rockstar.esq

Antisocial tech

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I had a weird thought.  Kids have always ridiculed adults who were slow to adopt technology that made things better.  We're currently in a very strange situation right now because many kids would prefer to text rather than talk on their phones.  There probably aren't a lot of people who would admit it, but the main advantage of texting is the social control over the sender.  The recipient is free to read without reply, which is the most common social punishment for displeasing messages.   The recipient doesn't have to admit they were punishing the sender if it later proves advantageous to claim they were busy.

Now consider this.  A car was driving erratically on the highway the other night and nearly struck me.  I timed my move carefully, and passed when it was safe.  The drivers face was lit by their cell phone which is why I suspect they were texting.  If they were using speakerphone, or a headset, they could have communicated without having to stare at a tiny screen at 70 miles per hour. 

Then it struck me, they're risking everyone's lives on the road using antiquated technology because they want to control their friends.

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Maybe. But there are numerous scenarios  possibly behind this pathologically reckless behavior.  I suppose that most of those who drive while intexticated  do not fall under your proposed category. Like the compulsive gambler, they have no temporal awareness of the potential for disaster.

It does give me pause, though, to consider, in light of your theory, why so many refuse to communicate via hands-free audio - shunning that much safer and ubiquitous tech, to the peril of those on our roads and sidewalks.

Robert Taylor

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I’m going to invoke Hanlon’s Razor on this one: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

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Actually studies have shown that hands free is still much more dangerous than just driving.  It appears that the mental distraction plays a big part in the danger.  Of course pulling off to the side of the road still puts you in danger of people not paying attention.....  There used to be this method of pulling into a gas station or convenience store and using a phone connected to a wall or post.....Somehow we all survived those benighted days....

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Those were the days when reporting the driving distance progress, bathroom brakes, and a bite to eat were of primary importance. The overheard phone conversations of today contain little useful information. Hardly worth ease dropping any more. 

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What burns my butt (other than a 3 foot flame) is seeing someone get into their vehicle start driving and then start using the phone.  Why not do whatever needed done on the phone BEFORE you take off and get on the road. Unbelievable

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13 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Actually studies have shown that hands free is still much more dangerous than just driving. 

I agree, Thomas. A popular citation of a study reported on in the August 2009 MIT Technology Review places the upper limit for conscious processing at a mere 60 bits per second. I heard it explained that conversing with ones passenger conumes well over half of that capacity.

Oh how I miss that old phone in a booth.

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Booth with bush buttons or a rotary dial phone?  

 

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BOOTH; back in the early 1980's I worked as a geologist in the OK oil patch and had to make a 6 am call into Tulsa giving the results from the previous day.  Finding a working pay phone was a bit issue out in the middle of nowhere and so many of them had been converted to the small shell type---not much help at 37 degF with a 40 mph wind and someone in their PJ's drinking hot coffee saying---"could you go over those numbers again, there was a lot of wind noise..."    Oil patch crashed before I could get to be the callee rather than the caller.

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On 1/5/2019 at 10:19 AM, rockstar.esq said:

Then it struck me, they're risking everyone's lives on the road using antiquated technology because they want to control their friends.

On this topic, there is help at hand ... the NSW government has just triumphantly announced today, that they have adopted new technology to fine drivers who use their mobile phone illegally. This new radar thingy, can establish that the person is using the phone and issues a fine automatically. How does it determine that the person is not using the phone hands free I don't know. I hope it will not be a matter of issuing the fine and let you deal with the matter in court because you actually never touched the phone ... Ifthat is the case 80% of people will probably just pay.  Easy money!

As for texting in general, i heard the great news also today ... must be some special texting Monday today ... the Saudi Arabia government has just announced that husbands who want to divorce their wives, can do so by texting their intention to them. Easy peasy!

As for the serious matter of using text instead of voice to communicate, there is an obvious advantage to text over voice. 

You have lots of time to think what you want to say and what you don't want to say.

You don't need to answer.

You can circumscribe your message to one topic and avoid unnecessary chit chat, or unwanted questions or confrontations. 

U can abb saying f e .. W R U ? saving your thumbs joints unnecessary stress. 

I love to send the same message to my 4 daughters, saves me a lot of time. For example :"What time today?" sent to 4 recipients, a few seconds compared to 10 minutes each call, 40 minutes on the phone. Can't beat that :P

 

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Hmm how can they tell that it's the driver and not the front seat passenger using the phone?   My wife has me make/answer the calls from her phone when she is driving.

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Interesting replies all around.  I have to admit I'm not familiar with the study referenced above.  That being said, out society has a lot more half-baked "studies show" nonsense than we have peer-reviewed science.  A year or two ago, the Department of of Agriculture and Health and Human Services dropped their longstanding recommendation that Americans should floss their teeth because they couldn't find scientific research to show that it made any difference to a persons health.  

A completely unscientific car show on BBC challenged the braking distances recommended by their government by testing the distances of various vehicles.  The worst performing vehicle in their test needed less than half the recommended distance.  The hosts suggested that the regulations were never changed to reflect the reality that brakes have improved in the past eighty years.

I'm not saying that talking on a phone has no affect on a persons driving.  There were probably "studies" done to suggest that CB's, FM radios, and flashing billboards were detrimental to driving as well.  I think the distraction of talking is nothing in comparison to the cognitive load of operating a poorly designed smart phone.  Every "smart" phone I've ever had was subject to periodic "updates" which invariably made subtle changes to the size, location, and appearance of operational controls like "talk" or "end".  My current phone locates "Talk" and "end" at the bottom of the screen, however the screen goes into power save after a minute or two so it's not easy to hang up.  If a call comes in while driving, the "answer" button is inexplicably 1/3 the size of the "talk" or "end" buttons, and it's located at the top center of the screen with "dismiss" immediately below it.  The "button" is so small that it's actually easy to miss.

There's no actual reason that the incoming call screen couldn't have been divided in half with green for answer, and red for decline.  

Honestly, an industry design standard for this stuff would help immeasurably.  

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Unfortunately companies tend to get sued for copying another company's "look/action".

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We had a severe storm last week in Sydney, and a lot of damage done by hail and lightning. i was driving home yesterday and someone called the radio station to tell his story about the storm. 

The guy started by telling with great pomp that his house was all "smart" and proceeded to describe how he opened the windows, switched the lights by "talking" to the computer ... anyway you know the type. He then told us matter of fact that he also had a smart meter for the electricity that is so smart that the electricity company can, at the push of a button increase his rate because at that time of the day there is more demand ... very smart! ... When the storm came, the Oh so smart meter, loaded with electronics and radio communication gadgets, attracted lightening, got hit and caught fire. Apparently a common occurrence with this idiotic boxes. 

What happened next is the epitome of idiocy, from someone who was telling an audience of a few millions how smart all his possessions are. At the sight of the fire, he took to the hose and proceed to hose down the switchboard. Thankfully the lightning strike blew the street line fuses to kingdom kong and he got away with the less smart action of his life. 

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His thinking was obviously not as well-grounded as he was himself.

(Shocking, I know.)

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I wouldn't be surprised if all the "smart" items in his house were blown as well. When lightening hit my house we lost all our "consumer electronics" even those supposedly protested by surge protectors.  When my electricity goes out at my rural place I light the kerosene lanterns, cook on my propane range and enjoy the time "unplugged".

I would think that fellow might have insurance problems as he has admitted to possibly causing the issue to become worse...

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On 1/7/2019 at 8:48 AM, ThomasPowers said:

Unfortunately companies tend to get sued for copying another company's "look/action".

Thomas,  you might be surprised to know that the physical designs of electrical devices like switches, and receptacles, are uniform standards created by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.  It's my understanding that NECA started as an entirely voluntary organization.  If everyone made their own thing, there would be no way to coordinate consumer devices with the installed systems.  There are elements of this already in phone design, for example the USB and headphone ports, not to mention that huge legal deals required to allow so many manufacturers to cooperate on how call systems will operate.

As a society we often pretend that fear of liability ties all hands in a way that "just so happens" to make it a lot easier to lower the average level of quality, while increasing the average level of price.  That's a scam we need to quit accepting. 

In 2019 there's simply no excuse for phones that aren't universally water resistant, drop proof, and cross carrier compatible. 

 

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And you might be surprised to know that the double click and which mouse button does what has been subject to litigation!

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Thomas,  I hadn't heard that but it's not surprising.  Whether the deal gets made before court or after, there's a public interest in making technology compatible with commerce.

 

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1 hour ago, ThomasPowers said:

And you might be surprised to know that the double click and which mouse button does what has been subject to litigation!

Apple vs. M$oft? No way! Gripes me to have a couple relatively modern vehicles, a 2011 pickup and a 2015 SUV both have numerous USB ports but neither will play to the vehicle's sound system UNLESS it's an Iphone. 

I put an after market radio tape player in my '67 pickup and it had input and output jacks, I could connect either a player or speakers. No more unless it's an Apple device.

I tend to think the utter lack of uniformity in designs is more a function of ITs who have to justify their paycheck so they "INVENT" something cool and seeing as the current generation seems more interested in form than function we get unplayable weirdness. Have any of you tried to figure out how to make something work by reading a manual lately? The ones for our vehicles have 20 pages of "This feature will let you do . . . " to nothing about how to get the feature to do anything."

I have to go with Hanlon's Razor. 

Texting has a lot of social effects. I think it's greatest attraction and danger is it's anonymity; you can talk without communicating, live with your "tribe's" exclusionary language (slang), etc. Ignoring or block folk you don't like or don't want to hear from, etc. Portable email on steroids. Unfortunately humans are social beings we need contact, we're top of the food chain because we cooperate and the isolation of texting strangles that need.

Unfortunately like any addict, what did it for us at first doesn't after a while so we do it more and more and MORE until a person can't function if they're not connected. It doesn't require thought, when where and what's going on doesn't enter the addict's mind, they just do it. I was riding into Anchorage with a friend, we were going to another friend's place to do a little smithing and experiment with the Zircopax Bentonite wash. I said I'd give him a call and let him know we were about 20 minutes out and got a busy signal. The guy driving the car had texted the message!

I have the cell in my hand hitting the call button from my contact list and he's so addicted to the tech he texts. It's like having to shout over people having a conversation with nothing to add. Unfortunately it puts us and others in danger. I hit the roof, told him to pull over and let me out when he said, "It's okay, I have it." Not with me in the vehicle he doesn't. I doubt he's changed his habits but I don't ride with him behind the wheel and he knows why.

When I worked highway's maint it was common to see people watching movies while driving but that was before smart phones and texting.

I DO NOT text. I may hit the call back button but I didn't read the text. Email me if you don't want to talk. Usually I just delete the message unread. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Our insurance plan has all these great apps to help me manage my diabetes; but nothing for someone who doesn't use a smart phone and doesn't want to share personal data with 3rd parties with a know problem with keeping it secure. I ask them if they will give me 1 million dollars if my data gets stolen or shared without my permission---they get huffy.  I work in IT and brushed the sand off my hair a long time ago...

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On that topic, our clever state government developed in secret a new strategy to force everyone to have their health history digital and able to be accessed by any doctor with the loopy idea that such will "save lives" 

When it became public that they wanted to force everyone by stealth, they made it a choice but it was you are in by default unless you opt out and the opt out date was a month away.

That also copped a huge backlash so they have now extended the time to opt out. We have not even reached that date and already there have been numerous breaches by unauthorised third parties, insurance companies, solicitors, employers .... It is a joke. Nothing that is digital is secure. 

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One common thread among the last three responses is that "technology" is being surreptitiously used for control. One side see's this as a bug, the other as a feature.  

As an interesting expansion of this thinking, I've noticed that tech being overtly used for control tends to be much more humane.

For example, accounting software is set up so the typical user can't "cook the books".  I'm not saying it's infallible, so much as I'm pointing out that there's actually a good reason why accounting software typically doesn't have a "back" button.  The rules are clear and everybody's got to work according to them if they're using said software.  Unintended consequences aren't tolerated for very long because the technology exists to limit liability.

Surreptitious control invariably requires people to believe that things "just so happen" to fall short in a way that consistently benefits one side.  It was the lawyers, or the nerds, or the sales people.  "My hands were tied" is the common refrain of people who spend all their time looking for rope.  

I came up in the trades where interpersonal communications weren't as cordial or refined as the standards of today.  It's my honest opinion that it's far less insulting to get cussed at sometimes.  At least you're getting a sincere and heartfelt message from another person.  This weaseling game of control-freak "keep away" diminishes the humanity of all concerned.

 

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i don't know how it is in your corner of the woods Rocky, but down here, digital piracy is rife.

i post ads to sell something on two or three platforms every week. On one of them, invariably I get a text message the same day or next day asking to reply by email and not through the platform with some lame excuse of not having a phone or being on a drilling platform or half way to the moon. It is a known scam and i never reply. Paranoid! (not)

On another platform, as soon as i post something I receive a text message that states in no uncertain terms. "This is your last opportunity to avoid escalation of court action in relation to a business matter, call xxxxxxx as a matter of urgency to avoid costly litigation ... or words to that effect. Sometimes they even use robot calls with a similar message. They collect millions with this scam.  

The idea that everyone's health history should be digital so that you can rock in the nearest doctor's surgery that don't know you from a bar of soap and they can pull your history from out of the cloud sounds very "modern" but is a crock. The number of opportunity for abuse that this practice would open up is frightening and anyone that thinks this is a good idea lives in a parallel dimension. The cashless society and the digital currency comes to mind. Everything that becomes digital is a compromise and an added opportunity for fraud.

Las month I sold a boat and filled in the form that is required to inform the maritime authority that it no longer belongs to me. The form has two parts, one for the buyer and one for the seller. At time of selling you rip it in half and take your part for what we call "disposal of the vessel". It so happens that we, the buyer and myself, made a mistake and had each the wrong half of the form. i was holding the buyers form and was trying to dispose the boat. In normal circumstances that would have been impossible and I would need to chase the buyer and get him to sign a new form for me. However ... recently all this process was changed and now can be done online. The girl at the counter told me that if I use the computer over there, I can do it online without any forms. Great right! This has made the rebirthing of stolen boats or cars or any other vehicle that much easier. I am so happy now!   Wohoo ... it is on line ... I feel so much better now :P

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