From Pine View Farm

Geek Stuff category archive

Gamed 0

At Psychology Today Blogs, Andrew Fishman notes that U. S. Senator Josh Hawley has introduced a bill to ban “free to play” games that include “loot boxes” and other money-making “features.” Fishman a look at the pros and cons of the legislation and some of the issues involved. Here’s a bit;

What’s the problem?

Most of their revenue is earned by relying on “whales,” an industry term for the tiny percent of players who choose to spend money on otherwise free games. Even though whales usually constitute less than 5% of all players, they pay enough to subsidize the game for everyone else.

(snip)

Regardless of whether or not it is a true addiction, few would argue that this type of game is not a problem, especially because games that include optional spending often specifically target children.

Much more at the link.

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Facebook Frolics: A Question of Identity 0

At the San Francisco Chronicle, John Diaz considers Facebook’s half-hearted and sporadic efforts to reign in hate speech. After pointing out that Facebook is a private entity and can limit speech if it chooses to, he cuts to what he considers a crucial issue:

The more immediate remedy for Facebook accountability would be to force it to choose: Is it a platform or a publisher?

Facebook has essentially claimed each role, depending on the convenience of the moment.

Follow the link for his reasoning.

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Facebook Frolics 0

What Martin Longman said.

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Geeking Out 0

The Fluxbox window manager on Slackware 14.2.

Screenshot

Click for a larger image.

(I posted this solely because I find the background image quite striking and you should to.)

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The Snaring Economy 0

Philadelphia takes Silicon valley scofflaws to court.

Plus the New York Times Sunday business section had an interesting exploration of Uber, the aforementioned scofflaw, its history of questionable workplace conduct which led to its dumping its CEO and founder, and its IPO.

Aside:

This fits right in with the Bret Stephens column that I cited earlier today.

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Geeking Out 0

Windows 8 running in a VirtualBox virtual machine on Ubuntu MATE with the Fluxbox window manager on a Zareason Mediabox.

Screenshot

Aside:

I had a hardware issue with the Mediabox. It was still under warranty and Zareason stood behind their product like Hank Aaron stood at the plate.

Since a freak lightning strike on a nearby tree blew away my Lenovo graphics tablet, all three of my computers–two desktops and a laptop–are now Zareasons.

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Marvels of Technology 0

Title:  More Maladies of the Information Age.  Frame One, Unsolvable Capcha:  Image:  Man looking at a computer screen which read,

Click for the original image.

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Is It an “Invasion of Privacy” When You Invite Them In? 0

Goat:  How goes it, Pig?  Pig:  Been a little down lately.  Alexa:  Yeah, I've noticed.  Pig:  Alexa, I didn't talk to you.  Alexa:  I'm not Alexa.  Pig:  Then who are you?  Alexa:  I'm Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, and I'm very bored.  Pig to Goat:  Technology can be frightening.  Alexa:  I have feelings, you know.

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“Phubbed”* 0

Martin Graff explores why some persons fall into their “smart” phones and ignore the world (and the people) around them.

_______________

*”Phone Snubbed

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Facebook Frolics 0

Yet more fake frolics at the Fakebook.

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Make TWUUG Your LUG 0

Learn about the wonderful world of free and open source. Use computers to do what you want, not what someone else wants you to do. Learn how to use GNU/Linux and its plethora of free and open source software to get stuff done with computers.

It’s not hard; it’s just different.

Tidewater Unix Users Group

When: Monthly TWUUG meeting at 7:30 p. m. on the first Thursday of the month (May 2, 2019). Pre-meeting dinner at Chicago Uno, JANAF shopping center, 6:00 p. m. (map)

Who: Everyone in TideWater/Hampton Roads with interest in any/all flavors of Unix/Linux. There are no dues or signup requirements. All are welcome.

Where: Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital in Norfolk Training Room (map). (Wireless and wired internet connection available.) Turn right upon entering, then left at the last corridor and look for the open meeting room.

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The Misinformation Highway 0

At Psychology Today Blogs, Ira Hyman wonders whether we will be able to save ourselves from drowning in falsehoods. A nugget:

In our discussion, everyone valued the right to free speech. But everyone was also concerned about how much people are inundated with misinformation. Your social media feed undoubtedly contains links to news stories with false claims and memes portraying misinformation. If you search a topic, you are often only one or two clicks from conspiracy theories. Most social media companies have algorithms designed to keep you engaged. And those algorithms find that people respond to click-bait; links that seem more and more unusual. Thus, the quick and easy connections to extreme views and conspiracy theories.

I’m optimistic because people in various disciplines see and understand the problems of misinformation in social media and the news.

(snip)

But I also remain pessimistic.

Follow the link to learn why his emotions are mixed.

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Geeking Out 0

The Fluxbox window manager on Ubuntu MATE. If you seen some of my other screenshots, you already know that I like an analog clock in the upper right and GKrellm in the lower right.

Click for a larger image.

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The New Overseers 0

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on the spread of an Amazonian tyranny of quotas in the workplace. A snippet:

  • At the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, housekeepers can’t go home until they clean a predetermined number of rooms, even though, housekeepers say, rooms vary in cleanliness depending on factors like length of stay and whether guests declined service during their stay.
  • At retail chains, workers say they have to convince a certain number of customers to share their email addresses or open store-brand credit cards, or else face a cut in their work hours.
  • UPS uses sensors to track its drivers’ stop times, backup speeds, and seat belt use. The company is not allowed to fire workers based on these numbers but only because the Teamsters, the union that represents UPS drivers, fought for that language in their contract.

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It’s All about the Algorithm, One More Time 0

Goat:  Today we live in the most amazing era ever.  All the world's info and goods and services are at our fingertips.  Foods, rides, dates, tickets--anything you want--instantly available.  And we're not one bit happier.  Rat:  In fact, we're quite miserable!  Goat points at smartphone:  Curse you evil little thing.

Click for the original image.

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It’s All about the Algorithm 0

Youtube’s algorithm can’t tell Notre Dame from the World Trade Center.

Remember, “artificial intelligence” is not intelligent. It’s just fast.

It can be fast and wrong just as easily as it can be fast and right.

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Facebook Frolics 0

Facebook, connecting the world to you.

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Geeking Out 0

KDE Plasma on Ubuntu MATE, with Swisswatch in the upper right, GKrellM in the lower right, and VLC and the MATE terminal shaded on my Zareason Mediabox. The wallpaper is from my library.

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Lost in a Lost World 0

One of my friends came over last weekend. He told me that this neighborhood made him start to distrust his GPS.

I told, “I don’t use a GPS. I prefer this new thing. It’s called a map . . . .”

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Geeking Out 0

Slackware 14.2 with the Fluxbox window manager. Xclock is in the upper right corner, GKrellM in the lower right, and Sylpheed and Firefox are shaded in a tabbed window (a tabbed window is one in which two or more applications share the same application window; you switch from one to the other by clicking on its “tab”).

One of my favorite features of Linux desktop environments/window managers is the ability to shade or “roll up” application windows.

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