Notes on Interface


[#antisocialmedia]

View of NTT Docomo tower from Shinjuku Gyoen, 26 March 2017. (Detail of photo by bd)

Okay, so, here’s the thing:

▸ The software feature that you want me to use requires that I select a photo.

▸ There are hundreds of photos in the uploaded library.

▸ Therefore, I am only allowed to see twelve photos at a time, in reverse chronological order.

▸ If the photo I would use happens to be, oh, way the hell down the list, that I must simply keep clicking and clicking in order to ask you to please show me more of my photos, that I might eventually select one to use for the software feature you really, really seem to want me to use, since, you know, you won’t shut up about it, I’m probably not going to bother, and would you please, then, shut up about it?

↳ Because your interface really, really sucks. The most obvious question in the world is why you would refuse to simply open the entire album. These pathways are deliberate; you do not accidentally design such an inefficient method, as the extraneity is by definition extraneous unless, of course, it is not actually extraneity. That is to say, there must necessarily be something you get out of it, but it would seem really, really obscure. (Hint for the gallery: To wonder why a publicly traded company would show off its incompetence or inefficiency is to look at it wrongly; the idea of efficiency on which such an outlook depends is consumer oriented. The wasted clicks make some other point.)

Anyway, yeah. It’s pretty stupid. Just sayin’.

____________________

Image note: NTT Docomo tower, from Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo, 26 March 2017. (Photo by bd)

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Ptomaine or (sigh) Not Ptomaine


[#justchecking]

Detail of frame from "Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor", episode 9, 'They Met One Day, Unexpectedly ...'. L-R, Kiko Kayanuma, July, and Suou Pavlichenko discuss the profitability of a cat café versus more mundane work as a book editor, and Mao (lower right) hides in Suou's satchel.

There is something I need to understand:

(1) Open can of cat food, remove small amount, serve to cat.

(2) Place can of cat food under hot water dispenser, fill empty space with hot water.

(3) Seal container inside plastic bag.

(4) Put cat food in refrigerator.

Okay, now: Why?

Are you actually trying to, like, kill the cat? I mean, you know. Just checking.

Priorities and Practicality


Detail of 'Relativity' by M.C. Escher, 1953.

Paula M. Fitzgibbons explains:

It’s possible my daughter’s condition is unavoidable—that she was born with a fear of death imprinted on her genes. There is plenty of precedent in my family, with an unbroken line of anxiety-ridden women stretching back to my great-great grandmother, who made a harrowing journey from Ireland to the United States. Researchers do believe there’s a genetic component to anxiety, but for a time, I believed my daughter was additionally cursed by epigenetics, or the idea that our experiences can write themselves into our children’s DNA. I’ve since abandoned the idea—the science of epigenetics is still sketchy, and I don’t have the time or mental energy to devote to an unproven concept when our problem is more immediate. My daughter’s anxiety is interrupting her daily life and nightly sleep.”

It seems almost petty to point out, but given the stakes I think it very important to acknowledge we witness, in this passage, the temptation of pseudoscience, and the practical gravity drawing one away from such shiny and dangerous notions. While the epigenetics of fear are, indeed, mind-boggling, the point is that virtually nothing about the concept is sound, yet. Or, as Lisa Simpson once said, “You don’t control the birds. You will, someday, but not now.” That mice verge on the Lamarckian when conditioned in a context of mortal fear and the torture to inspire it is a far cry from what’s going on with human beings; and while it’s true I haven’t followed this question so closely over the last few years, it’s also one of those subjects we would have heard something about if someone achieved any sort of definitive answer about anything. There are myriad reasons to be tempted by epigenetics in these aspects, but behavioral epigenetics does not at this time a sound science make.

____________________

Fitzgibbons, Paula M. “Watching My Daughter Develop the Same Anxiety I Struggle With”. The Cut. 12 September 2017.

¿Who You Gonna Call?


In recent days, two television adverts, one for an insurance company and another for home security services, have drawn my attention for alleged customer testimonial that skipped over first responders. No, really:

• Crime, therefore call insurance company before callng police.

• Fire, therefore call home security company, who in turn called fire department for you.

In truth, I have no idea how to feel about this. And, you know, there was also something else that flitted by in those spots, but, honestly, the implications of spinning narrative would be entirely on my own conscience, and it’s not a pleasing prospect; even worse would be noticing something we are expected to notice—you know, a feature, not a bug. Never mind. It is enough to simply wonder at skipping out on first responders.

Remember, This Is #WhatTheyVotedFor


#resist

#PutiTrump: Protest image of Vladimir Putin, artist unknown. Donald Trump in detail of photo by Mark Peterson/Redux for msnbc, 2016.

Republicans go to Hell, now:

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

(Washington Post)

Simply put: I am a child of the Cold War; the idea that a Republican would sell out the nation to the KGB will take some … ah … effort. Sixty-two million nine hundred eighty-four thousand eight hundred twenty-five might not have been a raw majority, but it was enough to elect a president who would sell out the nation to the Russians.

I know: Republicans. This is #WhatTheyVotedFor. Who’d’a’thunk?

____________________

Miller, Greg and Greg Jaffe. “Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador”. The Washington Post. 15 May 2017.

Memorandum to Tim Cook and Apple, Inc.


MEMORANDUM

To: Tim Cook, CEO, Apple Inc.

re: Creating Windows Users

Hi, Tim, I hope the day is treating you well. I just needed a moment for a brief setup and question.

I’m a Linux user. The main reason for this came about for a circumstantial nexus by which I loathe Microsoft Windows but cannot afford much for Apple gear. An iPhone, sure. A Mac? No, not really. And it’s also true that since abandoning the Macintosh Way, Apple has been reducing the value of its desktop computers as marketplace tools, which is one way of saying that I can’t afford to buy the desktop that doesn’t feel one generation too slow.

My point being that a cheap PC and Linux are my best option.

Still, I’m just back from a couple weeks abroad and this time around I traveled as lightly as I could on this point. Then again, only owning one laptop at present, I didn’t feel like carrying the thing overseas.

To the other, a friend recently decided an inexpensive Nextbook device she had was not sufficient for her work purposes and picked up a Lenovo Yoga. She gave the Nextbook to my mother, actually, but the point is that there is now an up-to-date Windows device in my proximity.

And I have several hundred photos to transfer from my iPhone.

Do you understand the implication, Mr. Cook? I’m sorry; that’s patronizing: Of course you recognize the implication.

Continue reading

Flaccidware (v.1)


Something happened to software while I’ve been away. See, for instance, I don’t use Microsoft. I loathe Windows because whatever it is you think you’re doing, that is second priority to Microsoft, at best; it’s probably more accurate to say whatever you intend to do, wherever you intend to go today, Microsoft wishes to disrupt you along the way.

I actually had to ask where Notepad was. Then again, I don’t feel too stupid, since apparently a lot of people asked. The Microsoft support response was written in Second-Language English; we can tell how much Redmond cares.

Then again, Windows might be the great failure, but it is hardly alone. Turns out the malfunctioning whatever the hell that was mounted on the seat in front of me on the flight to Japan was Linux, which is unfortunate since it takes effort to fuck up like that, but I should also remember to avoid the hell out of software when my friends tell me how much I need it. To wit, I still don’t get what is so cool about Gogo. It’s terrible software that served me exactly none on the flight. Indeed, it was worse than nothing because I foolishly forgot myself for a moment and apparently expected it to work.

Still, I haven’t used Microsoft much in recent years, and figured the fact that it is actually painful to look at was just a result of the users I happened to know. No, no … it’s Windows. This OS looks like shit. It’s slow. Its first purpose seems to be advertising and promotion. I actually wonder if anyone in software is capable of writing a program that does what it is supposed to do. And then some days I remember of course they can, since all any software is intended to accomplish these days is advertising and revenue collection.

And this godawful “Nextbook” thing I’m trying to use? It forgets itself, can’t wake up properly, and is pretty much a disaster. Its two upsides are that I didn’t buy it, and I won’t be obliged by circumstance to use it.