Posts Tagged ‘tech’

Exhibit #11 Dinner Table Text Message Etiquette

Friday, November 27th, 2009

OK, so not exactly a major issue, but – personally – I find that the shitness of a decade can be found as much in its minor irritations as in its grand historical motions. After all, people still look back fondly on the forties despite it having been, in many ways, the worst decade in the history of ever. Sure – the world was rent in twain by the collision of competing ideologies and sure, from the genocidal ashes rose the unceasingly peaceless firebird of all subsequent global disquiet – but at least no one ever started texting in the middle of dinner.

Because, right, if we were having dinner, all sat round a table, conversing and you suddenly leaned over and started whispering in your boyfriend’s ear, then had him whisper a reply, which then caused you to look noticeably yet coyly amused – that would be rude, wouldn’t it? But do it with a phone and apparently that’s just fine.

I know. It’s a small thing. A triviality. But if the broken window theory of crime prevention teaches us anything at all, it’s that shitness has its own butterfly effect: a butterfly starts texting during the appetiser in Connecticut and, 6 months later, a nice independent bookshop gets replaced by a Starbucks in Bristol. It didn’t seem like a big deal when you agreed to meet up with Darren outside the corn exchange that one fateful Sunday roast – but little did you realise that you had started a chain reaction that would lead us all, inexorably, to the fame of Chanelle Hayes.

It’s all your fault, oh ye careless custodians of the brave new broken world. Every last shitty bit of it.

Here is funny video for sharing on internet about 24 and phonez and dat lol

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Exhibit #8 Comments

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Somewhere, somewhen, in one of the many worlds implied by Hugh Everett’s relative state formulation there is a pleasingly-straight-fringed, happy-go-lucky and financially viable young man writing a blog called The Noughties Were Ace.

Right at the top of his list, exhibit #1, is the vast network of mediated social interactions that are often referred to as web 2.0.

Twitter, Facebook, the blogosphere, wikipedia, collaborative authorship… these are wonderful things with wonderful repercussions. They are Timothy Leary’s Intelligence2 made a reality, Intelligence studying Intelligence; every digital interaction between two people operating like a fired neural impulse in a gigantic overmind that is open to anyone with a broadband account and the urge to discover its power. Interactions between groups are even more efficient, multiplying exponentially the power of communications technology to drastically reshape every aspect of our lives.

And he’s right – that lucky, alternative universe dwelling bastard, sitting there without a horrible cold counting his money and awards – he’s right. Web 2.0 is ace. It is transformative and extraordinary and it would be the height of petty, pompous negativity to criticise the minor effects of it’s extremities in the face of its otherwise awesomeness.

It’s just that… well… comments: they’re annoying aren’t they?

Because comments look like they are judiciously breaking down the walls between the elite and the people and giving everyone a voice – but they aren’t: they are mainly just giving a voice to the kind of person who wants to passively comment on things.

Not uniformly. Sometimes comments can be brilliant – like when you write a bombastic post about how much you love Carter and someone rightly assumes that you’d want to know that they’re with you. I liked that. They can function like points of information, give right of reply, right of correction. They’re a great idea that often works fine.

But then, there’s the kind of person who used to write to points of view. The kind of person who comes up to you after a gig and wants to talk to you about machine heads. The kind of person who believes that ‘constructive criticism’ is always welcome…

Well, it isn’t, right? Nobody will ever really want your constructive criticism. I definitely won’t. If I did want it, then I’d to travel Okinawa, climb up a mountain with two full buckets of water suspended from a yoke and beg every day for your constructive criticism while you rap me across the head with a zen stick and call me an arrogant pup. If you’re willing to dispense it for less – it’s no good to me. Even if you are right it will just make me petulant and rebellious and want to not improve on purpose just to spite you.

Even worse are the people who have spent every day since they left university working on a highly personal, grand unified theory of social cohesion that they like to use to bludgeon people with in comments sections only tangentially connected to their argument.

“ha, I see that you consider Dogtanian to be epic win -well, isn’t it the case that the imperialist messages inherent in Dumas’ work can be traced ultimately to the machinations of Blair and his illegal war..?” – you know the sort of thing.

And then there’s youtube and yahoo answers: the inner circles of comments hell. So bad they went through bad, then good again and all the way back to bad.

We have been left with a comments culture where the news doesn’t feel like it’s been reported until Brian from Chepstow has called it disgusting and sent in a photo of it snowing. Web 2.0 was a test to see if we could we embrace the best of the noughties without grubbily spoiling it with our self-absorbed desire to piss on everything and we failed. Even when the noughties were ace, they were a bit shit.

And that’s exactly what I’m going to say in the comments section of that alternative-universe me’s blog. That’ll show him, the smug tosspot.

Anyway, here is the Intro to Dogtanian. It is epic win.

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Exhibit #4 Nobody Inventing Nuclear Fusion… Again!

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

John F. Kennedy, speaking in 1961,  announced to a divided but hopeful world, that,

“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”

Of course, we are noughties people, and noughties people are nothing if not prone to scoffing cynicism – so we may well react to this by damning the cold war; by making a ham-fisted ‘joke’ about American imperialism not being limited to the earth, yeah?; by bringing up the faltering sense of decline at NASA since the sixties…

But stop it – you grow dull and predictable in your received opinions. The only thing that really matters about the Kennedy moon speech is that it worked. He staked the pride of a nation on a single goal – and that goal was achieved. And the people who were too busy having sexy parties to bother writing trivial list-based pseudo-journalism at the end of the sixties could afford to do so with smiles on their faces. Sure, there was all that unpleasantness in Southeast Asia, but we went to the fucking moon. Score draw.

Imagine, if you will, an alternative noughties where a visionary young president had reacted to the horror of 9/11 by bringing back the best of the cold war mentality and making an enormously ambitious declaration of purpose.

My Fellow Americans

He’d have said

Today we have been attacked by massive dicks, and believe me, if I ever get my hands on them I will fuck them up. But while the sense of grief compels us to reorder the world, we will respond to the challenge of this day by looking not to the path of hate but to the future, to the continued greatness of this union, and to a day when we can look back on these first years of the 21st century not as a time of ending, but of renewal, of a new beginning for America. It is to this end that here, today, I announce this bold new commitment. By January 1st 2015, as God is our witness, we will have invented all of the technology required to make Back To The Future… Part II a reality.

Because – right – why hasn’t that film been a guiding principle of western governments’ science funding policies ever since it came out?

It was a very popular film.

If we get to 2015 without pizza-rehydrating, hoverboards, hover conversions, holographic 3D projection, drug-free sleep guns and bionic bullying implants a palpable sense of disappointment and despondency will seep through our civilisation like a disease. Sure, not everyone will make the connection, but deep in our augmented cultural psyches we will know. We will look out at the world through jaded eyes, crushed in some small, eternal way by the knowledge. We will cease to believe in our ability to invent, to evolve, to effect change – you think the credit crunch was bad? you wait.

We have wasted the legacy of Back To The Future… Part II in the noughties. While we were panicking about flus that never happened and disasters that never came, we could have been designing the talking jacket, we could have been making all those Jaws sequels, we could have been pouring public money into any area of research with the potential to harness the power of cold fusion, solve the world’s energy crisis, end pollution and global warming and give us those little Mr. Fusion things that make your car run on fag ends and banana skins.

Epic fail, western civilisation. Epic, epic fail.

Build Your Own Mr. Fusion and Gasify Your Car With Garbage - from Gizmodo

Build Your Own Mr. Fusion and Gasify Your Car With Garbage - from Gizmodo

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