Tag Archives: Interweb

Don’t you just love democracy in action……

Especially when it’s not the voice of the majority, just the hypersensitive few. Trigger warningTrigger warning: Twatter, Arsebook and other like campaigners are going to be called names in this post. Offended? You will be. So stop reading now. The blog owners take no responsibility for any offence taken. Furthermore, ‘taking offence’ may lead to a complaint to the Police being laid against the offence takers. Remember, just ‘taking’ is theft and therefore wrong, no matter who does it. Very bad. Consider your wrists slapped and my admonishing finger wagged. Don’t do it again.

The hypersensitive have been running around the Interweb in the aftermath of the South Carolina church shooting in their usual aimless fashion, demanding that all objects bearing the American Civil war confederate battle flag of the 1st Army of Virginia are banned. As usual, the big online retailers, mistaking vociferousness for actual support, are now implementing their own ban on all merchandise carrying said image. Why? Because a mentally ill fruitloop murdered a bunch of nice respectable churchgoing folk in church had such a flag in his possession, having shortly before his heinous act espoused ‘white supremacist’ views. Which he had adopted for no readily apparent reason. Probably because he was mentally unstable? No-one close to him spotted this?

As an aside; being mentally out of whack doesn’t say much for any notion of ‘supremacy’ does it? To be supreme, firstly you have to be better. Which is subjective to say the least. People who are ill cannot be supreme, as illness, by its very definition means that someone is below par. Then there must also be someone to have supremacy over, and killing those considered ‘beneath’ any masters is a bit of an own goal, regardless of symbols. Even if they’re far more humane and less unhinged than you, like the murdered churchgoers. When the subgroup you consider yourself to be ‘master’ of is gone, who’s next? The slightly overweight chap wearing glasses who reads ‘too many’ books? People with ginger hair? (I think a certain Prince of the Realm might have something to say about that). Anyone cleverer than the supremacists? Which isn’t that difficult, from what I’ve seen, people who adopt such views aren’t exactly the sharpest tools in the box. I believe the Khmer Rouge tried this idea a while back. Newsflash. It doesn’t work. Sooner or later you run out of ‘others’ to persecute.

What else doesn’t work? Bans. Banning things always has a rebound effect. For example; banning certain music just makes people want to listen to it, just to see what all the fuss is about. Worked for Rock & Roll in the 50’s didn’t it? The bigger the fuss, the larger the rebound. As proof of this principle, sales of the ‘Stars and Bars’ have increased and those who see themselves as part of a loose ‘rebel alliance’ will no doubt already have said emblem prominently on display. As well as watching re-runs of ‘The Dukes of Hazzard‘ and putting Confederate Stars and bars’ back on their models of the ‘General Lee’, from which Warner Brothers are removing them. Banning a symbol which is only loosely connected with the commission of a crime never ends well. I’ll make a bet that sales of the ‘confederate’ flag will slide off eBay, Amazon etc onto Craigslist and Kijiji, to quietly resurface on Amazon and the like when the Twatterati have turned their goldfish level attention spans to something else in three days time. Dukes of Hazzard original memorabilia will shoot up in price because the ban will have automatically created a rarity premium.

Furthermore, those offended by such images are cautioned not to look at the graphic of Confederate battle flags below.
Some battle flags of the Confederate States of America Offended? Really? You can’t say you weren’t warned.

My discerning reader will have noted that at least three Confederate flags bear a striking resemblance to other non-US national symbols. The ‘Navy Jack’ for example looks a lot like the current EU flag. In a poor light, the flag of Polk’s Corps could be mistaken for the Icelandic or Norwegian flags. If I told you the emblem for Hardee’s Corps could easily be mistaken for the flag of the tiny Pacific nation of Palau, I would not be far wrong.

Nevertheless, the people campaigning for such a ban can only be described as brain dead wankers because, as usual, these ladies front bottoms are, as usual, mistaking symbol for deed. Then applying a boneheaded, top-down, one-size-fits-all philosophy. Their crippled intellects have no space for nuance in their reasoning, thus demonstrating an uncanny ability to utilise their rectums simultaneously for both vocal apparatus and cranial storage. Which in an obtuse fashion is quite a feat. A highly stupid demonstration of ventriloquism and contortion, but nonetheless impressive to watch from a safe and hygienic distance. They forget Bans are great for forming a tighter nexus around a rallying point for the people they despise, Polarising otherwise uninvolved communities and turning the unlikeliest people into political allies. The ban the campaigners want would criminalise all sorts of harmless folk, from Civil War re-enactors to collectors of memorabilia and antiques. Pushing them straight into the arms of the real racists. Bang, ow me toes! It really is very sad.

Enough now. I don’t really have a dog in this fight, but it’s just such fun watching idiots dig holes to bury them selves in. If these intellectually challenged campaigners really wanted to ‘end racism’, the easiest way would be, as Morgan Freeman once so elegantly put it, to “Stop talking about it” accept other peoples differences and get on with life.

Update: An interesting article on similar ‘Confederate Outrages’ in the National Post.

Things that go bump in the night

Stuff that goes bump….Wake you up. In my case wide awake and on my feet and swearing before my brain has twitched a single dendrite. It’s a hell of a way to reset the old jet lag. Not that these things scare me, they’re just annoying and bring Spike Milligan‘s little epigram bounding gleefully into my forebrain.

Things that go bump in the night,
Should not really give one a fright,
It’s the hole in each ear that lets in the fear,
That and the absence of light.

Half past five local time, with my body clock not so much ticking as going ecky-ecky-twang-tock-boing-cuckoo there was a godalmighty thump as the wardrobe rail collapsed in the closet. Clothing all over the place and my Fender Strat, still in it’s gig bag, may need tuning. No other damage apart from to my sense of personal equanimity.

First the toilet starts leaking like a aged dog with incontinence, now this. Mrs S has to go see the quack to let him know she’s broken her arm. Polish Landlady peep will be informed (“The apartments attacking us! Make it stop!”) and hopefully problem will get fixed in double jig time. In the meantime we’re short on closet space, and haven’t got much to go on (Old joke alert).

Oh yes, WordPress have been up to their usual tricks, altering the link text editor function so you can no longer put in the text you want to describe a link. Even in plain HTML. WordPress! STOP FIXING THINGS THAT AIN’T BROKE! It’s very irritating.

Next thing you know there’ll be a self censorship function buried in the text editor which will really piss me off. Write anything even vaguely swearwordish, and no doubt a little window will pop up, ‘correcting’ the text and admonishing the blogger for ‘WrongThink’. In which case I’ll be looking for someone to ‘SwearBlog’ at. And I have a line in Anglo Saxon invective that can strip paint. After that, the prissy little mealy mouths will no doubt take this blog offline for being ‘offensive’. God damn their spavined little souls to the depths of Hades. Bloggers are an indirect source of advertising revenue for WordPress. My advice to WordPress is this; do not piss on the fire that heats your home or the traffic that pays your rent will dry up as people switch blog platforms.

For the record; no one in their right mind likes the silly ‘Beep,beep, boop’ post editor. Now I will be digging out my old HTML5 textbooks and writing the code from scratch, like I used to.

Trigger warnings and microaggressions

Trigger warningGood morning. This is a warning, courtesy of the Bill Sticker Institute for pointing and laughing at self destructive hypersensitivity. We have been informed by our lawyers, Lye, Cheetham and Runne that there are persons out there in interwebland whose single purpose in life is to detect things which might offend other people they’ve never met, and wouldn’t talk to even if they did because the offence takers are such delicate ickle bunnies. On the behalf of others, of course. Sorry, we’ve been told that describing people as hypersensitive should have had a ‘trigger warning‘ before it. We apologise for the microaggression that might be construed from this paragraph.

No we don’t. We lied. OMG! We lied! Well spank our nethers and tie us to a bondage bed (Yes please Monique, I’ll turn the other cheek). We’re not apologetic at all. Frankly we didn’t know that you might be offended, and can tell you in all honesty, that we do not care about your mealy mouthed, spineless victimhood. If you can’t take a joke you should stay out of the closet. Or come out of it. Whatever. Nobody of any account really gives a shit anyway about your personal ethnic or sexual sensitivities. Apart from our lawyers, who can smell a mobius twisted buck ten miles upwind in a blizzard.

Frankly, no-one cares if some immature, thin-skinned offence seeker fresh off mommies teats gets their panties in a bunch over what they thought was written that might have infringed upon their ‘rights’. Whatever those are, apart from some invented inanity claimed by emotionally stunted wankstains who had a hard time getting out of their Mother’s womb with someone else doing all the bloody pushing. A wet fart has a better right to existence.

We’re sorry, should we have inserted a warning of some sort before the aforementioned? Really? Christ on a bike, that’s sad to the point of derangement. Only in Academia could such garbage take hold and flourish like some bizarre, pointless, poisonous bloom kept alive for its curiosity value alone.

If anyone is offended and wants to send their lawyers, just try our nearest Bar Tabac in the Rue de Charonne, 11th Arondissement, Paris. Little bit of a rough neighbourhood but we like it. The graffiti’s spelled correctly. If the second hand smoke doesn’t get them first. Or the Pernod fumes. Or getting looked at in a funny way as they enter. Any resultant abuse will be free of charge and multilingual.

/rantmode

Should we have posted a warning or something……..again?

(Merry mocking laughter tinkling somewhere in the distance…)

Interesting stuff about Paris

As I’ve written before, Mrs S and I are going to Paris shortly for a well deserved jollyday where I will be avidly studying the art of Francophone sarcasm and irony as practiced and perfected by French service staff. C’est n’est pas votre dejeuner monsiuer, c’est la merde de ma tante. Et services vous droit pour ne pas apprendre le francais vous rosbif ignorant. So there.

On the topic of things Parisian I’ve recently come across this guy, Tom Scott, an entertaining fellow with his own channel on YouTube. As I will be spending some time in Paris this year, I thought I’d watch and post the following videos, which, quite frankly make a refreshing change from the touristy Rick Steves and Lonely Planet stuff relied upon by so many of our Southern cousins.

On ‘Paris Syndrome

But since I’m not Japanese or Chinese and have spent time (working) in Paris before, I’m not in the ‘at risk’ category.

Or Privacy In France: A Lot Of French People Might Be About To Sue Me

This may end up being a distinct possibility. If they can find me after I’ve gone home………

And ‘Point Zero’ outside Notre Dame.

Which isn’t that far from our apartment. Way cheaper than many hotels and with a little discrimination and early booking can land you in quite the little gem of a place. I may drop by one quiet Sunday morning when most other tourists are still tucked up in their little beddy-byes.

I’ll be posting my own misadventures and observations as time and Interweb connections allow.

Sometimes……..

Those of us who blog are often accused of being “Some guy in their Mom’s basement who lives in their pyjama’s.” by ‘professional journalists’.

Now I wish to make a clear and unequivocal statement to distance myself from this foul calumny. I do not live with my Mother (as followers of this blog know, she passed away last year and I have not lived with my parents for many years). Furthermore, my Mother never had a basement. Garden sheds, yes. Attics, yes. Basements no. Mrs S and I did have one basement in our last UK property, but that subterranean space was used as the laundry room and as an occasional workshop. With the advent of Wi-Fi, I’ve even blogged from the conservatory, and yes, our garden shed when the kids were having a party. Besides, our last house was an old Victorian building and far too damp for electronics. In addition to which is our mutual dislike of dankness, we prefer the sunshine. Yes, I will occasionally concede that I have written partial posts and managed comment threads whilst in my dressing gown and PJ’s, but 99% of the time I am properly attired for the days travails.

However, here’s a challenge; ‘Like’ this post if you’ve ever blogged naked.

No pictures, animated Gifs or video clips in the comments please. This isn’t Tumblr.

Oddities and space

I’ve never understood why certain people feel compelled to approach obviously busy strangers simply to indulge in ‘social’ chatter. Don’t know about the rest of you, but I like my personal space. Especially when working. To totally focus on a task to the exclusion of all else, detesting unnecessary distraction. I’m not totally asocial, I’m just picky, that’s all. Life has taught me that not all conversations are safe. Got something meaningful to say? Unload your soul in the comments (if you must), it’s what they’re there for. I may reply. I may not. Depends how busy I am. Yeah, I’m a party pooper, so don’t invite me, okay?

While the kids were growing up I made allowances, and always tried to respond to their anxieties / questions, hug when needed, and sometimes exercise extra care when getting up in the morning as Youngest had a habit of sneaking into our bedroom and sleeping on the floor next to our bed. Poor lamb, I almost trod on her one morning when I was new to the game of married life and every day was an ‘adventure’. Those were the days, eh, Bill? Clucking bell. Never mind, despite all the humps and bumps, both stepkids have turned out relatively okay, and I love them both dearly, so maybe I got it right. For a given value of ‘right’.

The future of social mediaOtherwise the whole multi tasking thing has rather passed me by, apart from when I’m cooking. It’s probably why I killed off my Farcebook account (twice), and while I do have a Twitter feed and ID, never Tweet. Why? Because they’re both time killers, distractions. Filling up empty lives with fluff and replacing actual thought. Hmm. Now there’s an interesting notion. Maybe social media will eventually evolve into some kind of electronic hive-mind for the ‘connected’, leaving them wide open to manipulation. An unwitting zombie army to be directed onto non participating ‘unbelievers’ or ‘deniers’ who don’t agree with the goals of the manipulators. I’m sure Leg Iron could twist that into one of his excellent scary stories or use the concept to taunt one of his drone co-workers.

As for me. Others might consider my relative standoffishness odd, but I’ll give the whole social chatter thing the go-by. Life is too short, and I have a flight to catch.

Why is there no….

Why can’t I find a ‘Dislike’ button on Facebook? People have dislikes as well as likes, so why the hell not?

The reason behind my question is that Farcebook integration is currently playing merry hell with my London accommodation bookings. To cap it off, mildly panicky phone calls and e-mails to UK based places are not being answered and all I’m getting is cutesy little ‘Our outreach team will soon be with you’ bullcrap from the service provider. So yes, I’m looking for a way to publicly express my displeasure. Big time. I’m being fobbed off and I don’t like it.

I’m not that worried, if everything has fallen over there are plenty of other hotels in London. I have a credit card and money to spare. I’m just pissed off that the guilty parties have had my money since January and probably won’t give it back if our stay has gone sideways. Well chaps, if you want to play it that way, I’ll just hand the mess off to my lawyers (Lye, Cheetham, and Runne) and insurance company while I’m enjoying the pleasures of Paris. The extra fifty bucks I spent on trip cancellation insurance will mean I’ll get my money back, eventually.

My major beef with Farcebook integration is the demand that you share your personal details with them, then share your most intimate online emanations and personal preferences with their advertisers and every spammer and scammer on the planet. What if I don’t want to post my every frigging bowel movement online? No, I’m not giving you my cell number. Our home phone is also ex-directory for a bloody good reason. My spam filter permanently runs red hot as it is. No you can’t have the names and numbers of my friends because I want to keep them. Yes my ‘privacy’ settings are set to ‘friends only’ as if those Farcebook fcukers cared.

So there’s your next big market opportunity Mr Zuckmyarse. Let’s have an opportunity for the cheated and disgruntled to vent their spleen. The ‘Dislike’ button. Hey, it’s only ‘Fair’.

Life before the Interweb

I love gadgets. I own several. One of which, a Samsung ten inch screen tablet S4 is proving its worth with every single advancing day because it has built in GPS, and I don’t have to bother with logging on to every single dodgy Wi-Fi connection every time I use most of the non-Interweb maps. Do I care that ‘the authorities’ can track my every move when I bother to take said item with me? No. I don’t feel the need to cart it around, so whoever wants to figuratively read over my shoulder will know what city I’m in, but that’s it. If I’ve locked it in the Hotel safe they won’t be able to find it at all, as a quarter inch of pressed steel makes a reasonable RF shield. That and the RF shielded carrying bag I keep it in when travelling. Switch it on when I need it, the rest of the time it’s pretty much invisible.

Anyway, that’s beside the point. Yesterday had me thinking. Over the weekend I’ve found myself remembering times past, and how we young ‘uns (as I was then) got by without the instant in-your-face immediacy of modern mobile communications. We had no Windows, Android, Tweets, blogs, Skype, Whatsap, Texting, Sexting, aps, iPhones, mobile phones, or Tablets. Computers and Telephones were far too unwieldy to be mobile, but we did have access to a form of Radio Telephony. If Dad was a high level service or Civil Engineer. Which one of my boyhood friend’s Dad’s was. No-one else we knew was, so it was no use to us. Yet we got by without much fuss. No zombie cannibal gangs dropped by to eat our brains. None of the nightmares conjured up by Hollywood came to play. The Apocalypse was for other people.

Yet we had the three day week. Scheduled power cuts for eight hours at a time in Winter. Strikes that seemed to shut everything down for days. The phone worked, but we kids weren’t allowed to use it. Later on I had my own place, and the joy of getting a phone (or trying to get) put in by British Telecom. BT’s advertising slogan ‘It’s for You-who‘ carried particular irony.

Indeed, the pace of life was slower. Much slower. Treacleishly so. People raised in today’s society would have trouble coping because their brains would be set up wrongly. Their memories are not so well developed. I also remember doing a hell of a lot of walking to see far flung friends. A brisk twenty five minute hike down unlit English B class roads with a national (60mph) speed limit which was more of a guideline than an absolute, to the nearest form of public transport. Which was usually late. Closest shop in the next village. One black and white TV in the house. My Dad liked watching snooker, which is a slightly surreal experience when you have to guess the colours. No remote control (That was me). And only, horror of horrors, three erratic channels! Remember signal ‘ghosting’?

So we kids spent a lot of our time outside. Tramping across ploughed fields. Dawn to dusk. Hunting water rats, pigeons and rabbits with catapults (slingshots) or air rifles. Or just walking, simply because you had bugger all else you could afford to do. Under age sneaking into local pubs and clubs, the closest of which were a fifteen minute shank up and down some quite steep hills and dales. Learning about building our own cars and motorcycles in our mid to late teens, if our parents allowed us the garage space, and the guy with a car was king. Or at least someone to sponge lifts off with up to eight of us crammed into an ageing Ford Corsair with suspect brakes and limited power on a Saturday night. Using side roads which we knew the local coppers rarely patrolled. Come to think of it, the Police didn’t figure much in our lives. And we were invariably unsupervised. Walking and talking. Face to face.

You had hobbies, part time jobs. You experimented. Especially with something dangerous (Particularly the local girls – especially those who rode horses). Travelling for two hours just to go ten pin bowling or to see a movie. Hunting through poorly indexed racks of twelve inch vinyl for your favourite bands latest album. Then the luxury of hours spent reading, standing rapt, almost statue like in front of the paperbacks in W H Smith.

Some would call it ‘idyllic’, even a ‘golden age’, but I disagree. There were long, dare I say interminable periods of boredom, staring listlessly out at traditional English weather (rain, sleet, hail). Rarely getting out to play under heavily cloud punctuated blue or more often totally grey skies. Come to think of it, that’s what the Internet is; like constant sunshine with occasional light refreshing showers. Information to bathe, soak, indolently loll and roll recklessly around in the long grass. A world of knowledge and opportunity at your very fingertips. Book a rail ticket on the other side of the world. Book a restaurant or day trip. Learn a language. Watch a movie. Watch endless ‘banned’ content. Compared to the pre internet days, when all information was closely guarded, hard to find, and only sporadically available via the nearest library (two hours away on foot and by public transport) today is the golden age.

Beep bloody boop bolleaux

I like WordPress, I really do. As a blog platform it works, or should I rather say worked. I know it’s free and the mildly customisable templates are free, the widgets are not as adaptable as other blog platforms, but that’s by the by. I like the anti-spam and IP blocking features which help keep the trolls at bay. All that was needed was to engage one’s intellect a little, and it’s a solid piece of kit. Which in my book is high praise. The only thing that is scrolling my knurd at the moment is the way it’s defaulting to this bloody silly ‘Beep, beep, boop’ post editor.

FFS! Who decided that a lower function, less intuitive, far slower to load post editor was a good idea. I mean, seriously guys. It dumbs down the whole platform and has me wondering aloud if there’s something better than WordPress out there. Blogger was once a decent platform until it became too hidebound, too vulnerable. There’s Tumblr and Pinterest of course, but neither fit my needs as a small time billy no mates of the blogosphere. Ghost might be a good idea, but it’s not really free. The software is, but the hosting isn’t.

There’s a bunch of others which I’ll be investigating over the next week or so. Or WordPress could ditch the ‘beep,boop, bloody beep’ crap and let everyone use the classic interface which loads cleanly and without kitsch. Not that I expect anyone to be listening, but it would be nice if they dropped the cutesy nonsense, which frankly chums, is a bit too girly for my liking.