Angelic Paranoia

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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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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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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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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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Isn’t modern technology great?
Wednesday 13th July 2011 9:14 pm

Tomorrow I have to go on a first aid refresher course. I've been on a couple before, so I know where it is, but I was never the one driving. This time I'm going on my own. If I was going there from where I used to live, it would be fine. If I was going there not during rush hour it would be fine. However, the main route there gets really busy at rush hour and is best avoided - everyone I know who goes in that direction at rush hour goes the back way.

I have been the back way, as a passenger, a long time ago, in the dark, when I didn't really know the area.

I already knew how the route started, which is something. I looked it up on Google and it suggested the back way as an alternative, which is a good start. So then I followed my route on streetmap. Which got a bit confusing with sudden changes of weather and times when I went too far and then ended up facing the wrong way. But I eventually ended up at the edge of town, which I recognised. Despite the fact that it somehow jumped from one road to another. I retracted my steps and found the turning was where I thought it was.

There are a lot of places round here where getting there mostly just involves getting on one road and staying on it. Which is how this route is to start with - I just then have to keep an eye on the signs and turn off it. But I at least know now the junction is by the 30mph sign (or was when Google photographed it). After that I keep going to the end of the road twice more, and then just follow the signs. So hopefully it'll all work out... If I do miss the one turning, I just take a detour through another village, so I should end up where I intend to.

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Still here
Monday 4th October 2010 8:28 pm

My plans for the last week and a bit were derailed by waking up the Sunday before last really dizzy without me having done anything to set it off. So I've done an awful lot of nothing at all recently. Well, except for watching all of Make it or Break it, for which I blame [info]jedinic.

But it was the perfect thing for when I had no brain. I do have a secret love of teen dramas, although usually high school based ones. This one's just the same, only centred round gymnastics. It's completely OTT drama-wise, but that's what I like about it.I can forgive some of the gymnastics for not making sense (it helps not to think about it), but I can't forgive Sasha for saying he won an Olympic gold for England, as that's impossible and I can't believe that none of the writers or the actor (who's English) spotted that.

The characters took a while to grow on me, but Sasha (who's a bloke and played by an Englishman - I'm still not sure whether the character is Romanian or English) started a teasing relationship with Summer and then he became my favourite character. He's also the hero-type, which [info]hhertzof pointed out are the ones that tend to be my favourites.

Fortunately just before I was dizzy my Gmail account got hacked. Gmail spotted it and stopped the emails from going out, but I did then spend a whole day changing all my passwords. Some of them are a nightmare to find where to change, some of them just didn't work and I ended up emailing to get them changed. I now have more passwords and more secure passwords than I did (I should have changed them long ago really). Some of them are so secure it takes me a few attempts to log in while I fail to remember what they are.

My friends' wedding was on Saturday, which was good. The actual ceremony felt never-ending and was really boring (seriously, it was 45 minutes and it only took 2 minutes to actually marry them), but it was good to talk to people I hadn't seen for ages. The official photographer took a picture of all the Rotaractors and that must have been at least half the people there. I definitely established that the whole thing isn't for me - that would be my idea of hell making such a big deal of it and being the centre of attention and all the formalities you have to do. The only part I like is getting to see all your friends at the reception.

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Following recs
Wednesday 21st July 2010 8:34 am

I am in need of recs of blogs/LJs/communities to follow. Anything with an RSS/atom feed counts, as does Twitter. I am sure there is some interesting stuff out there that I am rubbish at finding for myself.

Any feed with titles only or partial doesn't count because I can't read that without putting in effort. Anyone who posts to Twitter a lot also doesn't count because TweetDeck only picks up the last 200 tweets and I only read Twitter in the evenings when I put my main laptop on.

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Advent calendars
Saturday 8th December 2007 12:41 pm

I'm enjoying some web-based advent calendars at the moment.

The BBC Doctor Who site has one, although every day I'm in hopes of it being exciting and it hasn't really been so far. And where's the 8th?

I'm loving the Sarah Jane Smith Wardrobe Appreciation Society one because that does have different, interesting things every day.

And has been entertaining us with good looking men.

Who needs those cardboard things with chocolate rationing that no one ever seems to keep in the fridge, and who wants to eat warm chocolate?

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In the minority
Saturday 28th July 2007 7:48 am

Reading my RSS Feeds this last week there are some that make me think I am not on the same planet as most of the rest of the population, in that there are major dramas that have gone on that I didn't think anything of at all.

Like, people avoiding LJ/the internet until they'd read Harry Potter. Whereas when I took a break from reading it I read my RSS Feeds. I just didn't read the ones that had spoilers in them - I either marked them as read without reading, or left them unread to read until I'd read it.

And then people are running round like chickens with their heads cut off about LJ going down for an evening. I only noticed because I thought I wasn't tired when I got in, so turned my computer on. By the time I got there I was, but it was fine before I went out and was fine in the morning. I've known websites down far longer than that. So why is one such a big deal? Do people not visit any other website? Do they not have real lives?

You know that thing where you read really good fanfic and then just can't write any of your own because it can never be as good? I had that last night but with my own. I went and read an old one of mine (well, not that old) and apart from a few bits I thought I could have changed, I mostly didn't think I could do any writing last night because how could I possibly write anything even vaguely that good again? So I had planned to do some beta'ing but I procrastinated and read something else of mine. Which was older and loads of bits that needed working on. So I went and wrote 2000 words before I got too tired and went to bed to listen to my neighbour's TV.

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Wednesday 10th January 2007 11:34 pm

I was thinking I really should go to bed at a reasonable time at some point this week. And I was going to bed but I thought I'd start a download off so I could just resume it tomorrow. Except that it started at 200k/s and is currently at 350k/s and now I don't want to stop!

Although according to ADSL Guide my speed is 1.9, the last time I checked it was 1.2. It'll be interesting to see what speed it settles at after 14th, when it'll have been the 10 days of variable speeds (and I had one day of really slow).

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A few bits and pieces
Wednesday 29th November 2006 10:36 pm

When I checked my post last night I thought the calendar looked quite red. So I scrolled down and discovered that I've made more posts in November 2006 so far than any month since I started this blog back in July 2002.

Last night I had a really nice meal out in the new Italian restaurant they've opened in town. I've been there three times now and had something different each time! I could even have the sorbet, which there was loads of. Only problem was that since it contained mushrooms it proved that I have developed an intolerance to them. So I spent the rest of the night watching videos to take my mind off it, and stayed up far later than I wanted to.

I realised that driving in the cold is not doing my hands any good, they're getting so dry. So I asked my mum for some driving gloves and she sent some. They don't quite fit - I've always had a problem finding gloves to fit, ever since I was little, no idea why. But I wore them to Tescos tonight and it was so nice to drive with warm hands, they're great!

The most exciting news is that I've finished my pico project. I wanted to write a radio script that I had started and had 673 words of, and it looked like I was never going to get anywhere on it. So I was determined to finish it for pico, and 5000 words seemed like a likely target. I have 5710 words, two of them being the fabulous 'The End'. I need to rewrite it now, though, not least because I realised one of the characters was redundant, so needs writing out. But at least now I have something to work from. And I have less writing to do, as my SG rare pairings ficathon piece is also done.

Work is looking to be really manic in December, so really not looking forward to that. My life might well end up consisting entirely of work and moving related things. My sister is also going to be moving in December, so she's offered to take me to IKEA on Sunday. So I might now be doing moving things on 16th and 17th December. I also found out one of the charity shops in town that sells furniture delivers. They're better for sofas than anything else. The flat comes with a sofa, but I might get an armchair later. I need to check out the other charity shop that sells furniture tomorrow.

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OK, this is annoying me now
Tuesday 12th September 2006 9:58 pm

I keep seeing <3 posted on blogs but it looks like it's used to mean love, not less than three. I am entirely confused now. Can anyone tell me what it is that I've missed?

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Wednesday 23rd August 2006 7:42 pm

I've not read anything on the subject but I see from the links in metafandom that it seems to be an issue again, this time about music vids. The issue seems to be that vidders want to be asked before someone links to their vid in a rec. Er, have I missed something or have I misunderstood the nature of the internet?

I can understand that you don't link directly to the vid - I would personally want to read more about it first anyway - and I understand that people might have bandwidth-related issues. But that's only really going to come into affect if a rec is read by a lot of people. OK, so I don't make vids, so I don't really know how many it all works exactly, but chances are, one chance comment on someone's LJ/blog/website is not really going to make that much of a difference.

This all seems to tie into the asking before linking thing. Does the BBC tell people they must ask before linking to them? No, because it would be ludicrous. If someone was to ask me if they could link to my website I would ask them what they were on. Letting me know they have is something else altogether because it's nice to know that sort of thing.

Similarly, if people ask if I mind them friending me. Um, great, but how do I stop you? And if I said no, what's to stop you reading my LJ anyway? Nothing. It's great when people tell me they have because otherwise I have no idea, and I'll friend them back if their LJ looks like it's worth reading. Admittedly, I don't have any friends-lock issues because I don't. If I don't want it on the internet for every Joe Bloggs to read, I don't put it there. My life is simple like that.

So, tell me dear readers (since I imagine you exist), what is it I've missed?

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A poll
Wednesday 28th June 2006 9:16 pm

I got curious today about how people were reading this. Mostly because I still haven't got round to sorting myself out with plugins on WP and I wondered how useful some of them would be. Plus everyone likes to fill in polls - and this one's an easy question (unless I've missed off something obvious).

My blog reading habits

How are you reading this blog post?

Blog directly (at
LJ directly (at
Your LJ friends list
Another person/community's LJ friends list
RSS/Atom feed / live bookmarks from the blog site
RSS/Atom feed / live bookmarks from Livejournal
More than one of those methods (please elaborate in comments)
Other (pray, tell)

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What I’ve done since my last update
Sunday 25th September 2005 5:14 pm

Gone to Blackpool - it was cold and tacky, the Pleasure Beach didn't involve a beach and mainly consisted of expensive roller coasters. I was too tired to care much about the con as well.

Had my first guitar lesson - it's really frustrating not being able to play it but I'm enjoying it all the same

Got my WP blog up and running! The only reason I have to go to LJ now is to post comments

Actually slept

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Saturday 10th September 2005 11:25 pm

I seem to have had an expensive week. Wednesday I went to see The Importance of Being Earnest, which was for my Rotaract Presidents Night, so I can't really complain about that one (not least because it wasn't that much money). Plus it was really funny. I really enjoyed seeing it done live. It's been a while since I read it, so if they deviated much from the original text, I didn't notice. The butler was the funniest - purely by the way he moved. Algy was the best looking ๐Ÿ™‚

Thursday I handed over large sums of money for guitar lessons. I need to give them more money for a guitar as well, but as they don't start for a couple of weeks, I'll wait till then. I'm looking forward to it, though.

Afterwards I sat down to watch stuff I'd videoed. The Dead Zone, I discovered, was the last episode of series 2 and Channel 5 are going straight into 3, so that's good. My video didn't quite manage to tape Lost though (at least it's repeated tomorrow), even though I re-set the date on Wednesday morning. At the moment it thinks the week goes ...Tuesday, Tuesday, Thursday..., which is unhelpful when you want to tape anything on a Wednesday.

So I've bought a new video. It's silver, so won't show up the dust so much. It definitely gets Meridian, so I can tape Monkeys in future (which is great). It's annoying though because when you set it to record you can't type in the info, you have to press the left and right buttons to change the numbers, which takes so much longer. But if at least acknowledges the existence of Wednesdays it'll be something. I considered getting a DVD or hard disk recorder but I'd still need a video to play my videos on. And I technically already have DVD and hard disk recorders - on my computer. Which will only work when it's turned on - which it isn't when I'm out.

I've also managed to sort out the main template for my WordPress blog. There's still a load of pages to sort out, but hopefully it'll get easier from now on. The stuff I was doing on it today wasn't helped by me looking at it in Internet Explorer and discovering a whole load of things that looked totally different. It looks identical on dad's computer now (and would on mine, except I have the font size turned up as default).

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Sunday 4th September 2005 10:57 pm

After deciding to definitely stick with Blogger I found their forum, and people saying why they switched to WordPress. Dad had a testing one I could play with, so then I spent the day playing with my own.

It's so unfinished it's not funny. It's great if you have no idea what you're doing and there are 250 or so templates to choose from with all sorts of bits that it's far easier to customise than Blogger or LJ. However, I want it to look like my site, which is easier said than done, especially as my site predates my knowledge of CSS, hence not having any.

The best thing about WordPress is that there's a plugin that allows you to post to LJ at the same time as posting to WP without having to copy and paste it into LJ. It even does LJ cuts (or would if I could remember the code). Which makes it really useful. And also the only plugin I currently have working...

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Blogger, livejournal and RSS feeds
Saturday 3rd September 2005 9:34 pm

I spent Friday night playing with my blog. I've not finished, so all that you will see that is different is the new post comment link (previously you had to click on the comments, then post comment) and the new address, which is The site feed has similarly had a blog/ inserted into it. The original address has a redirect and I've inserted a bit into the feed giving the new address of that, so you shouldn't notice much difference.

I did discover, in the course of doing that, that if you edit a post, the feed updates. Which explains why sometimes Abilon tells me old posts are unread. I also managed to fill up two pages of my site stats with me (it's handy, having a weird resolution). In theory my stats ignore me but in practice they don't. I think I can live with it somehow.

I've just been finding out this weekend about a whole load of paranoia going on a while back about people suddenly discovering that shock, horror, people might be able to read their posts on LJ! Well, ok, it's more complicated than that, but I know that anything you post on the web could be read by anyone, anytime. So I don't generally post anything sensitive. That's what e-mail/mailing lists/forums/phone/talking to people in person is for.

But, all this has meant that recently people have been changing the setting of their LJ feeds to titles only. Which is, ok, a pain in the arse because now reading posts requires two clicks instead of one, but I can hardly complain because that's too selfish.

But for anyone that's doing it and reading this can I request that:

a) you give all your posts a title, otherwise I get nothing - including nothing to click on
b) make the title something that tells me about the post - so I can decide whether to make the effort to click on it

And for information, I don't know what other blogging tools do, but Blogger allows you to decide between RSS, Atom or no feeds at all. I've also discovered it does the equivalent of LJ-cut, I'm just having a few issues getting it to work.

I did investigate changing my blog provider. I looked at b2 and WordPress (technically the same thing) which does it all with php and you set loads of stuff yourself so it's very customisable. I was tempted, except it would require loads of work and doesn't actually do as much as Blogger. I'm of the opinion, if it ain't broke don't fix it, so I'm not going to change blog providers.

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Blogging, ironing and fasting
Thursday 23rd September 2004 10:42 pm

The BlogThis! button on the Google toolbar is great. I'm at a site I want to mention in my blog, so I just press the button and save it as draft. Then come back to my blog a few days later, decide I can't be bothered and delete the post.

In other news: I ironed tonight. I think the last time I ironed was last winter. I actually quite like ironing. It's not as bad as other housework-type jobs (like dusting - I haven't dusted for a month and I can see fingers marks on the video and stereo). But when I say I like ironing, I mean I like ironing, I don't like getting the ironing board out, putting it up, finding the iron from where it's buried under a pile of stuff, finding some clothes that need ironing. Then putting it all away afterwards, after giving the iron plenty of time to cool down. I'm also slow at ironing, although it's probably not helped by me watching TV at the same time.

I still haven't put the iron away and I finished at 9 o'clock.

It's quite weird how work can change so quickly. This time last week I was buried under it. Today I did about an hour of my job, the rest of it was spent helping other people because I had nothing else to do. It is nice to be quiet for a change because I have a load of adminy things to catch up on but it would be nice if it was a bit more even sometimes.

I listened to Hitchhiker's on Tuesday. Live, as well. It was a bit surreal to hear the usual music and then listen to something I hadn't heard before. I liked the way it followed the book, had a few extras in, explained the plot for people who were trying to work out how you got there from the last episode, and for people who hadn't listened so far. And the Eddies in the Space-Time Continuum joke still makes me laugh as much as the first time I read it.

It also made me think of something I could ask for for Chanukah, since up to this point the only thing on my list is a potato peeler (mum's got a cool, new one, I want it) and I only have the radio series on tape. It might even be something my grandmother can be trusted to buy.

I am going to Cadbury World on Saturday. And possibly the new Bullring shopping centre, depending on traffic. Saturday just happens to be Yom Kippur. You can tell I'm religious ๐Ÿ™‚

And because I know I'm going to get questions on this, Yom Kippur is the most holy day in the Jewish calendar where you're supposed to fast from sunset to sunset and spend your whole time in synagogue. And not watch telly or use the computer. And that's all I remember. I hate it when I was younger because it was another night of no TV not long after two no TV at New Year. Although my parents don't really do that now. I started it - I got my e-mail address at uni sorted out the day before the first night of New Year, so they had to go on to read my e-mail. And I joined J-Soc to meet people and get apple and honey. There were two people there who weren't religious and they knew more than me. And the apple and honey was a piece of apple dipped in a jar of honey, which isn't nearly enough honey.

And that was supposed to be an aside. I'm going to listen to Hitchhiker's (again - novelty value) and do the puzzle. Or play Gryffindor Mah Jongg, which is horrible but addictive.

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Sunday 14th September 2003 4:08 pm

I've been spending this weekend getting my life back. I've confused myself by watching series 2 and 4 of The West Wing and have two episodes of Smallville left to go. I've seen the new episode of Enterprise and updated my website. I've looked into moving this blog and decided it was more trouble than its worth. Not least because I've just noticed it's got a spellchecker!

No spoilers in particular but T'Pol actually looks pretty with the new clothes and haircut. I've been reading that TPTB want to do more with Trip and T'Pol which can only be a good thing. Daniel Dae Kim (last seen in Crusade and Angel) gets about a bit. Beyond that it wasn't particularly exciting. I had to get a new version of DivX player to see it. But The West Wing won't play in it, so I have to go back to the old version to watch that. Except that it keeps crashing. *sigh* You just can't win.

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