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    2014 Midwest Business & Markets Conference

    Posted by Zenpundit on 9th March 2014 (All posts by )

    cross-posted to zenpundit.com

    The Union League Club of Chicago Building

    Yesterday, I attended the 2014 Midwest Business & Markets Conference at the historic Union League Club of Chicago. While business conferences are far afield from my usual interests, the main draw for me was seeing Lexington Green speak about the book he co-authored with James C. Bennett, America 3.0

     

    Michael J. Lotus (“Lex”)                       His book

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anglosphere, Business, Chicagoania, Civil Society, Deep Thoughts, Diversions, Economics & Finance, Education, Entrepreneurship, Illinois Politics, Internet, Political Philosophy, Politics, Society, The Press, USA | 9 Comments »

    “New Study: Internet Trolls Are Often Machiavellian Sadists”

    Posted by Jonathan on 16th February 2014 (All posts by )

    Cited here (via Lindsay Bell).

    The conclusions of this study seem consistent with observation.

    Abstract
    In two online studies (total N = 1215), respondents completed personality inventories and a survey of their Internet commenting styles. Overall, strong positive associations emerged among online commenting frequency, trolling enjoyment, and troll identity, pointing to a common construct underlying the measures. Both studies revealed similar patterns of relations between trolling and the Dark Tetrad of personality: trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, using both enjoyment ratings and identity scores. Of all personality measures, sadism showed the most robust associations with trolling and, importantly, the relationship was specific to trolling behavior. Enjoyment of other online activities, such as chatting and debating, was unrelated to sadism. Thus cyber-trolling appears to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism.

    There’s also this (via The Big Picture):

    It’s long been obvious that people with wacko tendencies are vastly overrepresented among Internet commenters as compared to the general population. (See also this and this and this and this.)

    We’re a mere twenty years into human mass-networking via anonymous electronic connection. There are hints of major Internet-driven social changes that we don’t yet understand or even perceive. Much Internet activity seems to be fake. Many people online aren’t who they appear to be. Real-world activities, as in relations between the sexes, appear to be changing faster than ever as information propagates and incentives change in record time. It will be interesting to make sense of the social changes of the 1990s through 2010s from the perspective of twenty years hence, if we live long enough.

    Posted in Deep Thoughts, Human Behavior, Internet | 26 Comments »

    On Being an IT Project Manager

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 23rd October 2013 (All posts by )

    My profession is much in the news at the moment, so I thought I would pass along such insights as I have from my career, mostly from a multibillion-dollar debacle which I and several thousand others worked on for a few years around the turn of the millennium. I will not name my employer, not that anyone with a passing familiarity with me doesn’t know who it is; nor will I name the project, although knowing the employer and the general timeframe will give you that pretty quickly too.
    We spent, I believe, $4 billion, and garnered a total of 4,000 customers over the lifetime of the product, which was not aimed at large organizations which would be likely to spend millions on it, but at consumers and small businesses which would spend thousands on it, and that amount spread out over a period of several years. From an economic transparency standpoint, therefore, it would have been better to select 4,000 people at random around the country and cut them checks for $1 million apiece. Also much faster. But that wouldn’t have kept me and lots of others employed, learning whatever it is we learn from a colossally failed project.
    So, a few things to keep in mind about a certain spectacularly problematic and topical IT effort:

    • Large numbers of reasonably bright and very hard-working people, who have up until that point been creating significant wealth, can unite in a complete flop. Past performance is no guarantee, and all that. Because even reasonably bright, hard-working people can suffer from failures of imagination, tendencies to wishful thinking, and cultural failure in general.
    • Morale has got to be rock-bottom for anybody with any degree of self-awareness working on this thing. My relevant moment was around the end of ’99 when it was announced, with great fanfare, at a large (200+ in attendance) meeting to review progress and next steps, that we had gotten a single order through the system. It had taken various people eight hours to finish the order. As of that date, we were projecting that we would be doing 1,600 orders a day in eight months. To get an idea of our actual peak rate, note the abovementioned cumulative figure of 4,000 over the multi-year lifespan of the project.
    • Root cause analysis is all very well, but there are probably at least three or four fundamental problems, any one of which would have crippled the effort. As you may infer from the previous bullet point, back-office systems was one of them on that project. Others which were equally problematic included exposure to the software upgrade schedule of an irreplaceable vendor who was not at all beholden to us to produce anything by any particular date, and physical access to certain of our competitors’ facilities, which they were legally required to allow us into exactly two (2) days per year. See also “cultural failure,” above; most of us were residing and working in what is one of the most livable cities in the world in many ways, but Silicon Valley it ain’t.
    • Not to overlook the obvious, there is a significant danger that the well-advertised difficulties of the website in question will become a smokescreen for the fundamental contradictions of the legislation itself. The overall program cannot work unless large numbers of people act in a counter-incentived (possibly not a word, but I’m groping for something analogous to “counterintuitive”) fashion which might politely be termed “selfless” – and do so in the near future. What we seem likely to hear, however, is that it would have worked if only certain IT architectural decisions had been better made.

    This thing would be a case study for the next couple of decades if it weren’t going to be overshadowed by physically calamitous events, which I frankly expect. In another decade, Gen-X managers and Millennial line workers, inspired by Boomers, all of them much better at things than they are now, “will be in a position to guide the nation, and perhaps the world, across several painful thresholds,” to quote a relevant passage from Strauss and Howe. But getting there is going to be a matter of selection pressures, with plenty of casualties. The day will come when we long for a challenge as easy as reorganizing health care with a deadline a few weeks away.

    Posted in Big Government, Book Notes, Commiserations, Current Events, Customer Service, Health Care, Internet, Law, Medicine, Personal Narrative, Politics, Predictions, Systems Analysis, Tech, USA | 6 Comments »

    Freedom, the Village, and the Internet

    Posted by David Foster on 21st September 2013 (All posts by )

    I’ve reviewed two books by German writer Hans Fallada: Little Man, What Now?, and Wolf Among Wolves (the links go to the reviews), both of which were excellent. I recently finished his novel Every Man Dies Alone, which is centered on a couple who become anti-Nazi activists after their son Ottochen is killed in the war…it was inspired by, and is loosely based on, the true story of  a real-life couple who distributed anti-Nazi postcards and were executed for it.

    I thought this book was also excellent…the present post, though, is not a book review, but rather a development of some thoughts inspired by a particular passage in the story.

    Trudel, who was Ottochen’s fiancee, is a sweet and intelligent girl who is strongly anti-Nazi..and unlike Ottochen’s parents, she became an activist prior to being struck by personal tragedy: she is a member of a resistance cell at the factory where she works.  But she finds that she cannot stand the unending psychological strain of underground work–made even worse by the rigid and doctrinaire man (apparently a Communist) who is leader of the cell–and she drops out. Another member of the cell, who has long been in love with her, also finds that he is not built for such work, and drops out also.

    After they marry and Trudel becomes pregnant, they decide to leave the politically hysterical environment of Berlin for a small town where–they believe–life will be freer and calmer.

    Like many city dwellers, they’d had the mistaken belief that spying was only really bad in Berlin and that decency still prevailed in small towns. And like many city dwellers, they had made the painful discovery that recrimination, eavesdropping, and informing were ten times worse in small towns than in the big city. In a small town, everyone was fully exposed, you couldn’t ever disappear in the crowd. Personal circumstances were quickly ascertained, conversations with neighbors were practically unavoidable, and the way  such conversations could be twisted was something they had already experienced in their own lives, to their chagrin.

    Reading the above passage, I was struck by the thought that if we are now living in an “electronic village”…even a “global village,” as Marshall McLuhan put it several decades ago…then perhaps that also means we are facing some of the unpleasant characteristics that–as Fallada notes–can be a part of village life. And these characteristics aren’t something that appears only in eras of insane totalitarianism such as existed in Germany during the Nazi era. Peter Drucker, in Managing in the Next Society, wrote about the tension between liberty and community:

    Rural society has been romanticized for millenia, especially in the West, where rural communities have usually been portrayed as idylic. However, the community in rural society is actually both compulsory and coercive…And that explains why, for millenia, the dream of rural people was to escape into the city. Stadluft macht frei (city air frees) says an old German proverb dating back to the eleventy or twelfth century.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Book Notes, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, France, Germany, Health Care, History, Internet, Media, USA | 14 Comments »

    The Future of Media (?)

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 25th August 2013 (All posts by )

    As I was walking in River North I stopped short after seeing this sign for “Buzz Feed”. If you don’t know the name, they are a very successful internet site (is that what you call it nowadays?) that creates their own content that typically goes “viral” or pushes out existing content. You know, the ones with cats, cute animals, funny GIFS, etc…

    It is strange seeing the physical manifestation of all the time-wasting crap on the web that most of us enjoy from time to time. If you go to their “about” page on their web site (I probably am literally the first person to do this) you can see the usual types of people that you’d expect to run a web site (or mobile content site? I’m not sure what to call it anymore). I looked at their jobs site and didn’t see any open ones in Chicago so I’m not sure what goes on there besides the little plaque.

    Another aggregator is “Gawker Media” that has a bunch of sites (mobile sites?) that we visit a lot especially Deadspin, but also LifeHacker and many others. These sites, like Buzzfeed, are a big challenge to “traditional” media because 1) they sell a lot of advertising 2) they create their own content (or borrow it) 3) they aren’t really journalists (mostly). For instance Deadspin absolutely breaks stories or “piles on” when something happens (like Sandusky in Penn State) but often they just take what’s out there and call it like they see it. Deadspin in particular could care less what journalists / media / companies think of them and they are immensely likable as a result. Gawker too breaks stories like when they had long-term unemployed write in about their plight or Wal-Mart employees started writing in about how miserably that company apparently treats their staff.

    The future of media (?) in my own neighborhood…

    Cross posted at LITGM

    Posted in Blogging, Internet | 1 Comment »

    Social-Media Corruption

    Posted by Jonathan on 14th August 2013 (All posts by )

    What proportion of all social-media communication is by bots, spammers, people with agendas who misrepresent themselves, or severely dysfunctional people who pass as normal online? I suspect it’s a large proportion.

    There’s not much hard evidence, but every once in a while something like this turns up. I’m guessing it’s the tip of an iceberg. See also this. And who can overlook the partisan trolls who show up on this and other right-of-center blogs before elections. Where do they come from?

    None of this apparently widespread Internet corruption should come as a surprise. Given the low costs and lack of barriers to entry it would be surprising if attempts to game the system were less frequent than they appear to be. Nonetheless it’s prudent to keep in mind that a lot of what appears online is probably fake and certainly misleading.

    (Via.)

    Posted in Business, Human Behavior, Internet, Systems Analysis | 14 Comments »

    Rather Obviously, Not an Obama Fan

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 25th July 2013 (All posts by )

    So, I had a book club meeting in Fredericksburg, Texas, this morning – which was a blast for me personally, as it was one of my own books that they had read for the monthly selection. Just about everyone in the group came to the discussion, which was a definite coup for the member who had contacted me with a question about one of my website pages. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Diversions, Internet, Photos, Recipes, Tea Party | 7 Comments »

    Wasp Stings and Social Media

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 24th July 2013 (All posts by )

    We had a problem at the farm yesterday.

    I got home a bit early and decided to clean up a deck that had become overgrown with weeds. We had wooden lawn furniture on it. I moved the furniture out of there and cleaned up the area. Later, my kids were playing on that deck and all of a sudden my youngest came screaming into the house in all sorts of pain. She had received three wasp stings on her ankle. The wasps were swarming. I have no idea how I didn’t get stung that whole time.

    This morning we saw the wasp nest embedded in the underside of one of the wooden tables and took care of it.

    When my youngest was in agony we instantly grabbed our phones and went online and to facebook, to find a cure of some sort. We should have had some sort of sting medicine in the place but didn’t.

    Just like when our dog got skunked, we found an instant solution – it was a paste of baking soda and something else. It worked pretty well.

    I am blown away at how much information is available at one’s fingertips. A lot of people know a lot about a lot of things.

    Posted in Internet, Personal Narrative | 12 Comments »

    The Way We Do Business Today

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 30th April 2013 (All posts by )

    With the employment prospects being what it is these days, I have read repeatedly in the last couple of years that really enterprising individuals are tempted to turn indy and go free-lance. They look to establish a small enterprise, vending whatever talents and skills they possess as a so-called ‘independent contractor’ to the public at large, and earn a living thereby, rather than scrounge and maneuver and hope for a paying job on the bottom rung of the corporate and/or government establishment. Pardon the sarcasm – it seems that certain large and well-connected established corporations these days are almost indistinguishable from the government, at least to judge from the rapidity which which the well-connected move back and forth.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Announcements, Conservatism, Diversions, Entrepreneurship, Internet, USA | 11 Comments »

    Bowdoin: In 1825 & Now

    Posted by Ginny on 7th April 2013 (All posts by )

    I don’t know much about Bowdoin. This seems, unfortunately, to be expected. I like the donor’s response – the president’s petty grandstanding is an overreach that motivates. Smugness enrages.

    Today we skim over Longfellow, but once readers looked forward to his next narrative poem as an event. Longfellow also took academia and his languages seriously – developing a modern language program at Bowdoin; Harvard then drew him away to develop a similar program for them and he did. As we read a poem or two, I mention his Morituri Salutamus. Longfellow’s theme is similar but he hasn’t the power of Tennyson’s Ulysses. However this occasional poem is personal; his classmates, the classes of 1824 and 1825, at Bowdoin were some of his closest friends all his life. While he was the most popular American poet, a classmate and friend was Hawthorne. The novelist also remained intensely grateful and loyal to Franklin Pierce; a friendship begun at Bowdoin lasted until Hawthorne’s death. A fourth gained his fame more indirectly: Calvin Stowe’s interest in theology was shared with the famous Beecher family; his wife became a novelist with the broad audience Longfellow found. Clearly all were shaped by those years at Bowdoin.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Academia, Arts & Letters, Internet, Lit Crit | 20 Comments »

    “What Happens When A Famous Restaurant Doesn’t Buy Its Domain Name”

    Posted by Jonathan on 20th March 2013 (All posts by )

    This.

    (Via Ibis Studio on Twitter.)

    Posted in Humor, Internet | 5 Comments »

    Google Reader: The End

    Posted by L. C. Rees on 14th March 2013 (All posts by )

    Google will discontinue Reader, their online newsfeed reader for RSS and Atom, on July 1, 2013. Reader users must find a replacement.

    Google is killing Reader as part of a spring cleaning ritual where products with little following are sacrificed:

    We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined.

    Finding a Reader replacement is complicated by why Reader’s usage declined: those who used newsfeed readers to follow blogs and other web syndicated content now use “social media” like Facebook, Twitter, or even iTunes. A small minority even use Google Plus, Google’s most recent try at “social media”.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Blogging, Internet, Tech, Tradeoffs | 3 Comments »

    Girl Genius is down due to DNS

    Posted by TM Lutas on 12th March 2013 (All posts by )

    For a certain style of geek, the week is not complete without stopping by Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to dip into the mad science world of Girl Genius, a creation of Phil and Kaja Foglio. The series is a three time hugo award winner, twice winning an Eisner award, and three time winner of the Web Cartoonist choice awards. In other words, it’s very good.

    But like many of their mad scientist creations, they’ve been let down by a minion, and their domain has expired. You can, however still reach it via IP number. But curses, the actual comic does not use relative addressing so you have to plug that in separately, like this to get Monday’s tasty bit of a world where mad science rules.

    Posted in Internet | 5 Comments »

    Skunk Help With Social Networking

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 15th October 2012 (All posts by )

    Last night I reaped the benefits of social networking, facebook in particular.

    We finally finished our house on the farm and moved there on Friday. Around 8pm on Sunday our dog started going nuts inside the house, running from window to window, fully on point. Yep, this guy – Jameson. You may remember him from previous posts – 1/2 Airedale, 1/4 Bouvier, and 1/4 everything else. He has become quite the farm dog.

    My wife headed to the door to unleash the beast and as the words “DON’T” were exiting my mouth he was off to the races. And I mean off to the races. We have clocked him at over 25 miles per hour in our pickup truck.

    I hadn’t seen the real reason he was so wound up but wanted to see before we let him loose, where my wife was simply concerned about her horses and wanted him to turn a coyote or whatever inside out. Sadly for us, I was right. It was a skunk that our dog promptly cornered. The results were predictable. He ran to my wife to alert her and rubbed on her, as well as our cars.

    I had to laugh as my luck hasn’t been too great lately and posted the following on my facebook page:

    My wife’s dog just got skunked. Fan f*cking tastic.

    I always refer to Jameson as my wife’s dog – long running joke.

    Anyways, I was reminded instantly that we are friends with horse and rural property owners, as within minutes of my little joke facebook post, cures for our woes started to pile in. Here is the one that we used, and the one that worked pretty well:

    1 Quart of Hydrogen Peroxide.. 1/4 cup of Baking Soda// 1 teaspoon of liquid Soap.. Sponge the solutin on the dogl let it sit for 5 minutes.. Rinse off with warm water.. It must be made Fresh for each INCIDENT..(Mixing these ingredients and storing them in a closed bottle will result in an explosion).. So get a couple bottles.. do one bath tonight and another in the morning.. That should help.. Good Luck

    It worked as well as we could hope for. It eliminated about 95% of the stench from the dog, and we also used the solution on the surrounding area where the skunk let go.

    This was an unexpected surprise and reminded me that a lot of people know a lot of things. In this particular case it was a very useful thing.

    Cross posted at LITGM.

    Posted in Internet, Jameson, Personal Narrative | 14 Comments »

    Musings on L’Affaire du Poulet Filet

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 5th August 2012 (All posts by )

    Taking it into my head to go to the local Chick-fil-A last Wednesday was another one of those odd things, like getting involved in the Tea party which happened because of a friend. In this case, a purely on-line friend; the friend who inveigled me into attending an early San Antonio Tea Party planning committee meeting was a blog-friend whom I had actually met on a couple of social occasions, so when he said, ‘Hey, we need someone to write press releases and stuff, and you’re a writer and you were a broadcaster, so can ya?’ And being a stubborn independent libertarian-conservative sort, it seemed like a good idea. That the planned event very shortly turned into an all-Texas blow-out with 15,000 to maybe as many as 20,000 in attendance … well, I didn’t have anything much to do with that … I just kept my head down and sent out the press releases and made myself available for local media interviews.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Americas, Business, Christianity, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Internet, Media, North America, Politics, Tea Party | 7 Comments »

    Two New Articles at Pragati Magazine

    Posted by Zenpundit on 7th July 2012 (All posts by )

    My amigo Adam Elkus and I each have an article up at the newest issue of Pragati magazine. Adam is reviewing the Sanger book on Obama and national security and I tackle the strategic implications of drones and cyber warfare:

    Adam ElkusConfront, Conceal, Leak 

    David Sanger’s Confront and Conceal is best used as a Rosetta stone for deciphering DC discourse. Its true utility lies not in its uneven discussion of Barack Obama’s national security decisions, but in the way it reveals both mundane and alarming traits of American foreign policy debate. Sanger’s obsession with a supposed “split” between values and interests, mistaken belief that international security should be conducted according to the Golden Rule, and exposure of sensitive leaks all tell a story about the state of national security debate in 21st century Washington. Although the message is muddied and the narrator unreliable, Confront and Conceal is gripping reading.

    Sanger’s self-designated task is to illuminate, through judicious research and both on and off the record interviews, the Obama administration’s struggle to operationalise its new vision of foreign policy. Sanger is at his best when exploring the way high-level officials engage in bureaucratic judo. His Obama is a canny political operator that compensates for relative inexperience with self-awareness and vigor. Even in the face of strategic surprise and bureaucratic infighting, Obama keeps a firm hand on the steering wheel. Sanger aggressively promotes a reading of Obama as driven operator rather than spectator, a portrayal that rings true when compared to other popular accounts of Obama’s foreign policy leadership style…. 

    Mark Safranski -Drone invasions and cyber dystopias 

    ….Of the two, drones have the older history, going back almost a century to the Great War where experiments in auto-piloted planes were financed by the US Navy, but for much of the twentieth century, military applications for drones (or “remotely piloted vehicles”) were sharply limited. The technological capabilities of drones always lagged far behind the advances in manned aircraft and they were extremely vulnerable to modern anti-aircraft systems, or in some cases, small arms fire. While drones had some marginal utility for battlefield surveillance or as decoys, during the Cold War they were never the primary collection tools for sensitive intelligence that the U-2 Blackbird, listening posts and spy satellites were.

    Several factors in the twenty-first century have pushed drones to the forefront as a weapon of choice for the Pentagon and the militaries of major powers. First, has been the relative decline of the probability of major interstate war since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the corresponding rise of irregular warfare in the form of insurgency by terrorists, guerrillas and rebellious tribes. Generally, these low-tech combatants reside in poor and remote areas and lack the capacity to detect or defend against drones except by concealment. Secondly, drones offer a tremendous economic advantage and battlefield return on investment (ROI) per enemy killed over advanced fighter aircraft.  A new F-22 costs $150 million to buy and $45,000 an hour just to fly with a pilot whose training costs the USAF $2.6 million; a reusable, propeller-driven Predator only costs slightly over $4 million. About the price of two and half Tomahawk cruise missiles….

    Posted in Aviation, Book Notes, India, International Affairs, Internet, Military Affairs, National Security, Politics, USA, War and Peace | 9 Comments »

    A host of lessons on the web, with room for admiration

    Posted by Charles Cameron on 14th June 2012 (All posts by )

    [ cross-posted from Zenpundit -- Farrall and McCants, debate and discourse]
    .


    .

    There’s a whole lot to be learned about jihad, counter-terrorism, scholarship, civil discourse, online discourse, and social media, and I mean each and every one of those, in a debate that took place recently, primarily between Leah Farrall and Will McCants.

    Indeed, Leah still has a final comment to make — and when she makes it, that may be just the end of round one, if I may borrow a metaphor from a tweet I’ll quote later.
    .

    1.

    Briefly, the biographies of the two main agonists (they can’t both be protagonists, now, can they? I believe agonist is the right word):

    Dr. Leah Farrall (left, above) is a Research Associate at the University of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre (USSC). She was formerly a senior Counter Terrorism Intelligence Analyst with the Australian Federal Police (AFP), and the AFP’s al Qaeda subject matter specialist. She was also senior Intelligence Analyst in the AFP’s Jakarta Regional Cooperation Team (JRCT) in Indonesia and at the AFP’s Forward Operating Post in response to the second Bali bombings. Leah has provided national & international counter terrorism training & curriculum development. She recently changed the name of her respected blog. Her work has been published in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, and elsewhere.

    Dr. William McCants, (right) is a research analyst at the Center for Strategic Studies at CNA, and adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University. He has served as Senior Adviser for Countering Violent Extremism at the U.S. Department of State, program manager of the Minerva Initiative at the Department of Defense, and fellow at West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center. He edited the Militant Ideology Atlas, co-authored Stealing Al Qa’ida’s Playbook, and translated Abu Bakr Naji‘s Management of Savagery. Will has designed curricula on jihadi-inspired terrorism for the FBI. He is the founder and co-editor of the noted blog, Jihadica. He too has been published in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic and elsewhere.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Afghanistan/Pakistan, Blogging, Internet, Law Enforcement, National Security, Rhetoric, Terrorism | 14 Comments »

    The Internet Rewards Crazy

    Posted by Jonathan on 12th June 2012 (All posts by )

    Crazy, overconfident; the opposite of the judicious, scientific, skeptical temperament.

    Extreme opinions.

    Stubborn.

    Bombastic.

    The opposite of thoughtful.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Human Behavior, Internet | 10 Comments »

    Why Not Scriptkillers?

    Posted by Jonathan on 23rd May 2012 (All posts by )

    Using Firefox, many tabs open, my computer’s default state.

    Eventually I open a Web page that has a badly written script that bogs down the browser and sometimes the whole computer and can’t be stopped or even identified.

    I bookmark everything, close Firefox, kill the Firefox process in Windows Task Manager and reopen everything, login again, etc. Because this restart can take five or ten minutes and interrupts multiple things that I’m doing, I usually put up with erratic browser behavior until Firefox crashes or becomes unusable.

    Why doesn’t Firefox isolate each tabbed window in its own thread or group of threads? That way, closing the tab with the runaway script would solve the problem. And why doesn’t Firefox provide a resource monitor to show the % of system resources being used by each tab, so that you can easily ID and close a problem tab? These seem to be the obvious questions.

    I suspect that users are much more attuned to browser reliability than they used to be. We’re far removed from the days when PCs became unstable if you didn’t reboot them frequently and nobody used browsers for serious purposes. The programmers should make their browsers more robust as they’ve already done for operating systems.

    UPDATE: This looks interesting. (There’s also this, which I remember seeing in book stores a long time ago.)

    Posted in Book Notes, Internet, Tech | 13 Comments »

    Sony Blu-ray Disc Review BDP-BX58… and the future of Sony

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 18th March 2012 (All posts by )

    On the masthead of our blog at “Life in the Great Midwest” it used to read “We Shill for Nobody”. And that is still true. But if we find something that may be interesting to others we like to share it.

    Recently I bought a Sony Blu-Ray Disc Player BDP-BX58. This replaces my existing Samsung DVD player (which worked fine). I bought it, after rebate, for about $100 at Costco.

    I bought it to try out the internet through my television. It also allows you to stream other media (pictures from your PC, songs from your PC, etc…) through your TV which I wasn’t as interested in.

    Although it is a DVD player, I only put a DVD in to make sure it worked and all the wires, sound, etc… were working correctly through my surround sound system. I remember reading an article about a focus group that tested a smart phone with a bunch of high school students – the researcher said in all the time he watched them text, stream, and run apps, he never saw them use the smart phone to MAKE A PHONE CALL. Like them, I was basically using this DVD player as a gateway to the internet not as a DVD playing device.

    I went to You Tube and immediately started having fun. Recently I was at a friends’ condo and we were discussing music (for hours, since I know a lot of obscure stuff, but he dwarfs my knowledge on the topic). It was cool to just type in a band like “Mastodon” and all their videos come up, including all their appearances on late night shows like Letterman. Obviously there is a lot of stuff on You Tube and it is fun to watch it through your TV.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Internet, Tech | 7 Comments »

    BS Detector

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 17th March 2012 (All posts by )

    I am an avid user of Facebook, for better or worse. The last few weeks many of my friends have been engaging in a large amount of slacktivism by linking a video called Kony 2012.


    Some of the scenes in this video may be disturbing, as the topic is general violence and exploitation of children in Africa.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Film, International Affairs, Internet, Media, Music, Video | 15 Comments »

    Contact Your Senators and Congress Members: Tell Them You Oppose SOPA and PIPA

    Posted by Lexington Green on 18th January 2012 (All posts by )

    Contact information is here.

    My Congressman is Danny Davis. It appears that he has not announced a position. I left a polite message asking him to vote against SOPA.

    My two Senators are Mark Kirk and Richard Durbin. Kirk has come out against PIPA. Bully for him. I contacted his office and registered my approval.

    I called Sen. Durbin’s office, and the person on the phone gave a well-rehearsed explanation of why the Senator supports PIPA.

    I suggest that Illinois residents continue to call Sen. Durbin, and if possible have good reasons why PIPA is no good.

    He may shift if the volume of contacts is large enough.

    Keep working on this, please.

    Update: I note that this issue seems to be a genuine example of Left / Right opposition to a naked power grab by one element of the Politico-Big Business Complex.

    It is similar to the sliver of overlap on the Venn Diagram between the Tea Party and the Occupy movement: The one thing everyone who is not already an insider is opposed to is Crony Capitalism. See this post.

    Does the Main Adversary at last come into view?

    One can hope.

    Information on SOPA and PIPA here.

    Posted in Big Government, Internet, Politics, Tech, USA | 5 Comments »

    Taking a Stand

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 18th January 2012 (All posts by )

    I heard on the way in to work this morning that Google was blacking out today in sympathy with Wikipedia, over the legislation currently working its way through the Democratic controlled Senate that supposedly will censor the internet. I haven’t had the time or energy to read what the actual legislation says, so I really don’t have a comment on that.

    I checked over at Wikipedia and they are indeed blacked out.

    So I went over to Google and as of this writing, their NAME is blacked out, but the search engine functionality is working the same as always. Oh huge stand Google.

    I have been using Bing for a while now and it works just fine.

    Posted in Internet | 14 Comments »

    Kindle Fire Review

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 29th November 2011 (All posts by )

    Below the fold, a review of the Kindle Fire ($199), if you are interested.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes, Internet, Tech | 17 Comments »

    Kindle Fire

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 18th November 2011 (All posts by )

    Huzzah! My Kindle Fire arrived just in time for the weekend. I ordered the (p)leather holster for that but it appears that it may be on back order. Oh well. Full report to come after I play with this thing.

    Posted in Book Notes, Business, Internet | Comments Off