Angelic Paranoia

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Missy
Sunday 26th November 2017 2:30 pm

I was thinking that I haven't posted about (and photos of) Missy for a while.
Missy on a cushion
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Alternative Christmas carol lyrics
Saturday 11th November 2017 4:00 pm

At choir this week we started doing some Christmas carols for our informal end of term concert. One of them is We Three Kings. I'm not sure if I ever knew what the real lyrics are, but I can remember the alternative lyrics from primary school:

We three kings of Orient are
One in taxi, one in a car
One on a scooter
Blowing his hooter
Smoking a big cigar.

Well, I say I remembered them, but in reality I couldn't remember the last line and it was doing my head in. The internet brought up loads of options, but this is the one I remember.

I do remember the alternative lyrics to Jingle Bells*:

Jingle bells
Batman smells
Robin flew away
Uncle Billy lost his willy
On the motorway

(Hilarious when you're eleven)

Anyone else have any alternative lyrics for carols?

*I kept typing jungle bells, which would be a whole different song...


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How tech hijacked our brains
Sunday 5th November 2017 8:39 pm

I read an article in The Week last week with this title, from a longer version in The Guardian that I couldn't be bothered to look up. The gist of it was that the tech companies have (inadvertently) made their products addictive. People who worked on or created these things talked about the steps they've needed to take to wean them off it.

What got me was right at the beginning, talking about Justin Rosenstein, who created the Facebook like button:

He was particularly aware of Facebook "likes", which he describes as "bright dings of pseudo-pleasure" that can be as hollow as they are seductive.

The reason it got me is because I have no idea how Facebook tells you that someone liked your post. I had entirely forgotten Facebook has a like button. This is mainly because although I have a Facebook account I last posted it to it nearly two years ago and I don't remember the last time I read it (except to go to a specific page).

The article does point out that Twitter, Instagram and other apps also have like buttons. Which I also mostly forget exist, even though I use them. This is partly because they're mostly for following comedians, as far as I'm concerned and since I have a protected Twitter account I don't interact with them. Sometimes I remember it exists for something that's particularly funny. And at some point I might see a notification when someone likes something of mine, but I wouldn't say that it gives me "pseudo-pleasure" even without the ding.

Another part of the article says:

YouTube and Netflix autoplay videos and next episodes, depriving users of a choice about whether or not they want to keep watching

Which is interesting because YouTube automatically playing the next episode in its not entirely logical list made me close the app/browser, until I discovered you can turn it off. Having been pre-warned about Netflix's autoplaying, the first thing I did when I got it was to turn it off. If I have an hour free and sit down to watch an episode, the last thing I want it to do is to start a new one. Although I feel like that's academic given that I always stop at the beginning of the credits, so as far as autoplay is concerned I've never finished an episode.

The other thing was about "pull to refresh" on mobiles:

In an era of push notification technology, apps can automatically without being nudged by the user. [...] it appears to serve a psychological function: after all, slot machines would be far less addictive if gambler didn't get to pull the lever themselves.

I think I've used that feature once: because the app told me there were new posts, so I refreshed to see them. Otherwise, as far as I was concerned it was just a replacement of the F5 key because mobiles don't have keyboards. I could live without it - you could just close the app and re-open it. Whereas I have only found one browser (which you can't get any more) that allows you to use gestures for paging up and down, and home and end. Which I would say were essential.

It seems like all this addictive stuff only applies if you interact with something a lot - or read such a ridiculous number of feeds that you'll never get through them. Which I feel like is actually not the vast majority of people. Or is it just that I use technology in a different way to most people - after all, I don't have a smartphone and don't need or want one.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – November
Wednesday 1st November 2017 7:34 pm

This month is always a busy month: work is busy, all the things I do regularly in the evenings are on every week, there's loads on telly to keep up with, and there's Yuletide to write. So this month I'm going to do something quick and easy.

I'm going to try avocado.

Someone on the radio series tried coffee, so there is precedent for just trying a food or drink. But it's something in the news as a lot of people (specially younger people) are eating. I keep seeing people eating it at work and I wonder what it tastes like. Also, some time ago I tried different fruits to try and increase my fruit eating repertoire, but I never did get round to trying avocado.


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