Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

Archive for the tag “Good Reads”

When technical innovation gets a bit too much

I’ve been having a bad day with technological innovations today.

It started with an announcement that Blogfrog was to close. OK, I’ve already had a rant about that over on my other blog so I won’t say any more about it here.

Then I discovered that in a book review comparing two books on Good Reads, all the links were to the wrong books. Good Reads has a nice system in which you can type [book:Asta’s Book] or [author:Barbara Vine], and it will automatically link them to the page describing the book, with other reviews, or the page telling about the author and their other publications. Except in this case it didn’t work. Both book titles were linked to the wrong books. The book called The child’s child was linked to one called The snow child, by a different author. Fortunately, having discovered it, it was relatively easy to fix in the copy on my blog, but much more difficult in the original review on Good Reads. These clever programming tricks are nice when they work, but create even more work when they don’t.

Then I went on to family history. I found that a second cousin of Val’s was apparently interested in family history, but was not even in touch with her own first cousins, and apparently didn’t even know who they were. We had been in touch with them some years ago, but weren’t sure if they were still at the same addresses. I found one of them apparently on Facebook, and wanted to send a message, to check if it was the same person, and if it was to connect them with other people. After all, that’s what Facebook is for, isn’t it?

But it seems that that is no longer what Facebook is for, because when I tried to do it, this is the message I got:

You aren’t connected to Gxxxxxx on Facebook, so your message would normally get filtered to his Other folder. You can:

Send this message to his Inbox for R2.51 ZAR
Just send this message to his Other folder—What is this?

I didn’t even know that there was an “Other” folder, and I suspect that most other people who use Facebook don’t know that either. And how do you pay that R2.51? By one of those methods that attracts a R100.00 minimum bank charge, perhaps?

But I looked in my message folder and yes, there was an “Other” folder with a dimly marked tab hiding in the corner.

I looked in it, and I discovered a whole bunch of messages from people that I hadn’t looked at, including some people I really wanted to hear from.

There was more.

There were three messages from me, which I had sent to myself nine months ago. You remember when Facebook changed every member’s e-mail address to a Facebook address about nine months ago? Actually you probably don’t, because Facebook never told anyone that they were doing it. Someone got wise to it, and put it on their timeline or status or wall or notes or whatever the thing is called now, and I saw that mine had been changed, and changed it back. But I didn’t know there was a Facebook address, so I decided to test it. I sent three messages to myself, which never arrived. Well I found them in my “Other” folder nine months later. I think Facebook is well on its way to becoming an antisocial network.

The next crummy technical innovation is this new High Definition TV that there is all the hype about. The trouble is that I can’t see it half the time, because I have to close my eyes to listen to the dialogue. The sound is so badly synchronised with the picture that the characters’ lips move about a second before the sound comes out. They react to something oddly and only later do you hear the sound of the gunshot or whatever it was. So there’s this marvellously improved picture, but you can’t watch it because they cant synchronise the sound to it. One step forward, two steps back. What’s next? Bring on the Wurlitzers!

So we have social networks turning into antisocial networks, whizz-kid programmers linking you to the wrong books, and silent movies with sound coming later. Isn’t science marvellous!

Or is it just me, getting to be a grumpy and cantankerous old curmudgeon in my old age?


Some more books to cross off my list

Today Good Reads sent me a list of recommended books, based on the books on my “Abandoned” shelf. Those are the books I found so boring that I never managed to finish them, so I take it that they are saying that I will find these books boring too, and if I see them in a book shop I must not be tempted to buy them.

I don’t think that’s what their recommendations are intended for, but it is nevertheless probably quite useful, and could save a bit of money.

According to this list, the books to avoid are:

So if you share my taste in books, you’ll probably not enjoy those books. On the other hand, if you hate my blog posts, you might love those books.

PS On second thoughts, scratch that

There was a little note at the bottom of each of the other books saying that it was because I had added Engelby, by Sebastian Faulks, to my “abandoned” shelf.

And the reason I abandoned Engelby was that the copy I had was incomplete, and had been badly bound, with lots of pages missing. I was quite enjoying it up to that point.

EnglebyEngleby by Sebastian Faulks

I was a bit reluctant to start reading this book, because the last book I read by Sebastian Faulks, Human Traces I hadn’t enjoyed very much. So my wife bought it three years ago, and it has sat on the shelf since then, but then looking for something I hadn’t read for bed-time reading I picked it up and started it, and it seemed quite different from Human Traces and I was rather enjoying it and finding it interesting, and beginning to think it was the best thing I had read by Sebastian Faulks.

So I had reached page 280 and hoped to finish it tonight. But unfortunately page 280 was followed by page 25, and it seems that the book has been misbound. After three years it is probably far too late to take it back to the bookshop and ask for another copy that has been properly bound — they probably won’t even have one in stock anyway.

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