Never forget.

    Cory Doctrow (, writing on

    Together, they represent a multi-front war on the very idea that four billion people should have their digital lives controlled by an unaccountable billionaire man-child whose major technological achievement was making a website where he and his creepy friends could nonconsensually rate the fuckability of their fellow Harvard undergrads.

    3 May 2024 — French West Indies

    Blogrolls are cool again

    I’ve tried blogging on and off for years, possibly decades. It has never stuck. These last couple of years or so, I have been more consistent and blogged a lot more.

    I’ve had to move platforms, so much of the old stuff is badly linked these days, and I even had a post promoted by a software house mere days before I moved platforms again, rendering their link to my blog useless 😰 —I didn’t have the heart to ask them to update the link.

    One thing that stuck out in the later stages of the earlier blogging period was a list of recommended blogs that bloggers would share on their posts/pages. It got a bit nepotistic eventually, but the idea was solid —You like my blog, why not try these?

    They died out when microblogging sites like Twitter and other social media walled gardens railroaded the Internet. The algorithm replaced the recommendations, not to help you find more interesting things to read and learn about, but to monetise you through invasive and often illegal advertising malpractice.

    But blogging is making a comeback. People are starting to feel the real harm social media is doing to us. And yes, I know there are studies that say there’s nothing wrong with social media, and others that feel it is literal digital cancer. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, or at least more nuanced than those arguments —that are, by the way, very “social media” in construction by being as binary as that.

    And so with (real) blogging making a comeback, so are blogrolls. These are the real algorithms of the Internet. One’s that are much better, much saner, less clickbait-y… more human, and humane.

    Long live blogrolls. Mine is a work-in-progress, and you can find it from the menu.

    2 May 2024 — French West Indies

    Au revoir Apple Watch

    I’ve bought three Apple Watches since its introduction, spending a total of around 1000 € not including a few bands that I bought to change things when wearing it for sleep, sport or out for dinner.

    I may be a little slow in realising this, but I’ve just purchased a mid-range Swiss movement automatic watch for quite a bit less than I spent on Apple Watches over the last 9 years. My current Apple Watch doesn’t a whole day any more as the battery is hosed. Although I could replace the battery —in theory— it requires even more money thrown at a watch that will be declared obsolete shortly, and then become a contribution to the world’s ever-growing pile of eWaste because a corporate manager has ordained it so. I’m not that comfortable with that prospect.

    My new watch will last decades and will be something I can pass down to my son in years to come, unlike an obsolete wrist computer with a swollen fire hazard battery. And it’ll still tell the time as wells it did when I bought all those years ago.

    I don’t think I’ll buy a new Apple Watch anytime soon.

    However, it is an “au revoir” because I’m still going to use the Apple Watch for exercise and sleep tracking, or if I know I’m going to have a particularly active day. But I don’t see myself re-spending the kinds of sums required just ot have the time on my wrist and a couple of notifications.

    I’ll be looking into other options for sports and sleep.

    27 April 2024 — French West Indies

    No Logitech, I don’t want or need an AI prompt system attached to the mouse software wasting GPU uselessly. At least make it so we can switch that crap off if we want! FFS!

    Logi Options uninstalled, and I’ve gone back to a basic mouse for the time being. I miss the MX Master 3, but I don’t want everything ChatGPT-ified.

    23 April 2024 — French West Indies

    When Facebook (or Meta if you believe they have changed purpose) first proposed the EU-only pay-for-no-ads subscriptions to their “products”, there was something that rubbed me up the wrong way but I couldn’t articulate it.

    Now they have climbed down a little, in a tactic to see where the line is for the EU in accepting such a scam.

    And that’s what it is… a scam.

    And this is what I was trying to articulate previously but couldn’t. What really irks me is that the “proposition” from Facebook comes from a point of view that they are entitled to this money.

    No they’re fucking not! They’re entitled to some money if they actually provided a real service, rather than a global surveillance network with added crappy AI ads and vacuous “Influencers”.

    The litmus test, as I wrote about years ago, is forcing them to ask EVERY user to pay for the service, then we’ll see what “service” is essential for all.

    16 April 2024 — French West Indies

    Normal person reading Science Fiction novel: “Oh wow, cool story. Not reality however because of a million and one flaws and oversights in physics, sociology, politics and human nature.”

    Billionaire Tech Bro reading Science Fiction novel: “Oh wow, cool story. I got all this money and I can make this reality because number go up. It’s like they’ve created a user manual for me.”

    15 April 2024 — French West Indies

    Every now and again, I get to show people around this Island in the middle of the Caribbean. I have friends over from the UK at the moment and I got to take them up the killer volcano. OK, I’m dramatising, but it is a volcano that killed around 30,000 people in 1902!

    I love going up there but haven’t done it for several years. The night before the walk, I didn’t sleep well. I was anguished and couldn’t stop thinking about all the bad things that could happen during my attempt at sleep. I do that sometimes. I can’t help it. It contributes to me losing a lot of sleep. But on the bright side, at least I’m up early to prepare in time.

    An early start of around 6 a.m. allowed us to be among the first groups to start the climb of nearly 500m of vertical ascension from the car park to the deuxième réfuge. The weather wasn’t with us, and visibility was limited, and even very limited at times, but the walk was really enjoyable and gave me the taste for doing more walks in the future.

    I was worried about my fitness level, but I had no reason to worry as I was fine, apart from a slight knee pain while descending. I’m getting older, so it is to be expected.

    I plan on going on more walks and possibly taking my dog along for the experience. She’d love it.

    6 April 2024 — French West Indies

    BBC: Public satisfaction with the NHS has dropped again, setting a new low recorded by the long-running British Social Attitudes survey.

    Just 24% said they were satisfied with the NHS in 2023, with waiting times and staff shortages the biggest concerns.

    That is five percentage points down on last year and a drop from the 2010 high of 70% satisfaction.

    The poll - the gold-standard measure of the public’s view of the health service - has been running since 1983.

    This is the result of an age-old strategy of making things progressively worse, with one aim —to privatise— and get the architects and their friends rich off the spoils. This is nation-level short selling on an industrial scale and should be illegal or, at the very least, highly regulated.

    27 March 2024 — French West Indies

    Burning the planet to a cinder is the answer to getting fans to buy your music?

    This is such an extraordinarily bad take. Repeat after me: blockchain is not the answer.

    26 March 2024 — French West Indies

    I spent the weekend replacing an ageing Apple Airport wifi network with some fancy gear from Ubiquiti.

    I should have done this ages ago, but I’m glad I waited for this generation of Wi-Fi device. The configuration options are much better than those in my previous kit.

    18 March 2024 — French West Indies

    So much of the Internet is now a Hobson’s choice, that we’ve lost what its purpose was.

    7 March 2024 — French West Indies

    Generative AI accountability

    Should owners of GenAI machines be made responsible for their outputs?

    I’m not sure whether I entirely agree with that statement, but I think a more nuanced interpretation could be considered for regulation or rules of use. Something like: If you can’t precisely describe how the algorithm produces its results in a methodological and repeatable manner, then perhaps you shouldn’t be operating them, and at the very least, you should be held responsible for their output.

    These are not like search engines or social media platforms, despite the concerted effort to portray them as in the same category. The implication is that Section 230, therefore, shouldn’t apply.

    TLDR: No one knows ‘how’ these systems work.

    6 March 2024 — French West Indies


    3 March 2024 — French West Indies

    They say RSS died years ago, killed by Google.


    2 March 2024 — French West Indies

    La Fondation du Rien

    Aren’t we all in need of this?

    27 February 2024 — French West Indies

    “FineWoven cases are junk, say majority, sharing photos of peeling and scratches.”

    From 9to5Mac.

    I’d argue that pretty much all of Apple’s recent accessories are junk these days. The quality and longevity have generally nosedived over the last few years.

    Present Apple has changed from supplying quality equipment to extracting rents on services because it can no longer grow as it used to. On a finite planet, there’s only a finite number of people to sell stuff to. Shareholders are contributing to the decline of the very thing they believe they’re going to get rich from.

    This is not another “Apple is doomed” post, but it is a waypoint in the history and direction the company has chosen.

    26 February 2024 — French West Indies


    25 February 2024 — French West Indies

    Welcome Back

    This is the first post of a completely new blog based on the old blog that used to reside here.

    I recently went through a complete overhaul of all my writing into one site, consolidating everything in one place. After an arduous migration of data and a failed attempt at using a popular platform, I decided on (MB) as my new home.

    MB allowed me to easily and quickly create a blog and a newsletter and cross-post to a bunch of other sites like Mastodon and LinkedIn, to name a couple, for $10 per month. Excellent value as far as I’m concerned.

    In theory, the idea was reasonable, but I quickly stumbled upon one of the issues of our technological times: the separation of professional and personal blogs and miscellanea. I found that I’d put in place a professionally oriented site in terms of content, and it stifled the outlet for personal thoughts and reflections on the world I live in. I had previously used separate platforms to achieve this, resulting in extra costs. Then something changed.

    I feel like I have totally lucked out (in?) when I chose MB, specifically the Premium plan. If you’ve popped in here recently, you’ll have fallen on a link list aimed at linking to the main site. This was available at no extra cost and was very useful. However, Manton Reece, the founder of MB, announced a change to the pricing model, allowing a Premium subscriber to run up to five separate full blogs at no extra cost. This is an incredible value, and it was this change that made me rethink that separation, and hence, this blog was (re)conceived.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve decided to start from scratch and not migrate the old posts here. I might reflect on that and change my mind. I’m undecided currently. As I write this, I’m thinking it would be more coherent and allow me a little more freedom to post other things. We’ll see. That’s the beauty of these tools. We can mix and match and change things up as we see fit, particularly as it is a personal site with absolutely no monetisation or tracking whatsoever.

    But that’s a can of worms for another day.

    /French West Indies

    Meta May Allow Instagram and Facebook Users in Europe to Pay to Avoid Ads

    Via The New York Times:

    The subscription plan is a response to European Union policies and court rulings to restrict Meta’s data-collection practices.

    I say go for it. We might find out what Social Networks are really worth then. I suspect not a lot.

    2 September 2023 — French West Indies

    Facebook/Meta and highly personalised ads in the EU

    Highly personalised ads imply highly personalised data about you. Despite what Facebook/Meta and the intrusive advertising apologists say, collecting, storing and profile-building that information is a huge security risk to each and every individual on the internet. And yes, I know there have not been any “known” breaches reported, but known is doing a lot of lifting in that statement.

    After more than five years of extensive litigation by noyb, the German Kartellamt and decisions by the EDPB and CJEU, it seems that Meta finally complies with EU privacy laws:

    5 years of litigation: Meta apparently switches to consent for behavioral ads

    Many think that policy advisors in the EU Commission develop policy ideas like they’re given in Christmas crackers. That couldn’t be further from the truth, as policy is shaped mainly by research and findings. And whether you agree or disagree with eventual legislation, the foundations of it are not some verbal fart of a career policy wonk with incentives to climb the greasy pole of EU politics.

    Firstly, I’d like to point you to a document from the European Commission, the Study on the impact of recent developments in digital advertising on privacy, publishers and advertisers.

    The Executive Summary lists many conclusions and observations, with one that is particularly interesting and not widely understood:

    There is limited evidence to suggest that the efficiency and efficacy gains of advertising products that rely on personal data and profiling outweigh the interference with individuals’ fundamental rights and consumer rights in addition to the reported negative societal impacts. A large amount of academic research has focused on demonstrating that the way that digital advertising works today has significant impacts on privacy, data protection, democracy, society and the environment. However, there is a lack of independent analysis to assess the costs and benefits of using personal data and profiling in advertising.

    And this:

    Lack of transparency in digital advertising limits evidence-based decision-making because advertisers lack independent data to assess the performance of digital advertising. This strengthens the position of players with strong market power and deters advertisers from switching to emerging alternatives that are less intrusive, even though there is evidence that some advertisers would prefer to rely on models that minimise the processing of unnecessary personal data. More independent data about the performance of alternative models compared to the status quo is needed to encourage widespread adoption among advertisers and publishers.

    The efficacy of online advertising has always been bullshit and a mechanism of wealth extraction from advertisers and targeted individuals alike. It is time to expose it for what it is —essentially a scam.

    5 August 2023 — French West Indies

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