The Internet Apologizes…

… that’s the title of a sobering article on what has gone wrong with the internet. Well worth reading.

The apology is necessary, but it’s too damn late – the damage is done. I’m not sure how it will ever be possible to undo the damage that platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have caused. To many people, Facebook is the internet, and it is a global monopoly. And it has connected people for both good and ill. The recent Buddhist violence against Muslims in Sri Lanka is but the latest example.

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Dance or Die

A documentary about Ahmad Joudeh. Watch it

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You Are the Product

That’s the title of an article about Facebook by John Lanchester. Published back in August 2017, it is eerily prescient about the shit that has now hit Facebook’s fan.

It’s a long article, but definitely worth a read. As Lanchester writes:

I am scared of Facebook. The company’s ambition, its ruthlessness, and its lack of a moral compass scare me.

His conclusion is sobering:

Automation and artificial intelligence are going to have a big impact in all kinds of worlds. These technologies are new and real and they are coming soon. Facebook is deeply interested in these trends. We don’t know where this is going, we don’t know what the social costs and consequences will be, we don’t know what will be the next area of life to be hollowed out, the next business model to be destroyed, the next company to go the way of Polaroid or the next business to go the way of journalism or the next set of tools and techniques to become available to the people who used Facebook to manipulate the elections of 2016. We just don’t know what’s next, but we know it’s likely to be consequential, and that a big part will be played by the world’s biggest social network. On the evidence of Facebook’s actions so far, it’s impossible to face this prospect without unease.

I deleted my Facebook account yesterday. I hope that I can remain outside its walled garden.

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Pulling the Plug (again)

I noticed this when I was reading the Guardian website today:

https://www.theguardian.com/isle-of-man-travel

I’ll bet it was triggered by some algorithm that knows I am Manx.

I suspect it’s high time that I deleted my Facebook account (again). And to be clear, I loathe and detest Facebook, but I needed an account because of my community work. Everybody else insisted that using a Facebook group was the only way to coordinate. Bollocks, said I, but everyone else seems to have drunk the kool-aid…

The invasion of the body snatchers has long since come to pass…

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From Wet String to Glass

If you’ve been following the saga of trying to get broadband internet here, you’ll know that last November a campaign started to persuade householders in our area to sign up for a new fibre optic network. We needed a minimum of 50% of the households in the area to sign up; so 2,800 addresses out of the total catchment area of 5,600 addresses.

The campaign came to an end on the 19th February, and I’m very pleased to say that 69.4% of the households signed up.

The detailed engineering plan for the network is now being worked on, and the expectation is that work will begin on laying the network in the 3rd quarter this year. The first households are expected to be connected by the end of the year, and everyone should be on the network by mid-2019.

We’ve been fighting for a decent broadband connection here since the end of 2014, so it’s a bit of a relief that at last we seem to be in sight of getting the dream realised.

Posted in Computers and Internet | 1 Comment

QUAD Artera Link – Rare Bird or Lame Duck?

The audio manufacturer QUAD introduced the Artera line of products back in 2015. At the 2016 Sound and Vision show in Bristol, QUAD previewed two additional models in the range: an all-in-one player and amplifier (the Artera One) and a player and streamer (the Artera Link). A full year went by without these models appearing on the market, and they ended up being re-announced at the 2017 show, and production began.

I managed to purchase an Artera Link in February 2017, and it’s been a key component in our HiFi system during the past year.

Yet something odd happened; apart from a passing mention in the Artera product page at QUAD’s web site, the Artera One and the Artera Link models were rarer than hen’s teeth, and not found on QUAD’s dealer price lists. Then, a week ago, QUAD suddenly announced the Artera Solus – to all intents and purposes, exactly the same model as the Artera One (a player and amplifier), and all references to the Artera One and the Artera Link were expunged from QUAD’s web site. It is said that a second version of the Artera Solus will become available later this year, which will add streamer capabilities. This seems to suggest that a pure player/streamer model (i.e. equivalent to the Artera Link) is not part of QUAD’s plans.

So I seem to have ended up with one of the few Artera Links that have been produced. And with zero chance that it will become a Roon-Certified network player. That’s a pity.

Quad Artera Link

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You Gotta Believe

Nina Paley has been working on Seder-Masochism, the follow-up to her wonderful Sita Sings The Blues, for a while now. Here’s a snippet, visuals courtesy Nina, song courtesy The Pointer Sisters. Fabulous (in all meanings of the word)!

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