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forwardslash  ·  58 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: SSL cert expired.  ·  

Should be fixed now, as well as the issue that came out of the fix where you couldn't log in.

AstroFrank  ·  122 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 23, 2021  ·  

Astronomy is a hobby for old people, mostly men. It also is a hobby for people with time and disposable income, but that is a separate rant. The median age of an amateur astronomer given by people in marketing is 54. Visual astronomers, like me, are a decade older. And we are dying off. The number of people buying high quality large visual telescopes is numbered in the hundreds per year. AstroPhysics, one such vendor sells under 200 telescopes a year most going to research universities. Stellarvue, another company of high quality gear, sold about 300 telescopes last year. The number of companies building these devices are in the single digits. Two companies building large Dobsonians style telescopes for visual observing see the writing on the wall, took their final orders and are closing forever. The three best mirror makers are no longer taking orders for visual mirrors, focusing instead on equipment for astrophotography and university research institutions as they upgrade decades-old telescopes. Looking at what Celestron offers and has in stock now, you have gear aimed at the instragram astrophoto community (median age 40) and shit-tier beginner garbage.

The pandemic ripped a massive hole in the astronomy community. So many older people either died or won't go to club events or star parties due to the Pandemic risks. We are a tightly knit community of weird people with a weird hobby and any loss of one of us is a massive loss of talent, skill, and knowledge. There is about to be a flood of good, higher end, visual astronomy gear on the market, but no buyers. Visual astronomy is hard, and very few people any more want a hard hobby. In the next few years there is going to be some high end gear that ends up donated to the dying astronomy clubs where it will collect dust until it is thrown out because it is taking up space. I saved one such device, rescued from an estate sale from a man I never met but talked to for years online. The 'scope is in my car outside this library I am using for wifi. I have a pad for it, and once lumber is not worth more by weight than platinum I intend to build a home for the telescope. I need to buy a few car batteries on the way home now that I think about it so I can power my new gear.

I know the argument incoming. But space is popular. No, it is not. Useless celebrity cunts like Neil Tyson are popular. I've met him before he was THE Neil DeGrasse Tyson back at TAM6... geezus that was only 8 years ago?

He was a guy passionate about something he was WAY down the rabbit hole of knowledge and wanted to grab you and scream in your face "THIS IS AWESOME!" Now, he sits on fucking twitter all day. He's gone off the plot, just like every other famous person. The guy behind the "Bad Astronomy" blog/page/books got famous and then became too good for us mortals more than a decade ago as well. People do not like space, they lice celebrity. People like Hubble images. People like hurricane warnings and weather reports but do not understand where those come from. The less said about Elon Musk the better. They don't like SPACE as an industry or technology. Astronaut talks do not sell tickets. The most popular astronomy podcasts get 10-15K views if they are popular; talk about the boring stuff like doing the work and your talk may hit 2K views/listens. A child unboxing toys, to put this number in perspective, gets 100K views a video and makes 10 million USD a year. One of the younger people with a youtube channel gets 30K views... if he talks about his dog and then shows a pretty image at the end of the video. People do not like space, they don't want to put in the work to be good at a hobby, all these people want to do is post results. And stopping part two of the argument here, its not just college kids. The number of older "adults" throwing tantrums that they have to work at something to get good at is makes me glad that my nearest neighbor is 6 miles away.

The last star party I helped run and organize ran afoul of the local college social media religious fanatics because we did not have "women friendly" facilities. At a primitive campground in a national park with no electric, running water or cell service. A place chosen for its off-grid location and lack of lights, electricity, and its isolation from even aircraft overflights. This was a shock to the dozen or so women astronomers that had been attending the event for a decade, the wives that tagged along for the peace and quiet and the two wives of the organizers running the organization since the 80's. We lost the financial and in-kind support from the local college because the lack of conveniences was "exclusionary." When the college pulled out, we lost the park service assistance with permits and the other hundred little things you need assistance with to make an event like this work. The state agency that had been helping us with portable toilets, traffic control, signage etc stopped returning our calls. From what we were able to gather, there was some popularity on social media for astrophotos in 2018-2019 and the group that wanted to participate were pissed they could not upload images to their websites or charge their phones and equipment. They complained to university officials and the state park service about us. There was a demand that we lug in a generator and build showers. The star party no longer exists; the two older couples all but said "fuck this shit" and noped out. They blame the pandemic, but the real reason is that none of the older volunteers feel like dealing with this crap, a lot of work for ungrateful people, no money and all the joy having been sucked out.

I got forced back online to buy gear. Since I am online, I reached out to some people I know in multiple clubs across the country. People bought telescopes during the pandemic, saw the hobby is hard, and dumped that gear on whatever organization showed up when someone googled "local astronomy group." The clubs that saw massive growth in numbers of members are now struggling with the loss of the clubs culture as people that have been around for years are pushed out by the flood of new people. I hope they ride the wave, get tons of new blood, volunteers and cash, but I've seen this before and these types of clubs will rarely last once the old timer volunteers are gone. The death knell of any niche hobby is popularity. If you are into a small hobby with a close community, pray to your deity of choice you never get noticed or popular. Its a shame because with the internet, the 10 people in Idaho into blacksmithing can get together virtually and learn from each other. They can share tips about gear, technique and design, and get better with effort and passion for something they enjoy. Then some big social media celebrity gets a following of people, notices you guys doing your own thing and seemingly enjoying yourselves and now your hobby is shit and you cannot buy equipment, your forums are flooded with new people without a clue drowning out the people with knowledge and those 10 original people all slip away offline and won't talk about their achievents and passions due to the connection with the influx of toxic shit and idiots. This story may be anecdotal fiction, or it may be a second hand account from the guy that moved my trailer to the property and helped me tie it down. Go find a knitting group that has been around 10 or more years if you think this is only a dude-bro issue. Because damn, those poor people got fucked over, hard, by the newcomers with their "bitch and stitch" stores and runs on yarn, thread, canvas and equipment. Back before I moved, a lady into video games and knitting told us all how she was kicked out of her knitting group because her being a 60 year old woman with grandkids and a husband of 40ish years made some of the new people uncomfortable. (The new people kicked her and her two "grandma" friends out of the facebook group and changed the venue on her) I watched cooking groups implode in real time due to the popularity of the terrible cooking channels and youtube famous "chefs." Giant 1000 people LAN parties died the same way, popularity of video games killed them and nobody will volunteer to run them any more. The new people that think they can get famous gaming do nothing but whine and stir shit swamping out the old timers; the culture that made these events fun died.

This rant is not just about a hobby I love dying (in this case literally). Its an old man rant on the state of the world and how social media is evil. Fame is a moral evil and social media feeds off its pursuit. Fame is the death of honor and dignity. Nobody chasing fame is a decent human being in my opinion. The character needed to dig in and get good at something, that mentality of put in the work with a plan to get good at something, that drive, that passion, that "This is fun and I don't give a shit who else cares" attitude is fading. Post a stupid video that hits the right algorithm on social media and the next thing you know you are being flown to be on a talk show and now can sponsor some crap product and cash out for simply existing. I've heard kids say they want to be youtubers, not realizing that those famous people work 100 hour weeks and the only reason they got famous is pure stupid chance. Tell them the work that goes into making a video worth watching, and you can see their face try to process a foreign concept for the first time. Social media is a moral evil that gives the unaware the idea that fame is good and easy. The few good parts of fame are shared and normalized; the bad, the struggles, the work is shoved into a memory hole because it only got three upvotes or likes. Everything worth doing has been converted into an instant gratification treadmill and that is why social media is terrible.

I am not sure anymore if the concept of "happy" exists. I think this idea is something we have a faith-like dedication to, to our detriment as a society. There is an emotion attached to accomplishment, not quite self-esteem, but something along those lines. You want to find a "happy" kid in a school? Find the kid that busted his ass to get a good grade on a test and ask him how he did it. Watch their face light us as they talk about the work they did. Is that happiness? Or is it something else? Find the kid that just completed his first skateboard trick. Find the kid that just built her first 3-D printed model from scratch. Find the guys in whatever shop class still exists and ask them about the stuff they are building. Find the kid that just nailed a guitar riff after 20 hours of trying. Find someone that just baked their first sourdough that does not suck from scratch. Those people will light up like a commercial parking lot if you get them talking about what it took to be successful. Is that "happy?" Or is it something else? Excluding the people with medical issues that need help, I think one of the reasons so many people are down, depressed and unfulfilled is because people are not DOING anything any more. Watching a movie is not DOING something. Consuming products is not DOING something. Merely existing is not DOING.

Hobbies are dying, and go ahead and argue if you want but I've seen the sales numbers. This could just be the ramblings of an old bitter jerk that walked away from a good job to go live in BanjoStan in a 700 square foot off grid trailer to watch the world die as he prepares to dance with the Reaper. Or it could be the observations of someone that first hand saw the decline of union labor, the stagnation of wages, the destruction of the middle class, the implosion of the nuclear family, the housing crisis and rent affordability bomb, all that big picture stuff no longer serving people that need or want to work for a living. If you are working two jobs to pay rent because multi-billion dollar hedge funds are destroying house affordability, you won't have a passion project. And guess what folks, overwork and no down time are not going to make you happy if all you are doing is treading water. One thing I picked up from the pandemic is the number of people that were forced to stay home, then started feeling better. They cooked at home, they worked out a bit, they felt less stress. Now that people are going back to work, I hope they can keep any hobby they picked up and use that to get a sense of accomplishment and feel good about themselves. and it makes me happy as hell that shitty service providers like restaurants and retail are closing because they won't pay their people and treat them with respect. Out here, the local wallmart is cutting hours because even at $18/hour nobody will work for them. Better to make $15 in construction outside and not deal with screaming idiots, mentally ill church people with entitlement complexes, and a management structure that sees you as sub human.

Life is way too short to hate your situation; I'm still angry it took me this long to figure that one out.

veen  ·  328 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: December 2, 2020  ·  x 2

I almost forgot! I'm officially a scientist now! 🥳

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cstp.2020.09.007

kingmudsy  ·  516 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Twitter fact corrects Donald Trump’s tweets.  ·  

    He gazed up at the enormous circledot. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the golden badge. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved mk.

(jokes obv mk, we love u man)

b_b  ·  559 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Every State's Least Favorite State  ·  

I tear people down, because I'm sad on the inside

kleinbl00  ·  564 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 'We just can’t feed this many'  ·  x 2

I was going to lay down that pithy Claire Wolfe quote from 30 years ago but you know what? I'll play.

Revolutions have the unfortunate tendency to replace one repressive regime with another. Russia exchanged monarchs for kleptocrats; Iran replaced an autocratic monarch with an autocratic priest; Egypt replaced one autocratic general with another. Fortunately revolutions tend to hit concentrated power much harder than diffuse power. It's easy to overthrow a general. It's a pain in the ass to overthrow a House of Commons.

Before you can overthrow a democracy you have to replace it with an autocracy. You are free to argue the Republican Party in general and the Trump administration in particular are hell-bent on this goal and I will not argue with you. Where we can dicker is how successful they're being.

Obamacare survives because McCain threw a thumbs-down into the middle of the works. That's the power of one man in our structure of government - what took a dozen years of orchestrated attack was unwound by one man who suddenly grew a conscience. I think we can both agree that there are many people within the Trump administration who are doing everything they can to unwind what we've got - Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller come immediately to mind - but ours is a structure where, broad strokes, it's every bit as hard to tear down as it is to build up.

And ours is not a centralized society. Everyone in America has gotten used to turning locally; local newscasts are experiencing a renaissance the likes of which they've never had and the argument for States' Rights has never been clearer. What I remember most clearly about the run-up to the Iraq War was the tireless efforts by the White House to shape popular opinion through manipulation of the popular press. The end result was the phrase "MSM" whereby suddenly, the default view became "if you're seeing it on NBC it's probably a lie." This is the void Putin & Co rushed into and it got them an election, just like the void got Bush and Cheney a war. But it's one of those things you can pull once.

The rantings of Fox News aren't crazy enough for who's left so we've got to huddle around weird websites for QAnon news. The President panders and pumps OAN, whose ratings are known only to OAN (which substantially impacts their advertising rates, which indicates their ratings aren't even worth discussing). There is not a major news source on the air that hasn't outlined the outright lies and mistruths promoted by the White House and no one is even pretending this stuff is normal anymore. We're progressing through the process started in 2003 when the world was forced to learn how to vet news sources and honestly, REALITY WILL WIN. It's just easier. Journalists are generally a lazy bunch and constructing a narrative out of things that happened is overwhelmingly easier than constructing a narrative out of things that didn't, particularly when anyone with a phone can query additional sources.

Politically speaking we've had a splinter faction hell-bent on tearing us apart who now have to deal with the reality that success means pulling together. Every minimum-wage slacker you've ever excoriated is now standing in front of you selling you Cheetos while you retreat to your compound. And both sides of that exchange know it. We have an entire ideology that has steadfastly rejected expertise who are now clinging to any expert they can find. And we have states shipping supplies to one another in defiance of the federal government because we're all fucking pulling together.

And what has this done to society? What has this done to work? What has this done to education? Colleges are fucked but they'd been on the ragged edge of moving online anyway. Vast swaths of the service sector are suddenly unemployed. And we're all learning that there are a whole bunch of jobs that you can do a half-assed job at without ever needing to be in the office.

Would you take a 50% paycut if you never had to come to the office? 'cuz if that means you can move from a place where rent is $1000 a month to a place where rent is $300 a month... you start sharpening your pencil. ButterflyEffect and I were chatting about a marvelous cabin he's found for $172k up the fuck and gone some place where he could never commute to work... but considering it's less than a third what properties cost where he's forced to live, "telecommute from a cabin in the woods" becomes a lot more practical for everyone.

And suddenly your deep red hinterlands are full of Bernie-voting rose-wearing DSA fuckers drinking your redneck beer, buying your redneck groceries and engaging you in fucking conversation about the school levy.

Here's what I think: I think way too many of the Republican right-wing small-government ideologues have been on tape way too many times saying exactly the wrong thing over and over and over. People have sand in their panties right now about the absence of Joe Biden without observing that right now, the race is between Trump and "not Trump" and the constructive thing is to let Trump keep going on TV during prime time and appear keenly non-presidential. 77% of respondents polled want vote-by-mail. That's an eaaaaasy state initiative. Will it happen this time? I dunno. What I do know is that we're in the middle of a census right about the time everyone's being forced to stay home and it doesn't ask about immigration status but it does give you ten different choices of hispanic.

I don't know if you could craft a better repudiation of 'boomer, conservative thought than COVID-19. I'm not thankful we're going through it, but I'm not pessimistic about what happens after. Amazon got zero subsidies for building in NYC and they did anyway and that's because at the local level, Amazon got the middle finger.

I don't think we serve up rare cuts of oligarch. I think the smart money recognizes that the prudent move is to take a lower profile and I think that the rest of the country recognizes that the way we used to do stuff is inferior to most of the choices we're about to make.

cgod  ·  643 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 22, 2020  ·  x 2

A few years ago another coffee shop moved in three blocks from my shop. It pissed me off because I knew the numbers and we were going to be eating each others dinner to the extent that I was pretty sure that they wouldn't make it but that they would hurt my bottom line pretty bad.

It was a nice couple who opened it, they had a background in dance performance and were pretty thin on service industry experience. They had a nut roasting company in back of the shop and decided they would open a retail location for their nuts and open a cafe to help make the whole thing balance out. They had a nice big nut display. Their coffee was decent and they had FOOD! They had stuff like quiche and egg sandwiches and shit like that. Another thing they had that didn't were walls painted in mocha and espresso shades with a natural edged counter all cut from the same tree. I know many people thought I was doomed, it was a very nice counter. Friends said that I should start doing food to stay competitive (I just have bagels and pastry).

I think it wasn't long before they nice couple realized that nuts weren't a destination shopping attraction, the nut display dwindled to a few shelves but they reportedly sell a lot of nuts online and to fancy shops. They double downed on the food and became more ambitious. You could get a motherfucking breakfast there with potatoes eggs and toast on the weekend. Food margins are way shittier than coffee margins and it entails a whole bunch of work and forethought to keep the machine running. The two of them couldn't man the shop and keep the nuts flowing alone so they got employees.

I know my numbers and and could pretty well judge their costs in relation to how busy they were and what their prices were. They were right about FOOD bringing em in. They were a bit busier than I was but all that labor and the worsening margins meant that the return on the work wan't panning out. I knew baristas who worked for them and they said it was a shitty unhappy place to work. I'd go in for a cup of coffee and not see the owners working or see the owners and note their strained smiles and weary eyes.

On a sidebar, why don't I have FOOD! Food has shitty margins when you have to add an employee to give any kind of decent service. If I had food I'd have to work significantly harder to eek out a relatively small amount of extra profit. I also know that the thousandth time I scrapped cheese off a plate I'd go down to the basement and hang myself from the rafters. I suppose it mostly comes down to the fact that there is a value to happiness that a small increase in marginal profit and brow sweat can't make up for.

So, I kept my head down, donated to local causes and kept getting to know the people in my neighborhood better. Most importantly I made better coffee than the other guys, all I cared about was coffee and relationships. The other shop changed their hours about ten times in a year and a half trying to find the magic hours to bring in the most money and keep labor and work to a minimum. In the end they opened later than I did and closed earlier. I loved it.

One day the other shops roaster came in to pitch me on his wares.

He walked in, saw who I carried and said "Oh, you are carrying Courier!."

He had half a dozen bags of coffee in his arms.

"You aren't going to be interested in switching roasters, Joel is the guy that inspired me to go into coffee, he's a great guy and his coffee is amazing." He gave me a few single orgins and told me to look him up if Courier ever went out of business.

I kept my head down for a year and a half and waited for them to go out of business which they finally did. They said they had to quit for personal reasons, which may to some extent be true but when you aren't making any money or having any fun personal reasons are nagging.

They immediately sold the business to another nice couple. This couple also had a background in performance and little food experience. They really went all in at the FOOD! They tried it all and were good at very little of it. I had one of their bland $7 quiches and wondered that anyone would buy such a thing twice. One of my friends got and egg sandwich and tossed it out declaring that it tasted oddly of fish and tossed it in the garbage. This couple slowly worked their own shop less and less relying on expensive employees to cover more and more shifts.

Their employees were mostly unhappy and gave shitty service. I work my shop 6 days a week for about fifty six open hours. I have two ladies who cover the seventh day alternating every other week and pick up an odd shift when I need it. They are both gems who trust to always act in my best interest and to treat people as well as I would. Neither are the all that great as baristas but they are both decent. I never worry about the shop for a second while they are there. I also have a friend who can pick up shifts who is an ace barista and great with people.

My service is consistent if a little wild and weird sometimes. When the group home goes out for coffee they come to my shop, I know their names and talk to them. I've got the vast majority of the minority business because I am happy to get to know and grateful to put coffee in the cup of almost each and every person who walks in the door. One of my black customers who has become over time one of my friends remarked that she didn't like to go in the other place. She said they were all smiles but she could tell that she wasn't welcome there. I let every mail man, UPS driver or construction work crew use my bathroom, they've become customers and the word has spread that a person out working can always get a glass of water and use the john at my place. It's really my joy when I look out on the floor and see every slice of my neighborhood life sitting at my tables. It took a couple years of development to get there but it's probably the thing that has made me the most proud of my spot. I'm sure that there are more than a few people who hate my spot. They hate the color scheme, they hate that I don't have food, they hate that I don't have lilac rose marry infused honey lattes, and they hate that I don't have all natural edged counters cut from the same tree. I'm not kid friendly. I'm not kid unfriendly but if the shop starts to look like a fucking day care with children running around and bouncing off things like bumper cars I'm like to put on NWA until things thin out a bit.

Finally the next nice couple has their dreams shattered by my unwillingness to lay down and die and just make room for the new order of natural edged counters all cut from the same tree. I worked like a dog (I like working, its not all that hard but it's long and I almost never have bad days). I kept love in my heart for all the people who chose to support me. I'm grateful for having had this chapter of my life be at least moderately successful. The second couple were out of business. I went to their equipment sale and purchased a Ditting grinder an almost like new Mazzer for $900, what a fucking deal. The Ditting is a godamn dream.

It's been a few months since they went out of business and I knew sales were up but I hadn't run the numbers and compared them to last year. I figured I was up about 30%. I just ran the January numbers and compared them to sales last year and I found that I was up 66% from last year! It's huge. It's money coming in long after fixed costs have been taken care of. I could probably make more money doing any number of things but it wouldn't be my gig and my customers. It makes me feel pretty great.

They are going to tear my shop down in about two years and I'm ok with that. It'll only be two years of the type of money I had hopped would be coming in all this time but it'll be all the sweeter for having buried a pair of starry eyed dancers dreams by being consistent and friendly and enjoying almost every day of my work life.

kingmudsy  ·  656 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 8, 2020  ·  

I've got permanent bags under my eyes. This is mostly owed to my larger than average eye sockets, but partly because I'm always staying up past my bedtime. I've been putting thought into why I'm constantly giving myself insufficient sleep for no good reason, and this is what I've got:

I'm good looking. I'm smart. I'm funny. People want to be around me, and I tend to attract them easily. But even around family, I have a baseline level of discomfort. If I spend too much time with someone, I accumulate a nauseated feeling in my stomach that's only relieved by periods of solitude.

Night is the perfect time, because everyone else is gone. They're asleep or they're kindred spirits and don't expect my acknowledgement any more than I want theirs.

I love what nighttime sounds like.

Even the highway by my house is silent but for the perfectly digestible sound of one or two cars pushing like boats through a river of asphalt. The night is so still that the sound of my parent's antique modem clicking away in the kitchen can be heard clearly from the carpeted living room. The TV is on, and although I've muted the late-night advertisement for a new and innovative CPAP machine, I can still hear the small whine of static electricity arcing from red to green to blue. This small whine is overwhelming. I can smell it if I focus on it. It smells like hot dust. If I'm feeling particularly aspirational, I know that birdsong will eclipse the modem and the pixels when the sun stretches its first amber fingers and brushes their tips over the roofs of my neighborhood.

'Alone' to me means 'relaxed.' People bring tension, and they take me from my thoughts.

I'm still sussing out the underlying reasons here, but that's the basic phenomenon - I can only relax on my own, and I'm always alone at night. I think for now a simple description of the phenomenon is good enough. I'll keep sussing, and maybe I'll bring you an epiphany next week.

zebra2  ·  693 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: December 4, 2019  ·  

So the album releases on Friday, but it's on Bandcamp already

https://elkbird.bandcamp.com/album/nature-expansion-pack

Go ahead and take a download code for it!

zebra2  ·  748 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: October 9th 2019  ·  

You can’t prove it. This is a perfect pubski. I won’t tell you anything.

flac  ·  825 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 24, 2019  ·  

Y'all. The wedding suit is DONE (almost).

Still needs doing: strap for the vest, slip-stitching on vest/jacket/pants, sleeve buttons for jacket, hem for pants, lots of cleaning up (unfortunately, there are some small iron burns on the lapels of the jacket which I'm trying to figure out how to deal with).

This was the biggest sewing project I've undertaken, and I am generally really pleased with how it turned out. The suit fit me really poorly as-is because I am pretty lanky and fall in-between two sizes, so I had to do a lot of alterations, and still might do some more here and there. Unfortunately, this was after I had already bound the seams of the jacket with bias tape, so the insides of the jacket are not as clean as I would like.

The suit is made of a linen, which was fucking HORRIBLE to work with because of how much it stretched and shrunk throughout the process.

All told, it took three days to sew - one for the vest, one for the pants, one for the jacket. This was my first time making any of these patterns, so there was lots of learning to do.

T-Minus 17 days til the wedding. Still need to make rings, but that can wait another day.

insomniasexx  ·  973 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Who Is Left on Hubski?  ·  x 3

hellloooooooo, this is how my life is now.

kleinbl00  ·  1236 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why No One Answers Their Phone Anymore: Telephone culture is disappearing.  ·  

'K. So. That was delicious.

The "disappearance" of "telephone culture" is a direct consequence of place and decorum in that telephones used to be for places. You had a home phone and an office phone and if you needed to be reached at the office you had a number. If you needed to be reached at home it was presumed it was someone who knew you personally, wanted to know you personally, or had something important to communicate.

A phone was not an obligation - a phone was a tool for communicating within certain settings. And because phones were controlled by large monopolies with ridiculous build cost and tremendous vertical integration it was exceedingly difficult to sidestep the decorum associated with calling a phone number. And if you didn't connect, you didn't connect. If it was important, you'd call back.

Answering machines, which are older than Alexis Madrigal, allowed people to leave messages. This allowed people to screen calls, which has been happening since before Alexis Madrigal was born. Where things got messed up for the phone company, however, was when they went digital.

Because they couldn't do it all at once. Your digital system had to be backwards-compatible with your analog system, and your analog system had to be backwards-compatible with the first phone systems installed back in nineteen diggity-two. Which meant, effectively, that the controls on digital technology were adequate for nineteen diggity-two.

The same technology that allowed the phone company to give you voicemail allow VoIP pirates to phonebank the shit out of everyone from a call center in Bangalore. Once it's become data you can do anything with it. The original PCS transport protocol is literally 10BaseT. You're on a computer now, bubba.

So they made them smaller and they put one in everyone's pocket and phones were no longer about place. I fought them for years using this very argument: "I am not a place. If you need to reach me, you can reach me AT home. You can reach me AT work." For a while cell phones were things you called in an emergency because they were expensive. Texts, despite being free sideband metadata, were equally expensive. And then things were deregulated such that texts were free and calling was cheap and suddenly

you

could not

escape.

And that's the thing Madrigal doesn't get (because he's a fucktard). "Telephone culture" has vanished because there's no goddamn freedom from it. There's no longer any unreachability because the number everyone has (and it's on Facebook and it's everywhere and VoIP is so cheap that you can literally dial every number sequentially) is in your back pocket. Which means if someone is calling you, they're fuckin' interrupting you. You can't get away from that thing.

So yeah. People text first because it's polite and asymmetrical. If you're the kind of person who responds to texts too quickly, people email you. You likely chat with your friends on the phone, but rarely... but when you do, it's important.

I work freelance. We're hired on the phone. Random-ass number calls you, you pick up because it is likely a producer who got your name from a friend or coworker and they don't want to waste time. They want to take your pulse and answer any questions. I once almost got fired off a job because I cracked a joke (wish I had in retrospect). Voice communication is more important now, not less.

My wife delivers babies. She's got a client portal in her EHR. She answers texts from patients all the time. But every single one of them - ALL OF THEM - call when it's time for the baby.

That most reclusive of species, the early-20s woman, who never talks to anyone on the phone anymore, CALLS my wife in the middle of the night to say the baby is coming.

Telephone culture isn't dead. It's just been elevated. And if you don't get that, you deserve to get hung up on.

glowinthedark  ·  1344 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Impromptu LA Hubski meetup Feb 20  ·  

Hello world.