Tag Archives: technology

Emperor OS

sneaky-computerI gave my computer some instructions and walked away. Bad move. Does not compute. Syntax error. Non sequitur.

“How dare you show your back to me!” the computer raged indignantly but passive-aggressively. That must be why it remained silent. It knew damn well what it was doing.

Working. Commit. Execute. Hey, little girl. Wanna see my update?

I don’t know why my computer calls me “little girl” but whatever. I kind of like it.

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Intersmellar: Google

Google is fluid and ever changing. It’s always trying to improve itself. Yes, I’m talking about it like it’s a thing. It’s The Blob.

The way Google works in the now is not necessarily the way it worked in the before.

For example, one day I noticed that entering certain words would provoke a dictionary response on the top of search results.

Search: allegory

Response: a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.

Hey. Thanks, Google. That’s kind of sort of useful if I’m in the mood for a dictionary type response. A little down-arrow is included so the box can be expanded to see things like additional definitions, word origin, translations, and even a cute little chart of “usage over time.”

Looking at Google.

Reviewing Google’s search results.

Then, yesterday, I decided to try the function again, this time for the word “interstellar.”

My God. It’s full of commercials.

The dictionary box was gone. Almost like it never existed. In its place was a box entitled Showtimes. Yes, that’s right, Google. Good job. Interstellar is also the name of a movie. You figured it out.

The right side of the page was also transformed. What used to be blank space was now essentially a big advertising poster for the movie. There’s a thumbnail photo, a series of reviews (it really is full of stars) and other info about the movie. A way to jump to posts on Google+ was thoughtfully provided, thumbnails of the cast and, last but not least, a section called “People also search for.” (This last one I like to call Who Gives A Shit?)

Very interesting, of course, except for that fact that none of this was what I actually wanted. Google excels at this.

I carefully checked the rest of the page. Perhaps tucked away in a corner of the screen there’d be a way to ask for the dictionary? Nope. Nothing.

It was almost as if the dictionary box had been erased. From existence. And magically replaced with Biff Tannen’s Pleasure Paradise Casino. Great Scott! This is heavy!

So what happened? Just like that alternate timeline (which Marty and Doc eventually repaired) Big Daddy Google has come up with a clever system of analyzing words based on money.

The proprietary Google algorithm looks something like this:

is search term a big money word, something that can be sold

if yes, show results_monetized()

if no and it’s a dictionary word show the dictionary_box() followed by results()

if no and it’s not a dictionary word, show our bastardized rip of a wikipedia entry followed by results() including a link to the real wikipedia page

I know this is complicated programmer-style pseudocode but that’s essentially how it works.

Sooner or later this will happen to every word in the English language dictionary and Google will cease to be a valid source of information and will exist only as a shill, much like a carnival barker on the midway. This process is known as the google stomp. Given enough time Google will have about the same meaning as a highway billboard that advises, “Eat at Joe’s.”

Spend $120 on a game and you just might win a piece of crap made in China that’s worth fifty cents. That’s a Google-sized bargain. This is our inevitable future.

Technology and continuous improvement. Is there anything better? Kaizen!

Abyss Christmas Gift Giving Guide 2014

distorted-floorIt’s Christmas 2014 already. How the hell did that happen? Who has been playing with the time machine?

If it’s pitch black in the house by 5pm it must be time for me to get off my ass and start working on the Abyss Gift Giving Guide. Well, okay. I’ll give it a shot.

We were supposed to have flying cars by what? 2008? 1999? Where are they? Where are my flying cars? In the meantime, what else ain’t we got?

The following ideas are products of my fertile incontinent barren mind and may not yet be available in stores…

e-i-Opaque Windows

Thank god this has nothing to do with Microsoft.

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Who Is Hosing Me?

I hope y’all enjoyed the kid-friendly headline. It wasn’t my first choice. -Ed.

I’m looking at one of the 42,000 spinning animations that constitute the soundtrack of my life. In this particular instance it belongs to the Netflix app on my iPad. But really it could be any of them.

One question: Who is responsible for this outage outrage?

Yes, we have the technology to sell technology whether it is ready for prime time or not.

When I was a kid “sit and spin” was consider an insult. Now it’s a phrase that singularly defines an entire generation of tech-hungry consumers.

Who decided this shit was ready? Because I have a serious bone to pick with them.

The technology cycle works like this: Invent. Sell. Count your piles of gold. Then, and only then, stick your head up, look around and see how it works. (Just ask Apple about iOS 8.)

This thing, right here, right now, is not working. Since it takes about 42 pieces of tech just to make this go, how should I proceed? Is there a way for an average schmo like me to logically isolate the culprit? Is there anyone I can call who won’t say, “Nope. It’s not us,” and point the finger at one of the other 41 links in the chain, including me?

I think not.

Is it my ISP? The cable assholes of Satan? Is it the router? The modem? Any points of relay on the internet between me and them? Is it a problem in my iPad? Is it Netflix itself? Is it the Amazon Cloud where Netflix wisely decided to put their egg in a basket? Is it a fucking solar flare?

All I know is that I paid a lot of money for this shit and that money is long gone. And there’s no tech fairy who will make it right.

What a helpless feeling. It’s enough to make my head spin.

This post was written on an iPad using only one finger. Sheer torture.

Blog notes: I have a voice!

It’s time to write a blog post. What to do? What to do?

Unless there’s a burning issue sitting happily on my frontal lobe, step one is usually checking my “blog notes” and finding some scrap of an idea. But wait! It’s not as easy as it sounds.

For one thing, my notes are scattered to the wind across a wide variety of locations. In the physical world this includes sticky notes littered around my desk like dying leaves on an autumn lawn. There’s also two pocket notebooks filled with pages and pages of tiny scrawl. Most of it is not decipherable, even to me, the hand that did the scrawling. And they’ve both been through the laundry so the ink is fuzzy and faint.

In the electronic world I’ve cleverly tried to consolidate my little notes to self. There’s the “Notes” app in my iPad. There’s another app called “Werdsmith” I also use from time to time. And, in an app called “Evernote” there’s probably my biggest library of random thoughts. This one has the advantage of being shared with my computer, too. Lastly there’s a plain text file in the home directory of my computer that I maintain with a command line text editor.

Here’s a sample of what can be found in my notes. I’ve culled these from the herd for your edification of the writer’s process.

Artichoke or Boss?
Tags: smell, rat

As is often the case, my notes are generally useless when I revisit them later. They may seem obvious at the time but usually I don’t breadcrumb enough to lead my brain back to the scene of the crime and grok the point, if there even was one.
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Apple to change iPhone naming scheme

iphoneYou might think that Apple is about to announce the iPhone 6 but they have one more surprise up their sleeve before the big day finally gets here. In a move that will stun the uncivilized world (societies with iPhones) they’ll abandon the practice of naming each iteration of iPhones in boring numerical sequence.

Instead, in clever fashion, they’ll use words that sound similar to the numerical scheme we’re all expecting.

Yes, tomorrow they’ll be introducing the iPhone Sex. Siri gets a major and surprising upgrade in this one. Nuff said, I hope.

This will be followed in later years, of course, by the iPhone Heaven. This will be the one time in the history of iPhones that they won’t actually change anything. They’ll just release a new version that’s exactly the same to satisfy the cravings of early adopters.

The iPhone Mate will feature an enhanced personality matrix so you’ll no longer need to bother with the formality of legitimate marriage within the confines of the real world.

The iPhone Spine will usher in a new era of cyborgality with an interface that will make Google Glass look like quaint child’s play. Remember the good old days when technology remained outside of your body?

And, finally, iPhone Hen will exponentially build upon marital aspects originally introduced in iPhone Mate with hyper-realistic calendar reminders and much, much, much, much more. This will also be the first iPhone to incorporate state-of-the-art hammer-resistant technology.

The future for iPhones looks bright but who’s counting?

Magic: The Blathering

magic-battle

I say this! Well I say that! Don’t cross the streams!

You’ll have to excuse the faltering nature of this post: My Facebook status is currently “Low on Mana.”

You know I like to think the Big Thoughts (har) and these mental excitations decidedly do not lead to good vibrations. In fact, more often than not, they lead to impasse.

Most people, I hear tell, have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. Not me. I have a miniaturized and hovering Gandalf the Grey and he continually yells, “You shall not impasse!” For some reason, though, that’s not all that helpful.

What sort of big thoughts, you ask, oh helpful reader? Just wee trifling matters. Is climate change real and impacted by human behavior? Do vaccines kill my kids? Should girls be allowed to show a little shoulder in their high school yearbook photos? Will a little non-disclosed GMO kill me? Is it acceptable to harvest organs from poor people? Would raising minimum wage help or hurt the economy? Will we as a society literally swallow petroleum until it kills us? Does being armed to the teeth make society safer or more dangerous? Should politicians and people advertising products have to tell the truth? Does Earth orbit the sun or does the entire universe orbit the Earth? Does trickle-down economics represent the overall best solution for everyone? Why does Hulu Plus have commercials if there’s a monthly fee? Why does a good portion of the people on this planet feel it is acceptable for a 50-year-old man to marry a 12-year-old girl? Does Obamacare make our nation stronger or weaker?

It should be obvious my wee little brain is incapable of grappling with weighty issues like these (and many, many more). What to do? What to do?
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