A perfect sea urchin

The Cyberculture Corner

Welcome to where I air my wrong headed views on cyberculture and the internet. I always have a lot to say and no one tells me to shut up. To return to the regular blog page, just click here.

When Thadea Almost Died

A long time ago, I was ready to kill Thadea by publicly unmasking her in a court of law. A woman on a site fighting chat group asked Thadea and everyone else to sign a petition to a judge asking him not to hold a resentencing hearing to lighten the sentence of her son-in-law who was convicted of shaking his baby to death.

I blogged at the time, that Thadea had objected because she knew nothing of the particulars fo the case and whether the sentence was in line with those of others who committed similar crimes, and that the man deserved his day in court and that the case needed to be decided by those who knew something not a bunch of know-nothing site fighters, though Thadea was more tactful.

I hoped that the petition would carry no weight. I could not make a long distance call from my office and sign for it later, or I would have called the courthouse in the county where the hearing was to be held and found out the name of the defense attorney representing the man seeking a resentencing for his crime. In an effort to prove her credibility, the site fighter had released a whole lot of real life information so I had names and locations. The rest would have been easy, and had I owned a cell phone or had a charged up phone card, I could have made that call and would have done so.

I would then have called the defense lawyer and told him about the petition and let him know I was available to testify as an expert witness as to the origin of the petition and its credibility.

I am thinking of how close I came in the winter of 2003 to my life going down a very different road. What brought all of this on was this story on NPR. I wonder now if the man had really been as guilty as the site fighter made him out. When people lose a grand child or a child, they can be very angry, and need someone to blame. Often they go after whoever's handy such as the teenager who with her friends committed an incredible amount of fraud and got away with it, or the teenage boy site fighter who used to sometimes come in to fight among the older ladies.

I still think about what my life would have been like had I made that phone call. As it was, Thadea lived and I don't know what happened to the resentencing hearing. I hope the murderer had his day in court. He was guilty no matter what and was going to do time no matter what. It was just a question of the law being fair. The law ought to be fair when it's your kid guilty of a DUI. The law ought to be fair when it's your traffic ticket. Well, the law even has to be fair to murderers.

I am having trouble taking care of RAOK on Facebook these days because Facebook was not fair to my friend Jerry. Facebook due to its size is like the mall that acts as the public squqare, yet they are private property and can behave without one ounce of due process. Unlike the 90's people don't have somewhere else to go. Somewhere else feels like nowhere if your clique is camped out inside Faebook. I was raised to believe you don't tolerate an environment that treats others with a ruthless unfairness. I spend as little time on Facebook as possible because it feels toxic and nasty. It is not my fellow ordinary members who are toxic and nasty. It's themanagement and what they did to my friend. He doesn't get a hearing like that murderer.

I would expose a hundred Thadea's to give my friend who was kicked off for sounding like a kid due to his dyslexia, some semblence of due process. Nobody is making the offer. He got back on with a different email and a slightly different name. No one will kick him off until someone he doesn't know very well betrays him again, and rinse repeat. This teaches that petty lawlessness pays. This teaches cynicism. This teaches that the powers that be that govern a very large area of one's life don't give a you know what. Something is wrong with this picture.

I wonder if the man in Michigan has served his time. With the recession he may or may not be out of work. I wonder if the raging granny is still alive. Thadea sort of exists though she is not active. My life got better, and I've moved on. There is no where for Thadea to site fight any more. Even Haldis' team is off for the summer, and Columbus, Georgia is a hundred and ten miles and five years behind me.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Thadea G. Myers -- June 30, 2011

I Need to Tell This Story

My friend lost his Facebook Account. He has no recourse. Facebook does not have due process. Facebook claimed he was using a fake name. My friend was signed on with some variant of his real name, like millions of other users, and like quite a few users who do worse. My friend probably didn't spam whole groups. The FAQ that explained his lost account (Facebook accounts are disabled just as Neopets accounts are frozen.) pointed to a fake name.

I blinked. This did not fit. My friend said the FAQ were not helpful. They were not helpful because my friend was innocent. Now my friend is either dyslexic or learning disabled. He can drive a car and hold down a job, but he has a speech defect and his writing is full of mistakes. In fact, it looks like the writing of someone much younger. A Facebook friend who did not know my friend well could well have drawn a very wrong conclusion and Facebook seeing my friend's writing, and not knowing the whole story could have also thought my friend was a kid.

This hurts. There is no justice of which I know for my friend. I wish things were different. In a smaller organization, the kind of Net 1.0 worlds of web boards and mailing lists, the leader would have known my friend or known enough about him to have someone vouch for his being a full grown man. Such organizations could always turn vicious enough to turn out my friend because they just plain don't want to deal with a dyslexic, but at least my friend would have had a chance.

My friend still has an account on MySpace. He is on multiple lists, but Facebook has cut him off from the largest place online. It is not as large or as "only" as Neopets. Adults have more choices, but the field of choices shrinks daily. Monopolies really suck.

Eileen H. Kramer -- June 19, 2011

Disruptive Technology and the Daily Me

On May 30, I joined the earbudded world that surrounded me on MARTA trains. I upgraded to a Samsung Sidekick which is a Droid smart phone. It is not just a telephone. In fact, it is seldom a cell phone, which is fine with me, since I hate cell phones. I could tweet on it all day, but I'm not that fond of Twitter. I prefer my blog. If I need to make content. I like to sit down at a desk to make it. My cell phone though is a radio. Stream Furious is my favorite application. I can listen to Broadway World Radio, Jewish Radio, Secret Agent Radio, and WRVO from Oswego/Syracuse. I'm upstate. I'm in Canada. I'm in my own movie. I'm the star of my own play. I also have some of my music and photos of my kitties on board. I am my own DJ. My wallpaper has carrots and black radishes. In my imagination, I run my own cooking show.

There are no commercials except for a few ads on a few web pages. I have no one to text, but if I did, it would be much easier. So far the only adverse effect I notice is that I am blogging a bit less and writing less fiction, but my real life has been a bit upside down, and my blogging rhythm was off before. As for the fiction, I thought my story was over, but I am not ready to let it go, so there it is.

The other disruption in my life, which is not unpleasant or adverse, is that the real world has begun to resemble Second Life. My cell phone's ring tone, that I took great pains to find, sounds like a zwicky. Sunday I had the cell phone cooling in the fridge. It's a black cell phone, temperatures are in the ninties farenheit, and unlike computers, cell phones do not have a fan but produce a lot of heat. When I heard a loud bird-like call, and my first thought was. "There's a zwicky in the fridge!" I wondered how it could have gotten in there. This was not Stinky Stinky, Iyoba's and my 2048 in Second Life. I opened the fridge and picked up the cell phone which I knew was ringing.

Also, music streams on a cell phone drop and pick up somewhat randomly, just enough to be occasionally annoying. Well, "This sim now plays music," and just like in Second Life, the music occasionally cuts out. I feel like yelling at an imaginary DJ who is responsible for the stream, until I remember, uh I have a cell phone in my pocket.

Still Unhappy with Facebook

RAOK has stabelized at just below 170 members, down from close to 195. Thankyou for the upgrade, and thanks for nothing. The wall is actually busier, since people seem to like it better. I think of it as a train wreack waiting to happen. I don't contribute daily to LOTH any more. I too am a casualty of the "upgrade." Candi is trying to stimulate what is left of RAOK. I try to maintain my own role, though I hate the wall as a place for daily comments. I'm doing a bit less on Facebook which is good, but only a bit less.

And Finally....

This is a hell of a way to start out the month, but The Site Fights have vanished and ZOID is still here. Newer competitions with some reforms have also outlived what was once a very inhumane and exploitive way to treat webmasters. The Site Fights vanished last fall and left a husk with no final message. Even the Golden Elite closed with a message. I'm not sure what is happening to Haldis' competition or her team. I'm too tired to gloat. I'm aware of what it takes to keep going another year. Next year, though all this too could be gone. That is the way it is. This is the end and no one has the energy, money, or time to start again.

My comp survived because it is small, and small things are more nimble and harder to break. I am also a persistent bastard. That's just how I am. I don't give up. I'm consistent and willing to do the week-in, week-out work. I work smart, not hard as well. All that helps, but that does not prove the virtue of my model or rewards. I founded ZOID in ignorance, and learned more by hanging around. Well, I could say it's over, but it's not.

Eileen H. Kramer -- June 7, 2011