Of Two Minds

I read Ethan Marcotte’s article about Google’s recently announced service / product called Duplex. In it, he lays out the following argument:

Frankly, this technology was designed to deceive humans. That’s not a value judgment, mind: the aim of the product is to act as human-sounding as possible. What’s more, the demos above are impressive because Duplex specifically withholds the fact that it’s not human. The net effect is, for better and for worse, a form of deception. Duplex was elegantly, intentionally designed to deceive. (And given that reality’s on shaky ground as it is, I don’t think this is the most responsible goal.)

I’m of two completely separate minds on this. One the one hand, I completely agree with the doubters thinking. Let’s not mince words here, Google, given its history, stands to be viewed upon with a hefty bit of skepticism when it comes to doing what’s “right”. But let’s say that’s not it. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say Google has every good intention in this particular space. What about others? What about the malicious folk out there? What about the people who are out there to scheme and cheat and rip people off? Isn’t Google giving them, right out of the gate, a tool to aid in their shenanigans?

This ultimately comes back to the old adage of “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. I don’t know that we’ve held technology to that standard enough recently. A perfect example of this is the creation and, more importantly, the use of self-driving cars when the tech is not absolutely rock-solid.

Having said all of that, I was reading a tweet last night from someone whose name I have known for a while, but didn’t know a particular fact about. This gentleman stutters. Like me. He viewed this in a completely different light. His idea was that the Duplex “product” could be used in a very nice and productive way by people who have speech disabilities. Like he and I do. It was eye-opening. I think I even re-tweeted it with “Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, etc.”

Because I can completely see his point. I HATE talking on the phone. It makes me anxious, nervous, and scared. I get over it, and conquer it, but it’s an every-single-situation kind of thing. What if I didn’t have to do that but 40% of the time I do it now? That would help me. Would I like to be 60% less anxious? You’re damn right I would be.

The well-being of global society is still winning in my head, and I will go on record as thinking this might not be the best thing. But it’s not as much of a slam dunk as I would have originally thought.




Earlier this week, someone left a comment on an article I’d written to shame me over a word they considered “not a word”. A few years ago this would have stung and left me feeling like an imposter. At age 42 I have very few fucks left to give about such pedantry.

Formal education gives you words and technical understanding, it helps you interact with other people on a level where you can all assume you have the same starting point. It isn’t everything, and perhaps my hard-won knowledge, learned from trying and failing and figuring things out alone is my greatest strength.

While I am a firm believer in higher education, and have spent a tremendous amount of time teaching and guiding my kids toward a successful future in college, I love the “fuck you” attitude from Rachel here. It’s unapologetically defiant. And coming from an unbelievably intelligent person that is shaping the world of web design as we speak, I applaud her so much.

Bravo, Rachel. Bravo.

Guns are ridiculous, Reason #2746

“Keep honking…I’m reloading”

Yep, what an advertisement in this day in age where people are suggesting we arm everyone (including kindergarten teachers) to combat other people being armed!

Yep, let’s make sure to arm people who are driving, so if they don’t like how someone else honks at them, they have the opportunity to simply blow them away.


Doesn’t sound plausible? “People would never do that”, you say?

This fucker has a bumper sticker that says so. Because people are ALWAYS rational when it comes to driving.


P.S. This was less than a mile away from my kid’s school. People suck.

Arming Teachers

A Series of Questions for Those That Advocate Arming Teachers In Order to Prevent Innocent Children from Being Slaughtered

  • Where does the money come from to train these teachers?
  • How much training is required?
  • Who is doing the training?

This is such a detail-oriented list of questions for these political fuckwads that are proposing this lunacy. It’s so pedantic that I would have thought I wrote it. So many kudos, Casey. So many.

Umm, is she wrong?

I was perusing Facebook after all of the Florida shooting stories. Shocking that none of the normal gun freaks were speaking up in the aftermath.

Anyway, not the point here.

I came across the post above, and was struck by something. Number one, my aunt left a comment on the post that said “Thank you, Mr. Vice President.” Sigh. Number two, Joy Behar is not altogether wrong for saying what she said.

Think about it. If I publicly ran for office and said I discuss my issues and problems with my imaginary friend named Alan, people would say I was crazy.

“No, no, he’s my spiral advisor,” I would say.

And they’d call me even crazier.

And you know what, they’d be right. Because I’d be talking to someone (or something) THAT’S NOT REAL. There is no Alan. Just like there is no Jesus listening to you or talking to you.

It’s not there. It’s not real.

So, I would question my aunt. Why do you say “Thank you, Mr. Vice President”? Because you talk to imaginary friends, too? Is that ok? And if it is, I would presume you’d support any candidate or leader that talks to an imaginary bunny rabbit, right? Or a robot? Or what about an alien?

Those things are just as “real” as Jesus. (Oh, and by the way, there are “religions” that don’t believe in Jesus either, so it’s not just coming from this atheist.)


F******* Madness

Everything about driver services (in every state, but especially Georgia) is f****** maddening. Everything. It has literally led me to scream out loud in my own house, and prompted the kids to ask “What’s wrong with daddy?”

I have to get the tags renewed (what an awesome birthday present for us adults!) and I’m thinking “hey, it’s 2016…surely there’s an easy way to do this online now!”


When you visit our lovely state’s DOR services website, you are asked for the RIN number on a sheet of paper they have (supposedly) mailed to you. Which is ludicrous, because what if I never got that piece of mail? What if the dog ate it? Or it got thrown away because one of the kids didn’t know any better? But hey, I actually have it this year, so this should be a breeze, right?

“Please confirm the information on file,” it asks me. Well, everything is correct on the information shown except the unit number of the condo, because we moved last Labor Day. I can’t specifically say “yes, it’s accurate” because they’ll send the new tags to 415, and I don’t live there anymore. That’s not good. So, I have to choose “no, it’s not accurate”. I’m thinking they’ll offer me the option to modify the information so as to let me continue.

Isn’t that awesome??!? This means I have to travel to one of these damn places to change 3 numbers.

3. Damn. Numbers.

So angry.

Also, Jayme recently changed her address on her driver’s license online. I thought that if she could do it (because she has NOT gone through the give-me-everything-but-a-spot-of-urine verification to renew your license yet), that surely I could do it quite easily (since I have gone through that back in 2013).

On the DDS website, which by the way is NOT linked to the DOR website (which handles the tags) in any way, you have to log in. Ok, maybe I’ve logged in before, maybe I haven’t. I honestly can’t remember. So I tried registering again.


“You already have an account with this information.” Ok, fair enough. I still don’t remember the login information, so I’ll press this handy dandy little link that says “Forgot User ID”. This should do the trick, right?

Really?!? How the hell is that possible? I didn’t even attempt to log in because I DON’T KNOW THE DAMN INFORMATION. Locks happen because the system is protecting itself from hacking. But I haven’t done anything. And I’m pretty sure that if I do this 2 hours from now or 2 days from now, it’s going to tell me the same stupid message.

Oh, and I DID try to use the Forgot User ID functionality and this is the error you gave me, numnuts.

So…now I have to go to two different places to change the EXACT SAME INFORMATION. Wtaf?

I hate, hate, hate drivers services everywhere. They should all be burned to the ground and started over. And if we’re going to do this, let’s try to incorporate some f****** user experience fundamentals into the design. You know, because maybe, just maybe, real human beings need to use the system you’ve provided.