Links of Interest, 9-21-16: The Digital World and its Consequences

I read and watch a lot of stuff on the Internet. A lot of stuff. Here are things I found most interesting today.

Amazon’s Algorithms Favor Amazon’s Business. Big Surprise? ProPublica has studied Amazon’s storefront and concluded that the search engine puts a higher priority on Amazon’s business interests rather than cheap prices. Consumers can find themselves spending more for a bottle of glue if they don’t spend the extra time comparing prices, especially if they think Amazon’s done that for them already.

Margaret Sullivan Says Edward Snowden Should Be Pardoned. Oliver Stone’s Snowden movie brought the exiled NSA whistleblower back into the media spotlight, and the editorial board of The Washington Post made waves the other day when it declared he should be prosecuted… even though the Post won accolades for revealing and reporting his leaks. Sullivan, a media columnist for the Post, disagrees with the editorial board.

Fox News is Facing a Demographic Hurdle in the Future. Fox News has built a niche for itself as a conservative news source, but that limited niche may be its downfall as the newer generations abandon cable in favor of online offerings.

Password Protection is Important. This comedy skit examines what happens when everyday computer problems occur in a military setting.

Force Friday plus Humble Bundle equals Star Wars Audiobooks

Okay, I know the last post was about Humble Bundle’s Tom Clancy video game bundle, and two Humble Bundle posts in a row may strike some as somewhat repetitive. Plus, this particular bundle has been available for over a week, so I’m late. However, it’s “Force Friday” because of a Disney marketing strategy to sell toys that retailers apparently understocked on (I am so glad I stayed home today). The bundle is available for four more days. I haven’t spread the word about it. That equals three good reasons to talk about it, according to me. Oh! AND this bundle is audiobooks instead of video games, and it’s Star Wars instead of Tom Clancy, which make two more additional reasons, so let’s do this thing! Continue reading “Force Friday plus Humble Bundle equals Star Wars Audiobooks”

Amusing Coincidences in My Life: Shadowgate, Empire’s End, Monuments Men

You can almost taste the sarcasm.

So THAT’S where that music is from!

For several years I, from time to time, have had this haunting piano tune enter my head. I’ve heard it somewhere before… but I couldn’t place where. The other day, I was randomly browsing my Steam account, and decided that my wishlist of 45 games needed to be cleaned up. I go over there, and discover- hey! One of the games I want is on an 80% sale, so it’s only $3! (This sale is now over- sorry. But Steam is always doing awesome sales, so it’s only a matter of time before it happens again.) It’s the new Shadowgate game that was released about a year ago. I randomly click on a few of the trailers, and… that haunting theme starts playing! Turns out it’s the death / game over theme from Shadowgate. Mystery solved! Continue reading “Amusing Coincidences in My Life: Shadowgate, Empire’s End, Monuments Men”

Have I Made a Mistake? Jerry Jenkins’ Empire’s End: Post #1: The Beginning

The following post is not an official review. It is merely my initial thoughts and first impressions of this title, which was provided to me by A review will be written and posted when I have completed the novel. 

I am going to have so much fun with this one. Or I am going to suffer horribly. Either way, it’s going to be a ride.

I participate in’s Reviewers Program; however, I haven’t done much with it because they often offer audiobooks of publications that were essentially sermons in print form… that are now back in audio form often with someone else’s voice. It’s admittedly kind of odd now that I think about it. In any case, I stopped selecting those titles because I don’t know what to do with them. Do I agree with the teaching, do I disagree, do I find them helpful? Do I proclaim how wonderful they are like so many other reviews I read? I’m at a point in my life where I am… how do I say this… suspicious of pastors and Christian teachers of any stripe. Too many stories of abuse, misuse, self-glorifying zeal, and meaningless humility, both in the news and in my own experience. Reviewing their work? I’d rather not.

So when christianaudio finally offered a fiction book, I was excited. When I saw the author is Jerry B. Jenkins, I jumped for it.

Because, yes, this is going to be so… much… fun!

I think.  Continue reading “Have I Made a Mistake? Jerry Jenkins’ Empire’s End: Post #1: The Beginning”

PhotoComms #1: Trials in Messaging

One of the things I like best about my cellphone is the ability to take photos anywhere I am of anything I see that happens to interest or amuse me. Here I post three photos of things that caught my eye because, well, the messaging is… off. Click the thumbnails to maximize the photos in a new tab.

1. 2015-01-12 12.46.03The UCR campus is frequently visited by blood donation vans, either LifeStream or the American Red Cross. This van belongs to the latter, and because I have a keen eye for the grammatical mistakes of other people, this jumped out at me. What happened here? Is it the word “giveth” as a throwback to King James Bible language, and somebody put a space there accidentally? Is it supposed to say “give the gift of life” and they lost everything after the first five letters and decided it would be too much work to undo their efforts? Continue reading “PhotoComms #1: Trials in Messaging”