I realize that I Sometimes Comment Selfishly

Recently I’ve found myself writing comments on other people’s posts and then deciding at the last moment not to post them. Obviously it’s a good idea to always read over what you intend to say before you say it, and it’s usually at that point that I realize that what I’m about to say isn’t as much helpful as it is selfish. How can one be selfish when virtually commenting? It’s really easy – it starts with the “Oh yeah, I do that too!” feeling.
For example, friend A posts that they’re thinking of trying a new restaurant, and you feel a sense of comraderie since you’ve also eaten at that restaurant (or eat at new restaurants too). You rush to post something like “Yeah, I love that place – I stumbled upon it a few years ago and really liked it”. Then it hits you – that’s an absolutely useless comment. All it does is tell the person that you agree with them, and that you did what they propose first. A better response? “Yeah, I love that place. The chicken marsala was good, and the salads were unique – not just a standard salad you could get anywhere”. Now you’ve given some actual information – a mini review – and held off the urge to say “I did this first!”. Your friend finds your comment useful, as do others, and it doesn’t sound like the internet equiviliant of the old message board mantra “Me Too”.
My goal is to try to add more substance to my comments and less selfish boasting. I’m sure I’ll fail multiple times in the process, because talking about oneself is so easy to do, we do it without thinking, but at least I’ll be making the effort!

Oracle, Are You Really Hurting for Cash This Badly?

Saw this just now via MacRumors – a wonderful note that our friends at Oracle have decided to bundle the Ask.com toolbar (an invaluable tool if there ever was one) with the Mac version of Java (as they’ve done with the Windows version for some time)…

For years, Oracle has been bundling an Ask.com search toolbar with Java for Windows, relying on what some call deceptive methods to get users to install the add-on to their browsers. Now, the company has extended its adware strategy to Java for Mac, according to ZDNet.

Thanks Oracle, now this is another thing I get to think about next time I have to install Java on something. The question is – are you really hurting for cash so badly that you need to bundle things like this in? And for that matter, are large companies really getting that much money from this stuff.

Wait… of course they are… otherwise they wouldn’t do it. Oh what a stupid sad maladjusted state of affairs. Friendly PSA folks: Watch your install wizards closely!

Science Fiction in 2015 – Sadly Subtlety Need Not Apply

Karey & I are watching Star Trek Deep Space Nine, and we just finished the three episode arc that starts the second season (The Homecoming, The Circle, The Siege). I haven’t watched those episodes in about 15 years, and you know what impressed me? The extreme lack of something: Explosions. 

You see, back when I was growing up, you could have a story unfold over 135 hours with just a couple of small firefights (4 that I can think of) and some limited effects. The story was the point, it’s what people tuned in for. The eye candy was… well, just eye candy. Today I don’t think any network or producer would let that slide (One could argue this was exactly what made TNG & DS9 special: Lack of a network overseer). Today you’re much more likely to find directors like Peter DeLuise who scream “B-I-G-G-E-R” – if we don’t see things blowing up and people shooting for at least five minutes at a time, it’s not worth it. 

Which is a shame. When I think about the influence Star Trek had on my early life, I realize that I found it far more interesting to take the non-force option into account to get where I wanted. Sure, I was big enough that I could use force – be physically intimidating – but that just led to consequences. Usually short-term gain and long-term pain.  Pull a page from the Picard playbook and you get where you want to be with little collateral damage (usually). I think we’ve lost some of that in recent years – we’ve forgotten that we can use diplomacy, cunning, words and subtle actions. When I think of my leisure activities now – which are principally centered around spending time with others and learning about them, I see the influence of Trek. Thank you Star Trek, for teaching me as a young adult to not only enjoy story-based Sci Fi, but also story-driven life.