Angelic Paranoia

Paranoidangel's Website

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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Femslash fic (and not posting)
Sunday 22nd October 2017 2:10 pm

I haven't posted for a while. This was mainly because Dreamwidth changing to https broke all the crossposting plugins. So it meant that I had to manually copy the posts from LJ, which was too much of a pain to be bothered with.

There are two plugins which are both based off an old one and haven't been updated for years. They still don't work with DW, but I am still using the same one to crosspost to LJ, so if you read there, you won't notice any difference. For DW I have a new plugin that crossposts to hundreds of places, but doesn't do any LJ/DW specific stuff. So if you're reading this on DW you'll see extra spaces between paragraphs. And if I use a more tag at any point you'll get even more spacing, rather than a cut tag.

I tried looking at both plugins to see if I could edit some things from one into another, but the new one is so long, because it does so much that Kate (KDE Linux equivalent of Notepad++) complained about it, and I decided I had better things to do with my time. For now, this is better than manually crossposting.

I wrote a fic for [info]femslashex:
Military Interference (2630 words) by paranoidangel
Fandom: Doctor Who (2005), Sarah Jane Adventures
Relationships: Kate Lethbridge-Stewart/Sarah Jane Smith
Summary: Sarah Jane and Kate have to save themselves from aliens and settle a score.

One of the things [info]selenay talked about was Sarah disliking military interference. So I decided the best place for Sarah and Kate to talk about it was in a cell on an alien spaceship heading away from Earth. And then I went "Shit! How do I get them out of this?" Which is generally how I write plot: get them into a mess and have no idea how to get them out of it.


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Imzy and writing
Friday 26th August 2016 7:43 pm

Imzy is suddenly the new big fad. I have an account there that means I have a shitload of invites, should there be anyone left in the universe who doesn't have an account, but wants one. It's created by a former Reddit person to be the anti-Reddit (ie nice). It's a bit like LJ and Dreamwidth, but currently has all the lack of functionality of Facebook. But it is in beta, so maybe at some point they'll add some features that make it usable. At which point I might then use it. Although since you can import feeds, I have set my blog over there up to pull in my WP feed. I'm hoping that at some point this post will show up there. It will be at imzy.com/paranoidangel

(Dealbreaker usable features = RSS feeds and notifications that tell you more than just that you have a notification)

As with last summer I have done no writing for a while. In my defence it was a) hot, b) Olympics and c) both. It is still Olympics (as far as my watching of it is concerned) and then there'll be the US Open and Paralympics and Davis Cup all at once (although US Open is not on TV and Paralympics is not on the radio, from what I remember from four years ago).

But I am thinking of signing up to [info]femslashex. I've been meaning to do it for a while, just to give a go, really, but this is the first year I've remembered about it early enough to get some nominations in, so there'll be enough fandoms containing relationships I'm willing to write/read for me to sign up.

And then there's [info]dw_remix, which is running again this year. Go and sign up if you've written some fic in Doctor Who and related fandoms and would like/wouldn't mind someone remixing some of it. Or if you'd like to remix something in a Doctor Who or related fandom. I've made it easier this year, so you just choose what you want to remix and write something that's at least 100 words.

And then there's Yuletide. I have two fandoms I definitely want (Wizards vs Aliens and 40-Love) but beyond that I can't think of anything else. But I'm sure once it all gets going I'll be reminded of other fandoms and then have too many other things I want.


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More things
Sunday 28th February 2016 8:34 pm

It's been a pain, reading my Livejournal feeds by the LJ friends page. I started off going to the LJ home page to login, but it takes so long to load it drove me mad. And then I found that my LJ layout is not quite right for my friends page. And my LJ. The comment pages are fine - usually those are the only ones I see.

But I don't have to read via LJ any more because I put all my public-only (ie communities) feeds through freemyfeed.com. I moved the people who crosspost everything to DW over to DW. And the rest I set up emails when they post. So now LJ feeds are working again. I can't quite be bothered to reverse all of that just yet.

Missy is still crazy and entertaining. This week she decided she wanted my dressing gown belt and tried to carry it off, but didn't get very far because it just did the knot up tighter. On Friday she decided she wanted the end of my shirt that was sticking out under my jumper. Except it was too big for her pouch and she didn't get very far in trying to chew it off. She also ended up on the floor (for the third time...) although it was partially my fault. She kept pretty much just falling off the end of my lap into my hand and I tried to move her back up my lap and she took exception to being picked up and jumped.

I have a photo from this morning when I'd made a noise and she'd woken up and looked up to see what I was doing - and had some cardboard from her bed on her head. Read more...


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Technology: argh!
Monday 15th February 2016 8:32 pm

Last week I thought things were a bit quiet with my RSS feeds, but decided that, well, they were a bit quiet. And then I discovered the reason: all my LJ feeds have errors. No idea why, but it is a pain. When I read them via my friends list I discovered about 50 I hadn't seen before. But it is a horrible way to read - you can't tell where you've got to and there's no way to mark something to come back to it later. And I'm pretty sure I have some comms I'm reading that I don't have showing on my friends list because they clogged it up (back when I sometimes read it that way).

In conclusion: technology is a pain.


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Twitter
Tuesday 1st July 2014 1:10 pm

I'd been thinking for a while about how I mainly use Twitter to read stuff and rarely post or interact with people on it. This is because most of the people I follow are comedians or are accounts giving you information. And also because my Twitter account isn't public they won't see a post if I reply to them. So I generally don't.

I'd been thinking about posting every day and then the other day I posted something and someone on it commented that they hadn't seen me around lately. I thought 'but I read Twitter every day' and realised no one else can tell that.

I'm also considering whether to open a Twitter account for my Rotary club. The only person who uses Twitter is me, so I'd always be the one updating it. When we had one for Rotary I was the only one updating it and often I forgot. So I want to see if I can get into the hang of using mine before starting another that would definitely need use.

So for July I am going to post to Twitter every day. A post counts as something I post to it, whether it's an ordinary post or a reply or even a retweet. I did fit a summary of this post into 140 characters 🙂


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Tumblr
Sunday 18th May 2014 5:04 pm

Talk to me about Tumblr. Should I get one or not bother? If I had one, should I crosspost my entries and/or fanfic there? Should I just carry on following Tumblrs by RSS, therefore not needing an actual account? What difference will having an account make? Will it matter that I've accidentally done something to my AdBlock settings that mean some Tumblr images randomly don't show up?

The Tumblrs I do follow, incidentally, are Clients From Hell and Get Out of There, Cat. I almost started following one that posted bunny pictures, until I discovered that it was actually just a feed from The Daily Bunny website, so I went to the source for my RSS feed instead.


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Firefox this time
Saturday 3rd May 2014 7:08 pm

My Firefox just updated (on my netbook, where I can't turn off the updates). Firefox 29 looks pretty. Sadly, they decided to take out everything that makes it usable and everything that makes it different from Chrome. I don't use Chrome because I don't like the minimalist look, so why would I want Firefox to be like Chrome?

Unsurprisingly, I am not the only one to think that, so I have installed a plugin to put the tabs back below the address bar, and put the add-on bar back at the bottom, so I can now access my Gmail, LJ, DW accounts, and see where links lead to again and the status of a page when it's loading!


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WordPress, Livejournal and Dreamwidth
Friday 2nd May 2014 9:21 pm

I just came in here to make a post, remembered [info]just_ann_now commented on my last one, opened up my LJ to answer it... and the post wasn't there. At which point I discovered Dreamwidth hadn't been crossposting my posts since I changed my LJ password and forgot to tell Dreamwidth. Dreamwidth helpfully told me this by putting a message in my inbox. Which I never check and is full of crap it puts there so I wouldn't notice if there was anything new. (I have now told it to email me about that sort of thing)

I have fixed it now by going back to telling WordPress to do the crossposting. Which it is now perfectly happy with, despite previously being unhappy with. No idea why - and not likely to find out since the plugin I use to do the crossposting is old and the person who wrote it stopped updating it (and deleted their website).

Edit: Well, it crossposted the old posts happily, but on this one the password is apparently invalid...

The other annoying thing was that I had to type that user code, up in the first sentence myself. I used to have a button that did it, but a WordPress update broke the plugin, the author didn't update it and I couldn't find another one that worked. But it did work in the visual editor, at least for LJ & DW users and LJ comms. It didn't work for DW comms, no idea why. But now it's not even there.


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Frustrations
Saturday 12th April 2014 4:57 pm

For the past week, until about the middle of last week, work was really quiet. I was getting some non-project work in and other people were scratching about for things to do. And then suddenly all our clients decided to launch projects before Easter, so now we're really busy and I'm hoping I won't be spending too much of my Easter weekend working.

That heartbleed bug meaning everyone needs to change all their passwords. I only just changed mine a month ago, so I'm really not looking forward to spending my Easter weekend changing them all again.


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Livejournal protected feeds
Monday 3rd March 2014 8:42 pm

Yesterday was mostly spent trying to find out how to see protected posts on Livejournal in a feed reader. Or more accurately, narrowing down what doesn't work. Between me and Dad we tried three different feed readers on five different computers. Eventually (eventually being the operative word) we discovered that atom feeds only show you public posts, rss feeds don't show you any posts until they update, then it shows you all of them, including the protected posts. Which goes a long way towards explaining why my test accounts are working better than any I actually want to follow (I now have four test accounts).

On the plus side, I can now see friends only posts. Or I will be able to, to be more accurate.

Strangely, I can't currently post to Livejournal from WordPress, which I haven't investigated very thoroughly. Mainly because I can post this to Dreamwidth, which will then crosspost it to Livejournal. Which won't look any different at all, since I told Dreamwidth not to add anything to the post in either location.

So that was my weekend. Plus going to see Ghost the Musical, which had very good special effects. Shame about the plot - the cheesy bits are meant to be mocked. There were some people crying, though, no idea why.


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This is not a post about anything
Sunday 16th February 2014 5:23 pm

I could post about being dizzy again this week - I felt great on Monday evening and terrible on Tuesday morning. And then did a nine hour day with no breaks on Wednesday, which didn't help, funnily enough.

Or I could post about the Winter Olympics, which started with me watching various sports and ended with me taping curling. Although I did like snowboard cross - it's like BMX with mass carnage and half the people that start not finishing.

Or I could post about discovering my twitter account was hacked and then spending most of yesterday changing passwords, and not therefore being able to concentrate on yesterday's curling matches.

But then I decided not to post about any of those things.


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Where did the week go?
Sunday 18th August 2013 8:12 pm

This week was the last week I have where I didn't have anything on any evening. So I ended up either working late or working in the evenings for three of the evenings. So I feel a bit like I haven't had any evenings at all.

I was dynamic this weekend, though. Well, mostly today when I went out to the tip this morning. And found that it's probably not a good idea to leave garden waste in the garage under a pile of other garden waste for three months because it starts turning to compost... I'd much rather it did that at the tip. Having taken five journeys to the tip in total I have now been in the right lane round the roundabout once. Because I followed a car I thought was probably going the same way I was. I'm not sure I can reproduce it. There must be a point where I resist spiralling out, I'm just not sure where it is.

The other productive thing I did this weekend is to finish off CSSing my Dreamwidth layout. Well, I say finish, every time I see it I spot something else I've missed/haven't thought of, but it's pretty much there. I then went back to my LJ layout to make it match the DW layout that I'd been making to match my LJ layout, which was design to sort of match my website layout. So now they all look similar, but different enough that I know which site I'm on.


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Livejournal or Dreamwidth
Wednesday 17th April 2013 9:45 pm

I have asked this before, I think, but a long time ago, so it's about time to ask again. I read everything on my LJ/DW friends/reading list using an RSS Reader. So it makes no odds to me which one I follow (the one I follow will be the one I comment on). So does anyone have a particular preference for the one I'm not currently following them on?

The only stipulation with Dreamwidth, is that you have to either:
a) never or rarely use cut tags
or b) never or rarely say anything I want to read in cut tags
or c) set your feed to show the whole feed
Otherwise I reserve the right to consider my preferences above yours.

Dreamwidth defaults to show only the bits outside the cut tag, which is a massive pain because it means to read the rest I have to log in and click on it, as opposed to just reading where I am (similarly if you have your feed set to just show the first couple of sentences or just show the subject - there is a way round it, but it doesn't work on protected or adult entries and it looks rubbish using Dreamwidth).

To change/check what you have it set to go to the Privacy tab of your account settings, the Syndication level is the fourth one down. There are four options and I think they're relatively self-explanatory, but I have a picture:

Dreamwidth RSS settings

Dreamwidth RSS settings

For the record, I don't care whether you comment on WordPress, Livejournal or Dreamwidth, although I have a slight preference for the first two as they give more useful subject lines in the email notifications.


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RPing
Monday 26th November 2012 8:58 pm

Back in January 2007 was just after I moved house (and SJA showed their first episode - I only remember that because it was just when I'd moved house). Someone had posted a fic and I had been browsing and followed some links and discovered the murky world of roleplaying on LJ.

I'd done it in the past on Yahoo Groups, but back then you couldn't play a canon character. On LJ you could. I started off playing an AU Harry Sullivan and it went downhill from there (but there was a lot of canon Harry going on too). Last week I ended up ending it after nearly six years. I had a lot of fun during that time, but for a while it hadn't been fun.

Along the way I wrote a lot of Harry short un-betaed fic, met some great people (none of whom I'm still in contact with), ended up in charge of a prompt community (until prompts fell out of favour) and had my own game too (until I closed it last week).

The whole thing was a lot like collaborative fiction - writing a story with someone else, but you could never write what their character did and you could never be sure exactly what they were going to do. It certainly made writing banter more interesting (not to mention harder).

But because you were writing with someone else there was a part of it that always felt like an obligation - if I didn't do my part then they couldn't do theirs. I always put myself under pressure to do my part and I am terrible under pressure - especially when it's pressure I put myself under.

So now I've stopped doing it, I feel great! No pressure and a lot more things I just don't care about. I haven't ended up with much more time because I wasn't doing a lot anyway.


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Forums and LJ
Tuesday 20th November 2012 8:42 pm

A few weeks ago I went through my RSS feeds and trimmed down ones that hadn't been updated for ages. Which also meant taking people/comms off my LJ and DW friends. I now have a whole load less on there. When I did it I realised I haven't had many conversations on there for ages. There used to be loads in comms etc, but not any more.

I'm obviously not in the right places. It doesn't help that the main comm I spent time in was [info]sarahjane_fic. I got spoiled there with the idea that you post fic and people comment on it. I keep seeing people complain that Yuletide is a low comment ficathon, well, not for me - I generally get at least two comments.

I know lots of people have Tumblrs because everyone was announcing them a while ago. But I'm not a visual person, so I have no interest in a blogging site for posting pictures.

The trouble is, I miss forums. So I tried to rectify that. I joined Ravelry, because it's something [info]selenay936 and [info]hhertzof talk about and I found it does crochet as well as knitting. I haven't quite worked out what to do with it yet. I tried to join the Red Dwarf forum. I got as far as creating an account and then to do anything else you have to confirm your email address once it's sent you an email. Which never arrives. I tried emailing the address it says to email if the confirmation email doesn't arrive and no one replies. I can't even change my email address because in order to change it I need to log in and to log in I need the confirmation email! So that was a bit of a dead loss.

I am trying to comment more to people's posts, if I have something to say. Which I don't always. Or I actually turn my laptop on because it's impossible to remember what I want to reply to just going by my friends list and not being able to read in whatever order I chose and mark things as unread.


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Twitter
Tuesday 13th November 2012 9:24 pm

Twitter for me is mostly for following comedians and people who will tell me when the programme they're in is on TV. Here are some interesting people/accounts I follow: Read more...


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Dreamwidth/openid bug
Friday 9th November 2012 5:04 pm

I can't believe I'm the only person who's had this problem. Dreamwidth are working on getting the bug fixed, but while they do, here's a useful piece of information (I don't know if they're going to add this to the FAQ in the meantime, I imagine not).

If you import a journal or community over to Dreamwidth from Livejournal then all the comments and posts are made by the openid that goes with the LJ user who posted them. According to Dreamwidth's FAQ, if you log in with that openid you have the power to delete/edit etc as if you made the comment in that location with your openid.

Except it didn't work for me on my RP accounts. I filed a support request seven months ago and someone's finally figured it out. Any username with underscores in it is the same as the same username with hyphens in - ie red_red is the same as red-red. Now, when a post/comment by red_red is imported, the openid it's from is red-red.livejournal.com. Which is the same thing, so it's fine. Or not...

If you were to log in to Dreamwidth using red_red.livejournal.com, the post/comments made by red-red.livejournal.com are made by a different openid, so you cannot do anything to them. However, if you log in as red-red.livejournal.com, you can.

Basically, red_red and red-red are completely different usernames as far as Dreamwidth is concerned, but the same username as far as Livejournal is concerned.

Update on me: I booked today off work ages ago and although my throat's still not right and I still have asthma (which will really enjoy being taken to London tomorrow), I feel much better.


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CSSing
Wednesday 21st December 2011 9:04 pm

According to quite a few people on LJ, they have broken it completely and the world is ending. Or something of that magnitude. It turns out that the bits they changed that I don't like, can be fixed by turning on customised comment pages. So I have now gone from hating them to liking them. Of course the difference is that I hate other people's because 90% of them are unreadable, whereas mine are by definition perfect. And red - you can't go wrong with red.

The trouble with this is that when I customised my layout (and made it less red, but now the red stands out nicely) I didn't bother with anything to do with customised comment pages because I wouldn't need them... 45 minutes later I've managed to change the text to a readable size, rather than a slightly too small to read comfortably size. And changed the border colour. At which point I had to stop and do other things, but I was having fun. Frustrating fun because it's hard to find what LJ has called its CSS elements. But it's better than doing similar things at work because here I can what I like, I'm the only person I have to please, and I don't have to have it done by Tuesday in five minute bits in between dealing with all the other work that needs doing.

So over Christmas, as well as installing Linux Mint on my old netbook and putting a new hard drive in my current one, I am also going to be playing with LJ CSS and a few things that need doing on WP. I have ten days off in a row (including weekends and bank holidays), I need something to do with that time and I've been thinking I need something like that to do, but there's only so many times you can change your layout.


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Fun and games
Saturday 30th July 2011 12:19 pm

I am trying to be back in the real world after a long weekend at the windmill. It was fun, apart from the earwigs in the windmill, the ticks on the walks and the stinging nettles (I got stung, but no ticks - after seeing them on the cat I think I prefer the stinging nettles).

I ended up reactivating my Facebook account (I never completely deleted it because I didn't trust them to delete my data). After the end of Rotaract dinner with people I hadn't seen for years I thought I really ought to keep up with them. And then at the windmill there were people I hadn't seen for a year, so I knew nothing of what had happened to them during that time, but they all knew about each other.

So I ended up going back on Facebook. It looks like I can see all status updates on TweetDeck and post from TweetDeck and I am assured that these days emails to say you have a message tell you what the message is. So I shouldn't have to actually go to Facebook itself. But it is purely a real life thing - I only have Rotaractors and people I knew at uni on there (plus Emma who is the only person from school I still talk to).

And then after that I got curious about Google+. So I used my netbook, where I'm trying out Firefox 4.0. I found that it's much easier to change the privacy settings on Google+ than Facebook. And that's the only thing I've done on either of them really. I don't intend to use Google+ for anything, not least because it seems to have chosen one of my Gmail accounts to associate with my Googld+ account. Which isn't a bad choice, but I wish it had warned me in advance.

On the topic of old friends, I'm off to London this afternoon to meet [info]livii - and [info]shinyjenni and [info]sillycleo too. It's been very handy having people come here, when I can't go anywhere. This year I've also seen [info]selenay936, [info]hhertzof, [info]just_ann_now and [info]munditia and I've only had to go as far as Coventry and London.


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