Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The Internet Is Sinking, And It's Taking Us Down With It

It gives me no joy, and only a bit of relief, to know that the individual who left two disagreeable comments in March of last year has crossed the river. 

Not to worry, though. You open the door to such rough handling when you leave the comfort of a simple, anonymous life and write a blog. I cannot say that they did not phase me at all, but the reality of it is that I am much harder on myself than any of my critics could manage. 

Those comments were reassuring in their way. They were a human touch to our constantly evolving Internet. At the very least it is quite unlikely that they were generated by an AI bot. And likely that they were not planted for the purpose of positioning any other blog above mine in the order of importance that AI is in the process of creating and refining. 

I'm sure that you have all noticed by now that the Internet is becoming less useful, less enjoyable, and more of a tool of oppression than we had been accustomed too during its Golden Years. Google search? Clogged with money grabs. YouTube? I never thought that I would see twenty minute advertisements. Facebook? Fishing scams, hacks, and contact with maybe six of your friends. This will only get worse as time goes on. Always the reduction in human input, and always the ever more voracious cash grabs. 

Strange things happen because websites of all types are entirely machine operated now. All you want to do is some simple thing, like sign up for a streaming service, or renew a magazine subscription, but the machine misinterprets something and says, "no way, Jose." This kind of thing has happened to me several times in the last year. In each case, there is no opportunity to contact the vendor. No chat button. Remember those? There were always pleasant, knowledgeable Indian twenty-somethings ready to help you. In my experience, they did a very good job. I don't have problems of first impression, no problems that are particularly challenging. Very run of the mill. The young person takes care of it almost immediately. 

No, now we just hit the stone wall of the machine. Frankly, I have a low impression of any company that would release such defective software to accomplish its business with consumers who simply want to sign up for something and pay with a long established credit card that works. And the wall is made of genuine stone. "We're sorry, but your IPO doesn't match the address on your credit card." End of story. No Deezer for you! The list goes on. One of the world's largest corporations, with whom I have been doing business for decades, refused to recognize that I was me, even though I signed in at the IPO that I used to buy software from them fairly recently and signed in with the user name and password that they gave me on that occasion. Their machine gave me a series of tests designed to prove that I was me. The questions included, "what were the subject lines on your last ten e-mails?" Again, no possible way to contact a human being, where the problem would be solved in two minutes. "Please send me a photo of you holding your passport next to your head." Even I could do that fairly quickly, and I'm not good with this stuff. 

Has everyone noticed that the new scam is that you can't buy software anymore? Now you only buy a "subscription." What you used to pay for the software now only covers you for a year, and you must pay with a credit card and allow automatic renewals. This is neoliberalism at its apex of piracy. Increase the number of contracts, and reduce the duration of contracts. Textbook stuff. And annoying. 

So far, every year since 1999, I have hated the Twenty-First Century more each new year than the last. Although, as I have said before, it does take the sting out of imminent death.  

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Sadistic Mika Band in UK TV show “Old gley whistle test “1975 サディスティック ...

This band brought me into the world of Japanese bands/ singers/ music. I've got several records by this group. Pizzicato 5, FPM, and Shibuya-Kei in general have been my jam since the late 1990s. I've lived in Asia for about twenty years now (almost exactly). Most of the local music is either syrupy sweet love/ pop or morbid traditional songs about longing. Canto-Pop, etc. Japan really is a world apart. Tricot, Elephant Gym, the new stuff is really amazing. They are the funky Asians. 

I have a guess about how this happened, but I fear it ain't woke enough to mention in todays boring cancel climate.