Charlie's Blog: Your Time Is Gonna Come


Your Time Is Gonna Come

Lyin', cheatin', hurtin, that's all you seem to do. 
Messin' around with every guy in town, 
Puttin' me down for thinkin' of someone new. 
Always the same, playin' your game, 
Drive me insane, trouble is gonna come to you, 
One of these days and it won't be long, 
You'll look for me but baby, I'll be gone. 
This is all I gotta say to you woman
LED ZEPPELIN, Your Time Is Gonna Come

This song is rarely performed, but it is one of my favorite Zep songs. It is a happy song with blues lyrics which makes it kinda weird. It should be a depressing song, but it ends up sounding triumphant. It is hard to listen to this tune without feeling better inside. I think it has something to do with a feeling that there is justice in the world even if we don't see it at the moment. As a wise person put it, living well is the best revenge.

My mind is a blank at the moment. Usually, I wake up with the "brain on fire" and the impulse to write, but I think I may be tapped out this morning. Coffee may change this state of affairs. Let me see about a fresh pot.

People that know me end up getting links in their email to things I see in my web surfing that I think they might be interested in. I do this in lieu of Facebook which I quit some years ago. I like email. I believe in email. I know that email is Web 1.0 in this 2.0 world, but I still believe that electronic mail is and will remain the killer app of all time. You can keep your social media, your Instagrams, and your chat apps.

The problem that I have with sharing items through email is that people don't read them. This isn't a vanity thing. People literally don't read the one or two items that I send them because they never see them. Whatever goes to email gets buried in an avalanche of other things.

There is a war going on, and it is a war for your eyeballs and attention. I am now at the point where I am forced to admit that I can't win this war. This goes back to that IO thing written about previously on the C-blog. I think in my foolishness that email was an end run around Facebook and all the rest, but I made a careless assumption. I assumed that people manage their inboxes like I do. They don't.

I have a strategy for email. Email is priority one. I ruthlessly eliminate anything from my inbox that isn't vital. I don't subscribe to a hundred email newsletters. I have been slack with my email for the past couple of days, so I have 90 unread emails in my inbox. It hardly ever gets past 100. I process that inbox on the regular. Yet, when I talk to people, they tell me of inboxes with 2000+ unread emails. That just blows my mind. I recommend email bankruptcy.

I don't want to contribute to the problem of IO in people's lives, so I am not sending links to people I know anymore. People of a certain age have learned to ignore most of what is going on around them which is why in this age of information people are so underinformed about things. People will ask me questions about things, and I reply, "Do you have a smartphone? Use it."

The reason people look for the answer from me is because they prefer not using the tool available on their hip. The real irony is that I am not a smartphone user. Yet, I seem to be more informed than the majority of the people around me. The reason for this should be obvious to me. These people practice deliberate ignorance. They don't want to know things. The smartphone enables a greater measure of deliberate ignorance because if they need some vital information it will be ready at hand. The reason they ask me questions is because I am a little faster and take less effort than it would take for them to try and tap in a search term on those dreaded touchscreen keyboards. Smartphones make people stupid. Talk about irony!

People don't want to know things. If they wanted to know, there is no barrier to knowing. As such, I don't need to share things anymore that I find on the internet to people's inboxes. If people want to know, they can read my blog or follow me on Twitter. I have learned something from my readings of St. Josemaria Escriva. One of the signs of a lack of humility is "giving your opinion without being asked for it, when charity does not demand you to do so." Sharing information is not necessarily an opinion, but it is not demanded by charity either. For instance, I never talk about being vegan unless asked, or I have to explain why I am not eating things. But this really applies to many other things as well.

You have to learn to be content to let the world muddle along in ignorance. You should feed a starving man, but it is a different situation when that starving man is on restaurant row with $500 in cash in his pocket. This is how it is with knowledge and information. We wouldn't waste our money or time on the person starving on a self-inflicted basis. Likewise, we shouldn't waste our time on the person who is ignorant on a self-inflicted basis.

The cool thing about keeping a blog and a Twitter account is that it allows you to share with the world the things that really matter to you but also allows the world to ignore you. It's like a person who can choose to open a shop or a booth at a market versus the door-to-door salesman who is pushy with his wares and jams his foot in your door when you try and close it.

This subject also has some bearing on my evangelism. For some strange reason, I am able to get people interested in Catholicism or St. Josemaria but that interest withers at some point. A friend of mine even went to a few Masses to see what it was all about. Then, he let it drop. I've seen the same thing with others who are enthusiastic for a brief period but drop out when it becomes difficult. I find these people more of a problem than someone who has zero interest. A firm negative is better than a maybe because it saves me time. I value my time, and I don't like when people waste my time.

Recently, I have coined a term that applies to my attitude and mindset about technology. This term is "technoskepticism." I am not a Luddite as evidenced by this blog. I am not a technophobe as I readily emrace technology that improves my life. But I am not a technophile as I don't think technology is the solution to all problems. I suspect that technology creates many problems along the way to solving other problems. This makes me a technoskeptic.

A great example of this happened today at Mass when our priest went to do his homily from his iPad. The iPad glitched up on him, and he had to wing it from there. It made for a laugh, but I knew that he would have been better off with a paper copy. Here's a tip for any public speaker. Eschew the iPad and the teleprompter. Just read it from a sheet of paper. Paper never locks up or crashes.

Paper is a simple and elegant solution to most problems. The problems of technology are well known. We have distracted driving, identity theft, short attention spans, pornography addiction, and decreased worker productivity as people spend time playing games on their phone instead of working. I regularly tweet stories about people who either intentionally or out of necessity had to go back to using flip phones. They always report life improvement.

Recently, a flurry of rumors hit the internet that Motorola now owned by Lenovo was bringing back its RAZR flip phone with perhaps some jazzed up features from Android. Lenovo shot down those rumors, but the excitement should tell you something about flip phones. People still love them. They just want them to have better cameras, a web browser, and a way to check email. They already have these phones in Japan.

I think phones like this would be popular in the USA, but they don't offer them here. I doubt they would outsell conventional smartphones, but they would do better than Blackberry is doing now. For me, they key issue with smartphones is the lack of robustness. They can't handle being dropped. Their batteries don't last. These are all issues answered by flip phones.

The ultimate smartphone for me was invented some time ago, but it is no longer being produced. It was the Blackberry Style offered by Sprint. Aside from its now dated features, its design was exactly what I would want in a smartphone. Here is what it looked like:

The Style has the flip phone form, the full physical keyboard, and the ability to browse the web and check email. I could easily see an updated version running Android. Unfortunately, no one will ever make this phone. No phone is perfect, but I believe that the clamshell design is essential. It works for laptops. It works for flip phones. Yet, the world insists on flat screens exposed to dirt and damage. I work in a blue collar environment, and all of the smartphone users around me have busted up screens. They buy those expensive protective cases, but they are no match for what they are put through on a daily basis. Yet, my flip phone and the company flip phones just survive forever in the same environment.

A lot is made about Steve Jobs and his Apple products, but they aren't that radical in their designs. The Macbook is a laptop. The iMac is just a screen with the computer inside of it. The genius of Jobs was that he brought an aesthetic dimension to computers and electronics, and people were willing to pay a premium for products that they could have gotten for a third of the price. It is helpful to remember that Steve Jobs was famous for driving a Mercedes Benz with no license plate:

I have no idea how he got away with driving without a plate or the exact reason he did it. I suspect it was aesthetic. He didn't like the way the plate obscured the design of the car. The man was also famous for not having a designated parking spot at work, yet he would park in the empty handicapped spot. The guy was nuts.

Apple is simply the Mercedes Benz of tech. Their products are elegant, expensive, and exclusive. Other than that, you don't need them. I prefer a nice Toyota to a Benz. Likewise, I'd rather have a Samsung Galaxy than an iPhone if I were going down smartphone lane. I don't think quality has to be expensive. The sad thing is that people are compelled to copy Apple instead of tossing the dirt on Jobs's grave.

I prefer a flip phone for the same reasons I prefer a pickup truck. I want it to do certain things and not necessarily do other things. I am a blue collar guy, and I need blue collar things. Smartphones are white collar toys. This is evidenced by the fact that they keep making them sleeker and more elegant instead of bulkier and more rugged. Conversely, flip phones are bulkier and meatier because they are used in industrial level workplaces and job sites.

I love durability. It is the first thing I look for when buying things. Will it take a beating? Is it robust?

For the time being, I love my Casio flip phone. I forgot when I bought it, but I suspect that it is at least five years old. It is as good as the day I bought it. I even went ahead and bought a new battery for it. As long as it remains compatible with the network, I will stay with it for a few more years. If it fries out, I will go with another rugged flip phone.

Another thing I have been interested in is brutalist web design. Some would say that the C-blog is a brutalist website. The definition can be fuzzy, but I think the best examples of brutalist web design are the Drudge Report and Craigslist. The antithesis would be Facebook and most polished websites today. In the middle would be Google.

My preference is for simple web designs. I like a white background, text, pictures, and links. I don't like anything that pops up or crazy pages that do weird things when you scroll down. Webmasters like to spend time showing off all that they can do, but it misses the point. The best way to present information is in the simplest way possible. Websites are fundamentally text based. For some reason, they want to make it something more than what it is.

I am out. This blogger needs coffee now.