28 January 2023

Undeserving Link Sausage Platter

I want a laptop with a transplanted Northgate keyboard. This will be the second worn-out-keyboard replacement of a machine because its keyboard has worn out in the last four years. "Thin and light" isn't a good thing for touch typists hammering away at 85wpm+ — even on "ruggedized" machines (especially when we don't use so-called "predictive" features because they're less accurate than Madame Blavatsky's crystal ball that she picked up at a garage sale two summers ago).

  • This is a link sausage dedicated to those who deserve great wealth, the beneficiaries of aggressive passive investment — especially via inheritance and outright fraud. I don't think statistical thermodynamics demonstrating that hedge-fund managers really are rather selfish demons is going to get a lot of attention in the libertarian fringe; it skips right over the never-confronted-in-polite-company "deserves" issue.

    The irony (and self-contradiction) that that same libertarian fringe is disproportionately in the "the term of copyright is too long" crowd — especially through ignoring the "deserves" aspect — supports endless amusement. But then, I have a particularly sick sense of humor; I also actually know something about the impetus to establish an "aristocracy of letters" as a counterweight to the "aristocracy of land" that still existed in nineteenth-century Europe (and remains today). Hugo and his allies were not egalitarians; they developed a rationale not to defeat the bullies, but to join them.

  • Speaking of bullies, how about a little antitrust scrutiny of G00gl3 and TicketBastard? That this is really about "who gets to be the bully" is particularly obvious for the former — the abuse-of-power vacuum in "advertising dollars" will most likely be filled rather quickly by another ad giant based in the Bay Area (but it's dead to me), and loss of financial backstopping will inevitably shift phones toward the Cupertino Menace. Markets don't always make intelligent, no-adverse-consequences decisions, especially when merely replacing one dominant player with another; just ask Exxon about global warming (as those of us who were paying attention, and considered the character of those in charge — because we knew them — long suspected).
  • Information technology can become a single point of failure all too readily, too. Consider the easing of industrial espionage and good-old-fashioned government surveillance when there's only one security paradigm to breach. This is far from a new problem; those of us of a certain age remember having to unplug our old-fashioned desk telephones to keep sensitive information away from the always-active microphones in the handsets. (Those microphones were always-active because it had been cheaper for Ma Bell to design and build a reliable system that way in the 1920s, and everyone else just followed along behind the monopolist.) There is no information-security system that cannot be breached by human ingenuity… or carelessness… or just plain convenience (especially when coupled with greed or "efficiency").
  • All of which is less disturbing, in a sense, than another aspect of "deservingness" that arises all too often: Brazen schemes by those insulated from personal responsibility to exploit land that isn't theirs, to cozy up to tacitly-acknowledged organized crime, to just implement garden-variety fraud as a business model. "Hubris" barely begins to describe it.