Sunday 29 October 2023

When Wilt Thou Save the People?

When wilt Thou save the people?

O God of mercy, when?

Not kings and lords, but nations,

Not thrones and crowns, but men!

Flowers of Thy heart, O God, are they;

Let them not pass, like weeds, away;

Their heritage a sunless day:

O God, save the people!

Shall crime bring crime forever,

Strength aiding still the strong?

Is it Thy will, O Father,

That man shall toil for wrong?

No, say Thy mountains; No, Thy skies;

Man’s clouded sun shall brightly rise,

And songs ascend, instead of sighs:

O God, save the people!

When wilt Thou save the people?

O God of mercy, when?

The people, Lord, the people,

Not thrones and crowns, but men!

God save the people; Thine they are,

Thy children, as Thine angels fair:

From vice, oppression, and despair,

O God, save the people!

Ebenezer Elliott

It's quoted in Jesus Christ Superstar, and is just about singable to Jerusalem the Golden.

Sunday 22 October 2023

Inspirational Quotes 106: Instructions

A boy scout should be acceptable at a dinner dance and invaluable in a shipwreck. (Robert Baden-Powell)

A journey may take you backwards, downhill, or round and round in circles. (The Dalai Lama) 

Any decisions you make will follow you like a shadow. (@TheRoyalButler)

Asking someone how you can help them could change their life. (Chloe Bellerby)

At some point stuff's going to happen to you whether you like it or not and sometimes sitting tight is the preferred solution. (LW)

Basic problem-solving on work and relationship issues may make a difference. (The Guardian)

Be firmer than you were the first time. (Dear Prudie,

Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, surrounded by assholes. (via Wicca Teachings)

Cut out the polite hints and be politely clear. (Danny Lavery)

Decide on an action plan for the New Year, not just a two-week resolution but an outcome with small achievable steps to get you there. 

Do financially struggling people just lack a positive attitude? Are their kids hungry because they don't have a "can-do" spirit? Would a bit of optimism create local jobs? (Femi Oluwole)

Do the sums – if it's not worth it, don’t start. (@secularbloke) 

Don't make permanent or long-term decisions based on temporary emotions. Think it through. (Suzanne Fernandes) 

Don’t walk away without giving it the “old college try”. (Uncle Ezra, Cornell University’s agony uncle who sadly ceased advising in 2012)

Eat chocolate and keep smiling. (Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother)

Never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie, and never miss an opportunity to go to the lavatory. (Queen Elizabeth I)

Even if you're on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. (Will Rogers) 

Everybody thinks they are above average. We can’t all be. (Magician Derren Brown) 

Everybody thinks they belong in the group ten years below them. (Katharine Whitehorn, paraphrase)

Focus on doing rather than caring. (Penelope Trunk)

Good things come to those who wait. But better things come to those who work for it. (@ShulemStern)

I don’t have to stand here and listen to this! (Pigpen from Peanuts)

I don’t want to accept the things I can’t change – I want to change the things I can’t accept. (Angela Davis) 

I found using a higher, softer voice got me more tips as a barista. (@vibills)

I haven’t changed at all, except in appearance. (Dita von Teese)

I want what I want when I want it. (Marilyn Monroe)

I was trapped, but I had no idea I was trapped. (Prince Harry)

I've been rich, and I’ve been poor, and believe me – rich is better. (Mae West/Texas Guinan/Bessie Smith)

Ideals are replaced by conventional goals at a certain age. (Jenny Holzer)

If you can't believe it's happening, pretend it's a movie. (Andy Warhol)

If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working and learning things. (Terry Pratchett)

Instead of waiting for life to get better, do something about it. (Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul II)

It doesn’t matter how hard you work if you’re working on the wrong things. (Dan Rockwell)

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan. (Eleanor Roosevelt)

It took me years and years to understand how people promote themselves, not just in this business, but in life. (Actress Gina McKee) 

It’s better to move somewhere new than will yourself to be more creative. (Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi)

Life was much easier as George. (George Osborne, who changed his name from “Gideon”)

Maybe today you look at all of the things you are doing and you ask which of those things aren't working. Which things are you not enjoying, and not even doing particularly well? Maybe shut that department down. (TO)

Maybe you’re not depressed – maybe you had a horrible life. (Jordan Peterson, paraphrase)

Most of us feel deep relief when we are told where to go, where to sit and whose instructions to listen to. (D. Mortimer)

Moving on is not necessarily moving up. (Agony aunt Mariella Frostrup) 

Much of what governs our behaviour is the situation in which we find ourselves. (Financial Times)

Never retreat, never explain, never apologize – get the thing done and let them howl.  (Nellie McClung)

Never stay at an event just because you paid for it. (Mark Hogan)

No amount of smiling at a flight of stairs has ever made it turn into a ramp. (Stella Young)

Nobody ever wanted to BE that woman – the strong feminist with a career who didn’t need anybody because she was so politically pure. (Caitlin Moran) 

Only one thing stands between you and your dreams. Feasibility. (India Borden-Wuornos) 

Pray as if everything depended on God, act as if everything depended on us. (The Bishop of Salisbury)

Self-help gurus never make money by advising people to be realistic. (David Aaronovitch)

Sometimes you have to push the reset button and start over. (@6london)

Stand up for what you believe, even if it’s unpopular. (Anna Vital)

Stand up, not by. (Politician Jeremy Corbyn)

Take a job – any job. Structure, regular contact with regular people, and contributing to a larger group all help. (Penelope Trunk)

The Bohemian life was not for me. (Journalist P.J. O’Rourke)

The Charge of the Light Brigade is the ultimate critique of relying on positive thinking. (David Aaronovitch, Times, 2019)

The longer your commute, the lonelier you will be. (New Yorker)

The secret is preparation. (Broadcaster Bill Turnbull) 

The transition from shy to assertive needs to be treated like you are playing a part. (

There is no problem so big or so terrifying that it can’t be run away from. (Charlie Brown)

Try changing a flat tyre by the power of prayer. (@toolegs)

Tweet people how you wish to be tweeted. (@imajsaclaimant)

Useful advice is better than inspiring stories of people riding up Everest on a unicycle. (@MarkOneinFour)

We need others to think well of us. (Time magazine) 

What if your as-yet-unfulfilled life plans didn’t need more will, just skills? (Oliver Burkeman) 

When all else fails, kick over the table and run. (Raymond Chandler)

When arguing with a man, throw in a little modesty and confusion. (Jane Gaskell)

Wildness can be over-rated in an artist. It’s better to be reliable and nice to get on with. (Grayson Perry)

Words of comfort and advice are rarely sufficient; it is the practical help that is so often desperately needed. (Rabbi Jackie Tabick)

You sometimes need to begin all over again: with no history, in a new place and with new colleagues. (Agony uncle Jeremy Bullmore)

You would be surprised how seldom it occurs to people that their problems are not their fault. (Tom Waters)‏

Your greatest weapon may be a display of indifference. (Agony aunt Mariella Frostrup)

More here, and links to the rest.

Saturday 21 October 2023

Inspirational Quotes 105

You know those useless platitudes that people hand out as advice? Here are some that might actually help.

"Be yourself" is always the worst advice in life. (Sathnam Sanghera)
Be yourself, but try to please as much as possible. (Edith Head)

An inevitable part of being a catch is one’s physical appearance. (The Times, 2022)

Bullies get worse as time goes on. (@TheRoyalButler)

Every generation thinks the new one is much more careless, less thrifty. (Moira Redmond

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. (Aldous Huxley)

Fairness is an imperfectly attainable goal for which any decent society should aim. (IG)

Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. (Monisha Rajesh)

Good things come to those who grab them when they can. (Peter Coville)

He sat down and cleared his mind and tried to live in the present moment, to see what it would feel like. It couldn’t be done. (Enchantment, Monica Dickens)

I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. (Michelle Obama) 

I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept. (Angela Davis)

I am proud to be maladjusted. (Martin Luther King)

I can’t believe it comes as a shock to you, but evidence suggests that life is not fair. (Patrick McDonnell)

I dream of never being called resilient again in my life. (Zandashé L’Orelia Brown)

If life’s a joke, make it a good one. (Comedian Kenneth Williams)

It is easy to be yourself when you are part of the status quo – everyone else better learn to fake it. (

It's amazing how many things "aren't difficult" when you have no idea what you're talking about. (Julian Sanchez)  

Life can’t be solved by admirable maxims from modern literature. (Agatha Christie)

Life is cruel, but unjust. (Film maker Akki Kaurismaki)

Life is not Hollywood, life is Cricklewood. (Writer Alan Coren)

Life itself is uncertain but think how tedious it would be if it wasn’t. (Patrick McDonnell)

Looking different makes a difference. (Sarah Karloff, daughter of Boris.) 

More about you is universal than not universal. (New York Times, 2015)

Music is that glimpse of the infinite, that ineffable light. (Mark Brown)

My troubles are only scratches on the great periphery of cosmology. (Kenneth Williams)

Nothing dates faster than visions of the future. (Katharine Whitehorn)

Older women become invisible – people become quite indiscreet because they think we don’t count. (Novelist Jane Stevenson)

One day we will look back on all this, laugh nervously and change the subject. (Writer John O’Farrell)

One study showed that “social pain” activated the same circuits of the brain as physical pain. (Paul Randolph)

People don’t mean “Don’t copy others” in the absolute. They mean “Don’t copy Kev and Tracey down the road”. (Malcolm Bacchus) 

People generally need three things in life. A mentor. A scapegoat. And someone to hate. (Jeremy O’Grady, probably)

People more often conform to type than deviate from it. (Mystery writer Ngaio Marsh)

People want to be exceptional, unique – even if they don't want to stand out too much. (CS)

Prayer is wider than people often think, and includes the use of caring thoughts and imagination, even if you don’t believe you can address them to God. (The Rev David Grieve)

Reality has a liberal bias. (Professor Brian Cox)

Reality is a cold hard b*tch. (@MsCCFox)

Realizing that life does not contain infinite possibilities and choices is always an ego-bruiser. (Agony relative Danny Lavery)

Religion is full of poetry and magic. (David Baddiel)

Resistance is not futile. (Patrick McDonnell)

Resistance to bad things is not produced by being subjected to the badness one is supposed to resist. (RT)

Rhubarb and custard is a dish best eaten cold. (Jo Brand)

Rudeness is often permissible and sometimes mandatory. (Aaron Haspel)

Science is a method, not a body of facts. (Psychologist Chris French)

Self-help is cold comfort for life’s losers. (Zippy the Pinhead)

Some maintain... that we are happy when we are broken on the wheel, or fall into terrible misfortunes, provided that we are good. Whether they mean to or not, these people are talking nonsense. (Aristotle)

Some people never emotionally graduate from high school. (Reddit)

Some prospects will say "no." A career in sales is not for the weak. (Wendy Weiss)

Sometimes therapy is simply denial with more words. (

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can do damage that lasts a lifetime. (@DadRogd) 

Symbolic gesture is not effective action. (Simone de Beauvoir)

Take an audit under three headings: plus, minus and interesting. (Eric Berne)

The culture we live in sets expectations, which get manifested through TV, advertising, film, radio, books. (Nick Dunlavy)

The emperor has clothes – you better believe it. (Jules Feiffer)

The inner voice is a basic feature of the human mind. (Ethan Kross)

The invisible people must be seen, and the silent people must be heard. (Sally Magnusson)

The only people who get upset about you setting boundaries are those who were benefiting from you having none. (

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. (Gloria Steinem)

The young are obliged to rebel and conform at the same time. (Quentin Crisp)

There are no miracles. (Labi Siffre)

There are so many things one should not try once. (‏@r1z4t)

There comes a moment, when you get lost in the woods, when the woods begin to feel like home. (Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot)

There is no problem so big or so terrifying that it can’t be run away from. (Pigpen in Peanuts)

There is often a distance between theory and practice. (Alex J. Lubet)

There is something to be said for stating the obvious. (Danny Lavery) 

There’s a terrible shortage of comfortable ruts. (Writer Peter Wildeblood)

There’s nothing more irritating than fierce individuality. (Charlie Lyne) 

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. (Andy Warhol)

They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown. (Carl Sagan, paraphrase)

They say money doesn’t make a difference. Of course it makes a difference. (Entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox) 

Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind. (Writer Henry James)

Through Spock, Leonard Nimoy showed us that things like compassion, mercy, dignity, wit and friendship were actually logical. (Ronald D. Moore) 

Tibetan Buddhists do believe in gods. Or archetypes. Or personified abstractions. Or something. (RK)

To feel the supreme and moving beauty of the spectacle to which Nature invites her ephemeral guests! That is what I call prayer. (Claude Debussy) 

To try to do something which is impossible is always a corrupting enterprise. (Philosopher Michael Oakeshott) 

We are the cosmos made conscious and life is the means by which the universe understands itself. (Professor Brian Cox) 

We conform to the majority standard of our social groups while denying this is happening. (The Psychologist)

We construct our identities on the basis of attitudes towards us. (Erving Goffman

We live our lives to other people's expectations. (PMD) 

When you’re tall, you can afford to be quiet. (Rugby player Martin Johnson)

Where Buddhism falls short is where Kung Fu comes in. (@spudkitten)

Women’s magazines push the idea that maturity consists of making the best of what you have. Even if what you have is pretty crummy. It stinks. (Angela Carter)

Work is more fun than fun. (Noel Coward)

You play the cards you get given. (RI)

More here, and links to the rest.

Thursday 19 October 2023

Technophobia 13: I'm Not So Clever

It’s 2022 and I don’t know how to hang up a phone call. How do you get back to the screen with the red phone symbol? (You can tweak a setting so that you can hang up a call by pressing the power button. Done it. But why should I have to?) I had to show a friend how to answer a phone call, and it took me several tries to work it out myself, ringing the mobile from the land line to work out that you press and swipe. Same procedure for turning off the alarm – there is no clue, no indication. And I still manage to hang up the call while fumbling for the phone in my bag. That's after I've heard it, because if it's in the next room the first few rings are too quiet. I don't know how to turn off this "crescendo" features, either.

Oh gosh your phone’s pull-down menu shows the last reason why the thing beeped – you don’t have to flip through email, text, Whatsapp. Only took me ten years to work that out.

The writing on phones is tiny, but you can expand it with your fingers. Crumbs.

I can’t get my Yahoo calendar on my phone – well, apparently I can, but it involves downloading Google calendar app and syncing it with Yahoo... I think. That was when I started to cry.

I’ve only recently worked out how to do several things on the phone at once – you press the home key. I haven’t tried it yet. I was helplessly saying: “How can I send you a picture when I’m talking to you?” They would patiently say: "Switch to speaker..." And then everybody moans about those who use their phones on speaker in public.

I used to wonder why the numbers on my clock radio went dim apparently at random – but always in the darkest hour before dawn when I really need to know the time. Apparently the device has an “auto-dim” feature that can’t be over-ridden. It also has very shallow buttons that are hard to feel in the dark. Anyway, I have to turn the radio on the see the time.

I still sometimes find a map of where I’m going, and print it out. Well, it’s easy to see all at once.

I’ve only just worked out, after using Twitter since its inception, that you don’t have to go to the top to tweet but you can click a large button labelled “Tweet”. Or now “Post”.

I thought people made their own GIFs! I never noticed there was a GIF button on FB. There must be one on Twitter. You just pick one. Well, stap me! Egad!

I don't have to tear interesting paragraphs out of the paper any more, I can snap them. Wow.

Why can't I get a blogger feed on a Facebook page without a degree in computing? They can put a man on the moon... 

More here, and links to the rest.

Technophobia 12

Man in TICKET OFFICE (crossed out and replaced with INFO HUB): OK, one more time: Go home and log on to our website from your computer, create an account and purchase your ticket with your credit or debit card, download the ticket to a smartphone, then come back at the allocated time... Just what part of “easier and more convenient” don’t you get?

I won’t get a Kindle because everything you highlight is immediately visible to the entire world. Translation: There’s an option to share highlights on Facebook.

I won’t join Facebook because it was set up by the CIA to keep tabs on us. (More of a conspiracy theory.)

I don’t want to get a computer because I’m afraid of spam and viruses.
I won’t join Twitter because I don’t want to get trolled by a Nazi.

I don't want any of my information stored in a database because the whole world can see it.
(This was in the days when databases lived on one computer that wasn’t connected to anything and were not much more than a card index. Oddly, many believed in the internet before it had been invented. When it arrived, some wouldn’t buy anything online "because villains might capture my bank details as they wafted through the ether".)

Many think technology sprang into being the moment they discovered it. They don’t want to know its history. They don’t want to think there were years in which their friends knew about this stuff and they didn’t. There was a moment when rather grand people finally got a computer and managed not to see that their friends were ten or even 20 years ahead.

Staffers thought the machines would make their jobs more difficult – not more easy. (And there was a moment when it looked as if we'd never get men to touch a keyboard.) But when they couldn’t avoid computers any more, they treated them with disdain, refusing to learn the terminology so that it was hard to tell them how to do anything. I even think that class came into it – computers were machinery, and somehow beneath people’s notice, like typewriters and sewing machines. Surely they weren’t expected to operate machinery?

Word processors existed in the early 70s, but even by the late 70s most offices didn’t have them. I temped in an office where there was one word processor on a stand. Most of the time it sat idle. Only certain designated people were allowed to touch it. It didn’t even have its own chair! Very occasionally someone would come in and fiddle with it. 

Typing into a computer was known as “inputting” – or to some, “imputing”. I did a couple of WP courses, and worked out that WP jobs paid a lot more than the genteel book publishing roles suitable for a nice young girl that I’d been pursuing. So I got a job in the media and ended up as a journalist.

Them: And what do you do?
Me: I work on a computer magazine.
Them: [with look of utter terror] I'm afraid I know nothing about computers!
Me: Oh, neither do I! I just put in the jokes!
Them: [even more terrified, were that possible] How can you make jokes about computers????

Now we all have a computer in our pocket we've forgotten those days. Back then, a computer boffin told me "Typist? Speech to text will put you out of a job by next year!" Speech to text is only just catching up and it's still not very good. It only took a few decades longer than he foretold. In fact I’d done a different job for years, and retired, before it happened. 

I’m at the “click on everything and see what it does” stage with Bluesky. When computers entered most people’s lives back then, some never reached this stage. And they still haven’t.

You’re doing something on the computer at work (like renaming a file, or moving it onto the desktop) and a colleague is watching. They don’t know what you’re doing, or how to do it, or even that it can be done – but they don’t ask questions. So they don’t find out. (Probably not so common now.)

The hardest people to teach are the ones who think you expect them to know something you haven't told them yet, so they guess wildly. And then they don't listen when you do tell them because they're too busy flapping and bluffing and being defensive. They think that what they know is all there is to know because they can't bear the idea that you might know more than they do. Also they don’t know how to find out anything (look it up, ask somebody – but then they’d have to admit ignorance). “How to find out how to do things” was the first thing holdouts needed to learn. But they didn’t. (Plus “I don’t need to know that”. Or, worse, “Shut up, she doesn’t need to know that”!)

New users were terrified of “losing their formatting”, perhaps because style was mandated by the company, and it had taken them hours to work out how to apply the formatting in the first place – and they didn’t know how to create a template. So makers of WP programmes stuck formatting to text with superglue, making it difficult and complicated to cut and paste and pick up the format of the document you are pasting TOwhich is what you usually want to do.

I’d see people deleting a line letter by letter. They didn’t want to be taught tips that would make their jobs faster and more efficient – they didn't want anybody "typing them out of a job". And then it became possible to send text over the phone from one computer to another – it was the managers who didn’t want to know, initially, mainly because they couldn’t understand the process. And surely there was always someone to retype the text?

Help desks were staffed by one young girl who had had no training and knew precisely nothing. I once rang BT’s comms help desk to ask how to send a file to another user and got the reply “Weeeeeell, you need a modem and comms software...” Perhaps firms had been sold the systems by salesmen who claimed "It's all self-explanatory!".

I once asked a colleague for an updated paragraph, and he made the change in the article and re-sent me the whole thing. Me: I just wanted that one paragraph. Him: I never cut and paste because I did that once and my whole article disappeared and I hadn’t saved it. He was a tech journalist. 

Another colleague wouldn’t search and replace because she’d once wanted to replace back with black and had to go through the entire article looking for “blackwards” and “black to the drawing-board” – or similar. She didn’t know about “whole words only”, or even “undo”. Both about 30 years ago.

“I just want my computer to go back to the way it was!” There’s been an upgrade, it’ll never happen. On the other hand, you can customise the software. You can even customise keyboard shortcuts in Word. (I was the kind of person who found the list of InDesign keyboard shortcuts and learned them.)

A colleague was furious that another co-worker became a bit of a tech whiz, while she refused to learn more than the minimum. Guess who was made redundant when the time came?

I recently sent colleagues a leaflet they'd asked me to write, asking for comments. One man sent it back with changes. I couldn’t see what he’d done and asked him to email suggestions. Did they think they could all change the Word file and send it back and the different versions would somehow merge? (This is possible, I'm told.) Did they think they were amending the master copy remotely? Next time I’ll send a PDF.

I know of someone who has an Instagram account on which she posts one photo a year.

I remember in the early days, a colleague typed a letter himself on the WP, handed it to his boss to sign and the boss wanted to make a change. So he handed the whole letter to his secretary who re-typed the whole thing, not realising they could just change the file.

The mantra of software engineering is always be automating your own job. (@Pavel_Asparagus)

There are two types of tech workers, one type automates everything down to the curtains, and the other has a single fax machine in one tinfoiled room of the house with a shotgun ready if it makes a funny noise. (DW)

My wife hates computers. Why should she learn to use something she has no use for? Except she's quick enough to ask me a question I need to look online for the answer to, for something printing, and the latest one: type out her memories of village events in Silver Jubilee year and email it to the church & parish magazine. (KD)

I am reminded of the time I emailed a friend who lived about half a mile away. She was fairly new to home PCs. She printed off the email, hand-wrote her reply on the bottom of the paper, and got her husband to post it through my letter box. (MG)

Americans tend to see any new technology and ask "Will this take away my position in society?" instead of "How can I use this to make a bunch of money?" (@Noahpinion) 

I didn't bother with Computer lessons during my 'options' c. 1984.  I concluded I'd never need to use one. (@ChiefScrobbler)

Like 5 years ago, a very famous academic paid me $200 (in cash) to download a couple dozen PDFs off of her own course’s moodle page, put them on a flash drive, and mail her the flash drive. This was the best job I ever had. (

Having a work meeting where we're talking about some changes needed to a database and only like two people in the conversation understand what a database is while everyone else is talking about it in terms of the UI in which they view that database is... deeply frustrating. (@dayv)

In my last job I had to assist coworkers ranging from 25-75 years old with basic computer skills like printing to PDF or using Outlook. (

It’s 2022 and my company still employs people who are still doing REPLY ALL to an accidental company-wide emailing 48 hours later.

Anyone else so afraid to lose a version of a story that might be better than what you're about to change it into that you save Version 1, Version 2, Version 3, Version 4, etc. in separate files until your desktop is covered in little terrified versions? (@Thorntonforreal. Turn on "track changes". And put all your files into a folder on your hard disk.)

"Having problems with your computer? Clear your history!" they say, and the trouble is – I don't usually want to clear my history. There's stuff I sometimes need to easily find again. Can't somebody design a web browser with a longer memory? (Says a man on Twitter)

I reply that he should bookmark favourite sites and put them in the toolbar.

That would become really unwieldy very quickly, though. And also, I don't always necessarily know that I want to refer back again. You're right, there's possibly an admin task here I'm not doing, but the History menu is brilliant for searching for old bits of research. 

You can put bookmarks in bookmark folders with different titles.

In truth though, very often I'm reading an article about some obscure Merseybeat group on a tiny website, and I have no idea I'm going to need to return to it six months hence. The History folder is great for that kind of stuff. A simple search just pulls everything up. You can't bookmark everything though, surely?

Yes, you can.

I think that depends on how much of the internet you consume and how much admin you really want to undertake. And if there were an easier way of doing things, I’d welcome it. 

I’ve just told you the easier way of doing things.

An automated process would be lovely. 

I think you need a secretary.

(Another Twitter user told me I was “barbaric” for suggesting he bookmarked sites instead of keeping 100 tabs open permanently.)

What would happen if I just nuked all of my tabs. Has anyone actually done this on purpose, just BAM everything gone, scorched earth? (@gptbrooke)

I don’t mute words either – didn’t even know that was an option! (@ikesharpless. Another Twitter user wails “If only there was some way of muting words you don’t want to see!”. Twitter doesn’t make it easy – the facility is buried in sub-menus.)

It’s September 2023 and I’ve just told someone to reply to her own tweets in order to create a thread.

It’s October 2023, about 17 years after Twitter appeared, and some people are still apologising for being on “this hell-site”. All the Twitter alternatives are selling themselves on exclusivity (hooray!). Don't they mean echo chambers (boo!)?

I read fiction to escape the flatness and dumbness of Twitter, not to swim in it. (Susie Goldsborough,  Times, 2023. I was going to tell her she was following the wrong people – but she doesn't have a Twitter account.)

Delivering your message in 280-character chunks is good for style. Some writers tweet briefly and wittily, and then you read their books: long, wordy, rambling sentences with the clauses in the wrong order. Some despicable villains publish pirated “summaries” of popular non-fiction books on Amazon. Would readers buy a shortened, edited version of a popular science book with bullet points at the ends of chapters? 

To those who say “Social media has only been around for about 15 years and we’re not used to it yet”: Social media has been around since... Bulletin boards mid-70s. Usenet: 1980. Cosy conferencing: 1981. 1983: The Well: 1985. Internet Relay Chat: 1988.

It’s 2021 and you can’t search and replace inch marks with curly quotes in Word. And you can’t use italics or bold in FB or Twitter.

It's 2022 and a friend just went to A&E with a doctor’s letter. He held it up to the window at reception and the receptionist copy typed it into the system

It’s 2023 and there are no standards for social media moderators, there’s no official training, no college, no code of practice, no oversight. Do they learn how to stay within the law? 

It's 2023 and some are still "refusing" to use Facebook, as if someone was forcing them to.

It's 2022 and Zoom doesn't make "show controls permanently" the default. ("You need to mute yourself!" "How?" "Click on the microphone symbol!" "Click on the what?" "Hover over the bottom left of the screen!" "Do what?")

M&S wouldn’t accept credit cards until 2000. And do you remember firms whose website was just a showcase? You could ring a number to order the clothes, but couldn’t buy them through the site, because the company was too refined or something. That changed. But I miss printed catalogues – you could get an overview of fashion trends.

My local (excellent) hair salon doesn't accept card payments.

When they designed the system they "forgot" to include ANY process for "the customer has died". Their bloody computer sent my poor mum 17 letters (all addressed to my dad) about the issue, each one even more insane than the last. (AJB)

I don't want to download the effing Ticketmaster Ticketbastard effing app just to get the effing tickets that cost me an effing fortune. The Ticket[redacted] [redacted]. (@fenlandgent)

More here, and links to the rest.