Archive for the Opinion Category

Letter to “News” Sites That Post Hitler Videos

miqrogroove
2013-03-15T01:49:48+00:00

During the recent media frenzy surrounding Google’s announcement of discontinuing the Google Reader product, I was shocked by a few websites that shamelessly included video clips from the YouTube Hitler meme.  I am referring here to:

TechCrunch.com

Telegraph.co.uk

TheInquirer.net

TheRegister.co.uk

These video clips are from a movie called Der Untergang, a disturbing dramatization of Hitler’s attempted mass suicide at the end of the Holocaust.  Ironic subtitles about Google Reader are superimposed on the video to make it seem like a kind of twisted parody.

Are the subtitles amusing?  Yes.

Is parody a form of free speech?  Yes.

Do these videos belong in the news?  No.

The Der Untergang parodies belong in the hands of juvenile morons who don’t understand the context of the film.

I don’t expect any kind of redaction or apology to be issued by those websites.  I am simply blocking them from my own news feeds so that I will be reminded never to visit them again.

14 Mar 2013

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Facebook Protip: Rename All Friend Lists

miqrogroove
2013-03-13T16:33:02+00:00
The Manage List menu

Bug Workaround

There’s a new bug (feature?) in Facebook that prevents using more than 12 friend lists in many areas of the website.  It’s highly frustrating.

If you run into this situation where you want to filter your friends but can’t see the list you need, there is only one workaround:

You have to send your infrequently used friend lists to the bottom of the pile by renaming them.  You can do this by going to the lists page, opening one of your lists, clicking “Manage List” in the upper-right corner, and then selecting Rename.

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13 Mar 2013

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Facebook Disables Options, Floods News Feed

miqrogroove
2012-12-23T11:49:28+00:00
The News Feed settings menu.

These Don’t Work Anymore

Facebook recently rolled out changes to its News Feed feature, making it controversial and difficult to use again.

  • When your friends click “Like” on an item posted by someone who is a stranger to you, that story is now added to your News Feed.
  • These “Like” stories now comprise the majority of News Feed items, flooding the home page with irrelevant images and branding.
  • The settings that were designed to remove these stories no longer work.

When I log in to Facebook now, I am bombarded by photographs posted by people I have never heard of in my life.  My friends are clicking the “Like” button on these photos, causing them to appear on my News Feed.

What this problem means for me is that even though my friends sometimes exercise good taste, we do not have the same taste.  The images in my News Feed now frequently contain profanity, political messages, corporate branding, and other unwanted or randomly useless information.

And it’s not just me.  The News Feed became such an annoyance yesterday that I wrote about it on my Facebook profile, which quickly received replies from friends having the same problem.

In the past, unwanted posts could be permanently blocked by adjusting the feed settings.  Now Facebook has gone too far.  They have broken all of the settings listed under “What types of updates” to receive from friends.  Even though I have “Comments and Likes” turned off for many of my friends, I am still getting a flood of their unwanted activity updates.

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4 Aug 2012

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SSDI Gone in Censorship Scandal

miqrogroove
2011-12-27T16:46:19+00:00
Screen shot of the SSDI website.

SSDI, Rest in Peace

Massive Loss to Genealogists Everywhere

In my ongoing research of personal genealogy and family history, I can honestly say that no single record set had been more valuable to me than the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) database that was freely available on the RootsWeb website.  I attributed no less than 193 individual citations to this database, just in my own family tree.

While conducting such research during this winter break, I was shocked to see this message appear on RootsWeb:

Due to sensitivities around the information in this database, the Social Security Death Index collection is not available.

I was further shocked to learn that this database take down was initiated by the United States Senate.  I cannot avoid decrying censorship.  The SSDI has become a national treasure of historical information, and to even propose blocking its public use is a violation of our guaranteed freedoms.

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27 Dec 2011

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