Don't Walk Out. Quit  

Dozens of Facebook employees, in rare public criticism on Monday of their own company, protested executives’ decision not to do anything about inflammatory posts that President Trump had placed on the giant social media platform over the past week.

The employees, who said they refused to work in order to show their support for demonstrators across the country, added an automated message to their digital profiles and email responses saying that they were out of the office in a show of protest.

The protest group — conducting a virtual “walkout” of sorts since most Facebook employees are working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic — was one of a number of clusters of employees pressing Facebook executives to take a tougher stand on Mr. Trump’s posts.

Inside the company, staff members have circulated petitions and threatened to resign, and a number of employees wrote publicly about their unhappiness on Twitter and elsewhere. More than a dozen current and former employees have described the unrest as the most serious challenge to the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive, since the company was founded 15 years ago.

Don’t walk out. Quit. Nothing is going to fix Facebook until they face an existential threat that forces Zuckerberg to reckon with the impact of his decisions.

I Miss Community  

Community Table Read

The cast of Community held a table read of one of their typically funny and heartfelt scripts. Community very much got caught up in NBC not knowing quite what to do with it, and the fact that we got six seasons (and a movie?) of it is remarkable.

This table read reminded me:

  • How much I loved the writing on this show
  • How much it shines through when a cast truly cares for each other (see also Scrubs)
  • How funny it is to watch someone who is not entirely familiar with this show stumble into the absurdity

It’s a wonderful half hour. Follow it up with the 40 minute Q&A session that followed.

After Dan Harmon’s Harmontown podcast ended, I didn’t realize how much I’d missed his particular brand of heartfelt absurdity. Rick & Morty is hilarious and wonderful, but it doesn’t have the emotional core that Community did.

I guess it’s time to start rewatching again …

Remember When I Used to Post About Music?  

I do. I think I’m almost caught up on the music I was supposed to listen to in 2019. So, maybe by midway through 2020, I’ll say “oh, here’s some good music that’s more than a year old.”

I guess quarantining is good for something?

So, It’s Been a While  

Hey. So, not much new in the world, eh?

I’m hoping to post a bit more, just to get some words out, given how much time I’m spending at home (and, as I expect, most of us are).

This post, however, is really a test to see if I can actually post from my iPad. I bought a new iPad (with the intent of eventually bequeathing the older one to the boys), and maybe make my bag a little lighter when I traveled.

Ha ha ha. Traveled. Remember that?

Testing, Testing  

I’ve made some back end changes to my server, so just testing to make sure it’s all working.

Success

This was my college experience  

It wasn’t long before I had filled the iMac’s whole drive with songs. Since external hard-drives were too expensive, I bought a CD burner. Now I could back up albums to blank CDs, re-importing the music as I needed it. Each 650 MB CD could hold eight to ten albums: soon I had five, then ten, then 20 of these supplementary CD-Rs, carefully catalogued, stuffed with Radiohead B-sides, the Uncle Tupelo back-catalogue and Belle & Sebastian EPs.

This entire article represents so much of my college experience from sophomore year through graduating. I first encountered an mp3 during my freshman year, when my dorm didn’t have ethernet. We had this weird dialup (Rolmphone) setup where we’d basically connect to our dorm room phone and wait to have an opening to use the internet.

3 MB per sound file? Who had the time for that?

Sophomore year, I got ethernet. Everyone had computers with CD-ROM drives. Everyone ripped their music and shared it and that started the whole thing.

By junior year, I was downloading full albums via IRC and living in chat rooms where people would share the latest music. I got exposed to so much music I never otherwise would have heard.

Once I had a job, I more or less stopped downloading music and started paying for it (thanks to Apple for the iPod and iTunes). But I’ve still got something like 35 CDs worth of mp3s downloaded 20 years ago sitting in my closet that I dig out every now and then when I get the urge to hear some music of some obscure band from 1998.

Sigh, 🤦 Facebook  

From Reveal News

Facebook encouraged game developers to let children spend money without their parents’ permission – something the social media giant called “friendly fraud” – in an effort to maximize revenues, according to a document detailing the company’s game strategy.

Sigh.

A team of Facebook employees even developed a method that would have reduced the problem of children being hoodwinked into spending money, but the company did not implement it, and instead told game developers that the social media giant was focused on maximizing revenues.

When parents found out how much their children had spent – one 15-year-old racked up $6,500 in charges in about two weeks playing games on Facebook – the company denied requests for refunds. Facebook employees referred to these children as “whales” – a term borrowed from the casino industry to describe profligate spenders. A child could spend hundreds of dollars a day on in-game features such as arming their character with a flaming sword or a new magic spell to defeat an enemy – even if they didn’t realize it until the credit card bill arrived.

Sigh.

From Techcrunch

Desperate for data on its competitors, Facebook has been secretly paying people to install a “Facebook Research” VPN that lets the company suck in all of a user’s phone and web activity, similar to Facebook’s Onavo Protect app that Apple banned in June and that was removed in August. Facebook sidesteps the App Store and rewards teenagers and adults to download the Research app and give it root access to network traffic in what may be a violation of Apple policy so the social network can decrypt and analyze their phone activity, a TechCrunch investigation confirms.

Sigh.

🤦

My Facebook account is soon going bye bye, once I make sure other parts of my family know how to reach me. If you work for Facebook, at this point, you need to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

The Top 10 Songs of 2018 - Will Happen Someday  

Like 2017’s list, it turns out that having two toddlers and a new company (mostly the former) makes it very difficult to keep up with all the music I’m intending to listen to. I’m hoping, over the next few weeks (or months), that I’ll catch up on a bunch of music and be able to put together some sort of meaningful top 10 list.

I expect some of these bands to make the list:

  • Snail Mail
  • Tancred
  • Middle Kid
  • Boygenius
  • Camp Cope
  • The Decemberists
  • Lucy Dacus

Probably a whole bunch of other stuff, once I finish going through my “to listen” list.

So, look forward to the top songs of 2018 sometime in 2020.

Some Light Reading  

While being incredbly busy at work and with the boys, I’ve been stockpiling a few articles worth reading.

Runs in the Family

Kansas City Chiefs running backs coach Deland McCullough went searching for his biological parents. He found them where he never would have expected.

Just read it. It’s sort of amazing.

The Tragic End of Telltale Games

When employees showed up for work on Friday, September 21st, at Telltale Games, there was nothing to suggest the day would be different than any other. The second episode of The Walking Dead’s final season would ship the following week; developers across multiple teams were busy with plans for in-progress titles.

But only hours later, 250 people would find themselves with no job, no severance, and health insurance that would be gone by month’s end — just nine days.

The video games industry appropriately seems to mash together the worst of the tech world with the worst of the entertainment world.

Busting Sim Swappers

If you heard last week’s Reply All, you’ll be familiar with sim swapping. Learn just how bad things are.

Sigh  

When Facebook users learned last spring that the company had compromised their privacy in its rush to expand, allowing access to the personal information of tens of millions of people to a political data firm linked to President Trump, Facebook sought to deflect blame and mask the extent of the problem.

And when that failed — as the company’s stock price plummeted and it faced a consumer backlash — Facebook went on the attack.

While Mr. Zuckerberg has conducted a public apology tour in the last year, Ms. Sandberg has overseen an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat Facebook’s critics, shift public anger toward rival companies and ward off damaging regulation. Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. It also tapped its business relationships, lobbying a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.

Given how widely sourced this article is, it’s likely more true than not. There’s always going to be people ready to throw Zuckerberg under the bus. He’s one of the most powerful people in the world, with little to no EQ to speak of, and, as I’ve mentioned, either a complete lack of awareness or intentional avoidance of his duty.

What’s somewhat new here is that Facebook seems to have had enough high level churn that folks are willing to drive that bus over Sheryl Sandberg. It’s not unexpected. She’s also one of the most powerful people in the world, has flown more or less below the radar, and as the #2 at Facebook, is at least partially to blame for their continued lack of progress on the dissemination of “fake news.”

Even as Facebook has denied much of what is in this article, enough parts have proven true, including their relationship to Definers Public Affairs, that I’m inclined to believe that most of this is accurate.

Given that, it’s really (past) time to evaluate our use of Facebook. Aside from occasionally sharing pictures of my kids with family, I use Facebook less and less. It’s creepy, it surfaces less useful information for me every time I log in, and as more stories of Facebook leak, I find myself wondering why I would ever use it again.