Wednesday April 11th, 2018 15:20 Fundamental Facebook filing flub

Mmmmmm…the alliteration.

But seriously, folks. A lot of people have been spending the last day and a half looking at or talking about this guy:

105122436-GettyImages-94438

There’s been an incredible amount of discussion of social responsibility on the part of social networks, whether social networks should be regulated, if social networks have become ubiquitous enough to warrant a government-sponsored takeover, and blahblahblah.

One problem: Facebook is not a social network.

Say it with me: Facebook is a market research and advertising platform.

It’s just one that conducts its business in an, honestly, revolutionary manner. Ol’ Creeptastic got the people to come to the advertising, instead of the other way around. That’s bloody brilliant.

Sure, it started as a ‘social network.’ But we didn’t even have the term back then. By the time that existed, FB had long since ceased to fit in the mold.

Take, for example, the subject broached by Sen. Chris Coons. He mentioned the fact that it took an entire year for FB to properly remove the options for advertisers to choose the race of the people they wanted to see their advertisements.

First off, I can’t take another breath without jumping for joy that not only was it Captain Cracker McGingerton who brought up FB’s tacit support of racial discrimination, but his name is Coons. Can’t make that stuff up.

Now, I am no longer a developer, nor was I ever on the level of Zuck or probably anyone that works for him.

But I know damn good and well that, at a social network, this is how things would go:

  1. Controversy begins, and eventually goes as far as to appear on TV news
  2. CEO sees controversy
  3. Every dev in the entire company gets an email to remove the federal-law-breaking feature from the site immediately
  4. That tick box is gone within the hour
  5. CEO goes on TV and says he’s sorry, this has been removed, and everyone involved has been fired

Conversely…

On an advertising platform with a massive global presence, it might take a good while for them to plan out how to remove that feature without losing too much revenue or pissing off the wrong people. A year sounds about right.

There is absolutely no possibility that this was a technical problem. The advertising part of FB is little more than a machine that prints money. There’s no old code sitting around. There’s no quirky workarounds that might throw things off. That thing is kept in perfect working order 24/7/365.

So, they could have stopped openly flaunting discrimination laws. They just didn’t didn’t do it right away.

This clearly shows that ads, not users, are the core of not only their profit strategy, but the company as a whole. You don’t risk openly breaking federal laws otherwise.

Thus, an advertising platform.

If we could just start thinking about it like that, all of these conversations will get a whole lot easier.

Also, if people could start dealing with the fact that, complicated TOS or not, they voluntarily agreed to let FB do every single thing they’re currently doing, that would help as well.

In: Computers, News, PoliticsNo Comments

Thursday April 5th, 2018 14:00 A soldier on police shootings

This is probably the most rational, calm, even-handed thing I’ve ever read on the topic. Coming from a guy who did his policing in a literal war zone, it’s pretty hard to disagree.

A few small excerpts:

In the months we were in Diyala, our troopers faced constant attacks. IEDs claimed lives. Men died to ambushes. Indirect fire was a frequent threat to our combat outposts. Our troopers fought pitched battles in the streets, called in air strikes, fired thousands of artillery rounds, and killed, wounded, and captured dozens of terrorists. By the end of the deployment, they’d reclaimed thousands of square kilometers from al-Qaeda and left it a broken, spent force.

Do you know how many innocent civilians we killed in that entire deployment, which spanned hundreds of engagements with the enemy? Exactly two. One to small-arms fire and one to a wayward artillery shell.

But rather than emphasizing odds, probabilities, and patterns, training sometimes fills cops’ minds with ideas like, “The worst can always happen” or, “Any encounter can go bad.” These statements are true, but incomplete. They’re not the same thing as saying, “Every encounter is equally likely to go bad.” Good officers, like good soldiers, know that each encounter takes place against the background of a much larger context, with multiple factors influencing the outcome.

A person can be concerned about officer safety and realize the truth that officer safety isn’t the mission. A person can believe blue lives matter and understand that accepting sometimes extraordinary risk is part of the job. A person can support the police and still demand a very high level of tactical and strategic awareness even from the youngest officers. To put them on the street is to declare to the public that they are up to the job.

In: News, PoliticsNo Comments

Monday March 26th, 2018 12:27 Before the march

There is little that hasn’t been said about this weekend’s massive protests.

But I still find it difficult not to react when I look at a television and see an 11-year-old kid basically saying “People are being murdered and I can’t tell if anyone cares or if anyone is ever going to do something to stop it.”

When little girls can no longer live blissfully unaware of such horrors, we adults done screwed things up.

The weekend’s activity managed to lead me back to something one of the organizing youths said earlier this month:

But, he clarified, he doesn’t feel like he’s the one who should be calling for this. “I shouldn’t have to! I’m 17,” he said, but he and his classmates feel that adults — both voters and policymakers — have failed them. “When your old-ass parent is like, ‘I don’t know how to send an iMessage,’ and you’re just like, ‘Give me the fucking phone and let me handle it.’ Sadly, that’s what we have to do with our government; our parents don’t know how to use a fucking democracy, so we have to.”

Whichever way you lean in the debate, the point applies:

We have not, in all the many long years for which this has been a political sticking point, settled this question. Not in any way that everyone agrees on. Not in any way that either side agrees on. Not in any way at all.

We have left it to a bunch of teenagers who are only bothering to clean up our mess because it seems to them like the most effective way to avoid getting shot at school.

In: News, PoliticsNo Comments

Thursday February 15th, 2018 11:16 I’m just gonna leave this here

When you say that we shouldn’t pass a law because criminals will break it, you’re not making an argument. You’re reciting the dictionary definition of the word “criminal.”

tyson_mindblow
In: News, PoliticsNo Comments

Monday February 12th, 2018 13:36 Why minority rights movements aren’t a challenge to anything

Sometimes, the hammer that hits the nail on the head comes swinging out from the clear blue sky.

I was just reading this BoingBoing story about the family-owned Cox Farms and their history of using their roadside signage to spread messages of humor and inclusion – as well as plain old information – to those driving by the business.

Apparently, they’re getting a bit of hate for posting a sign that says “Resist White Supremacy.” And in their own FB musing about the topic, they came to the same conclusion I did:

We struggle to see how anyone other than self-identified white supremacists would take this as a personal attack.

No shit. There’s no ambiguity and nothing defensible in their stance on anything, so if you want to join them, I can reasonably assume that you, well, joined them.

Later on, they wrote a sentence that killed it:

To our customers and neighbors that feel that this is somehow a divisive stance, we ask you to reflect on the possibility that your lived experience may be one that hasn’t necessitated a message of inclusion to make you feel welcome.

savage_savage

To make it even simpler to decipher:

Around the holidays, when family comes over, you welcome them to your home. You don’t do the same to your spouse – they don’t need to be welcomed because they already live there.

So, if you’re a member of a group who’s never had to (or whose predecessors have never had to) look for window signs to make sure you’re allowed in the front entrance, had to consider pretending to be someone else to ensure service, or simply had to drive down the road to a different store because you knew damn well you weren’t welcome, then it is reasonable to assume you don’t need your own special sign.

If you never have to question whether or not you’re welcome, it’s because you already are.

So when a store owner wants to make sure that others don’t have to question it either, STFU.

Not your damn store anyway.

In: News, PoliticsNo Comments

Sunday January 14th, 2018 02:02 Some men are unsalvageable

As is obvious from my previous post, I recently went to see The Last Jedi.

But as a rational human who doesn’t hate or disparage people for the happenstance of naturally-occurring chromosomes, it had never occurred to me to think that anyone would see that film as particularly feminist, let alone have a problem with it.

I mean, I know there are several characters that have vaginas and everything, and a few of those were in positions of power at that point in the storyline. Yet at no point did it encroach upon anything that seemed like a director or writer going out of their way to make a woman more prominent than the story called for*.

As such, it surprised the hell out of me to learn that some jackass made a cut of that movie called (couldn’t make this up): “The Last Jedi: De-Feminized Fanedit (aka The Chauvinist Cut)”

And…

wtf_mate_chan

I tracked this down – if you want to, feel free. I’m not linking to this garbage – and, Bless His Noodly Appendage, it’s everything it sounds like and more. A sample of the description:

– No whiny/reluctant/murderous psycho Luke.
– NO HALDO! She simply doesn’t exist. Her whole subplot doesn’t exist. The Kamikaze is carried out by Poe. ( = Poe dies.)
– Leia never scolds, questions nor demotes Poe.
– Lea dies. Kylo kills her.

– Phasma is finished after the first blow by Finn. (Women are naturally weaker than men, she isn’t force-sensitive, and we know nothing about any exo-skeleton in her suit)
– Asian chick speaks less, doesn’t bully Finn, Finn doesn’t try to escape, she is never formally introduced. She is just there and occasionally smiles at Finn or screams “Finn!”. She has no sister. Serves her right for all the heinous stuff she did.

Aside: just then, I had a lot of trouble copying and pasting. My own computer doesn’t want to see that shit

Not-so-Aside: The “asian chick” is named Rose. Hers was not a good character, but she has a name, you racist, misogynist twat. You only noticed her because Kelly Marie Tran was so good they made what was originally a throwaway character into something more. I might not like the end product either, but my opinion is incapable of changing how good she is at her job.

As I said before, I’m not a big fan of this film. But I just became a very big fan of someone kicking this douchebag in the nuts.

Like, hard enough so he can no longer breed, if you please.

The traditional parlance would suggest I say it ‘takes a lot of balls’ to do something like this. I disagree.

It in fact takes a distinct lack of balls, as any real man would not only barely notice the completely uncontroversial and entirely realistic female presence in this film, but would never be offended on any level – certainly not at a level that they felt the need to waste their precious time on this earth (apologies to the word ‘precious’ there) cutting up a handycam recording of a movie such that it got rid o’ them uppity wimmins.

You make all men look bad, and you’re out of the club, asshole. You’ve been demoted to ‘testicular cancer’ status; seems appropriate for a cancer upon us all who stains the name of those whose happenstance of naturally-occurring chromosomes forces us to share the trait of having testicle.

*Clarification: Ain’t a damn thing wrong with a director or writer going out of their way to make a woman or women a prominent part of their story. But it does bother me when they do so in a way that makes it stand out like someone is shoehorning a female character into a position that combats the logical flow of a story. It’s counterproductive to both the film and (what I assume is an earnestly good version of) the intended impact. If you have to do that, your story is flawed. A character worth shoehorning should have been better written into the story to begin with, and you might just need to start over. Same goes for non-white characters.

In: Music/Movies/TV, News, PoliticsNo Comments

Monday December 4th, 2017 16:32 People who are actually asking for it

At no point have I been behind The Unpresidented One’s myriad attacks on the media. That there are still people out there unable to recognize the clear pattern – pieces that disagree with him or make him look bad are fake, pieces that agree with him or make him look good are praiseworthy – is far more troubling to me than a gibbon-headed twit yelling at the TV when he disagrees with it.

But sometimes these people need a good punch up the bracket.

For example:

This since-changed CNN headline started as “Can the president be charged with obstruction of justice?” The subhed reads “President Nixon said years ago that a president could not be charged with obstruction of justice. CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin explains why that may not be true.”

First…

dumbasses

Second…

Nixon’s impeachment specifically references obstruction of justice. Twice.

While it was never voted on, that it was written, introduced, sent to committee, approved by judiciary and finally sent towards a vote is how Congress removes a president that has committed (or is believed to have committed) an indictable offense. Nixon leaving office rendered the impeachment moot, but it could never have started without a real crime with which the target could be charged. That’s just how that works.

And for those elephants in the room with a spotty grasp of history, attempted obstruction of justice is exactly what the house charged Bill Clinton with in his own articles. And more than 50 of those same House members are still there.

Third…

How in the holy hell is this guy your Chief Legal Analyst? I’ve seen opinions rendered more thoughtfully by way of magic 8-ball.

If you had the stomach to watch that drivel, you’d have seen that Toobers himself mentioned the articles of impeachment talking about obstruction. Then, in a defiant act of cowardice, nimbly dances around saying anything more than it’s a “largely discredited” idea, to think that the president is completely above the law. The Chief Legal Analyst simply can’t bring himself to offer real legal analysis when directly asked for it.

Btw, Toobs, the words you were looking for were: “No, the president is not above the law and anyone who says that is a moron. Probably a moron that will end up trying to avoid that big’un in D-block that’s been giving ‘em the eye.”

In: News, PoliticsNo Comments

Tuesday October 3rd, 2017 16:10 From the higher perch: a note on reactions

(Click to embiggen)
Heaven-Can-Wait

In: News, PoliticsNo Comments

Tuesday October 3rd, 2017 16:09 From the high perch: comparison and contrast

Let me introduce you to two men.

Charles Whitman

This is Charles Whitman.

In 1966, he killed 15 people and injured 31 others over the course of 96 minutes. He was 25 years old and a highly trained sharpshooter, having served in the Marines. He committed his murders using a variety of weapons, including bolt-action and semi-automatic riles.

171002113439-01-stephen-paddock-file-medium-plus-169

This is Stephen Paddock.

In 2017, he killed (at present count) 59 people and injured more than 500 others. According to witnesses, this happened over the course of 10-15 minutes. He was a 64-year-old retiree and professional gambler. There is no current indication he had any formal weapons training (his brother says he did not). There is currently no reliable information about what weapons he used (there are a few new photos, though), but anyone that’s ever fired a gun before can listen to the audio and determine that the shots came faster than one can feasibly pull a trigger, strongly suggesting that he used at least one automatic weapon. Given the distance, speed and lethality of those shots, an assault rifle is extremely likely.

This Average Joe out-murdered a Marine sharpshooter – by a factor of four – in less than 1/6 of the time.

To anyone who is still against reasonable gun control or a ban on assault weapons:

Do I need to draw you a fucking diagram?

In: News, PoliticsNo Comments

Wednesday August 23rd, 2017 11:14 15-year-old TV show on the NYC subway system

This morning, it took me about 90 minutes to get to work.

I used to have a relatively long commute growing up, so I know that doesn’t sound too awful in the ears of a lot of people. But you might change your tune upon learning that this was how long it took for me to get four miles. 3.25 as the crow flies.

This means that, in a city with one of the largest and supposedly best transit systems in the world, I would have arrived roughly 30 minutes earlier if I had gotten out and walked.

In my state of frustration, I went looking for a gif of my favorite line from Black Books, in which Bernard screams “Lies! Subterfuge! Seething Corruption!” This was in response to the fact that mta.info specifically said the 7 was borked due to mechanical problems with a train at 33rd Street – the exact train I was sitting on, with a conductor telling us we weren’t moving because of smoke in the tunnel.

This was followed by a transfer to the N, which I was immediately informed was also not running, due to both a sick passenger and a power failure. This forced me to exit the station entirely, walk to another one, and catch an E, which did run, but with infuriatingly vague ‘train traffic’ delays.

I could not find the gif in question and had not the patience remaining to make it myself.

Yet, paging through the images that did exist, it became clear that the modern MTA has a lot in common with a show about a surly, filthy, alcoholic shopkeeper. Allow me to illuminate.

The all-purpose comment:

nope_train

Everyone off, please. This train has suddenly forgotten how to train:

time_wasting_bastards

No matter what time I get up or leave the house, there is some nonsense that will make me late to work:

betrayal

Just about anything that ever gets said over the intercom, even on those magical occasions when you can actually understand the words being said:

what_what

The entire city, for the last decade or so:

up_with_this

Come to think of it, we’d all be a lot happier if they just gave us a damn sausage before boarding.

That idea right there is free. You’re welcome, MTA.

In: News, OtherNo Comments

Whois

IT guy, dev, designer, writer.

Got a degree in print journalism from UF but history dealt some bad cards to that industry, so I moved back to an earlier love: the computer.

Was recently at ZMOS Networks, but am now the Senior IT Associate at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.

My name is moderately common, as are a couple screen names, so always look for the logo to make sure you're reading something with official Km approval.

You can get to me directly with kyle(@)kylemitchell.org