Categories
Rants Technology

Shiny, shiny, shiny toy

Like the steaming great hypocrite that I am I went out and got myself the Fondle Slab MkII. If you have been listening to me for a year I have been resisting this piece of technology with the claims that I prefer my laptop, it didn’t have enough functionality and what could it do that my phone didn’t do.

All of those were valid points and were true at the time, and still true now.

I was however seduced by the sheer experience and shininess of the iPad2, and so was Leigh. Then that was the end of my resistance and I caved in and we got two of them.

Of course, since getting it I have now found many ways to integrate it into my life. I am currently sat in a coffee shop, Ben has a book, Leigh is out shopping and while I wait for her I am writing this. Normally I would be reading on my phone or playing Angry Birds, but now that I have the slab and it is easy to carry about I have an electronic device to write with.

I know that I could use a notebook, my laptop is 17 inch and not easy to carry around for just typing notes, but these days I prefer to type out my thoughts as I have them. I have become used to using the action of my fingers typing on a keyboard to lull my sense of sight and allow my brain to de-focus the world and concentrate on the subject I wish to examine.

But, there is a sense that I am just finding ways to make this expensive, and did I say shiny, toy a valuable part of my life. Though, on the flip side, if it makes me write more and helps me with the organisation of my thoughts and my life then it is already worth the price I paid for it. 

It is also a really nice size for interacting with the web and social media, also nice for watching movies on, and the battery life is just great. So, there is a lot to value in the device. It is never going to replace my laptop, and if I need to do serious work I will pull out that or sit at a desktop where I can be far more productive. It is never going to replace my phone for instant always on convenience and five minute distraction filler in a small item, though the iPad is a very fast and smooth user experience.

It is however yet another tool in my burgeoning gadgetry arsenal. I love my gadgets, I always have, and to be honest using this pad makes me feel like I really am in the future, we may not have the rocket pants but we do have the always on world with a vast storehouse of always-on information, user interaction, the ability to talk or see almost everyone you will ever know and to share your life and experiences to a vast audience. That is e future, and it doesn’t feel anywhere near as stark and unemotional as some sic-fi would have had us believe.

This is how’ve me being euphoric about the new toy I have, in a future piece I may examine the cost of our increasingly connected and observed world and why, one day, grandfather’s bollocks might drive the bus.

Categories
Rants Word Usage

Should I tolerate this…?

So I am having a bit of an issue with the bad usage of the word tolerant[1]. It is typically when someone wants to show they are an enlightened and well-rounded individual who perhaps will not accept a certain behaviour. So they state this:

“We must become less tolerant”

Well, no. You’re not becoming less tolerant of something, you are becoming intolerant. The word already exists for you. You may “tolerate” or “not tolerate” there is not a quantifiable state of more than/greater than or less than in tolerance. You either are, or you are not. It is that simple.

Stop trying to sound reasonable as you don’t want to be seen as a bigot, it is fair enough not to want to be seen as a bigot, being intolerant of one thing doesn’t make you so. You have to be intolerant of everything to be a bigot. You are, though, being objectionable, stop using a passive approach to attempt to look like you are not. It isn’t reasonable. It is just wrong to pretend, be a vertebrate and responsible for your attitudes.

Whether it is political, sexual, religious, philosophical or simply not liking someones behaviour it doesn’t matter. You are allowed your opinion and feelings. But don’t claim that it is a lessening of your overall magnanimity, it is an intolerance, not a lowering of your general overall brilliant tolerance.

Some reference to help:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/tolerate

“tol·er·ate
/ˈtɒləˌreɪt/ Show Spelled[tol-uh-reyt]
–verb (used with object), -at·ed, -at·ing.
1. to allow the existence, presence, practice, or act of without prohibition or hindrance; permit.
2. to endure without repugnance; put up with: I can tolerate laziness, but not incompetence.
3. Medicine/Medical . to endure or resist the action of (a drug, poison, etc.).
4. Obsolete . to experience, undergo, or sustain, as pain or hardship.”

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/intolerant

“in·tol·er·ant
/ɪnˈtɒlərənt/ Show Spelled[in-tol-er-uhnt]
–adjective
1. not tolerating or respecting beliefs, opinions, usages, manners, etc., different from one’s own, as in political or religious matters; bigoted.
2. unable or unwilling to tolerate or endure (usually followed by of ): intolerant of very hot weather.”

 

[1] There is an argument that I am wrong about this being bad usage as there is a culture of, and prior usage of, it in this manner.

Categories
Rants

So shallow I tweeted it

I should also have titled this piece: Don’t fight Homophobia (or any other hateful attitude) with simple (or maybe even stupid) statements.

So I read the following statement on Twitter, re-tweeted a number of times, and also said on Facebook and now awarded a platitudinous status:

“‘n’ number of animals who practice homosexuality only one is homophobic, what does that say?”

Well, I will answer that, it says fatuous statements like this do more harm than good as anyone with half a brain can turn that argument against you. In fact for fun, i am going to. These are not even well thought out, but let me give you a few half-arsed knee-jerk reactions.

Simple Biological Response

You did not distinguish between recreational and procreational sex. There are not that many species ‘proven’ to have recreational sexual relationships, although many species are excited by sexual encounters it is a procreational biological reaction. Therefore many of your ‘n’ number of species are practicing homosexuality without any recreational basis, you have just degenarated it to an unthinking biological reaction with no specific need, not a ‘choice’ that a cogent lifeform would make. So what are we now saying? Is it an error of biology? Can we correct that? You see what kind of hateful argument can be brought from this.*

Simple Cognitive Response

If you point at something every animal on the planet will look at the end of the finger that is pointing, only one of them will look where you are pointing. So we can conclude that humans ‘are’ all wired differently, therefore your practice of homosexuality may just be you indulging in an ‘animalistic’ trait, rather than a culturally and socially developed ‘human’ relationship. It is unthinking and not something that an educated and morally responsible species would indulge in. You are being thoughtless, primitive and evolutionally backward in your practices. Again haters have to hate, that argument is a pile of shit but the above statement allows it to be formed.**

Simple Religious Response

“‘n’ number of animals who practice homosexuality only one is homophobic, what does that say?” It says we are better than animals. It says that we have a God who taught us that practice was wrong and those who indulge in it are worse than filthy dogs and should be treated, not in a compassionate way, but in a manner that you would treat a defect in an animal, by breeding it out. Yep. We walked into that didn’t we. We now invite them to be extremely offensive and we supplied them with the means to attack.

The Twitter Effect

I can see the point behind the original statement. I can see why you might want to observe our species to try and understand what makes us so judegmental, whether it is a pack dynamic that lies behind some of the congregating into hate groups; is it identity, are we seeking absolution or affirtmation of our position.

But what I can’t understand is why you think you are changing anything with this statement, or by repeating it. At its best it is mildly provocational, it is not that thoughtful. While it instantly invites the responses I gave above. There is no examination implied. What does it gain? Will a single homophobe, or even people who are not homophobic and just don’t care, be swayed by that statement and say “goodness, I hadn’t thought of that I must instantly stop my beliefs as it offends some people, I shall fly instantly to a GBLT rally and dance with those wonderful queers.”

I guess what I am saying is that you turned a potentially interesting observation that allows us to look and examine our species better and to educate people into a f*cking soundbite for Twitter. Not everything is best said in 140 characters. Sometimes you shouldn’t have the whole a complex argument in a single short sentence.

In other words you have made this a cosmetic argument, and homophobia, the rights of humans to practice whatever they want in a relationship,*** the right to live without fear and opression because of a choice in identity and sexuality are not cosmetic. You might as well have said, “‘n’ number of animals have dirty faces only one wears makeup, what does that say?” It says absolutely nothing. That’s what it says.

Endings and Final Thoughts

This is mostly just another rant against Twitter as I think people sometimes use it badly and this statement used in this way was prime evidence of that. I am not trying to dismiss people who think it is useful to have a stance against oppression. I am not trying to say we shouldn’t all show our support and that when you re-tweeted this that was your aim and now I appear to be implying that is wrong.

I am not…well I am doing that, but not for the reasons of dismissing.

The right to support is not the bad thing, it is the soundbite argument that is bad. The position it takes is so easily overcome it destroys the usefulness of saying it in the first place. It is so easy to find a microblog account and make your argument stronger. Or to use Twitter to link to longer statements, to organisations and websites that can argue these points for us all in a more positive and cogent fashion.

Basically, I think if it is that important, and it is important to you, you should spend a few more words on the subject. If you can change a mind in 140 characters, maybe that mind is not worth changing.

*By the way an easy counter to this offensive argument is those animals that have been seen to have recreational sex “do” practice homosexuality, it still doesn’t prove anything, but it is observed.

**Yes reducing an argument by using an absurd counter argument, no other animal on the planet wears sunglasses or swimming costumes or practices cosmetic surgery either, but again that can be used for or against, both sides can be ridiculous.

***By that I am implying that it is a mutually agreed relationship.

Categories
Uncategorized

01:50 on a Tuesday Night*

So it has reached that time of night when I have had a day filled with events and random come downs where my body has taken what rest it could while a fevered mind ponders the multitude of contrasting elements that is must engage with when I realise that sleep isn’t so much taken from me but confined to a wilderness that my resting soul cannot share…

In other words, it is 01:42, sleep hasn’t arrived as I have been engaged with a computer all evening and now I wish I had closed my eyes two hours ago…

On the other hand, I am lying in bed next to my young and beautiful wife, there is some classic British comedy in the background, I am catching up with writing, picture editing, and some promotion/conversation in online life and so it isn’t like I am lying here staring at the ceiling…

But I still wished I had closed my eyes…

You see these days I don’t drink caffeine, well not much, just on the special occasions when I want a really good coffee, or when I really need to perk my brain into semi-semblance of activity and it is refusing. I had to give it up, I was getting old, it was affecting my mood and my sanity, and mostly it was preventing me from sleep.

There are some people who claim that caffeine doesn’t affect them that way, biologically that is wrong, though biology can adapt as can perception and environmental adaptation (mostly biology again but this time intentional), but it is still wrong, but right with the correct mitigating factors.

For me, that has never been true. caffeine has always had the correct knock-on affect.

So I gave up drinking it and switched to decaf (please stop shuddering and claiming that you would prefer it if an elderly syphilitic goat had just urinated in your cup), and that gets me through the day. Insatnt decaf, good blends and good beans only, are an acceptable alternative to caf., eventhough they are a travesty and a rape of all things nice and bean like. Though I always did like strong blends, rich roasts, and they always contained less caffeine anyway (the richer the roast the more caf. is burned away).

I still wished I had closed my eyes…

Because then I would be dreaming (in song lyrics I would be “made winding through her hair”, or wanting you “in my arms” or even making her “the cutest that I’ve ever seen”, wait she already is that…) and I like to dream “perchance to sleep”, I have always thought of it as “what is man, what is he not, man is but the shadow of a dream” (Pinder [apologies as it should be ‘person’ not ‘man’ but it is a quote]).

I have always been a lucid dreamer, and I have noticed patterns to how my dreams form and when I can remember or engage with them, and one of those patterns is not being up this late as then the over-tiredness will kill either the conceptual space in which I am lucid or the recollection of any lucidity.

So I wished I had closed my eyes…

Thanks for reading.

——-
* Apologies to the Cure. Also it should be a Wednesday morning, but the song has night in the title not morning so I took liberties, “drip, drip drip…”

Categories
Fame? Rants

More Twittering

How fickle and pointless I have become, I found myself recently responding to various celebrities, not because I wanted to comment on something interesting they had said, but to see if I could be re-tweeted by them. All this because a few people I know had been retweet by a celeb. How sad is my behaviour.

Please, don’t answer that, it is sad. I normally just reply to whomever I follow when spurred by what they write, but I found myself watching the one or two celebs I follow more keenly and responding to them more, perhaps not as much as some of my other Tweeples, but definitely more than I had done previously.

Well, now I have caught myself I will stop. I promise, cross my heart and…ooooh a chance to respond to Ben Goldacre, gotta go…

Categories
Rants

Trending Nonsense

<rant>

Does anyone who is even remotely sane follow the trending topics by looking at the actual responses anymore. My basic issue is this:

  1. You see a trending topic;
  2. You open the link to view;
  3. You read the first few replies and realise at least two of them are retweets;
  4. You look up and notice at least 20 new tweets have been added in the time it took you to read three;
  5. You try to make a tweet, but your words are lost in the miasma of retweets, inane comments, WTFs etc.;
  6. You give up on looking…

So I do not understand why anyone bothers with them at all. What do people get by making something trend. Okay I know that things will trend just by being mentioned, but a lot of people make them trend by insisting on using the # (which is fine to use), or by using the appropriate keyword that is trending. We all have at least some mastery of English, it is easy not to use the word and avoid trending the inane.

Basically trending topics give analysts an idea of the public consciousness, apparently, and I say ‘apparently’  as I have noticed that they in fact are not the zeitgeist of the modern persona but an inflation of a small section. Take, for example, that during the coverage of the Earthquake near Japan one of the trending topics was PearlHarbour. The tweets were split between the offensive “this is revenge/karma for Pearl Harbour”, to the angry “how can people compare this to Pearl Harbour” and the various millions who retweeted. It made it look as if this was a hot topic of division.

It wasn’t really, it was mostly over-reaction from both sides leading to a spurious heated exchange lost in the wealth of pointless retweets and insults. The trending topic is the new internet flame war, Twitter allows us to vent our spleen in much tidier packages that can distill the essence of our bile and render ineffective any viewpoint we have.

How can we analyse and debate anything in a mere 140 characters. Twitter is a great tool for an instant thought, or linking something of importance, but it is nano-blogging, there is no scope for reflection.

The trending topic has become a parody, it no longer shows the pattern of public feeling, more the shoaling of minnows with little voice. Yes, from a distance a lot of shouting may appear to be a great tide of opinion, but when all they are doing is chanting to a tune you realise it is just an audience at a spectator sport.

“You’re shit and you know you are” (endless repeat)
“Who’s the b*stard in the black” (and many other varieties)
“We’re all bald impotent w*nkers with girlfriends who remain sexually unfulfilled” (truthful option)

</rant>

 

Categories
Loan Sharks Rants

Jaws 5: The Loan Shark

I have tweeted (to my Tweeples – thanks Mr Pegg: https://twitter.com/simonpegg) on my dislike for the rise of early-day loans, work-day loans, short-term loans before. It is not their existence I abhor (though I am close to it, I don’t think they are worthwhile components of our society) but the fact that they are allowed to advertise on the television and the radio.

Just like cigarettes, they cause a cancer, theirs is a moral and fiscal cancer but it is still a disease that grows and spreads and without management will become terminal. (Sorry, this is a fairly poor allusion and a touch offensive to all those who are suffering from the big C., I do apologise in advance if it causes you offence).

So I don’t want it in my mass media, thank you very much. I personally don’t want them to exist at all, but the legality of the situation allows them to exist. This form of short credit with its accompanying excessive fees is a blight. I understand that for many it is a saviour, but I feel sure that with proper regulation and support from local authorities low-cost community loan schemes can flourish and occupy the same space without the excessive profiteering of these companies.

I have even had one of these creatures follow me on Twitter to try and “educate” me of their true face, they apparently “provide a low cost service to those in need as long as the loans are repaid in the short term.”

Well, really. But since I did not have enough money for this month, and now next month I am down by the amount I borrowed from you + your interest, there is a chance I will be returning to you in the future. This is the sad cycle that many people cannot avoid. So should we allow these people to prey on them or set up systems to protect the vulnerable in our society?

I am blogging about this now as there is an early day motion:

http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=41619&SESSION=905

And a push by Compass to end the most severe forms of this behaviour:

http://www.compassonline.org.uk/news/item.asp?n=10636

Personally I say that you should push at your local councils, MPs etc., to try and support regulation to catch the Great Whites otherwise we are going to end up with a 3D sequel with Michael Caine* in it.

*Note Michael Caine was in Jaws 4 (Jaws on vacation – Cheesy dulness but a nice turn from Mr Caine as the hero of the piece) which was not in 3D, Jaws 3 however was in 3D and it was cheesy badness 🙂

Categories
Rants

Leaving Facebook

a.k.a. Facebook can go f*ck itself

a.k.a p*ss off you over-subscribed bad medium

a.k.a. once annoyed the comments get bad but you’re still sh*t

So I’m leaving (indeed)

On a jet plane (not really)

Don’t know if I’ll be back again (hopefully never)

Hello, you might be reading this because you saw it linked from my Facebook page, you might be seeing it from Twitter. it doesn’t matter the message is still the same. I will soon be leaving Facebook.

I have a hard decision, but I have determined to make it.

I am leaving Facebook.

It’s true, I don’t completely like it but it is happening.

It is because I have had enough of this service, the launch of Places was the last straw… Well, no, it wasn’t, the launch of like button was the last straw… Well, no it wasn’t, the launch of the new security was the last straw… Well, no…

Actually, it was all of these and more. My laziness was the only thing stopping me, but now I am convinced I have to go. For all of you bothering to read this who only know me through Facebook, find me on Twitter (while I am still there – for a long while yet I think), or email me, PM me so we set up an email route, or whatever, but please stop thinking that Facebook is the route – as it is not – I have to go,

I can stand it no more.

It is a shame as I own my own name on Facebook. I have used Dopplr. Twitter and others with Facebook, I have reached people, but that dearest ones is over.

But why?

I could do a long treatise on why social networks inspire redundancy in communication skills by removing the onus to be active in pursuing ones familial network. But I am not going to.

Instead I am going to rant.

I would like to point out hate things against a certain Facebook founder who stated:

“Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity”

Well f*ck you.

Harsh words but I feel harsh. What kind of w*nk statement is that? The arrogance, the sheer ignorance. What the hell has your identity got to do with your integrity? That is either a gross simplification by someone who doesn’t understand those terms or a gross simplification by someone who does understand those terms but is talking sh*t.

I think it is an easy platitude but I am going to use it:

Those who know everything understand nothing.

We can all come up with the one liners but at least mine comes from a familiarity with the actual words.

So it is goodbye!

So long, farewell (and a song from The Sound of Music) I am going. Follow me on Twitter (shadowcat_mdk) or perhaps since we are friends ask for my gmail email and if you like use Buzz.

Please don’t rely on Twitter, for sometime soon it will be gone. I will give a few months for people to filter through and know me elsewhere where I will welcome them for the loved ones they have become (for I was selective in my Facebook attachments). But then I shall be gone.

No doubt one day people will look back and say “why did he do it, silly fool, when all we have is this marvelous tool”, well because for the reasons mentioned above – and perhaps others I will add in edits to this post.

For now, use this time to make sure we stay in touch – I may not have any other contact than Facebook and if so it will be sad to lose you. Let us use email, and those other social tools I am using for this time. But, mostly to email let us be consigned. True it may not have the immediate appeal and one has to choose who to inform, but surely that should be celebrated as at least you know I mean it…as opposed to: look, you knew I was here as someone I once knew told you so and now you feel obliged to contact me…

Facebook is no longer a tool for communication, it is the monkey we feed on our social back, it makes us feel good and wanted but is still a burden to bear…

So I am going…

Just not yet. I have to let you all catch up with me yet…I have to let you all know…I have to make sure all the services that this provides are replicated or replaced…Don’t I….

Will I really go…