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Vomitous

2billion

So FaceBook apparently passed two billion users at some point recently. To celebrate, they instructed robots to make a vomitous short film starring nightmarish cartoon figures, creepy music and pictures of me from my various profile pictures. It concludes with a montage of my friends’ profile pictures swirling around me.

Ugh.

I can’t show you it, though. They didn’t actually make one for Stoaty. I guess I don’t log into that account enough. Apologies if you’ve tried to reach me there.

Two billion. What a world.

July 3, 2017 — 10:00 pm
Comments: 8

Yoo-hooo? Hel-looo? Anybody in here?

gab

Gab is calling itself “the free speech alternative to Twitter”. Which (inevitably) means “hotbed of disinfranchised righties”, barring a few obvious trolls. Registration isn’t open; if you click the link, you get yourself in a queue.

When I clicked about a month ago, I was told I was number ninety-six thousand something something in line. I finally got in over the weekend.

Annnnnd…now what? Anybody here? JoanOfArgghh! was the first name I recognized. I went and followed everybody in her list, but it’s still early beta (the service was started in August) and slow going.

Here are some articles on Gab in Breitbart, Digital Trends, BuzzFeed, Libertarian Republic and Heat Street.

If you’ve been avoiding Twitter because it’s a sinkhole of SJW nonsense, sign up for Gab. And then look me up, please.

If you’ve been avoiding Twitter because you think the whole idea is stupid…carry on!

November 2, 2016 — 10:05 pm
Comments: 20

Oh, Japan!

japan

I honestly do not know what I was doing when I found myself in this place today. I only know it scared me. Japan Trend Shop is superficially one of those silly gadget shops, like Brookstone, but being Japanese…somewhat more horrifying.

Like, in the cosmetics section, you can buy horse oil. Which, if you read the description, is clearly made from actual horses (“Son Bahyu also breeds only quality horses, so its creams do not contain oil from former racing horses or other steads that are no longer healthy.”).

You can spend $24 on a cardboard box for your cat to sleep in. An ordinary cardboard box, though I suppose it is “designed to look just like the boxes used to send and transport large bottles of soy sauce in Japan.” So there’s that.

Earplugs in the shape of tiny colorful dachshunds ($42). A plastic vase you can scream into to muffle your angsty cries $52 (reduced from $80). A machine that makes perfectly spherical balls of ice in seconds, $1,281 (I won’t lie, I really want one of these). Cotton Wife and Husband Hug Pillows (“We’ve seen plenty of hug pillows in Japan before but these have the most attractive and, well, huggable designs so far.”). $180.

None of those objects brought me to the site, though. I decided I just couldn’t bear to post a picture of the thing that caught my eye: the Bigan Beauty Face Expander. It’s supposed to be for exercising your cheek muscles. And there are other horrifying-looking beauty apparatuses in that section, but I just. No. No, I don’t believe it.

sock it to me

August 17, 2016 — 8:26 pm
Comments: 13

Two things…

fb

Do you ever get a matched pair of news items cross your threshold; two things that interlock in a horrible way?

This lady was murdered and her murderer (relationship unclear) posted pictures of her body (and his; he cut himself up too) on her FaceBook account.

The snuff pictures stayed up for days, despite the efforts of several family members to have them removed, because some drone on FB couldn’t see how they violated policies. Her sister said, “They told me I could block Jennifer if I didn’t like what she posted and gave me other similar options.” Didn’t like what Jennifer posted. Jennifer is the murdered woman. She’s not posting much at the moment.

Followed shortly by this Breitbart item:

The European Commission has today announced a partnership with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft in order to crack down on what it classes as “illegal hate speech” while “criminaliz[ing]” perpetrators and “promoting independent counter-narratives” that the European Union favours.

The article is worth a read. Bearing in mind that we don’t have good speech protections here and bearing in mind most of Europe was until very recently some flavor of monarchy or dictatorship so they’re pretty comfy with that and bearing in mind the EU is a bunch of corrupt lefty kleptocrats, this is all pretty scary.

What ties the two together is that gatekeepers are stupid. That’s one flaw of cracking down — who decides where the line is? Either the first responders are scripts and bots (hence people in poor old Scunthorpe couldn’t get their mail from AOL servers back in the day), or they’re overworked, poorly-compensated human flunkies with a good amount of autonomy and delusions of adequacy. Either way, mistakes happen. Nothing but mistakes happen. Whole galloping herds of stampeding mistakes will happen.

My personal FaceBook is as pure as the driven snow — nothing but innocuous people I know (not counting that one brother), history and chicken groups — but something as mild as this post in a different context could land me in shit, if the EU gets its way.

sock it to me

May 31, 2016 — 9:30 pm
Comments: 13

Oh.

crocker

Recognize this face? Nay? It’s Chris Crocker, the leave Britney alone guy. Yeah, some people are caressed by the warm terrycloth bathrobe of puberty, and some people get smashed in the face with the puberty brickbat.

The Metro tells me he tried doing porn for a while. You needn’t ask what kind of porn, and you shouldn’t Google it if you don’t want to see free willy.

I have got to stop reading the Metro.

So…how ’bout that Twitter, huh? If you want a good roundup of the current state of play, yesterday’s overnight thread at Ace’s has some links (in the middle of the post). Short version: Twitter goes SJW, bans righty, many righties quit in protest.

I’m a Twitter nonentity. I went back last Sunday and spent a lazy day reminding myself why I never really cottoned to it: it’s like being shouted at simultaneously by dozens of deranged door-to-door salesmen.


sock it to me

February 23, 2016 — 10:06 pm
Comments: 14

Useless me.

tattoo

For some reason, I’m tired and useless tonight. I’ve done nothing but dinner prep (just the prep; Uncle B does wok duty) and browse /r/badtattoos.

Nothing cheers me up quite like stupid people and the bad decisions they make.

Only, I beg to differ on the one in the picture (color here). This is an excellent piece bit of mechanical draftsmanship. I only wish I could read the flow chart.

Join me? Skip Reddit and go right to the Imgur album for /r/badtattos.

Bonus: today is Imgur’s seventh birthday, apparently. If you have an account (at least, I suspect you have to have an account), you get to click on a present icon and are served a Bazooka-bubblegum-worthy lousy stinking rotten joke.


sock it to me

February 22, 2016 — 9:33 pm
Comments: 12

crooked.

crooked

Behold, the Crooked Forest in Poland, where every tree is bent 90° at the base, facing due North. It’s believed to have been bent by the hand of man in the Thirties, possibly to aid boat or furniture building. Which doesn’t explain the due North thing. Photo by Kilian Schönberger.

It’s worth following the link and clicking around some of the other pitchers. I know, I know…it’s all very artsy-fartsy, but there’s some very cool things to look at.

Link via iamfelix, who was pointing me to this picture set she saw at the Hostages. Thanks, felix. I was fresh out of blog juice this evening. Good weekend, everyone!

sock it to me

November 20, 2015 — 11:08 pm
Comments: 9

Number seven will blow your mind

It’s Summer reading season and I’m working my way through my backlog of saved articles. I’ve just finished this interesting story from the New Yorker’s January issue on Emerson Spartz, one of those irritating young new media booboos who are transforming the internet into a eyeball abusing listicle shithole. Things that don’t surprise me:

■ 80% of his company’s time is spent on social media (mostly FaceBook) promoting content, 20% on developing actual content.

■ His content isn’t his content. It’s borrowed from other sites (like mine, I s’pose, but I’m not running a clickfarm).

■ His every fiber yearns for you to hit that button. There is no other purpose to his activity.

He has a staff of elves that actually feed content into his sites. Himself sits all day in front of a screen of analytics. He will publish the same exact story on FaceBook with ten different titles, then watch which title get the most clicks in realtime, then winnow out the losers until he has found the perfect Darwinian clickbait.

Yes, it looks as though he is the creator of my current favorite hate title: X pictures of Y, #Z will blow your mind!

I’m a veteran of these things because I hang out on FaceBook passively stalking old friends and family members, and I love looking at pictures.

You click on the first picture and there’s, like, ten ads all around it. Usually animated. Usually the next button is hidden and several of the ads have right arrow buttons that look like the next button. Next picture, whole new set of ads. I’ve gotten so wadded up about these things I’m currently taking a positive delight in not clicking the bastards.

I’ve got one in front of me now. The obvious next button is actually an ad for M&S Men ‘s Linen Trousers (one above and one below the picture). Marks and Spencer’s. What are they thinking? What the hell kind of customer relationship do you build when you trick people into clicking an ad they didn’t want to click?

One of two possibilities: either the internet is so huge that if one in a hundred of the one in ten people who mistake-click your ad go on to buy your crappy trousers, it’s worth your advertising money, even if you piss off everyone else.

Or this approach to marketing is a big stupid obvious mistake that we will look back on some day and shake our heads.

sock it to me

June 4, 2015 — 10:35 pm
Comments: 14

Puny mortals!

I love this thing. The internet tells me it’s a stone sculpture in Krabi, Thailand. I go to sleep at night listening to a looping MP3 recording of ocean waves and imaging happy little crabs skittering across sandy ocean floors.

But I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about GamerGate.

GamerGate is an unfolding nasty slap-fight between low-status nerdy video game players and high-status hipster smartasses. It should be small and meaningless, but it’s blossomed into something big and ugly…and emblematic.

I’m firmly on Team Nerd, but I haven’t been able to articulate what I think about it — and before I managed to do it, someone at PopeHat did it ever so much better than I could, with links and references and everything. (If you don’t read PopeHat, I recommend that you do. This group blog frequently pisses me off — I’m just sure they take more pokes at my team than they do the other guys — but is nearly always thoughtful and interesting and seldom wasted time).

Clark does a bang-up job relating the current kerfuffle to the larger historical trends, which is the very thing I have been thinking about lately. Larger historical trends, I mean. If you haven’t got time for the whole thing, skip to the bit that’s sub-headed “Our forces have Technograd surrounded are pounding it with shame bombs, and our sappers are inside the walls” (I’d link to it directly, but there isn’t a tag for me to grab onto. That’s nerd talk).

Oh, and see you back here tomorrow, 6pm WBT, Dead Pool Round 70!

sock it to me

October 23, 2014 — 9:06 pm
Comments: 8

That is so effing French

There is a pedestrian bridge in Paris over the Seine near the Louvre called the Pont des Arts. Here, lovers come to write their names on padlocks, clamp them to the bridge railings and fling the key into the river, an expression of undying lurv.

The railings are collapsing. Duh.

This is not an ancient tradition, it is a recent thing, a creation of social media. It’s spread from Paris to Moscow and New York and elsewhither. Different cities are dealing with it in different ways, mostly involving cutting them off.

I just love the idea of Parisian infrastructure collapsing under the weight of empty romantic gestures.

I’ve come to dislike the French since I moved here. It’s not exposure to the English what’s done it, it’s exposure to the French.

sock it to me

June 17, 2014 — 9:15 pm
Comments: 24