I'm currently trying out a new behavior trait: "going back to the way it was before." Sounds exciting, huh. Color me Facebook-less since 1.5 months and frankly, this is the first time since I feel the need to actually share something.

My idea was this: what if I would write down and re-visit the steps that lead up to that decision to leave the largest social network in the world? Why? Well, for one thing, I think the idea to go back to earlier practices (such as writing a full blown more than 140 character journal) is going to move slowly back into the center of our collective conscious over the next 5 years. People will start to realize it's the sane thing to do, or so at least that is my guess. But let's look into the dynamics of how I got there.

Many of us remember the so called "browser wars", the epic "os flame-wars", or even further down the burning question wether gnu or unix would be preferable, wether java would be worth it compared to c++, etc.. 30 or 40 years ago, these discussions were of a technical level and nerdism that few can aspire to imagine today. These discussions, much like today, were full of noise, trolls and the occasional insightful remark. These wars were fought in obscure IRC channels and BBS forums, but there was one thing pretty special about them. The technological limits were the only roadblock that stopped our brains from dumping their content in 7 or 8 bit streams that could be shared and read by our fellow peers and friends (and foes). After the browser war came the Napster incident, the BearShare and KaZaa incidents and many systems that predate our current torrent / tor p2p sharing infrastructure. Curiously, I never read about social network wars, which of course also happened. A quick look at the Wikipedia page shows a whopping 208 unique social network websites that attempt to capture our attention, every day life, pictures, personal data, emotions, furniture, love for smiling shit and everything else in between. Not every single one of them survived of course. Who remembers Myspace? Bolt? MS LiveSpaces? or Hyves? So yeah there were wars, but the concept of war was never prominently played, things just "evolved".

So there I was in December 2016, pondering if I still needed facebook. I struck me that I had refrained from posting personal things. In fact in multiple runs, I had slowly started to remove personal data, simply because it increasingly looked ridiculous. Would you start yelling your city of birth and birthday just about anyone in the street? Your marital status? Would you show all the pictures of all your travels and everything else to complete strangers? Of course not. Sure you can spend endless hours 'managing' all that information. Such fun. So much to re-post, so much 'news' to share.

Until you've had it with the latest policy change. Until you realize you are again indicating people they are sharing fake 'news' or hoaxes. Until you realize all your friends posts start with 'OMG'. Or that you can't include 2 images in one post that blatantly refute each-other, because, hey it's facebook. Until you realize that all posts shared say: "look, this is *really* interesting, but I'm just going to dump it here because I'm tired of pretending my shit is more interesting than yours. eat it or die."

Ego needs a cookie. I did truly post some interesting stuff. Stuff about stock markets that are indicative of how defunct our world is. Stuff from NOAA that says how fucked up our climate has become already. Stuff in research papers that tell something about the very structure of our universe. Stuff about brain functions, important findings on cellular level to fight disease, etc, etc.. Not that very many people ever reacted to 'my' shared crap. At best, people reacted because I reacted to their posts first.

On Januari 1st 2017, I stopped playing that pathetic me-me game, and went back to my previous behavior: I traded facebook with sleep. I read books. I started to play FinalFantasy again. I still check my news channels, but you know what.. somehow I'm getting better at finding new resources, new pointers. And I'm looking at much more meaningful content. See back of this post.

The date is not coincidental. On December 31st 2016, we were out for new-years-eve at my parents-in-law. It was a fairly modest get together with nice food, cozy dinner, and a bit of fireworks on TV. In Belgium and The Netherlands, there is a tradition to watch comedians that recount how they saw the past year, such as Wim Helsen or Michael Van Peel. Comparing them to John Stewart / Daily Show would do neither party any favors, but in my book they're equally good. In fact they're all best in their class.

While the evening shot past mid-night, we all wished each-other happy new year and stayed up for a while until the inevitable sleep and early morning came around. Nothing very shocking, but little did we know that at that very same time, somebody had cracked open the front door of our house and was going through all our possessions, stealing laptops, cameras, my bike I use daily with mounted child-seat, golden jewelry, and possibly other stuff, making a huge mess in the process. We were literally 100km south.

We arrived home at 7PM, found some people in front of our house gesturing at the break-in. After the initial shock, my cool kicks in. The first thing to do was to verify the house, call the police and go through the whole procedure. Yes, it's nerve wrecking and sleep-inducing at the same time. Our hope that the police finds the culprit is virtually nil, while at the same time you're supposed to be angry and mad, hopeful and rational. I can't do that emotion very convincingly. I just kept going until everyone was asleep.

When I finally sat down for a few minutes (or hours - the door was badly damaged, so I kept guard the whole night in freezing temperatures) I had time go over all the events. Time gives me oxygen. I'm slow like that, I step on the brakes when I'm going too fast. Given that laptops had been stolen, I decided it was time to change passwords. We still had our phones after all, android, so pretty vulnerable if they could hack into our stuff first. And then it suddenly occurred to me that selling this 'event' in my life on facebook was really the last thing I ever would want to do. Much like all the other important events in my life which I did not share. And so I dropped facebook and Google+ overnight. I'm searching with duckduckgo now. I haven't had a single moment of regret. I sometimes am curious of what is going on there of course, but I imagine it's just the same shit again and again, in different colors.

So what makes me share all this here then, you wonder? Well, all of this is old news, it's also much more digested, no images, no screaming. It's a wall of text full of close to logical long sentences. Those looking for quick fixes will be off running to their click pools after half a paragraph. Those reading this will probably not care and never comment. So who is left? It's me. And that's just fine.

Much in concordance with my earlier post, I pledge for us all to go back to earlier times, pick up things that were loved but lost in the fabric of spacetime. Let's go back and be ace at it. Hello world!

Greets, .i

ps: Forget Trump, check this:

User Journal

Journal Journal: Shallow thinking hurts the google? 3

More precisely, is the google harmed by its own shallow-even-if-clever thinking? And what about Facebook, Amazon, Slashdot, #PresidentTweety, and you?

Let's start in Macedonia, eh? Already feels like ancient news, but:

Is it evil to further impoverish some desperate ex-shepherds just because they found a new way to make a living? (I confess I don't even know if they used to be shepherds, but it doesn't actually matter what legitimate jobs they used to have before they switched to the fake news business.) Is it their fault that the market demand for fake news was so skewed in favor of future #PresidentTweety?

Going a little deeper, I think they should be congratulated for seeing the market opportunity. The RoI for fake news was YUGE. Production costs are essentially zero. No research required, not even market research. Just throw everything against the wall and see what sticks, goes viral, and brings back those sweet, sweet, advertising dollars.

Surely the advertisers can't be blamed. They can't police the appearances of their ads or question the intelligence and gullibility of their potential customers.

Oh, so NOW the google (and Facebook) have realized that the crooked game had consequences, eh? Let's shut that barn door after all the cows have escaped!

Just reading How Google Works by Schmidt and Rosenberg, two hippos of the google who eagerly attack other hippos and their companies. However, in their description of the culture of their company they made the employees sound like gas molecules, or maybe plasma. Constantly bouncing around and interacting and doing things without any time for deeply thinking about the various mistakes or consequences that can probably be fixed later on.

Supporting fake news turned out to be a pretty massive problem. Later on turns out be be some years later. Assuming anyone is still around to google, eh?

There are times when deep thinking is called for. This used to be one of them?

I like to focus on solutions, and I have two to throw out. Details available upon polite request:

(1) A deep-thinking cap. For when you absolutely positively need a quiet place to think.
(2) A feedback form with a generalized "reporting evil" option. Now do something about it!

Me? I often think my shallow thinking often results in problems.

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