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19 May 2024
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Enshittification

 

A Somewhat Unusual Disclaimer

I don't make a big deal of profanity, although profanity made a medium deal of me. I do believe that in the entire temporal extent of this blog, it has remained "family friendly" in every particular. The one exception requires clicking twice (with an inter-click warning) to find the naughty bits. Why, then, write a blogitem incorporating the above heading?

Apparently Enshittification is Real Word

And, surprisingly, one that doesn't seem to have attracted the attention of Forces for Good yet. The first time I read it was in Cory Doctorow's column in Locus Magazine, to which I have been subscribing for decades. I was reminded of the word's use when I read an article mentioning that the august* American Dialect Society selected it as the Word of the Year for 2023. "Doctorow has also used the term platform decay to describe the same concept**."

You have surely observed the enshittification of Google. One tiny example from my own usage of their search site: It's very difficult to find the "official site" of some popular companies or organizations. Such is the frenzy for monetization that gratuitous parasitism reigns for hotel booking sites. Even being aware of the problem doesn't always protect one from cleverly disguised, fee-added booking vendors. Google, which started out being deliberately helpful, is now deliberately greedy, with the primary goal of enriching shareholders. Of course, it remains helpful, and must be careful to balance the needs of its stakeholders to prevent enshittification from reducing its profits. I'm sure some very clever employees have that balancing goal as their main research project.

If you click on the heading link you will find examples for Amazon, Facebook, Reddit, Uber, and more. I recommend doing so since this is a much larger subject than one on which I care to expatiate in my typing-impaired state.

Not to get the impression that I'm unduly critical of this state of affairs. If I were a "platform" I'm sure I'd embody as much greed as any of the others, and you are spared only due to the total lack of monetization potential of this, my personal blog.

Book Recommendation

I finally finished reading Switched On by Albert Glinsky. It's a scholarly yet very readable book about Bob Moog, the inventor of the Moog Synthesizer. (If Bob read that sentence out loud, it would elicit a chuckle. His name is pronounced "Mogue" whereas the synthesizer is commonly known as the onomatopoetic representation of a cow's oral output.) It's a long and physically heavy book, as befitting the biography a man of great fame and accomplishment. Most importantly for me, it's about a man I knew, albeit it casually, and whose story that I thought I knew and which turned out to be totally different and far more engaging. Basically "old home week" for me, but of interest to anyone who is curious about how music has evolved over the past six decades.


* I was unfamiliar with the American Dialect Society when I originally applied the epithet "august," but upon reviewing their information I decided they're more than entitled to it.
** A direct quote from Wikipedia. Atypically for my loquacious self and my routinely dexterous typing, I am suffering the aftermath of hand surgery*** for "trigger finger." My right hand is swathed in a bandage that has thickened the palm area to the extent that the computer panics when I use any letter on the right side of the keyboard. It was easier to excerpt that admirably succinct sentence than to type it.
*** Thank you for your concern. I think all is well. I'll see how well the hole in my palm has healed in a few days. The process hasn't been unduly painful; my real issue is this steenkin' bandage responsible for my present enclumsification. Perhaps the ADS will pick that word for 2024.


2024
Richard Factor

NP:

"Scheherazade"

Renaissance

Honorable Mention:

"You Can't Always Get What You Want"

The Rolling Stones

(

Annie Haslam is a singer with a tremendous vocal range. She was the lead singer with the (mostly-'70s) band Renaissance, and I had the opportunity to see several of their performances. To this day I listen to their albums, and the ending of Scheherezade still gives me chills.

I had the opportunity to tease her once: It was at a sound check at the Capitol Theater in NYC, and I captured her laugh in one of our early delay lines and kept it repeating. If she reads this and remembers the incident, I doubt that she will have minded all these years. Whew!

Amazing singer! Of course she has a web site.


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