Groovy Mysteries and the Price of Tea at Arcturus


Why do people so desperately need mysteries?

Still, that is not the right question; one can easily see the potential for offense, but there is also a threshold at which it does not matter because someone, somewhere, will be offended by the merest whiff that their humanity is somehow imperfect. But if the comparative question arises that the gas bill is considerably less this year than it was last, and what we really want to know is why, how is it that the most obvious factors—weather and temperature, devices used, and unit cost, just for starters—must necessarily remain mysterious?

There comes a point at which one is frustrated at the lack of actual information about a chart and carefully-devised statistics that hide one particular bit of data: How much does the gas cost per measured salable unit? If we are paying X per Y volume, apparently both X and Y must remain mysterious as we discuss why the gas bill is lower this year than the same period last.

Wait, wait, wait: Must? Who says, “must”?

Either the gas company or the consumer; it is unclear which. Because in the moment when one exclaims, “Why is the one thing we don’t get, here, the cost per unit?” of course the answer is going to be, “I don’t know, it’s probably in all the other pages.” That is, the pages not simply thrown in the recycle bin without reading, but also determinedly torn up for security purposes.

The question remains: What is the proper question? That much, to be certain, remains mysterious.

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How Stupid | #trumpstupid


#trumpstupid | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Detail of 'Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal' by Zach Weiner, 12 June 2015.

There comes a point at which it seems the most straightforward explanation seems, quite simply, that Donald Trump does not understand how much trouble he cannot get out of.

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Image note: Detail of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal by Zach Weiner, 12 June 2015.

Life, the Universe, and Coffee


#yesreally | (#sigh)

To what degree is it significant that today is when a perfectly obvious fact finally occurred to me: My coffee pot is right-handed.

I mean, yeah, to the one, duh.

To the other, though: Really?

I wonder how much they saved by not putting numbers on the other side.

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’.

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

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.

Death & Habit


Durarara!!

The death of the click, as such, sounds dramatic:

For the past 10 years, we’ve operated on the premise that the most important digital metric is the click that refers a person to a website. That click usually comes from a social distribution channel, like Facebook or Twitter, or a search engine, like Google or Bing. But according to industry experts, the click referral is becoming an idea of the past, soon to be replaced by content exposure.

It would behoove us to pay attention. To the one, it is already happening. To the other … er … ah … well, yeah, there is, in fact, a point to wondering what the big deal is. But that’s the thing. As the Axios report explains:

Clicks look like a high-performing tactic, but a lot of work is done to get you to type something into a search bar to begin with,” AdRoll President Adam Berke tells Axios. Marketers are starting to attribute marketing success towards content exposure that drives you to click something, instead of the click itself. Two key formats increase content exposure: video and passive scrolling. Google and Facebook are investing heavily in products that embody these formats: YouTube and Instagram.

The bottom line is that your daily habit isn’t going to change for evolving necessity; rather, how you interact with the world will become more and more bound to theses of behavioral economics applied within a marketing context intended to backfill its justification post hoc―that is to say, your behavior will change to suit someone else’s business model.

And, yeah, that might sound a bit dramatic, but most people probably won’t notice, except to grumble a bit, like they did with Apple and … I don’t know, that dating app.

Meanwhile, for the business community the definition of success becomes even hazier. Good enough for government work, is better redefined as, Good enough for the tech sector. Then again, the definition of government work might well be unsettled for the momemt, as well, so … you know.

Whatever.

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Fischer, Sara. “The death of the click”. Axios. 20 February 2017.

It Almost Seems Deliberate


MEMORANDUM

To: YouTube

re: Really? I thought this part was obvious

So … you know that little thing you have where we click for the option to say we don’t want you promoting this or that kind of video? Why does it not work? No, really, when I tell you to not show me this, don’t turn around and promote the same damn video again.