Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Typewriter Insurgency Versus The Spreadsheet - Part 3

Here's an article from Wired Magazine about that NSA data center.


  1. Great essay. I find myself agreeing with nearly everything, except the advice to ruin your credit score. You may need a strong one later in life. I do sympathize with your resentment of the lenders, though. Have you read Gary Shteyngart's "Super Sad True Love Story"? -- it's a pretty brilliant satire of current trends, where every American works in "credit," "media," or "retail" (if they work at all).

    Just the other day I ordered a copy of "The Watchers" by Shane Harris, about our post-9/11 surveillance society. You can bet that all our typecasts are getting OCR'd, or soon will be, with less than 100% accurate results but probably still more accurate than OCR'd handwriting -- so I suppose pencasts are more secure than typecasts.

    Finally, I'll mention my 2010 NaNoWriMo novel Appointment with the Inferno, not because I think it's particularly great but because it was inspired by thoughts similar to the ones you've expressed here.

    PS: consider nixing the captcha for comments. When people fill out a captcha these days they're helping G00g/e compile its databases of house numbers. I don't trust them. I don't require any captcha on my blog; I get occasional spam comments, but usually they don't even show up on the website, or I can easily delete them.

  2. I’ve enjoyed these ‘insurgency’ posts because they point out something I fear is fading: the importance of the individual. And, it’s encouraging to see these sentiments in someone, comparatively, so young.

    I smiled while reading today’s post. It was as if you had tapped into our (my wife and I) philosophy for living happily.

    Minimize dependence on others, whether government, business, or groups. Socialize with people on YOUR terms, not theirs. Your time is your life; spend it as YOU wish.

    Pay cash or do without. The idea of time payments is abhorrent and wasteful. (I can talk big as we’ll pay off our home in a few months.)

    Experience the real satisfaction of doing things for yourself. Reload ammunition suitable for hunting or targets. Catch fish on flies you’ve tied. Fill a bookshelf you built. Make gifts that reflect your skills (if any) and interests. Enjoy the process of learning new skills and exercising old ones. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

    Don’t get caught in the trap of chasing the ‘new’ for its own sake. Appreciate what works for you and to hell with other peoples’ expectations. You should see the looks we get when folks find out we are a one car, one television, and one computer family. And they snort when they learn I use fountain pens and manual typewriters. I just smile and go back to having fun while enjoying a comfortable, not extravagant, retirement.

    Oh well. No need to go on. You get the idea.

    Jeff The Bear

  3. I have really enjoyed these last few posts. I do not adhere to many of these guidelines (as I never carry cash and absolutely love McDonald's), but I can say that I have never once had a credit card, nor do I recycle. I absolutely refuse to recycle (except for my beer cans, which my father in law scraps), and try to buy anything 'new' I need pre-owned.
    The second I found out that I could disable the captcha on my blog, I did. Of course, within the first hour of this I got about four or five spam comments, and immediately put it back up. I hate having it there, but if that is what happens in an hour, I can only imagine how far they would go. Of course, this is not the same experience for all, and I apologize for having it in place, but spam is such a nuisance.
    Also, another tip I have picked up is to always search for products you wish to buy on a private browser. According to claims, your cookies of having recently looked for this (any) particular product are used against you when you search again, as the website (Amazon ETC) has now slightly raised the price for your particular IP address, now knowing that you are in the market for such an item. It may only be a dollar or two, something not readily noticed after comparing several prices, but think of how many times they are doing it a day. Of course, this does not effect eBay purchases, as these are set by individual sellers.
    Thanks for the posts. You've given me a lot to think about.

  4. PS: Here's a blog for those who love typewriters and despise credit cards.

  5. Gosh, thanks everyone!

    Richard - I enjoyed "Super Sad True Love Story;" the lack of civility in the world and those "apparats" people walked around with all the time so they could rate each other on their hotness and accumulate marketing data were spot on. I recommended it to a few people who didn't like it and couldn't finish it because it was "depressing;" they'd tell me this and then go back to texting on their iPhones. No kidding.

    I'll check out the Watchers.

    The credit rating thing IS dubious advice (hence my disclaimer at the beginning) although I have to say my quality of life improved after a spate of financial misfortune several years ago. Had I used my credit to buy gold at 2004 prices, rather than financing a business venture, life would be even better for us today.

    I didn't know about the Google captcha thing. Good grief. "Don't be evil," my butt!

    That blog is hilarious. I know what I'll be doing with credit card offers when they start rolling in again.

    And thanks for the book!

    Jeff - all good points. I think depending on others can be all right, though, when those others are friends and family as opposed to governments or organizations. Good friends are so much more important than good credit.

    Glad to hear you're enjoying your retirement--glad to know it's still possible to do so! We are going to have to meet up for a pipe and pint one of these days.

    Ken - Thanks for the tip on private browsing for shopping, I hadn't thought of that. That's a much better use of it than hiding an unseemly Internet history from the family.

    The spammers are relentless, aren't they? They trashed The Wife's forums and have moved in on her blog, and weeding them out is like a full-time job. It's enough to make me want to turn off the router.

    But then I'd miss all you fine folks!

  6. We do most of these things already too, except the credit thing. My mom just died leaving many thousands in debt. I don't know what they were thinking giving her cards repeatedly, but it did cause me to entertain thoughts like you've expressed. Thrift stores rule! And community supported agriculture. Check and mate. Also my spam goes to a spam area and I never see it. My experience dropping capcha is much like Richard's - all positive. I comment much less on those who still have it.