Just a quick note (It kind of ties in): I watched television yesterday and found myself laughing at an ad. It featured a motherly looking woman dancing around after having used air freshener. I don't know about anyone else, but when ever I've seen someone with a can of air freshner, they've looked about ready to tear strips off whoever caused the smell. Or perhaps, this has just been my experience and my mother could learn a thing or two from advertisement mothers. When cleaning a mess, the cause of the mess is less important than the way the newly cleaned bench top sparkles and offsets your eyes...
For a long time now I've stopped reading anything on a regular basis. I kind of just do a follow my curiosity type of thing. I used to love reading Boing Boing and had a few web comics that I read. But then I realised that I was spending hours of my day, everyday, reading this stuff. I could be being productive in that time. It was a bit like being on social networking.
So I can't for the life of me figure out why people chose to have information pushed to them. We already live in this amazingly data rich society. While it's incredibly cool that you no longer have to answer your kids with "I don't know" quite so much any more (instead, you can say "let's look it up together" without having been sucked in by a door to door encyclopaedia salesman), it does have an effect on the way that people act and, probably more interestingly, how they spend their time.
I went to a pub the other night for dinner (Terrible experience. Turns out with me exercising and having smaller meals, a good old fashioned pub roast felt almost toxic) and there was a family sitting around a table. 3 kids sitting with them. Except, instead of staring off into the distance and elbowing each other as happened in my day (actually, my experience was more due to the fact that everyone around me was probably not speaking English), they were each on cellphones.
So RSS feeds come across as a real bona fide nightmare to me. I don't want any more information! I want a beep free zone. Somewhere you can go without hearing an email coming in or telling me that something's been left in the microwave or that the dishwasher has finished or that the fridge door has been left open. Even the phone ringing sends me into a "STOP BEEPING" moment.
So anyway, I was on gmail wondering how gmail selects the contacts to appear in my chat list. I mean, I don't know half of the names that appear there. So I started having a look. There were various people - fringe people really - that I'd helped with Linux problems over the years. And I emailed an old friend that I haven't had any contact with since... 2007?
And then I came across Lynda - who had interviewed me for a magazine interview (I never got to see the resulting article though I'm told that it was distilled down enough to not need anything from me) and found that she's got a blog. While I probably don't really care about pedicures and cleaning products (I'm tempted to start looking for interesting ways of making your own cleaning products although... how far can baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice go really?) the blog brings up a bunch of ethical questions. Look for the post on Ethical Creep.
[Update]: I emailed Lynda about having stolen the first two pictures (anti-disestablishment man) who gave me a link to the article I'd never previously read. The link itself had me amused - give-me-some-space - as she'd commented on the fact that she'd had to keep the article down to a few hundred words. Just a bit more space and I might've been quoted ;). As it is, Robin and I did the interview together.
From from there it just got worse. I came across a couple of photos in Lynda's Google Plus profile. Which lead me to then look up the term "anti disestablishment man" and do an image search which them sent me to a blog which eventually had me looking at body parts made from bread.
A blog post and a couple of emails later, and there goes a couple of hours of my day...
Just a quick addition to the post. This post was written before I'd heard about the news on Aaron Swartz. This post is in no way me disrespecting his contribution to the RSS specification. From what I've heard of the guy he was a guy who'd suffered various issues - depression, persecution, stresses outside his control within his personal life etc. After reading the boingboing post, there are bits about him that resonate strongly with me. The bits about the impossible standards held for both mentors and myself/himself for example. And of course, there's his ethics. I can relate...