Charlie's Blog: SOC 2

9.12.2016

SOC 2


Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.
SOREN KIERKEGAARD

I am done with Twitter. My battle with Twitter addiction will not be new to longtime readers of the C-blog. I gave up on quitting, but I recently became disgusted again with social media as a thing. I think it was the story about Facebook censoring the naked Vietnamese girl picture which is an iconic piece of American history. Then, there are the other stories of politically motivated censorship of conservative types like myself. Both Twitter and Facebook have been hit with these allegations. Now, I am not the object of such censorship efforts, but those stories make me question social media. Then, I see the whole project as one vast bad habit.

I've been off of Facebook for a couple of years now. Without a doubt, getting off that social media website has been a positive thing for me. I was a heavy user of Facebook, and it took me two times to quit. Then, I fell into Twitter which isn't as bad. I liken it to quitting heroin to become a pothead. I replaced a bad habit with a lesser bad habit.

Twitter is not as satisfying as Facebook in the same way that ganja is not as satisfying as opium. This is probably why Facebook makes a lot of money while Twitter has yet to show a profit.  Despite its popularity, Twitter is a failure. I expect it to be sold to some other firm in the near future. Twitter is to Facebook what Burger King is to McDonald's. It is the same concept but a slightly different experience. For me, I don't debate McDonald's vs Burger King because I am a vegan who thinks fast food is crap food that will kill you. Likewise, I think social media is bad in the same way.


I don't know why I push back against tech today. I wasn't always this way. Without a doubt, refusing to buy a smartphone was my first definitive refusal of technological innovation. Now, my refusal of social media is my second. I am in a life editing mood right now, and I want to clean some clutter from my life. Twitter has been on the top of the list for a long time now. I would scroll that Twitter feed for an hour or more at a time. It feels weird not doing that now. I can feel my brain rewiring itself in a post-Twitter existence.

I still use tech and the internet, but I seem to value it differently than other people. I remember being seriously into the internet while others were mostly indifferent. Then, Facebook and smartphones happened. I didn't change, but those people changed. Where I saw the internet as my book-and-library life supercharged, they saw it as a smorgasbord of endless distraction and have been mired in it ever since. For me, the internet was and is intellectual. For them, it became social. Twitter was the midpoint between the social and the intellectual worlds. Twitter is the busiest but least social of social media.

I have really enjoyed this article about going dark on social media. This is a favorite bit from the article:
To those of us who are social obsessed, the abstainers possess an air of self-assured coolness. Inhabiting a world apart from the artfully posed selfies and embarrassing bachelorette pics, they are elusive, rebelling against the digital status quo and not suffering from crippling FOMO about what everyone else is eating, wearing, or doing.
Reading that makes me want to be a social media abstainer. Here's another great bit:
 “I don’t really see the point of it all,” said Cathy, a 35-year-old sales director in Florida. (Incidentally, many people who aren’t on social media also do not want to be quoted with their full names on the Web.) “I keep in touch with my real friends and family via phone, email, and text. I find it’s just more personal that way.”
Phone, email, and text is definitely me. I have kvetched before about how people do not respond to email, but I have changed my opinion on why that is the case. I used to think their email inboxes were overfilled, but I think they spend the bulk of their time on Facebook and never check their email. I think someone is wearing a hearing aid because they are deaf when it is really a pair of earbuds blasting rock music which is the equivalent of being deaf.

Social media should be an engagement with the world, but I see it as substitute for the world. Social media is an escape from the world to a pseudoworld where things are valued differently. Likes and friend requests and shares and retweets become the currency in this social media economy. When you don't play along, it is like setting fire to a pallet of cash.


There are other social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest. There is Snapchat and Periscope. I have never been on any of these things. It all comes back to the phone, the text, and email for me. It's like having gold in a world of paper money.

I've also been following the aftermath of iPhone 7, and the biggest criticisms I hear have to do with those ridiculous and expensive AirPods. This led to a lot of Apple bashing in comboxes, and some of the comments were too good not to share. Here is one of them:
Ever try running math-heavy programs on a Mac? How many Mac engineering workstations have you seen / worked on? How many server farms are Mac-based? Workstations are back-of-house heavy machinery, not subject to the aesthetics Apple sells. Apple products are consumer grade electronics, designed for conspicuous consumption and graphic design. That is their market. And like all superficial businesses, they need periodic facelifts to excite their fans.
I liked what this guy had to say about the aesthetics vs. function of Apple products. Real geeks use real tools and real machines. Apple just makes eye candy for consumers. Here is another great comment:
The whole tech industry business model is planned obsolescence on hyper drive and software servitude.
I've been a Apple fan since PCI macs came out. However over time I realized the truth. I've thrown away into the land fill numerous Macs and periphel dives, scanners, removable hard drives, cables galore, etc. Because they became obsolete. Not because they didn't still work but because they could not run new software on the computer and Internet. I have a Mac Pro works fine. Runs my Photoshop 5 installed software just fine. Can't access the Internet because the old Safari won't work on the web sites and it can't be upgraded. Same with Firefox, etc. It tops out with OSX 10.6.8. Can't be upgraded. And these companies refuse to provide support for out dated software. It's only available through shady third parties who aren't affiliated with the companies. Had a bad experience with an old Adobe suite.
The "we are upgrading you" is a lie! The truth is we are forcing you to buy new computers at a faster and faster pace. You will have no choice because we will make them unusable. If someone tells me their upgrading me again my thoughts will run along the lines of chasing them down the street with a bat. Even my Bank has sent me "New" credit cards for my benefit which then means I have to change ALL my automatic payment accounts individually.
Software servitude. Everything is on the cloud for a monthly fee or you can't use it. Who can justify the costs unless you are a professional user.
I refused to upgrade my iPhone 4s because of all the peripherals I bought. Hands free car speaker, stereo players, Chargers for home and the car. Bluetooth accessors to play on the car radio back up batteries, etc. So it's not just buying an iPhone or Mac anymore it's about replacing everything that goes with it. I own an iPad which can't print unless you have a Bluetooth printer. My Canon printer can do wifi printing and USB but it won't work with the iPad. I have to email it to myself then use an old MacBook to usb print. This is ABSURD and we buy it.
Each time Apple makes one of my Apple devices obsolete I will be switching to a Windows system. I can't afford Apple anymore. And I definitely won't be buying an iPhone. 7.
The Tech people made our country vulnerable to cyber attacks and thieft and then turn around and SELL us security. Awesome business model. Like a doctor who makes you sick and then sells you the cure. They just don't care about the user they only care about the bottom line and exploiting foreign workers for that purpose. They aren't innovators they are corporate con artists.
When I read things like this, it makes me glad that I still carry and use a humble flip phone. I see the smartphone thing as a way to extract ever increasing amounts of cash from people for handsets, protective cases, phone insurance, data plans, cloud storage, and on and on. Then, with each upgrade, you have to buy all of this stuff all over again. This pushiness makes me want to push back, and I do.

When people argue over my flip phone, I usually win the debate when I ask them how much they pay for their phone. The iPhone 7 Plus costs $769.99 on my carrier. That is more than my rent. And it will be obsolete by next year when the iPhone 8 comes out. You can keep using the 7, but who wants that? We don't do this constant buying with other products like washing machines or cars or even our personal computers now.

I let my needs dictate my purchases instead of my wants. This is because needs are finite while wants are limitless. Apple knows this which is why their genius is in making people want their products. But they don't actually need their products. I need a cellphone and a personal computer to function in the world today. But I don't need an iPhone or an Apple Watch. This mindset is called modesty. When we think of modesty, we think of women wearing long skirts and no make up. But modesty applies to men as well. I would never own a BMW or a Mercedes. I will never wear a Rolex. I try to get my clothes from Goodwill before I move to Walmart or Tractor Supply Company.


I am just not into conspicuous consumption. The weird thing is that being limited to what I need gives me a great deal of satisfaction. And when I think about products, I ask the same question. Do I need this? Once I realize that I don't need it, I let it go. The opposite of modesty is vanity. People buy things to impress other people. This is why they "need" the iPhone 7. It is also why they need Facebook, so they can indulge the vanity.

My wife wants me to plug this Wikipedia article on planned obsolescence. You can't read this article without thinking of Apple as a prime culprit.