Business

De-Individualization (“the customer” vs. “the customers”)

You often hear it when businesspeople speak. “The customer” instead of “the customers” even when talking about the totality of them. That totality is treated like a single entity, as a type.
That is convenient, because it helps to generalize and to deny the individual interests and thus potentially causes thought patterns of dehumanization to creep into the mind.
It is a common thought pattern in the business world, because ideally the whole customer base is conformant, homogenous. That helps with maximization of efficiency and thus profit. Deviants are inconvenient for that, as is proven again and again not just in the business world, but anywhere where fear reigns, often fueled by big money.

Think about where else you usually find this rhetorical tool for mind (self-)conditioning:
“The Jew”
“The Negro”
“The foreigner”

Note the quite crucial, intentionally left out word “average”. (Which comes with its own set of problems somewhat related to this topic, but is not as severe as when left out altogether.)

Not a coincidence. Same thought pattern. If you saw a group of people as individuals, you’d have to accept the mental effort and practical inconvenience of allowing each individual their relevance.

Marketing has learned a lot from Hitler and such, and Hitler learned a lot from people before his time.

As I often point out: Thought shapes language and language shapes thought.
(That’s the whole point of applied rhetorics.)

National socialism – The only USA-compatible socialism?

America – greatest nation in the world. One of those powerful ideas on which the society of the USA still rests to a significant degree. Also quite telling when you realize “America” is not a nation, and not a country either. The hubris is right there, totally obvious. But that’s not the most interesting part.

Ron Paul follows the idea that the USA shouldn’t meddle in other countries’ affairs and try to dictate ideas onto them. That is based in humility, personal responsibility and a caring for others – not to screw them over, and that leading to more time being dedicated to care for internal problems so that everybody wins.
The thing is though that this easily insults those who still cling to that ego-boosting idea of being the greatest. The mindset that causes so many problems in the first place.

Now we have a somewhat different approach. Bernie Sanders is much more daring, one could think, by openly calling himself socialist. (Although Ron Paul’s approach might ultimately have been more socialist in spirit, without mentioning it.) How does he pull it off? By not putting blame and thus responsibility on people. His target demographic are people who see themselves as total victim of corporate greed and corruption. It’s a self-image all-too-willingly adopted by people. But this also puts Sanders into a champion position. And that’s the same maneuver that Obama pulled. People who saw themselves desperate and helpless (and innocent!) in the face of social struggles looking up to him as the one person who will fix things for them. Extra-convincing because he talks loudly and with fervor. And the hype train is moving yet another time. The fact that Sanders considers Russia a problem that needs to be contained (through crippling economic sanctions, what a novel idea) further underlines that rejection of responsibility for the external consequences (imperialism) of the same corporate greed and corruption he decries as the scourge of the own people.

And the historical parallels keep growing.
We need to pay attention to how this develops.

This could lead to a state where the USA’s foolish foreign policy will no longer be blamed for the suffering of the common people of the USA, but instead fortified by the justification that the (gloriously stolen) wealth is now distributed fairly. This is a situation that, if it cannot be avoided by the corpo-rats, would still work for them. If you THEN criticize their imperialist foreign policy, you will be considered opposing the functioning well-being of their nation, of every single person.

If Sanders becomes president, let’s hope he will do better than Hitler did, shall we?

Or maybe we should stop hoping and start making sure.
(Hope and hype is just one letter difference.)
 
 
 
P.S.: If Hillary Clinton becomes president, we at least have some nasty puns ready, hah.

Why do game designers do incredibly idiotic things?

You can watch my detailed video about it or read the summary below.

I recently got an SSD and only now realized the full magnitude to something that bothered me a while ago.

The game: The Witcher 3
This game featured plenty of eyebrow-furling things. Some of them got fixed later, but the really stupid stuff actually kept coming. I’ll only focus on one issue here though that has existed all the time since the game was released.

When you load a savegame, you get a simple 2D-animated sequence and a speaker recounts the story position at the time of the savestate. That animation looks a lot like scripted to eventually end in a loop state until the load process has finished.
When it does finish, for a brief moment a regular loading screen pops up, with a nice picture and a loading animation, which looks kinda sloppy, but shows that there actually is an alternative mode for this.

Well, here comes the kicker: To use one example, you watch a loading process where the speaker talks for 18 seconds and the whole process takes 43 seconds until the game has finished loading, with the animated sequence looping for the rest of the time.
Damn, this game has long load times!

No, actually not, it’s just trolling you by deliberately wasting your time. While the devs for some reason decided to later add subtitles to those sequences that you cannot turn off even if you want to because you’re not deaf and have seen that story bit plenty of times anyway, what they never did is AT LEAST add an info telling you when the loading process has finished and you can now enter the game if you press a key. That would be the MINIMUM. That could actually be an optional feature, but not really that important when the loading process isn’t of patience-testing length, which it wouldn’t be without this artificial delay.

Here is another minor example of bad design decisions: The game has super-beautiful graphics, but taking screenshots without UI requires (not-so-ideal) fan mods, while a low-budget indie game shows how it’s done.

Not resetting warranty period after RMA sends a bad message

Looking at implications is a thing I do a lot.

You know how it is common practice in some areas that if you return a defective product you either get a used one as replacement or even if you get a new one the original warranty period continues and is not reset?
This is common, yes, but it is also bad style. What the manufacturer is basically saying is this:

You are not buying a product. You are signing an open-ended usage contract with a minimum guaranteed length. We don’t think our product should be of proper quality and last at least x years, but that you are buying x years of product use. If we keep selling you crap, it is your problem that will haunt you to and beyond the eventual end of the contract. Don’t expect to have a useful product beyond the warranty period.

Why China’s information policy is less worrisome than the Wild West’s

The rogue always likes to divert attention from their malice by accusing others of what he himself does.
Western governments are always eager to condemn China for their policies in regards to information flow. The rogues are the Wild West.

China doesn’t hide it. It is totally open and admitted that they are censoring certain aspects of information flow and beyond. And not only does that openness hint at the nature of the thing, but they have some good reasons for it that would even weaken the condemnations of the Chinese government allegedly merely wanting to stay in power for power’s sake.

The USA are an empire, and the empire uses many different means to expand its influence. That is all a form of war. If no missiles fly, then computer viruses might go to work or people are rallied with lies to topple their democratic government. Just to name a few.
Another weapon of the empire is the spread of culture. And this is the openly stated reason for what the Chinese government does. They are aware that the USA will do whatever they can to slowly convert China, this to the paragon of capitalism huge delicious economy, into a vassal.
Any restrictive policies of China or any other more or less unadmitted enemy of the empire need to be seen in this context. And even this necessary defense reaction against covert aggression is being exploited by the empire and used as a weapon. For they know that if they practice such an onslaught, the people of the target country might eventually become dissatisfied due to the restrictions. And then the empire only needs to succeed in telling the people lies and divert attention away from the true motivations for such measures. Then the people would, in ignorance, fight that which tries to protect them from those very lies and culture of corruption.

Naturally this will not be a pretty process. But in all cases people need to understand the big picture. (And they need to understand that I’m not talking about flatscreen TVs here.)

Now look at what power China has. It is a strong country. They resist the imperialist pressure. But now look at North Korea. They are much less powerful, but are subject to the same pressure. If they didn’t have nukes, they’d be a ‘McDonald’s outpost’ now.

Don’t blame the small party in massively asymmetrical warfare. That’s the rogues’ game.

And now let’s compare China to the USA and its vassals: Daily propaganda, lies, distortions, deceptions, omissions. News media censoring itself, massively, covertly, while spreading the myth of openness and freedom. Again, the rogue keeps talking about that which they don’t feature. Constant repetition hammers it into people’s heads, and egoes are tickled with honeyed words and pleasant self-perceptions.

That is the mark of fascism.

And now traitor politicians try to enforce a free trade agreement (TTIP) with that fascist system while insulting the people who oppose it AND letting them pay for TTIP propaganda ads with their tax money. It is disgusting, and people swallow too much of this crap. Too afraid of repressions from their government. Another trait of a fascist country.
Just like the mafia can bully business owners into compliance, the government mafia, the great crime syndicate, has bullied people into submission. They might speak, they might act, but only when it is allowed to, not when it is right and should be allowed to.

Discretion – a dying art?

I found two things in one day that helped me allay worries about my donations request for what I do, have done, will be doing, my fledgling endeavors at self-fulfillment.

The first one is something that reminded me of the fact that there are people who upload shows on Piratebay and then advertise their frickin’ Facebook page and ask for follows! (That changes the whole thing quite a bit, just as it does when someone uses a pirated Photoshop not for testing/practice/private hobby but for profit. – As a for-profit brony media site was caught doing a while ago.)

I found a Youtube channel (through Youtube’s “related channels” advertising section) that has nothing but uploads of unaltered snippets of MLP episodes. (Thus no creative contribution whatsoever, merely providing of content.) And there I found a Patreon link where the channel owner was presenting the following case:
– He(or she) has got a job.
– That job no longer leaves time or motivation for uploading those snippets. (As if such isn’t the absolute minimum of effort possible.)
– Sadly(!) he also can’t monetize that copyrighted material because Hasbro does. (That implied intention made me go WTF.)

I don’t even know what word fits this mindset, but lack of discretion comes close. Such discretion enables that five can be called even sometimes and both sides get along if they can find an elegant compromise.
These extremes will contribute the most to (re)building the fear that makes businesses like Hasbro so protective – especially considering that said Youtube channel also uses a character name like a brand name, like an official representation.
(There’s a related thing where people just re-upload other people’s music to populate their channel and call themselves “music promoter”. Further audacity points if they have a disclaimer á la “Tell me if I should remove something ans I will” that signals they didn’t even check whether they are allowed to.)

Man! Apparently my standards were way too high, causing myself unnecessary worry, at least in comparison to some stuff that is going on in the open.

Well, and the second thing today that further solidified the message was this:

http://www.horse-news.net/2015/12/blackgryph0n-michelle-creber-now.html

I recommend reading the whole thing including all comments, because it is a multi-faceted issue. But the critique is at least to some degree justified.

I guess I would have a sprawling career by now if I had approached things like that. Instead I’m dealing with a severe imbalance between what I am capable of and what I was able to put into motion. (And going the hard way towards making stuff happen.)

As for commentary on the Brown/Creber case, the whole document pretty much speaks for itself, but I’d like to point out again how that case is very much like Drawponies, showing how much of people’s moral outrage is actually fueled by personal agenda and how much that determins popularity. If other people (with a popular name, too – guess where it came from) in the same business feel stepped on their toes, they will tweet about it and the issue becomes big. But when it’s like in the case of The Living Tombstone and charity song collabs, one musician doesn’t want to badmouth another one in fear of becoming the target of the same critique, yet all restraint falls away when it’s about money and influence, about business.

Every crisis, every drama is a result of tensions and thus inherently justified to happen, as a means for finding better ways. This view is part of practicing acceptance of everything that emerges. Even if you fight something, it could still either mean you accept the experience or you resist.

Why it is OK to negatively criticize a free game

You’ve probably read it a couple of times. There’s a free game, say, on Steam, and people complain about stuff and then others talk down to them, claiming since it’s a free game, they are bad people.

So let me widen the perceptual horizon here.

Justified critique is totally fine, especially considering that a freely published game, especially on a highly-frequented platform like Steam, is often a promotion instrument, a skill demo, so it’s not exactly for the pure love of the world. You’de be surprised how many people are way more egoistically motivated than they pretend to be. But you’d only be surprised when you find out, and you only find out when you can manage to put them to the test. (I’m digressing slightly here.)
Furthermore, critique is free consulting, so they’re actually getting a good deal. I mean, there are game devs who are totally inept design-wise, publish a piece of crap of a game, then collect the tons of critique and get to work implementing the suggestions and thus don’t need to be anything but a hacker monkey who is being force-fed with game design training. That business scheme seems especially popular with early access. People will even pay for crap and on top of that give you free consulting services, all fueled by the hope that the game becomes great one day.
In the most extreme case, an early access game is little more than: “OK, I made an empty world space. Pay up, then I’ll allow you to tell me what you want in it and I’ll put it there. (Unless I don’t want to.) Isn’t that great? Your own personal ideas implemented in a totally not generic game. Your ego must be so st(r)oked right now. Buy your own little piece of immortality today!
And the next day there’s an empty space with a pickaxe and a zombie.

I was inspired to write this when I learned about a free Steam game (Serena) that had some issues related to Steam being crap and Valve not caring (the usual), and I read up about the game, and it’s advertised as “…the result of a massive collaborative effort between dozens of fans and designers of adventure games.” while when you press ESC that story-progression-type game immediately quits, without so much as a confirmation dialogue. Unbelievable? Well, I’ve seen some wacky things. Totally justified to go “Dude! What the hell?!

Speaking of incompetence: Is there any major internet business that hasn’t made it its mission to destroy any usability? As I am writing this, I have to switch between Visual and HTML view, because HTML view doesn’t have quick formatting, but requires me to add code manually, while Visual doesn’t know what a line break is (!), yet in HTML view it doesn’t even need/show the code for it.
I’m not even gonna explain how to do it more elegantly. They need to figure such basics out themselves. My consulting services aren’t for free, since my expertise is apparently scarce.

The silliness of consumers purchasing M-DISCs

Clever business move to offer archival-tech optical media (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-DISC) to the consumer market. But I have to chuckle/facepalm when I read people mentioning how their 10 years old burned CDs aren’t readable anymore, so now, in the year 2015 where optical media are close to suffering the same fate that the floppy disc once did, people are paying insane prices for optical discs that will reliably last hundreds of years. What a comedy. For much less they could have transferred their data to fresh media if it’s so important to them to not just store them on a flash drive or hadddisk. And who knows? Maybe their old discs would still be alright if they had bought quality ones back then.

BTW this isn’t even relevant to people who still play their music from CDs, because M-DISCs are available for DVD and BD only. And pressed CDs have good longevity anyway, so you’ll have your originals as archive for a long time.

Even in the area of professional archival storage there are good technology competitors to optical M-DISC media. This is a niche technology, very useful for a very small number of applications. And not a surprise that such things come towards the end of a technology’s life. Because it’s business – focused on profit, not on usefulness. Shows how well it works to sell people stuff they don’t need.

And not that it would be relevant due to what I just pointed out, but even their marketing is deceptive, too. (As marketing so often is.) They advertise more than 1000 years of data storage, but if you dig a little for details, you learn that that doesn’t mean error-free. The time span in which you can call it virtually guaranteed that all data is still safely readable is significantly lower. … Yeah, the horribly truth is that in 100 years from now you might have to go through the hassle of transferring all your M-DISC data to quantum crystal storage, haha. What a drag. … Oh wait, in 100 years you’re dead! … And in 1000 years your distant offspring won’t even remember there ever was such a thing as M-DISCs, because even the few organisations who once made use of them will have switched to a different technology long ago. If the organisations still exist.

The losing battle of combating crappy web development

I used to use Flash player 11.5 so I could watch up to 60 fps on Youtube, but then they changed several things. First, they prevented that feasible method from working. Then they enforced HTML5 (a player with various usability downsides that I also didn’t use because back then 60 fps worked with Flash 11.5) so that I had to cripple my browser to default to Flash. (That also disabled Vine playback.)

And now, since recently, the Flash player’s bottom bar that shows video length and such is not there unless the video plays. I use an addon for disabling autoplay of videos (since Youtube and such steadfastly refuse to allow it), so maybe that’s a factor, but maybe not. I thought it’s because of my ancient Flash player version, but I should have known better. Even with the newest I don’t have it, so if I want to check lengths of videos I have tabbed (which I do a lot), I gotta play-and-page-reload it.

One would think that with all these obstacles, they’re done because HTML5 now plays 60 fps on Firefox, but at least when they set default to HTML5 it didn’t. I could reconfigure some stuff and check whether it does now, but why go through the effort if I know in advance that it very likely still doesn’t? I’m tired of this!

Youtube prevented the one means for watching 60 fps for my browser, so that kinda speaks for itself.

Same with IE by the way. That one I left to default, without modifications or stuff, and it uses Flash and thus can’t play 60 fps.

You know why all this shit is happening this way, right? Do I have to spell it out?

Google Chrome.

When that browser entered the scene, I knew exactly how it would go. That the power-hungry Google corporation would use it in order to conquer ‘market share’ and thus gain control and then focus on their browser so that others would be at a disadvantage. That’s pretty much what Microsoft tried in the past with the IE, too.

And now the (gradually less) intelligently designed Opera browser is basically Chrome, too, and even Steam has been based on Chrome.

Chrome is the corporate browser. Firefox might go through some bullshit dev ideologies, too, but THAT should be the free, independent standard used by most.

Back when I used Opera (up to version 12), I was the rare-case odd power user. When I finally saw no choice but to change to Firefox (actually Waterfox), that one had already become a minor figure.

If developments of this kind continue, we might eventually be using crappy ports of mobile operating systems on PCs, and “PC” then means gaming-console derivative multimedia computer. Also, private Linux users will be classified as potential domestic terrorists by the CIA, since they won’t be able/willing to imagine that anyone would use it unless they’re a hacker, while, in typical double standard, for business purposes it is considered a smart way to reduce expenses.

Yeah, you’ll have noticed, I’m really fed up with this shit.

People should have woken up years ago when Google dropped their motto/guideline “Do no evil.”. I mean, how much clearer do you need it?

My thesis is that people tolerate so much corporate bullshit because they are afraid of having their own personal bullshit be stripped away.