Announcement: iPhone 10th Anniversary Not A Celebration But Instead Reason To Admit Defeat. Or. The iPhone Represents How The Old Economy Won.

three dollar bill apple logo (low res)

The thing I remember most from Steve Jobs presentation of the iPhone ten years ago wasn’t the device itself. No. The thing I remember most were three words that he said: “Internet Communication Device.” Nothing else in that iconic corporate presentation remains with me. I don’t care how the thing looks, what colours it comes in, how the edges are designed or how they put the on/off switch exactly opposite of the volume switch (on the iPhone 6s) which means every time you try to adjust volume with one hand you also turn it off.

The concept of an internet communication device is as profound now as it was then. The difference being, Apple missed the boat on making it. With that in mind, I’m still waiting for an Internet Communication Device. I’m still yearning for it, too. I’m still dreaming, like in Star Trek, all I gotta do is tap my chest and I can place a call to anyone simply by saying their name. Put another way: building an internet communication device is as far off now as it was ten years ago. Put yet another way: we should be over and done with words like cellphone, phone network, AT&T, Verizon, GSM, signal strength, etc., etc. Yet we’re not. Instead we’re still stuck and hung out to dry by the old economy that has won the battle. The iPhone is the device that proves: old beats new. The new bows its head in submission. Old farts rule the world. Gee. Turning over in your grave, yet, Steve? No. Of course you’re not. You didn’t really know what you were doing when you claimed that the iPhone was something more than just an old economy toy. Or?

Was Jobs and his über arrogant company fully aware of the significance of the third denominator they/he had put into their gadget but have long since abandoned? It was a phone, it was an iPod–or a music player–and it was an internet communication device. The phone meant nothing to me. Since the advent of carry-around phones only one thing stands out about them (all). The cellular networks that they depend on are shit because they are ALL run by dinosaur companies that should die. Talk about a chain only being as strong as it weakest link!

As far as carry-around music players go, even though I have an extensive digital music library at home, the idear of lugging thousands of songs around with me is just stupid. Alone the misery of music through headphones–an extra frivolous cost to an already frivolously priced gadget–should motivate people to curb their music listening habits. Music, like wine, shouldn’t be consumed in a plastic cup at a baseball game in order to wash down a krappy hotdog. (Or should it?)

At the least, the phone and the iPod aspect of the iPhone should not be celebrated after an initial decade of extravagant nothingness. Like everything else in the tech industry iPhones are nothing more than widgets in the vastness of monopolies and corporate do-nothing humdrum of an old economy that won’t die. So little is innovation in a world where screens get smaller, cameras get fantastic-er and computing capabilities in handheld devices get super-er. Seriously. What is there to celebrate when, even after all the pageantry of gadgetry, we’re still stuck like a crumb in an old man’s beard that is being eyed by a distant seagull?

I got my first iPhone at the end of 2012. Even though I admired the look and design of the device from afar, the cost of it is just stupid. How much does stamped-out, glued components, made by slave hands in Asia cost! As far as cellphone usage goes, I used to buy cheap, regular cell phones (where the f’n battery lasted a week) and even today my new iPhone isn’t any better. And with that same iPhone I still use prepaid phone service–because of how much I hate cell phone providers. The contracts one has to sign with old economy corporations in order to afford a new-fangled, fancy smart phone is at best a cruel joke. Why do people put up with this shit? But that’s neither here nor there. My wife likes iPhones. When she gets one, she’s nice enough to buy one for me, too. Who am I deny her that pleasure?

But get this. Even though I can afford to pay around seven hundred dollars for a phone every few years, I still think they are frivolous, extremely overpriced, and have yet to meet my expectations of what/how technology should be. Indeed. There should be no celebration of the iPhone because its invention has only lead to convention. Fcuk Steve Jobs! Fcuk the iPhone! Fcuk closed eco-systems. Fcuk iTunes. Fcuk app developers. Fcuk all you well paid useless corporate minions that keep dinosaurs alive.

As usual, I’m off subject. My point of this post is to simply state that Apple has missed the boat when it comes to technology. We see this in 2016 and how the company is regressing with its products. The new MacBook Pro line of laptops is a joke. The AppleTV, probably the first product they’ve ever made where it got bigger instead of smaller, is also a joke. iPad sales are down because the iPad Pro creates an unnecessary product line in an already overpriced product line. The Apple Watch… Oh, the Apple Watch. You’ve got to be kidding me. Should I even mention the headphone jack issue in a device that was initially brought to market as a music device? Apple is not a technology company as much as it is a smart-ass, sell shit to suckers, fashion-marketing company–designed in superficial California. Btw, when is that earthquake gonna finally sink California?

What is an internet communication device? Simply put, it is a device that is not the iPhone, Apple and an eco-system that locks one into nothingness. At the time Jobs said those words while introducing the world to his new gadget, he was deep inside his distortion field. Either that or he was tripping on acid. Wait. Are they both the same thing? Nomatter. Obviously I can’t criticise the iPhone too much. It is part of the gazillions of dollars that Apple has in offshore accounts and lots of people use the device for crazy things like making films and taking pictures and and and. And that’s the only thing that matters anymore. I guess. But then again, like the Swedish pop band Abba once said: money money money in a rich man’s world.

Fail upwards.

Rant on.

-t

Blog Migration H-Eeeee-Double-Toothpicks And Why I Left #AWS

wordpress

Due to (technical) knowledge constraints I thought I overcame, I recently gave up hosting my blog with AWS. According to the conspiracy theorist inside my third-eye, I think the problem I had hosting at AWS was due to the fact that they couldn’t up-sell me and my lolly blog from being free-tier to being (insert $-amount) per month. Yeah, “free-tier” at AWS is only worth it if:

  • You don’t get many hits at your blog
  • You’re a webserver expert.

The only way AWS would help me with any problems was if I paid them for the help. In other words:

  • Free-tier web hosting at AWS is cool until you need even the slightest amount of help.

Now ain’t that suspicious? It’s especially suspicious when it’s obvious that a problem occurs not because of what I did but becuae of what AWS did which amounts to things being:

  • Suspicious.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m only blowing off some steam here. The problem I had with hosting my Worpress blog at AWS was solvable. I just didn’t know how to solve it–and something was telling me that if I’m gonna have to pay to have that amount of limited service, AWS isn’t for me.

The pseudo dream has always been to actually set up my own server at home and run my compulsive writing blog there. It’s really a rather simple thing to do. That’s what makes it extra frustrating that I couldn’t solve the problem at AWS. All one has to do is connect a home webserver to the outside world. For this you need the proper bandwidth. It’s no coincidence that we all can get high downloads speeds with our home Interent connections but only measely upload speeds. In Germania, as well endowed with phone lines and cable lines as the country is, I’m sure that the powers-that-be don’t want people to start hosting their corners of the internet at home. Indeed. And so. I constantly had the following error while hosting my blog on a Linux server at AWS:

  • “Error establishing a database connection”

As best I can tell this “error” is due to a mix-up between WordPress, which is my blog content management system, and AWS’s management of its server iterations. The mix-up or “error” occurs when one or all of the following happens while hosting a WordPress blog:

  • Free-tier blog gets too much traffic
  • AWS fiddles around with its systems and thereby forces changes to WordPress configuration files.

The thing is, I don’t feel like going that deep into all this technology krapp. It was actually a fun project a few years back when I went from 1und1 hosting to AWS. Installing Worpress on AWS was cool. But it’s now clear that free-tier doesn’t mean what you think it means. And that’s fine. I can deal with that. And I can even pay a couple of bucks a month to WordPress in the hope that all those database error messages are over.

We’ll see.

Rant on.

-t

A Grid Computer, A Deadline, German Girls Learning American-English

I believe this is a Grid3 but I could be mistaken.
I believe this is a Grid3. My work setup from 1989.

How easy one forgets or just plain misses his/her history. In today’s world of fancy-pants super computers masquerading as dumb-downed smartphones there was a day a long, long, long time ago where humility reigned supreme–especially when it was Friday late afternoon and one takes on a deadline for 8am Monday. At least that’s how I remember my entry into the world of mega personal computing.

When the assignment arrived everyone in the office scattered, conveniently putting themselves out of a hard weekend’s way. I had just joined the firm and was unaware of the divisiveness of corporate hallway work-avoidance. In fact–it’s all coming back to me now!–I believe I actually volunteered to take the job. The job was nothing more than providing company data, aka business profiles, of all the suppliers for telephone networking systems–by Monday morning. Keep in mind, this was pre world-wide-web. Even though I knew that it would be a lot of hours putting the individual profiles together I also knew that the fancy-pants consultancy I had just joined–the company that literally brought me to Europe for an extended stay that to this day has not ended–had all the resources I would need to get the job done. All I had to do was:

  1. Identify the companies (which I was able to do within a few hours Friday)
  2. Find their balance sheets, find a few news articles about them and, whenever I could, get some info about them from sources e.g. Lexis/Nexis, Gruner + Jahr, etc. (which the firm I worked for actually had in its mega firm-library)
  3. After that all that was left was to write it all up in company format and provide it in digital form.

Sounds easy enough, eh. Well, actually it is/was pretty easy even though I didn’t own a computer at the time–nor was I eligible for a fancy-pants portable computer that the firm sometimes loaned out. Also, for whatever reason, that weekend no one was allowed in the office to work. Something about fixing all the cubicles, fumigating, renovating, etc. I guess, in a way, I committed myself to something that was definitely “up-river”.

Luckily the head of the information & research department–where I worked–came to me a few minutes after I took the job. He was carrying a huge black suitcase.

“Toe-ma,” he said. “Here. Take this. There’s plenty of empty floppies in it. Get the data you need from our database and then you can sort through it all at home.”

I took the suitcase to my cubicle and opened it. Luckily it was Friday late afternoon in Germania. I was alone at my cubicle. To this day everybody leaves early on Friday. It’s Germany’s Volksport! Which means… No one could see the excitement in my face when I opened that black case.

Some Trivia.

Did you know, dear worst-reader, that a Grid Laptop was the first portable computer to go to space? I suppose that’s something to be proud of, especially if your John Ellenby, the founder of Grid. In fact, when the Challenger exploded in 1986, the Grid that was onboard survived not only the explosion but it was found underwater and when salvaged it still worked. Heck, even Steve Jobs owned a few Grids and if you take a hard long look at Apple’s first (krappy) laptop there’s no missing the similarities. Yea. Grids rocked.

Needless to say I was flabbergasted when I opened the large black case my boss had given me. I actually thought for a second or three that I should just leave with the device and never come back. If I could pawn the damn thing… Grids were only affordable by CEOs back then. The things costs something like $10k a piece! I could live in Mallorca for a few months. ;-)

Tommi, aka worst-writer, meeting deadlines and privileged enough to do it on a piece of history.
Tommi, aka worst-writer, meeting deadlines and joking around teaching a new friend Americanisms in my basement #eurowasteland apartment 1989.

But no. Back then the bite and bitterness of corporate cynicism hadn’t yet corrupted my measly worst-mind. I was dedicated, I was committed, I wanted to work. Of course, the girl that took the pictures which I recently found tucked away in an old shoebox also got a bit of attention that weekend as I was on (yet another) assignment to help her with her American-English. All-in-all it was a good weekend.

I met the Monday morning deadline–with lots of praise from my boss.

The girl that took the pics got in a few hours of learning “American” for her university courses in Anglistics.

And I got to work with a Grid computer.

RIP John Ellenby.

Rant on.

-t

One Step Forward, (Insert # Here) Steps Backward

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modem
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modem

I remember being debriefed by a senior agency partner in 1998. I had just returned from an interview assignment in Latvia. An “interview” is where a low-level nube gets to go out into the field and collect as much information as possible regarding assignment subject matter. In this case, the subject matter was trying to figure out how it was possible that such a small country in the outskirts #eurowasteland could have the best interwebnet connect-ability in the world. With a briefcase full of notes, spreadsheets, presentations, local newspaper clippings and two full 36mb camera memory cards I presented to the senior partner how the little country in the north did it.  I also brought with me a few hundred megabytes of web data (on disks) that I downloaded in order to measure network speeds, encryption methods, server performance, etc. Whether in a hotel in Riga or a fancy bed & breakfast on the coast, all I had to do was plug in an ethernet (lan) cable and the digital world was mine. In contrast, in Germany–where I was based–I was still plugging into the Interwebnets using xx-baud modems and waiting for every world wide webpage to download as though Kingdomcum was impotent. But that’s neither here nor there. And it was a long time ago.

Spring forward to someone’s future. The interwebnets is practically ubiquitous these days. Yet, consider the time between when I investigated Latvia’s advancements and the current state of computer hardware. If you ask me, things have gone rather slow. Most of the western world has caught up to what Latvia did. Yet something is missing. There’s obviously many fronts on the war of human freedom. The main fronts though are about how an individual can actually practice his/her freedom. And it is here where the apparatus of government and capital interests intersect in a stealthy, corporate healthy way. It would seem that recent judicial rulings and infrastructure outcomes regarding the interwebnets prove that freedom is winning the war against corporate control. The net neutrality rolling by the US FCC is most encouraging. Yet, in another article, on a completely different subject matter, something else lingers under the war that is being fought. On the one hand government has ruled against capital interests by not allowing ISPs to control my internet access. On the other hand that same government is using the interwebnets to overtly spy on people, which obviously goes against the 4th Amendment.

So I guess what we’re dealing with here is simple. While one front in the war for freedom seems to be won there are other fronts that creep-in to show the battle must rage on. Or maybe not. What the fuck do I care.

Rant on. -Tommi

Links that motivated this post:

The Gun Of Stupidity On The #Americant Road To Nowhere

route us 666

First. Let’s be clear here. I hate having to search for business news on the interwebnets. Why? Well, thanks for asking, dear worst-reader. The reason I hate searching for business news is because almost all of the links I get are from propaganda news sites. Most people call this kind of news “the media”. Lucky for you, worst-writer ain’t so stupid–to call it something it ain’t. (Enough of the ain’ts, right?) Whether it’s the wall street journal (low case intended), forbes (which I never go to because, well, it’s a shit site) or, God forbid, faux newz, they are all corporate propaganda sites. With that in mind, it takes a bit more effort to get to a news source that isn’t one-of-the-above.

(Please. I know that the sources that I do use (see links below) are often nothing but syndicators of the sites I refuse to visit. But at least I’m trying here, eh.)

Second. The reason behind the old economy rush to get behind the new (pseudo) economy has nothing to do with providing easy, convenient taxiing services. No. Car manufacturers recent “investments” in car sharing services is really about car makers waking up to the fact that the minions–especially the minions in the West–can’t afford to buy cars anymore. By investing in ride sharing services, car manufacturers can at least count on selling a few more “product” to these services. In fact, the corporate smart-asses that run the lives of minion #americants that work/live for them don’t have to stop at being enablers of new fangled car/ride sharing services. If you buy/finance a car with Toyota and, for whatever reason, can no longer make your payments, you can then go drive for Uber. Good thinking Toyota.

Did you get that, dear worst-reader?

Let me rephrase it cause this is really, really important.

You get a new Toyota and when you can’t make payments, you WILL (have to) use your Toyota to drive for Uber.

Way to go #americant innovators. Another notch on the gun of stupidity.

Good luck suckers.

Rant on.

-t

Links that motivated this post:

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out, Or Pass Me The Popcorn As The Sh*t Show Implodes

monopoly board

Having fun in the game of life yet? No? Gee, why not? Not enough ice-cream? Not enough cheap gas? Not enough free money in the form of credit you’ll never pay back? Not enough of someone thinking for you? Not enough of all this too much? Oh well. Moving on. Look what happened today (in the news). After reading about this one, here my first thoughts:

Yeah. Ok. I get it. I know why this is happening. I played the game once. Now everyone else plays it. I sit back and watch–like the voyeur I am. And so. I thank you dear worst-reader for playing the game so that I can watch. And laugh.

With that in mind, after reading that the mega (wannabe) monopoly corporation Intel is laying off twelve thousand employees, a cynical smile overcame me. This is where I like to reveal the inner workings of my worst-heart. What are the inner workings? Simple. Fuck all twelve thousand! May the twelve thousand rot in the cesspool of greed filth that they work for. May all their useless families and children and whatnot-dependents eat the eyeballs of the dying corporatist patriarchy that is the evil that they work/live for. For, dear worst-reader, corporations like Intel are pure evil. Twelve thousand employees are sh*t outta luck and they worked for the (THE!) computer chipmaker extraordinaire Intel–and none of them knew they worked for pure evil? Twelve thousand? I suppose, if one worst-considers the amount of employees that have been let go over the past thirty or so years in this world of fail-upwards corporatism, twelve thousand is a drop in the bucket. Yet, I love it all the same. Why? Because, well, Intel. What better example is there of the failure of society, of the failure of government, the failure of employees, of humanity. Just worst-writing the word “Intel” makes me sick to my stomach. Which means I have to get through this post toot-sweet. Seriously. And not only that. Fuck all the auto workers, the steel workers, garment workers, etc., etc. Fuck them all and… Fuck all workers and automatons and corporatists that have enabled and facilitated the times we live in. Times that history will tell equal the times of the past when slaves worked and the few & far between were the lucky ones–you know, like kings and queens and emperors and pharaohs and their jesters (which are now called employees), etc. Welcome dear twelve thousand former Intel employees, welcome to the neo-feudalism that you helped enable. Or am I over doing it? Have things improved much since, gee, I don’t know, the pharaohs? What? We got better health care now? We all got a car and an iPhone? And let’s not forget that we all get to have teeth after the age of fifteen. Or? Full stop. I am over doing it? I’m over doing for the sake of dramatic effect. Right? Am I coming across as a class fighter? Is the tendency to read and mis-read Karl Marx seeping out of the pores of my skin? Yeah, I might be over doing it. But I’m only over doing it with the cursing–and, maybe, the reference to Marx. The rest? I stand by it. Seriously. Never before has the premise behind Tim Leary’s “turn on, tune in, drop out” been more relevant than in my entire life time (born at the end 1963). Except, maybe, the entire premise of the game Monopoly–which we seem to be entangled in and YOU! don’t even know it. Even though I don’t care much for drug induced, hippy-fied political ideology–i.e. Tim Leary–I have to admit that his saying has stuck with me most of my life and whenever I hear about huge layoffs, like this one, I just snicker and laugh and think: where’s my Monopoly game? I gotta break out that board again. It’s been so long since I’ve played. And then more thoughts enter (my cortex). Wow, I think. Those dipsh*ts at Intel got laid-off and I can think of no one else more deserving. When you live your life as a blood sucker, as most corporatists do–because no one actually does any “work” anymore–instead we live life like compulsive behaviourist mosquitos–this is what you get. Twelve thousand layoffs. Greed. Fail upwards. Greed. Societal dysfunction. Greed. The Donald. Greed. #Americant Conservatism. Greed. Greed. Greed. And now that the bottom has fallen out for dipsh*ts and I’m gonna sit back and watch the clusterf*ck that is this board game that everyone (except me) doesn’t even know they’re playing. With that in mind, my worst good luck wishes go out to twelve thousand suckers.

Rant on. -Tommi

Links that motivated this post:

How/Why Your Vote Doesn't Matter: Money Is (Above) The Law.

stained flag

Read some legislation this morn. I guess I woke up feeling patriotic. But that soon waned. Indeed. Get a load of this krapp. A couple of Senators–you know, those guys in government that are the dirty hands and unwashed feet of the corporate and military industrial complex–have drafted yet another useless bill that is supposed to prove they are where they are because of democracy. Or is it idiocracy? Nomatter. The bill starts out with this phrase:

No person or entity is above the law.

Now, I don’t know about you, dear worst-reader, but there is something akin to an oxymoron-thing going on here–the likes of which have been seen before. This is how the puppets running the freakshow that is (the current iteration of) #americant prove everyday how incompetent and inept they really are. Gee, which begs me to ask: who votes for these people?

“No person or entity is above the law?” WTF! Above the law, like, banks are obviously above the law? Or above the law, like, how the US Treasury can be plundered for war mongering and that plunder can be shifted so that the middle class–decimating it in the mean-time–pays for the plunder? Or how ’bout above the law when it comes to dumbass religious beliefs that suddenly can be turned around using fancy text (that is above #americants third grade level reading capacity) and thereby legislate reverse discrimination laws that allow really, really stupid white people to continue their hate (in the name of the law) of people who think and act differently?

Above the law = stfu and just go buy something (and if you can’t, stfu even more). Other interests are at work in your government. Or something like that.

Anywho. Two fourth grade level senators recently put together a bill that would help government deal with the reality of digital encryption. Keep in mind there are conflicting realities here. On the one side there is the all-powerful, authoritarianism of government (over people) that lies to us when it says that law enforcement is for our own protection. On the other side there is the fact that the digital economy of the future can’t function without strong encryption. I mean, come on. Almost every time you access a website where you want to buy something or register something encryption is used. To make legislation that enables the government to be above that encryption–in the name of law enforcement–is Orwellian at best and detrimental to the future (economy) at worst. And all this (effort on the part of inept politicians) just because Apple stood up to an arm of big brother–the FBI. Wow.

And so the lie goes: there are most definitely some above the law and there always will be. Inept third grade voters elect inept fourth grade politicians. And there we have it.

Rant on. -Tommi

Links that motivated this post:

  1. For a simple clarification in all things-stupid in #americant law making | re/code
  2. Or you can read the bill yourself | draft legislation via scribe