A Plague of Locusts

The absurd contempt for life expressed in the apparent lack of concern for the necessities of survival — air, water, food — by the powerful drives me to despair. Either these folks are exceptionally ignorant and obtuse, to think that they are unaffected by poison, or they simply have no thought for the future. To […]

Science Fiction was never entirely about The Future

I’ve been reading stories from the November/December 2017 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine that I picked up at Barnes & Noble before Christmas. They seem so immediate. The first I read, “I Met a Traveler in an Antique Land,” by Connie Willis, was a pleasant tale of a new media guru encountering an archive […]

The Browser History Fell Through a Memory Hole in my Pocket

If not careful, the brogrammers responsible for the attention deficit economy and big data collection will find their work has gone the way of interactive television. People use tools because they are — wait for it — useful. You’re not the customer; you’re the product. A web browser keeps, or kept, a history of where the […]

The Customer Perspective

There’s too much wrong with the FCC — in all its various political, technical, and regulatory aspects — to get into arguments on the line. However, I’d like to point out one small piece of anecdata from Number Two Daughter’s iPhone 6. From the customer’s perspective, Internet access providers are common carriers. Number Two Daughter […]

What I Bought Today

It makes perfect sense, buying this. Now, this time of year when, more than any other time of year, it’s the time to buy things. It was weird buying this, though, a thing about buying things. There are other things I could have bought, I suppose. Shiny things, perhaps. Heavy things. And things I could […]

Envy

Looking at my résumé, I feel like I have to justify the decisions I’ve made. It’s not the curriculum vitae I thought I’d have. At each step along the way, each fork in the road I took made sense. Looking back, there’s some regret — and envy. Regret that I didn’t see opportunities, not of […]

First World Problems

Despite all evidence to the contrary, it is possible to use adverbs on road signs. This month’s additional practice is to not like anything on the Internet. To aid that practice, I’ve removed Facebook and Twitter from my mobile device. Apple’s iOS 11 then helpfully removed the ability to share things to those sites from […]

Wonder

Yesterday I asked, what about the world beyond the virtual? Computers didn’t have, for the longest time, sensors. Their only interaction with the world was through input devices such as punch-cards, then later keyboards and mice. They only knew what they were told. Many have a variety of sensors now: antennae, gyroscopes, cameras, thermometers, and so […]

Library Hazards

Began work on organizing my collection of fiction today, and am very irritated. One of the cats — I know which one — has taken it upon himself to urinate on the bottom shelves, thus limiting storage capacity, increasing the tipping hazard, and reducing the likelihood he’ll die a natural death. This is a tremendous […]