Meet End User

It’s about time I start­ed talk­ing to myself about tech­nol­o­gy in my parked car again. My audio equip­ment is still in stor­age, but I’m fresh out of folks who want to lis­ten to my rants about The Open Web, so I guess I’ll be giv­ing you a call every once in a while. Until yes­ter­day, End User was a missed oppor­tu­ni­ty for a pod­cast title.

Do be sure to vis­it Anchor’s Tech­nol­o­gy fea­tured sec­tion to find (sortof) sim­i­lar pod­casts by hosts who have real diplo­mas, but you cer­tain­ly don’t need one to call in any­time.

 Log­ic Mag­a­zine is required read­ing — start with “Dis­rup­tion: A Man­i­festo.”

Behold the Compaq Comeback

This evening, a pack­age is sched­uled to arrive upon my doorstep con­tain­ing a Com­paq Portable Plus lug­gable com­put­er from 1983 which I have fan­ta­sized about buy­ing for far too many years. Despite liv­ing in the midst of per­haps the worst pos­si­ble finan­cial sit­u­a­tion to spend $139.99 out­right on a rel­ic of com­put­ing, I final­ly just bought one any­way last Thurs­day because I’m absolute­ly fed up with life with­out the mag­ic I remem­ber feel­ing from com­put­ers. Yes, I am hav­ing a mid-life crises and The Machine is just a phys­i­cal man­i­fes­ta­tion of one of my favorite sto­ries, but I expect it will pro­vide some­thing irre­place­able for me and at least one piece of enter­tain­ment for just about any­body: I’m going to start a pho­to­series of myself using the 26-lb., suit­case-like, and utter­ly time-dis­placed Portable Plus in dif­fer­ent cof­fee shops through­out Port­land

There’s also poten­tial oppor­tu­ni­ty (or neces­si­ty) for me to make use of my lim­it­ed knowl­edge of hard­ware elec­tron­ics. I’ve nev­er been very com­fort­able with open­ly using the term “hob­by,” but I ful­ly intend to savor, doc­u­ment, and pre­serve every pos­si­ble detail of my expe­ri­ence, so we’re going to behave as if the tales of com­put­er his­to­ry are pre­cious to a ded­i­cat­ed audi­ence besides myself, and that I am there­by and here­after bind­ing myself to an impor­tant duty of dis­cov­ery, cura­tion, and pre­sen­ta­tion expressed through mul­ti­me­dia of the high­est pos­si­ble cal­iber.

In oth­er words, I’m pret­ty sure I’ve just begun a vin­tage com­put­ing blog. Before we go any fur­ther, then, let’s dis­pense with the oblig­a­tory arrange­ments.

Why Compaq?

Put sim­ply, Com­paq was punk as fuck. Three dorky Tex­an techn­odads pre­med­i­tat­ed their leave of fair, secure jobs in the indus­try in order to bet every­thing on the promise of a sin­gle unde­ni­ably pro-user ide­al to dis­rupt its dom­i­nant monop­o­lis­tic supervil­lian. Unlike any of the count­less oth­er sto­ries from the infor­ma­tion age with the very same intro­duc­tion, theirs was imme­di­ate­ly pro­pelled into stratos­pher­ic, record-break­ing suc­cess — from cof­fee table sketch­es in the waste­lands of sub­ur­ban Hous­ton nights to one bil­lion dol­lars in less than five years, prov­ing that it was pos­si­ble to win huge in tech by com­mit­ting sin­cere­ly to lib­er­at­ing the con­sumer and man­i­fest­ing the ulti­mate per­for­mance of the under­dog com­plex Amer­i­can busi­ness has ever wit­nessed. 

Those of us who’ve main­tained some curi­ous orbit of tech­nol­o­gy have recent­ly entered a rec­on­cil­la­to­ry process as the world has become all at once inti­mate­ly famil­iar with our col­lec­tive pur­suits’ true con­se­quences. Nev­er has it been more appro­pri­ate to reflect on the whole­some brava­do of the only Amer­i­can com­put­er com­pa­ny to build a bil­lion-dol­lar busi­ness atop the sole mantra of user lib­er­a­tion. At a glance one might assume that AMC’s attempt to repro­duce Mad Men’s for­mu­la with a sto­ry set in Compaq’s ori­gin in a series that’s sup­pos­ed­ly attract­ed a fair num­ber of Net­flix­ers called Halt and Catch Fire in con­junc­tion with the 2016 doc­u­men­tary Sil­i­con Cow­boys have suf­fi­cient­ly remind­ed Amer­i­ca of to whom it real­ly owes its priv­i­leged tech indus­try. How­ev­er, a Twit­ter search for “Com­paq” turns up vir­tu­al­ly noth­ing of con­se­quence, and — on the oth­er cul­tur­al spec­trum — I’ve yet to see a sin­gle well-doc­u­ment­ed col­lec­tion of Com­paq hard­ware, and I’m unsat­is­fied.  

Like it not, you’re com­ing with me on a safari back through two full nos­tal­gic cycles to redis­cov­er our won­der and excite­ment about tech­nol­o­gy because I miss it des­per­ate­ly and I know you do too. We’re going to find some­thing mar­velous.

I believe com­put­ers can be mag­ic again.

I believe in Com­paq.

The Last iPhone

Is my tone bull­shit on?”

True Tone” is so for­get­table, every­body had to men­tion it first. Quite sim­ply, it uses an ambi­ent light sen­sor to fid­dle with white bal­ance, warm­ing the col­ors of the dis­play as an imme­di­ate­ly-obvi­ous whole, yes, but an inter­est­ing con­trast to show off is no longer inher­ent­ly jus­ti­fied in being called a “fea­ture” in Apple prod­ucts, any­more. Essen­tial­ly, no mat­ter who you ask (aside from Jon Ret­tinger,) you should not buy an iPhone 8, though I did last Fall, not only because I had to sud­den­ly decide on a hand­set in less than 24 hours, but – if any­thing – to say good­bye to the form, the oper­at­ing sys­tem, and the tech com­pa­ny which I have depend­ed upon and car­ried with me vir­tu­al­ly every day for my entire adult life. I’d orig­i­nal­ly decid­ed to aban­don this review due to a vari­ety of unex­pect­ed cir­cum­stances, but Apple and its iPhone have main­tained their place in the news with their bat­tery scan­dal, and a third of a year with the 8 Plus has includ­ed some expe­ri­ences which war­rant a send-off before iOS 12 is released, mak­ing it (and myself) total­ly irrel­e­vant for­ev­er.

As the long­stand­ing bench­mark of the smart­phone industry’s state at any giv­en time, the iPhone can be easy to reflect upon as a prod­uct once occu­py­ing a state of uni­ver­sal exemp­tion from crit­i­cism, but it has, in fact, nev­er been so. As Nilay Patel not­ed, one might regard the 8 as the last com­pro­mise of “basi­cal­ly four years” of the same design. Since launch, it’s unsur­pris­ing­ly stayed a wee bit too far behind on the spread­sheets for most Android-type folks – not that I’ve ever believed them truth­ful­ly inca­pable of com­pre­hend­ing what it means to pack­age a prod­uct, giv­en where their greasy star­tups all even­tu­al­ly end­ed up. (You can­not doubt me – I once took a year-long sab­bat­i­cal from iOS with a Sony Xpe­ria Play, and my author­i­ty is absolute.) The rest are try­ing to decide whether or not to pay $200 more for “the phone of the future,” which knows when you’re watch­ing it, and is only good for play­ing half an hour of stu­pid video games before it needs a charge.

So far, I have main­tained that my first gen­er­a­tion iPhone was the best hand­set of all time — one hell of an Email Machine that last­ed me close to five years — through­out the last two with actu­al moth­er­board exposed to the ele­ments in the cor­ner of its cracked screen. That said, who knows how it’d feel to be coerced into using “iPhone OS 2” as it was called, then, for an entire work­day in 2018? Two years pri­or to bring­ing home an 8 Plus, I vowedthat my 6S Plus would be my last ever Apple device, but this one actu­al­ly feels like a last hur­rah. Though the abil­i­ty to Tweet direct­ly from the swipe-down noti­fi­ca­tion menu is still nowhere to be found (it’s been gone for 5 releas­es, now, and would seem to have been for­got­ten by lit­er­al­ly every­one but myself,) one gets the sense that Apple’s efforts to add to the iPhone 8 and iOS 11 were to make amends with us by set­tling a few debts.

In part, they did. Native apps got a major over­haul – includ­ing Mail, which was star­tling, con­sid­er­ing that I’d been look­ing at what was near as makes no dif­fer­ence the same UI my eldest phone shipped with. As a result, it alone con­sti­tutes my bench­mark for an email ser­vice, and I have been left with­out a clue as to what a good one looks like. (Appar­ent­ly it was real­ly bad?) Since time began, there has always been at least one alter­na­tive email app of the moment that tech journos refer to as the must-have, end-all replace­ment. Edi­son Mail is cur­rent­ly the smoother, faster, most mod­u­lar option – at least for anoth­er few min­utes – but I’ll nev­er know it as I know Mail, and I’ll nev­er want to. Play­ing around with exper­i­men­tal email apps is too scary. What if I decide once again to kill that mas­sive num­ber in the red badge and need to imme­di­ate­ly mark 40,000 emails as read? It took all of my iPhone 4’s 1.0Ghz CPU and pro­pri­etary soft­ware over 18 hours – how am I sup­posed to trust a shab­by lit­tle 6-month-old start­up with such an impor­tant task? Any­body with a hun­dred bucks can make an app, you know.

One might inter­pret the App Store’s redesign as an attempt by Apple to con­trol this con­ver­sa­tion — of both the trend­ing new thing and the old “essen­tials” that you’ve prob­a­bly had tucked away in an untouched fold­er for years. Tech­ni­cal­ly, who­ev­er the hell is writ­ing those gor­geous­ly-pre­sent­ed dai­ly bits has made them a pub­lish­ing com­pa­ny, though I’m not so sure I’m not the last remain­ing user who’s con­tin­ued semi-reg­u­lar­ly vis­it­ing their “Today” sec­tion. If I did want to actu­al­ly read about apps (I don’t — who does?) it wouldn’t make much sense to seek crit­i­cal reviews from the face­less boffins behind the plat­form itself, regard­less of how much bet­ter it may look than all of the tech news sites, pay­wall or no.

Native screen record­ing could con­ceiv­ably come in handy once or twice, but I see no rea­son why the red bar must remain at the top of the ren­der, but it has, which could explain the total lack of any such video in the wild. Front-fac­ing 4K, 60fps cap­ture is impres­sive, but use­less — vlog­gers all have GoPros or DSLRs, these days, and shar­ing through Snapchat and Insta­gram will always be ultra-com­pressed. (Here are two slop­py test clips — at the zoo, and fish­ing.)

Per­haps some have fig­ured out the new Files “app,” but it’s sat on my home­screen for months, untapped, and it will like­ly remain there for all time as a sort of sooth­ing tro­phy — a thanks for my lega­cy iPhone loy­al­ty. My reward for half a life­time of sync­ing, scrolling, and tolling? I can now view some of the files on my Mobile Com­put­ing Device, and even scan doc­u­ments in, which is most­ly nov­el (though it is fun to dig­i­tize excerpts from phys­i­cal text.) At some point, I must’ve mis­checked a per­ma­nent option because all file types now open only in an app that does not rec­og­nize them. God bless.

Some­how, I’ve man­aged to fill my social cir­cle with pre­cise­ly zero iOS-using folks. All of my friends and col­leagues use Android devices (includ­ing Tim’s super­cool Nextbit Robin,) which pro­vide a few handy dat­a­points (like the cam­era in my fiance’s Galaxy S8,) but deprive me of any sig­nif­i­cant expe­ri­ence with the osten­si­bly intox­i­cat­ing cult of iMes­sage. I’m con­stant­ly lis­ten­ing to and read­ing tech writ­ers claim that it’s one of the only rea­sons they’re still using iPhones, but my own food-OS lov­ing bio­me has forced me to find oth­ers, and frankly, I can’t imag­ine look­ing at the glut­to­nouspalate of avail­able mobile, cross-plat­form mes­sag­ing ser­vices (Telegram, now Telegram X, What­sApp, Sig­nal, Snapchat, Face­book, Insta­gram, Twit­ter, Dis­cord, Slack, Tin­der?, Google Hang­outs, Google Allo, Google Chat, Viber, Skype, Line, Wire, etc.) and think­ing… well, none of this will do!

Hon­est­ly — even if I’d actu­al­ly been at all informed in my haste, the pho­to­graph­ic capa­bil­i­ties of the 8 Plus, alone would’ve sold it. It’s not the new fil­ters, gif func­tion­al­i­ty, or even “3D Pho­tos” — it’s those myth­i­cal dual 12MPsensors (which it shares with some­thing called the iPhone X.) They’re no less than infal­li­ble. After four months of aston­ish­ing cap­tures in all man­ner of con­di­tions, I don’t even care how exact­ly they do it any­more — it’s bet­ter to be left mar­veling. This first exam­ple was tak­en at Key­stone, Col­orado in the mid­dle of a dark, cloudy Fall night -the amount of light they were able to find — “up to 80% more,” accord­ing to Apple — is just impos­si­ble.

Kansan Whirly Boys

Here is an unques­tion­ably sen­si­ble pro­gres­sion from which iPhone has nev­er wavered far since its fourth gen­er­a­tion set the stan­dard, but it’s one of an unfor­tu­nate few. Siri is still use­less and sil­ly apart from its “dis­able all alarms” fea­ture and its abil­i­ty to sound itself off in response when you’re hys­ter­i­cal­ly scream­ing and dig­ging for it through the vast plush of a forty-year-old Lin­coln. The cus­tomiz­able Con­trol Cen­ter makes tog­gling low pow­er mode, ori­en­ta­tion lock, wifi, and blue­tooth less frus­trat­ing (note the last two aren’t quite hard switch­es,) though it should’ve come years ago. Noti­fi­ca­tions are slight­ly more sen­si­ble — cer­tain­ly bet­ter than they were on Android Gin­ger­bread, but I’ve heard things’ve changed quite a bit since then.

have been tripped up by the lack of a 3.5mm audio jack a few times, but it just wouldn’t make sense from a hard­ware per­spec­tive, and the new exter­nal stereo capa­bil­i­ty should refute those who can’t or won’t under­stand. Yes, it would be nice if Apple hadn’t led the indus­try to quite such a com­pro­mis­ing obses­sion with thin­ness — we’d all trade a lot of sub­stance for expo­nen­tial­ly greater bat­tery life, stor­age capac­i­ty, water resis­tance, etc. — but I don’t see much sense in expend­ing your ener­gy hold­ing up signs in Sil­i­con Val­ley.

I’ll be here long after you’ve died, and you know why?
Because I took the time to sync my apps.

Two years ago, a new gen­er­a­tion of social apps and the pre­pos­ter­ous notion of a quad-core CPU in my iPhone 6SPlus seemed like the har­bin­ger of a world I no longer under­stood. Now, most of those ser­vices have expand­ed to the far bound­aries of my reach, and I’ve stopped count­ing chips. Refine­ment of the hard­ware design is rev­er­ent to the extreme. It’s pre­ten­tious, but Apple’s deci­sion to pause on the 8 to con­sid­er details like stuff­ing the legal text in the soft­ware and adding a lit­tle bit of weight back in for ergonom­ics’ sake leads one to regard it as a mon­u­ment to all the devices along the devel­op­ment time­line that have led to this… last tri­umph. Or, it would have per­haps, had they not sold so many.

One could argue that good exe­cu­tion of con­sumer elec­tron­ic design means min­i­miz­ing as much as pos­si­ble the obstruc­tions in the way of the user com­plet­ing any giv­en task, and the iPhone 8 Plus has sur­passed the vast major­i­ty of these for myself — and I am, sure­ly, a “pow­er user.” iOS has changed a lot in the decade I’ve employed it — in far too many ways for the worse — but this pair of hand­set and soft­ware have reached my imagination’s lim­it for what I could pos­si­bly want to do. Aug­ment­ed real­i­ty and wire­less charg­ing won’t ever have a place in my future, for bet­ter or worse. Face ID is much too pecu­liar. Sure­ly, this iPhone is the ulti­mate expres­sion of the first and fourth generation’s foun­da­tion.

If the 6S Plus was indeed the key to my immor­tal­i­ty, I’m afraid the 8 Plus her­alds my immi­nent demise. Whether or not it’s an ear­ly one is for you to decide. This real­ly is my last iPhone.

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.