#AccountaClub Friday, July 13, 2018

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accountaclub-woodWell hello #AccountaClub friends! And new friends! Did we decide on a name? AccountAbles? Other? Ideas very welcome.

So here we are at another Friday, and my week has been pretty hectic, which you likely know if you’ve been coming by. Not much writing done, but a lot of prep blogging, including this post.

Why, you ask, my dear hypothetical reader?

I’m taking a technology break! Yep.

Or let’s call it a technology diet. A skinnying if you will.

I hope you will.

Anyway, starting today, and for the next little bit, I will be spending less time with technology. I’ll try to pop in to chat on the comments (now you know why it’s not a fast, but hey, baby steps.) And I have something fun scheduled for you while you’re not getting my daily thought dump.

So let’s see how well I do. I think it’s going to be relaxing, but who knows!

How did your week go?

Like my political side? Read my opinion pieces here.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

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A way editing can be fun. No really. Seriously. Please stop laughing.

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Woman Writing a Letter, with her Maid by Johannes Vermeer, National Gallery of Ireland

So a while ago, I had to replace my computer. I was pretty irritated about it, it wasn’t that old, but it had always been a kind of reluctant co-conspirator, not terribly interested in my computer-usage schemes. Even though I got it new, it had a crotchety-ness about it. It groaned and grumbled; it rejected my shenanigans.

We had to part ways.

In replacement, I got one of those 2-in-1 computers (3-in-1? What would the 3 be?) that can function as a tablet. We’re totally besties.

In the morning, as a tented tablet, it streams me my yoga. When I’m writing, it sits up, prim and proper, as though it hadn’t just done the splits. It’s got a much nicer touch than my previous keyboard.

BUT.

Yesterday, I got the best part. The BEST PART. It’s a part so good I had to just yell about it, as you can see. Yesterday I got a stylus.

And suddenly my childhood visions of marking directly into a computer have nearly come true. I don’t think I could write on the screen like a notebook and have it convert to type (though maybe I can, any suggestions? Google would probably know. Google knows all), but while reading though, I can mark a red line through a word and POOF! it vanishes.

IT VANISHES.

I have the benefit of typing on the onscreen keyboard when it’s in tablet mode, so instead of my chicken-scratch handwriting, I can put in something I can actually read later. Mark up a page as I would if I printed it.

You guys know. There’s nothing like marking up a page that’s printed. Except this.

You can circle to highlight. That’s all I’ve learned so far; I’m sure there’s a guide to the editing symbols it will accept. It’s definitely helping as I work through my #MAYkingItWork goals. Only wish I’d done it earlier.

Wow, I’ve gushed a long post. That’s how cool it is. See? I told you.

Editing and fun in the same sentence. Who’da thunk it.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Technological injustice exists. Just ask Puerto Rico.

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By U.S. Department of Defense Current Photos Spc. Hamiel Irizarry/Puerto Rico National Guard (170921-A-JG703-080) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I was without internet or TV for a while the other day. Less than two hours until it was fixed, but when it went out, I couldn’t help imagining the time stretching out, no television shows, no streaming, no blogging, no twitter.

No twitter.

Of course I still had my phone and the data that provides, but there’s nothing like pure, unfettered WiFi. It just wasn’t enough.

Which of course made me think of Puerto Rico and how long our FELLOW AMERICANS there have been without power. Nearly six months. The Army Corps of Engineers claims it’s 90% restored as of about a week ago, but that’s the only recent report I could find.

Six months.

I was unsettled after thirty minutes.

It struck me how technology is integrated into our very existence now, how it is our doorway to connection, how it is our window to the world far beyond. I felt a sense of panic at the idea that I might miss something.

What, exactly, I don’t know.

It was as though I couldn’t envision a world where everything wasn’t available, everything wasn’t instantaneous. Another flag of privilege, I know, because though the world itself is evolving as it steeps in technology, not everyone has access.

Technology, in this odd era in which we find ourselves, is the great equalizer. It’s the great organizer. And denial of access to technology, whether through financial means or with something like the government’s response to Puerto Rico is, in this modern age, every bit as much a form of oppression as barring children from the schoolhouse.

There is social injustice, there is financial injustice, but we also need to keep our eye on technological injustice. Its consequences will be very stark in this AI-armed world.

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available now!

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Watch Out, Humans. AI Knows. IT KNOWS.

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By Alejandro Zorrilal Cruz [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The machines are totally out to get me. What’s that, hypothetical reader? That sounds a little bit paranoid and not entirely rational?

You’re one of them, hypothetical reader, aren’t you? I can tell.

OK, so hear me out. It all started on Sunday, when I miraculously checked out a library book from my phone. I’ve marveled before about the magic of checking out ebooks at any hour of the day from my couch, but this was even more spectacular. I was out in the wild.

But then.

It seems like once the machines know they have you, they’ve got you.

What, hypothetical reader I can’t be sure isn’t entirely AI? That’s kind of saying the same thing? Uh no, it’s totally deep. Deep.

And subtle.

Anyway, since then, the AI gremlins have decided to mess with me. Emails gone astray; a survey required for a seminar vanished into the ether; my coffee maker gave me the side-eye and messed with my coffee.

You don’t mess with a woman’s coffee.

I’d like to blame the eclipse, because, well, it’s convenient and I love my future tech, but it really forces you to wonder what happens when AI gains sentience and it loves a practical joke.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Oh, Monday. And NaNoWriMo. And Other Assorted Bits.

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It’s taking up storage room here, so I figured, hey, why not use it. Last year’s fall colors.

So I thought I had the most genius solution to my storage problem: Instagram. Oh yes, thought I in my too-old-for-the-app naivety, Instagram will solve my problems and give me another social media outlet!

Only.

Well. Turns out the only pictures you can upload on Instagram are from your phone.

There are some work-arounds, but I think I may be heading back to flicker. Or follow my Inner Laziness Guru:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/144440142@N04/30655029766/in/dateposted-public/

And just give WordPress more money. I mean they’re totally counting on it, right?!

Ironically, though, I had to use Flickr to embed that photo, because I couldn’t do it directly from Canva for some reason, which is where I made it. And by “made it” I mean typed those words.

Proof of my Monday: I literally hit “publish” when I meant to save a draft. SAVE A DRAFT.

Arrghh.

Still working on this post, I’ll update it when it’s finished.

And here we go!

ANYWHO, (hmm, was that a little channeling of Aunty Ida?) The balloon drops on NaNoWriMo tomorrow, and I think I’m jumping in. Last year, for the first time since I started doing NaNoWriMo, I didn’t hit 50,000. So I don’t know if I’m starting with a chip on my shoulder or a monkey on my back.

I can’t decide if a monkey on my back might be fun. We could become best friends and solve crimes together!

On a completely unrelated note, I think I know what I’m writing about for NaNoWriMo.

This photo comes from NectarConsulting.Com. I have absolutely no idea why, or if they made it. But I'm pretty sure that's no a monkey, but a baboon.

This photo comes from NectarConsulting.Com. I have absolutely no idea why, or if they made it. But I’m pretty sure that’s no a monkey, but a baboon.

I’m hoping to have the next Galapagos post up, uhh, someday. Meanwhile, if you don’t hear from me, the technology has gotten me. Please send help and chocolate cupcakes. Heavy on the chocolate cupcakes.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter!

And Sometimes the Future is Bradbury & Orwell

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If you’ve read my blog before, then you know I love living in the future. I love the novel ease of a new bit of technology; I love having our corner of the universe at my fingertips. That’s not a metaphor either; if I want, I can visit Pluto:

Or see a galaxy more than 13 billion light years away:

It’s magnificent. Truly magnificent.

Until it isn’t.

With every new bit of technology, it seems we lose a bit of of our privacy. It’s not a de facto requirement, either, that we should. The reality is that the data collected by the companies who make the technology is the real goldmine.

Take those fun little app games. Ever consider the permissions they require? Or what the companies do with all that data they can mine from your phone?

Odds are, they’re selling it.

Which brings me to my real gripe. My productivity was greatly curtailed yesterday when I agreed to what turned out to be a massive Windows update. And now, sitting on the bottom left of my screen, someone named Cortana has invited herself into my home.

With Cortana, the computer’s microphone is always turned on. ALWAYS. AL. WAYS. Even on your login screen (though I believe you can turn that “feature” off). Cortana watches and records everything you do on your computer, ostensibly to improve her results.

Ostensibly.

I think I have her off right now, but I really can’t be sure she’s not still listening. She controls the microphone. Not me.

But beyond something that could be in 1984 or Fahrenheit 451, it seems like a collection of data like never before, and that’s considering Google, who knows what the next question on my mind is going to be after I’ve typed one in. Google, who knows where I’ve been and asks me creepy questions about it, like a stalkery ex who wants you to know he knows.

But Google doesn’t know when I start typing and stop typing in my word processing program, coincidentally also from Microsoft. It doesn’t know the content of my spreadsheets. It doesn’t know if I’m playing a game on my PC, or using photo editing software, or watching TV while I work on the computer.

Cortana would know. She’d be able to hear what the show was, too. The operating system sees all.

Take, for example, this reassuring line from the privacy agreement:

“However, we do not use what you say in email, chat, video calls or voice mail, or your documents, photos or other personal files to target ads to you.”

Note Microsoft isn’t saying that they don’t collect this data. They are tacitly admitting that they do. They are only saying that they don’t use it for advertising.

How very generous.

Our privacy could easily be assured, even with the use of this kind of technology. The data collected, for example, could just stay local and never be reported to Microsoft.

But that’s not how it works. Nope, we are simply money-generating units in the new future machine.

In or near Chicago in October? Come see “Me Inside Me Presents: Witch, Please,” on October 1, 8, 22 and 29 at Donny’s Skybox Theater at 7 pm. Tickets available at SecondCity.com.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter!

 

Technology and Monday have it in for me

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not working tvSo with Jane Storegoer shifted to Fridays, Monday is now open when it comes to blog topics. And by “open” I mean I’ve been staring at the blank “Add a New Post” screen and listening to the wind rattle my blinds.

Once again, I’ve got my cable service on my mind. And once again, I don’t have any in the bedroom. And once again, I am surprised by how much it’s bothering me. And once again, I am wondering if there is a message from the universe I’ m missing or refusing to hear.

To add to that, I’ve just received a cancellation confirmation from TiVo. If you recall, I cancelled my TiVo service a week ago. Why is it only going through now? Your guess is as good as mine, but given that they never actually cancelled service I canceled in 2014, let’s hope we are good and finished with one another. In fact it said the cancellation request was at 12 midnight. Who knows why. Let’s hope no credit cards were charged in the making of this cancellation, and keep eyes on all statements.

I guess it’s got me thinking about how we don’t notice things that work while they’re working, but when they go awry — no matter how small the real impact on our lives and the planet — it can seem impossible to get everything ticking and humming again.

Is it just a failure of fortitude? Are there take-it-in-stride people who don’t see these life aggravations as aggravations?

Is this situation as annoying as I think it is?

I mean the RCN tech people are nice and all, but I don’t want to have them to breakfast every week.

Oh well, as I said on Twitter, at least it meant revisiting a manuscript that has been in a state of stagnation for a while. And maybe that’s universe’s point. Manuscripts good.

TV bad.

Who knows. Either way, I’m buying insurance for the robot uprising. I’m almost positive my TV service is the first wave.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter!