Tag Archives: Technology

Let’s Get Personal?

Salted Caramel is asking readers to get personal. Here are her questions:

1. Do you blog under your own name or do you use a pseudonym?

2. Do you share personal details like gender, nationality, race or faith?

3. How much of your personality shows through your writing?

4. Do you share personal experiences to illustrate your writing?

I am not big on telling lots of personal details on my blog because I have a narcissist in my background who still likes to check up on me, and I would really rather that he not find any extra tidbits on how to contact or find me.

An airplane photo, similar to my gravatar.

So, as a result of that, I do use a pseudonym – my actual first name and my grandmother’s surname. I have never bothered to specifically share my race, gender, or faith, although if you’ve read enough of my stuff, you likely will have figured these things out. To me, these things are incidentals.

I definitely share personal experiences, but I try to remove or alter any features that might definitively identify me, so there’s a smudging of the lines.

My blog is me. I don’t try to blur or change who I am, so yes, I believe my personality is here. But the thought that comes up for me when considering these questions is around how much of ourselves we should be sharing.

The online world is funny that way. It encourages people to share, but then, how much is too much? Many people drop off lots of personal information, far too much, I think. They feel safe in doing so. They feel that there’s nothing about themselves that they should hide or keep private. That there’s no need.

Unknowably deep waters.

Until it’s too late and they need to keep themselves private for a very private reason. How do you turn that off? Is it even possible to turn that off?

It’s almost expected that we give up our privacy now, for work, for pleasure, for being able to just operate. And privacy is one of those things that’s precious; it’s been fought for and died over, many, many countless times. Shouldn’t we be a little more protective and respectful of this great costly gift that we have?

I know of people who, through WP, have met and become friends. That’s pretty great. People who otherwise would have never met, especially across oceans and continents, become lifelong chums.

But it bothers me when I’m told that I “should” be using such social media as Facebook and Twitter. For starters that would probably unleash the narcissist. And apart from that, I don’t want to. How much updating and tweeting can one person do? How do people find the time? Frankly, I find a lot of it boring.

I know that information is not only power, it’s money. And lots of companies want us to spill our guts so that they can make money from a raw material that costs them nothing but has the potential to be very costly to us.

They want us to use invasive devices such as Siri and Alexa.  They get into our homes and cars and are inside our heads, mining for gold.

Is there gold in these waters?

I don’t want to live in a society that more or less requires us to have one of these in our homes. Ten years from now, here’s the instruction on the side of a box: You will “need” Siri in order to complete the following task … 

No.

I don’t care if you want to have lots of Siris and Alexas all over your life. However, I want that to be a choice, not a pseudo-requirement that gradually eases its thin edge into our lives and over time evolves into a necessity.

Because of that, I think that these companies should be regulated. I think that AI should be regulated. And sooner rather than later.

What do you think? How personal are you with your blog? How far do you think technology should be allowed to go?

 

Adventures in WP Land

I was away from WP for a couple days last week, but not because I wanted to be.

I wasn’t able to log on. 😳

It all started on Saturday when I tried to access my WP app on my phone. A new screen popped up and I was asked for my password. I thought, yeah, okay. Many other sites do this every so often.

So I typed in my password. But … no dice. It was suggested that I change my password, a link was sent to my email, and I thought, yeah, okay. That password is quite old. I should change it.

This photo has nothing to do with technology. It’s just a nice photo of a local waterfall here in the Northwest Territories so that talk of technology issues doesn’t ratchet your blood pressure up too high.

So I changed my password. But … no dice. It was suggested that I change my password, a link was sent to my email, and I thought, yeah, this is getting irritating.

I tried again, and … no dice.

But I was able to access WP on my desktop. So until I got an answer from the WP “happiness” gurus, I went there, because normally I use my phone.

Until I couldn’t access my desktop either.

Somehow, I was signed out. It was suggested that I change my password, but … you know the drill.

Yikes. No access. At all.

So there was lots of emailing with WP, and with turnaround being anywhere from 12 to 24 hours, this took a while to sort.

This is a heart attack picture. Er, technology picture. 😉

The upshot is that I sent a  screen shot of the password request loop that I was inhabiting; they came back with suggestions for a retrofit, and then everything started to work after I changed passwords once more and then tried logging in again.

The WP people were friendly and helpful.

But the whole thing got me thinking about our dependence on technology and the bugs that can infect it. In my work I rely heavily on technology, but every time I think about going completely paperless, something like this happens to remind me that it’s not a foolproof system and and then I think, yeah, maybe I’ll go paperless … at some nebulous point in the future.

So, there’s paper in my office. Lots of it. (Although a lot less than there used to be.) And I guess that makes me the worst sort of Luddite schmo because really, I’m worried that there’s going to be some sort of tech blow-up and I’m going to need it.

I also work in a part of the world that’s largely off-grid – the Northwest Territories is a massive land area with a relatively small population. Cellphones can quickly become useless up here and aircraft and vehicles need sat-phones (as well as survival kits) for emergency purposes.

Sometimes, we need to be aware of where we are and how quickly technology can abandon us.

What do you think? Have you gone completely paperless? Would you be able to survive without your cell? Do you worry about a technology collapse?

Another Take on an Internet Behemoth

Having recently reblogged a post from Jill Dennison about the issues with Facebook, I was chuffed to find a similar one from Curmudgeon at Large. Wry and funny, I hope you enjoy it, even though you might find that it’s hitting awfully close to home…

FOAF has found another winner. It undoubtedly appears elsewhere but, like pizza, is too good to pass up. CALLER: Is this Gordon’s Pizza? GOOGLE: No sir, it’s Google Pizza. CALLER: I must have dialed a wrong number. Sorry. GOOGLE: No sir, Google bought Gordon’s Pizza last month. CALLER: OK. I would […]

via Ordering Pizza — Curmudgeon at Large

Sometimes, I Hate Technology!

facebook engancha

It’s true. Sometimes, I hate technology. When it works, it can be a lifesaver. When it doesn’t …. ARRGGHHH! It can truly make your life miserable.

My computer is old and then it caught a virus. It was on life support for a while, but then it recovered. And now it’s back on my desk, really looking like it would rather be anywhere else but there. But it won’t have to wait long – there’s a new one coming – and then it can enter a happy retirement somewhere, probably as my back-up.

So that’s my explanation for why I haven’t been reading the people I follow. My most sincere apologies! With an ailing computer and a surge in work, I haven’t been able to keep up.

But why didn’t I use my smartphone? Well, yes, I have a smartphone. But I don’t like reading from the small screen and I don’t like doing much typing from it either. And I don’t use my work computer for personal stuff. My employer keeps track of that sort of thing and I know people who use their work computers for personal stuff anyway, but the thought of my employer looking over my shoulder gives me the creeps.

In some ways, though, it was liberating to be a little disconnected. And I began to really notice the reaction of some people to the fact that my home computer was sick. They displayed a sort of panicked pity, like I had told them that I might die from a contagious, dread disease, and that they might, too.

I talked about this reaction with an acquaintance of mine who doesn’t even own a cell phone. She said that people have outright called her “strange” for not carrying around a phone and that she’s been asked how she can even get by without one. She has actually felt discriminated against because she chooses to go “tech-less.” Isn’t that her right?

I find Facebook annoying. There. I said it. I think I would rather visit a drive-through organ replacement outfit than use Facebook. And Twitter and Instagram? Not impressed. And I don’t see how people really have the time to use them, either. Multitasking? Studies show that that doesn’t really exist. We just wind up doing two or more things in a mediocre fashion.

And, yes, I know that these social media serve their purpose and have been helpful during times of crisis. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t exist.

But I have the right to not use it, and to say that I don’t use it without feeling stigmatized.

I recently read about a store that wanted to require its customers to “sign in” using Facebook and to also use it to register purchases. There was something of a backlash and the store relented. This was clearly a very aggressive attempt at marketing research, and it backfired.

But how long will this last? I like to have control over my privacy and my opinions. Wars have been fought for these rights. Are they being eroded in the most insidious way possible – because we’re slowly allowing it? Because our need for attention is outweighing the importance of our privacy and our own thoughts?

When it comes to technology, where do we draw the line? Or is it already too late?