Friday Flotsam: Cut Short

1. Had an unexpectedly bad day yesterday; nothing really happened, but I found myself strangely lethargic and unhappy. I experience this kind of dreariness every now and again, and it never results in anything good. I need to find a way to snap out when that happens.

2. I’m realizing that part of the effect of Fasting is to highlight unhealthy regions of our behavior; like a blacklight showing up glowing bits of infection. Take away the usual pleasures and habits and you get a clearer view of what kind of desires are actually leading to them; a healthy need for recreation, or something more pathological?

First week in Lent, my main takeaway is that my giving up of most video media has highlighted how much I self-medicate on distractions of that kind. Staying away from it, I find myself seeking other forms, making the whole process more obvious. Working on curbing that, now that it’s become clear.

3. If I could work my will, it would be illegal to require any product to connect to the internet, or at least to a specific server or network, unless doing so were necessary to its core function. So, if Google wants to make a ‘smart’ refrigerator, fine. But it still has to function as a working fridge with or without an internet connection, and the user should be able to turn off its connection and / or disconnect it from Google if he chooses and still have a fridge.

Because the problem is, if any product (including software) requires connection to the company server, then the company retains decision making power over that product after the point of sale, which means that they can, at their own discretion, or even by simply going out of business, turn the product into an expensive paperweight (if that). That is wrong and should only be possible in very specific cases where it is genuinely necessary for the core function of the product.

Short version, it should not be easy for a seller to destroy the product after it’s been sold, intentionally or otherwise.

4. You know, I had more here, talking about The Divine Comedy, but WordPress froze and I lost it all, and I don’t want to spend the time re-writing it. So, shortened Flotsam this week. Sorry.

3 thoughts on “Friday Flotsam: Cut Short

  1. You mean it isn’t already illegal to claim decision-making power over an item without having legal title to it? I was under the impression that that was exactly what theft was. Or is the problem that, under the terms of “sale”, the company technically retains partial ownership of the appliance?

    On another note, I decided to check out “Death Note” on your recommendation of two weeks ago. I think I’m sixteen or seventeen episodes in – anyway, when I last left off, Light had just lost his memory of being Kira – and I agree that it has a plethora of good things in it, but there seems to be something missing, and I think I’ve just figured out what it is. Tell me, as man to man: does L ever realize that he’s been approaching the investigation from the wrong end from the beginning – that, in this case, the question of by whom the criminals are being killed is secondary to the question of how? To date, he’s been consistently acting as though he can assess the likelihood of someone being Kira while having only the faintest idea of what Kira can and can’t do; it seems an implausible blind spot on the part of a genius detective, and it tends to make the cat-and-mouse game between him and Light ring rather hollow. (Maybe they should have put Columbo on the case…)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think technically it is illegal, but it’s a gray area at the moment when it comes to smart devices and other digital property. If you buy a Google thermostat, for instance, it will not function if it is not connected to the network. Biggest example is that a lot of video games today, even single-player games, will not run if they aren’t connected to the company’s server, and when the server shuts down, the game is unplayable. At least it sounds like most larger smart devices – e.g. fridges – do function without internet, but I certainly wouldn’t put it past them to change that going forward.

      As for ‘Death Note’, well, yes, L does focus on how the killing is done, to the point of not moving against someone he knows is guilty until he can test him and observe how he does it. Though in a case like this, I’m not sure how you would determine how without having at least a good idea of who, since they’re dealing with supernatural forces they (presumably) have no reference for and which leaves no tangible evidence. You could probably get a good idea – e.g. that he has to use some kind of instrument that takes information – but not work out the existence of the Death Note from just observing how people die.

      Be interested to see what you think of the later stages.


  2. Well, he’s not wholly without references. He knows what shinigami are, at least – witness his reaction when Misa casually drops the word in one of her videos – and, as important as Death Notes are to shinigami in this world, I can’t suppose that the lore of the latter would be entirely without clues to the former. It’s not much of an opening, but it should be enough for the world’s greatest detective to work with. (And writing those words makes me think irresistibly of another famous fictional investigator who would have some level of protection against the Death Note. I wonder if there exists a crossover where Batman took it on himself to investigate Kira – for Catwoman’s sake, perhaps, after one or two of Gotham’s more dispensable villains were offed in the first wave of murders.)


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