February 23rd, 2009

snark maiden

It's the message not the medium, stupid

I don't use Twitter (Simon does so if you tweet him and it's important enough I'll hear about it eventually). I just don't have time and the management tools aren't there and I'm more interested in reading and engaging with more fully developed ideas explored at length. (You can take it as read that I'm not suggesting anything negative about anyone who twits, tweets, retweets, twats or whatever you choose to call it, although I do have some points to make about attention economics and power relationships and if I was stuck in a lift with someone who kept twittering I would be wanting to smash their phone).

But I'm currently disagreeing violently with some friend of a friend who complained about them republishing twitters in their blog with the sweeping comment that I'll paraphrase as 'microblogging doesn't belong in a blog'. So what is the minimum acceptable length for a blog post? All your blog posts must be original and never typed in any other medium before? Sure, a list of jottings and replies to unknown questions can be cryptic or tedious, but so can full-length blog posts - and I know how to use the scroll bar and the rich features that make LJ a social blogging platform rather than just a baby CMS (filters, friends groups and default view to start with). All your blog posts must be well thought out and interesting to me personally? (That would be some other Internet I'm not currently familiar with).

With the blackout protest going on, it's ironic that at least one of the people involved is a kiwi (which is leading me into thoughts about tolerant societies and how while geeks and fen are very tolerant of sub-groups disapproved of by mainstream society they can also be viciously intolerant of sub-groups within their own culture that they deem to betray it by being too different - the OS religious wars, the litfen/mediafen snobbery). So I'm going to quote the woman everyone mistakes for Voltaire, Beatrice Hall (and don't even get me started on the commentator who said that her writing was too well-phrased so of course everyone thought it was the genius himself0: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" and add 'and equally, your method and medium for saying it".
snark maiden

Broken banking, #2 in a continuing series

On the Monday morning of Mobile World Congress I was even less awake than usual and I didn't take my credit card back out of the ticket machine, so I phoned to cancel the card. You don't have a credit card, said the unhelpful man; it has a Visa symbol on it and I use it with my business bank account, he said. Oh yes, he said, I've cancelled it and ordered a new one. Except what arrived today was the cash card for my personal savings account. I braved the slightly improved voice jail system and asked Abbey consumer if they could tell me if this new card was a re-issue or just a regular renewal. It's your cash card, they said; we don't know anything else. I phoned Abbey business and they had no record of a cancellation; because Abbey shares a lost and stolen number for both types of account, they had cancelled the wrong one. At this point it becomes one of those good news, bad news jokes:
the good news is the ticket machine ate my card and nobody used it
the bad news is I won't get the new card for ten days and I'll be in the US
the good news is I have a US account to take money out of
the bad news is that Abbey is idiotic enough to link the card so firmly to the online banking system that when they cancel a card, they lock you out of Internet banking until the new one is issued, two days later. So the helpful lady on the phone has written down on a PostIt note that on Wednesday she should remember to unlock my account for me.

To quote tanais when I told him about it, 'I'm not sure some companies should be allowed the internets'. Any recommendations for fee-free business banking that's not this bad? 

snark maiden

Existential Acrobat

There are some questions that are, well, just too hard to put into words. Questions about life, love, loss, family, grief, joy, religion. But somehow, I doubt if what Acrobat is asking me is on that level. But then again, how will I ever know?