18th Anniversary of Blogging

Here is my first blog post from 18 years ago, which makes it as old as a legal adult. Wow…

Two Footballs

I got started at a place called Diaryland. A friend, Lacey, had started using it. Back in those days, I was up for trying pretty much anything geeky friends were doing. Blogging was a natural place for me to go.

Diaryland became Pitas and the site there was the first Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric. As other platforms became available, I tried them all:

My activity is far less now than it was back in 2000, but as I understand, most people active back then primarily post on Facebook or Twitter.

Pseudo-Following

There are a handful of people who post interesting things, but I cannot stand the 99% of what they post. Is it worth the pain sifting through thousands of crap posts to reach the one gem?

I discovered that I have a strategy for this dilemma. Follow someone who reposts the interesting stuff. Let them do the hard work.

Why does Microsoft hate Edge?

I have the default browser set to Chrome in the Windows OS. So, when I click a link in Outlook, it opens in Chrome. So, any time an application opens Internet Explorer, it is obviously something weird.

Okay, confession time, it makes me wonder if I am computer illiterate every time IE opens.

Since Edge will be three years old this coming July, I kind of expected the switch by now. Why are Microsoft applications opening links in anything other than the default browser? And why are they picking IE instead of Edge?

I thought I would fix the issue by uninstalling IE. In Control Panel > Programs > Turn features on and off, one can choose whether IE is installed. Unfortunately, that seems to have broken the ability of programs to use the default browser. Reinstalling IE fixed that.

ISP Maybe Not Neutral

It looks like maybe my ISP is forging their Ookla speed test results. Whenever I use that speed test, I get the speed I paid for, but performance otherwise still seems slow. Whenever I use other speed tests, I get results that are a quarter to a twentieth as fast.

The tests were not concurrently run. They were sequentially back and forth several times for consistent results. I’d need a lot more data to say one way or the other. I have not gotten to the point of running a thousand automated tests on every tester I can find.

Both consistently slow or intermittently slow Internet speeds might explain the issues streaming Hulu and Netflix. If it was intermittent, then in testing the speed the service might decide high speed means give me HD quality, but then a slow down causes it to start buffering and before it downgrades the fast speed is back.

Likelihood to read a tweetstorm

I’ve noticed something weird about my reading habits. I think only read maybe 1 on 25 tweetstorms authored by someone I follow. I will read about 1 in 5 retweeted by someone I follow.

Tweets appear with most recent at the top and oldest at the bottom. So, when I encounter a tweetstorm in my feed, the natural inclination is to scroll to the end and read them in reverse order. It is an unnatural threading.

When someone retweets a tweetstorm, it is just the one tweet with a notation that there is more in the thread. So, I click the tweet, it opens a page with the tweets in order where I can read them in order. It feels natural.

I guess I could click the last tweet from those I follow, get taken to the end and scroll back up to the top. That would put things in the right order.

Crappy Geofencing

A friend claimed geofencing is the solution to the problem of minor league baseball players clocking in and out for work. (Sure, I had other issues with the plan, but this is specifically about how if all that other stuff is wonderful, how geofencing would fail.)

The concept is that when one arrives at a destination, then a phone undertakes certain behaviors. Across a few phones over the past 4 years, I have been very, very underwhelmed.

  • Hit or miss: Location services are often inaccurate. Not like the wrong city inaccurate, but they often indicate I am at the wrong address which is just enough the action does not trigger. For example, a reminder app will trigger when I visit the grocery store to get things on the list. Except, it doesn’t half the time because it thinks I am at a business next door.
  • Battery drain: They usually demand one have GPS enabled. They also demand that you not be in a battery saving mode. So, you better have a great device with a huge battery or frequent access to recharging it.

I will admit this generally works much better today than it did 4 years ago. So, there is hope for the future. And the optimistic view is it probably just a couple years away, so the pessimistic view is more like a decade, so splitting the difference: 6 years.

Lying to Big Data

The reaction people have towards social media companies is to lie. This amuses me because self-reporting is well known as the worst data. The data scientists expect people to lie.[1] Which is why they ignore what you say about yourself and focus on your behavior.

So, you need to start having intentionally deceptive behavior. The problem is: if people like you all deceive in the same patterns, then the data points to the same place anyway. You have to deceive in novel ways others like you would never think of doing.

Good luck with that.

1. Christian Rudder’s Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking) is about how as a data scientist for OKCupid, a dating website, he cannot depend on the honesty of people. He has data on what they say and compares it to what they do.

Fake News

There is an article floating around with a title, “Fake news sharing in US is a rightwing thing, says study.” I have not clicked on it because it sounds like fake news. The Guardian typically has clickbait titles.

Also, I am annoyed because if I wanted to do a study on how susceptible liberals are to fake news, then putting out a fake study like this is exactly how I would gauge how much they share because it would go super viral.

On This Day & Friendship

The image that a specific friend failed to like

When I look through Facebook’s On This Day feature, sometimes I am startled to see that someone I expected to like a specific post did not.

This reminded me that what I post often is targeted. There are a handful of people who I know follow my posts and will appreciate them.

Friends are people who have shared experiences and/or interests. Those I target with a post are not usually tagged or named even when I intend for them to see it. The game is for them to see it as an inside joke. So for them to fail to like the post, I feel like I failed the friendship. It is like saying something that is an inside joke and get no smile.

Are we even still friends? (Sorry, just being melodramatic.) Probably. It is just a single data point. There would need to be a consistent pattern of misses.