Categories
Internet

Time for Facebook management to develop some emotional maturity

A little under forty years ago, Alexander Dewdney, a mathematician and computer scientist, postulated the existenceplaniverse 002 of a two-dimensional universe. He began to explore the physics and chemistry of such a bizarre, incomprehensible yet paradoxically simple world, eventually writing a short scientific paper entitled Two-Dimensional Science and Technology, which sold out after a favourable review in Scientific American.  Dewdney went on to write an utterly charming little novel called The Planiverse, about the inhabitants of a two-dimensional world where wars can only be fought by armies lining up and fighting each other two soldiers at a time, where a gastro-intestinal tract would split people in half, and where a rope serves as a parachute. Houses are underground to avoid causing obstructions and nails are impossible. Screws are inconceivable since they require three dimensions.

planiverse 001And yet, somehow, despite all its limitations, the Planiverse somehow works, in much the same way that Facebook works, provided you’re willing to accept rules dictated by the stunted one-dimensional emotional understanding of its senior management, most of whom, by virtue of their youth, have little life experience.

Facebook somehow works and yet manages to be even less multi-dimensional than the Planiverse, reducing the entire range of human interaction to Friends and Likes.

You Blarkkh. You Friend. Me like Blarkkh.

There you have it. This is how we’ve evolved, now that we no longer wear skins and survive on burnt rat-meat.

Instead we communicate with cyber-grunts on Facecave.

emojis facebook

Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s head of news feed, knows all about emotions.

CNET has a simpering article positively creaming itself at the idea of receiving a ten-minute interview with the man who “built” Facebook’s Home while overlooking the fact that he built nothing. Brunel built things. Stephenson built things. Wren built things. Bernini built things. Trajan built things. Rice built things. Corbusier built things.

Facebook is a website. It doesn’t matter if it falls down. Nothing will happen.

Still, Adam Mosseri understands emotions intimately, with empathy, sympathy but definitely not apathy or antipathy. Adam gets it, which is why, when Facebook decided to expand their range of responses from the single all-purpose Like grunt, he got a crowd of sociologists on the job. Sociologists, as we all know, are the ideal people to explain human emotion to a Facebook wunderkind like Mosseri and besides, they’re ologists, so they know what they’re talking about. Right? Right??

Sure, Adam.

Like!

Adam’s sociologists got on the job and boiled all human emotion down to six, in much the same way you might reduce a logic flow down to a set of NAND and NOR gates.  Magic or coincidence? You decide. These are computer geeks we’re talking about here, even if they also happen to be billionaires.

They’re geeks. Limited geeks with extremely limited life experience and little or no empathy.

Geeks who think that all human emotion can be optimised to a reduced instruction set of feelings.

And what reduced set did these geniuses come up with?

Love.

Haha.

Yay.

Wow.

Sad.

Angry.

That’s it. Human emotions in Facebookworld.

There’s no escaping the Orwellian parallels. This is Newspeak. This is Doubleplusungood. This, to be blunt about it, is bullshit.

In Facebook’s planiverse, all human emotion has been put through a minimisation table, optimised, standardised and homogenised, resulting in a much more efficient, stripped-down emotion set that will run on almost any empathy chipset.

Nice work, Facebook geniuses.

Let me remind you that these are the insecure prudes who continue to ban images of breastfeeding on the grounds of nudity.

These geniuses, may I point out, are the emotionally-stunted prudes who recently banned an ad by the Well Woman Centre promoting self-examination for breast cancer

Their reason?  The ad was too “sexual”. They reversed the decision after the Irish Times challenged them on the issue, describing their decision as a “mistake.”  Indeed.

What’s wrong with this picture? Could it be that our daily experience is being shaped by emotionally-inadequate idiot savants who have never experienced the problems that beset the lives of the adults who use their services? Could it be that we need to move beyond this and stop pandering to the inadequacies of people still striving for adulthood?

Perhaps it’s time some adult created social media for grown-ups.

These days, Alexander Dewdney is working as a mathematical biologist but maybe he could be persuaded to delve into the internet and contact the sad rich boys trapped in Facebook. Maybe he could pass on a message from the grown-up world that it’s still possible for them to become men.

planiverse facebook

 

 

 

Categories
Internet

Contributions Welcome

soapbox

Guest contributions have always been welcome on this site.  Indeed, in the last week or so there have been two posts by other contributors and the hope is that this will continue as it has in the past.

As always, the pages are open to anyone who wants to write about interesting things.

Articles can be about anything and they certainly don’t need to agree with me.  If anyone would like to write something expressing an alternative point of view, that’s fine.

There’s only one rule.  It can’t be shite.  It has to be well-written and it has to be logical if it’s arguing a point of view.  But equally, it might just be a post about a forthcoming garden fete or it might be a recipe.  That’s fine too.

As any regular reader knows, there’s no shortage  of material to fill these pages, but it’s always good to involve people where possible, so if you’d like a soap-box, feel free to throw something in and if it’s of a decent standard, it will go up.

Categories
Internet Politics

Fools in Charge of Fine Gael Web Presence Embarrass Themselves Again

Remember this?

 

Or this?

 Well, they’ve done it again.  Yes, they really are that stupid, and now the Fine Gael hotshots have come up with a campaign that uses people’s images without their permission.  To be specific, they used Bjorn Borg’s image on their Facebook page and he is not a happy puppy.  He’s so angry that he got his legal representatives to threaten the gobshites behind the Fine Gael page for putting up this:

fine gael bjorn borg

 

 

Are they stupid?  Possibly.

Are they a bunch of utter incompetents?  Certainly.

This is what the party of government in Ireland considers cutting-edge interaction with its public.

Fools.  We’re doomed.

 

Categories
Internet

Blocking Pirate Bay

The music industry recently won a court order forcing six Irish internet providers to block the Pirate Bay, and all future addresses at which the service becomes available.

Right away, everything called thepiratebay is blocked, but of course, a simple Google search throws up a list of proxies and mirrors as long as your arm, so how are they going to deal with that?  Maybe they’ll start by blocking every site name with the letters p-i-r-a-t-e in it.  That’s the end of jollypirate.com then.  No more delicious Captain Sam’s ice-cream from Portland, Maine.

And what are we to do about those crafty sea-thieves if they change their description?  Does the court order cover every site with seafaring robbers in its name?  Oops.  That’s the end of Buccaneers Rugby Football Club.  Not to mention Corsair, the global company that manufactures components for gaming PCs.

No privateers, no marauders, no sea wolves.

Will we have to stamp out every site name with any hint of piracy about it?  Goodbye, Captain Morgan’s.   Goodbye, Jamaica Rum.  Goodbye, Jamaica, in fact, not to mention Tortuga, Barbuda, Antigua, Anguilla, St Lucia, Grenada and a thousand other haunts of the cork-legged, single-eyed, hook-handed caricatures.

pirate map

Yo ho ho?  No, I’m afraid.  No site name with a hook, a patch, a peg or a cutlass will be permitted lest it reveal some fresh downloading horror.

Suppose they change their name to The Parrot Bay?  Will the lawyers have to repeat their arguments to the court all over again only to find that the bird has flown and now they’re chasing The Parakeet Bay or The Real Macaw?   That be a mighty conundrum, Jim, lad.

If the music companies used their heads, they’d draft a suggested order to avoid having to go back and forth before the court.  If they could get an injunction blocking all mention of pirates, variations of pirates, Caribbean islands, animals associated with pirates, shipping, rigging, cutlasses, rum, cannon, oceans,rigging, mainbraces, splicing, hatches, battening down, landlubbers, keelhauling, scurvy knaves and salty dogs, they’d more or less have it covered, but I’d go one step further.  I’d block all anagrams containing any of those letters, just in case somebody might accidentally think of piracy.

The only place these sites would be allowed is on a new domain extension.  Dot-com is so 1980s.  Dot-net, dot-org and dot-everything else are just so everything else.

You see where this is going, but I’m a step ahead of you, since the captive scientists working in the vast caverns beneath the Bockschloss already have it covered.

We’re launching the global Bock internetwork where all robbers are welcome.  Signals will be beamed free from a vast array of geostationary satellites.  In future, after the courts have banned all domain names, my plan to control the internet will finally become a reality.

Dot Com is dead.

Welcome to my new domain.

Friends, I give you Dot Arrrr.  Sign up now.

Categories
Internet

Brand New Retro

Did you see this? said a regular contributor.

What?

Brand new retro

Never heard of it.  Let me alone.

You’ll love it.

You mean YOU love it.  Geek  Nerd.

No, he said.  Honest.

And he was right.  Dougie McMahon, the man behind the site, has put together a compendium of magazine scans from old Irish pop culture all the way back to the 60s, including the cheesiest, most cringe-inducing media images in our recent history.

I love it.

How’s this for a Christmas gift suggestion from 1961, in Model Housekeeping (the leading national women’s magazine)?

christmas gift suggestions

 

Christ, I said.  Imagine trying that today.

Didn’t you get a toaster for Christmas? my colleague inquired gently as he handed me a fresh pint.

That’s different.

True, he agreed.

What about that, though, back in 1961?  Here you are, Darling.  I got you an iron that can press inside my sleeves.

Thud!

Some of the suggestions in Model Housekeeping could be straight out of Viz.

Before a party, spray your electric light bulbs with pine essence of a floral perfume.

Or as Viz once suggested, An empty aluminium cigar tube filled with angry wasps makes an inexpensive vibrator.

party-tips

 

If that wasn’t your thing, you could always shop in Dublin’s gayest toyland where your children could enjoy riding “Furey” the mechanical horse, play the “Bimbo”  monkey band machine or spinning on the carnival rides.

todd-burns-1961

 

They might even meet Santa, and get a tin of beans for Christmas.

batchelors

If they’re lucky enough to pick up a selection of Batchelors products from the man in red, what better place to enjoy them than with this classy dining room from the finest Brown Thomas designers and craftsmen?

brown-thomas-1952-chairs-ed

 

Of course, if you happen to be a man of 45 still living with your mother, it’s understandable that your feelings might be getting a little bit out of control, especially in an Ireland rigidly controlled by puritanical clergy.  Don’t make the mistake of having a 17-year-old girlfriend.

radio

 

Check out Brand New Retro.  It’s great fun, though a little Dublin-focussed, but hopefully, as new material floods in, that balance will correct itself.

pandt-push-button

 

 

tribune

Categories
Internet Media

Twitter Mocks John Waters With #JohnWatersTweets Hashtag

It’s such a brilliantly simple idea: things John Waters might tweet if he wasn’t so blinded by his hatred of all things internet.  It was started last night by a guy called Donal O’Keeffe as a bit of a joke at the expense of the West’s Greatest Living Intellectual, but it grew legs as more and more people jumped on the bandwagon.

John Waters beyond consolation

Here’s a few examples, and of course, naturally I couldn’t resist having a go myself.

 

  • Twitter’s democratisation of opinion is unhealthy and undermines rightful respect for a man with a column in the paper.
  • The professionally-aggrieved howling “misogyny” misconstrue willfully an examination of pre-misandrist societal norms.
  • Man daily sacrifices the mark of manhood on the altar of female-centricity, literally putting a razor to their own throats
  • Whereas a father’s love is in many ways more akin to God’s own love. Unsentimental but unwavering, calm and eternal.
  • As meaning morphs into unmeaning we find ourselves propelled ineluctably towards the inevitable intermeaning thesis.
  • What begins as mere disorder soon transmutes into a shared sense of is-ness, bounded only by Mayo-ness and certain doom.
  • As emergent tropes become distorted via mechanised vectorality, the viewer remains bereft of a reified transrealim.
  • There is a place, between pew and public square, which has yet to be heard or even acknowledged
  • Trolling at the crossroads. Moohahaha!
  • The plethora of #xfactor tweets conclusively establish the veracity of my thoughts on Twitter.
  • What is crucial here and ignored is that we need to have a discussion, not involving the media hegemony, about the issue
  • If left unchecked, the nourishing milk of motherhood can become a melanoma that devours a boy’s maleness from within.
  • As Kierkegaard foresaw, Heidegger would unconceal concealment, unexplaining explanation and unthinking our very thoughts.
  • The Rose of Tralee objectifies escorts
  • It is a tragedy that man who once caught his food and provided it to his woman, is now emasculated by the “M&S Ready Meal”
  • What makes a man? Our fathers understood it, that sacred bond, the unspoken, masculine respect which makes a man a man.
  • I curse the day I went to Hot Press instead of becoming a creamery manager.
  • Say what you like about Charlie Haughey, we were better as a village, as a community, when we revered our Fat Chieftan.

Oddly enough, the internet, while poking gentle fun at Waters, can’t make him as bumptious as he himself manages to do.  Here he is  setting up straw men in the Irish Times, attempting (and failing) to parody Twitter:

Personally, I would prefer if, instead of pursuing individual tweeters, the police arrested Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter, and closed his network down. Actually, i wish they wud burn the Twitter founder in oil & leave his carcass out for the buzzards. Seriously

Ironically, though he doesn’t seem to realise it, John Waters said that on the internet, thereby becoming one of the idiots he so detests.  It reminds me of the old folks complaining about long-haired weirdos, without ever having actually spoken to a long-haired weirdo.  But maybe that’s not an example I should have chosen.  Sorry if I was insensitive, John.  Your hair is lovely.  So is your beard.

Lovely, lovely hair, so lovely in the shimmering Mayo moonlight, and you with a nice girl on the bar of your bike after the dance.

Now here’s a thought. If Twitter transmutes into John Waters, is it designed to carry the weight of that much self-importance or will it collapse under all the pomposity?

And if, as seems to be happening, John Waters is becoming Twitter, will he be able to work within the discipline of 140 characters?

 

 

Categories
Internet Technology

Blacknight — How to Do Customer Relations Properly

I use a hosting service called Blacknight.  They can be infuriating.  They can be nerdy.  They can be geeky-patronising when you contact them with a problem and you don’t speak the Ancient Tech Tongue.

The force is weak with this one.

But I stick with them.  I tell anyone who comes to me for advice that they should use Blacknight, and so far I must have sent a hundred people in their direction.

Why?

Because they understand the fundamental rule of customer service.  It isn’t about how much you screw up.   It’s about how well you recover.

We all screw up, because we’re human and fallible.  Sometimes we screw up hugely and sometimes we screw up just a little bit, but that’s why we understand that things can go wrong.  We know this because we have made so many mistakes ourselves and generally speaking, we like to be understanding about these things.

Until we get stonewalled, that is.

If my cable TV goes down, I can’t contact anyone.  I have to tap my way through a phone menu that first warns me my call will be recorded for training purposes.  Training?  What this badly disguised threat really means is that at the slightest sound of anger in your voice, they’ll send the recording to the police who will come to your home and beat you senseless before throwing you in the slammer on charges of terrorism.

Or at least, that’s what the area sub-undermanager fantasised when he dreamed up the wording.  What’s that on your pants, Fatso?

Here’s the thing about Blacknight.  Unlike my many other service providers, including UPC, Three Mobile, Bórd Gáis and the ESB or whatever the latest name is that they invented for themselves, Blacknight don’t hide behind an automated robotic voice on the phone.

Dial 1 for shit you don’t understand.

Dial 2 for shit we don’t understand.

Dial 3 for shit we understand but you don’t.

Dial 4 for a veiled legal threat

Dial 5  for a loop of Greensleeves. 

On the other hand, you can email Blacknight, you can phone them and you can talk to them directly on Twitter, which is what I did today when my site went completely skaw-ways after a year’s worth of uploaded photos disappeared.  Where did they go?  I didn’t know and I didn’t want to know.  I run a website, not CSI.  I didn’t care where they went.  I just wanted them back.

And guess what?  The incorporeal Blacknight entity manning the Twinterface rose to the occasion like a hero, restoring every single one of my pictures in almost no time at all.  At no time was I threatened with recordings of my twitterings for training purposes.  They didn’t play Greensleeves on an endless loop and they didn’t make me select from a menu that was completely irrelevant to my requirements.

Blacknight, here’s to you.  You might occasionally be a bit OCD.   You might, from time to time, demand that I speak your arcane language and laugh at me for my ignorance of your words.  You might well be geeky as all get-out, and your control panel might well be the least user-friendly in the known universe, but when it comes to fixing problems, you have no equal.

Thanks guys.

 

 

Categories
Internet

Learn About Bocking the Blabbernet

It’s coming up to six years now since I started this nonsense.  Six years!

So far there have been 3,596 posts and 63,306 comments. There have been 18 different contributors who, between them, wrote  1.4 million words.  We’ve made 3,159 mistakes and 38 mortal enemies.  47 posts were a complete disgrace and should never have been published.  I’m sorry.

326 of them were utter shite and should never have been published either.  Sorry, but I was drunk and in no condition to be allowed near a keyboard.  Minder-fail.

The site has been through six redesigns and a hundred re-thinks, a thousand reconsiderations and a million reimaginings.

When I started this stuff, I had not the slightest idea what it was supposed to be about, but as time went on and more people became involved, we all learned together until eventually, the Bock Collective was born.  Resistance is futile.  You will be assimilated.

It works.  Thousands of people are reading the ridiculous thing.  Crazy numbers.  Some are getting annoyed.  Others understand what’s going on beneath the surface.  Google likes it a lot, and it appears on the first page of a search for many topics as a tribute to the power of unrelenting annoyingness.

So.

I had an idea.

Since the internet is so full of bullshitters who’ll tell you nothing at all, what about a course delivered by Bock-accredited trainers teaching you some of the Bock secrets, like how to pen an effective post or how to give your business a better profile on the blabbbernet.  Or how to write plain English that your readers will like.  Or how to try and get on Page One of a Google search. Or how to be generally irritating.

That should be a popular one.

One way or another, this is in the nature of market research rather than anything concrete, so my question for you is this: if you heard of a course in how to Bock the Blabbernet, do you think you might sign up?

It ain’t no thang yet.  This is just the glad eye.

Let me know what you reckon by the usual channels, but if the feedback is positive, I might just kill the hyperdrive, take the Collective out of stasis and assign them to their designated functions.

 

Categories
Internet

Gizmodo Bans Its Own Editor For Breaching Comments Policy

This site has a fairly liberal comments policy, but there are certain limits that everyone is asked to observe, the most important of which is the requirement to respect other commenters.

You might imagine that the most important is not to piss off the site owners, but that’s very much a secondary objective, as long as the discussion carries on in a reasonably decent way.  Many posts here are written for the purpose of encouraging debate, and sometimes the plan works.  Sometimes, of course, it doesn’t.

The comments policy on this site is stripped back.  Don’t attack other commenters, don’t be racist, don’t be sexist, and don’t try to tell me how to run my own site.

That seems fairly reasonable, wouldn’t you think?

There’s no doubt that some people have been banned over the years, but in all cases, that was because they tried to disrupt discussion or because they thought they made the rules.  If they had shown some respect for others, and if they had acknowledged that they didn’t control the site, they would still be here, but that’s stupidity for you.

All well and good.  The positive side is that we encourage disagreement and debate.

What then to make of Gizmodo, one of the most prominent websites in the world?  While casually browsing through an article on Google’s new terms, I was astounded to read a moderator’s response to a reader who disagreed with the post.  Jesus Diaz, the editor, didn’t just challenge the reader.  Instead, he accused him of sucking the corporate cock, and went on to indulge in a macho, chest-beating warning to all Gizmodo readers.  Cross the line and you’re out.

Guys, it’s just a fucking website.  That’s all.  Just a motherfucking website.  By all means challenge bad behaviour, but don’t threaten the people who form the backbone of your business.

What a fool.

Sometimes, though rarely, I have to block people because of certain behaviour, but it isn’t a reason to threaten all my readers.  I value them and I understand that I have no business trying to treat them like children.  If I behaved like Jesus Diaz, this site would end up with no commenters  at all.

Almost uniquely, Gizmodo has decided to ban one of its own editors and quite properly so.  Jesus Diaz behaved exactly like the sort of trolling asshole any of us would ban in the blink of an eye and if he appeared on this site displaying such ridiculous pumped-up aggression, he would immediately be blocked.

The blocking would not be temporary.

Gizmodo’s real editor wrote a post explaining why he had to ban Diaz and displaying a commendable loyalty, but in truth, Jesus has already fired himself.  Any of the commenters on this site would know better.  They wouldn’t put me in such a fix and that’s why I find myself baffled that the owner of a site as widely-read as Gizmodo should find himself so stuck

Categories
Internet

Spam

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Fuck off.