Mar. 8th, 2009

logomancer: Xerxes from System Shock 2 (Default)

The problem with text-based online social interactions is that it's hard to tell when you're annoying someone. This hit home for me again when a friend of mine de-friended me because I hadn't posted anything but twitter posts since Obama's inauguration. Given that a number of my other friends (and friends of friends) feel the same way, I suppose I owe people an explanation.

For a while, I've always had trouble with these kind of posts. For one, it requires me to be at a computer with an Internet connection for at least half an hour, usually more. This is not a small obstacle, for I no longer have net access on VT campus, and work is also right out. So, realistically, I can only post "real posts" at home, and I'm not home much during the school year, when Spiel and VTSFFC require my attention.

In addition, I find I rarely have the patience or concentration necessary anymore to sit down for a computer for a half-hour and type. There are different factors to this — part of it is that I usually come home from work pretty damn tired, part of it is that I get distracted easily (ADHD, folks), and part of it is that it feels like nobody reads my blog anyway except to leave nasty comments, so why bother? For those reasons, I haven't posted very many "real posts", but this often results in the few people who do read this blog wondering if I was still alive. Clearly, a new strategy was needed.

So I began experimenting with different methods of posting. At first, I tried voice posts. It seemed OK -- people got to hear me talk about my day, and other people could ignore it at will. But problems arose; friends lacking sound — like my friends who read LJ at college libraries — couldn't hear my posts, and nobody transcribed them. So this caused annoyance, and more work for me transcribing entries. Eventually, I decided it wasn't worth the grief and bother and went back to posting rarely. But as mentioned before, this was a suboptimal solution.

And then someone introduced me to twitter. And I liked it -- it let me post from anywhere I could get cell signal. It let me post without me losing focus. I could aggregate the day's posts into one LJ post without any major effort on my part. All seemed well — until I realized that I annoyed one person to the point of de-friending me, and others were apparently not far behind.

Twitter is annoying to some people, and I can understand why -- people post cryptically sometimes, and the twitter replies are meaningless without context; thus, many twitter posts would clog up a person's friends list on LJ for no good reason. I admit to being part of this problem, and I've done my best to mitigate it. If it's not a reply to someone else, I try to post complete thoughts on twitter. And these days, I've reduced the clutter by not including replies in my tweet posts and putting those behind a cut, so hopefully that will reduce the clutter.

I'm also open to new ideas about what to do about this situation. I don't like people having to de-friend me for being incessantly annoying, but I do want to share my thoughts with you all.

logomancer: Xerxes from System Shock 2 (Default)

Let me tell you a story. It was about a builder who saw two things he didn't like: 1) people sleeping when the sun was out, and 2) cutting short his golf game because it was dark. A normal person would have minded his own busines about his colleagues' sleep habits, or found some other sport to play in the summer. But this guy, he proposed setting everyone's clock ahead one hour to correct what he saw as huge problems.

And thus, Daylight Saving Time was invented. To keep people awake during the day, and so that he could enjoy his golf game.

At first, this idea rightfully didn't make much headway. But then retailers and others got into the act, and then eventually, like all bad ideas, it was implemented during a real or perceived crisis. This one was World War I, and it was done to decrease the hardships felt by coal shortages, although how the hardship mitigation came about is beyond me. After the war, most countries that implemented DST went back to Standard Time.

The US, meanwhile, let the states decide how to observe DST, which led to large amounts of grief as people tried to figure out what time it was in that particular town. Congress stabilized things in 1966, standardizing DST...until they had to screw with it in 2005, on the premise that it would save energy. A senator from Wyoming advocated ending DST in November instead of October to give the children more daylight for trick-or-treating on Halloween. I shit you not.

All of this is insane. There is absolutely no good reason to change our clocks during the summer -- it doesn't save energy, and it doesn't do anything beneficial except increase the profits of a few select retailers. We're spending millions, confusing people and computer alike, and all for the sake of some retailers' bank accounts. And that one guy who wanted his golf game.

And that is why DST is an incredibly dumb idea.


logomancer: Xerxes from System Shock 2 (Default)

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