Why is our Technology so Awesomely Stupid?

That’s a fairly broad and sweeping judgment, of course, but I contend, even based on my personally limited sample set, that it is true!!  Let’s take some examples…

I have a phone that can measure how far I walk, it can monitor my eyes and scroll the screen when my eyes hit the bottom of a page, it can bump another phone and share data, it can do thousands of things. BUT… sometimes, for no reason the keyboard doesn’t have an enter button, or it says it is connected to the network and it is 100% dead to the network. So, while monitoring my eyeballs can the software actually do some checking to make sure it is really on the network?

I am logged into this web mail application and decide to send an email.  I can drag and drop files from one email to another, I can look up contacts dynamically as I type their names… but I clicked send, and this little AJAX graphic replaces ALL the buttons…and then it says “sending…” for the next couple hours until I decide to stop it.  I knew it was dead 15 seconds in, but apparently the authors of OWA didn’t cover all the conditions that could cause this thing to sit and spin for an eternity, and because they took my buttons away I can’t save it as a draft.  Thanks for that.

I’ll be loading a web page and it will hang up… just sits and spins like I don’t have a connection.  But I can open another tab on my browser and hit other sites. So my connection is working fine.  OK, I stop loading the page and hit reload…surprise, there is my web page.

We could all share similar stories of super advanced tech that still does stupid stuff.  And in my examples of stupid stuff there is this common theme of me waiting and waiting while the computer sits and spins…CPU humming at 2%, RAM at 19%…   I’ve asked something to DO something, and clearly my computer or phone or whatever is day dreaming or something.

We’ll just lovingly call this the “waiting game.” That’s what it is… we have all this power and bandwidth, we are trying to complete an action, but we are just forced to wait 5 seconds here, 30 seconds there, sometimes several minutes before retrying only to see things happen either lightning fast or see them sit and spin again.  How much time is wasted during this activity?  For me, it has to happen at least 100 times a day, maybe 200… opening email, opening a web page, sending an SMS, etc.   And each time it happens the delay is between 5 seconds and 5 minutes. let’s say the average is 15 seconds, 100 times a day.  That’s 1500 seconds – 25 minutes a day.  I bet it is more.  But let’s say 30 minutes a day across everyone using technology.

What’s that, maybe half the planet? A third? Let’s say 2 billion people experience this every day. That’s 60 billion wasted minutes a day just waiting for “stupid technology.”  I bet that number is a lot larger because when things get gummed up we invest chunks of time trying to shutdown services, or log out and back in, or reboot, or light a candle and drop-kick a frog – anything to cure the  issue. But let’s go with 60 billion minutes. . . that’s 1 billion wasted hours of effort, at minimum, per day.

Nobody cares about consumers wasting a billion hours a day, because we aren’t paying these consumers. Ah, but if they work for a living, we ARE (I feel a slight value proposition about to transpire).  Let’s say half these billion people are working, and out of a 24 hour day, they work about 1/4 of that on average.  That’s 125 million hours a day going to wast at whatever the burden rate for the company is… If that’s $1/hr that’s $125M a day.  If that’s $100/hr that’s $12B a day.  Just time spent waiting for computers/technology to realize that it isn’t going to finish the current operation and that it is time to retry.

Let’s pretend the number is in the middle, so $1.2B a day, and based on 20 working days a month we have about $288,000,000,000 going into the cosmic recycle bin per year.  Time we never get back and is being paid for (and probably over a trillion dollars a year, for those keeping track, of time consumers waste that corporations are not paying for).

It’s the year 2014.  We are supposed to have spaceships, DNA-level repair systems in the medical field, warp/worm tech, atomic food replication, nanobots, mech warriors that play air guitar and more… but we can’t get rid of the little AJAX circle of death? We can’t make computers savvy enough to say “oh, clearly this is taking too long, let me try that again….or queue it for later… .or queue up some content to entertain/inform us while we wait…or something!!!???

What’s even funnier is, this is just the tip of the time-wasting iceberg.  But, why should we care… we waste so much other time holding for customer services, or in lines, or trying to wade through gigabytes of opinions to help us make decisions, or trying to keep our gadgets up and running, sitting in rush hour, filling out redundant forms, what’s 30 minutes a day?   Surely the trillion dollars here is nothing compared to the 10 trillion/year I just described in other activities.

OK, fine, you are right…the bigger problem is the 10 trillion. I can’t argue that… but at least now it is on the table.  Oh wait… we haven’t really addressed redundancy as part of waste (other than the forms example).  But I am talking about the BIG redundancies like how many businesses are writing the same software over and over or solving the same process challenges over and over or working on the same problem in the name of “healthy” competition?  Can we put a dollar figure on that? My brain hurts.

At some point, some of my more analytic friends will try to stop my stupid technology tirade.  They will say, “Woah woah there, Ragey Mc Ragerson! Your patterns of justification are wacky… you’d be better off trying to draw a dotted line between farts and space exploration!” But deep down inside, right next to those same space-exploring farts, people know I am right.   By design, we are a very efficient species (60 Watts to power a 100 billion neurons in our brains), but as designers, we are still very wasteful… from our manufacturing methods to our governance methods, and our technology, for all the time we say it saves, is still very wasteful.

Our gadgets are the latest things, our brain stems are still tied to lizards. Until we can evolve ourselves to match our gadgets (change how we are governed, how our economy works, how our social systems work), I think our tech will continue to be a reflection of us. Brilliantly buggy.  And yes, I typed this whole post waiting for that email to send, and it never sent…so  I will waste time copying the text to a new email, reattaching the documents, and re-sending it.

“Losing His Edge”

Oh fiddlee-poo. I have seen some stupid headlines in my time (noooo, really?), but there is this recent proliferation of “Obama is losing his edge” headlines. Bu-duh! Listen here, I didn’t vote for the guy, but he won. He is the President of the United States of America. And in so far as I can find the good in that, and support his endeavors, I am going to do it.  So, using the power of my blog, which reaches between two and four Americans every day (staggering, isn’t it?) let’s get a few things STRAIGHT, shall we?

First, no one person is going to fix this.  I’ve already had that rant when I was trying to decide which of the two competing suckers to stick with the task of helming  the Titanic after it hit the iceberg.  The only way for our government to get fixed is for people to participate in it.  And I am still guilty of sitting on the sidelines, so until we are all actually PRACTICING government, we cannot expect it to fix itself. Period. That goes for everyone in the entire country.

Second, the problem has little to do with government.  Yeah we have all seen the videos about “the biggest game in town,” and arguably that is part of the government – but not really.  The root cause of the problem is economic terrorism.  I’ve already had THAT rant, as the economic terrorists (AKA “The best and the brightest”) haven’t even tried to change their spots – they are just switching their funding sources from consumer markets to taxpayers (and since BOTH of those are the SAME people, nothing has changed).

So there it is. This isn’t about Obama. This isn’t about McCain. This is a battle between consumers and “the best and the brightest.”  This is a battle between the American people at large, and the American elite -who seem to remain untouchable despite of their gross management of financials, their lack of ethics, and their addiction to rape.   This isn’t about State, about Religion, about Race or about anything other than Greed.

Greed. Lets call it what it is.  I was reading some comments on artwork on DeviantArt, and an artist acquaintance of mine stated how she was sick of capitalism and religion enslaving people.  I replied to her, and for the life of me I cannot find my reply on the site.  But the answer holds true here.  At the root of greed is ignorance. I am not kidding.  What is greed? defines it as “excessive or rapacious desire, esp. for wealth or possessions.” Odd that the term “rapacious” is used, because I used the word “rape” earlier before I had read this definition. 

What would motivate someone to aspire to greed? Fear. People fear what they don’t understand, they fear the unknown, they fear the future, they fear death, they have a lot of fear.  Fear drives us, even on our best days.  Fear, and how we manage it, is part of life itself – it drives religion, it drives science, it drives the arts…and yes, it drives the economy.  Fear is always there, and it NEEDS to be there.  What the “Best and the Brightest” represents are the ultimate financial warriors.  They surround themselves with “intelligence”, they exploit every possible venue and amass their wealth because, like it or not, they are scared and don’t know how to deal with it any other way.

I am not saying it is right.  I am not endorsing their choices.  But what I am putting forth is the notion that their greed is ignorant. I told my fellow DeviantArt member that the only way to fix things would be to educate both the slavers and the enslaved.  But what would we teach?  Ahhh. The light is on, and that is a topic for another blog entry.

Please comment.  There are as many perspectives as there are people, and I only lament my human incapacity to absorb them all.  But please, share!!

Economic Terrorism

Think about this.  We all know about terrorism, although there is no standard definition for it, we generally accept that an entity, representing a very small and radical set of the larger populace, employs terror as a means of achieving their goals.

I unwittingly realized today, as several thoughts came together within my stressed little brain, that terrorism is being practiced in our economy. In the military there is a “deck of 52” – the most wanted terrorists.  But in our economy, I think we would be hard-pressed to limit the deck to such a small number of names. In the US, I would venture to estimate that there’s a deck of 208? 624? 8,320?  (pull a number out of…well, you can guess) They are practicing economic terrorism.

Yes, I would bet a dollar-two-ninety-eight that this group of financial extremists, operating under the alias of “the best and the brightest” has deployed weapons of mass economic destruction by leeching decades of profits out of every possible venue into their own pockets.

Now, most people would say,”But that is just greed. Not terrorism.” Oh no-no, my friends. Greed might be the idealogy behind these extremist’s actions, but it runs far deeper. For, now that they have unleashed this unholy, monetary-mutilating beast upon the people of this country — indeed this planet — they have also coerced the government into trillions of dollars worth of bail-out.  What does that mean? That their reward for screwing over the entire planet is, they get MORE MONEY!!

And who pays for that? As millions of people (millions, if you caught that) lose their jobs and experience the terror of “the best and the brightest,” these SAME economic terrorists are LEECHING yet more money out of the future via the people who still TRY to remain employed.

AND (oh yes, it does get richer, my fellow lemmings) – what DO YOU THINK happens when this planetary implosion reaches its peak? YES! Demand goes down.  When demand goes down, prices go down. AND WHOOOOOOO will have all the money to MOP UP the failing businesses, failing real estate, and FAILING GOVERNMENTS that have over-extended themselves??? “The best and brightest” will.

There’s no military to stop them.  There’s…nothing…to stop them. No punishments in place. No tribunals or hangings for their weapon of mass destruction or the terror they have caused.  There is nothing but a street lined with gold, and they will be repaving that in platinum – because gold is passe.

That’s my little theory. Some days, it is good to be wrong.


NostraTedmus Says: “All Hail Chief Isle of Capri!”

I promised a cohort of mine I would post this.  Not that he wanted me to, or that it is a good idea…because it certainly is NOT a good idea.  It is PURE UNEQUIVOCAL GENIUS BABY!!  I have SEEN the future.  Want to know where the economy is headed?  This is it! (And if you believe that, I can also sell you a bridge…to nowhere…)


All the .COM companies that went belly-up in 2000 are going to rise up and start a class-action suit against the US government for discrimination!!  Once lawyers catch the blame-wave, ANY company that failed in the last 30 years will jump on to the growing list of corporate welfare lawsuits!




Oh yeah, baby!  Watch the DOW spike as people invest, like mice drooling at the moon (OK, real mice know it is not made of cheese, but the simile holds for investors at large).  People will buy stock in companies, just to cash-in on the winning lawsuits.  11K will be nothing.  The DOW will blow through the 20K line like a teenager blowing through cell minutes.




The courts will of course rule that the US government was indeed discriminatory (for whatever flavor of reasons, we can only imagine…as 31 will seem trite compared to the number of discrimination flavors available  to justify these claims).  But, since the pay-out will undoubtedly be some number like…5T or 10T (we are talking 30 years of corporate bankruptcy requiring immediate stimulus), the government will concede to its inability to pay – in effect the the government will be unable to honor the judgement against itself!  And the world will watch the weirdest inversely-proportionate line trend ever…. the DOW will come plummeting down and the suicide rate will skyrocket.  Mice will be jumping into traps on purpose, just because there is no cheese to be had, and the moon will remain in the sky – untouchable. (Again, no real mice were harmed in this rendition of our future, because real mice can’t buy stock.  Sorry, Mickey, and those options Walt left you…yeah, you can’t exercise those either, bud.)




This turbulent unrest will leave the government open to all kinds of strangeness.  It is during this time that the American Indians will rise up, unify (the 1700s are over, baby!), and using their new socialist-casino model (It’s capitalism, only the house keeps 8%), they will nationalize the entire United States as the Usurped Sociocasino States Reformed.  The military will be retrained, and the “USSR” will launch a massive scalping at the United Nations, followed by a complete succession from the global economy (like the US probably should have done – well, less the whole scalping thing).  You know the line, “Just say no!” applies to most the stuff we’ve done since the 1970s, or probably even earlier, but I digress.



Chief Isle of Capri will reign supreme over a closed economy based solely on a “house keeps 8%” model, all businesses will be nationalized, both the Sicilian Mob and Yakuza will be retrained with the tomahawk to protect the casinos, and the “USSR” will flourish!  Although, your 401K is definitely effed. Yeeeee-Hawwww! (Roll Music: “Back in the USSR”).  I’d better brush up on my Ute….




Of course, the next time “Bay of Pigs” comes around, the “USSR” will be talking pigs, literally.  They will be parking them all over the place.  Except in Haiti, because a pig only has a half life of about 4 seconds in Haiti.  Will people PLEASE tell me how we can get those people some FOOD? Meh, that is a whole different diatribe.