Priorities: A Snapshot


As much as people complain about the media, it is occasionally worth attending the self-inflicted wounds. To wit, Huffington Post readers:

"Trending" sidebar widget noting popular articles at the Huffington Post, 17 March 2017.• “Pro Wrestler Comes Out As Bisexual After Video With Boyfriend Hits The Web”

• “7 Signs Of A Nervous Breakdown”

• “7 Reasons Your Pee Smells Weird”

• “‘Girls’ Is Now Officially Unwatchable”

• “These Will Be The Best Places To Live In America In 2100 A.D.”

So, yeah. Trending. According to HuffPo’s metrics, this is what people are reading and promoting.

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Image note: “Trending” sidebar widget noting popular articles at the Huffington Post, 17 March 2017.

Dangerous Reflections in the Witching Hour


Should I note the internet makes far easier than it ought—nearly inevitable, when you take a moment to think about it, which either is or isn’t troublingα—to encounter a rather striking fusion of fast cars, allegedly glamorous women, and “Cigány Himnusz”, it might seem reasonable to wonder in turn how many people might ever find the idea of such a troika significant in any context.

Or perhaps that is naïve; I am an American, so the proper question is whether anyone has a clue what the question means.

Damn. Wrong punch line.

Er … ah … oh, right: Perhaps I am naïve; being American, I’m probably making far too big a deal out of it simply in noticing.

There would also seem to be a certain shade of irony present, but it’s almost scary. Or not. It’s probably an Americanism.

Never mind. Try it an action movie voice-over: Fast cars. Faster women. Cigány Himnusz. Oh. That’s right: Don’t.

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α No, really, there is fair debate about expectation and inevitability in the context of infinite or merely vastly overwhelming potential, i.e., compared to the Universe itself.

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’s True, I Really Don’t Get It


Certain little software issues arise along the way, and it’s true, I just don’t understand why. Like one day, caption data starts disappearing from the image files I’m making with GIMP. I finally figured out the problem by reading a fifteen year-old bug report on exif data that was allegedly resolved way back when. And now it’s apparently not a bug; this is the way it goes now. But it was strange, because the problem showed up only occasionally, at first, and then one day just was. And there was no ongoing update. It was squar’ in’tween updates.

Did my update notifier just break my system? I don’t think so, but it is also true there was an update waiting when I checked. (It’s a joke about my particular Linux flavor and spice: If stuff starts acting weird and slowing down, check the update manager; once it has an update to give you, it really wants to take care of the thing, but for whatever reason the only way it lets you know is by slowing everything down.) It is true I like to blame APIs in the age of HTML 5; as a blogger, it seems everything started going to hell around the same time every website got their new bells and whistles and all the end users got out of it was a bunch of lousy pop-ups, drop-downs, and overlays.

But this is really quite simple: I have not been hallucinating my find & replace method for the last five years. Longer? Hell, I don’t remember. But you cannot convince me I have been dreaming this bit where I can highlight text, hit a key combination, and have my text replace interface waiting to replace the highlighted text.

I was actually ahead of schedule when Gedit broke. It’s just a lot of stuff to highlight and replace by hand. So much for the schedule; I should probably get back to replacing.

But, yeah. The moral of the story: Never set goals.

No, really, I was going to finish all of a few minutes early, and now I’m over a couple hours behind and pretty much finished for the night.

Because I somehow managed to break Gedit.

Honestly: How the fuck do you break Gedit?

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.

Question Time


With many thanks to Sean, a friend who pointed out this particular iteration of the morbid spectacle otherwise known as ¡Jesus’ fucking tits! Westboro Baptist Church―see Anna Merlan’s report for Jezebel about the latest Westboro wannabe Christianishesque clodhopping―a certain question arises, a reiteration that occasionally demands address:The Gumbys.

• Is it wrong that I only pay attention to WBC at all anymore because they’re like a comedy troupe performing a Christian version of The Aristocrats? I mean, it’s true: It was cruel of kids in my junior high to encourage the overweight, developmentally impaired kid to do stupid and humiliating things just so people could have a laugh. The Westboro heritage is similar; there is a tinge of guilt about paying attention to anything they do, as if we’re denigrating them just by watching.

Filters


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.

“Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

Matthew 6.1-8 (RSV)

Prayer is certainly something to do if you cannot or will not do anything more useful.One starts to wonder what God’s spam filter looks like. In the age of social media, the great testament to humanity seems to be a flood of cat videos and calls to prayer.

One could simply sever ties with their friends who are religious, but that seems stupid to the point of bigotry, and, besides, it will do nothing about the cat videos.

No, really, do you realize cat videos are a cartoon joke? As with hikikomori, the shut-ins, anime jokes about the Japanese obsession with cats are a societal critique, as gentle a prod as possible to remind that something is amiss.

In these United States, we are starting to adopt the cat obsession, and while the idea of becoming a shut-in because one owned only one pair of trousers that fell out the window one day while drying so he decided to just never leave the house again might seem obscure―and probably makes much more sense to the Japanese―what, exactly, would the joke look like if it was about Americans and prayer?

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