Further Steps to Shrink my Cyberfootprint

I am in the process of deleting some accounts to services that potentially do more harm than good. For example, I am and will continue to be a heavy users of my Kindle, but I deleted Goodreads just now. I read a lot but I don’t need to boast of what I read and specifically what I read is none of anyone’s business, unless of course I chat them up about it over a beer. And Amazon already sends me a sufficient number of ads for books I don’t want to read.

This account deletion process is extremely painless with some companies. With others, I suspect they want me to cut off my little finger before I delete my account, and in some cases ending an account might be impossible. But my attempts continue. Jaron Lanier for POTUS!

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Respected Delusions

If you constantly try to convince people around you that you have a friend only you can see who meets with you in the park every afternoon, more sensible people will assume that you have some sort of mental illness.

If you work in an organization that constantly tries to convince people that they have a friend in the sky who watches over them, the organization will be given tax-free status. Depending upon the organization, you might be provided with a ready supply of children to play with and be transferred to another branch of that organization if you are caught taking advantage of the children kindly made available to you.

I have no use for religions and the people who promote them. Gods are delusions and should never be used to grant organizations teaching those delusions tax-free status or to grant people special respect because of their god delusions. And that doesn’t even address the problem of religions that essentially procure targets for the pedophiles they hire.

Corporations that commit crimes themselves or willfully protect criminals from the law (thereby acting as their accomplices) face punishment themselves; why not religions?

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Free at Last from Facebook Manipulation

I have finally deleted the only remaining account I had on the social media platform run by the company Facebook. This will free up lots of time previously wasted in the orchestrated cyberworld of Facebook, enabling it to be spent in the real world.

People can reach me by email (remember email?) at the address disclosed on the page appropriately named Email.

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Extreme Measures Could Result in Collapse of the Market

I have often said that, if Trump hinted at making military moves that could plunge the world into war (particularly nuclear war), I would think it reasonable for the US military to march to the White House and explain things to Trump.

It is looking more and more like Trump is intending to interfere with and orchestrate an end to an investigation of himself and the people around him. If that turns out to be likely (and it sounds more likely every day), extreme action might be necessary.

I do not advocate violence, but I would not shed a tear if a US citizen took Trump down in the interest of saving the nation from an even worse crisis. That could result in the right-wing gun nuts and their private militias coming out in an armed revolt against the government. Many might die. But perhaps a major conflict could clear the air. Of course, an attendant problem might be the plummeting of banjo prices, as banjo owners are shot down trying to make America great again.

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Not One Yoctofuck

The real world (including most people addicted to Facebook) doesn’t give a yoctofuck* about:

  • the trip you just started;
  • that you were upgraded (or not upgraded) to first class;
  • that you arrived at your destination;
  • the country you’re visiting;
  • the city you’re visiting;
  • the bar you’re visiting;
  • the drink you’re drinking;
  • the breakfast you’re eating;
  • the lunch you’re eating;
  • the dinner you’re eating;
  • the hotel you’re staying in;
  • that you’ve come back from your trip;
  • your qualification as a certified trainer (and downline developer) for some new-age feelgood activity;
  • your dietary religion;
  • a picture of your cat;
  • a picture of your dog;
  • a picture of you standing in front of some landmark; and
  • a variety of other meaningless attempts to self-validate your relevance and collect likes.

And don’t be fooled by likes you get; many (probably including likes given to the link to this post I’m putting in my timeline on Facebook in my final days there) are most likely given to keep up appearances of being a supportive friend. Bullshit in most cases.

*: For non-geeks, a yoctofuck is 1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of a fuck.

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Social Media: Making Honesty Seem so 1980

If you spend the amount of time required to create a Facebook persona that securely posits you as the best thing in your field since sliced bread, it’s unlikely that you will have the time to actually live that persona by walking that walk.

I sometimes wonder whether people who post over 50 times each day (sometimes at great length) ever step back for a moment and think about whether people will believe that they are actually walking that walk. Some of these personas are at best harmless fantasies, but some could also indicate a serious addiction to social media and an obsessive need to be liked and looked up to by other social media believers and addicts.

I’ve not got the time for such silliness. My leaving Facebook (the only social media account I have ever had) on September 26 will entail no withdrawal symptoms, since the account is not mission critical to satisfying some need for self-fulfillment.

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Jaron Lanier’s Reasons for Our Leaving Social Media

I have just finished reading Jaron Lanier’s Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Nowand find that Lanier’s revelations about what social media platforms are doing pretty much match my apprehensions about social media. In fact, in some areas, particularly regarding the automatic fine tuning of and learning by algorithms, Lanier reveals ways that opaque social media algorithms operate that I had not imagined.

Lanier refers to what social media platforms do as BUMMER (Behaviors of Users Modified and Made into an Empire for Rent), although he appropriately replaces modified with manipulated where appropriate, and it is clear that the term manipulation is often appropriate.

He lists the components of BUMMER as:

  • Attention acquisition
  • Butting into everyone’s lives
  • Cramming content down people’s throats
  • Directing people’s behaviors in the sneakiest way possible
  • Earning money from letting the worst assholes secretly screw with everybody else, and
  • Fake mobs and faker society.

Essentially, although he himself is a Silicon Valley insider and works for Microsoft and LinedIn, Lanier lays out ten arguments for immediately deleting your social media accounts. He posits that social media accounts cause you to lose your free will and that quitting social media is the most finely targeted way to resist the insanity of our times. Lanier says that social media turns us into assholes and undermines truth, devaluing what we say and destroying our capacity for empathy. Social media makes us unhappy, doesn’t want us to have economic dignity, makes politics impossible, and hates our souls.

I have been a severe critic of social media, but even social media addicts (and Lanier makes a strong case that addiction is an important element in the BUMMER business model) and deniers (the “it doesn’t affect me because I am smart and ignore it” crowd) should be able to pick up on what is happening, albeit perhaps with a bit of regret about having to do so.

In the summary of this short work, Lanier likens submission to BUMMER to the abandonment of a belief system for a new belief system that can itself be characterized as a religion.

The entire thrust of the book is that we should give up our social media accounts (Lanier himself has none), and the author does offer a few sketchy suggestions near the close of the work. They involve commonsense approaches such as interacting will friends via email and accessing news from carefully selected websites rather than what social media feeds us.

In attempting to break away from BUMMER social media, individuals will surely encounter other specific obstacles. One is how to contact people who do not have email. Another, and one that faces me, is how to replace Facebook groups and the Facebook event function that I have been using to organize face-to-face gatherings of friends.

But I believe those obstacles are not insurmountable, and in a post coming shortly I will lay out several steps I will take (I have already started taking some of them) in distancing myself from social media (in my case, Facebook only).

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The Ugly Underbelly of the Translation Industry and the Value of ISO Certification

Ok, it starts again from these Chinese cretins.

This sleazy Chinese translation broker, CCJK, must actually be operated by people who have escaped from a home for the terminally stupid. And they claim to have ISO 9001 certification. That very statement is powerful, since, taken together with the laughable content of this email, it demonstrates how meaningless the ISO certification is.

I get about one of these ridiculous offers of translation service from CCJK per week. They arrive from people using various names and are almost all (including this one) sent from a gmail address.

The last four times they vomited this shit at me they received a newly created generic autoreply that is sent to everyone accessing our inquiry address but that names CCJK specifically as a repeating offender. As I have said in the past, I would entertain the opportunity to have a positive business encounter with a Chinese entity or Chinese person. The sobering reality, however, is that every single encounter I can recall is with shitstains like this person purporting to be Joan Pang. This is the translation “industry.”

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Futility

Effective immediately, I will no longer suggest to Japanese-to-English translators who have posed questions on various fora that they ask the author. The reason is simple: almost no translators have access to the author, either directly or via an agent/broker.

Suggestions to contact the author not only are not useful but also annoy translators by reminding them of their position on the food chain. It is clear that the desirable situation is one in which, faced with a problem in understanding what the author meant, the translator can ask the author. Almost no translators are in that situation, hence this decision to stop the annoying comments.

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Harsh Realities for Beginning Translators

I have on numerous occasions had that warm feeling of being thanked by new translators for advice I purported to give. But it is always accompanied by the stark reality, mostly unspoken by me, that the person who is thanking me is very unlikely to be able take away anything from my advice beyond the extreme difficulty of succeeding in a translation market in which there is nowhere to go but down for most translators.

Today, however, I will speak of that reality.

Unless you:

  • are highly skilled in a number of areas (including, but certainly not limited to, source-language comprehension, target-language writing, and subject-specific expertise) and
  • are willing to abandon the idea that everything is free in the age of connectivity,

your chances of breaking out from the low-paid bulk translation market and into the high-paid premium translation market are extremely small.

For NES (native English-speaking) Japanese-to-English translators, one of the ways to do that is to live in Japan and acquire Japanese direct clients, but that is a feat which is nearly impossible for almost all such translators. The spoken language barrier alone rules out the vast majority of translators, but the persistent belief that there is a free lunch to be had also holds many back. There are other ways of making it; you will need to discover them yourself.

The very few translators who can break out of the bulk market can do that without any advice from me. Those who think it useful to listen to anything I could tell them, except perhaps the particular story of how I happened to do it (and that is a writing project on my list, by the way) are simply delusional. They need to do it for themselves. But very few are willing to try, even fewer are capable, and almost all will need to resign themselves to that harsh reality that almost all translators will continue to serve the relatively low-paid bulk translation market.

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