Tag Archives: Incentives

The absolute helplessness of Tier 1 support

I just got a new phone. I held off as long as possible because it just seemed wasteful when the old phone worked fine. It seems like the network support for sub-5G phones is decreasing though – and that impacts my experience.

My old phone was old enough that it didn’t support eSIM, which I discovered was a problem when I was in London buying a short term plan.

So when I got an error while trying to activate newPhone, I had an inkling this was probably the issue.

I opened a support chat with this info “I have oldPhone, which doesn’t support eSIM, and I suspect that’s preventing activation of newPhone” – but with more details.

Friends, it took 40 minutes of troubleshooting to come to a conclusion, and yes, that was it.

I was frustrated. My experience has been that trying to steer just slows down the process through the support tree. And so it feels helpless. I can’t get them to do the thing faster and so I have to sit.

I am empathetic though – following the support tree is required for the job, and they won’t get fired for following it. I sense that they, too, feel helpless- they cannot take a short cut.

Of course this lends itself to being a position that is automated away, since there is little benefit to having a human typing the words they don’t come up with.

And at the end of the, of course, they tried to sell me insurance.

Glenn Beck and the new reality of video distribution

My man Jamie Dubs did a great talk at the XOXO fest on how Glenn Beck is the unloved rockstar of the new media landscape. Jamie did the amazing VHX.TV, worked on Add-Art, started Know Your Meme, led the Internet Famo Class… He’s the Kevin Bacon of my internet, but everyone has a max Jamie number of 3.

Anyway, get your learn on:

Project Idea: Conscience

This is just a sketch of an idea. Help me fill it out.

The elevator pitch

An angel on her shoulder

What if you could have an angel on your shoulder that helped you make purchases that reflected your values? We’d all like to vote with our dollars, but complicated corporate structures and global supply chains have made it difficult to keep track of who is doing what.
Continue reading Project Idea: Conscience

Is your internet provider cheating you?

The FCC has a tool you can use to find out if your broadband provider is advertising better speeds than they provide.Check it out over at Broadband.gov.

This seems like a nice crowdsourced way to catch cheats. It will work better the more people participate, so go over and take the test.

Also of interest is that they are using open source software to provide the tests – software that can be independently verified.

Review: Makers by Cory Doctorow

I loved this book.
Forget my review and go get it now, it’s wonderful. If you don’t have the scratch right now, that’s ok:  Cory Doctorow walks the talk and has published his book under a creative commons license.  You can get “Makers” for free at his site as a pdf, as html, ePub, or as an audiobook.  Just go get it and read it. Why?
The characters felt right and true and good and wonderful, like people you’ve always wanted to be friends with.  It’s the story of people playing around and doing the creative work that felt right to them, pushing to stay free and work on beautiful things.  Their hard work takes a damn beating from the world around them and they rise up after that beating.

I was sad closing it, because I wanted more from them, more for them, and another thing…

I always wanted to be Perry, but I looked in that book and I’m Sammy.

The NYC Government IT has given up.

My buddy Ian has a great post about his experience trying to find out if he had to move his car. Seems the DOT updates this info on Twitter rather than putting it out on their own website.

Retweet by DOT of 311's tweet that parking rules are suspended

Now that’s just crazy, but I know why. Sam used to work for the city and I’ve heard some stories about trying to get things done there.   The municipal IT department is paid below average wages, there are no negative incentives like being let go, and they are given no positive incentives like promotions or bonuses.  IT at the city seems to be a job that you take and show up for until you collect your pension.

So it isn’t that this is a bad strategy, it’s just that the city is so completely incompetent at IT that they can’t even put in a CMS. Therefore, private sources have built really good communication tools that are actually working. It sucks that the city can’t do IT, but it is good that they are doing what it takes to help people know. Twitter is a single point of failure, it falls over all the time, but at least it has RSS feeds and it’s open for anyone to read. I think the city should do better, I just don’t know that they can.

Why the Business Hates the Software Developers

Inspired by “Why I Hate Frameworks” “Why I Hate Frameworks”

So I wanted a custom spice rack, one that would really help my restaurant, but I didn’t want to build it myself.  I’m no carpenter.  I hired one though.
“Can you build me a spice rack? Here’s what I need – “
“Just a sec,” he interrupted. “I’m going to start building some hammers while you talk.”
“Don’t you already have some hammers?”
“Sure, but those were for past projects.  There’s better ways to build hammers these days.”
“Here – I have a hammer already.  It got left behind by the guy who hung the pictures in the restaurant.  Use this.”
“SIR! I don’t think that using a framing hammer is going to help us develop this spicerack.  Please!”

That Loathsome Phrase

“Someone has too much free time!”

My hackles rise,  my humours boil, and my smile disappears when I hear this.   It is a defense of sloth, a milquetoast reproach of work and effort and love.  But this post isn’t about that horror of a phrase.  It’s about the folks who use their free time.

The world is lucky to have people with hobbies, people with passions and obsessions.  To dismiss their effort instead of appreciating it is an insult.

I have friends who work their day jobs, but also run Etsy stores, or take time to produce art or write frequently updated blogs.  These people enrich the world.

They do not have more free time.  They are just using it differently.  Consider what we do with our free time, consider we are always approaching death, consider our time as a currency of the current – will we  invest it or spend it?

Will you write?  1 Will you code? 2  Will you design? 3 Will you play?  4Will you craft? 5 Will you photograph 6?  Will you volunteer?  7  How will you enrich the world?

Will you produce or will you just consume?

We don’t have to change our whole lives to do a bit more.  Sometimes, all it takes is committing to one weekend.   Constraints mean scaling back to picking a doable task, and then doing it.

I’d love to hear about what you are doing with your free time.

  1. Twanna writes about sexuality in her off time.  Tove’s fashion analysis blog wasn’t a job requirement, but a work of love. Georgia is writing a book and hopefully I’ll be linking to the amazon page sometime.  (back)
  2. Aaron fights in the courts for software freedom, then finds the time to make free software like identifox, the best identi.ca client.  (back)
  3. Erica’s jewelry is great.  I love her Birdie TV pendant.  (back)
  4. Katie Hasty writes about the music for her day job, but also plays in Numbers and Letters.  (back)
  5. Jess’s craft shop is a side gig, and Michela -how does she come up with all of these amazing quilts!   (back)
  6. Oh, the photo geeks I know… They are so good, it is intimidating.  Chris Restrepo, Darrick Coleman, Michael Mallin, Chris Acton – but you don’t have to be as good as those guys.  My flickr contacts page is full of folks who are just making some art or documenting their lives.   (back)
  7. Katie Schmid worked her ass off as a law student and now a lawyer, but still serves as director of the Newtown Creek Alliance.  (back)

Let’s not applaud yet.

I’m just waking up on sunday morning and I throw on the news. NBC has found this family of butter trolls and given them a nutritionist and a physical trainer man. It’s three months later and they show the before picture of dad. He was 303 pounds, 6’3. Three months and he’s lost 28 pounds. He looks essentially the same. Maybe his big toe is smaller. Same fat face, same man tits, same jiggly neck.

This little stick of a human interest anchorwoman, so chirpy you can practically see the coke eating her nasal passages away, she asks him what the reaction from family and friends has been. He looks exactly the same.

“Oh, they are all saying ‘Wow!'”

I bet they really did say wow to convince him he’s doing well.

Internet Explorer, Firefox Preview release and porn.

I’ve recommended to a number of my friends and coworkers that they get firefox for a nicer time browsing this here interweb.

If you are still using Internet Explorer, it’s important that you get it updated rightnow. There is a current vulnerability in IE that means simply looking at a .jpg can let bad guys do nasty stuff to you. Since the web seems to have a whole lotta images on it, it means that it’s impractical to browse with images turned off. So go get that fixed.

Firefox coincidentally has a similar issue for .bmp images in an older version. The current version is all good, but if you don’t have it, best go get it now. I looked into all the technical hoo ha and it comes down to a single library with an error in it.

Called libpr0n. What’s up with the name?

From their FAQ:

Why the name “libpr0n”?
The main goal of the library is to render pornographic images in an efficient way.