Posts in: Quote

The Lost Cause

Brexit and the “Lost Cause”

Jonty Bloom:

I have been watching a programme on Abe Lincoln and the American Civil War and what is quite amazing is the role that the Southern press played in whipping up fear, loathing, hatred, racism and eventually treason.

Speechs were misreported, attacks on politicians encouraged, lies spewed out and racial tensions were stirred in an attempt to increase circulation, bulwark white power and protect slavery at any cost.

Now look at the Northern Ireland Protocol and the stories about it, remind you of anything?

I wasn’t surprised when this reappeared in the news cycle after last week’s local elections. But I hadn’t drawn the parallel that Jonty has. Not a comforting prospect, because as he notes at the end of his post:

Like the South they will be lying, again. Like the Lost Cause in America it will poison the well of political debate for decades to come.


Wherein Not All Apple Productivity Apps Are Equal...

MacSparky: Why Apple’s Productivity Apps Should be Separated from macOS

What is the basis for this seemingly arbitrary distinction between Pages and Reminders? They are both productivity apps that Apple’s customers rely upon daily. One has a dedicated team of developers and regular updates, and the other seems to have neither. Whatever the original reason was for giving Pages a team and making Reminders part of the operating system, I suspect few people are left at Apple that remember when or why. It feels something more akin to institutional momentum that keeps some apps trapped in the operating system while letting others escape it. Despite being a company that has so often freed itself from various forms of lock-in, it baffles me why Apple still shackles some of its most important applications to the operating system update cycle, but even after many years, it continues to be the case.

Alas, like Sparky, I doubt this will happen any time soon. But it would definitely improve the productivity of a lot of people.


Not So Much a Second Life, More a Very Short Half-Life

I was pointed to this Slashgear article, Google’s Failed Second Life Clone That Died In Less Than A Year, via Discord:

Long before the metaverse, there were online 3D chatrooms pulling traffic in the millions. Just look at the online game Second Life, which today boasts 64.7 million players, or IMVU with its 7 million users to date. In 2008, when these online worlds were in their heyday, Google decided it wanted to take a stab at something similar. The company designed a concept that allowed users to create their own avatars and rooms in which people could chat. This was extremely similar to Second Life, but there were some differences that made Google’s creation, called Lively, unique in its own right.

Despite those differences, Lively’s audience was decidedly small, and not even a year later, Google decided its resources would be better spent elsewhere. When the company shut down Lively the same year it was released, it had only 10,000 active users (via Computerworld), which seemingly didn’t meet Google’s expectations. Since the platform’s lifespan was so short, Lively is now merely a piece of internet history that few know about, but its story provides a glimpse into the internet culture of the late 2000s. 

The fact that it didn’t support Google’s then-brand-new Chrome browser speaks volumes about how poorly thought-out this project was from the get-go. I’ll confess, I don’t think I even heard of Lively until now. And it makes me wonder if Zuckerberg’s Metaverse if going to be a repeat of the Lively story, only with more money thrown down the toilet.


The Tragedy of Boris

Jonty Bloom, ‘What could have been…':

Meanwhile the PM of the UK, is boasting of being ahead of the world and leading the way. Utter tosh of course but what do you expect?

He could have been leading Europe by now, if he had picked that other article.

He could have been somebody.

For those who don’t get the reference, Boris Johnson is claimed to have written two newspaper articles back in 2016 at the start of the EU Referendum campaign, one in favour of Remain, the other supporting Leave. Johnson went with the Leave article, in the process breaking ranks with David Cameron (then Prime Minister) and becoming a leading light in the Leave campaign.

The rest is history, or rather it’s the present reality here in the UK, no matter how Johnson and the Conservative Party try to spin it.

If comedy is tragedy plus timing, then we are in a tragedy because we are led by a comic with very bad timing indeed, not to mention poor judgement and focus.

There’s a bitter irony in Jonty’s final sentence. Imagine if Boris Johnson has spearheaded Remain instead? Despite his shortcomings, he has the knack for getting people behind him. He could be using those talents to lead the way on climate change, global taxation, building a better EU and more.

But he chose short-term political advancement over long-term opportunity. And we are all suffering the consequences of that choice.


The Unedited Web

But so much of what we read online now is a first draft. Or less, in the case of the reply someone tosses off in a corporate-owned social media commons. So much is short fragments with little nuance, and little time spent trying to find the right words for precisely conveying your message. So much is just… good enough, I guess, but never really good, or great. And comments on anything at all controversial are so often a seething pit of terrible stuff that would have been edited to hell and back before showing up in a letter column, if ever.

— Egypt Urnash, On Edits


The Quantified Soul

James A. Reeves, Broken Scales:

If I have a soul, what are its measurements and boundaries? I close my eyes and try to imagine it. Perhaps this is a fool’s errand, a pointless exercise in metaphysical speculation. Then again, there’s the 21st-century joke—or horror—that our search histories might be the most accurate portrait of our souls.

All the little gestures and routines that define me—listening to music, walking, running, meditation, writing, reading, sleep, even breathing—can now be quantified via a weirdly persistent army of devices and apps that want to tell me how fast, how long, how far, how often, and how many people.

While I wasn’t paying attention, my life became gamified into metrics and streaks. But turning myself into a scoreboard has led to blinkered thinking: a binary view in which every activity becomes about the accretion of data, not the mystery and mess of life itself. Maybe we’re not meant to know so much about ourselves.

Satan would be deeply envious of the soul-harvesting and corrupting prowess of social media companies.

Related: Siri may phone home with Ask Siri disabled


“Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible
because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.”

Cicero

You Can Do Whatever You Need To Get You Through These Tough Times

Listen to me when we say you can’t do exactly what you want. You can’t go against advice as show your entitlement by protesting closures. But you can do whatever you need to get you through these tough times.

Some will try and put you down and say you need to be productive, learn new skills, or downright dictate what you should wear. But you need to know it’s ok to show your opinions and it’s totally ok to do as you wish as long as you come out strong. If there are possible to take away I am confident that people will come out of this better, tougher and more focused than ever to do things that are good for you and the people around you.

Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself. Look after everyone you can. Listen to advice and take it on board. Most of all though wash you dam hands and stay home.

Greg Morris, Do Whatever You Need To Get Through This