Bless me Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was probably about 23 years ago and even then there’s no way I confessed all my sins. You see, I knew my priest personally and had zero interest in telling him about all the things that had passed through my strange little 13-year old mind.
I suppose my first confession is that I very much enjoy Twitter and Facebook. I am not the apologetic user I come across so often who says that yes they have an account, but they never post anything. I have nothing against these passive social media users (my wife is one, after all) but I do like to point out that Twitter and Facebook would suck much worse – they would be Google+ – if more enthusiastic users did not exist.
I confess to thinking that people who scoff at Twitter as being for young kids doing insubstantial things don’t know that the hell they’re talking about. Personally, I started using it to increase the readership of one of my now abandoned baseball blogs. I quickly realized that if I followed the right people, I could use Twitter to have nearly instantaneous access to ANY breaking baseball story. I’m sure this seems trivial, but I’m also fairly certain you could use Twitter to stay atop of just about any other topic in a similar way.
As for Facebook, I confess to enjoying (and abusing) the constant opportunity to crack wise. I further confess that when people complain because they hear so much about other people through Facebook rather than through more traditional means, I want to ask if they’d prefer to not know things about the person at all. Because there is an enormous population of people who I’m perfectly fine reading about on Facebook but would spend zero iotas of effort to follow any other way.
As my final confession, I will fess up to hateful thoughts directed toward people on Facebook and Twitter who use the medium to post nothing but inspirational quotes. This is by no means, and in no sense, my final sin. Now please keep my penance to Hail Marys and Our Fathers. I would need help getting through any Apostle’s Creeds and I’m not even sure I know how to work my way through a rosary anymore.
I am working too hard on innovative technologies that will shape your lives. It’s not that I hate that but I do hate not having the time to write a proper Tuesday Hatred (assuming there is such a thing, at least coming from my fingers).
I would hate it even more to leave Tuesday blank so I’m going to count on the comments to prop up some decent hatred.
- Stuff, specifically stuff that is a prerequisite for other stuff.
- Not being able to say no to a big opportunity.
- “greta gerwig nude”.
- More stuff, especially the stuff coming after stuff is broken.
- Not getting a big opportunity to say no to.
- Microsoft (see 2. and 5.).
- “Penelope Cruz telling the naked truth to Javier Bardem to get his ass whipped, would make a pretty picture.”, just to get back at people typing in things like 4. in a search engine.
- Pontificating about Europe, particularly: Krugman, Paul².
- Do it Yourself³.
Whilst not being able to fall asleep despite having taken the medicine prescribed for falling asleep more easily, I told myself (quietly, The Wife already being in REM) I was to type this sitting at my desk. Two thirds of a day onwards I find myself with my laptop on my lap lying in bed.
Don’t you just hate how you can keep on promising yourself to better your life?
I blame society. If society wouldn’t be acting like an old fart that missed all of its opportunities and now just wants to help us not missing our opportunities, none of this promising would happen in the first place. I may be obsessive out of nature but I sure as hell am only spontaneously obsessive about what other people do (or, more accurately: don’t do).
But as things stand I can’t even promise myself that I won’t promise myself anything else!
So society will have to change and allow me to accept myself in all of my useless unreliability. I hate society anyway. I will enjoy how it bleeds from ever increasing masses joining the universal party of giving the middle finger to living up to their expectations. Let the minority of over-achievers rule in the knowledge that the ruled don’t give a shit.
I also hate that there are multiple versions of anything. Just give me the browser with the plug-ins (and keep any toolbar that just reduces the effective area of my screen offering me options that I will never use) on the operating system of the device. Update it whenever you want but please don’t tell me about it,let alone ask me whether I want it – because I do not want it unless it’s necessary and if it’s necessary it is stupid to ask me whether I want it. Don’t treat me as if I care about the stuff you are doing. I don’t. It just annoys me. It should annoy you as well because whilst you are doing it 5 others are also doing the exact same thing, all in the name of efficiency.
Just don’t upgrade to a system where a new comment needs to be input on top of the old comments. Accepting most of us read from top to bottom, please start with the oldest entries and work your way down on the page from there. That’s all.
I’ve been using Dropbox for the past two years, and it has greatly simplified my life, allowing me to seamlessly move among my various work and home computers and even giving me access to all my files from my Blackberry. Yet there’s something about “cloud”-based storage that disturbs me. First of all, it seems strange that now that massive local storage drives are cheaper than ever, suddenly we need to transfer all our files to distant corporate servers — local storage is faster and more reliable for most purposes. Also, most computer users have a more or less constant connection to the Internet and leave their computers on all the time anyway.
So what I’m wondering is why we can’t just make our own personal “clouds” and cut out the corporate servers entirely. To take the model of Dropbox — it creates a local folder on all the computers you install it on. If you change or add a file in that folder, it gets uploaded to the Dropbox server and then propagated to all the other machines you’ve tied to your account. If one of the machines is off or disconnected from the internet, it syncs back up whenever possible, and otherwise it’s more or less instantaneous (i.e., it takes less time than it takes me to walk from one end of my apartment to the other).
Is there some obstacle preventing the implementation of this basic model through something like BitTorrent? BitTorrent has no centralized server, but merely a “tracker” that allows you to plug into a purely peer-to-peer, open-ended file distribution system — so why couldn’t my various machines be a peer-to-peer file distribution unto themselves, and why couldn’t I add new machines and remove old ones on the fly?
It strikes me that most of the pervasive technologies we use every day are not being used for their intended purpose, such that they have major limitations:
- Cell phones were meant to be a supplemental phone, not your sole phone line. As a result, it has a major limitation: it’s tough to make phone calls inside of buildings, which if you think about it is mostly where you want to place calls.
- Twitter was meant to be a text-message broadcast service, not a mini-blogging service. As a result, it can only support messages of 140 characters (to fit within the limits of a text message and leave room for the username), doesn’t support any kind of robust tracking of conversations, etc., etc.
- Blogging was meant to be a link-aggregation thing, not a platform for original writing and conversation. As a result, the text editor for most blogging formats is literally just a plain-text box within a browser and the format of comment sections continually fails to catch up to what was available to people back in the Usenet days. (Trackback is lame, even though I do support the idea of encouraging people to respond in the context of their own blog posts if they have more than just a quick comment or clarification.)
- Sex was initially developed as a way of diversifying the gene pool and contributing to more robust natural selction, not as a way of developing deep and life-defining emotional connections. As a result, we have human society as we know it.
Sooner or later, Facebook is going to run out of options for violating its users’ privacy, at which point the only option will be to begin violating the privacy of people who are not signed up for the service.
A good place to start would be with the invitations people send to their friends — I know that Facebook “remembers” those invitations because they constantly send me reminders that some friend has sent one, even years after the fact. Instead of waiting for the person in question to actually sign up, they could create a profile for them and then accept all friend invitations on their behalf. Perhaps they could even invite those friends to fill in profile data.
It’d be a natural next step for them: instead of merely removing people’s control over how their Facebook data is used, this new policy would allow them to remove people’s control over the content of their profile and indeed over whether or not to have a profile at all. It would also be a great money maker, because they could charge a fee to give people control over their auto-generated profiles.
We need to move beyond a phone that is merely “smart” to a phone that is a “genius.” The way to do this is through voice-recognition technology, calibrated to the user, which then prompts appropriate internet searches based on what the user is saying. Let’s say The Girlfriend and I are talking about whether there are any good restaurants near where we are — I pull out the Genius Phone and it’s already on the screen. I wonder if this movie has released yet? Who was the actor who played “Boner” on Growing Pains? What ever happened to Vanilla Ice? Again — instant gratification whenever I pull out my phone.
The only issue I can see, aside from the unreliability of voice recognition software as things stand, is battery life.
In the Sunday Times, to which The Girlfriend subscribes and of which I am now in the habit of at least browsing every section, a business columnist has strong words for those who take their LinkedIn use to excess:
But some people end up erecting professional networks larger than the populations of some small developing nations. Can these LinkedIn megalomaniacs really know hundreds upon hundreds of people so well that they’d be willing to put their reputations on the line and vouch for their entire network’s professional competency?
One cannot help imagining the rise of a LinkedIn Hitler or Stalin, drawing in thousands of followers eager to be a node in a charismatic leader’s network — and then the purges begin. The lucky ones are completely excluded; others find themselves banished to MySpace.