Thursday, May 02, 2019

I am at a conference right now, and it's the most depressing thing how Silicon Valley has just turned into a bunch of meddlers.

They don't want to create new products - they just want to meddle in your life.


  1. Don't poke me too hard yet. I'm pretty pissed about it. And having so many "quota hired (women)" is making it into some squishy womans retreat of non business. It's all word salad and bullshit. I'm mad.

  2. Capital of Texas RefugeeThursday, May 02, 2019 9:20:00 PM

    I won't poke you to see if you're squishy because that's Mister S's job. :-)

    But still ...

    There's Dmitry Orlov, a Russian-American engineer and writer, who wrote some stuff about the "Sovietization" of the United States over ten years ago, and at first he wasn't taken seriously by a lot of people.

    When you think about some of the specifics and how they scale up to the bigger picture, it really makes sense, and it's not a nice picture of the future.

    Facebook, Apple, Google ... what do they really do with all of these "super-cookies" they plant in browsers as well as all of the "unique identifier" crap they build into their devices? Is it so they can target advertising to people, or so they can target people for their behavior?

    It's essentially the same thing as the Soviet practice of registering typewriters and regulating radios.

    I have a shortwave radio in my office that I rarely use, and that's because things have changed since the 1990s. It can still receive local AM and FM broadcasts along with a few Caribbean and North American shortwave stations, but the big names of the last grand era of shortwave are gone.

    I bought it during the First Gulf War so I could listen to a little bit news that had nothing to do with the First Gulf War, which was a grand Dudley Do-Right In The Middle East spectacle. I bought a Blaupunkt shortwave receiver for my main vehicle soon after back then so I wouldn't have to listen to more of that shit on the AM/FM radio.

    Yeah, I was a bit like a certain character in Stephen Bury/Neal Stephenson's book "Interface" back then, enough that I wondered if we'd actually met in real life and I was being parodied ...

    But now? No Radio France, no BBC, no Deutsche Welle, no Radio Netherlands ... they all want you to listen via the Internet now if you're in North America, where you can be tracked by their own systems as well as by their "advertising partners".

    This new American Soviet Internet is amazing!

    Теми Янки инженеры ... such amazing engineers!

    They figured out how to register radios in addition to typewriters!

    Очень подходящий! :-)

    Oh, but wait, I'm not done yet.

    I've lived the equivalent of the 101st kilometer ("101-й километр") in America, because I essentially was kicked out of my state of residence because some bureaucrats decided I was worth messing with while I was on a long business trip.

    It's OK, I got my revenge in the form of helping my employees get some really nice benefits from the state's unemployment benefits program (at the cost of the state's taxpayers, which the bureaucrats misrepresent), and I hired some rather nice people to help them with filing for every single one of them. :-)

    But the "wolf ticket" ("волчий билет"), it exists in America too, and it's done with surveillance as well.

    When a state agency decides you don't rate a driver's license because of some rules that they apply in defiance of Federal law (and Federal Constitutional law) that says they don't have the authority to make such rulings, and you wind up having to figure out how to reincorporate your companies, pack up your shit, and let loose a lot of people in a huge fucking hurry because you're only able to operate in the state because they don't know you're back, that's a "wolf ticket" right there.

  3. Capital of Texas RefugeeThursday, May 02, 2019 9:21:00 PM

    So is this thing I've found out from some friends where they're having to re-apply to live in the apartments they're already living in, and so while the paperwork is cranking through, they're living in a state of having a de facto "wolf ticket" hanging over them.

    It's all about credit ratings, and if yours sucks, what happens?

    You get evicted despite having paid these people everything they've required?

    "Каждое место для меня - тюрьма. Отпусти меня!"
    -- the "Stalker" from Tarkovsky's movie

    "Тюрьма - место расслабления и комфорта."

    So yeah, this American Soviet state of mind, it's a comfortable prison.

    While I was hanging out in Hamilton, Bermuda (which is actually where I was while a dangerous crazy stalker was uncomfortably near my home), I had a nice opportunity to be away from the craziness.

    And when I got back?

    Well, I'll say that I didn't miss the American chain restaurants!

    I also didn't miss the other craziness.

    A lot of it takes the form of what I've already described: Silicon Valley doesn't appear to be smart enough to find some elegant way to their new products, so instead they bash together some heuristics and then try to refine them with unbelievable heaps of data acquired from people, usually not with their complete consent.

    And then there's all of the other stupid uses by marketers ...

    Apparently you can't walk near a hospital now because of geo-fenced surveillance without getting sucked into a database of people who go to hospitals. (Have this in two flavors: political or downright creepy.

    While I am tempted to verify this by stuffing about twenty grand of RF analyzer gear into a backpack so I can walk through a few hospitals while capturing the RF footprint around them, I'm more concerned about losing the gear to someone being lucky in terms of finding someone to rob, including various arms of the state, and so I won't be doing that.

    "Excuse me Sir, but WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU DOING with that much microwave RF gear in your backpack, and should we be calling Homeland Security right now?"

    Just living here now feels like a "wolf ticket" without having any more unwanted guests and people I have to deal with via lawyers, cease-and-desist letters, and court orders.

    I'm past being mad -- being mad is just one part of the twelve-step program, BTW, and it doesn't last as long as you might otherwise expect.

  4. Oh - it's to market behavior. And they aren't even hiding it anymore. Now they are in the phase of making "experiences" but they want you to enjoy them the way ~they~ want you to enjoy them. You can't even experience things on your own. It's really sick. We are seriously one step away from a social rating like China. Technically they learned this behavior rom China anyway.

    Now their big thing is these cameras that watch what you buy and track your facial expressions. They claim it's so they can target ads. But it makes no sense. What if you go into a store in a shitty mood? How does this help them in any way? It literally feels like you are living in a fishbowl. Everywhere is going to be crammed with these micro cameras. And they have no concept that this is what is making people paranoid and agitated. They just know what's best for your life and that's it.

    Sometimes I come ~so~ close to saying something - but I don't want to get blacklisted. As mad as it makes me - I have to know what those effers are doing.

  5. Capital of Texas RefugeeFriday, May 03, 2019 7:45:00 PM

    "... but I don't want to get blacklisted."

    Which is why my semi-long rant about the "Советские Соединенные Штаты Америки" ("ССША", a.k.a. "Soviet Yankeeland") is pretty much right, even if people might find it uncomfortable to admit ...