Rob Vincent dot net

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February 27, 2009


Rob @ 11:01 AM

Zachary Byron Helm has written an interesting post about the slow death of social interaction.

Save the date: April 4 is the next pillow fight in Union Square.

The possibility of my attending this year's Defcon has been upgraded from "well, it'd be nice" to "a definite maybe."

My friend Cableflame disapproves of prank calls, but I successfully got her to laugh at one last night.

Dave Makes has posted an interview with Eric Michaud on the subject of hackerspaces. Eric successfully puts into words so much of what is wonderful about the hackerspace concept, in newbie-friendly terms.

11 Responses to “misc”

  1. nicky says:

    i agree that it's probably a bad thing that social interaction is falling away...but i disagree with his assessment of going out to eat alone. those are two completely different trains of thought, and conflating them is kind of an injustice.

    i've been a big proponent of going out to eat alone for years now, and i do it all the time. it may look pathetic to the tables of two or four or eight who are laughing and carrying on, but i find it to be an extremely refreshing experience. i bring a book or a computer project with me, i let someone else deal with making food, and i enjoy having the change of scenery. it gives me time to think and recharge, and i always feel happy when i'm done with my meal.

  2. Rob says:

    @Nicky: I agree. I like hanging out alone and just letting the world happen around me. I tend not to go out to eat, though, preferring to chill out in a park or something with a packed lunch for my people-watching.

  3. Brewster says:

    Intrigued at the n00b-friendly article on hackerspaces! Particularly since the word itself was new to me at TLH.

    ...and I wonder what sort of punk'dage got Cableflame to LOL. A very deserving one no doubt.

  4. Rob says:

    @Brewster: I was pranking 419 scammers who had spammed my inbox, with Cable and my girlfriend conferenced in via Skype. She has generally condemned prank calls as inexcusably disrespectful to the target, but even she can get behind a prank which interferes with someone's intention to do something actually evil.

  5. nicky says:

    @Brewster: i, as well, had never heard of "hackerspaces" before The Last HOPE. i find them fascinating...since then i've gotten involved in the effort to open one up here in Chicago [Eric, the guy in the video, is the president of the hackerspace i'm working on...], and have visited a couple of them in real life [HacDC and NYCResistor]. if you're interested at all in getting involved in a community of creative people who like to hack and make things, i highly recommend checking out a hackerspace if you live anywhere near one, or hooking into a local effort to start one if you don't have one near you yet.

  6. c4bl3fl4m3 says:

    As you said... every moment a scammer is talking to us, he's not scamming someone ELSE out of their money. I consider what you 2 do with that a service to the world at large.

    The reason I don't like prank calls is because of how it fucks with the feelings of the target. I know what it's like to be pranked, and I know how crappy it feels, and I just don't want people doing it to other people. Especially innocent people who did nothing to you. (Your enemies? Go for it, if you must.)

    But scammers aren't innocent people. At all.

    And I'm so tired of "the interwebs are killing social interaction". It comes from a premise that what you do online isn't "real". Which is bullshit. The internet is just a form of communication, like phone calls or letters. (And sometimes, with the joy of webcams and skype, it lets us have face to face interaction with those that live far away. For free at that.) Face to face interaction is important, and honestly, I don't see it going out of style. (If you can get hackers to crawl out of their shells and go to a con, it's doing just fine.) But the whole ZOMG NOONE'S INTERACTING OFFLINE ANYMORE is like Chicken Little complaining about the sky falling.

    And as for this "NO ONE was talking. Every person in the place was sitting there on their cell phones, texting, surfing", the last time I checked, that WAS talking. It's just talking with other people than the ones present. We've chosen, instead of interacting with the people present with us (who may or may not be good for conversation anyway), interacting with people of our choosing. Our friends and stuff. People still get together for the express purpose of making new friends. And people DO make new friends online. This just keeps us from having to have awkward conversations with our coworkers or other random idiots.

    Also, the last time I checked "concentrate on some shitty piece of plastic and artifical synapses?" is bullshit as well. The computer doesn't talk back to you. Every bit of content you EVER take in was created by a HUMAN behind a desk somewhere. Computers, cell phones, etc. don't talk on their own. They require people to work. And that's another fallacy I'm sick of. When you do things on a computer, you are NOT TALKING TO A COMPUTER. You are talking to the PERSON on the other end. Whether it's writing in someone's blog (Hi Rob!) or playing WoW. There's always a REAL HONEST TO GOD LIVE PERSON on the other side. (Or at least there was to create the content.)

    Sorry, but this is just one of my big pet peeves.

    Oh, and as for "We're all getting worse, less friendly and more self absorbed." What? Do you think that people of days past were always interacting with people? Do you think they NEVER brought a book or something to occupy their time? The great thinking of the WORLD wouldn't have happened w/o that "self-absorbed" thinker shutting out the world and working out Archimede's Screw or the Pythagorean Theorem or "To be or not to be" or any other number of the world's great thoughts. What would the OP say to Descartes and "I think, therefore I am"?

  7. Rob says:

    @Cableflame: I, for one, tend to enjoy getting pranked, so long as it's actually something creative, funny, and/or interesting, and not over the line. Ask me to ban dihydrogen monoxide or if I have Olive Oyl in a bottle, but don't tell me my family died in a car crash, dig? I love being the butt of a good joke, and the style of pranks I do are pretty consistent with that; cactus unto others as you would have them cactus unto you.

    You make some valid points about the social issue. In the situation of the roomful of people ignoring each other in favor of the electronic messages, however, I still tend to think that the social situation in front of them takes precedence, and pretending it does not is just rude.

    Part of me still misses the days when phones had cords, and once you were out of range of one you had no choice but to pay attention to what was going on around you. (Incidentally, get off my lawn!) My online friendships are as important and real to me as my offline ones, and I love communicating online to folks near and far, but I would not snub a roomful of people IRL to do so. A public social situation is not my private space, and the Internets can wait until I get back to my computer.

    Most people would find it socially unacceptable for a roomful of physical people to pile into their office or bedroom while they are in an online chat, waving their hands in front of the screen and vying for attention. I find the reverse equally upsetting.

  8. c4bl3fl4m3 says:

    Yes, YOU like pranks, but how do you know the person at the other end does? And the whole "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" really isn't valid, because we all like different things. *I'd* have people play with power in sexual situations... that doesn't mean everyone has my sexual inclinations. I like piercing play and fire play. Certainly not everyone does.

    I don't mind it when my friends prank me (and I prank them back), but that's because we have an understanding and it's our way of showing affection. (BTW... CACTUS.)

    See, if there was a world wide "prank me" database where you could choose people at random off of it and prank them, that would be awesome. Then it would be consensual for all involved.

    And as for the room full of people txting, the people who choose to text and not interact can do so, and the people who choose to interact can do so as well. Not everyone appreciates being thrust into social situations they didn't ask to be in and then being forced to socialize. (I don't like it depending on the group I'm thrust into. My ex hated it in general.) Not everyone is as comfortable around strangers as you are or has the social skills you have. For someone with, say, Asperger's, that can be a living hell.

  9. c4bl3fl4m3 says:

    Oh, and I forgot.

    /me gets off your lawn. ;-)

  10. Rob says:

    @Cableflame: I'm assuming that roomful of people is not locked. If one finds themself uncomfortable in a social situation, would it not be preferable to excuse onesself and find something better to do?

    Whatever social skills I may or may not possess, there do exist people in whose company I would not be comfortable. I don't hang around with them.

  11. Sidepocket says:

    FLAME WAR! NAO!!!1one

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