The technology you’ll use and abuse

Someone on the radio was saying the other day that we humans are not biologically ready for all the technology that we’ve developed in the last couple of hundred years. They said that this is especially true of technologies like the internet, where a ton of information is available at our fingertips, but our brains are nowhere near ready to take it all in. Furthermore, they said that social media is connecting us in a very disconnected way. While we are sharing and keeping up with one another more than ever, we are also losing out on some person-to-person connections near us that are necessary for a healthy mind.

True that.

I’ve recently deleted my Facebook application from my phone and iPad in order to be just a little bit more disconnected from the craziness shared on a continuous stream by my friends and some of my colleagues. Those of you who follow me on Facebook might think that I’m lying because I sure to post a lot of information and comments online. Here’s a secret… It’s not all me.

For quite a while, since about 2007, I’ve been trying out different technologies that allow me to post information to Twitter and Facebook at specified times and from specific content. These used to be actual “bots” in every sense of the word. However, ever since it became clear that Russian bots had something to do with seeding a lot of discontent on social networks, there’s been a lot of de-authorization of such automated programs. So now I use a scheduling program to post.

But I still can’t help but type the URL for Facebook or Twitter on my laptop when I’m doing other stuff, stuff that I should be focused on. So I get distracted and end up worrying about people and things that I should not worry about. I mean, so what if so-and-so is on their sixth relationship in the three years I’ve known them? Who am I to judge, and why should I care?

I’m hoping that Baby Ren’s generation will know how to use all this technology a little bit better. While my wife and I have agreed that she will not have a smart device of her own until at least middle school, we know that it is almost impossible to keep her away from such things. Her friends are probably going to have them, or the school is going to require her to use it. (I certainly hope she inherits my love for writing by hand.) Perhaps she will know how to balance real-world connections with cybernetic ones.


Then again, who knows what crazy technological advances will come when she comes of age? There were no iPads just a few years ago. I remember not having internet access on my telephone as early as 2009. And I remember, fondly, setting up 802.11a WiFi at my tiny apartment on a DSL line that was super slow by today’s standards, but lightning fast when moving from dial-up to it. By the time Baby Ren is ten or twelve, there might be no waiting for any information download. There might even be implants that put everything into our heads right then and there.

Can you imagine? A world full of knowledge but seriously devoid of wisdom. I shudder to think of it, but that is where my job as a father will come in. It will be up to me to what take that information stream and teach Baby Ren how to parse it out, how to tell the wheat from the chaff. Trust me when I’ve told you that I’ve met some very knowledgeable and intelligent people who were paralyzed when asked to use any kind of creativity to solve a problem. So I’ll have to make sure that Baby Ren learns all those things that can’t quite be written into code.

I’m yet to see a how to article on being a good person.

9 Comments on “The technology you’ll use and abuse”

  1. I have it a bit easier and harder. As I age, I rely upon technology in personally specific ways and not what most would expect.
    Meanwhile, I have Facebork for a reason, to see pictures and videos of my grandchildren. That’s largely it, save a few very close friends, who would happily image toss an e-mail or link to a larger video, via multiple means, if the file size was too large for either of our e-mail provider’s services.
    Objectionable, Facebork’s embracing *anything* that brings traffic, hate groups, murderers, rape groups, God, the devil and anyone else that brings in advertising dollars, despite causing social issues that actually near multiple nations to civil war.
    Hence, why I actively avoid the damned platform, save on grazing encounters, such as USA Today’s comment platform and I ignore the Facebork feedback.

    If you recall, I spoke once about being doxed. Someone doxed me, then threatened to rape my wife and kill everyone in the household. End of the day, my response, which was abominable and honest terminated any further interaction and considering the fact that we’re alive, was an idiot making an idle threat, rather than being a burglar intent upon harm and fed to local pigs and the individual’s teeth tossed into multiple fast moving bodies of water.
    I had patiently explained precisely the sequence of events of any home invasion and only if I were feeling charitable would I have involved one of a, at the time, a full dozen firearms, but would preferentially utilized an edged weapon, which still remain plentiful.
    Moron milk drinker decided against consuming his stupid flakes that morning.

    Here, in the real world, Wil Wheaton’s adage of “don’t be a dick” was liquidated quickly against gamergate. There, he learned, sometimes, one *must* be a dick.
    Or, at times, a monster.
    I’m retired military, I’m perfectly comfortable being a nice guy, I even prefer it, but I have zero problem neutralizing any threat, via whatever means are available and barely reasonable.
    Reasonable for me means, entering a property and killing any threat, making an example of an invader and dropping a 250 pound JDAM onto a house that held a terrorist that just the day before had bombed several markets full of women and children.

    Meanwhile, I work with 21st century technologies, the leading edge at that. Support it, contribute to advances and overall, wonder how backwards some parts are, compared to local server based services vs cloud based services, due to odd implementation and wonder at some still existing gaps between platforms that create operational issues.
    And repeatedly report on those issues…

    And for the record, my first memory was being told by mom to not wiggle or I might get stuck with a diaper pin, which eventually happened.
    Second memory was of JFK being killed. Mom sat me before the television, told me “Watch him, he’s the President and he’s important!”.
    JFK, in Dallas, had his brain destroyed that day.
    Mom was useless after and after voiding on the toilet and still not good at cleansing, called for assistance, used an entire roll of toilet paper, with predictable and well remembered results.
    No memory records after that, beyond mom’s horror at the flood.
    But then, that was a full year before I should have memories. I was born in late 1961.

    I’ve also noticed, the most traumatic memories can be altered, via conscious effort to alter them, while recalling them. Which is largely what PTSD revolves around, an objectionable loop of memory, continuously recalled, due to reinforcement, creating a problem. Tilt the memory into an error, or falsehood that’s more acceptable, one recalls the original memory and a hint as to why.
    Adapted from the false memory idiocy that was around the global satanic cult nonsense. Adapted from the not extremely valid notion that a memory recalled is erased, the re-encoded, which isn’t entirely correct, as multiple systems are involved.

    Good night, may Silent Bob bless. 😉


    • Dad says that he was in Catholic school when the priest ran in and took everyone to the chapel and told them to start praying for the President. He had no idea why, but he did. He was seven years old. He said he got home and my grandparents were glued to the radio. Grandpa said there were military men at the border (Texas) and no one was allowed to go over to Mexico. Everyone in the Dallas region was being stopped and frisked and sometimes detained. Meanwhile, family members in the national guard were called to the armories. I think everyone thought the Russians were about to launch a first strike, or something.
      But that was that watershed moment. Mine came on September 11. We all know that story.
      I wonder what horrific even will be Baby Ren’s watershed moment? It’s only a matter of when, right?


  2. I had a kid stalked through Facebook when he was a teenager. It was harmless, just some young lady in a nearby suburban high school. Fortunately that was the only time, plus she called to apologize.

    Due to my youngest downloading a kid game that infected the desktop we were sharing with some odious malware* that required flattening and reloading, we have always been careful. I made it a rule to never use my kids’ names online, nor to post their image without obscuring their faces. I did make one exception, and that was a photo of a six month old baby with chicken pox showing how close the pox came to their eyes.

    As an adult that baby does not use their unusual last name on social media, and did dump Facebook years ago when they lowered their security (this kid used Pentagon level, only people allowed to friend them were those they knew in person). The kid pays rent while in grad school through digital art commissions (niche market), the customers know the username, only the company that does the payment processing knows their full name.

    * People were charged and convicted for this malware bit, I can’t find the articles because it was over fifteen years ago. The slime-balls used a security flaw in Java to target kids with malware in downloadable games. The malware would actually cover the screen with pornographic pictures, and then send a “helpful” message that the computer was infected and gave the link to buy their special malware protection program to fix the problem. Which would make it worse. You can see why this vile practice was an actual crime. Plus why we got very very serious about online security, and why the then 8 year old kid is very very cautious as an adult.


    • Yeah, we try to be very careful, too. This is especially true after meeting some antivaxxers in person. They latch on to you and can make your life difficult if they want to. (Of course, they only do so until there are consequences. Once asked for evidence of my evil ways and Pharma pay, they go away.) But I think you’re right about the Facebook thing. If Baby Ren ever uses social media, it would be a good idea to only allow people he knows in real life to contact them.


    • Around that time frame, I had a hobby of killing off malware manually. I still wiped and reloaded the system afterward, but just to see what it did and how it operated, I’d monitor its activity and behavior.
      Then, dismantle it enough to kill it, presenting samples to antivirus companies, who did much the same thing inside of their sandbox.


      • I used to dabble in that as well. I’d specifically build a laptop with windows XP (remember that?) and go to malicious sites to see what they would do. I never analyzed the code, just the behavior. (Typical epidemiologist.)


        • I’ve decompiled or even disassembled some malware, then stepped the mess through a debugger. Had inline sniffers running as well.
          Older malware was rather chatty, noisily so at times. Newer malware tends to send extremely short requests for instruction, reports are compressed and some, compressed and encrypted. Commands from C3 servers can be fairly large and obfuscated as regular web traffic strings or short single character commands or groups of commands.


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