No time.

So the modern conception of time—that is, strongly demarcated, numbered, and globally consistent intervals of seconds, minutes, and hours—is just that; very modern. It was basically invented as part of the industrial revolution, in part due to clocks getting better but mostly as a by-product of labour regulation in factories.

And, with that in mind, what if we just… got rid of it? Not causality or the passing from one moment to another (which, y’know, you can’t exactly just legislate away), but rather the social conventions associated with specific clock-numbers. What if we just went back to letting people do things according to their body’s natural inclination to do them?

Incidentally, I had a personal run-in with this a few months back when I took a week-long staycation wherein I was hit by a bout of insomnia. After tossing and turning and desperately trying to get back to sleep at 3am it eventually occurred to me I didn’t actually have to sleep because I didn’t have to wake up to go to work in a few hours. So I just… got up. Played videogames for a bit, ate breakfast at 4am, then went back for another nap between about 9am and noon. It confused the dog a bit but was otherwise… really weirdly liberating. Of all the things I did or didn’t do in that week, that was probably the single most de-stressing one. Which… Go figure, I guess.

2019-09-11T11:21:31+10:009th January, 2020|Tags: culture|

Government 101.

It’s not like Congress would say “we want to regulate your data collection practices” and Facebook would say “hmm no we’d rather you didn’t” and Congress would say “okay you have good lawyers we give up.” Facebook’s main leverage against the FTC—“we don’t think we did anything wrong and if you insist on restricting our data collection we will see you in court”—just wouldn’t work to stop Congress from making a law, because it is irrelevant. Congress can make a law about data privacy even if no one has broken any previous laws. In fact that’s the best reason to make a law! “There is a bad thing that is happening, and there is no law against it, so we should make a law against it”: That is a perfectly sensible line of reasoning!

[…]

The idea of passing a law to ban bad stuff is not to give the FTC more power to negotiate stricter settlement conditions. The idea of passing a law to ban bad stuff is to ban the bad stuff. If Congress passed a law restricting social media companies’ data collection practices, then the FTC wouldn’t need to include those restrictions in a consent decree with Facebook, because those restrictions would be in the law. Facebook would be bound by them, not because it agreed to them, but because they would be the law. Twitter and Google and other yet-to-be-invented internet services would also be bound by them, even without agreeing to them, because they would be generally applicable national rules about internet privacy passed by the legislative body in the name of the people, rather than the product of negotiations with one company.

Matt Levine on the law.

It’s almost like there’s been half a century of a concerted effort towards getting the public to stop thinking about the government as a tool through which it may use its collective will to curb the excesses of multi-million-dollar corporations and instead replacing that with an arrangement whereby the entire legislative and executive branches of government are replaced by the judicial. I mean. Almost. You remember that thing about the GOP not letting Obama appoint a SCOTUS judge? It’s almost like this is exactly the reason why. Who needs the affect of a representative democracy when you can have a panel of life-appointed plutocrats running the country as a kritocracy where he who has the most expensive lawyers almost always by-default wins?

2019-12-18T09:52:56+11:008th January, 2020|Tags: government, politics, social media, tech|

Authorial 2020 todo list:

  • Move store from Woo to Gumroad, probably (to simplify website). Done.
  • Start chucking Liesmith up on Wattpad/etc. (Scheduled for later this month, when the current KDP Select enrollment expires.)
  • Put Stormbringer in KDP Select for a bit.
  • Ebook formats for Dragon of Rosemont High.
  • Demon book maybe?
2020-01-08T13:22:19+11:008th January, 2020|Tags: alis.me, gonzo author stories|

Ecommerce is terrible.

This post about someone trying to help their elderly mother buy opera tickets—and navigate the UX nightmare that was stopping her—reminds me of the time my parents ending up changing their entire insurance provider because their old one’s website wouldn’t load at all with an adblocker enabled…

2019-09-11T10:13:25+10:007th January, 2020|Tags: tech, ux|

Sinking blue.

[A]ccording to its last investor slide deck and basic subtraction, Facebook is not growing anymore in the United States, with zero million new accounts in Q1 2019, and only four million new accounts since Q1 2017. That leaves the rest of the world, where Facebook is growing fastest “in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines,” according to Facebook CFO David Wehner. Wehner didn’t mention the fine print on page 18 of the slide deck, which highlights the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam as countries where there are “meaningfully higher” percentages of, and “episodic spikes” in, fake accounts. In other words, Facebook is growing the fastest in the locations worldwide where one finds the most fraud. In other other words, Facebook isn’t growing anymore at all—it’s shrinking. Even India, Indonesia and the Philippines don’t register as many searches for Facebook as they used to. Many of the “new” users on Instagram are actually old users from the core platform looking to escape the deluge of fakery.

Aaron Greenspan on Fakebook.

Also known as, “What happens to your unregulated market growth when you literally run out of physical market to grow in?”

See also: Late-stage capitalism.

2019-09-11T10:07:54+10:006th January, 2020|Tags: facebook, social media, tech|

SWTOR cut-scene doodles.

Star Wars: The Old Republic character doodles drawn during cut-scenes.

I’ve currently finished three of the class storylines:

  • Sith Inquisitor (Assassin): My main, and the only class I’ve played to level cap. Class story is bananas in a good way, but was extremely meh on the companions. Played aggressively light-sided, initially romanced the padawan girl (… ick) but immediately ditched her for Space Husband Theron Shan in the expansions.1
  • Imperial Agent (Operative): Story starts a bit meh, gets strong in the middle, and kind of… never really delivers at the end. The “un-reveal” of Hunter left me so annoyed I just shot the guy without listening to any of his end-game speechifying, so no idea what he wanted to try and tell me. Another (mostly) light-sided play-through, romanced Vector, gave the Codex to the Minister and remained with Sith Intelligence. As an aside, the story really, really seems to want you to be mad at the Minister for the codeword thing, though honestly I thought his rationale for it was pretty reasonable in the context of how the Empire operates. The SIS using the codeword, however, was not; I killed everyone who did so and honestly it was enough to make me regret working with them on my main. I can see why people describe this as the best of the class storylines, even if I didn’t think it qui-ii-ii-ite pushed things far enough in the third chapter…
  • Jedi Knight (Sentinel): Ditched at Alderaan for Warrior (which see below). I just… couldn’t. The story is so boring and, honestly, I loathe the Knight’s voice acting.2 I can see why they chose it, but… ugh. No. Ostensibly playing dark-side for lolz, but the actual dark side choices for Knight are so boring—and honestly mostly petty and stupid to boot—compared to those in some of the other class storylines that I’m honestly struggling with it. On the plus side, I really like the aesthetics of Sentinel (setting enemies aflame with blue fire!), so… there’s that.
  • Sith Warrior (Juggernaut): Giant space daddy. Class storyline is straightforward but engaging, particularly if you’re a huge sucker for Lawful Evil like yours truly. Played aggressively neutral-aligned to confuse the galaxy, which was a lot of fun. Enjoyed the companions, but all the romance options for a male PC were super skeevy so romanced no one3 and slept with every NPC the game allowed me to sleep with instead. Enjoyed the play-style more than I thought I would, too.

Currently working on the Trooper (Commando) to unlock all four buffs, and I’m actually enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would—both play-wise and story-wise—though I’m not… hugely enthused with the direction they seem to want to take with the General…

But… yeah. That’s what I did in my New Year’s break!

Also: I still need to buy a new scanner…

  1. He’s currently mad at me; I’m trying to betray the Empire, Theron, but it’s not like the game allows you to defect! I just wanna shoot purple lightning at my enemies is that such a crime? []
  2. I actually re-rolled to get away from the male VA, though the female one isn’t much better. []
  3. I’m also sensing a… theme with the whole “romance your impressionable young female padawan/apprentice/subordinate/slave” which… every class has at least one of these, so like… gross, Bioware. Gross. []
2020-01-06T08:10:53+11:006th January, 2020|Tags: gaming, mmos, my art, pop culture, star wars, swtor, video games|