Blog: Shitworld

Anthropology in neighborhoods with Nextdoor app

It's an app that works kind of like Facebook, but for realworld community members to post about and to other members. The mods are often the first person in a given community to join, and they have undemocratic power to ban members. It's turned into a big of an issue since people's biases and fears are amplified and given power through the app. People reporting suspicious people on the streets, threatening other members to report them to their employers, etc., in addition to the benefits of posting if someone has fresh fruit to give away. There are a few other apps that are also becoming highly used that do similar things, and Facebook is looking at doing a Neighborhoods feature. Another example of why I doubt I would ever want to live in the future world, even a decade or two ahead. The third and second world where I live might last a little longer, maybe not. The next step is a deserted island, but with the new internet satellites that are planned to deliver service to the entire world, plus solar power so you don't need a power source, plus the ever-sharper eyes in the sky, even deserted islands won't be a refuge from the shitworld. Maybe the best locations will be the worst, like Haiti, where the culture is so violent and untrustworthy that they can never build anything, where although you might live a shitty life there at least it will be relatively and acceptably free. The app is currently privately valued at $2b, and might IPO soon a a $5b $6b valuation. Users are growing.

Every piece of technology that empowers causes problems because it empowers. People in general are not prepared to use power responsibly because they're too mentally limited and mostly don't have the energy or will to control their more destructive tendencies. That's why we see every tool that gives them power cause social problems more than benefits.

Another reason is that in the first world there is so little real problems to fix in terms of problems caused by people. Crime has been declining for decades. It's declined for the past 10 years also, although perception of crime has risen for 10 years, thanks I guess to social media and journalism. It has been declining despite the creation of new and senseless laws making more unharmful things crimes, and more tools empowering the State to impose its laws. Perhaps a large part is that people in the West have nothing to do, and are denied many of the things they could enjoy or pursue in their own lives, so try to nose into or cause problems or 'solve' other people. Part of that no doubt is simply the lazy, nosy nature of people, as we see it in tribes as much as in suburbs.

I sometimes think of something said by that British spy novel writer, who had himself been a low-level spy in the years after WWII, that more spy tools or more ability to collect information was useless, because it didn't find the important parts that were needed. What was required was a very skilled person to know what he needed to find, or the specific-ish things that were valuable, go in to a specific location and get those things, and then they could use them. When they instead had access to more and more spying and tools, it just created useless, unusable mass, to which their labor now had to turn to to work on and try to sort or make sense of, taking them away from doing something targeted and specific to reach valuable specific goals. This is the same thing we have at the public State level now, with their rationales of protecting people from terrorism and other super-rare crimes, as well as some made-up crimes. They collect all data on everyone all the time, and store it all in giant buildings. They completely do more wrong and harm than they possibly could to benefit. But they could never use this information responsibly because it's not targeted and sensibly and responsibly collected and employed. It's just mass. Again, part of it is there isn't much real crime for them to find. Even their main target, terrorism, they can't prevent often as long as the terrorists are the least bit savvy or even if their not. The same thing at the neighborhood level, where people don't have anything really of value to do in terms of watching their neighbors. Any real harm would be so rare. Instead they just create and make up problems so they can find them.

In the Napoleonic wars in Spain of those discounted some soldiers were killed, many more were wounded, and others were deserters. In the battles, they seized the moment they weren't under supervision of their superiors to go in groups of 10 or 15 or 20, all armed and all hungry, down the hill they were fighting on to the village at the bottom of the hill, and ask who the French supporter was, and find out who was the person in the village with the most money, and the French supporter they produced was the most rich person in town, and that's exactly who they killed and took his things.

Today in those same towns we have something just like this banditry, terrorism, whether it be Basques or IS. Who wouldn't join such a group if they thought it was the best way to take things they wanted and didn't see themselves getting otherwise? And at a larger, more convoluted level, communities can be fonts of the same guerrilismo.


US is blacklisting more Chinese companies

I don't invest in any Chinese companies, so I don't care much, but it's interesting that no one is really framing this in terms of the fact China and it's companies aren't doing anything new that is considered bad. Closer to the truth is that the US has been bad in allowing China to do these things, dating to Kissinger I guess.


What's the Internet?

A while ago I was like, 'What's Windows?' but there's nothing but bad news in developments on the internet, which in quality also is just declining for reasons that people are limited by privacy and other violations from putting anything good up, while being only allowed to put up garbage. Hacks are in the news every week, and the biggest tech companies can't prevent them. Governments continue to put personal data on their systems, like health systems, which get hacked, and financial info sites like Equifax get hacked. Google has widespread service outages today, affecting gmail, Drive, etc. The US Treasury and another department was hacked today (official news party line is pointing at Russia). A couple days later the US Treasury named for the first time Vietnam (5% of their GDP) and Switzerland (14% of their GDP) as currency manipulators in the Treasury's new foreign exchange report, but not China, which news sites saw as a notable exclusion. China completed it's quantum computer, billions of times faster than the second-faster computer, reportedly, this week.

I'm not sure why governments and organizations that have private or sensitive information don't just build a second set of pipes and a closed internet, or move back to paper, or at least machines that don't have USB or other pluggable drives and no internet connection. Besides actually protecting information of US and other people who use these companies and services, it would also make technicians and workers more accountable, because whereas now you can't really track a data leak or hack, with paper it's sort of a different story. Most ridiculous in this is that the US and those big companies violate human and citizen rights as their basic process, which they ask to be allowed to do because they're protecting these people on a higher level. Although no one really believes this except the most gullible, this argument can't even be made when the organizations are so careless and weak they're responsible for creating huge risks to Americans and others.

We might just come to the conclusion the internet is not a place for anything private, and shut our lives off from it, except our public profiles, companies, etc. Additionally, we might adopt Europe-style right-to-be-removed procedure to keep ourselves off a pernicious tool such as the internet has become.

I remember a home PC before internet. We used it for composing pictures in Paint, writing letters to print and send, doing accounting on a spreadsheet program, and playing games, some on disks and other simple ones on early Windows. We just enjoyed it and never thought about negative things with it, except the difficulty of installing or running things because there was no computer scientist in the family.

Today I tried to go back on the internet, to revisit some of the projects I used to work on, and look at making some new ones. Everything was impossible. Godaddy is the worst company on the internet, incredibly stupid, keeps updating their website and it seems they're using $2 an hour Indian coders who every site edit make it worse. Nothing works. It doesn't even work with most browsers anymore. It doesn't load from some countries. I couldn't make payments. They also run a scam where if you search the domain you want and then don't buy it, they'll take it off the market and if you search a few days later you get 'it's not available but maybe we can still get it for you for $200.' They've been doing it for years and years, and I and associates have lost a lot of domains that were perfect for our project this way. Search an incredibly esoteric combination of words, find the .com is obviously available, go back 2 days later and find it taken. I try to remember to search a fake domain like godaddysucks to test their often-nonfunctioning website first, but forgot this time, so I've lost the domain that matches the rare name company I was going to develop a website for. Similar things at every step. Nothing works on the internet anymore. The only thing that works well is the 5 or 10 tech giant apps that track and monitor you.

Hardware is also made like garbage now. The new Lenovo Thinkpad L380 I got a few months ago already is showing it's low quality as the cord can't connect, something I suspected on day one because of the weird, weak power connector socket, and it flickers like a 90's modem, unable to really charge. I continue to buy 10 year old machines because the quality was better.


HP Is A Bad Company

How can it be argued?

I usually buy Canon printers, but in this city or country they have much less product selection than I'm used to. They had just one laser printer, an HP, which I bought for that reason. That there was only one to chose from.

This printer should print thousands of pages, but after probably less than 1000, it started flashing a 'low toner' error message, which I could at first bypass but then stopped the printer from printing. All the prints are still black. The toner is fine. Online, people comment that companies do this to force you to buy their toner, which they price above other makers and try to force you to require by putting chips on them so the printers won't use toner from other sources. Here, the shops take the chip off and put it on the other maker's toner.

Could HP even make an argument, though, that they aren't a bad company, using these practices?

Earlier-made products in good condition are worth a lot still for this reason. Printers made before they started putting chips in, processors before Intel IME and AMD PCH, Windows systems before Windows 8. Before these companies learned and decided to abuse their customers. For this reason, ARM is favored, since the discovery a year or so ago about what Intel and AMD had in there. People sometimes go from Windows 10 to Windows 7, and use software to prevent telemetry with that organization, and Linux is picking up market share, although some say MS or the organizations controlling it are making their way into the most common Linux distros to do the same thing they did with Windows. And the industries and services that have opened up because of the need to fix printer false limitations.


What's Windows?

Occasionally something on a forum comes up where people are dealing with the problems of Windows. I used to suffer with that so much, but so much time has passed now I barely know what Windows is anymore. The only time it comes up is when I see someone having problems with theirs online.