Internet reviewers

First thing I have to say: Shut the fuck up.

Suddenly it hits me; the time I have wasted reading utter shite left on the internet by complete fuckwits.

Once you've shut the fuck up, ask yourself, am I qualified to write this?

If not it's just noise that wastes everyone's time. Including yours.

It's everywhere, from entire websites built on the premise of expertise which does not exist, right down to Amazon reviews.

Okay, it's Amazon reviews which bug me most. The other's are much easier to spot. At Amazon you can be ten or twelve words deep into a "review" before you realise that this is a fool typing, eating your time.


Five stars! Great product. I haven't tried it yet but I'm sure they will be fine. Dog loves the packaging

This is the level of information most Amazon reviewers work at. You could srcoll through 150 "reviews" and not find a single person who even considered actually testing the batteries properly. It's not rocket science.

I've been using eneloop's in my Fujifilm S5600 for a for five years now with great results, but they are fading. While not *quite* as good as the eneloops (when new), these batteries are pretty good (maybe 90% of the longevity) and half the price. In my smart charger they are showing anywhere between 1800 and 2100 mAh capacity, which is ball-park for the advertised (2000 mAh) capacity. I'm happy.

That's the sort of review *I* leave.

IT IS NOT TWITTER! So it won't be ignored, but pored over by real people looking for items for their lives.

Stop wasting our time!



So I'm walking home with my kids, having just picked them up from school. This gangly dude comes up to us, says,

"Could I please borrow your phone?"

I'm already slipping it out of my bag's side pocket when he launches into the explanation: He got separated from his friends and they have his phone and he's asked a dozen fucking people already for a shot of their phone and..

When the f-word slips out I can see he feels ashamed; my kids being there; but I can see he's frustrated and desperate and fuck me, they've heard that more than once, and I'm immediately (what's the word? THESAURTHIS!) enamoured by this.

I hand him the phone.

Immediately prior to me handing over my newly-acquired flagship phone, three thoughts are prominent.

1. Man needs help. Kids are watching.

2. Man could run away with my phone.

3. If he runs, a) I can catch him, and b) in a fight, I can take him.

And I wonder how much of a factor 3) is, and maybe that is why the previous twelve declined. What a sad state of affairs, that I even considered anything from 1.5 onwards. And that most people don't work out enough.

But there was a moment there, nomatter how brief, when it was just "Help! .. OK", where everything else melted away. I'm fairly certain that all happened without words.

This is how I lost £60 last Christmas.

But hey! I'd do it again in a heartbeat. It would take a lot more than sixty quid or a flagship phone for me to lose my faith in humanity. Pfff.. That's nuffin.

Bring it on!


Accelerated Learning Machines..

Another subject which will, in the future, be of interest to mainly academics; though by no means less interesting because of that; is how quickly the human population learns to master its new AI tools. The reason (no one reads this, so your PhD is safe. ish) is motivation.

Take me, for example.

I really want to see an image of my near-neighbour, with his head squeezed so far up the exhaust pipes of his sickeningly SUV-like vehicle that his arse explodes. Only for a minute, but still; it only takes a second to produce such an image on good hardware, in vivid detail and HDR colours, even animated. Once you are up-to-speed1.

Which we so fucking quickly will be. Well, the ones not displaced / bombed / migrating / and so on; usual stuff-that-fucks-with-net-access. Basically, unless there is a damned good reason not to3, most of the connected human population will be, in some way, spending large chunks of their day interacting with Artificial Intelligence, which is to say, a big heap of code that only looks intelligent but does such groovy shit we don't care.

It's like getting a blow-job on a dark night and only realising near-climax that your gifted fellatio-artist is the same-sex as you, or more than one sex, but fuck it, too late to care now. Okay, it's not entirely like that, but the need to get there is strong. Motivation; it's a great motivator.

Converse with someone who really knows you. Check.

Create your own porn direct from your imagination with only spoken/written words. Check.

Get tasks that would take creative-you hours done instantly. Check. ( Clients won't notice: a) they be fuckwits, and b) your filters rock).


Cut to me decades ago at the dole, meeting my usual man. He looked like he'd had two hours sleep at most. I said, "late night, eh?"

"Can you notice?", he say, aghast. Previous week he's telling me about a promotion coming up. These were in the days before state support relied upon utter compliance with the script.

[translation: he's up for a promotion RIGHT NOW, and by normal reasoning should be "putting in the hours" and "doing his utmost" and all that, but is instead, for some reason, staying up until 5am in the morning.]

"A shave would have helped", I laughed. Too loud, they're onto us again. We lower heads and voices, to share.

"I'm collaborating on a game. Online! There's just a few of us, but it's really turning into something! ... ". He has no idea that I'm me, only that I'm "him".

He was willing to risk his entire career for this fun side-gig because it felt good. He was connecting, he was learning, mastering shit, contributing. All the things his government "position" was denying him. And more.

We will pick up these new tools; and develop; and this supersonic feed-back loop will, so soon, create things that literally make me swoon with possibility. If you haven't already, imagine it for a moment.

Years ago I imagined having a digital assistant that could help me fulfill the dreams I didn't get the time or a chance to do, like make movies. I'm stone soup 100% certain that I could make the best films ever made. I simply lack the staff and equipment / resources. Also, I was never a team player.

Sure, I could voice all the dialog, and top-tier you better believe it! (AI-altered to the characters, of course) and compose all the great songs, but soon I won't have to; simply feed my assistant the AI-Generated dialog to be generated with with ((emotional intention - train from 2weeks family-dialogue/arguments)), and thousands of songs I already have kicking around, and boom! I can make great movies.

Except that now when I think about it; I don't want to.

The idea was better.

So now we train our AI to train itself on data. And everything is data. Switch on the audio, the video, the IoT cloud that grows around me, learning and consuming until I am replicated, in thought and deed.

Humans becoming Gods. It will be fun to watch.

And worth a few more PhD's, I'd wager.


1. I wouldn't bother on my current hardware.2 I just keep leftover eggs by the window.

2. Printing and placing under wiper blades is 100% optional.

3. I can actually think of many. Can you?

4. One of the great advantages of ageing is that you get to chortle at length, reading about "scientific discoveries"5 of things your grandmother told you. Or stuff you figured out years ago. Or was just plain obvious all along. Then you get what that scene in "Awakenings was about. And also the title, of course".

5. Assuming you are informed of scientific discoveries. Or else you die never knowing how much of a pioneer genius you really were!

Christmas Presents

This is done in three stages.

First, the stocking. Xmas comes but once a year so, go mad. Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate, is the order of the day. Everyone loves chocolate1.

An orange is good (or tangerine) but a chocolate orange is better. They won't be bugging you to make breakfast after eating a chocolate orange.

At the bottom of the "stocking" (mine is a huge pair of Ski socks that STRETCH) is a toy which will keep them occupied for hours.

This is important. Children have a tendency to wake their parents at 7am on Christmas morning to open their "main" presents. You don't want this. To avoid this you keep them occupied, sans-parent.

Living in the 21st century has its benefits..

About 18 hours from now the Data Frog SF2000, with 6000 built-in games, 2 x wireless controllers, cables and all that fun stuff will be £14.42 on AliExpress. With free 5 day shipping. They're gonna be flying those planes anyway right now so you might as well hop on-board.

Of course there are 16,714 similar devices in our stocking-filler price range available on Ali right now, but this will work.

At some point* here you can stagger into the kitchen for a cup of tea / coffee / woteva, safe in the knowledge that your children are joyfully pouring their brain-matter out their ears in a feedback loop you will never comprehend, and take a minute.

When you have regained consciousness; you can stroll through and hear tales of great adventure and conquest.

Stage 2: The "main" presents part one. These are the presents under the tree nearer the outside. Kids get to these first. You want to increase the awesomeness as you near the trunk.

I was heartbroken to hear my youngest tell a humble shopkeeper that he didn't get what he wanted for Christmas last year so isn't asking for anything at all this year. No letter. Nada. But I did secretly hear him him whisper to Santa that he'd really like some Pokemon stuff.

Thy shall be done. Ali is full of that shit!

Stage 2 is all about things you heard them desire at some point recently (in six months all this is irrelevant). Take notes from August onwards. "If only I had a..." or "be great to have a.." are prime candidates for your Christmas list(s).

[stage 3] Right at the trunk, the "main" present. This is awesome incarnate. This is the present which will (temporarily) make them forget all previous presents.

This is, of course, the next console in your console journey. The package shall be labelled, "the <insert family name> family", and everyone will wow at the thing, and the individually-named presents within the larger box, which are the life-changing games you will play next, carefully curated by Santa *cough* your most loving parent, are what will envelop your "spare" time for the next few weeks/months.

Taking your kids trekking across the hills, camping, fishing, all that; is great for a week or two in the Summer, but for the rest of the year they will live in the real world (school, karate lessons, etc..), which has gone unreal, literally. Christmas is about the unreal world.

At some point they will learn that Santa is you, and everything changes. Keep this moment at bay as long as you can.

So there you have it; the perfect formulae for XP (Xmas Presents).

Your afternoon snooze is handled when they submerse into either the latest or retro-oldest. Either way, win-win.

Happy holiday!


1. Unless of course you don't. Switch out for their most favourite thing, unless it's ice cream.

* I'm assuming your Christmas eve celebrations are an unabashed debauch. But, you know, roll Christmas however you want.

The split-parents Christmas Stocking Dilemma [SOLVED]

This hasn't ever been an issue for me, thankfully, yet.

Mum and Dad are separated, divorced, whatever, and now live in two separate homes. As well as staying at one place on Christmas Eve, the kids are going to be not-staying somewhere.

How will hanging up stockings work, there? The whole pressies under the tree?

It occurred to me, and I realised it would be an issue easily solved with a dialogue something like..
Well (insert child name(s)), I spoke to Santa; all parents can speak to Santa; and told him you weren't going to be here on Christmas Eve and could he come the next night, instead.

He said, "Well, (insert parent name), you're not the only one with this predicament, and do you know what, I keep a list of all those families. I can put you on that list".

So (kids/name/etc.) he's coming on Sunday (or whatever), instead! Just for the extra-special kids.

Because that's the way it is, all over.


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