Something funny just happened

I used some free time this evening to wash all the windows in our apartment, and I once again cursed our shitty squeegees – twice a year we complain that we have to get a proper one – while soaping the glass and doing my best not to fall out. We only have six medium windows, and what with clearing the plants and stuff off the sills and so on it took maybe two hours.

So imagine this: I’ve walked around the house with a bucket and stuff, cleaned the windows – one pair I did twice because the streaks bothered me – and once I’m done, I’ve put everything away, and I’ve put all the plants back on the sills, and literally the last thing I put back on the sill in our bedroom is a a spray bottle we use for soaping the plants when they get bugs, and I put it back so hard that I spray soapy water on the window, where it starts to dribble, leaving streaks.

I actually laughed out loud. Isn’t that just the funniest thing?

MateuszSomething funny just happened

Master of this realm

There’s a post on a UFO book where the reviewer discusses the uses of belief in the paranormal, cryptids & conspiracies.

By treating the iconography of the weird as an equal-opportunity bin of elements to be combined with postmodern abandon, the artist of the weird rebels against what passes for expertise in cryptid and UFO research. What results is a collage that cheerfully announces the meaninglessness of its subject. Sontag’s response to Greenberg was that he missed the fact that, well, kitsch can be fun, especially when rendered as camp. True enough, but we should nonetheless be careful: all bumper stickers purport to offer equivalent truth claims.

Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft: Why look at flying saucers

In the end, the camp eats itself and is presented as non-camp. At some point you’ll start to actually enjoy italy-disco, the initial irony forgotten. It doesn’t take more than to read the comments to the above post.

It’s like a Darwinian fiction lab, where the best stories and the most engaging and satisfying misinterpretations rise to the top and are then elaborated upon for the next version. […] The theories that didn’t work, disappeared while others got up-voted. It’s ingenious. It’s AI with a group-think engine. The group, led by the puppet masters, decide what is the most entertaining and gripping explanation, and that is amplified. It’s a Slenderman board gone amok.

Reed Berkowitz: A Game Designer’s Analysis Of QAnon

The analysis of how Q is similar to an ARG, and the process by which ideas are generated and used/discarded rings true, and it makes a compelling case for why it’s easier to drive a conspiracy forward than dispelling it – the driving force is a stream which will simply flow around any objections you put in its way.

In the hours following the Arizona call, a paranoid conspiracy theory spread rapidly on Parler and in other right-wing online forums: Voters in conservative counties had been given felt-tip pens that supposedly made vote-counting machines reject the ballots that they marked for Trump. The following night, Trump supporters protesting what came to be called #SharpieGate gathered outside the Maricopa County ballot-counting facility in Phoenix. In a development previously unthinkable to liberals who have long dismissed Fox as state media for the Trump administration, the Arizona protesters began chanting, “Fox News sucks!”

Renée DiResta: Right-Wing Social Media Finalizes Its Divorce From Reality

The worlds fascination with the Trump government and US elections is odd. Granted, Trump is a walking insult to humanity and the intellectual trainwreck that is US politics has reached new lows, but I’m uncertain what the takeaway is. A warning of things to come? A sliding into authoritarianism or even fascist world politics? The balkanization of discourse?

The fallout of Wednesday’s events will continue to echo for months, perhaps years to come. For all their seeming partisan difference, the center-left and center-right of US politics have a shared response for dealing with the crisis: it is to demand a greater number of cops and the removal of the social media accounts of the worst perpetrators. But neither strategy is in the interests of the majority of Americans or in particular of the US left.

[…]

In the face of a growing far-right, these are going to be the issues that will dominate the next four years: whether to depend on the state and social media platforms to take on Trump’s supporters, or whether we as anti-fascists need to build our own strength.

David Renton: More cops, fewer platforms: the risky fallout of the Capitol riot

Back when I was living in London, collaborating on the periphery with Indymedia, there was a guy who’d made a name for himself by using his personal wealth to travel the world helping progressives/revolutionary orgs setting up online infrastructure. Back then most homepages were cobbled together by people in the movements – there was no social media beyond bulletin boards and such – but once we got smartphones, the mobile ecology lowered the threshold to connect and we got complacent: If I’m tossed from Facebook I’ll just sockpuppet myself back, no biggie. But what to do when most of your movement is banned? How do you get in touch with folks when your address book is full of nonexistent street names?

I’m more and more coming down in a tech negative camp, where I’m unsure if the past 15 years of Internet developement is a net good or not. Sean Carrol had Cory Doctorow on his podcast a while back, and while Doctorow is partial to purple hyperbole, he is knowledgeable and makes good points – the episode is worth listening to if you’re thinking about the world as envisioned by monopolistic tech and the rise of authoritarian states as functioning alternatives to democratic rule.

1. (THREAD) So, it seems like the deplatforming debate is once again kicking off, so I thought I would introduce some of the earlier work that was done in this area back when ISIS was buck wild on social media. What have we learned over the last six years might be useful today:

Amarnath Amarasingam Twitter thread

Amarasingams thread is a good resource on the discussion on deplatforming in general, with how it affected ISIS efforts. But deplatforming isn’t necessarily a good practice in itself, even if the effects in this case are good – it basically changes the progressive struggle to be one of wielding the Twitter TOS as a banhammer; but that hammer is only as useful as Twitter chooses to make it, and the step from banning extreme right-wing speech to extreme speech in general doesn’t seem very large nor difficult; just look at the chilling effect of Patriot Act on radical environmental groups which suddenly are bunched together .

Deplatforming might be a good thing, but for the wrong reasons: The act of being thrown out of polite society might radicalize you. From my point of view it might be good for creating more militant progressive movements; but that goes both ways and will radicalize fascists and religious nuts as well.

Getting suspended is also an important way for members of the Baqiya community to know that you are trustworthy, that you have paid your dues. “There was a time when everybody wanted to get suspended. Even I thought, ‘ah must be cool to get suspended and receive all that support from friends,’” Umm Hafida tells me. “When I got suspended, lots of people were saying, ‘welcome to the Baqiya family!’” She went on: “It is considered as a kind of shahada [martyrdom]. That’s why we say, my Twitter account just got shahada, Alhamdulillah! Suspensions show others that we are on the right path, and spreading the truth.”

Amarnath Amarasingam: What Twitter Really Means for Islamic State Supporters

It’s not the main point of the article, but in the quote above the Twitter TOS has become the arbitrer of what is fought against. “If Twitter banned me I must be right” as a substitution of “If voting changed anything it’d be illegal.”

Facebook has shut down the accounts of one of the biggest left wing organisations in Britain, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) (1). The Socialist Workers Party Facebook page – as well as account of local pages – have been removed from Facebook with no explanation given. Those targeted say it amounts to a silencing of political activists.

swp.org.uk press releaseHackernews discussion
MateuszMaster of this realm

Spittle and snot in the age of Corona

Just like most other people I’ve done my best to keep my distance to others, wash my hands and refrain from licking doorknobs, but yesterday I got a positive PCR-test for Covid19 so I’ve officially lost the game. Like one of those “whoever keeps their hand on the car the longes wins it” competitions, I accidentally wiped my nose and was disqualified.

As for symptoms, it’s like a shitty flu so far. My body aches, I’m caughing and sneezing, I get winded easily – it’s shit. But O2 levels are Ok and my lips aren’t blue, so I just have to suck it up for a week or however long it’ll take. I’m hoping long-Covid will pass me by, but it’s scary to listen to TWIV and hearing how diverse and unpredicteable the consequences can be for some. Statistics are on my side, but I still occasionally buy a lottery ticket so that’s only partially comforting.

When I was hurting the most the other day, a comparison struck me: That feeling of all muscles aching, of all joints complaining, of laboured breathing and brainfog – it’s basically how I feel after I’ve done a couple heavy squat or deadlift sets: All wrung out, confused and achey. But to reach that level of exhaustion I need to try hard and here I am, getting the same feeling from a teensy-weensy virus.

It’s possible that others in my household have got it – so it’s throat swabs all around, and schedules thrown into dissarray. Should it prove that we all have it, assuming that we get through it alright, one upshot would be that we have a certain level of immunity and thereby lower risk of passing it on.

But more than the disease itself it’s the sensation of being contagious and dirty that’s different – I feel polluted in a way I don’t when I have a run-of-the-mill flu. We’ve been huddling at home, protective runes inscribed in alco-gel on hands and foreheads, but we forgot to burn the correct amount of sage or whatever and now it’s like everyone knows I’ve been deepthroating lepers.

MateuszSpittle and snot in the age of Corona

Show me what you got!

This here blog is the most active part of my online stuff. I occasionally buy domains thinking that I’ll use them for something awesome but I never get it off the ground. The reasons are as multitudinous as the faces of God in an oilspill, but there’s a regression of realisations each time: I have an idea, I need to draw the idea, I need to design the homepage of the idea, I need to code the site for the idea, I haven’t done any coding since before CSS hit puberty and the www has become frightening and I feel inadequate.

But I have a small project gearing up, and once again here I am. Looking at static site generators (Hugo, 11ty, Jekyll) on the one hand, and website builders on the other (Nicepage, Coffeecup, Sparkle) and I’m like that starving ass stuck between two haystacks. The SSG:s seem nice because they offer an analogue to what I remember of the web – fast code, no fluff, all content in a folder structure I can keep in my head – but my ageing brain doesn’t like Markup, and the smallest snag in the command line makes me sigh heavily. The website builders look nice, but me still remembers the bad old days of Frontpage and Dreamweaver and the resulting abominations which worked differently in different browsers; and of course I harbor a snobbish resentment towards anything WYSIWYG, because what part of my personality indicates I wouldn’t?

The upside of website designers is that I could focus on the actual design and get stuff done. Going the SSG route would force me to dip–the–tip into html/css/JS again and learn something new, perhaps giving me some ideas and useful skills. Haystack 1, haystack 2.

Currently, monocultured.com uses Koken which is a lightweight CMS for photography portfolios, but it hasn’t been updated in four years and I’ve had some trouble with image caching and slow loading – so instead of fondling the current site into shape I’m thinking of redoing it from scratch. Is that a stupid approach? Should I by now realise that the thought “this time I’ll get it right” is an excuse for bike-shedding?

Another step in my lets-get-started regression is that I don’t know where to find info on this kind of stuff. I can find occasional reviews or best-practice articles on Hacker News, or more in depth stuff on A list apart, but I’ve spent two–three hours searching for evaluations of site builders but all I find are posts & videos by annoying shits comparing features in order to earn affiliate kickbacks. I’m sure the information is out there somewhere, but it’s just become too darn difficult for me to find; Google has been SEO’d to shit and is unhelpful, and I don’t where else to start. Reddit? Mefi?

MateuszShow me what you got!

On writing and lifting

Malcolm Gladwells suggestion that it takes ten thousand hours before you’ve mastered something has been discussed, shat upon and praised – which is a testament to how good Gladwell is at getting attention, if not to the value of what he’s saying – but it seems a trivial thing; if you do something conscientiously for a longish time you’ll get better at it.

When I was a kid I was so sure of my literary merits that when I began writing a Stephen King style novel I started with the acknowledgement page. Then I gave up on the novel twenty pages in, because – obviously – I found out that writing can be a slog, requiring revisions and research and thought and knowledge that I only pretended to possess. With time I left messy piles of chewed sour grapes on the floor, and moved on to ambitions which were more directly rewarding.

With that preamble out of the way, hopefully properly presenting myself as a chastised adult with realistic expectations, etc etc, here’s a short announcement that I’ve signed up on a course of “creative writing” at Umeå University, and it’s bloody terrifying. I’ve become so used to being the teacher – or collegue – discussing the texts of others, that I’m really uncomfortable for putting my own writing – nay, the draft of my typing – on display for group discussion. This will be an interesting experience. We will be writing poetry, for goodness sake, and I can already hear the avoidance cogs of my mind shuffle into gear – “I’ll do a cut-up experiment” or “let’s paraphrase a famous poem” – anything but something which might bruise my fragile ego…

I have a clear goal with the powerlifting I’m doing. I’m hoping to deadlift 200kg at some point, and with the wind at my back and a nosebleed I might be able to do 155kg right now. But that’s Ok, I don’t have anything to prove to anyone else, I just want to reach that round number, and in the meantime I’m training (sometimes just exercising) because it feels good. But what are the criteria for succeeding with my writing? How do you weight 200kg in writing, and who will judge whether the lift was well executed?

MateuszOn writing and lifting

Multiple letters read, 2020 retrospective

T’was the night after new years eve, and the only sound through the house was the clickityclack of a keyboard typing out the annual “what I’ve read this year” post. As usual, the printed and digital matter I’ve read, in a sub-category chronology, from January 2020 onwards.

Printed

Sofia Åkerman: Zebraflickan. Autobiographical about Sofia who’s been suffering from eating disorders & depression, and her experience of Swedish psychiatric care. Harsch descriptions of suicide attempts and what’s going on in your head as you try hide the extent of your illness – puking in hidden containers and whatnot.

Wille Sundqvist & Bengt Gustafsson: Träsvarvning enligt skärmetoden. The book to get if you’re into turning wood. I’m still not sure what the main difference is between scrubbing and cutting – it seems to be difference of degree rather than principle – but the book has a lot of info on how to think when turning.

Hilary Mantel: The Mirror and the light. The last book in the Wolf Hall trilogy, and the language is just as vibrant and gripping as the previous books. Tells the bookend of Thomas Cromwells’ life, and I even though I know that parts of the story are fabricated — all of the internal monologue for a start — it paints a believable portrait.

Maria Ganci: Familjebaserad behandling. A brief introduction to family based theraphy targeting families where the kid has an eating disorder. Practical, but a bit lacking in inspiration beyond “talk to the therapist.”

Johanna Bäckström Lerneby: Familjen. A report on the Ali Khan family in Angered – big traditional family or criminal clan, take your pick. Fascinating read, especially since the story is evolving in real-time – with the Khan lawyer just today being written about because some DA’s want him disbarred.

Allie Brosh: Solutions and other problems. A thick follow–up on the brilliant Hyperbole and a half and a result of six years of introspection, the cartoons get a more prominent role and carry a bit more of the load than previously. It’s a melancholy and sad book, but since it doesn’t rule out the possibility of random happiness there’s a small ray of hope for us all.

Madeline Miller: Kirke. A book chronicling the life of Kirke, daughter of Perse and Helios, in a story parallell to the one in the Illiad. Entertaining enough read, and Millers take on Odysseus is far from the hagiography we’re used to.

Johan Croneman: Jag är olycklig här. An autobiographical account of a famous-in-Sweden cultural critic. Alcoholism, despair and brushes with death, told in spread-long chapters, interspersed with poetry.

Epub / PDF / etc

Stephen Hawking: Brief answers to the big questions. Even though this is the dumbed down version of his thoughts, some of it still flew well over my head. The topics of the essays have been covered before – both by him as well as others – but since he was such a part of the zeitgeist it’s a worthwhile read.

Albert Camus: The stranger. Hit home more than I’d like – the arbitrary nature of human values and judgements resonates with me, and Meursaults bafflement at how others react and how he thinks they ought to is gut-wrenching.

James S. A. Corey: Leviathan Wakes | Calibans War | Abbadons Gate | Cobola Burn | Nemesis Games | Babylons Ashes | Persepolis Rising | Tiamats Wrath. Having binged the Expanse TV-series I figured I’d get out ahead of the show and read the books. Well enough written and each book only takes two days to read – And since I’m a sucker for space opera this was up my alley. The class struggles and realpolitik make for an interesting narrative, reminding me of C. J. Cherryh and Downbelow station.

China Miéville: The city and the city. Came highly recommended by Petter, and it’s an interesting enough read about two cities superimposed on top of each other, where living in one city requires you to unsee the other one, on punishment of Breach. It’s a novel idea, but it’s not really necessary for the story and serves only as a magical backdrop. Scifi-Noir stuff, but fun to read.

Chester Brown: Paying for it. I hadn’t read Brown in a long time and had forgotten how brutally honest he is. This graphic novel chronicles how he became a john – only having sex he’s paying for. He’s an extreme libertarian, and although I’m certain that he gives an honest account of his thinking, the pages come over as a tract and his detractors as made of straw more often than not. Interesting for the raw exhibitionism more than for the arguments made, although the topic is important and unresolved.

Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling: A libertarian walks into a bear. In New Hampshire there’s an attempt of libertarians to take over a city to launch-pin a libertarian revolution. Written mostly for laughs it’s light on political analysis and heavy on human foibles and roaming bears. It’s unclear what the writer want to accomplish, but it’s entertaining enough.

Keiko Furukura: Convenience store woman. Keiko Furukura is a 30-something woman with no socially acceptable ambitions or priorities. Her family and few friends despair over her inability to get a better job than that in a convenience store, and her disinterest in starting a family is a source of worry for everyone but her. A lovingly told short novel.

Sally Rooney: Conversations with Friends. Two young adults and a married hetro couple get involved and there are complications and drama. Not the most interesting story or characters, but the dialogue is well written.

Ramez Naan: Nexus. Sean Carrol had Naan on his podcast so I picked up the book. In a near future where a drug – Nexus – gives you the ability of connecting wirelessly with other people, exchanging thoughts, senses, creating a hivemind, there’s a battle between governments stemming the flood of post–/transhumans and activist scientists and others who’d like to either release it to the world or use it for nefarious ends. A techno-thriller worth reading for the collection of arguments, if not for the literary qualities.

Audio

Iain M. Banks: State of the Art. Short story collection, including at least one canonical Culture novelette set in the 70’s which seems to have the authors alter-ego pouring bile on the shortcomings of humanity. A great cannibalistic dinner offering cloned-dictator.

Iain M. Banks: Excession. This might be the forth or fifth time I’ve read/listened to this one, but it’s the first time I recall that I’m bothered by the female characters in the book – even though they have agency they come off as too one-dimensional. The introduction of the Affront and the machinations of the minds are great fun though.

Iain M. Banks: Inversion. Fun medieval court intrigue – but my main occupation was to try to spot details which gave away the Culture origin of the two characters.

Iain M. Banks: Look to Windward. The internal dialogue between Quilan and his admiral hitchhiker, and the banter of Ziller & Kabe, is enjoyable and the emotional tone fits the characters – one of the more intimate stories apart from Use of Weapons.

Iain M. Banks: Matter. Ferbin and Holse – master and servant – remind me of Wooster and Jeeves (PG Wodehouse characters) as they try to escape regicide and get help from Ferbins self-exiled sister Anaplian. The involved backstory is mostly confusing – unless the bickering politicking is all there is – but the the shell worlds and the the way the primitive societies have adapted to them is view them is a fun read.

Iain M. Banks: Surface Detail. Rape & revenge story, and an unrelated tying together of the Zakalwe storyline. A bubbly and joyful “only slightly psychopatic” ship mind – Falling Outside The Normal Moral Constraints – provides comic relief and is probably the most interesting part. The hells read more sadistic than necessary, but since they are supposed to be the ultimate evil I guess they’d have to be.

Iain M. Banks: The Hydrogen Sonata. Well crafted story and some fun scenes, but the Gzilt backstory is mostly confusing – I can’t see why the Book of Truth would matter all that much. It seems more of a screen on to which Banks could project contemporary human politicking. Some of the sillyness – how many dicks can you craft onto your body? – is a bit detracting, but it’s still Culture and as such still worth a read.

Michael Chrichton: The Andromeda Strain. Well paced techno thriller, striking a nerve in these here Corona times. The exposition isn’t too annoying, and there’s a matter-of-fact tension which is nice. The ending feels deus-ex-deadline though.

MateuszMultiple letters read, 2020 retrospective

Watching movies #2

Continuing with the “lets post old stuff instead of new stuff” here’s a post I started in 2018 when I had ambitions on doing short movies.

I first read Catch 22 when I was studying in Karlstad, and remember laughing a lot. Watching the movie movie (adapted by Buck Henry) was less amusing – the absurdist and dark moments were few and too much humour was attempted through gags and goofiness. Watching pre-CGI movies is inspiring though, all the effects are done on camera or through mattes, and it gives a different sense of solidity to it. An explosion isn’t as in-your-face and overdone (or the actors might get blown up for real) and the planes dissolving into the horizon through a heat haze is an artifact of a really long lens. Is this what sentimentality feels like?

Three Days of the Condor (Lorenzo Semple Jr.) is a CIA within the CIA story – compared to modern spook stories (Tinker, tailor, soldier spy) the pacing is much different, and except a jarring Stockholm syndrome love scene the movie is placid, in contrast to the murders and drama depicted.

The decline of Western Civilization part I (Penelope Spheeris) is a raw look at the 1980 LA punk scene. Interviews with punks, bands and hangers-on are mixed with both good and awful performances – more than half the movie are performances, which serves as a time capsule for the music but drags the documentary down.

I’m also trying to immerse myself more in the movie-making lingo, gobbling up books and blogs and podcasts. It seems that North Americans get self-promotion at the teet, so it’s no wonder that the most vocal and easy-to-find publications are from the States. The often fake joviality and peppy demeanour rubs me the wrong way though and distracts from the content – whoever taught people to smile when talking into a microphone has much to answer for.

Noam Kroll has some good essays and listicles on his site which ring true. 126 lessons on independent film directing is one such list, and it’s worthwhile to revisit and think on some of the points when you’re stuck somewhere. The takeaway is “always keep working” which is pretty much in line with what I’ve seen of my peers who’ve gone on to become successful. I like his “work with what you have” approach, and I need to be reminded of it now that I’ve spent too much time and money on lenses for my Nikon: Until I’ve shot two more shorts I’m prohibiting myself from buying any more camera gear – just yesterday I caught myself just before clicking “order” on a discounted MF macro, so “shopping as procrastination” is a trap for me.

MateuszWatching movies #2

So full of hate

Having had a stressful week, I tried to relax tonight with the solo campaign of Titanfall 2 and a couple of drams and got a wee bit past the intro of the game before I gave up on the enterprise because my keyboard was acting up and I got stuck in a loop of reading forums, downloading updates and hunting buttons in settings.

I became so upset about playing a game on my Win10 station that I couldn’t continue playing but rather wrote this screed while drinking whisky and listening to angry music. Why the flying fuck can’t I get the keyboard to work as it ought? I press a key and the predicteably corresponding action doesn’t happen because maybe my fucking keyboard needs some fucking drivers which I can’t find any way of updating so that it behaves with a minimun of keyboard decorum?

I won’t pretend that this isn’t a I-hate-Windows rant, because that’s what it is. But let’s prepend this by saying that my hatred is justly spread across all platforms, distributed in equal amount based on how well they succeed on being user friendly vs. how user friendly they say they are. So GNU/Linux apps don’t get my hackles up as they’re often a messy piece of unfriendly software to begin with, so I know going in that I’m gonna spend a couple of hours reading -man pages and forums.

Here’s my point: I’ve been using computers since the Mac Plus. I remember when friends made fun of me because the Mac wasn’t a real computer because you didn’t have to load mouse drivers off of floppies before you could use the mouse. I remember that the Macintosh GUI was the assumed abstraction of what the computer was doing, rather than a CLI.

I know this is arbitrary, but the thing is that Apple made sure that they were consistent in their arbitrariness, and to some extent more or less tried to stay true to it, while MS (and GNU/Linux, BSD, etc) have the philosophy of the GUI metaphor tacked on (“to help the idiots” as it seems) and it just doesn’t work the way I think it ought. (Of course, OSX is far removed from the origins of Macintosh System. The reason I know my way around it is because it’s similar enough to what I’m used to)

I know that each computer system has its own idiosyncrasies, that nothing is as straightforward as it says it is, and that we (computer folk) have devolved into trench warfare fan-groups who don’t care about a productive way forward, only that the other team looks a bigger fool than we when it comes down to which platform we enjoy working on (or dislike the least, as it were).

Back in the day I remember reading the introduction to AppleTalk which began with a chapter understandable to teenage me. There was a genuine attempt at presenting a reason for why stuff was organized the way it was, and why there was a hierarchy of organization: These are the rules because of these reasons. There might be reasons why you as a developer might want to do this differently, and yours might be a more efficient way of doing it, but we’re not going to allow it because it’ll break too much stuff for everyone else.

Here’s the thing: Using MS Windows isn’t beyond anyones ken, it works for the most part; If you are of the mentality that “shit happens, computers are computas brah!” then yeah, I feel you, my beef isn’t with you. My beef is with all the shits at all the fucking support forums, Reddit, and every-fucking-other-forum who insist that “well you should have downloaded this particular driver to get this particular update option, and then disable that utility and check this box in that property setting” and treat such suggestions as those of a sane person. This approach isn’t a reasonable solution to anything but learning by rote. And learning by rote is for fucking idiots or for people stuck in a maze constructed by a vengeful Greek God!

I used Macintosh since 6.0.4. It wasn’t a simple system to learn by a long-shot, but it was sort of consistent. If this doesn’t work, check settings. If that doesn’t work, you might reset PRAM. If that doesn’t work, you’re out of luck until the next update. Once I started using ResEdit and playing with MacsBug I knew I was on my own and wasn’t annoyed with anyone but myself when I crashed the computer.

So Mac OS was more limiting than a more ‘allowing’ system, which might seem like a bad thing, which in the short term it is, but if you think further than your stupid idiot nose you realize that once you open up for developers to circumvent your layers of abstraction, every fucking developer will do so because well now we can have drivers for fucking RGB keyboards with their own shortcuts and I’m stuck here with an expensive fucking keyboard which lags and there’s no simple way for me to troubleshoot it because the Logitech forums are assfucked to shit, and Google doesn’t have enough hands for each SEO dick relevant to the issue and I’m stuck!

I’d much rather be tenfold limited in my selection of OS & peripherals customization than having to deal with this absolute abhorrent clusterfuck presented as progress. When I want to be on a bleeding edge of customization I use a *nix distro. Those can be a horrible pain in the butt and the support forums are full of holier-than-thou well why not just read the -man pages you moran people on Stackoverflow or whatever, but at least they don’t carry the same pretense of being simple to understand and “user friendly.” I can deal with annoying fanboys. What I can’t deal with is Logitech, Microsoft, Adobe, whoeverthefuck, which presents a glossy surface and pays lip service to “user friendliness” while punting me sideways as soon as something throws up an error – ooh, must not be us, please check these n things in your system first.

Do you realize how many really small applications or system additions recommend that you reformat your drive and reinstall your system if you’re having trouble? That should not a realistic recommendation for anyone but the bleeding edge folks – unless of course the OS ecology isn’t as stable as the marketers would like you to believe. But then that would make liars out of them, wouldn’t it?

At this point, I’d actually rather have the Fallout 4 computer network for intermittent email, and use analogue systems for everything else. Seriously, let’s redo this whole “digitization” thing. One more time from the top – erasing Jobs, Gates and Stallman, let’s rethink how all these “computers” are supposed to work, why don’t we?

MateuszSo full of hate

Reading some, thinking less

I’m going through some old drafts and whatever seems worth posting I’ll just edit for clarity and post – I’m deleting the too rambly stuff. The post below if from 2017 as far as I can tell…

David Greabers essay On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs is a good read, and now he has a book out on the same topic. Going back to the anti-globalisation movement of twenty years hence, one strand of the movement was the anti-commercialisation of public space in the form of advertising, and coming from that I still find advertising to be one of the most wasteful activities a professional creative could engage in. It’s a zero-sum game (you’re competing for consumer resources) and the amount of brain-time it takes from those creating it and us being exposed to it is staggering. Much of Internet today is ad-driven, as are traditional media, but if you view the cost of advertising as a regressive tax on consumers, we’re still the ones paying for it. (of course, on a global scale that tax is shifted onto western markets, so might be construed as being strategically progressive – it would be intersting to see those numbers)

I’m going through all the open tabs on my phone and dumping some relevant articles here for myself and posterity. Let’s see if the Article 13 passes within the EU and if I’ll get a bill for linking them. The Cracked Labs article in particular is extensive and worth a read if you want to get a sense the scale of pervasive surveillance online. If GDPR did nothing else, it gave a sense of how much of traffic is one form of tracking or other.

As Internet has become ubiquituous in my life, I’m becoming more and more resentful of it. I’m not sure it it’s just cause I missed the gravy train and am not one of the people pushing cyber-blockchain-mccuffins for millions of moneys, or if I’m just bitter that the net isn’t the online playground I remember from aeons yore – nostalgia is a powerful drug, and I miss having my own shacks and corners online, and I miss the feeling that if I wanted to I could probbaly read up on how all of it works in a couple of days.

The Gibsonian view of cyberspace as an all-encompassing anarchic network of free agents has become reality, except that most of those agents are acting on behalf of old/new money and what room there is for actualisation of human potential has cameras and microphones mounted on the wall.

Canadian researchers have even successfully calculated emotional states such as confidence, nervousness, sadness, and tiredness by analyzing typing patterns on a computer keyboard.

Cracked Labs: Wolfie Cristl: Corporate Surveillance in Everyday Life

What Ganon does is pick suppliers he’ll never know to ship products he’ll never touch. All his effort goes into creating ads to capture prospective customers, and then optimizing a digital environment that encourages them to buy whatever piece of crap he’s put in front of them.

The Atlantic: Alexis Madrigal: The Strange Brands in Your Instagram Feed
MateuszReading some, thinking less

There be assholes in these woods

One persons asshole is anothers fountain of truth, so let’s not put too much effort into denouncing people doing shitty stuff – hate the game, not the player – even though some stuff might not just be stuff stuff, but stuff which indicates a genuine commitment to being a shit person. And other times it’s just a sign of the times – times which ought to get with the new times, but nonetheless people taking advantage of situations knowing they probaby shouldn’t

By even the least charitable interpretation, no laws were broken. Legally speaking, he seems to be in the clear. Even West has said: this wasn’t them being abusive, it was a man abusing his power. But the fact that it was legal doesn’t mean that harm wasn’t done. It doesn’t mean that people weren’t taken advantage of, had their trust abused by someone they respected or — in many cases — idolized and who leveraged their trust against them. 

Dr. Nerdlove: On Finding Out Your Heroes are Monsters (Or: Detoxifying A Culture)

Goddammit Warren.

He then utters his infamous words. The interlocutors go on to kibitz about Huey Long and barbecue. Then Atwater, apparently satisfied that he’d absolved the Southern Republican Party of racism once and for all, follows up with a prediction based on a study he claims demonstrates that Strom Thurmond won 38 percent of South Carolina’s middle-class black vote in his 1978 Senate campaign (run by Atwater).

The Nation, Rick Perlstein: Lee Atwater’s Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy

Marclay “had the spark,” as he put it, but he was daunted: how many clips would be required to fill up twenty-four hours? In most film sequences, the camera lingers on a clock for a few seconds. “I didn’t have the courage to get started, because I knew it would be an endless struggle,” he said. But now, in London, he decided to see if he could build the defining monument of the remix age.

New Yorker, Daniel Zalewski: The Hours – How Christian Marclay created the ultimate digital mosaic.

At its core are lurid claims that an elite cabal of child-trafficking paedophiles, comprising, among others, Hollywood A-listers, leading philanthropists, Jewish financiers and Democrat politicians, covertly rule the world. Only President Trump can bring them to justice with his secret plan that will deliver what QAnon’s disciples refer to as “The Storm” or “The Great Awakening”.

The Guardian, Jamie Doward: ‘Quite frankly terrifying’: How the QAnon conspiracy theory is taking root in the UK

The idea that “at first they ignore you, then they laugh at you…” etc goes both ways, and pretty soon the conspiracies might be even less amusing. I remember laughing nervously when an aquaintance at work was talking about chemtrails a while back – I couldn’t believe that what I’d previously only seen as ironic memes actually popped up in real life.

MateuszThere be assholes in these woods