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…

Advertisements

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.

Do You Have A Receipt For That? The Backstabbers Guild Of Australia Holiday Special

A receipt? Well, no, I don’t. It was given to me as a gift. I’m not even sure I have the wrapping paper or the scotch tape and the card any more. It was given five years ago and there’s been a lot of council bin days since then…

And there is an interesting legal question – many of the possessions we own have been given to us by friends and relations on various occasions – but few of them have been given to us with any paperwork beyond a gift tag. Larger items that we have bought ourselves may indeed be recorded in a paper or electronic trail – store receipt, registration for guarantee, credit card entry, etc. These can be tied to us on a definite date, provided the paper bits have not faded or the company records destroyed. But nothing at all for a gift. And therein lies one of the best opportunities for the Backstabber.

a. Buy something digital and pay for it with a traceable record. Register it with the overseas maker via the internet and remove the registration papers. Do not touch it.

b. Give it to a friend or acquaintance in plain gift wrap. You can choose a festive occasion or any private date.

c. Wait. Eventually the item will fail and the user will attempt to reset it. With no password and no original registration. Learn their mobile phone number and block it from your phone.

d. If you are impatient for fun, put the item on the back seat of your car, smash the window, and then take it to your friend’s house. On the way home call in at the police station and report a burglary. Generally your insurance will pay for the window and then it is only a matter of time…

Fools At My Fingertips

I used to have to go out to get my folly. The pub, the club, the workplace. It involved putting on clean clothes and making sure I had a handkerchief. This routine meant I was presentable, but the daily run of life involved a lot of travelling – it was hard on the car.

Now that I’m retired I need not spend petrol or patience in the rush hours and I can keep the same gooey handkerchief until it cannot be refolded…but the disadvantage is that I do not see people. So I miss out on my share of the follies of mankind.

Thank goodness for the internet fake news, and Facebook. ( Oops, I may have stuttered there, listing Facebook and fake news as separate items. In all conscience, I do believe them to be the same thing. ) By subscribing to the Zukerberg Broadcasting Corporation’s view of the world I can have a screen full of nonsense any time of the day or night. Much of it implicates my friends, and all of it is food for very little thought. It is the sort of entertainment that suggests the need for an S-bend in the internet router.

Oddly enough, the other sites I visit on the internet are not like this – I patronise cartoonists, photography sites, car forums, and YouTube videos that have to do with scale model building. Some of this material is crudely done, but none of it is untrue. Very little of it is bigoted or puerile. And I am not required to befriend anyone to benefit from it – or risk their wrath if I turn away.

I have made a little list for myself of people on my Facebook friends list for whom I would mourn if they were run down by a Swiss Post bus in the mountains. It is not all the people on my friends page by any means and every so often another name is pencilled out. I am not de-friending any more, but I have paid $ 869 to install an ALTP* filter in the incoming line. It seems value for money.

*  Avoid Like The Plague

 

 

Throwing Up On Facebook

I have friends who throw up on Facebook. It is possible that they also throw up on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram – users of social media often have multiple receptacles available to them. This is a great convenience – they might not be at home or near a work computer when something overcomes them.

Of course, no one has ever solved the age-old mystery of where the tomatoes and sweet corn come from ( I didn’t eat either of those – I only had 14 pints of ale…) but that is rarely a problem on social media. The really peculiar thing is where people get the stuff they do ” share “…

Oh, wait. I may have given you the wrong impression. I wasn’t talking about emesis. I was talking about the racist, nationalist, sexist, and political material that is posted daily. The half thought half-thought-through that nevertheless  appears repeatedly. Talk about things coming up again…

I’d normally just step round the stuff if it was on the footpath in front of the kebab shop. As it is I can make it go away with two clicks of the computer mouse…and I am starting to realise that I can do that a lot these days. Suggested posts that are thinly veilled information fishing exercises are one thing that go out immediately. I know nothing and tell less.

Then the Trump posts. None of the people I know  who throw up anti-Trump memes have any connection to the United States, to the Presidency, or to Mr. Trump. Their shared memes and snarky comments are irrelevant. Gone.

Then the vagaries. I am bad at guessing games and worse when the games are psychological. I cannot imagine what some of the posters are on about – the only clear message that comes through is that there is no clear message. I can get that by turning the radio dial a quarter inch to the left off-station.

I do pause at cats and dogs. They can stay, as can hot rod cars and panda bears. I do also study semi-official posts that ask me to look out for a missing person – though I do wish that when a person is found that someone will also notify us of that.

And I am a sucker for domino races or improbable collections of mechanical operations that eventually turn on a popcorn maker. The engineering students with nothing to do for three days are always good for a laugh.