Yoot

Passing the week in an armchair is not as delightful as you may think – particularly if the sitting down portion is interrupted with getting up and being in pain. And very much if all the things you want to do are somewhere else in the town or in the house…and you’re sitting there in that damned armchair.

Well, it’s getting better, and more mobility is coming…but for the time being the iPad and a clip-on keyboard is the only game in town. And I have just discovered YouTube. Don’t laugh – for a Luddite this is a big thing. And it has been a blessing.

I follow scale modelling videos – this week has been a good chance to review airbrushing tutorials from a famous British presenter, and since he is fielding questions from all oer the world regarding this art, many of the things I’ve worried about have been dealt with. I am also encouraged to see that he has made as many mistakes as I have …so far…and has figured out how to recover from them.

Other presenters are prehaps not as professional as Mr. Flory, particularly if English is not their first language, but every so often they will have a gem of an idea and lay it out in front of you modestly. Every day has been profitable in new ideas. And I suspect that this sort of pattern may be repeated in lots of other fields and topics.

One thought, though…the introductory sequences and titles can sometimes be reminiscent of Hollywood Extra Efflux. Perhaps a little lighter on the gunshots and violent animation. At least one doesn’t have to sit through layers and layers of studios, holding companies, and corporate facades before the main feature. And watching at home, the snacks are cheaper.

If you can hobble about well enough to get to the fridge…

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All Side Bars – All The Time

Tell ya what. Make the experiment. Set up a Weblog page.

You don’t need to commit lot of money to do it…I haven’t spent a penny on this column in all the years it has been running. Just grab a free WordPress or Blogger theme, invent a name for it, and away you go. Consult your own mind and conscience as to the topic you’ll cover and try to find something in your picture collection to head it.

Watch as the world beats a pathway to your screen…and then look closely at who makes up that world. You may be astonished to find that you have an audience of people and organisations who are trying to tell you how you are doing it all wrong and who are prepared to correct that for a small price. It’s almost as if they are not interested in you, but in your money. How odd.

You will be presented with complex computer and social media plans that compel you to to write special words to attract attention. I should avoid references to political leaders or discussion of explosives. Some attention you don’t need.

You may work with a platform that scrutinises your grammar and spelling. Do not take it badly if you have a screen full of red and green lines after you have poured your heart out. Take some amusement in the fact that the all-wise circuit will also allow you to pore your hart otternschlag and think it perfect…

You will be spammed. Though if you want a Russian bride or cheap perfume or on-line gambling you may be delighted with the haul in the spam catcher. Again do not be angry as it is only the machines talking to each other – you can dismiss it out of hand.

Your position in the crowd will be no better than anyone else’s based on any of the complex schemes that are presented, but  just occasionally you’ll have the satisfaction of seeing one of your images or one of your thoughts show up on a regular Google search. Craft them so that if they live forever, they are a credit to you.

Bear Baiting For The Faint Of Heart

The trick is to find something to bait other than a bear.

In any intimate social circle of friends there will be people who can be attacked with impunity. We all know a mass murderer or sex offender or someone who wears socks with sandals. They are the legitimate targets of our hate, righteousness, and scorn when we are feeling out of sorts.

We can pillory them to our heart’s content on the internet with no danger of reprisal. But then so can everyone else, and that means that we just blend in with the braying crowd – no-one will know how virtuous and cool we are. Easy targets get no gongs, as they say in the Air Force. They may get more than their fair share of 1000 pounders, but that is no consolation when we want personal publicity. We need worthy enemies that can be vanquished easily while the light is good and the cameras are rolling.

Trouble is,  worthy enemies – again to use the Air Force analogy – are armed with flak and fighters, and are not easy targets. If you get a whipping while you are trying to do that to someone else you are not going to benefit. So what we need are targets that appear tough but are made of rubber or straw.

In the social scene these can be found amongst the rich and entitled or poor and defenseless – provided they are far enough above or below our own social standing as to render us invisible. If we can be mean from behind a double-blind of false identity it is even better. This may be the real benefit of identity theft.

Of course things can change in time. The Nigerian scammer of last decade may well become the new government of this one. Likewise the politician we all vie to hate may be proven right. We must make some provision to retract our statements, or at least to retract our signature on the libels. For this purpose we advocate the good old disappearing ink beloved of spy novels.

The safest way of all – at least on WordPress or Blogger – is to include free-form poetry or advice on how to make money from home in each post. What is never read cannot be sheeted home to you in court…

 

 

Oh, It’s A Lie…

A lie, I tell you. A damned lie.  I mean the advertising line that some particular product, service, or workshop make digital easy. Nothing makes digital easy…and if anything slightly eases the burden, you can be sure that someone will spot it and quash the improvement.

The closest to making things easy is the Apple business. Your iMac or Macbook is probably nearest to a seamless experience that you’re ever going to get…provided you are prepared to play it entirely the Apple way. You’ll need to surrender yourself to somewhat of a mom-and-pop spinster schoolteacher level of tech, but if you can do what you want to do in those boundaries, you can do it without having to panic.

Okay. I lied. You’ll have to panic a few times a year as the Apple people update something or someone else in the electronic kingdom tries to usurp power, but you can have confidence that Apple has more lawyers, geeks, and possibly assassins than the rebels, and it will all end soon.

I’m not proud – I am prepared to be mom-and-pop. I’ve been pop for about 40 years and it is a fine thing. And if Apple can make the engine start every morning and get the computer out of the garage and onto the road, I’m prepared to pay for it. I do not need to be cutting edge – in fact cutting edges are anathema to me as I take aspirin.

But what I DO want is the other players in the game to stop indulging in electronic dick fights and let simple things that work continue to exist as those simple things. I’ve yet to get the WordPress/Facebook link to start up again properly and it is proving frustrating.

And I digitally frustrate easily…

Thank You For Concern

Wood afternoon. Is here Raskolnikov.

Ah, I have virus computer? You Microsoft Technical Department? You fix? Good. DO NOW.

No, I not the only person of computer. Many people of computer all over world.

Hello? Hello? Where go Microsoft Technical Department? Hello?

” Are You The Owner Of The Computer? “

Are any of us really owners of the computer? Or are just lessees? Worse, are we servants of it, rather than owners?

I am drawn to this reflection by a pleasant young lady with a sub-continental accent who seems to ring every few days from a windows technical department. I’m not sure which window company she represents – we had ours done some 35 years ago by Westral and they’ve held up very well. Only had one pane has broken and that was fixed promptly.

I suppose she wants to make sure that I can receive advertisements for their blinds and curtains. I was polite and told her that the owner of the computer was unavailable – she was equally polite and wished me a good night. I look forward to her next call, which I’m sure will be at dinner time again…

Please Verify Your Password

I used to be terrified of Soviet bombers appearing over the northern horizon. They would be  bringing death and destruction to all I knew. Then times changed and they wouldn’t. It was a relief but by then I had built up a good reserve of anxiety and needed a release for it.

I’ve found it. Now I can be terrified of someone asking me for my password.

And everyone does. From the bank to the computer shop to the makers of everything that I own and everything I do – they all want a password. I’ve been tempted to give them all the same one, but this is apparently a bad thing. If I did they could all get access to my data and…wait a minute…they all have access to my data right now…for all I know they could be sitting in the cyber equivalent of a dark tavern and plotting to over throw my regime. Just as well I don’t have one…

An older person forgets. It is a fact of life. An older person forgets. Frequently they repeat themselves. An older person forgets. I gotta pee…

No, seriously, the profusion of personal passwords is a curse. I can see the utility of it with a bank account – and I DO remember mine. But I also see the folly of having one password for the on-line enquiries and a separate one for the over-the-counter dealings. When you combine this with words for computer programs that you may need to reset, it makes for a nightmare. Many of us oldies actually delete the apps and avoid the sort of contact that requires a password. Things are missed out altogether as just too much flaming trouble to do.

Answer? One password. The bad idea mentioned before. I have one in mind that can stay in my mind and be unique to me in all the minds of the world. I plan to change the rag-tag of all the other passwords to it, and then use it exclusively. The only other word I’ll keep is the one that locks my bank account – it too is unique in all the world.