Author Archives: christoplummer

Old Data Never Dies… 🤙

 

Ladders Bad Data

Date: September 3, 2017 at 8:00:43 AM EDT
Subject:Notice of Updated Terms of Use & Privacy Policy – September 2017
Reply-To: jobs

Somewhere, somebody is looking at a report about job hunters on “the Ladders”. My personal information there is obsolete. There’s a number in that report that represents my ancient sign up on their site as a participant and job seeker, that is bogus. Because? I am not a participant in “the Ladders”, nor an active member, nor a  job seeker, nor have I been for years.

Don’t they take any responsibility for the “freshness” of their data? Of course! They send out Policy and Terms of Use update notices. Obviously anyone who doesn’t respond is still a valid member, desires to remain on their roles, and agrees to the Policy changes. That’s how everyone expresses agreement right, by silence?

This is not just a “Ladders” issue; it’s another example of the convoluted backward logic and misleading or outright fraudulent data that permeates the Internet. It’s in a company’s interest to have more users, more members, more eyeballs, more job seekers. Those numbers are important—everyone knows they are inflated, don’t they? (THAT’s a rhetorical question. NO, I don’t think “they” do.)

A responsible Internet company will periodically roll-off and clear out that data (making the assumption that true data would be more valuable). Most even have a mechanism in place to do this. How? The former job seeker/member logs in and updates his/her information or maybe even closes the account.

But, relying on the user? Asking someone to clean up an old login they used more than a few years ago? This is worse than getting off a snail-mail catalog subscription, where you can usually call an 800 number! If the user has to login, or send mail from an old or non-existent email address, or go through an annoying and time-consuming password upgrade process? Too much work! It’s not happening.

If companies were serious about truthful data, they would make this process easy. How? Notify the user that the account is about to expire, and the data will be expunged or otherwise no longer considered “active”. No response: assume that the data should be cleared, and clear it!

They’d rather have bigger numbers. True data is good, but to these jokers more data is better. More members even if they are imaginary. The companies want your data, even if it is wrong, and they are getting more obstinate about keeping it.

🤙🏻

— TechWite

(And no, I’m not nuts about this. Maybe someone has a reason not to be online and away for…a few months, or years? So put a mechanism in place to put everything in archive mode first, before it disappears permanantly. These issues are not that difficult.)

 

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Clickbait is Killing the Internet

theattentionmerchants_coverDid that headline get your attention?
Did you click a link to get here? Why? What did you expect to see? Okay, sorry, that title was “clickbait”. I want you to read my blog. I want you to stop whatever you were doing and visit the TechWite site, so I created a sensational title. That was my motivation. What was yours? It’s worth thinking about…


ClickbaitDo we really need to define this? It is what it sounds like: A title, heading, or image designed to DISTRACT the web user from whatever s/he is doing, click a link, and “go” somewhere else.


Clickbait is often about advertising, the end result to get you to BUY something. But it’s also about EYEBALLS, to get you to look at an ad, push up the “readership” of a page, a video, or person, or site. It’s not just in Facebook and gawdawful “news” web sites like nj.com. It’s on LinkedIN.

HINT: If an article has “Steve Jobs” in the title, especially if it’s about “Tim Cook is NOT Steve Jobs” it’s clickbait. If it’s about Apple or some other company being doomed or “beleaguered” it’s clickbait.

Dishonest clickbait is infuriating.
Let’s say just because it sounds interesting, you click on one of those links, “The Five Worst Plastic Surgeries of Playboy Bunnies”. That GRABS your attention. But gosh, now you’re on a page with an article about lawnmowers! Where are the bunnies? Nope, not even the kind with long ears. You’ve been had. And somewhere, somebody gets to claim your click and say their link got you to look at a web page. This is getting so bad that on YouTube you’ll click on a link for one thing, and end up watching a video for something completely different. And before you know it, minutes, maybe hours, have gone by. Where? Can you remember what you watched? Do you know what a “black out” is? I’m inventing a new term today: “the CBO“- Clickbait Black Out. If you’ve experienced this, it’s time to take a look at your digital life.

Think before you click!
Internet people, TechWite—newly committed to spending less time in a browser—is not going to write a long essay about this. Not today. But TechWite will offer you some sage advice: Think before you click. It could save your life, a few minutes at a time. Think before you click. Take a couple of seconds before you take the bait. TRY to remember WHAT you were planning to do today. Be aware. Right here. Right now. And may you go for a walk, outside, in nature.

—TW

Want to know more? These links open in new windows, think before you click!!:

Partly covered as a topic in this book by Tim Wu, “The Attention Merchants“.

Or read or listen about it here:  How Free Web Content Traps People In An Abyss Of Ads And Clickbait : All Tech Considered : NPR

Apple Flashback 2001: SoundJam a Goner

soundjampanelStill Waiting for the music alarm…

October, 2016, iTunes version 12.5.2 released. By most accounts iTunes is still a mess, as Apple tries to clean up the application that has for years devolved into the baffling, unmanageable compost pile of all Apple media. But fifteen years ago, iTunes was a gem, a minimal Apple interface quickly slapped on top of a great third party app called “SoundJam”. But what would be the fate of the real “SoundJam”? The one that had the VU Meter/scope display, karaoke mode, and other cool features that iTunes lacked?

“Sound Jam 2.5.3 – You figure this out, I sure can’t. What is the status of Sound Jam?? One day there’s an article on MacWorld about them abandoning development for OS X. The Sound Jam web site is getting real old, and the product shows all the signs of being abandoned, BUT NOW there’s a new update to version 2.5.3. The web site says 2.5.2 is the most recent version. This all sounds WEIRD AND FAMILIAR. Remember the TWO YEAR death throes of WORDPERFECT MAC at the hands of those FOOLS at COREL?? A little TRUTH from Casady and Greene would be nice. I like Sound Jam better than iTunes, but I predict we’ll all be using iTunes before long…”

“…back in U&O #16  I predicted the demise of my favorite MP3 player, ‘SoundJam’, at the hands of Apple’s favorite (free) MP3 player, ‘iTunes’. What I didn’t mention is that I wrote the CEO of Casady and Greene, suggesting that he COME CLEAN and tell the Mac community what was going on with SoundJam. I even wrote a press release for him. Did he listen to me? Who knows. But today C&G announced the end of SoundJam MP as of June 1, ‘at the request of the developers’—who all work for Apple now. I only hope Apple will add the missing SoundJam features to iTunes, such as the ability to use it as an Alarm Clock. And we should appreciate that Casady & Greene like any GOOD MAC COMPANY, DID THE RIGHT THING and told us the truth.”

—From Unpredictable Issue #18 May, 2001

The Federation is Going to Hell

Flashback: September 23, 1995

screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-4-11-51-pmLife was so much simpler then. Or was it? Not for the Star Trek Population of three or four quadrants. At the time, I had a friend in the US Foreign Service posted in some obscure country who wasn’t getting to see any of the new shows. There was NO video on the incipient Internet of course. He tried to get his hands on some episodes on VHS (tape), but was hopelessly lost with everything that was going on. So I summarized it for him:

“…By now you’ve probably got your hands on some Star Trek episodes. If not, I have most of the original series (which you probably don’t want), most of TNG. I don’t have much of Deep Space Nine, although I think there have been a few really good episodes on an otherwise dull series.

The new series, Voyager, which I’m not taping, is more like the original. A strong (woman) captain, a mixed crew, even a (black) Vulcan science officer. Lots of action. They’ve been flung out into the unexplored Delta quadrant and are making there way back to the Federation. If they don’t find a better way, it will take them 75 years to get back. At warp speed. Wow. (It might be wishful thinking on the part of the studio that interest in the series will last that long, but who knows?)

Meanwhile, back in the Federation, things are going to hell. Kirk came back from death in “the zone” (or whatever Guinan called it in the “Generations” movie) long enough to team up with Picard against Malcolm McDowell, who is so keen on getting that great high of “the zone” that he’ll kill 200 million people just to get there. Of course they bump Kirk off once and for all—so Paramount can get a new crew to kick around the full length universe. While the two Enterprise captains are trading quips, Riker, that boob, has lost the Enterprise D to a couple of troublesome Klingon sisters, ruling family wannabes, pirates basically (since the Klingon empire is pretty tight with the Federation ever since Kirk managed to get rid of Christopher Plummer in “the Undiscovered Country”). They have to destroy the Enterprise in every movie now. So they do, and well that’s most of the movie.

But wait, there’s more. The politics are just awful! On DS9 Commander Sisko has finally been promoted to Captain, and they’ve given him a battleship called the …oh hell…anyway, which was designed to battle the Borg (Who are no longer a threat since they were totally neuroticized by the virus planted in …, And the misguided leadership of Data’s brother Lore). To make things interesting, every now and then Sisko zips off into the Gamma quadrant to hassle the Dominion, the empire ruled by Odo’s people, the shapeshifters, and their batttle-bred drones, the Jem Hadar.

The Dominion in turn has infiltrated the Federation, and intend to take it over, and the Romulans and the Cardassians too. Speaking of the Cardassians, there’s a secret faction in that empire that is not satisfied with the treaty with the Federation (surprise!), and they’ve been making it difficult for the Federation colonists on the border. Since the Federation has provided virtually no support for the colonists, they have created their own rebel force, called the “Maki” (mach-ee), to protect themselves and force the Cardassians into open warfare that the Federation won’t be able to ignore.

Disgruntled Federation officers have joined the Maki ranks (literally), including Riker’s “brother” (Richard?) who was duplicated from Riker in a bizarre transporter incident, and that Bajoran bitch Ensign Roe, who humiliated Picard by defecting to the Maki while working for him undercover. In fact, the whole Voyager series began because the Federation asked the Voyager (on leave at DS9) to pop over to the Gamma quadrant and track down a Maki ship. Not such a great idea, as it turns out.

No sooner have they popped out of the wormhole, than they get into this nebula and are sucked by some whacko technology from the Gamma quadrant to the Delta quadrant. They find the Maki ship and capture the crew, and since they’re all “lost in space” (remember, we’re talking about a 75 year return trip!) they decide to team up and let the Maki rebels be part of the Voyager crew. (This obviously provides plenty of opportunities for conflict on the ship if they run out of other script ideas. In fact, they already lost one Maki member—another disloyal Bajoran bitch, of course—to some Delta quadrant villain race. The Voyager crew caught her in the act of trying to sell Federation technology, and she managed to escape to the villain’s ship. Think we’ll hear from her again? I’ll bet we do!)

So there you have it. As I say, the Federation is going all to hell. Pressure from the outside, and infiltration and defection from the inside.

Kirk must be rolling over in his grave—or pile of rocks and twisted metal as it were.

And that’s the way it was…

—TechWite

 

 

 

“Courage”, Innovation, and Headphone Jacks

 

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-4-22-08-pmA word about “Courage”:
Phil. Seriously? At this particular date, with all of its significance, the word “courage” applied to the way people use their $600 telephone is a mind-jarring mis-use of English. Is this just another case of pandering to the drama of Ellipticals? They can deal with it. It’s just a freakin’ jack!!

The crazed, emotional rants in advance of the official product announcements were generally from people complaining that they don’t want to give up their wired headphones. You don’t have to give up your headphones. You lose the jack.

Read the details people.

  • The iPhone 7 comes with Apple lightning connector “Earpods”—you connect them to your phone with a “lightning” connector. (The same connector used for your power adapter.)
  • Apple also includes a little “dongle” to connect your current headphones using the Lightning port.
  • This only applies to iPhone 7 and newer Apple devices going forward.
  • For now, you can’t charge your phone and listen at the same time. Wow. Big inconvenience.

iMac 1998—What’s a Big Inconvenience?? The first friggin’ iMac was a Big Inconvenience!
The first iMac was the first Macintosh with USB connectors. Printers? Scanners? Modems? Hey, none of the old stuff worked!! You had to buy all kinds of new cables, adapters, and peripherals. USB was brand new. And mice? Thank you, Jonny Ive, who designed this crazy ROUND mouse (which became known as “the Hockey Puck“) that spawned a whole industry of replacements and add-ons because it was so useless. AND there was no floppy drive to install all the new drivers!! Gone! All those boxes and stacks of 3.5” floppies were now about as useful as…well, nothing. We didn’t call that “courage”, we called that “Steve Jobs fixing Apple”.


screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-4-22-51-pmAirPods?
As for the new wireless earbuds, airbuds, EarPods, AirPods, whatever…those beautifully designed Dyson-style, GI-Joe sized, mini-hairdryers will only work for people who can put them, and keep them in their ears. I can’t. Love the technology. Hate the shape.

Here I am giving away another brilliant idea again: “Pod Shapers”, a special adapter for the AirPod to hold it on your head because it won’t stay in your ear. Especially for the Boomer market, available in a range of fluorescent colors to make them little buggers easier to find!

To The Whiners—If you really hate Apple roping you into its eco-system and “forcing” you to go wireless and buy airbuds, EarPods…whatever, then go on, buy a Samsung. Just, make sure you also buy a fire extinguisher. 😎

—TechWite

 

Want a Private Facebook? Try #Slack

NYTimes: A Charming Alternative Universe of You, Your Friends and No News

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/18/technology/a-charming-alternative-universe-of-you-your-friends-and-no-news.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

imageThe Times article (above) tempts with the idea of an alternative to the competitive, super-public, extrovert dominated world of fake friends and insincere “likes”. But, the NYT never seems to escape from that social norm, suggesting instead the candy sweet illusion of Instagram “Stories”.

Really?

TechWite says: Try Slack
Do you want a place online where you can share photos, web links, movies, and all that other stuff but not have it smeared with ads, streams of articles and media curated by robots, comments from people you don’t know, don’t remember, or want to forget? Do you want an app where you can have a private conversation (the “DM”—Direct Message—in Twitter becomes a “Private Channel” in Slack) with someone you already know, who is already participating in this place, and where you don’t have to use email to do it? And your team only has members that you want in it. Period.

Not “The Next Big Thing”—Better!
Yea, yea, yea, everyone tells you to use Slack for business, for software development projects, to integrate your two diverse companies that now have to merge their email systems and don’t have a common platform to work on, blah, blah. Blech!! I’m suggesting you, and a small group of real friends who want to plan your next bike trip, group vacation, backpacking adventure, etc. etc., create a Slack Team. Spend a little time and effort figuring out how Slack works. Yes, there are apps for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and POWB (plain old web browsers). And sure, there are tons of plug-ins and commercial upgrades and corporate tie-ins, but only if you want them. This is not “The Next Big Thing”—this is the thing you want to use to communicate and stay in touch with your REAL Friends and Family. The basic version is free.

Life is short. Create a team! Have fun!
These links open in a new window:
Create your own Slack Team:  https://slack.com
Join the public SlackBITS Team run by our friends at TidBITS: http://slackbits.herokuapp.com

Tell them TechWite sent you!

BTW: No, I have no commercial, financial, or stock interest in #Slack. But I am open to the possibility!

—Peace Out

Followers, Friends, and Likes. Oh My!! Engagement is a Social Lie.

via And Now, I Unfollow Thee – The New York Times

Take it all “with a grain of salt…”

More help for the Nverts. TechWite dashes another social myth!

The brilliant analysts of Wall Street, looking for better ways to blow more air into the bubble of Social media believe that “engagement” is everything. But what is it?


“Engagement*” – Catch word for ‘user involvement’ –  the popularity of your web site, application, social feed, page, etc. “Engagement” supersedes “eyeballs”: the number of people who looked at a page. Engagement sounds more scientific, and is therefore more useful to analysts, stock brokers, and journalists in declaring the success or failure of an online campaign, and especially in applying a monetary value and potential for advertising revenue. But unfortunately, there is no standard “measure” of engagement. Is it: How many members have signed up? “Daily Views” of a page, or video? **  How many times they ‘click’ from one page to an advertisement? How many “likes” they post for your business on Facebook? How many “friends”, how many “followers”, how many? How many? And how many of those are even real???


Wake up world. This is all vapor. Not even the kind of vapor you can inhale.

Today’s lesson is easy: Whatever anyone tells you about the popularity and massive use of a site, page, or “social network” is probably not (I’m being kind here…) exactly what is going on. Review your own experience with social. You are a VALID user. Your experience is probably not much different than anyone else’s. Think about it:

  • Facebook—In spite of the many ads you can now find all over “your” Facebook, how many times have you ever actually used one of those ads to make a purchase? Have you? Tell me!
  • YouTube, Web Pages, and elsewhere—The pop-up ad on the web page, do you want to see it? Or skip it?
  • Twitter—Poor Twitter. I like Twitter. Do you choose to read Tweets that Twitter inserts in your feed? Do you have any idea where they come from? Can you really keep up with the tweets of the 50 Twitter feeds you follow? 150? 500? Do you think those people who claim to follow over a thousand other Twitter feeds ever even LOOK at the tweets?? How do you feel about being followed by all those robots and porn sites?
  • Instagram – More robots and porn sites. More opportunities to buy followers.
  • Followers – That’s right, you want to have a popular Twitter feed or Instagram?? Buy yourself 10,000 followers. Or more. It doesn’t cost that much.*** We are really talking about a hall of mirrors here.

You can read more about it using the links below. I won’t waste more words. I want to get off my computer now because I have a real book I am reading. One made with paper. Seriously. So, because it means nothing:

  • Don’t follow me on Twitter!
  • Don’t like my Facebook page!
  • Don’t follow me on Instagram!

Peace Out,

—TW 


(Links below open in a new window.)

*Engagement (Rate)
Trackmaven – Engagement Rate is a metric that measures the level of engagement that a piece of created content is receiving from an audience. It shows how much people interact with the content. Factors that influence engagement rate include users’ comments, shares, and likes. <http://trackmaven.com/marketing-dictionary/engagement-rate/>

“4 Instagram Analytics Tools for Your Business”, HootSuite, <https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-analytics-tools-business/>

**Daily Views
“Snapchat Video Traffic Has Caught Up With Facebook”, Fortune <http://fortune.com/2016/03/01/snapchat-facebook-video-views-2/>

“Facebook Daily Views get New Metrics”, International Business Times <http://www.ibtimes.com/facebook-inc-fb-daily-video-views-get-new-metrics-publishers-2342825>

***Buy Followers:
“Big Business: Buying Fake Instagram Followers”, Huffington Post,<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shayla-r-price/big-business-buying-fake_b_6322362.html>