November 26th, 2015
So… doing some Black Friday cyber shopping from here in APAC – today from Indonesia. I was on Amazon [amazon.com] and…
Quick aside: I’m a complete Amazon fan-boy, maybe more than I am an Apple fan-boy. I sold my soul to Apple but Amazon has my heart. I’ve been using Amazon since 1997. When I need to check an old address – in Virginia, in DC, in England, in Singapore! I check my Amazon shipping addresses. Hardly a week goes buy that I don’t buy something from Amazon. Thank you Jeff!
… Picking up where we left off. I was Black Friday shopping on Amazon. Since I live in Singapore I have to buy things that say “ships to Singapore.” Since it’s Black Friday there are lots of sales, and the headline that caught my eye today was the Kindle device sales. I have a Kindle, generation 2 or 3 of the small one I think, but at Black Friday prices maybe it’s time to upgrade. Amiright? So, I checked out all the models and low and behold the basic model ships to Singapore!
So I immediately added it to my cart. Sweet antici………..pation! I spent a few minutes more browsing around — can’t find a replacement 2.5mm male to 3.5mm male audio cable for my B&W P5s that “ships to Singapore”, damn it! — and checkout time. Sign in, select shipping address — Singapore! — and what the bloody hell, “problem with items in my shopping cart?”!?!
Ahhhhh! Sold by Amazon Export LLC, but not exported to Singapore? Ahhhh! Blue balls! Blue. Balls.
After struggling for a while to find some sort of combinations of magical clicks to get it to work I resorted to chatting with a service rep. They were nice and after a few seconds were able to confirm that, indeed, Kindle devices cannot be exported to Singapore. I informed them that the site clearly stated the item was “eligible for shipping to Singapore” and needs to be checked. They said thanks for the feedback and they would escalate the issue to the relevant team. Nothing further to be done. No new Kindle for me. But to Amazon’s credit a a hours later I got an email from Amazon apologizing for the issue and confirming that it was indeed forwarded to the Kindle team to review and fix. You hear that Jeff? Fix it. Blue balls suck.
November 17th, 2015
There is a lot of #PrayForParis on Facebook [facebook.com] and Twitter [twitter.com] but I think praying is exactly the wrong response… The men who did this prayed to the same God just before they killed those people. I posted my feelings on Facebook when the tag first crossed my feed, but thought it deserved a bit more thinking…
I’m absolutely assuming the people who did this did it in the name of their interpretation of their religion and that that religion was Islam. Since IS has claimed responsibility. But I’m not being anti-Muslim here, terrorism in the name of religion is not confined to any one religion – Catholic Republicans or Protestant Unionist in Ireland, Hindu nationalist in India, Buddhist nuts in Sri Lanka or Myanmar. It doesn’t matter. Religion is one of the most divisive labels on the planet creating in-group and out-groups over whose supernatural belief is more correct &mdash a, by nature, un-provable conjecture &mdash just perpetuates violence in the name of that belief. Religion, of course, does not, in any way, have a monopoly on creating in-groups and out-groups on which people will base violence; nation states promote patriotism which begets nationalism, just another form of bigotry. Race, sex, age, disability, an any number of other factors are all convenient facets to frame ones in-group and treat all others badly. It’s natural, stereotypes might be wrong but they make life so much easier. In fact they are an absolutely necessity allowing us to quickly gauge situations that could be life threatening and so our minds are very good at stereotyping things, including people. When applied to other humans in a “civilized” society is where we run into issues. The irony is that we should all know to look beyond our instinctive stereotyping and live to a higher standard, after all the golden rule “occurs in some form in nearly every religion and ethical tradition.” (quoted from the Golden Rule [wikipedia.org]). Everyone posting their #PrayForParis thoughts should take a moment to remember the atrocities committed in the name of their religion. Instead of praying try to remember that 300 years since the beginning of the Age of Enlightenment [wikipedia.org] and we still struggle to live up to its ideals; best expressed in the French “liberté, égalité, fraternité” [wikipedia.org] (excusing its inherent sexism).
August 28th, 2015
“Part of me feels that sexual relations between consenting adults, transactional or not, are nobody’s business but their own.”
Richard Branson in The Pros and Cons of Legalized Prostitution [virgin.com]
I agree. Legalize it. Regulate it. Tax it. and so forth so on. As long as people are adult and consenting and no one is being hurt the act itself should not be illegal. Of course this does not change anything related to the illegality of underage prostitution, sexual violence or slavery or human trafficking, as Branson goes on to say in the next sentence:
“At the same time, I am just as appalled as everybody else by the global extent of human trafficking and sexual slavery that continue to be a significant part of the sex trade”
My stance is based on the right to privacy, as I said back in 2006 [confusion.cc]:
I believe that congress should make no laws limiting what consenting adults can do in the privacy of their homes or what they can and cannot do with their bodies. I believe we may need to amend the constitution to enshrine this law
I think the right to privacy covers not only prostitution (in their own home or a hotel) but also homosexuality and most other things which are banned as “crimes against nature” under archaic laws. Even use of recreational drugs that don’t cause harm (we do need to count the cost to the state and family or “hard” drugs here as part of “no one is being hurt”.
August 12th, 2015
Best thing I’ve read in a while…