Facebook declared Kyle Rittenhouse guilty from the start

The blackout went far and wide: Facebook actively policed its users for pro-Kyle Rittenhouse posts and removed the content. It even targeted posts from legal scholars arguing the merits of his self-defense case.

Source: Facebook declared Kyle Rittenhouse guilty from the start

Whatever you think about the case, this is not the internet I signed up for.

Facebook is following the playbook for any and all companies now: monopolize a market, and then extract all of the profits from it. The problem is that Facebook has essentially monopolized online speech. Sure, they can point the FTC at other successful social media companies, in order to mitigate antitrust action, but every other company is a drop is the bucket in comparison. The most influential company besides Facebook is Twitter, and they have, like, one tenth the number of users. So, yes, there are other social media platforms, but if you want to put something “out there” for the world to see, you can’t NOT use Facebook. Is it the de facto social media platform.

Awhile back, someone pointed out the cynical interpretation of the “Facebook whistleblower,” who recently gave testimony to Congress. Rather than this being an embarrassment to Facebook, and begging for intrusive government intervention, it was, in fact, an engineered and coordinated effort to provoke Congress into creating an oversight board.  Why? Because, rather than put shackles on Facebook’s hands, it would be liberating for the officers of the company to be able to point their detractors towards the governmental body regulating social media, which would, nominally, be setting policy. Except that, as we all know full well, they would be doing so at the bidding of Facebook, for the maximization of profit, and campaign contributions.

In my opinion, the so-called “mainstream media” created Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge by their systemic bias. They only really achieved national success after it became clear that the entire American press was going to give Clinton an editorial pass for every one of his scandals, including (and especially) Lewinsky. After that, they remained forces that every other news commentary program had to contend with and respond to. There are conservative social media and independent journalistic platforms ramping up right now in response to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter’s hamfisted efforts at censorship. I predict that they will achieve the same sort of niche-yet-unignorable success that Rush and Drudge had. If so, it will just prove that line in Star Wars true: “the more you tighten your grasp, the more systems will slip through your fingers.” The success of Parler and Substack, et. al., are directly tied to the tactics of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to control any and all important social narratives online. They more content they disallow, the more those other platforms will thrive.

On Changing Blogging Format

I’m really late in coming to an understanding of this, but I’m just realizing that “blogging” has moved to video. I mean, the kinds of things I’m writing down here are mostly being done, these days, as 10-15 minute videos on YouTube. That’s why it’s so hard to find good blogs now. The problem, for me, is that video is effectively linear. I can read much faster than I can watch something. When I’m reading, I can track where a thought is going, and skim forward to the next thought. You can’t do that with video.

So much content I would love in written form is just being “wasted” in video form. And so many videos are just bullet point lists of things I’m tangentially interested in. At least, with a written list, I can neatly skip over the points I already know, or am not interested in.

I’ve spent an hour watching various videos on YT, mostly about the Battlefield game series, and the MCU movies. Of course, there’s endless repeats of various clips in the background, but the voiced-over script has (almost) nothing to do with what’s being shown. These videos could have easily been blog posts, with a few screenshots for effect, and I could have gotten through all of these thoughts in 20 minutes.

The “best” example of this was “This Is What Captain Marvel Has Been Doing For The Past 24 Years Before Avengers Endgame,” at 10:11 run length, which I watched in its entirety at 1.5x speed, and which ended without giving any reasonable explanation about what she might have actually been doing. That’s “content” I could have figured out in about 10 seconds if it had been a blog post.

And that’s really the problem right there. It’s clear that something magical happens on YT around 10-15 minutes. It must be something about the advertising. Almost every one of these videos is that length, and it must have something to do with making money from the site. So, like banner ads, people are trying to get paid, but the net effect for the end user is 10x worse. People just pad their videos with fluff to hit this magic mark, turn what would be a 2-minute thought into a 11-minute “piece,” and the net effect is that I just don’t watch much video.

Playstation 5 and the “Control” Game Review

Control is a game that came free with Playstation Plus. I had heard relatively good things about it, but I know that PS+ games are the B- games that have run their course commercially, so I took this move with a grain of salt. Turns out that, like Red Dead Redemption 2, Control has a great game buried in there, underneath all the really terrible parts.

Control has a great X-Files-like vibe. Very atmospheric and moody. Very surreal and mysterious. It’s a great new intellectual property space. Or, at least, it will be, if Remedy ever makes another game based on the franchise. The story is great.

Control has an interesting gun play system. There’s no reloading, but there’s a pause while the gun reloads itself, so it’s all the same thing. Plus, the button that most games would use for reloading swaps between the 2 active weapon morphs in play, and muscle memory frequently leaves me hanging with the wrong weapon effect at the worst time.

That’s… about all the good I can say about it. I’m sure other people have done enough actual reviews, but I’ll give it a short run down:

  • The “control” points where you can start over if you die are far apart, and you have to walk a long way to get back to the point where you died.
  • The gun does NOT snap (by default), and the aim is unforgiving for a game like this.
  • There’s no crouching behind cover. Which is bizarre, because the enemies do it.
  • Optional missions come up at opportune moments, but you only get one shot at them. You have no idea what you’re facing, and if you die, and you simply lose out.
  • Finally, the map and the level design is horrendous, and there’s no pathing to help you navigate it.

I could chalk all the shooting mechanics up to taste, and put up with it for the story, but the last point just does the game in. I just tried the game again, and the ONLY way I can find to go forward to my objective is to go through an area that’s just too tough for me. I’ve failed to get through it twice, and there just didn’t seem to be a way to get it done. But I wandered around for 15 minutes, and concluded that this is, in fact, where I should be going, so I tried — and failed — for a third time, with literally no idea how I could deal with it.

I looked for a difficulty setting, and found that it has cheats. Well, that makes sense. So I activated them, and tried again. Despite aim snap, I was about to die for the 4th time, so I just went ahead and activated god mode. I got through the area, and found another control point, but there’s no where to go. Here’s what I see:

Control Ultimate Edition_20210214104514

And here’s what the map is showing me at that point:

Control Ultimate Edition_20210214104521

I don’t know where to go. I have an optional mission selected, and there’s no indication where that is. If I activate the “main” mission, the map indicator is in the ??? area to the northeast of my position. I cannot interpret what this is telling me, there’s no indication on how I can get where I need to go, and I can’t find any way through this section. I’m quite literally stuck, and I’m really tired of putting up with video games that force me to do a search and read some article to get past every other difficult part. At this point, I’m just going to delete the game, and hope that Sony gives Remedy access to the fact that this player quit playing the game at 18% completion, and uninstalled it, even though the game was free. That’s how big of a fail it is.

Tangentially, while trying to get the screenshots off the console, I found that it takes 4 non-obvious clicks to get to the media library, and there’s only one option for a service to upload the images with: Twitter. Really, Sony? Really? There must be a dozen prominent image sharing sites, and the only option is Twitter? Screw Twitter. Especially for sharing screenshots! And screw Sony for making that the only option. I had to resort to a USB stick. Ew.

Additionally, you can only share recorded video to YouTube or Twitter. You can only livestream to Twitch. Nothing about these options makes sense. Sony must expand these options with an update. I’m sure it’s all about the Benjamins. Sony was probably looking for kickbacks to include other services here, and no one donated, so they were forced to give us one option. Sony needs to suck it up, now that the console has launched, and move on. There’s no excuse for a lack of options for any of these ways of sharing. They need to make it like an iPhone, were you can connect your console to a service, and it becomes a “destination” to which you can share anything. (Well, I mean, they do, but they need to give us a lot more options.)

I Was the First “YouTube”

Back in the early 2000’s, I was getting pretty deep into Linux. I also had a job which allowed me to have the castoff computers no one needed any more, after upgrades. Linux has always run just fine on older hardware, so I wound up with, at one point, 9 servers in my house, doing all sorts of things, in addition to my hand-built personal computers.

At the time, I had been running a dual phone line connection back to my computer at work, and using their T1 line for internet access. I had cleared this with the person in charge of the network. He was satisfied that I wouldn’t be using it except out of business hours, by definition.

While I knew it at the time, it’s become even more clear in retrospect: Arvin was a pretty great place to work. And Meritor ruined it. But I digress.

I found out that DSL was available at my house, so I got a 512Kb symmetric connection, which was rare. At the time, the phenomenon of the “Super Bowl commercial” was getting into full swing, and I had started collecting them. I was storing them on my “big” server, which had 6 SCSI drives in a hardware-based RAID array, for a whopping 100 GB of space. My collection included things like the old Budweiser “wassup” adverts, and that sort of thing.

Since I had a broadband connection, I started running my own web and email servers, out of my house. On my web server, I hosted an FTP service for all of these videos. You could click on them and play them, but I left it easy to just grab them all, if you knew how. I watched the logs, and saw that many people did. As thanks, a couple of people sent me their collections on CD’s through the mail. It was going well. To me, this is what the internet was all about.

Then along came “farting preacher.” It was an instant classic of the time, and I immediately added it to my collection. In a couple of months, if you searched on that phrase, my web site, running out of my house, was the #1 hit for it. That month, I did 8 GIGABYTES of uploads over my 512Kb connection. And, remember, these were tiny, little, lo-fi vid caps of the time. Most were just a couple megs. I thought about running banner ads on my site, to try to “monetize” the traffic, and then immediately rejected that idea as crass. It’s not that I didn’t think I couldn’t make any money; it’s that I thought the amount of money I would make wouldn’t be worth the hassle.

The very next month, someone created farting preacher .com, and loaded it up with ads. I have to admit that I felt a little whinge of missing the boat, for a moment.

The, the next month after that, YouTube was launched, and it put all of those spammy, one-off video sites out of existence, in favor of a new, spammy video site, where you can randomly get banned or de-monetized, or have your videos removed because of bogus copyright claims.