You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Is This Thing On?’ category.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Over at Ace’s place this morning,**** one of the Moron Horde, in response to a link put up by Sefton in his Morning Report about some whizz-bang new piece of technology, commented, “I would say anything prefixed with the word ‘smart’ is bad news for individual liberty.”

I was impressed enough with this comment to scribble it down (in good, old-fashioned ink on a good, old-fashioned note pad), in part because I think there is much in it, and in part because it reminded me of a funny thing that happened just yesterday.

As far as the general validity of the comment goes, Ol’ Robbo is routinely horrified by “smart” technology such as Alexi and the various GPS driver-direction aids.******  (Self-driving cars are right out.)  I haven’t seen it myself because I don’t watch much teevee, but I read just recently about an Alexi ad in which I gather some new Dad asks Alexi for baby-care tips and at the end Alexi is complimented as being the “best” parent.  Hello?  And regular friends of the decanter will know Ol’ Robbo has long held the view that when Skynet goes active, one of its first moves will be to steer every GPS-dependent yo-yo driver straight into an ambush.  On a more serious note, I am continually conscious that every time I interact with “smart” technology and give it some piece of personal data, that data – however small – is being collected by whoever is behind said technology.  And you may make all the tinfoil hat jokes you want, but I don’t like it.

As to the funny thing, Ol’ Robbo got trapped in a meeting yesterday morning with half a dozen of his work colleagues.  Before we got down to the (completely useless) agenda, talk circled round to the new building currently under construction into which we will be moving some time next year.  (It’s going to be hell.  The offices, so I understand, are half the size of our current ones, my daily lunchtime walks will be at an end,  and I’m going to have to go back to using the Metro because its location will entail simply too much damned downtown driving.  On the other hand, the move will be enough to finally prod Ol’ Robbo into signing up for teleworking twice a week, so at least it’s got that going for it.)

Anyhoo, there was much cooing amongst my colleagues about all the sooper-smart whistles and bells with which the new digs will be equipped, especially the “eco-friendly” ones.  “Did you know?” said one of them, “The lighting in the new office will automatically brighten or dim….based on the amount of sunshine coming in through the windows?”

Oooooh…aaaaahh!” enthused the others (all wymminz) in that smug, self-satisfied, virtue-signaling tone that Ol’ Robbo can’t stand.

“That’s all well and good,” I replied, “But I hope the system has manual overrides.  I don’t mind considering suggestions from the technology around me, but I’ll be damned if I take orders from it.  I’m not quite ready to surrender my autonomy to robots or their overlords, however benevolent their alleged intent.”

It suddenly got awfully quiet.  As if Ol’ Robbo had farted in church.

“Well,” one of them eventually said, “You can always bring in a lamp if you think you need to.”

Lor’ lumme, stone the crows.

 

** Spot the reference.  Hint: “Blood…..blood…..”

**** I can’t linky to Ace’s place in the body of a post, although it’s in my blogroll and I hope all of you are regulars there.  The last couple times I’ve gone over there on my laptop, I’ve gotten this weird pop-up, complete with very loud audio, claiming to be from Microsoft.  The pitch is that there is something deathly wrong with my software, and that I need to call them right away with my credit card in hand so that they can fix it.  (The scam doesn’t affect my phone or work computer, perhaps because I only use them to read.)

****** Dumb technology, on the other hand, appeals deeply to Ol’ Robbo.  For instance, recently I’ve been thinking that it would be a really cool idea to come up with a tire that has a brightly-colored layer of rubber embedded in the tread.  When you start to see that color coming through, you know it’s time to buy new tires.  (They already do this with toothbrushes, so why not?)  I’ve been thinking about this again since the Elder Gels left for school and I can’t eyeball the tires on their cars anymore.

 

Advertisements

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo hasn’t dipped much into politickal posting here of late, but once in a while things get so crazy that even I feel compelled to remark on them.  Quite the week, I think friends of the decanter will agree?

♦ Chelsea Clinton spouts off on the economic “benefits” of abortion.  Hey, Chelsea – You might not be interested in Moloch, but Moloch is always interested in you!

♦  Andrew Cuomo trashes America and then digs deeper by trying to deny the plain meaning of his own words. “Bitch set me up!”

♦  Three hundred-odd newspaper editors collude to trash the President because he accuses them of colluding to trash him.  ‘Kay.

♦  Big Tech has decided that it has a duty to protect us all from ungood wrong think.  This is a big reason why I never fooled with Twitter and don’t bother much with FacePlant anymore.  (I just hope that they don’t decide to come and take my little WordPress soapbox away from me, too.)

You can say whatever else you like about this Administration, but it has produced one very positive effect anyway: The masks are all coming off.

These people hate you.  They really hate you.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo found an odd spam comment in his filter this morning that read, in part, “Janice rolled her eyes and groaned, fought to regulate her temper then stabbed her forefinger at Musica.”

By a remarkable coincidence, I had just been groaning, fighting to regulate my temper, and stabbing my finger, too, although I was stabbing it at my checkbook as I completed putting together amended tax returns for 2016.  (It turns out somebody had muffed a withholding on a payout, and Uncle spotted the discrepancy.)

Anyhoo, once the returns were sealed up, I toddled over to our local branch post office to mail them out.  It features one of those touch-screen do-it-yourself scale and stamp-generator contraptions, and when I had finished weighing things and buying the postage, its screen lit up with the words, “Thank you.  It has been a pleasure serving you today.”

Who knew the USPO had contracted with the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation?  (I wouldn’t have been the least surprised if it had murmured “Share and Enjoy” as it spit out my stamps.)  At least it didn’t try to serve me a small plastic cup containing a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

Still irked at having Uncle dip his hand into the Robbo pockets again, I said, “Go stick your head in a pig.”

The fellah in line behind me looked…..distinctly alarmed.

“Haaaappy BLOG-day! Missster….Robbo…(tee-hee, *hic*)”

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I would invite all of you to fill your glasses, gunn’ls under, and raise a toast with three times three and no heeltaps, because today is the tenth anniversary of Ol’ Robbo’s pulling of the cork here at The Port Stands At Your Elbow.  Huzzay! Huzzay! Huzzah!!

As a matter of fact, I can’t really believe it myself.  On the one hand, it seems I’ve been slogging along forever.  On the other, seems like just yesterday that I decided I needed my very own bloggy platform away from the Llamabutchers.

I was musing on this blog-framed decade last evening.  What’s the same now? Well, Mrs. R and I are, of course, still manacled together. (A joke, people.  A joke!)  I swam the Tiber the Easter before I started here, and still consider that to be one of the best decisions I ever made.  I still live at Port Swiller Manor, although we’ve done a lot to it in that time.  I still have the same job, which I really enjoy, and which would be a positive gold mine for posting material if I didn’t care about losing it.  (Oh, the ridiculous stories I could tell.  Think John Mortimer.  Perhaps if I’m still blogging when I retire……)

What’s changed? Well, the Gels are pretty much all grown up now.  We’ve had various family losses. Friends have come and gone, both on the Innertoobs and in Meatspace.  Society has become downright psychotic.

In other words, Life has gone on….

So, what about this place?

First, I know perfectly well that there aren’t all that many of you ’round the table, but I truly appreciate those of you who drop in for a dram, either regularly or even only now and again.  You have all certainly had an impact over the years on me, and I like to think that I have had at least some small impact on some of you.  Cheers!

Second, I feel I should apologize again for the feebleness of my posting, especially lately.  As I said in the gardening post below, it’s been a rough year for me, and sometimes I have slapped things up here knowing perfectly well I was only phoning it in.  Also, I have been loathe to get too deep into some subjects near and dear to my heart due to the toxic politickal climate that has existed for some time now.  Curiously, even as it seems to be reaching a point of frenzy, I actually feel less concerned about the consequences of saying exactly what I think.  Perhaps I’m finding a second wind to get back into the Culchah Wars.  Perhaps I’m just getting too old to care much anymore about potential fallout.

Which leads me to Thirdly.  It’s my hope to start putting out better quality posts going into this second decade – more in depth, more substantive, more thought-out ahead of time instead of served on the half-volley, more topical.  And more organized.  Alert friends of the decanter may have noted that Ol’ Robbo recently has got into the habit of throwing up a regular Saturday Gardening Post.  I find this regimen really helps me focus and concentrate, and very shortly I hope to start doing the same thing on Sundays with regular posts on Matters Religious.  On the other hand, I’m not yet at the point of trying to assign out specific themes for other days of the week since I don’t want to give up spontaneity completely and I also find that the traffic rate really doesn’t warrant more than one post a day.

Finally, who knows what we’re going to see going forward in terms of the future of blogging in general.  I doubt that we’ll ever quite get back to the Golden Age of the early 2000’s in terms of ubiquity and interconnectivity, but I do like to think that the general disillusion with other social media platforms like FacePlant and Twooter (I almost never post on the former anymore, and have never had an account on the latter) might push people back towards the good ol’ Blogsphere, at least enough folks so as to re-establish some of those nifty little circles that were such a joy back in the day.  Whether this pans out or not, I plan to be around at any rate.

So once again, pray raise your glasses!  Here’s to the next ten years!  Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzay!!

 

(**NOTE: About the pic, just in case you were wondering, Ol’ Robbo wouldn’t have had anything to do with Marilyn if you’d served her up to him on a plate with watercress round her.  Never, ever understood the appeal.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Before heading out on his anniversary trip, Ol’ Robbo tried to pre-post a couple of entries here apropos to marriage, in order to cover his extended silence.  (You know, so that the three or four of you who actually pay attention to this blog wouldn’t come and sack Port Swiller Manor in my absence.)

Evidently, I did or did not do something I was supposed to under the harsh bloggy strictures of WordPress, because none of said pre-paid posts ever turned up on the main page.

Oh, well.

Anyhoo, I’ll resurrect the meat of just one, a very short Python sketch over which I have laughed immoderately ever since I first saw it.  (Sorry about the subtitles.)

 

Incidentally, “Well you can’t change your bloody wife!!” is not a bad line to consider when you’re going through some of the darker patches.  Trust me on this.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Over the past two days, Ol’ Robbo has attempted to leave comments in responses to posts by long-time lovely and talented friends of the decanter Sleepy Beth and Diane, both of whom use Blogsplat.  In each instance, after foiling the fiendish “I am not a robot” security picture challenge (which reminds me of something out of an Indiana Jones adventure – “But in the Latin, ‘Jehovah‘ starts with an ‘I‘”), I keep coming up against the demand that I identify myself by my “Google User” account.

Well, I haven’t got a “Google User” account. And furthermore, I don’t want one.  (Evidently, Middle Gel does and also has accessed it from Ol’ Robbo’s laptop, because that’s the default to which the thing keeps running back. Rayther than getting caught in that potential quagmire, Ol’ Robbo has simply abandoned said attempted comments.)

Previously, Blogsplat had been perfectly happy to recognize me as a simple, country WordPress blogger.  What the heck is going on now?

UPDATE: Wow! Speaking of Blogsplat brought back to Ol’ Robbo the memory of the old Llamabutchers, with whom I started blogging on said platform way in November, 2003.  I had thought those archives long lost, but just now (on a whim) I punched them up to discover…...they’re still there! (By the way, rereading it after fifteen years, I’m still very proud of my first substantive blogpost, in which I thoroughly trash Peter Jackson’s first Lord of the Rings movie.)

UPDATE DUEX: Additional Wow! I had also thought the Llamabutcher bloviations over at MuKnew, to which we transferred, had also been sent back to the primordial pixel slime (like in “Waterworld”), to be lost forever.  Again, I was wrong!

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

At our regular monthly office meeting today, one of our IT wallahs came in to give a presentation on some obscure techie matter.  After introducing himself, he asked our indulgence while he set up his electronics in order to put his talking points up on the big flat screen.***

“I’ll bet you it takes him fifteen minutes of fiddling with his wires and inputs for a presentation that will last no longer than two,” I muttered to a friend sitting next to me.

She groaned appreciatively in anticipation.

Fourteen minutes and thirty seconds later, the thing was finally ready to go.

“And they call me a cynic,” I murmured.

My colleague, to her credit, giggled.

** Any friends of the decanter remember this old comic strip? It was a great favorite among the Family Robbo in my misspent yoot.  “The Urge To Kill”, one of the stock descriptive labels of the strip, had a prominent place in our household lexicon.

*** Of course, he also had the identical presentation in paper form, copies of which were distributed around the room in something short of two minutes flat.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I don’t usually double-post these days, but just as an administrative note, Ol’ Robbo would direct your attention to the Port Swiller blogroll on your left.  As you can see if you’re a regular friend of the decanter, it’s a bit different this evening, as Ol’ Robbo finally got around to cleaning it up.

Basically, I deleted several links to sites (mostly MSM) that I simply don’t read anymore, (And with some of which I’ve come to be in violent disagreement recently.  Yeah, Bill Kristol and Jonah Goldberg, I’m looking at you!)  The vast majority of changes, however, involve my finally consigning a bunch of links to long-dormant fellow blogs to “Under the Table” status.  I really mean this as a mark of respect.  Even though a lot of these blogs have been dead three, four, five years or more, and some of them have even been deleted completely from their hosts, I like to keep their memories alive because of the impact they’ve had on me.  Bumpers all round, Ladies and Gentlemen, and no heel taps!

Of course, Robbo is well aware of his propensity, when he finally gets up the energy to clean things out, for going a bit overboard.  (Not half as much as Mrs. Robbo, but that’s a story for a different post.)  So if I’ve deleted or reassigned a linky in error, please let me know.  (And, as always, if any friend of the decanter has suggestions for blogs I ought to be reading but am not, please send those in as well.)

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo noted this comment from the Puppy-Blender in the light of all the Face Book privacy violation crap that’s suddenly (yet not surprisingly) surfacing:

I hope a lot of people will move back to blogs and away from big corporate platforms. As I wrote a while back: “I think that the old blogosphere was superior to ‘social media’ like Twitter and Facebook for a number of reasons. First, as a loosely-coupled system, instead of the tightly-coupled systems built by retweets and shares, it was less prone to cascading failure in the form of waves of hysteria. Second, because there was no central point of control, there was no way to ban people. And you didn’t need one, since bloggers had only the audience that deliberately chose to visit their blogs.”

Maybe I should start featuring people who move back to blogs.

Yeah, that would be really nice.  (And can I just note that I’ve been blogging for fifteen years now and although the old Llama Butchers got Insta-lanched a couple times, none of them were actually my posts?  Can ya’ help a retro-buddy out?  Just saying…….)

I still remember those days and the great satisfaction I derived in putting together (well, helping to at any rate) a decent blog and then gradually building up our own unique network of friends and gunnegshuns.  Back then, it felt more like a spirited conversation, free from any sense of restraint by The Man.

Now, I feel I’m more or less mumbling at the clouds, largely because most of the old bloggers I knew have either dropped out of social media altogether or else have gone over to Face Book.

(I’ve got an FB account myself, but I try to keep what I say there rigidly separated from my meanderings here.  And at least on my “personal” page, I’m pretty much reduced to “liking” things like my niece’s prom photos.  The only response I dare there to outbursts of SJW nonsense is to quietly “mute” whoever puts up the post.)

Here’s hoping the exposure of the ugly face of Big Social Media brings about a return to those better times.

___ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ___

Totally off-topic, I was out a little while ago inspecting the Port Swiller Manor driveway to gage what kind of icing I’m likely to have to deal with tomorrow morning when this puddle image caught my eye:

Single candles, don’t you know.  I thought it was neat enough to capture on my phone and share.  Enjoy!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

An interesting article over to Legal Insurrection on surviving the death of the blogsphere, which death the author attributes to suffocation by way of other social media platforms which have substituted the former free-wheeling, good-timing outlet of opinion with something more dour, miserable, and at times hysterical.

Personally, I’ve never twittered, nor had any interest in doing so.  I am also seriously considering getting rid of my facebook account simply because I can’t really say anything on it worth saying.  (Probably the only thing that stops me is the genuine value I get out of a couple of closed groups devoted to religion and literature.)

But yeah, I remember the Good Old Days.  (Do you know that Ol’ Robbo has been blogging since November of 2003?  Yes, indeed – first with the old Llama Crew, and from behind the decanter here since July of 2008.)  It was all so interactive and creative back then, with lots of us small fish meeting up through random linkage and comments, and eventually building little bloggy families.  Even though most of my fellows have hung it up now, I still keep the links to their old sites up in fond remembrance, more as mementos to the past than anything else.

Nowadays, of course, it’s quite different.  I can’t recall the last time anybody linked one of my posts.  Fifty views is a good day for me, as opposed to the 500-odd we used to get back in the day.  If WordPress is to be believed, there are about 30 of you who follow this blog, and I get very, very little outside traffic.

But you know what?  Ol’ Robbo doesn’t really care.  After all, this is a hobby, not something I’m dependent on for a living.  (Thank Heaven!) It’s a place where I can come and just toss things off at random as they come welling to the surface of my alleged brain, plus get in a little practice at writing.  And even though my voice is absolutely miniscule in the greater scheme of things, I like to think that I’m still making at least some impact on some people, even if just a few.

So here’s a glass of wine with you all!

Archives

Blog Stats

  • 454,345 hits
December 2018
M T W T F S S
« Nov    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  
Advertisements