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Dear Facebook, Redux

No sooner than I post my post and happily move along to writing my review of well, a very nicely illustrated children’s book about mice who cook delicious cheese soup, which reminds me, I need to get the recipe, than I am posed with my first dilemma about not having a Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr account. I may still have a Tumblr account but don’t remember how to get into it. I did mention in my previous post that there is a good side to social media. It has just boppopped me on the head and reminded me of its existence. It’s ridiculous that I needed a reminded, because I have helped fund a few projects on this site–Kickstarter–and really think it’s the future for people who are in any way clever about anything and want to do something about it. For me, specifically, this is in the way of art and publishing, but I get pulled in the tech direction sometimes; that’s how I first found out about the site. My boyfriend is a gamer, and he started to help fund some PC games he thought looked interesting. I’ve checked out the games since, and was particularly pleased when a bear simulator, yep, a bear simulator, where you get to be the bear, was successfully funded. That was one cool idea. Who’d have thunk it? All the projects I have donated toward, however, have been publishing or art projects, and they have all (yay!!) been funded–except for one, which is in tech, that I read about on Softpedia (I will admit that Softpedia for Mac is my homepage) and immediately thought, “I am so there!” because there are a lot of things Apple does really well, except wireless and keyboards, in my experience. I have learned to live with the keyboard. The wireless issue I’m still pretty darn ticked off about, not that my posting a post or a whole series of posts would do anything, but seriously, Apple, I’m beginning to question my commitment to SparkleMotion. I know I’m not a tech person. I wish I was. I can fix some things, I just can’t tell you how I did it. I can break them, too–I learned that on a PC, unless you know what you’re doing, you don’t mess with the .dll files. But I have a Mac again. Don’t mess with the registry or the library unless you have a really good reason. I have done that and my computer lived to tell the tale. But the wireless–months now, Mr. Cook, months. Worse things have happened at sea, but while I may have issues with the dark side of social media, there is the light, and that’s what I’m here to discuss.That doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally think someone should be flying from the yardarm. Looking for networks, on…looking for networks…on…looking for networks…on. You get the idea. If this is something I have done to prevent the happy union of my iMac and my Airport Whatchamacallit Tower thing (memory issues, did I mention the memory issues? My RAM, not the computer’s) however they both shall be happy together, I am fully willing to admit it was my fault, but I really don’t think it was. Anyway, again, not the main topic of discussion.

By de-activating my Facebook and Twitter accounts, I also cut off two of the areas of information dissemination for some of the good things on the internet, in this instance, the Next Keyboard for iOS, and I really hope I won’t get in trouble if I use the picture they have on their site. It probably says somewhere in the tiny print that I can’t, but for now I’m going to say, in all honesty, I don’t remember seeing that in tiny print. See, this is where the moral conundrum comes in, and I’m not talking about the picture. For the developers of Next Keyboard, they needed some help to get the project off the ground, so they turned to Kickstarter.

Now, my best friend and I have discussed how, in the olden days (no, not the 80s, even though things from then are now considered practically antique on Etsy) there used to be Patrons of the Arts, people who, when they found someone whose art they liked, would support them while the artist did whatever work the patron wanted. That way, an artist could live, though not exactly doing whatever they wanted, now that I wanted. I imagine that if any cherubs on the ceiling had been making rude gestures, we’d have heard about it by now. But music, art, writing, there were patrons for all of these things. Now, while you wouldn’t think so to look at it on the surface, society doesn’t value these things as much, unless you’re from a certain socio-economic level of society and up. Before anyone gets huffy, look at school curriculums, and the teachers on staff of public schools across the nation, and find out how many of them have full time music teachers and full time art teachers. At ONE school. I know of districts who employ full time art and music teachers yes, but on Monday they’re at Chestnut Elementary, Tuesday they’re at Walnut Elementary, Wednesday they’re at Filbert Elementary (I had to get that one in before I stopped, this is Oregon), and so on. The arts are languishing at lower levels of education. If you look on Kickstarter, I’d wager there are more than a few projects to try to get some sort of art, music, or literature program at an elementary school somewhere. And there’s no stratification in society. Oops. I’m not supposed to be talking about these things. No news. I can’t just forget everything now, though, can I? The important thing is, Kickstarter is making a difference. Five of the documentaries that made it to the Academy Awards were funded through Kickstarter. That’s the only one I can think of right off, but the number of video games on Steam funded through Kickstarter–55 (I had to ask my boyfriend that one). These people on Kickstarter are making a difference, and by funding them you are helping them to make a difference. Check out Kickstarter’s website after you look at Next Keyboard’s info here, and, especially if you’re an iOS user, send a little love their way:

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https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/robjama/next-keyboard-the-perfect-keyboard-for-iphone/widget/video.html

So, I guess, one has to weigh out the pros and cons. For me, I know I won’t go back on unless I have to–but I will help people how I can from here, because they deserve it. These are brilliant and talented people, programmers and artists (an interesting juxtaposition, because in a way, it’s all art; isn’t there beauty in a perfect program?). Social media gives these projects the attention they need to succeed. On the same theme, I wouldn’t want it just to be limited to things like this. I think most of what happens and goes on is just fine. I was normally able and even eager to discuss news items and support the causes I believe in, and will be able to do so again, once I’ve recovered some resiliency. Facebook, in my experience, in the groups I “hung out” around, was fine. Twitter confused the h*ll out of me, quite frankly. It was worse than Facebook in terms of reporting every single thing someone does. But it also seemed much more likely to have gangs of, for lack of a better term, thugs (I don’t like the term trolls–trolls are from fairy tales and I’m sure if one were to do enough research, there were nice trolls. Not in Norway, though, if you’ve ever seen the Norwegian movie, Trolls, which I highly recommend. It’s just a downright awesome movie. And there was that phase back in the 1970’s, which then repeated recently, with the fuzzy haired trolls–I loved those. So, no, I won’t call them trolls). They’re thugs, and they’re out to beat up people’s reputations and online personas without caring that there are real people involved, seemingly at the drop of a hat–they literally seem to go around looking for arguments. That I won’t abide. The unfortunate thing about that is no sooner than you kick one off, they’re back with a new email and new username before you can say “venomous thug generator.”

I don’t understand people who have no moral qualms about having more than one username that they go under, say, to cast more votes in something, or to manipulate a situation using different names so others actually think there are more people involved than really are. I’m creeping back to the dark side again, aren’t I? Maybe I’ve either just had more bad experiences with others on the internet, I’m a thug magnet, or I’m just very thin skinned. Probably all of the former, coupled with the fact that I have a strong sense of right and wrong, but I am willing to admit, oh, this is bad, but I have to do it, I have to, there are at least 50 shades of grey. No, there are a lot more than that, it just takes a discerning eye. LOL. I know because I look in the mirror. šŸ™‚ I prefer silver, even though it makes me sound like an elf. Not that I have anything against elves. Let’s just not go there.

There are some people, especially after reading this post, who might say that giving anyone the freedom to blog is as bad as signing in with Facebook. That may or may not be true, although after having some trouble learning (am still learning, thank you) about my new Kobo, having a small explosion about how it’s supposed to be partnered with indie bookstores but I couldn’t get the books I bought at indie bookstores on my Kobo, downloading the user’s manual, in English (Kudos to Kobo for how many languages they offer support in), I learned that it’s supposed to have facial recognition and you can turn it on by moving it in small circles in front of your face. I am guessing there is some prep to this, for example, it learning my face, which will simply not happen–I am odd enough in real life without moving an eReader around in front of my face to turn in on, and doing it in the privacy of my own home, and thinking about what it would like, would just make me laugh, also most likely rendering it useless. So I found that out and ended up getting the Aldiko app to upload all the books I had bought, along with the free goodies (All Romance eBooks, great for free reads, and they carry lots of good diverse fiction as well, AND I realized last night–yes, sometimes I have the supreme gift of oversight, if you hit the Omni lit tab (how many times have I looked at that Omni lit tab?) it’s a whole, regular bookstore! OMG! Thank you, Aldiko! I seriously wouldn’t have checked that out if not for that app, and we’re talking years that I have been using ARe. I am not saying how many, it’s just too embarrassing). I am annoyed that the libraries won’t mingle. This is one of the places my tech knowledge falls flat on its face and cries mercy. They’re not computers, but…they sort of act like them…I can’t fix it! I can’t figure it out! I’m a reader, Jim, not a miracle worker! Not with these chameleon tech things. iPhones included. Though I have managed to get my Kindle working, somewhat, again after it futzed out.

And so we’ll come full circle here. I think a lot of the difficulty is from attempting to use wireless at home that is simply not a happy camper. Do you or do you not want me to use my iDevices at home, Mr Cook? Because for some reason, this Looking for networks…on…looking for networks…on…looking for networks…on…looking for networks thing doesn’t seem to be working to well for them, or their VPN. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s a conspiracy, after I started having problems with the VPN not be able to stay on. A collaboration? Cast aspersions, me? In this country? Wait, homing in on news territory again. Sigh. So I have to resort to my TV hero memes, like Trust no one. Fix the wi-fi and I’ll have to stop casting aspersions, won’t I? Prove me wrong. I just want things to work, that’s all.

Alright, I think I’ve gone on enough. I want to do some reading. I have a challenge goal to meet.

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