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Friday, 20 April 2018


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Ever since a teenager I dreamed of something like FB, and since its creation... have never joined, never gotten a tattoo, a smart phone, never tweeted... got my first digital camera 2 yrs ago. It's not about being a Luddite, more about joining all the latest things that ultimately disengage and distract you- the very things that they supposedly seek to alleviate. Just as most of our time saving technology that was supposed to make our lives easier, has actually increased our workload...

I don't think I've ever had a period in my life where I feel more connected to others in my community. Mostly I thank Trump. You can argue that he divides people, but on the left he has united us like we haven't seen in a long time. I have joined groups, go to regular meetings, plan events, and occasionally use my camera skills in support of that. A good chunk of my online time is spent with a local focus, including Facebook.

I think without a narrow focus, the internet can be too much of a depressing spigot of information for people. I know that every time I go to DPR and read something and feel the urge to write in the comments I'm glad that I closed my account.

As for looking at photos online, I know what you mean. Brings to mind the Pound poem, In a Station of the Metro...

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

I am very sad about the decline of email. I did not see it coming!

BTW: since I started using Gmail, spam has been reduced to virtually zero, it’s magnificent. (It’s something about it being web-based, they can check links before sending it on.) My old email address I have to have routed through a special spam filter service, which slows it down a lot.

“it bugs me that I could look at photography online all day and yet still see so little of it that it would statistically be extremely close to "none at all." It's not enough to be "connected"”

To be honest, I rarely look for any photography (or indeed art in general). It is so rare for me to find anything which I find really worthwhile or which does not feel like I have seen it a hundred times before.
I guess that’s just the opposite of what you feel.

wait...what? there's more to the internets than TOP?!?!

As a "systems person" and a "radio amateur", I view the various forms of communications as "synchronous" or "asynchronous". Visiting someone, talking on the phone, contacting "on the air" is "synchronous". Snail mail, email, Facebook and various forms of newer messaging is usually "asynchronous". Some are even a bit of both (if both parties are online).

Anyway, just another perspective.. ;)

I don't think there's anything inherently wrong or unhealthy about meeting people and establishing relationships without physical contact. The social technology of today is just a functional extension of the traditional ways. Remember Pen Pals?

The real problem is represented by a sociological theorem known as "Dunbar's Number" which states that the maximum number of genuine personal relationships that the average human can maintain at any one time is about 150. Digital technology makes it far too easy to exceed this number by a staggering amount.

As with other internet-driven information, we are getting swamped by relationship overload. There is a limit to the amount of time that can be devoted to meaningful communication with others. Call me old-fashioned, but I often spend many minutes and sometimes even hours composing emails (and blog comments) because I really want to express myself clearly. It's just not practical to do that more than a few times each day.

Emoji and abbreviations speed things up a bit, and now we have personal broadcasting via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram where we read, hear or see about our friends and family just like we do the national news, entertainment, gossip and weather. I'm sorry, but that's not relating, it's direct-marketing.

Will we end up liking everybody and knowing nobody?

I started on UseNet in the early 1990s. The first blog I read was http://scripting.com in 1997.

Mike thinks that e-mail is dying, but e-mail was replaced by texting years ago. No spam on text messages No special app need either, any smart-phone can text. BTW if you stop using e-mail, no-one can use your e-mail as a data-mine. BTW2 no data-mining = less spam.

I'm trying to imagine an Inuit Indian in a village of 100 being motivated to respond to an advertisement that would entice him to fill out an entry form in order to win a trip to New York City.

I love John's bubble comment. Our new digital communication bubbles are amazing and create many new opportunities, but they do so at the expense of privacy. Its just plain weird realizing everything I do online in my bubble is inspected by hundreds of commercial entities seeking to serve their own interests. That's just the way it is because the security alternatives (TOR, applying unique, personal encryption, two factor authentication etc, etc.) are to slow and inconvenient for most of us.

For example, our social media platforms track us in house and after we log out. Your phone listens to your smart TV for commercials so you can be linked across devices. In the U.S., if you use your phones browser to interact with a bank (PCI) or doctor (HIPAA) via HTTPS the traffic is probably decrypted by the carrier (Nokia, etc.), compressed, and re-encrypted. Most people don't realize this. You just need to trust the carrier with that data and hope they don't get hacked. Corporate IT departments do this all the time in-house to do web filtering, malware inspection, etc. and it's possible because they control the Certs. I think the difference in some cases is awareness because what upsets people is the lack of Privacy and not platform security. In other cases, I think the surveillance is just plain creepy.

It's a weird new world...although...my Mom always told me that everyone in her small town of 500 knew everyone else's business and it always drove her crazy. Maybe things haven't changed all that much. :-)

I just returned a lost dog to someone who posted it on facebook.

You see ads on Youtube? I never see ads on Youtube. I'm not sure if it's because of Ghostery or uBlock. I have both ad blockers installed on Safari. uBlock also allows me to hide the comments on Youtube.

They say uBlock Origin is a better choice on Firefox or Chrome.

One of the problems of people moving to their own smaller and smaller bubbles is that we are restricting ourselves to things we already like and opinions and news sources we completely agree with. The increasingly narrow, "my way is right and you are evil if you have a different opinion" (there is but one way correct to think) has become so pervasive I cannot stand to check Facebook anymore and gave up on twitter. I can predict what the daily shouting will be about by watching the latest news flash (which will soon die off, never to be heard of again).

Imagine the old days of not so long ago if all your neighbors woke up every morning, read the headlines in their version of National Enquirer, stuck their head out the window and start screaming their political opinions on a subject they actually know little to nothing about. Then everyone running off to breakfast with groups of only those who agree with their lunatic rants secure in the knowledge that they and only they are of pure heart and intent. Where would that lead? WTF would want to live in such a place?

In the UK, English brexiteers have decided they want a return to the physical bubble. It makes a lot of the 48% who voted to remain in Europe very sad.

Strangely enough, the Pentax-Discuss Mail List, of which you were a member back in the 1990's and early 2000's, somehow manages to soldier on — We're about to put out the tenth edition of our annual photo book. There's something about purely text-driven email communications that seems impossible to replicate any other way (though how many people are interested in doing so is another matter).

Mike, I agree with you about Pinterest. What is it? What does it do other than host lots of pictures organized somehow. I occasionally see my photographs there (typically from rural Mississippi), which I never posted. They are mine because they still have my copyright and name on the bottom. I suppose some nitwit saw one of my pictures on my blog and thought it would be cool or clever or trendy to link it to something. How does Pinterest monetize these millions of photos stolen from thousands of places?

Dunbar's Number. One of the most world-altering things you will ever find out about.

I found the comment by John Camp interesting in reference to Cedar Rapids and persons going to New York and Paris and looking for something they couldn't find back in Cedar Rapids. I just finished reading volume 1 of William Shirer's 20th Century Journey last evening. His adventure was to leave Cedar Rapids and go to Paris and London and Vienna etc. He expanded his bubble like few others. Of course others likely did the same as Shirer. The timing of the Camp comment and my reading the book surprised me.

Just another thought on the "bubble" and Cedar Rapids and that is that Grant Wood did go to Paris from Cedar Rapids and did return to Cedar Rapids.

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