I’m annoyed that I even have to spend time (a) looking for this and (b) saying something about it, but since I’m apparently going to have to put up with the scourge of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez let words fall out of her mouth only to then have people defend her because tribalism trumps decency, let’s just get this out of the way. Making jokes about gang rape in support of your political cause is not cute to say the least. In fact, it’s deeply offensive, and I for one am not going to go to the wall to defend Ocasio Cortez over this. And Trump supporters, you can sit this one out. You’ve nodded along with every crude statement made by the president, at best dismissing them all as jokes that didn’t land well, even when we exclude your performances during the Kavanaugh controversy. And yet when Ocasio Cortez makes what is absolutely a crude statement, you’re clutching your pearls and heading toward your fainting couches as if you’ve finally found the decency you so calculatingly put down for the sake of your tax cut, your judges, and your immigration wet dreams. Forgive me if I’m not exactly impressed by your newfound concern over politicians joking about rape to further their political ends.
For me at least, it’s obvious we have a separate problem above and beyond the problem of “Hey we put a camera in the living room and are probably recording and if you mind you’re now a person we don’t like.” If you’re blind, how the hell are you supposed to figure out from the AirBnB site if cameras other than the stated cameras at the entrances are present? I haven’t stayed in an AirBnB yet, although I’ve heard they can be cheaper than hotels. I also understand that this is probably completely irrational, but frankly it scares the hell out of me that a host can essentially have hidden cameras in the residence and AirBnB is going to do nothing about it because technically you consented. I can think of several ways this could go very very wrong, complete with the online backlash when it does and somebody decides to complain or report or anything. So I’ll be holding off on AirBnB until this kind of thing is sorted.
Darragh does a really good job explaining why Paul Thurrott’s comments regarding accessibility in Windows Weekly 603 are nothing more than ignorant drivel from someone who really ought to know better. He’s a lot nicer than me about it, which is probably a good thing. I can’t help but think Paul deserves to be raked over the coals for that kind of abject stupidity though.
This is a long piece, but worth a read, and I would encourage everyone to read it, regardless of what your politics are. Ignorance really is considered a virtue in our society, and for once, this really is something that occurs frequently on both sides and by this point is a deeply held belief. Nobody gets to be smug on this one. As a result of the belief that ignorance is a virtue on the right, we now have President Trump, who quite proudly will not listen to any advisor who tells him something he doesn’t want to hear or anything that would cause him to question an already-held belief. And on the left, we have Alexandria Ocacio Cortez, who is young enough to still believe that she is more knowledgeable than she actually is on a whole range of subjects. In Cortez’s case, there is hope that she will mature before seeking the presidency, if that’s even one of her goals. But hope is not a strategy that anyone should rely on. In Trump’s case, I’m afraid we’ve passed the point where we can reasonably expect that there’s going to be a shift in his personality that would cause him to begin not only listening to, but seeking, the advice of those who are experts in the various subjects he must make decisions on as president. In my view, Ocacio Cortez and Trump are, (in some very striking ways), mirror images of each other. But that’s for exploration in another post. This article is enough to be getting on with for now.
I find myself in the same position as Ryan with regard to Facebook. It’s where all my (biological) family are and a ton of my chosen family, and to add to that, there are work-related reasons why I need to maintain an account. My posting there is pretty rare, and I’m trying to get to the point where I’m posting only links to my own site with my thoughts, as opposed to native status updates and photos. The native updates tend to garner more engagement, but at this point that engagement serves as a reminder of the inferiority, (at least inn my eyes), of only being able to engage on one platform with people who have accounts on that platform. We don’t really have a catchphrase for the concept of “Once you discover the joys and even fulfillment of widening your circcle of engagement to the entire open web instead of just silos, you never go back”, but I think we need one, because that’s the position I find myself in. With Twitter and Micro.blog, I can pull in replies and other interactions. With Mastodon, I can’t pull in replies and other interactions yet, but it’s still decentralized which lessens the sting a bit, although I’m getting to the point where I really want to crack that nut. With Facebook, it’s either Facebook’s way or the highway and I really, really don’t like that. At all. Twitter also bothers me, although I suppose not as much as Facebook, but eve if it did, I still find myself in a position where I at least need to maintain some sort of presence. It’s a lot easier to handle posting only links from my own sites to Twitter though because this step is automated. I think that’s the part of Facebook’s changes that has impacted me the most: Not being able to (1) automate publishing, and then (2) pull the conversation back in.
I mostly track everything I’m doing manually, and am still working on the automation part. This seems like a worthy goal to work on in 2019, because while manual tracking has its advantages, (well, OK one, which is thinking about what you’re tracking and hopefully therefore tracking intentionally), it’s mostly a pain and means that I forget to track things and post them to my website.
I’ve set aside some time this afternoon/evening to upgrade my two WordPress installs so that they support full unicode and don’t break my pasted Hebrew or emojis. One of them, (this one), is a rather large database with close to twenty years of content in it, and I don’t want to lose any of it. Not being able to use the full unicode character set though has gotten to the point where it’s getting in the way, so I will be glad when this is done. Once I’m done with it I’m going to document it, because if you have a database as large as mine it’s a painful process. This is definitely much easier to do when you’re starting with a fresh install.
On one level, as I was reading this piece, I was thinking “Man, seriously, how can you hate Winnie the Pooh so much, he’s adorable!” Well, he’s adorable, unless we’re talking about what happened when he met the internet. Yes, that’s an Angelfire page. I’m surprised it’s still up. On another level though, I get where the author is coming from. I completely understand the “get-off-my-lawn, why do you guys have to ruin everything” sentiment that seems to be on display here. I can kind of see both sides though. From a purely artistic perspective, and from the perspective that museums serve a very specific purpose, I can see how adding an exhibition like this that purposely leaves out any context and is merely an attraction to draw in younger visitors would be viewed as nothing less than some sort of abomination. But on the other hand, museums have to generate revenue. After all, nonprofit is a tax status, not a business model. I imagine that the Pooh attraction, as devoid of real art as it is, probably draws in at least enough revenue to keep itself going and to help the museum along with its research and other exhibits.
In actual “Internet of Shit” news, a smart diaper has been unveiled at this year’s CES. It’s a wearable that attaches to a diaper and sends notifications to your phone to alert you of the diaper being full, among other things. The intended use is so that parents and caregivers will act quickly so that babies don’t get diaper rashes or urinary tract infections. I suspect the actual uses are going to be quite different, as they always are with cool new tech. Also, maybe let’s not add data with babies in it to the mix until we have a technically savvy congress and a technically savvy president who can sort out some of the problems we already have with all the issues around data collection and monetization and access and consent to tracking, and until we have a public that is at least somewhat educated on some of this and no longer looking at this stuff as “Hey cool look what I can share” and not considering the implications of making decisions that involve all these data complications for humans who cannot yet consent.
Oh look! The White House is sharing anecdotes with no sources and playing fast and loose with statistics again, and topping it off with an appeal to emotion. This is called propaganda. But yeah, the media. If you’re still spouting the “But the media!” excuse I am no longer interested in what you have to say on the subject. I am done with the excuse-making for your preferred politician and I am done with listening to you whine because the media give you the pared-down stories taylored to you which you demonstrate over and over and over and over that you want through your clicks and your shares and your retweets and your quote-tweets. You are not helpless victims of the media you love to hate, you are enthusiastic enablers and eager co-equal participants in the thing you love to hate. And yet, every other day I read or hear some media-hater type preach something about how people think they are victims and it’s all the media’s fault. Well, take a good look in the Goddamn mirror because the people shouting the loudest about being tricked and being victims are you guys, and I’m done with all of it. Either start demonstrating some personal responsibility and discipline when it comes to the things you click on or watch or share, or quit whining.
Read Brains of 3 People Have Been Successfully Connected, Enabling Them to Share Thoughts (ScienceAlert)
Neuroscientists have successfully hooked up a three-way brain connection to allow three people to share their thoughts – and in this case, play a Tetris-style game.
Oh great. Just what we need. Facebook, except with brains. How about let’s not and if you want to you can pretend we did.
Last year my reading challenge goal was to read twenty-six books. I completed the challenge, and I even ended up completing it before the end of December, but I never increased the goal. I think I just got to a point where I felt like “OK, goal achieved, I’m not working one ounce harder on this.”

This year, I want to read one hundred books, and I expect most of them will either be fiction, or interesting non-fiction that has nothing to do with anything remotely related to my line of work. It’s not that I don’t think work-related reading is important, I do. But books for me are a really great way to chill out, and I already read a metric ton of articles related to work. I don’t have much of an anticipated booklist yet, and I’m not sure I’m going to put in the time to create one. I think I’m going to just roll with it. I have some books I started reading towards the end of last year that I am carrying over to this year. They’re pretty long (twenty to forty hours or more in audio). Those are the best kind. I will probably read some short books as well, and for the sake of this exercise I’m defining “short” as ten hours or less. I also want to review the books I read, and I may write some reviews of some of the books I read last year, at least the new ones. I also want to write more status updates to go along with documenting percentage fiinished, and I’ll post all that here.

So, with all that said, on with the challenge.

I think tending to your own website more than your social media is always good advice. For one thing, regardless of whether or not you go full indieweb or full federated. Granted, you need all the indieweb building blocks if you want to add more semantic meaning, along with the social components, but the basics of owning the content you create are as simple as purchasing a domain, some hosting, and setting up your own website, followed by posting there. Of course this means you might miss out on the instant gratification of social media, and you’ll have to do more work on those platforms to get the word out, but to really have an impact at this point on social media, you need to put in that work anyway. It’s not just about using the right hashtag. I also think you can take a middle road when it comes to social media by posting on your own site first and then syndicating to social media, instead of posting on social media first.