Algorithms… are in a nutshell sets of rules. Effectively they can be boiled down into lines of code. But they are also the stuff that the corporate machines of social media use to spew information at you.

I’m often stunned by the ugliness of Facebook and YouTube. You click on one BS link and before you know it, your hounded by gun rights, dysfunctional US shock jocks, and adult continence products.

Is this about advertising? Is this about politics? Is this about you? The social media companies don’t want you to know what they are doing, It’s all secrete in confidence data. The Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal was one example of online social manipulation (that we know of).

But those streams of data are the by-product of a relational database and the aforementioned algorithms, that as a rule, the user has very little control or no ability to navigate, let alone curate.

Although I have found one exception, it is the online visual bookmarking tool Pinterest.

I found that I could be surrounded with a visual gentle beauty that is somehow rather comforting. For me, It’s a world of pussycats, French apartments, Computer ephemera, people I find interesting, book shops, cheese, wine, etc.

It’s one of the few online examples of something that the user has some control over. It helps me to explore the net and topics I’m interested in and although I do get some advertising – it’s not gut-wrenchingly intrusive.

It’s a great tool to create Pinboards / Mood boards – or just as a visual research tool.



Cats and AI

So back in 2019 Facebook turned off Facial recognition due to privacy concerns. Today I found that a similar recognition style software is lurking in a number of other products, google photos for example came up with the following when I searched for “cat” (Scroll down for the results).

As you can see the thing picked up all sorts of stuff – including cushion artwork, my bad, very bad pictures of a cat’s bum,  graffiti art of cats not to mention my rather average pen and ink work.

Apple’s photo application also does something similar, (Although I know that they have had facial recognition for a number of years running in the photo’s app) you also have to tell it who you are looking at (so it’s not quite as bad as FB was).

I’m not sure how I feel about this. On one level it’s amazing, on another level it’s yet another thing that creeps me out about AI. All that data is sitting there, how is it being or how has it been used? Stay safe.


So over the last few months I’ve had this really annoying phone problem – it has this glitch with sending and receiving sms graphic attachments. Essentially you have to re-start the thing to receive or send pics! It’s most annoying !!!!

One way to trouble shoot this behaviour, is to do a total reset of the device. (I’ve tried all sorts of things to sort this… it’s a near last resort).

Anyway I nearly locked my self out of not only my phone, but my personal section of the google walled garden. It’s scary when you read that it make take 3-5 working days for google to re enable your account! But some how I fudged it and managed to get my life and this small device that I have trouble bonding with, to access my digital existence.

It was an interesting problem – google wants to send you and an sms but the phone is not set up yet with your google account so it can’t receive the sms – a lovley chicken and egg sort of issue. The work around was to not allow an initial google re-install of my data. Just set the phone up and start – enable it so it can start to send and receive sms. Once I had that working it was just a matter of logging in and then using the sms data that they sent me to confirm that I am in-fact me! Gee thanks big computer in the sky, for the anxiety, the minor panic attack and the final approval of my humble human existence.

I know younger people absolutely love their phones (I understand – it’s tied up with freedom, acceptance as an individual, communication, privacy, a social life and lots of other stuff) but I’ve never really felt like that.

Even with things like the assisted speech function, for me it all just slows my ability to get stuff done! That and I’m fairly fumble fingered with an object like a phone – also I have a theory that I sort of collect a lot of static electricity (if your a cat person and have ever zapped your cat you know what I mean) I hit the wrong button with my face, I was brought up analoug I suppose.

My preferred weapon of choice is a laptop, I can touch type and move about with it and take all my digital stuff and well… for me it just works. Which is what we want isin’t it? Technology that just works.