Laptop Disabled, Even Speedier Tone

Before (prob­a­bly) break­ing my Spec­tre x360’s pow­er jack this after­noon, I was able to even fur­ther opti­mize The Extranet at no real cost to appear­ance. One bench­mark test­ed under 4 sec­onds for the email opt in page! And all it took was resiz­ing three images to the dimen­sions the CMS was already scal­ing them to, any­way. Inter­est­ing­ly enough, I dis­cov­ered that Flo­ri­an Hard­wig of Fonts in Use was com­plete­ly cor­rect when he com­ment­ed on the But­ler Mast “EXTRATONE” logo was not prop­er­ly spaced. Not only was it incor­rect­ly kerned, it even con­tained a weird gash that I’d noticed before but nev­er paid enough mind to.

So I ren­dered the new one with­out any trans­paren­cy.

Notice how much more coher­ent the bonds between the cen­tral “R A T O” are. (Severe­ly insuf­fi­cient typo­graph­i­cal jar­gon, sor­ry.) I’m cer­tain­ly glad I was able to opti­mize the back­end and fix the logo before break­ing my dear­est, Hewlett-Packard child. I’m going to be a bit of a wreck until I’m able to fix it, but I shall try remem­ber that I wrote much of the orig­i­nal Extra­tone con­tent on my iPhone 6S Plus with a blue­tooth key­board when I didn’t have a lap­top for years.

I also man­aged to rearchive and prop­er­ly meta tag 18 Drycast episodes through the dear­ly beloved Ryan Dell episode. This is more work than it sounds, but most of it is pret­ty dang great and worth per­fec­tion. The long-lost Yzome episode is now avail­able — it was def­i­nite­ly the most inter­est­ing music dis­cus­sion we’ve ever had. With all of this attach­ment to a web­site and past work, per­haps I should be call­ing this thing David Blue’s Web Dev Mourn­ings.

Mark Fuck and the Goof God

Today, after posit­ing on whether or not a pas­try was in fact the name­sake of the bat­tle­ship Bis­mar­ck, I was told by its own­er — a local woman of a far-from-excus­able age — that “[I] should be on that big bang show.” Upon such fuck­ery, I looked her in her eyes and informed her that she’d just changed my plans for the night: I was now going to go home, wrap my lips around the bar­rel of my Beretta, and blow my brains out. I should’ve known bet­ter than to so jest with a boomer imme­di­ate­ly after receiv­ing such glar­ing indi­ca­tors of min­i­mal intel­lec­tu­al func­tion, but I fell for the hope — as I often do, to no avail — that such a jar­ring reac­tion would encour­age reflec­tion on her foul, trag­i­cal­ly mis­led sen­ti­ments regard­ing the gen­er­al state of youth, and per­haps even spare a peer or two from future tribu­la­tion.

Instead, she called the police.

Three round cops found me, an hour lat­er, approach­ing hes­i­tant­ly. Strange­ly enough, they were chuck­ling — maybe to a lit­tle joke about all the recent hub­bub on the radio cov­er­ing a recent wave of bla­tant­ly neg­li­gent med­ical care in Amer­i­can pris­ons, though I hope ner­vous laugh­ter is just SOP when respond­ing to a sui­cide threat. As all Colum­bia cops always are toward me, they were aggra­vat­ing­ly gen­uine and hilar­i­ous­ly under­stand­ing. I began by sim­ply recre­at­ing my inter­ac­tion with their sum­mon­er, quot­ing her word-for-word, and — I swear to my new Lord — all three imme­di­ate­ly released a choral “ohh­h­hh” in uni­son. I’ll nev­er know for sure if they actu­al­ly assim­i­lat­ed the real­i­ty of the sit­u­a­tion so quick­ly, but it’d cer­tain­ly seem that way.

Clear­ly, I should’ve threat­ened her life.

Despite the day-to-day expres­sion of our recur­ring wis­doms, habits, instincts, pat­terns and cycles of cul­tur­al meta­mor­pho­sis in the dis­course, the stream of “well, you know they were sayin’ the world was going to end when I was in ele­men­tary school” to my ear has fall­en abrupt­ly silent since the inau­gu­ra­tion. Our par­ents and grand­par­ents are both impos­si­bly for­tu­nate and unfor­tu­nate, hav­ing to duck out as the most mul­ti­plica­tive (read: sick­est) cere­bral orgy in the his­to­ry of mankind will just’ve begun nib­bling on the slope to its cli­max. We’ll be lucky if we’ll still be able to artic­u­late our good­byes by the time they reach the door. Non­sense does a fuckin num­ber on per­ceived wis­dom, but the gaps are widen­ing at a dan­ger­ous pace. Tec­ton­ic or domes­tic, we are all strad­dling expand­ing space, and the chill of its draft is now steal­ing too much of our heat to ignore.

Though it is enter­tain­ing in the moment (and oth­er­wise redun­dant,) it would not be well-to-do of me now — nor was it, then — to leave the con­ver­sa­tion in edgy absur­di­ty. Though a part of me would like to cam­paign for Shel­don to be reclas­si­fied as an exple­tive, in dis­gust, I must — as an adult in all-out sprint to make up for stalled emo­tion­al devel­op­ment — note that such a dis­play of con­cern should’ve been at least rec­i­p­ro­cat­ed with a bit of expla­na­tion, if not appre­ci­a­tion, though I won’t con­done wast­ing pub­lic employ­ee time for a mis­un­der­stood retort from a com­plete stranger.

It’s not news — the The­o­ry is pro­vid­ing some ghoul­ish­ly skewed por­tray­al of less-than-forty pseudoin­tel­lec­tu­als. Though my savior’s time is obvi­ous­ly worth very lit­tle to her, the fact that she spent any quan­ti­ty of any­thing at all engag­ing with even a decid­ed­ly main­stream gen­er­a­tional­ly ambas­sado­r­i­al bridge could be regard­ed — if stretched — as the result of a curi­ous seed, which has sky­rock­et­ed in human val­ue, as of late. It is undis­cour­agable. Read the trail a bit, and you’ll find that your frus­tra­tion is sim­ply an expres­sion of the ter­ror that’s ignit­ed by the stag­nan­cy of their pace.

It’s great that you’ve man­aged to inch over to mod­ern-ish sit­coms from Judge Judy and Inde­pen­dence Day, mom, but you’re gonna have to real­ly pick up the pace and work on fol­low­ing a few body mod­i­fi­ca­tion com­mu­ni­ties on the dark­net.

If an absence of solu­tions are the crux of the blog, here I’m now gloat­ing.

To whom does the com­mon­er look to for such solu­tions when they’d pre­fer not to ter­ror­ize their kooky mid­dle age par­ents into a half cen­tu­ry of bru­tal fast­ing under vows of silence?

The Big Thinkers! The Men of the Hour.

Yes, men. All Big Bum­bling Bil­lion­aire Imbe­ciles.

Elon Musk can­not be the Nico­la Tes­la of the 21st cen­tu­ry, or even the 20th, for that mat­ter, because lit­er­al­ly every mechan­i­cal­ly-mind­ed pro­fes­sion­al I’ve ever heard talk about bat­tery tech­nol­o­gy has con­demned it in some man­ner as an inescapable dead end, devel­op­men­tal­ly. Per­haps, then, the cham­pi­on of elec­tro­chem­i­cal stor­age is the* False Prophet.

No, I’m not capa­ble of cit­ing research or con­jur­ing Mars-capa­ble space­craft, but I’ve been a bit too pre­oc­cu­pied with my country’s class war and its 10% adult illit­er­a­cy rate. It’s all well and good to be privy to roman­ti­cism, but it’s not the 1960s any­more. Even Howard Hugh­es would be more con­cerned for the well­ness of the species than our con­tin­ued reach for the stars, were he still alive.

Well. Maybe not… Charles Lind­bergh would be, though.

We spent the 1990s prepar­ing to rid our­selves of his­to­ry because the smartest among us fore­saw some fac­sim­i­le of the renais­sance we are cur­rent­ly expe­ri­enc­ing. If they’dT been shown a glimpse of some sta­tis­tics on the vol­ume of media we con­sume, they’d exclaim of their pride — no doubt — in their species’ capa­bil­i­ty to progress, and per­haps even their own con­tri­bu­tion to it. How­ev­er, extend­ed obser­va­tion of an aver­age American’s day-to-day life would be lament­ed, in dis­gust, and a huge por­tion of the blame can be placed on one t-shirt-tout­ing cyberyokel: Mark Zucker­berg. His name is stu­pid, his spawn is ruin­ing my life, and he con­tin­ues to insist upon say­ing shit that fright­ens the beje­sus out of me. Zuck­brain is fuck­ing scary. “Wiring the globe” is fuck­ing scary. Jarvis is fuck­ing scary. But Fuck, him­self wouldn’t be at all intim­i­dat­ing with­out his mon­ey. The scari­est bit is the lack of class in the crit­i­cisms of his intel­lec­tu­al influ­ence. Farhad Manjoo’s atten­tion has been dili­gent and pre­mi­um as a Timeser’s should be, but the same occu­pa­tion bars him from author­ing with the col­or of unsub­stan­ti­at­ed claims. Mine does not.

Elon Musk is not an apolo­getic genius. He’s will­ing to joke about his intel­lec­tu­al dis­tance from the plan­et and its pop­u­lace on Twit­ter. Appar­ent­ly, his mind’s even sur­passed the need to punc­tu­ate. Crazy.

Google is well on it’s way to becom­ing the neo-Vat­i­­can… yada yada yada, but they’re too far gone — I do not have the exper­tise to address them. Fuck, though, is a sin­gu­lar short-sleeved, Even Stevens-haired young man with­out so much as pri­vate office space (even though his sen­ti­ments on breath­ing room at home are obvi­ous­ly inverse.)

Clear­ly, it’s all just to pro­tect him from the truth:

The Apos­tle John’s Book of Rev­e­la­tion is about Face­book.

Fuck’s cyber­child is the horse­man, the beasts, and the plagues, stuffed into one tyran­ni­cal web­site.

And the smoke of their tor­ment ascen­deth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who wor­ship the beast and his image, and whoso­ev­er receiveth the mark of his name.

If I can repeat­ed­ly trig­ger acci­den­tal voice calls on Fuck­book Mes­sen­ger, don’t tell me it’s not pos­si­ble to inad­ver­tent­ly live stream myself on the pot.

The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bot­tom­less pit, and go into perdi­tion: and they that dwell on the earth shall won­der, whose names were not writ­ten in the book of life from the foun­da­tion of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Of course, it’s unlike­ly that Mark’s essence was bred entire­ly of evil, but — like Tump, in many ways — he is an excru­ci­at­ing­ly wealthy idiot. Though he is spend­ing 2017 tour­ing the Unit­ed States, he doesn’t seem to be all that inter­est­ed in actu­al­ly clos­ing the gap between him­self and the rest of us, which sug­gests that he only wants us to throw us off his extra-ter­res­tri­al, xeno­pho­bic scent. I can’t imag­ine what The Moth­er­ship would real­ly want with my Ama­zon brows­ing his­to­ry, though.

And anoth­er angel came out of the tem­ple, cry­ing with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sick­le, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the har­vest of the earth is ripe.

Just to be clear, he is not The Antikhris­tos. He’d bet­ter not be, any­way. I’d be absolute­ly Livid with Lucifer if his choice of a fig­ure­head for his Big Plan was such a Fuck­ing dork .

Remem­ber there­fore from whence thou art fall­en, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quick­ly, and will remove thy can­dle­stick out of his place, except thou repent.

I mean… if Fuck want­ed to spend his time craft­ing 6000-word essays, why the Fuck didn’t he just build a Fuck­ing CMS back in his Jesse Eisen­berg era instead of the actu­al week­­ly-updat­ed tow­er of dig­i­tal Baby­lon? Sure­ly, Satan would know bet­ter than to waste resources and pul­ver­ize cre­ativ­i­ty by order­ing his Demon­ic Dev team to release reg­u­lar builds for build’s sake rather than on a per-need basis, but that’d be because The Tempter is an author­i­ty on incen­tives as thor­ough­ly as Fuck isn’t.

If you’re equipped with the priv­i­lege of lit­er­a­cy, you’ve been read­ing a lot about Fuckbook’s polit­i­cal con­se­quences, recent­ly. Frankly, it’s about Fuck­ing time, but I’m com­pelled to empha­size that the most sig­nif­i­cant motor dri­ving the poli­tik is fueled by the eldest, fos­silized por­tions of our thought meat. Accord­ing to Man­joo, “the News Feed team’s ulti­mate mis­sion is to fig­ure out what users want,” dip­ping in Fuckbook’s ocean of action data, search­ing for a soul.

Yet anoth­er Fuck­ism that sug­gests he’s an alien: every­body knows that nobody knows what they want.

There’s a cen­tral mechan­ic of our brains that by nature wreaks a whole hel­lu­va lot of con­tra­dic­tion. If you’ve ever men­tioned ADHD with your doc­tor, or know a hypochondriac/adderall fiend who has, you may have heard it described as “the lizard brain.” Sim­ply put, it’s the brain stem, and it’s respon­si­ble for the most basal and prim­i­tive­ly emo­tion­al instincts and habits; an anti-intel­lec­­tu­al agi­tant, argu­ing at all times for the course of action with the most imme­di­ate grat­i­fi­ca­tion. The Great Click­bait War of 2013 was a star­tling demon­stra­tion that revealed the strength of the hold Fuck­book had (and still has) on these rep­til­ian bits — the true loca­tion of its pow­er.

In sur­veys, peo­ple kept telling Face­book that they hat­ed teas­ing head­lines. But if that was true, why were they click­ing on them?”

Voli­tion is the Word of the Day.

Here, we must once again invoke an ancient para­ble from the wise fore­tellings of the Dis­ney film, Smart House: when deal­ing with human beings, bound­less com­pli­ance quick­ly leads to abject mis­ery for all par­ties involved.

Mind­less­ly, habit­u­al­ly , end­less­ly click­ing … this is how we die.

Some­thing about Fuck’s direc­tion is fun­da­men­tal­ly poi­so­nous to the human mind. Yes, he is assured­ly too Fuck­ing demo­c­ra­t­ic, but mis­in­for­ma­tion is far from the only form of evil his cre­ation has assumed. If you can jog your mem­o­ry back a bit, you’ll remem­ber a much wider vari­ety of brain-rot­t­ing filth.

In laps­es of their exis­tences’ fini­tude, the 40-some­thing sec­ond cousins of the world may still send you the occa­sion­al Can Crunch Saga invite, jar­ring you back to Jr. High in 2009, and for­ev­er asso­ci­at­ing them­selves in your mind with the hor­rors of mor­tal­i­ty and

f u c k b o o k g a m e s .

More than one sixth of all liv­ing eyes see Fuck­book every sin­gle day, plac­ing its con­sump­tion behind only eat­ing and drink­ing as the most uni­ver­sal­ly human activ­i­ty. Mr. Fuck achieved his vision and became per­haps the great­est pur­vey­or of words who’s ever lived. He’s taught (or… is teach­ing) us a few very pro­found things about our­selves.

Capa­bil­i­ty is not the whole of the equa­tion.
Abil­i­ty on its own can­not guar­an­tee growth, but it can often result in decay.
Dis­cus­sion does not inher­ent­ly lead to con­nec­tion.
Pop­u­la­tion is not a cure for iso­la­tion.

That said, I must begrudg­ing­ly admit to you that I, myself am one of the 100 mil­lion users who’ve depend­ed upon a “very mean­ing­ful” Face­book group for a “phys­i­cal sup­port struc­ture” for which I have Fuck to thank.

I’ve spent half of my exis­tence watch­ing cheesy barn­storm­ing movies, whirling around die-cast biplanes, seek­ing out sto­ries from old pilots — mil­i­tary and com­mer­cial, and even­tu­al­ly trained to become one myself. As reg­u­lar activ­i­ties at young ages do, avi­a­tion became deeply ingrained into my iden­ti­ty, but my local com­mu­ni­ty is very sparse — it’s not exact­ly cool, these days. On Fuck­book, an unof­fi­cial group for mem­bers of the Air­craft Own­ers and Pilots Asso­ci­a­tion has allowed me to stay con­nect­ed to the rest of the world’s Soar­ing Nerds, which is no small deal. It’s the only forum which I am com­pelled to par­tic­i­pate in with 100% sin­cer­i­ty and emo­tion­al effect.

Pho­tos of mem­bers stand­ing proud­ly next to their first air­plane, or of ado­les­cent stu­dents in a sim­i­lar pose after their first solo, or of three old white rubes on a hangar pic­nic, laugh­ing around a fold-up table full of rudi­men­ta­ry ham sand­wich­es in front of two gleam­ing Stear­mans…

They tug around on my heart like noth­ing else in life can.

I stopped fly­ing lessons at 16 because I began to see behind the naivety of my child­hood per­cep­tion of what it meant to fly com­mer­cial­ly and real­ized that I was unequipped for- and unin­ter­est­ed in the sort of chal­lenges it pre­sent­ed. I haven’t flown in sev­en years, but the com­mu­ni­ty will always have a tremen­dous div­i­dend of my core being.

These days, not a sin­gle per­son in my day-to-day life knows or cares about avi­a­tion, which wouldn’t be laud­able what­so­ev­er were it not so emo­tion­al­ly nec­es­sary for me.

A few days ago, a mem­ber shared a pho­to with the group of Charles Lindbergh’s mod­i­fied Ryan cock­pit, cap­tioned “what air­plane am I?”

In my youth, Lind­bergh ful­filled my clos­est equiv­a­lent to the ‘child­hood hero’ role. My grand­moth­er bought me a first-edi­­tion copy of The Spir­it of St.Louis from a small town book­shop when I was six or sev­en, and I car­ried it lit­er­al­ly every­where with me until mid­dle school. I watched the Jim­my Stew­art film tens and tens of times, and I cried when I saw the Spir­it in the flesh at the Smith­son­ian, yet I’ve nev­er had an informed con­ver­sa­tion about any of it with anoth­er human being. It real­ly warmed me to see how many of the com­ments were cor­rect answers.

Break­ing news: it’s nice to know that there are oth­er peo­ple on Earth who give a shit about the same things you do.

Again — aspi­ra­tion should always be encour­aged. This is Fuck’s vision for his cre­ation, and it is fea­si­ble, even for myself. At least his pub­lic per­sona — how­ev­er valid or invalid it may be — is mak­ing a huge effort to have pos­i­tive con­se­quence, even if his idio­cy is imbu­ing itself in all of human­i­ty. Fuck is too pow­er­ful to be exempt­ed from respon­si­bil­i­ty for what Fuckbook’s done to the West­ern psy­che over the past decade, but — like the Chris­t­ian god — per­haps all we need require is his repen­tance.

He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is right­eous, let him be right­eous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

Pfaall for President

My favorite short sto­ry of all time was pub­lished by the South­ern Lit­er­ary Mes­sen­ger in the sum­mer of 1835. It com­piles all of my favorite sto­ry ele­ments into one painful­ly tedious body: absurd prop­er nouns, com­plete­ly unbe­liev­able premis­es, lighter-than-air craft, explorato­ry con­text, and an utter­ly unsat­is­fac­to­ry after­taste. Tech­ni­cal­ly, it’s a hoax, and could only have been spawned by the most frus­trat­ing com­ic of them all — Edgar Allan Poe. If you find your­self one day read­ing his col­lect­ed works cov­er-to-cov­er, The Unpar­al­leled Adven­tures of One Hans Pfaall is how you’ll be intro­duced. I’m sure the ‘ole sadist would be pleased at the thought of you crawl­ing your way through his exhaust­ing thir­ty-page-long descrip­tion of the bellow-mender’s space bal­loon and its bizarre jour­ney.

Orig­i­nal­ly, I’d remem­bered incor­rect­ly — a bit of light research says Pfall was a bit too absurd to be over­whelm­ing­ly believed, but it was believed — that an indebt­ed labor­er obses­sive­ly con­struct­ed a DIY diri­gi­ble which he flew to the moon before man­ag­ing to con­vince a lunar­i­an to use it to deliv­er his sur­gi­cal­ly-detailed chron­i­cle of the jour­ney to be read pub­licly in front of his township’s civic lead­ers, only to have the scoop exclu­sive­ly bro­ken by a small arts peri­od­i­cal. In fact, it caused enough hub­bub to inspire an entire subera of sim­i­lar­ly-styled hoax­es, many from the orig­i­na­tor, him­self.

It’s no secret that Poe was as bit­ter as he was bril­liant, so I’ve found myself again and again won­der­ing, late­ly, what/if he would have spo­ken amidst his country’s 2016 elec­tion for Pres­i­dent. As I’ve known him — much more inti­mate­ly than most; much less than a few — I would posit that his bril­liant, suf­fer­ing mind would’ve been locked in the most pro­duc­tive year-long mania of his career. He was the sort of extra­or­di­nary man who was dis­gust­ed by the exis­tence of any­thing less. I think he would’ve played the tricks of Search Engine Opti­miza­tion, engage­ment, and news aggre­ga­tion with a verac­i­ty that could’ve swung an elec­tion, if we accept the recent ver­dict against some good-humored Mace­don­ian ado­les­cents.

His laugh­ter would be abrupt­ly stayed, though, if you told him that ten per­cent of the adult pop­u­la­tion is illit­er­ate, two cen­turies lat­er and twen­ty years into the sin­gle most pro­found renais­sance in the his­to­ry of human com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Though a near­ly-equiv­a­lent upset could prob­a­bly be had by inform­ing him that his best-known work by a vast mar­gin has since been The Raven, but I’ll spare you that sub­ject for a less-top­i­cal dis­ser­ta­tion.

How do I begin an argu­ment about intel­lec­tu­al dis­par­i­ty in Amer­i­ca? You got the Pres­i­dent you deserve…

Deserve” is no less igno­rant of a con­cept as “truth,” so that’d be awful­ly hyp­o­crit­i­cal. Not that hypocrisy gives me any sort of pause, what­so­ev­er, as a pur­vey­or of fake news. Per­haps I should begin with an overview of Extra­tone’s bias on adver­tis­ing.

Total advertising revenue we have received to date: $0.
Total number of advertisements that have appeared on extratone dot com to date: 3.
Total number of advertisements for non-defunct companies that have appeared on extratone dot com to date: 0.

As of this moment, adver­tis­ing is Google, more or less, which means they are one of the few com­pa­nies on Earth with the sort of cash flow to even con­sid­er attempt­ing to craft a stan­dard of mali­cious­ness (the only use­ful spec­trum I could come up with that could accom­plish the goal of “elim­i­nat­ing finan­cial incen­tives that appear to have dri­ven the pro­duc­tion of much fake news.”) I sup­pose the first author­i­ty on intent would be the Church, but I — a fake news writer — have been unable to arrive upon the method Jesus Christ would choose to go about elim­i­nat­ing com­mu­nion.

But The Lord has for­sak­en this place — we have only Google, now, and — as the res­i­dent omnipo­tence, it is They alone who can stay what They have made. So per­haps that smelly gen­tle­men won­der­ing aloud about the “sec­ond com­ing” on the bus stop bench is actu­al­ly smarter than you, but unable to fore­see the dig­i­tal set­ting of his apoc­a­lypse. If Google is our neo-God, sure­ly Walt Moss­berg is now the pope. Yes­ter­day morn­ing, he addressed Face­book (neo-Hell,) com­mand­ing them to behave like the “media com­pa­ny” he believes they are. I would like to imag­ine that Mark Zucker­berg is hiss­ing, cur­rent­ly.

He cites a Pew Research Cen­ter study that was con­duct­ed this past Spring, which found that “44 per­cent of the U.S. adult pop­u­la­tion got at least some of its news from Face­book.” I’d like to point all 2000 of my greasy, thump­ing, slan­der­ous fin­gers at the begin­ning sen­tence of the next para­graph, though: “but that puts a heavy respon­si­bil­i­ty on Face­book…”

Why?

Who exact­ly is plac­ing this bur­den on Face­book? Have we actu­al­ly reached the point of social media as a pub­lic ser­vice? Per­haps their influ­ence on the country’s psy­chol­o­gy is enor­mous enough to exempt from all of the cheques that guar­an­tee free­dom of infor­ma­tion exchange.

Thank God… per­haps Far­mVille shall final­ly face its Day of Judge­ment. All the requests from one acquain­tance of mine are stress­ing me out, and fed­er­al employ­ees have not forcibly changed their foul-ass col­or scheme yet, so I can­not nav­i­gate deep enough to block her with­out becom­ing phys­i­cal­ly ill. Don’t get me wrong — hang­ing Mark Zucker­berg by the Neck Until Dead for trea­son would make for quite a spec­ta­cle, but I can­not help but won­der if you have for­got­ten one of your most irri­tat­ing expres­sions: don’t blame the mes­sen­ger. I hate to be rude, but POTUS Tumper is the def­i­nite sign: you are respon­si­ble for your choic­es and your igno­rance. Voli­tion in informed media con­sump­tion is the only effec­tive weapon with which one should com­bat decep­tion.

For some per­spec­tive, know that I came shame­ful­ly close to falling for a fuck­ing phone scam a few days ago. I didn’t end up cost­ing my com­pa­ny, but I came with­in inch­es of doing so. I hadn’t expe­ri­enced such all-con­sum­ing embar­rass­ment in a decade. But — as life expe­ri­ences tend to be — it was hum­bling, and prepara­to­ry — I’m sure — for the next time I must iden­ti­fy dis­hon­esty.

I appre­ci­ate the sen­ti­ment of per­son­al­i­ties like Moss­berg and the effort they expend in the name of my pro­tec­tion as a user, but I must be allowed to dis­cern the nature of con­tent for myself, espe­cial­ly when using a ser­vice who’s CEO is pub­licly cry­ing “we do not want to be arbiters of truth our­selves.” Whether or not Face­book has the cash to delib­er­ate on, design, or redesign algo­rithms and/or oth­er soft­ware to com­bat inau­then­tic con­tent sources is irrel­e­vant. Max Read’s account of the process as it relates to the elec­tion is the sharpest one-take I’ve seen thus far. In it, he sug­gests that the sheer size of Facebook’s audi­ence “would seem to demand some kind of civic respon­si­bil­i­ty.” And — while it is now unde­ni­able that it is “the most effi­cient dis­trib­u­tor of mis­in­for­ma­tion in human his­to­ry,” I must speak for the gen­er­al read­er­ship and note that when we are “mis­led,” it is out of our own fail­ing dili­gence, intel­lect, and/or edu­ca­tion as bal­lot-eli­gi­ble adults.

As far as myself and my edi­to­r­i­al course are con­cerned, it is tremen­dous­ly dis­re­spect­ful to remove a reader’s voli­tion in their con­sump­tion. If there is “blame” for the votes in this elec­tion, the sin­gle polite course of action is to leave it on the vot­ers, indef­i­nite­ly. Any alter­na­tive is what we’d brand an acute theft of will. Voli­tion in informed media con­sump­tion is the only effec­tive weapon with which one should com­bat decep­tion. It’s not a con­tentious sen­ti­ment — assum­ing com­pe­tence from all par­tic­i­pants when leg­is­la­tion or demand are con­cerned. If it were, the safteynet wouldn’t be focused on such a small por­tion of dig­i­tal dis­in­for­ma­tion as mis­ag­gre­gat­ed news rep­re­sents, but instead on the high­ly-potent cul­ture of Google AdWords cons, or the long­stand­ing insti­tu­tion of email phish­ing. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not the biggest fan of Zuckerberg’s Cul­ture­suck. I found­ed our flag­ship pod­cast around rep­re­hend­ing it, and see plen­ty of evi­dence that it’s pro­found­ly effect­ed West­ern psy­chol­o­gy in a star­tling way, but attack­ing the issue in an eth­i­cal con­text is tremen­dous­ly inef­fi­cient, if noth­ing else.

Yes, it would make for an enter­tain­ing sto­ry, watch­ing Google and Face­book hurl their mass­es of cash at the 9th com­mand­ment, but it’d be much bet­ter spent remak­ing the crit­i­cal read­er­ship in Amer­i­can soci­ety. A fed­er­al pro­gram to con­front the ~10% adult illit­er­a­cy rate might be a bet­ter place to start.

Stop Settling for Mono Playback

Though I have many audio­phili­cal sen­ti­ments and pref­er­ences, I can­not — by con­science — ful­ly claim the title because I’ve nev­er been able to jus­ti­fy the allot­ment of funds nec­es­sary for the oblig­a­tory equip­ment. (And my dig­i­tal com­pres­sor usage in the pro­duc­tion of Drycast and Future­land has been man­i­fest­ly vul­gar.) That said, audio engi­neer­ing is one of the few top­ics which I can actu­al­ly speak on with almost-aca­d­e­m­ic author­i­ty, and my pre­ten­tious­ness-capac­i­tat­ed pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with qual­i­ty-of-life com­pels me to bring up a ludi­crous­ly-ratio­nal stan­dard that most of us have con­tin­ued to under­shoot for far too long.

Two weeks ago, the abun­dant­ly-rumored omis­sion of the 3.5mm audio port in the iPhone 7 was final­ly set­tled. We played our own part in feed­ing the “con­tro­ver­sy,” yeah, but I believe Apple was actu­al­ly quite tardy in label­ing smart­phone-bound ana­log audio as archa­ic, though I’m not going to waste words in that dis­cus­sion — it is def­i­nite­ly over­sat­u­rat­ed, at this point — because I think mono audio is an even more preva­lent top­ic.

Hon­est­ly, out of all the miss­ing fea­tures we’ve lament­ed over in the past decade, stereo speak­ers should’ve been the most aggra­vat­ing. The gigan­tic dif­fer­ence, of course, is that the indus­try (and — by mud­dled exten­sion — the con­sumers) has been all but silent in that regard. I write you, now, because we should all be colos­sal­ly dis­ap­point­ed with our­selves.

Two chan­nels. Left and right. Read: Mono vs. Stereo But why should you care? What if Google — some­how — failed to pro­vide you with a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence?

One chan­nel of sound is — in terms of locale — rigid­ly sta­t­ic in your per­cep­tion. Dou­bling the data cre­ates a spec­trum, adding dimen­sion­al­i­ty, which is infi­nite, ya know. Play­ing back audio in stereo, through two or more diaphragms (the fun­da­men­tal hard­ware unit of sound repro­duc­tion,) now enables the exhi­bi­tion of audio pic­tures.

If this is entire­ly new to you, I want you to do some­thing. Find your­self a pair of head­phones or a set of two or more com­put­er speak­ers. (If these aren’t avail­able, con­sid­er your car’s sound sys­tem. If it’s at all cur­rent and healthy, it’s gonna do the trick.) Both­er to dis­cov­er “L” and “R.” That is, left and right. Ori­ent accord­ing­ly. Down­load this 37-sec­ond clip I record­ed at Bike­Fest with my Zoom H2n. (Be advised: the pre­view is for­mat­ted in 5.1 sur­round, so it’s a very large file for its play­back length.) Lis­ten, obvi­ous­ly, and then lis­ten again on your sin­gu­lar smart­phone “loud­speak­er.”

That’s what I’m talk­ing about.

Why am I being so abashed­ly patron­iz­ing? Why am I trans­gress­ing against our par­tic­u­lar assump­tions about you — the informed, savvy mil­len­ni­al audi­ence? Because the vast major­i­ty of play­back I hear in day-to-day life is still from a sin­gu­lar diaphragm; a sin­gu­lar source.

A top­i­cal exam­ple: I am shown a YouTube video on an iPhone. (A pre-iPhone 7 device, that is.)

Walk­ing down­town, I pass a small band of ado­les­cent skate­board­ers lis­ten­ing to Can­ni­bal Ox on a Sam­sung Galaxy Note.

Worst of all: I find myself watch­ing a Net­flix film on my iPhone, in bed, not hav­ing both­ered to wear the $200 pair of QC15s sit­ting with­in arm’s length.Worst of all: I find myself watch­ing a Net­flix film on my iPhone, in bed, not hav­ing both­ered to wear the $200 pair of QC15s sit­ting with­in arm’s length.

Informed or not, con­sumers are neglect­ing audio, and dimen­sion­al­i­ty, alone is worth a change. Recent years have allowed the unlim­it­ed band­width assump­tion to become habit, so even the vast major­i­ty of today’s spo­ken word pro­grams (like pod­casts) — which, in gen­er­al, stay in the “cen­ter” of their mix, mak­ing lit­tle to no use of the left-right spec­trum — are pro­duced in stereo, now. In many cas­es (includ­ing a few of ours,) this dou­ble­siz­ing is often for the sake of intro­duc­to­ry themes, alone. If you care to imag­ine a more data-fru­gal soci­ety, the “waste” is ridicu­lous. It is not unre­al­is­tic to expect such a real­i­ty in the near future, but the same holds true for the reverse.

In the present’s abun­dance, though, the result is sim­ply a decrease — as a whole — in playback’s “full expe­ri­ence,” if the hard­ware is not changed. Imag­ine how great it’d be if a dig­i­tal audio for­mat­ting stan­dard could be devel­oped that’d enable a sin­gu­lar file to be mono or stereo, if needed/utilized, to trim off redun­dan­cy, sor­ta like vari­able bit rate. Get on that, would ya?

So, why haven’t we become more dili­gent about our sound expe­ri­ences? 1 bil­lion iPhones in cir­cu­la­tion, all with mono play­back by default, are sus­pect cul­prits, I think. Of course, there are oth­er devices, but none as influ­en­tial — even the iPod, fun­ny enough — on fun­da­men­tal dig­i­tal func­tions like music play­back. And hon­est­ly, when is it appro­pri­ate or suave to take the extra steps?

I want to show you this song. Let me untan­gle my head­phones… Yes, okay. Put them in. I’m going to sit here in silence for four min­utes, look­ing into your eyes as you lis­ten to the entire­ty of this track.

It’s nev­er going to be social­ly accept­able. But what about wire­less alter­na­tives? Apple’s new Air Pods look absurd, but their by-com­put­ing opti­miza­tion of the Blue­tooth audio stan­dard is rev­o­lu­tion­ary, in a small way, in pro­pelling the “hear­ables” par­a­digm into the main­stream, if only for a moment. If — in a strange­ly-audio­cen­tric future — we are always wear­ing mul­ti­pur­pose sound repro­duc­tion devices in our ears, per­haps the waste of the Mono Mon­stros­i­ty will be final­ly resolved. Until then, I sup­pose all we can do is give it an extra thought, for our own quality-of-life’s sake.