Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Today I just feel like Silicon Valley is working on a lot of stuff that most people don't really give a shit about.

The world really moves much more slowly than they think it does.


  1. I think it's even worse than that: there are plenty of indications that some people would simply be better off if they stopped trying to "help" ...

    Open-source projects that could benefit from having one or two more full-time people working on them are given "codes of conduct" by would-be "helpful people" who are trying to take over the projects -- that's just one thing for starters.

    I've also seen some people talking about what it means to accept "code gifts" that are anything but, and those people are now talking about refusing them if they don't also come with at least five years of decent support, simply because those people are left with fixing the code when the authors depart.

    Let's throw Intel to the wolves while we're at it: Linus Torvalds thinks that some of the recent security patches are security theatre that do nothing but make machines run slower in order to make it appear that something useful has been done. Even Intel knew its solution wasn't acceptable, and so they made it so you have to opt into it with most of the provided patches for the solution. They're talking like the quick release of the patches was a huge win (at least for PR anyway), but they've had to tell companies to stop patching servers because they probably screwed up the firmware updates for more than a few CPUs. Those people should stop helping (again, probably more PR people), and they should make way for some people who can actually help.

    There's that stupid-but-smart-card thing from CES as well. Major banks aren't going to like it without some sort of highly vetted security certification, and so it's going to turn into a more expensive way to handle shopping loyalty cards. If the banking industry wants a shared card platform, they have enough money to build one on their own. Why are these people trying to "help" at all?

    So many Silicon Valley people are trying to figure out how to make something out of all those "data points" that people have been reduced to, and that seems to be the Big Sell these days. But again it's not really "helping" but instead some kind of mildly screwing with these people.

    I wound up running Spy Monitor on my new phone for a week just so I could see all of the crap that's trying to phone home to Silicon Valley Google Mom or elsewhere. Stuff you wouldn't expect popped up: Sky News, Carlson Hotels, and a lot of other stuff tries to connect to Merck and other health care companies despite the fact that those apps aren't about health care.

    I don't want a "tailored experience" from my device usage information, I just want to read some news and to book a hotel room occasionally, and they should stop trying to "help themselves" by sneaking metrics data out of me.

    I'm that guy who instead of using the free version of some app always buys the "pro" or "donate" version so I don't have to deal with advertising and metrics harvesting, and still I have to deal with this crap because of "convenience apps" that I'm now simply dumping altogether. It's not like I'm short on cash, and I've had no problems getting my money back from Google so far.

    So it's worse than what you wrote: not only is Silicon Valley producing a bunch of stuff that nobody genuinely cares about, but also Silicon Valley is producing a bunch of stuff that people have genuine reasons to hate.

    The fact that it's going "much more slowly" is to me at least the only bright light in this particular tech tunnel.

  2. Yeah. I hate to admit it but I agree. Silicon Valley used to be the place of hope, but now it feels like they are just imposing their will on everyone. And worse yet - I think people ~are~ genuinely afraid of what they are doing. I started my career in the computer revolution. I worked at the "dot" in dot.com -no one was afraid of computers. It's just freaky how predatory Silicon Valley has become.

    Now Intel... LOL... I've called them out to be in the death cycle for a while now. So, over the summer I went to a conference that was made up of all Asians. So much so that I had to use some of those translating headphones to be able to understand the speakers. One of those speakers called Intel desperate followers in front of hundreds of people. And my mouth about dropped. I was like - this is what China thinks of Intel!? Yikes. But generally Intel is gone. They are just waiting to die.

    It makes me sad to agree with you - but I do.

  3. I don't even tell people I used to be in the software and engineering business, although I figured you guessed that with a few comments (especially about 1980s COMDEX) ...

    I tell them I'm a writer and an investor now.

    These days if you tell certain people you are or ever were in the software business, they automatically assume you were a "weaponized autistic" who wound up building some of the stuff they're now learning to hate.

    So I shoot the shit with most people about F. Scott Fitzgerald and Aldous Huxley so I don't have to shoot the shit with them about Mark Zuckerberg and Eric Schmidt.

    It's a win-win outcome, actually.

  4. I figured you were probably an engineer. I hadn't figured out yet if hardware or software.

    I sort of feel like every generation is an overreaction to the previous generation - so these kids are going to grow up being luddites. The internet has fully grown up now and people are starting to realize (FINALLY) that sharing their most personal info was not the wisest idea. If ~they~ didn't care - why should Zuckerberg care? People created the monster - the monster just went along with it. And you can't really blame a monster for being a monster - can you? Human behavior never changes.

  5. Capital of Texas RefugeeFriday, January 26, 2018 10:12:00 PM

    "Hardware or software? WHY NOT BOTH!"

    *inserts a picture of Zoidberg from Futurama here for good measure*

    As for Zuckerberg, I truly believe that he could have been a decent and likeable human being if someone had simply cared to take the time to give him the vicious ass kicking he truly deserved.