I’ve been sort of off the blogging grid for a few days. Now we are headed home.
Like millions of other iPhone and iPad users, I recently upgraded to iOS 10 on my various devices. For the most part I’m happy with the upgrade; both my iPhone (6s Plus) and iPad (Pro) feel snappier, though my older iPad Mini 2 that I use solely for airplane use seems to be slower than it used to be. I actually upgraded my iPhone when the third beta of iOS 10 came out because I like to see how these things are developing and give feedback to Apple as they’re making their final tweaks to their software.
There has been one thing that has been driving me crazy about iOS 10 and that’s the way emails are ordered in the Mail app. I have two accounts for Mail, one through iCloud and the other through the host that supports jpnearl.com. Mail has worked the same for several generations of iOS; when you have an email chain going with several responses, the latest response is on top.
Until iOS 10. Now the latest response is either at the bottom or buried somewhere in the middle of the message. I don’t know if others have experienced this fun and frivolity but the OCD in me has been getting irked by this. So I went poking around in Settings and found this new entry
I have no idea why Apple made this change as it seems to run counterintuitive to every email program I’ve used since the year 1996 or so but nevertheless, they rethought something and luckily gave us an out for us curmudgeons that aren’t used to change.
This morning, during my routine of watching a TED Talk to get my inspirational juices flowing, I watched a talk by Danny Hillis. The TED Talk was presented in 2013 and addresses the fact that the Internet has become an important, albeit somewhat risky, part of the world’s infrastructure.
It’s interesting that in the beginning of the talk, Danny shows a printed directory of everyone that had an email address in 1982. Aside from the fact that not very many people had email addresses in 1982, he mentions that it was OK to list everyone’s email address, and other details, in this directory because everyone on the Internet trusted one another.
Isn’t that a novel concept?
Folks connected computers to the Internet with the intent to do good. People created sources of information (prior to the idea of a “web page”) with the intent of sharing truthful, correct knowledge. Internet users trusted one another.
Can you imagine automatically trusting everyone you interacted with online today? You’d have an empty checking account in less than a day. All your money would be going to some obscure prince in some obscure country. I have spent countless hours correcting Wikipedia articles that are so inaccurate and so poorly written it’s amazing to me that any college student thinks it would be acceptable to cite Wikipedia as a valid news source. Extreme political pundits are very quick to pull select quotes or edit audio to suit their needs and then present the information as accurate, fair and balanced. I maintain a couple of bogus email addresses to be used solely as “flood boxes”; junk mail receptacles to be filled with advertising, lies and other fun misinformation.
The intent of the Internet has been completely flipped around from an open exchange of knowledge to a chaotic barrage of advertising, personal agenda and willful deception.
The 2016 U.S. Election has flooded the Internet with more misinformation, deception and downright lies than any other political adventure in history. Sometimes it feels like one is throwing cups of water on Nagasaki after the blast, but I can’t watch this glorious mechanism of knowledge exchange be completely consumed by darkness.
Be part of the light today.
It was reported yesterday that Yahoo! secretly scanned users’ email on behalf of the government. Apparently the action was approved by CEO Marissa Mayer and took place outside of the realm of then Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos, who left the company and joined Facebook. The full article from Reuters is here.
This morning I wiped out my old Yahoo account. I created it a few years ago for the purpose of accessing Flickr (which was acquired, and subsequently destroyed by Yahoo), but I hadn’t been on Flickr in a long while so it wasn’t a really big deal getting rid of the account. I probably have a couple of other accounts in the Yahoo space that I need to delete. I’ll be taking care of that this weekend.
This latest revelation of an Internet company doing nefarious things on behalf of the government (all to save us from Terrorism, of course), got me thinking about Internet privacy in general. I’ve mentioned before that weird ads have started appearing in my Facebook feed, all based on search engine results, visiting another site or, oddly, having a conversation with Earl in the presence of an apparently eavesdropping device. My friend Jeff and I talked about a similar situation this morning: last night he looked at some flooring at Lowe’s, exchanged a couple of text messages with his husband on the subject, did one Google search and then met his husband at a Zaxby’s for supper. This morning he is getting the exact flooring ads “exclusively available at Lowe’s” and ads for Zaxby’s showing up in his Google search results and other places around the web.
I’ve been watching friends slowly drift away over the past couple of months. Either the algorithm is showing me what they think I want to see or friends are posting less in general. A few friends and family have given up Facebook entirely. I removed it from my phone a while back as I was not comfortable with having ads shoved in my face based on random searches I had done on the Internet. This morning I removed Facebook (and that awful cretin, Facebook Messenger) from my iPad as well.
In the past I’ve made it clear that I’m not in favor of an ad-supported Internet. Tailoring ads to my specific desires does not ease my frustration with advertising in general, if anything, it exacerbates the issue because it’s a reminder as to how much information Google or Facebook or Amazon or whatever has accumulated on me. I mention these things to users of all things Google and they always tell me they don’t mind because they have nothing to hide.
It’s kind of like knowing that you dance to “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” completely naked every morning in front of the mirror as part of your workday routine and that you wouldn’t mind doing that same dance, naked and all, on stage in front, of an audience. Or walking into a post office and seeing everyone’s mail tacked up on the wall for all to read. All of these things are very much possible when you give up your privacy, even if you give up your privacy because after all, you don’t really do anything bad to begin with.
Since there’s nothing to really hide from the government in your email, why don’t we take it a step further? Perhaps legislation requiring that all mail passing through the U.S. Postal Service must be in clear envelopes or clear package wrapping would make people take notice. After all, it’s an identical approach to letting Yahoo go through its users’ email, just a different medium. “Let’s just look the package over to make sure there’s nothing in there we’re interested in.”
I don’t think the American Public wants to be treated that way. That’s why I get so crazy about Internet Security and fair, legal practices that follow the letter of the law.
I deleted my Yahoo account today. And I’m damn proud of it.
As you can see from the photo above, the local Panera is not exceptionally busy. Three tables down you’ll notice a full table of older adults. They have one or two smartphones among them. I know this because they’re playing all of their videos out loud for the entire establishment. The video sounds ominous with grave sounding music, a deep booming voice and the words “but Hillary…” and “Donald Trump will…”. They occasionally stop their conspiracy viral video broadcasts with discussions about Candy Crush and debates on whether “Welcome to Messenger” means the app has to be taken to the post office for validation.
Honestly, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.
One of the women keeps cackling/wailing/almost losing her dentures because she thinks she can send secret messages to her husband. There was a mention of lingerie. I walked by a couple of times to see what kind of phones they are using and they are definitely not iPhones. Not that iPhones are really all that secure but I can guarantee you, sweetie, that you are not sending any secret messages with your Android device. You’re on the grid and in just a few moments I’ll figure out what IP address your phone is using and I’ll do something mildly entertaining, at least to me.
I just can’t fathom why people think it’s OK to play their smartphone media out loud in a public place. Last year we had to endure a woman dancing to that Brenda Lee version of “Dancing Around The Christmas Tree” at critical volumes while she danced around in a horrid, ugly Christmas sweater in the middle of a NE Philly Diner. How would people like it if I plopped a giant 1980s boom box on the table and started blasting out some obscure, loud tracks?
Don’t Disturb This Groove, baby.
Technology has outpaced common sense and any sense of decorum by a magnitude of nearly 10. Recent technological advances brings us in touch with everyone and everything. Knowledge can be everywhere.
It’s a shame that we have to endure listening to those that seemed focus on playing games and listen to obnoxious sounds on their devices. It’s like sitting in the smoking section of idiocy.
I’ve ramped back my wake up time by 30 minutes. This has allowed me to work out in the morning without the stress of getting to my desk in a rushed manner. Traffic on the road is not as crazy. I feel safer walking along our busy road.
But more importantly, waking up 30 minutes earlier has allowed me to see the sunrise. This morning the sky was full of amazing colors. I was filled with hope. The breezes felt full of change.
Today is going to be a great day.
Earl sent me a text message early this morning telling me that his position at work had been eliminated and he had been “retired”. Luckily 21+ years of service meant a decent severance package. We are tightening our belts but we are not drowning. With this change we are moving from Oliver and Lisa to Abner and Gladys. We’re nowhere near Ralph and Alice. We’ll be fine.
The only thing that has tied us to our current location is Earl’s job. My job is fairly mobile, I work from home so I could probably relocate and continue with my current job. Earl is taking some time off from the grind to decide what he wants to do. Retire early? Find another job? Start a new career? The possibilities are endless.
The thing is that we both see this as the beginning of a new chapter of our life together. There’s no ending, just moving on to whatever lies ahead. Who knows, maybe we’ll move somewhere where I can keep an eye on the house across the street.
Let the whooshing noises commence.
A decade or so ago, UK Dance Group Bimbo Jones remixed Yoko Ono’s “You’re The One”. Originally released in 1984, this 21st century remix caught my attention back toward the end of my moonlighting career as a club DJ. I hadn’t thought about the song in ages but for some reason it popped into my head as I was getting out of bed this morning and just kind of stuck there.
I don’t know a lot about Yoko Ono. I know she was married to John Lennon. Some say she broke up The Beatles. I’ve seen video of her screaming and wailing into a microphone as people applauded her display of artistry. I guess she’s deep, way out and her own person. One cannot be denied for being their own person.
It turns out that today is National Peace Day, and if anyone is for world peace, it’s Yoko Ono. I follow her on Twitter. She says things that are deep. Her tweets make me thing and reflect on my own place in this world. After reading a tweet from Yoko Ono I am left to ponder as to what I can do to improve my contribution to this world. It’s nice to see someone tweet a thought of value. It doesn’t have to be witty, pithy or even breezy. Pondering is good.
To finally ride today’s ear bug to its conclusion, I dug up the remix of “You’re The One” on YouTube. Enjoy.
Mark over at Voenix Rising shared a very interesting article in New York Magazine by Andrew Sullivan regarding society’s addiction to today’s technology. One quote in particular caught my attention:
“Kara, in her 50s, feels that life in her hometown of Portland, Maine, has emptied out: ‘Sometimes I walk down the street, and I’m the only person not plugged in … No one is where they are. They’re talking to someone miles away. I miss them.’”
It’s funny that this article should pop up in my feed at this moment. During my morning walk/break from work, I was wondering if I should try going without my Apple Watch for the next 48 hours to see how it would make me feel. I also remembered that I have an aviation social engagement tonight and that perhaps I should leave my iPhone out in the Jeep while I attend the festivities.
I believe that I should be the change I would like to see in the world.
You can read the article here.
Thank you, Mark!