I told my friend Dennis E. Powell that I’m starting to believe in Skynet. Over the last week, virtually everything that could go wrong with the technology I depend on for work has gone wrong, as if it has actively turned against me. Having spent a fair number of years wrangling information technology, one thing has always provided a path to survival in those times: redundancy. Redundancy masks problems in the best of ways, much like the physical masks that are such a lightning rod in our culture today.
Pastors in my Evangelical circles have been increasingly faced with requests to provide “religious exemption” letters to those in our churches who do not wish to be vaccinated. With the FDA’s final approval of Pfizer’s vaccine, employer mandates will likely become ubiquitous and increase the requests for these letters. Should we give them?
Reeling from the horrors of 9/11 two decades ago, we entered Afghanistan to eliminate terrorist camps and also try to build a better nation for the people who had been caught under the Taliban’s control. Was it hubris or hope to think we could lastingly accomplish either goal? I’ll leave that discussion for another day, but this week has reminded us of how even our greatest powers stumble.
It was an innocent — even endearing — touch when I received a delivery today. The delivery person left a sticker on the bag thanking me for my patronage. The sticker depicted five stars, a not too subtle hint at his desire for a five star review. And he deserved it — the items came quickly and correctly and in perfect condition. But, it got me thinking about how weird our view of customer service surveys has become.
When the pandemic hit last year, it threw me into a world where I was doing vastly more video editing than I did previously. Anyone who has spent time splicing and dicing video files knows those files can fill up storage devices really quickly and they are a pain to transfer between computers. Enter the new class of tiny, pocketable, external SSDs like the RavPower Mini External SSD Pro.
I nervously hit the buy button and wondered what in the world I was doing. I was ordering a portable air compressor and I was excited about it. I’ll confess I never thought I would get excited about an air compressor, but after a bad afternoon hoping from gas station to gas station only to find their air pumps broken and finally forking out $2 for not-enough-air-to-fill four tires, I wanted to try something different.
Probably all of us have some frustration with one or more of the Tech Giants who are being targeted by Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s “Ending Platform Monopolies Act.” It is tempting to cheer on efforts to offer a cure to common Big Tech disease, checking their power over us. But, like a layperson coming up with the wrong treatment for a serious illness, this and other similar proposals, dangerously operate on oversimplification that threatens to make our technology much worse while ignoring the genuine Big Tech problems staring us down.
I’m tired of it. I’m tired of every currently running TV show someone tells me to watch being littered with content that might make even the proverbial sailor blush. With so many forms of entertainment now freed from the reach of the FCC’s decency rules, it is now countercultural if dialogue or song lacks a peppering of the coarsest words. Is this really the best we can do?
For most of last year, it was nearly impossible to get a name brand video capture card for a computer. These devices help to take video from a camera, video game console or other device and make it usable on your computer to record or stream. In a world that was dependent on streaming, well known cards like Elgato’s were selling for several times over their original price, giving room for a whole range of generic cards. Some of them are pretty good, so let’s consider one of them.
The disease that we will likely recall for the rest of our lives as simply “the Pandemic” has been answered by vaccines that, by any pre-COVID standard, would be viewed as incredibly effective. Reduce spread, reduce severity and do so with stunningly few severe side effects? How can “NoVax” be appealing in that light?