Tuesday 3 May 2022

Technophobia 11

Have I Got News for You
makes Twitter look ridiculous by showcasing some absurd tweets out of context. Ian Hislop and Paul Merton are both tech hold-outs. Many still assume that controversies played out on Twitter can be ignored because Twitter isn't the real world. Are we back to "Facebook friends aren't real friends because they're just noughts and ones"? (May 2022)

I'm still telling people how to create a thread by replying to their own tweets, and how to quit the annoying "Home" view: go to top, click on the star, select Latest Tweets.

Quote tweet the first message in a thread with the word "thread" – don’t retweet each message of the thread. If you do that we’ll have to read the thread backwards, like in the early days. 

After 24 hours of nonsense and abuse on this platform [Twitter] I realised I could change my settings (again) and limit the comments. (@RuthSmeeth Perhaps the HoC could write a short guide for MPs?)

In Allison Bailey’s Tribunal (she's suing Stonewall and her employers), a huge “bundle” of documents is provided online. The pagination is out of sync and the info is hard to navigate. @tribunaltweets points out that online pages can be bookmarked in your browser. (2 May 2022)

Bailey alleges that Stonewall was in breach of the Equality Act 2010. She is claiming victimisation discrimination on the grounds of sex and/or sexual orientation against Garden Court, and that Stonewall instructed, caused or induced that unlawful conduct. (Wikipedia)

Dame Penelope Keith, 82, has been ousted as president of the Actors’ Benevolent Fund. “The dreaded Zoom was a great problem. I loathed it. With Zoom meetings, the people who talk and talk and talk will talk and talk and talk. The people you really want to hear won’t have their say. You can’t catch their eye and raise a finger and say what do you think. That was the time the divisions started in the council. It just got worse and worse. I put a lot of this down to Zoom.

Yes, but I didn’t inhale: "I give lectures on Zoom but I don’t record them."

A colleague was once called out for a broken screen. It had gone dark and moving the mouse brought it back to life. (@GilERS24)

I had a long conversation on Twitter with someone who started off with “In the old days if your computer died you lost all your work”. Me: There were external hard disks, or you could back up on floppy disks. Her: You didn’t get much on a floppy and it was too much of a faff. Me: You had a box full of floppy disks with all your backups, and backing up took a few minutes. Now she’s saying “I guess that you don’t have ADHD.” Classic “Why don’t you... Yes, but...”

It's 2021 and some people still don't realise that software is customisable

Removing work email was a game changer. I also removed all notifications from my phone, period. The only time I am alerted to a text, personal email, social media alert or anything is if I actually go into the app. It’s done wonders for my mental health. (@drtiffanyc1 You can turn off most beeps, and you don't have to have email or Facebook on your phone. I don't have email on my phone because I can't work out how to install it... And even if I install it, it won't bring my calendar with it, because reasons.)

We're on a worldwide computer network that allows us to reach most of the world at will and delivers to us close to all the knowledge and information and writing and imagery ever made, all for free, so naturally the main thing that occurs to people is to complain about it. (Gary Farber)

I suggested to a doctor friend that she could search her hard disk for lost files. She replied: “Yes, there’s a search facility in Windows 11 but why would I need to?” Thank heavens for Macs and Spotlight. No wonder people keep ALL their working files on their desktop. 

People say “I don’t do X because I don't know how” as if it was impossible to find out. Never “I don’t know how to do that – would you tell me?”

Nadine Dorries thinks the internet is about ten years old. It’s more like 40 years old. (Users tend to think technology sprang into being the year they discovered it.)

It’s 2022 and political debate is being carried on through stickers. They’re anonymous, they can’t be censored – though Gwent Police tried.

When digital TV came in people watched with the wrong aspect ratio so that everybody on the screen looked short and fat. When colour TV came in football pitches were emerald and everybody’s face bright pink. If you kindly tried to adjust the picture you’d get the usual shriek: Don’t touch it! Don’t touch it! It’s fine as it is! You’ll only make it worse! I like it like that!

It’s Jan 2022 and academics are excitedly telling each other that you can search for paragraph breaks with ^p. I should have told them about Advanced Find and Replace. It’s accessible via the Edit menu, or you can change your keyboard shortcut (Apple+F or Ctrl+F) to go to Advanced Find and Replace instead of just plain Find.

About 15 years after smartphones arrived, people are still saying self-righteously: “I only use my phone for making phone calls.”

Who remembers “Everyone reading Kindles on the tube is reading p*rn!” Twenty years ago?

Thirty years ago, people worried about the internet and email bringing “information overload”. Didn’t they want people to know stuff?

Now that most people have tried a bit of layout, created a website, put out a parish mag, they are no longer so baffled about how a magazine is assembled. They used to think “freelances” wrote stuff which then magically appeared on a page, next to an appropriate picture, on a newsstand. But 30, 40 years ago people were very incurious about what their friends did at work – they were even incurious about what their colleagues got up to. It was even possible to work at a magazine and not know or care how it was put together. A colleague still thought the publication would be printed by hot metal in a basement when we were producing camera-ready artwork on a daisy-wheel printer. It didn’t help that the printers were fiercely protective of their craft and didn’t like visitors. They took huge advantage, went on strike and – as anyone could have predicted – were replaced by computers, practically overnight. Oh, and there were no female printers.

In Facebook, open Notifications. Click on Unread. Click on three grey dots, and mark all as read. And it took me years to work out what that bell icon was for.

More here, and links to the rest.

Sunday 1 May 2022

Loopy Logic: Conclusion Several Hops from Premise

It's all Ian's fault

Second-guessing, third-guessing: if we do this, this will happen, and then that will happen and that will be bad because... Includes accusing others of holding terrible opinions an ocean away from their original statement. 

is evil because Stalin.
Nietzsche caused Trump. (Or was it “postmodernism”?)
Is anti-vaccinism Jean-François Lyotard’s fault? (He was a postmodernist.)

The new left caused the rise of fascist youth.
Ian Hislop (or “the liberal elite”) caused ultra-right-winger Katie Hopkins, according to Katie Hopkins.
Luther caused the Holocaust.
Obama caused ISIS.
Jeremy Corbyn caused Brexit.

Medicare is socialism and socialism is bad because Pol Pot.
Atheism is bad because Pol Pot.

Edward Heath is innocent because witch hunt.
We're afraid of terrorists, so let's – whinge about women's clothes!

The nuclear family/permissive society caused all the evils in the world today. (Not heard so much these days.)

Conservative MP Nick Fletcher says Doctor Who being played by a woman has pushed young men into crime. (@AdamBienkov)

Why do you object to people saying "Can I get a latte?" America's political and cultural hegemony concerns me. (@writetjw)

And if you criticise our anti-Semitic misognyist terrorist-fetishising bullying cult, you clearly hate starving children. (@MatzoBalling. Also anyone who objects to racism “hates their own country”.)

You are criticising this headmaster who won’t let children leave the room to throw up because: You think children ought to be told they are miserable. You want to demonise teachers.

Making cycling helmets compulsory causes obesity because fewer people cycle. More people now die of obesity-related conditions than died because they didn’t wear a cycling helmet. 

Let’s pedestrianise Oxford Street because it’ll encourage people to use cars less and then they’ll walk instead and lose weight and not be obese and be a drain on the NHS which is paid for by my taxes. (Nobody has driven down Oxford Street for about 40 years - private cars are banned.)

What do we want? We want everyone to be good. How we gonna get it? Get them to believe in God. How we gonna do that? Attack a 19th century biologist.

The accusers of Lord Janner are attention-seeking fantasists because the Salem witch trials and Sir Thomas More. (And it’s OK for me to prejudge the accusers because people have prejudged Lord Janner.)

And “I doubt Janner’s alleged victims’ memory because I hate to see the usual lynch mob on the march.” 

I left the protest because I saw a banner about “toxic masculinity”. It’s divisive. Much of the left seems out of touch with the working class and things like this are only going to widen that divide. (JP, paraphrase)

Without care, sabotaging Brexit will only lead to a surge in support for the nasty right. And if you add to that the possibility of Rees Mogg becoming Prime Minister you end up with something quite scary. (JP)

Blaming substances and inanimate objects for human failings is what created the police state we are all now suffering under. (@Maggie_McNeill)

Those being vicious about people in North London drinking champagne feel threatened by groups caring for other groups. They want everyone to vote for themselves or their own group, because otherwise groups might band together and defeat them. They don’t want people acting out of compassion – they call this “tribalism”. For the same reason they hate anyone to mourn for “someone they don’t know”.

We must give girls confidence by selling them fewer pink toys and princess dolls and then they’ll grow up to be scientists. (Many weird reactions to problems are due to those in charge thinking the solution to everything is “raise self-esteem”. You have a troublesome employee who slacks off and turns up late and takes advantage? Give him more responsibility! It'll raise his self-esteem!)

I say that in my childhood adults were obsessed with our ability to catch or hit a ball. Men reply: So you’d stop people watching Wimbledon? (Paraphrase.) 

You can always branch to a different, unrelated problem:
 Philosopher Mary Warnock says "Let’s worry about the quality of life of those who are allowed to live, instead of worrying about abortion". (Whataboutery.)

Most people are going broke because of prices of energy, food and petrol. There is a climate crisis. There are major wars. But a small minority of right wing culture war feminists who most earn over £50,000 are obsessed by this issue. Just because they want Tories in power. (@Christo28802370. He's referring to protests about men in women's sport, changing rooms, toilets etc. £50,000 pa? In my dreams!)

We want people to treat the environment better, so let's make them look at the stars so that they’ll feel a bit less important. (It’s like building a Heath Robinson machine to butter a slice of toast.)

More here, and links to the rest.

Buzz Words: 2022 to April

Brisket is the lamb shank of 2021.

Post-Christmas, there’s an outbreak on Facebook of denigrating the Express and its snow panic tendency. “I remember when they promised blizzards for 30 days! Nary a show shower!” ad infinitum ad nauseam. (It has been an unusually mild winter.)

Some people celebrate Christmas by spewing anti-Semitic abuse.

Dec 31 Jan Moir in the Daily Mail says “the youngest victim in the Epstein/Maxwell scandal was 14... When she was 15, Greta Thunberg began the school strikes and public speeches which made her an internationally recognised climate activist.” Therefore, she continues, 14-year-olds are adults...

Is pickling now “fermenting”?

On Twitter, people are accusing JK Rowling of taking After Eights and leaving the paper sleeves. (She has written several articles claiming that biological sex is real, with the concomitant backlash – including rape and death threats.)

This kind of thing is popular: The less people know, the more stubbornly they know it. (@zardor13 Jan 8 2022)

The man chipping bits off the BBC’s Eric Gill sculpture was “just attention-seeking” of course, and we should “separate the art from the man”. Cliché bingo.

Empty supermarket shelves are not a problem – you just need to know how to cook! Find a substitute!

Bullying red-haired people is one of the last socially accepted forms of discrimination, the head of a human-rights charity has claimed. Chrissy Meleady, chief executive of Equalities and Human Rights UK, said that while discrimination against redheads occurred worldwide, it remains “particularly acute” in the UK. She insisted it was not “harmless banter”. The Week (The law is patchy and lacks an over-arching principle.)

Nobody bothers cleaning up or obliterating graffiti any more. There’s just too much of it. People have come to like it and think it’s colourful. Which is sad for those of us who like plain grey concrete.

Flat-roof pubs are a thing late Jan – sometimes flat-roof murder pubs.

Apparently in the era of working from home, fake job interviewees are becoming a thing – you hire someone to interview for you.

How long will the police continue to misuse the “rotten apple” metaphor? As anyone who’s kept apples in a loft knows, one mouldy apple rots all the others.

“Young people want to have a civil rights fight of their own”. Hadley Freeman claims gender ideology is a "great way" for younger women to tell off their mums. (unherd.com)

Creative use of Leonardo da bloody Vinci: What, and I cannot stress this enough, have I just read? (It's called tmesis.)

addled (chatroom-addled)

Accusing your opponents of “pearl-clutching” is a clincher, apparently. 

pelotons (Originally a group of cyclists on electric bikes “pacing” a competitive cyclist, now a tablet you fix to your static bike that plays videos of cheerleaders who yell “You’ve got this!”)

invasivore (They cook American crayfish with Japanese knotweed) and climavores... well, what do they eat? Quinoa from Essex?

Weird take on climate change: We shouldn’t do anything about it because it’ll be good for humanity to die out.

Intersectionality” means “feminism includes transwomen”. It also means "I am a member of this oppressed group and this one and this one so I have more marginalisation points than you". (They may have a point.)

horizontal hostility: Members of progressive movements fall out with each other (probably over indetectable theological differences). The closer a minority group is towards the mainstream, the more likely it is to have hostility directed towards it by the more ‘distinctive’ or extreme groups that are similar to it. (Ian Leslie, substack)

polycule: a group of people who are connected through romantic relationships (Members of a polycule are not necessarily all in a relationship with each other, but they may be. Members of the same polycule who are not in relationship with each other are called metamours. Workscounselingcenter.com) 

When I cried they told me I was being manipulative.

Queer” is the new gluten intolerance. (Jo Bartosch)

Oh, no, manufacturers are trying to sell low-rise trousers to a whole new generation.

Is Putin saying he just wants to protect the Ukrainians or did I dream it? (2022-02-21)

Astroturfing and foxes in charge of henhouses are popular – or attempts to right wrongs neutered and sold back to the public as the real thing. Inquiries and Commissions are headed by people who don’t believe that women/black people are disadvantaged. This ploy includes subtly changing all terminology. See Dickens' Circumlocution Office. The vitamins we destroy in the canning, we restore in Revito; the roughage we remove from Peabody’s Piper Parritch we make up into a package and market as Bunbury’s Breakfast Bran. (Dorothy L. Sayers, Murder Must Advertise)

Russia invades Ukraine. People use “compass” to mean “moral compass”, as in “Putin has lost his compass.” How does he know where to send the tanks? (2022-02-24)

Dimwitted libertarians are still calling masks “muzzles” as if they were the first to think of it and it’s terribly clever.

Lots of moans about “weather panic” as successive storms are predicted. Storms kill 16 in Europe and trees fall like ninepins. Will the moaners apologise and admit they were wrong? Will they moan as bitterly next time bad weather is predicted?

2022-02-24 Sirens “ring out” over Kyiv. Tanks are going to “trundle” into the cities pretty soon, aren’t they? Yes, they have. 2022-03-01. 

Russian tanks trundle into Eastern Ukraine. (@SirSeaside)

The next excuse (when Russian tanks trundle across the Ukrainian border) will be that they’re ‘just getting their ball back’. (@Everbleaky)

Here is a thought about this Russian column trundling to Kiev. (@roscoforindy) 

The problem here is that people don't seem to be able to comprehend what war actually, physically consists of - imagine the Russian (or any other tanks) were trundling down their street... (@trevorshapiro1)

When did “subtitles” become “closed captions”?

Upsides to Covid: Daytime TV presenters and participants can't be touchy-feely and invade each other's space. I hope this lasts.

Feel like my head is full of bees.

Priti Patel did not say that Ukrainian refugees could come here if they were willing to pick fruit – it was a tweet from a Tory MP.

Lots of “restored my faith in humanity”. (2022-03-06)

Some men and boys grew their hair during lockdown and haven’t had it cut.

Price of fuel going up – look out for “stockpiling” and “panic buying”.

What doesbad faith” mean? Insincerity? "You're arguing in bad faith" seems to mean "You're disagreeing with me" – as usual. Perhaps it means what we used to call a "hidden agenda".

Broodmare is popular week of March 14.

Anything you don’t like politically is a “stain”. Prince William says slavery “stains history”, week of 2022-03-24.

Oh good grief, what has Putin to do with JK Rowling? Shouldn’t we concentrate on Russian funding of the Brexit campaign, and Trump?

Can we make Ukraine about Israel? Of course we can! We can make Ukraine about Israel, Terfs and JK Rowling! Tada!

It was my first taste of people treating me like a thought leader in the relationship space. (Relationship guru Matthew Fray gives us a sample of his work.)

Oh no, people are thinking up nonbinary alternatives to boyfriend and girlfriend. Datemate and joyfriend are two of the least ghastly. Thought we’d got over that in the 70s and 80s with Significant Other and POSSLQ (person of the opposite sex sharing living quarters).

When did toe pads become “beans”?

Everyone is piously outraged that Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars. Rock had made a “joke” about Jada Pinkett Smith losing her hair. This is a country where the police shoot black people on sight, and neo-Nazis run over left-wing protesters. Oh, and many people own repeating rifles and occasionally go out and mow down large numbers of people. The Oscars ceremony traditionally hires a comedian who will insult everybody. What is all that about? Americans, please explain.

What if, and hear me out, ... (something controversial). 

Legal fiction quite popular week of 2022-04-03.

Photo opportunity” now means “have yourself photographed next to someone wearing inaccurate Victorian police uniform outside the Sherlock Holmes Museum that isn’t even in Baker Street”.

The world has moved on” is this week’s all-purpose excuse. Particularly for Partygate. 2022-04-04

Some reviews of new films just list the pop culture references. They said pop would eat itself. 

It seems like the nonsensical phrase "born in the wrong body" has been replaced by "be who they truly are". (@NeurolawGuy)

Someone on Twitter defined asexual as “not interested in intimacy, romantic gestures or commitment”, and we’ve all met him before. Didn't we call him a "toxic bachelor"?

A childless man on FB has just used the words “full social acceptance” (denied to the childless). To say the word is to assent to the concept. 

I am on a Facebook group about surviving energy poverty where people share tips like ‘leave a bowl of water in the sun with a black bin liner on top and it will be warm enough to wash up in later’.  (@FelicityHannah) Reminds me of 70s suggestions that you make your own tumblers out of old wine bottles. The method involved a red-hot poker, some cooking oil and hours – weeks – spent filing the sharp edges by hand. If they could afford wine, why couldn’t they afford tumblers? Perhaps it's time to revive the old hippy approach to getting stuff for free. The Alternative Society always was the Parasitic Society. Everything contains its opposite.

Twitter has moved on from “this hellsite” and is now “this bird app”, as it if was the Site that Cannot Be Named.

Mneeeee... nah.

Did the government really say it would be legal for drivers of driverless cars to watch films en route? Am I dreaming again?

2022-04-23 Some anti-vaxxers are now supporting Putin. Because the US, which imposed masks and vaccines, is the real tyrant. Lefties are also supporting Putin because NATO, and the US again. 

Queen’s Platinum Jubilee coming up – brace yourselves for a wave of competitive indifference.

On ebay, “vintage” and “Art Deco” mean “made yesterday”.

More here, and links to the rest.