Pick a Card, Any Card

Much hay has been made about the removal and consolidation of the various ports of the old MacBook Pros to the USB-C-only setup of the newly announced MBPs. A ton of it presumes to know what “professionals” use and need, and some has been close, but most of it conflates photography with video professionals, and frankly, I’ve heard so many outdated assumptions that I felt I had to speak up. So here goes.

No one in video cares that the SD slot is going away. No one. NO ONE.[2]

Yes, it’s a bold statement, but here’s a very basic list of the types of storage used to record and deliver video to editors:

  • SD Cards (yay, I don’t need to use an adaptor 🙄)
  • microSD Cards (in fact, my latest two 4K cameras both use this format, so I get to use an SD adaptor)
  • SxS Cards (because Sony hates everyone)
  • RED Cards (which are a type of SSD, but they have a weird connector, because of course they do)
  • SSDs (via mSATA connections or sometimes eSATA)
  • AJA Pak Recording (yet another type using SSDs)
  • CF Cards (which most pro still cameras used at one point)
  • CF 2.0 Cards (because Blackmagic needed another type of storage for their pro cameras, maybe?)

The list goes on and on and on. There are USB 3.0 drives, or Thunderbolt Drives, and just a mind-boggling plethora of things we need to connect to our Macs to ingest footage and get to work.

While I love the idea of a wireless future, currently it’s impossible for us to do our jobs at all via any wireless solutions because even the fastest WiFi is not going to cut it for video.  For the foreseeable future, we’re going to need a way to connect these drives, and while we used to use a cable that had USB-A on one end, we will need some with USB-C on one end, and whatever madness on the other. No big deal.

Is the SD card really that useful for video editors like me? Currently I have a still camera, one video camera, and an audio recorder that use SD cards. So, yes it’s useful, but I also have two cameras that use SSDs, and two that use MicroSD cards[1], and they all need adapters of some kind, so it’s not useful enough to worry about its loss from my next machine. I’ll need to get an SD reader, and my CF reader doesn’t do CF 2.0, so I need a new one of those anyway, and the microSD cards need a reader, or I need the micro-to-standard-SD adaptor, that I have approximately 17 of littered about the office, of which I can generally find one when I need it, and that will be sorted. My SATA connector just needs a USB-B-to-USB-C cable and I’m good to go there. The readers I have for the RED, AJA and some other cameras, again, just need a B-to-C or a MicroUSB-to-USB-C or they can use the A-to-C adaptors.

As USB-C/Thunderbolt is delightfully fast, the fact that it’s an external adaptor for all my cameras instead of just most of my cameras is really a benefit. The adapters work and they aren’t that expensive.

But wait, don’t you want the HDMI port?

I honestly forgot my MacBook had one, and I bought the Thunderbolt-to-HDMI adaptor anyway. It honestly never occurs to me that it’s there.

But Apple’s making you buy new adaptors!

Yes, as soon as I get a new MacBook Pro I will need a stack of new adaptors to use with all my stuff. Yes, it’s a bit of money, but it’s not terrible overall, and guess what – I actually use my adaptors constantly and they do wear out. I need to get a new set every year or two anyway, so that’s on cycle for me. In fact, that Thunderbolt-to-HDMI wore out recently, and, again, forgetting that I have an HDMI port, I replaced the dongle immediately.

But what about the RAM?

What about it? It’s 16GB for heaven’s sake. Right now I edit 4K video, from cameras as light as the Phantom 4 drone and Osmo system from DJI, to the extreme density of the ProRes HQ files of the Blackmagic Design cameras, to RED raw and CinemaDNG using the 8GB ON. MY. FOUR. YEAR. OLD. LAPTOP.

The speeds when I’m working with the original media are abysmal, but they are on the Mac Pro (no shock there) and will be on the new MacBook Pros as well because if you’re cutting with multiple 4k streams, especially ProRes & CinemaDNG streams, the amount of data you’re trying to move can easily exceed the bandwidth inside the computer, let alone the RAM. To be quite honest, it’s just ignorant to work with uncompressed, original media like that, on almost any system available today. Create and use Proxy Media, and if you don’t know how, spend the $35 on Lynda.com and learn how. It’s good business anyway.

As for actual editing on a 15″ screen? Meh, it’s not bad.[4] I do it daily. It doesn’t feel cramped to me, but it probably took me a little bit to get used to it, honestly I don’t recall. The reason that I edit on a laptop is that I do a lot of field editing, it isn’t an option I can avoid – I have to do it, so I get it done. Even at my desk, tho, where I can easily attach a huge monitor, I don’t. I just edit away on my 15″ retina screen, no second display at all, with my trackpad of all things, and I’m probably faster than 90% of the pros out there. I scream through my edits, and I’ve had other editors watch me work and they are dumbfounded at what I do. I’m not the only one who works this way.

I do wish I could see my 4K projects in pixel-for-pixel perfection, but I’ve had exactly 2 projects be finalized in 4K. I can and do connect and play those back from 4K sources, usually a Roku[3], but sometimes from YouTube[5]

Having three 5K monitors floating in front of me, one with pixel perfect views of my canvas, another with my timeline, and the last with my coloring tools, will be awesome, but do I need them to get through my job? Nope. That I’ll have that option is awesome, but it’s not make or break for me. For those who can’t work with one small screen, these new MacBook Pros are beyond compelling, because almost every video editor these days does some road editing. Additionally, the touchbar, with its ability to let me go hands-on with my timeline is incredibly compelling to me.[6]

I know that I’m just one guy, in Montana of all places, but this is my livelihood. I do just fine with what I have, and I’m looking forward to getting a new MacBook Pro with the touchbar because I want the overall increase in speed and processing it offers, and because the ports are all cleaned up to just USB-C. In fact, that’s a huge win for me.

Things You’ve Said

It seems that with the beginning of school we’ve been given the task of educating a sniveling little trash fire named Robert Saunders who wants really badly to be a member of the Montana House of Representatives. His desire is so strong that he’s given up driving his Mercedes out of the garage of his McMansion and instead has taken to driving a rusted out old truck because he needs to appear authentic – which he obviously struggles with, immensely.

While claiming to be for a woman’s right to choose her healthcare, claiming to be for public education, claiming to be for expanding Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, when he stops at the door of an obvious Democrat, he clearly is not. If you display anything GOP he’ll gladly rail against them all, just as he rails against over-reaching government and regulations that are strangling small businesses. And don’t get him started on taxes, you don’t have that kind of time. No one has that kind of time.

But what’s the worst of it? The worst is Mr. Saunders’ outlook on people he thinks are beneath him, and that’s everyone else.

You see, his mommy and daddy raised him and pay him well, and have enough money to have kept him from ever attending public schools. That’s right, he was home-schooled, so just imagine all the good and wondrous things that have been crammed into his skull, like birtherism and Ark History, along with a sense of entitlement and ego that are bigger than our skies, and comes attached to a set of wits duller than a David Spade movie.

saundersrobert-3But wait, there’s more! Mr. Saunder’s ego is so unbelievable that when his opponent rightfully pointed out his own words, self-written online, well, sad, weak-minded little Robert Saunders had to throw a temper tantrum and call up his daddy’s lawyer to get a very mean letter written and sent to the very mean woman who pointed out the exceedingly shitty things that Robert Saunders has said. When he was asked “Is it a desirable condition that between 40-50% of the members of the US Congress have more than $1 million dollars in assets, when less than 1% of the population of the USA has that level of wealth?” he answered, and I quote:

The Founding Fathers thought so. Our form of government was designed so that only people with a stake in the country’s future could vote.

In the early days, this meant that only people who owned property could vote – just like today, in business, only shareholders in the company can vote.

Likewise, only people who owned property could run for public office. Know why?

Because the Founders (rightly) believed that the people with the most to lose would be the least likely to screw up. People with money have the time and opportunity to educate themselves and a vested interest in doing so. Transients, college kids, and others without a dollar to their name have nothing to lose and are thus extremely unsafe custodians of power, being more likely to “experiment”, often with catastrophic results.

He goes on, you can follow the link here to see it.

This really isn’t that out of range for the GOP as some very strict originalists have taken to calling the GOP home, but this is slightly more to the right than Scalia ever was, and that’s saying something.

screen-shot-2016-09-10-at-2-44-30-pmMore to the point, it’s very easy to point out that he did say this. Here’s an image of the profile of the person on Quora and it matches his bio. This is him, and he thinks that only the wealthy should have a say in the governing of the country because, somehow, in his head, he thinks that they are the only ones with something to lose.

And when his opponent pointed this out to a person while out knocking doors, this person reported it back to Robert Saunders the Crybaby of Billings. Then Robert Saunders, the Silver-spoon-fed man-child, cried to his mommy and daddy and they hired a lawyer by the name of Emily Jones, who appears to understand several areas of the law but must have missed the days they covered the concept of Defamation, at least as it applies to public figures.

Let’s remember that because the dimwitted Robert Saunders is running for public office, he has voluntarily made himself a public figure. You’ve noticed, no doubt, that I’ve been using some very fun, colorful descriptions along with his name, and that’s because it’s my legal right to do so. But since it appears his lawyer has slightly less legal insight than I do in this matter, let’s go to the wonderful folks at FindLaw and see how they summarize it:

When an official is criticized in a false and injurious way for something that relates to their behavior in office, the official must prove all of the above elements associated with normal defamation, and must also show that the statement was made with “actual malice.”

You see, it’s that “actual malice” part that’s going to be really hard to prove. In court or even the court of public opinion.

But here’s the best part: Ms. Jones included in her rather nasty letter crying about how mean and unconscionable it was to say these things about the untrustworthy snotbucket Robert Saunders, included a link to the very page on Quora where the maniac said exactly what was quoted above.

Look, you can dislike your opponent, you can want to win at all costs, and you can go hire a lawyer and one of them may write for you what has to be the stupidest letter outside of the idiocy written by the Bundy boy in Oregon. I’ve included that PDF here, so you can read it, and see the legal brilliance shining through.

To the odious Robert Saunders, you can cry and scream and shout and whine all you want, but at the end of the day you have two things against you: 1) you wrote the answer on Quora and will have to stand by what you wrote and how ugly those statements really are; and 2) nothing I’ve written here rises to the level of slander or defamation, as the descriptives are my opinion of you, and the rest are demonstrably things you’ve said, I’m just illuminating them. If you can’t stand having people know what you think, you’d do well to shut up.

And Ms. Jones, to you I say, I hope you reconsider working as the legal equivalent of a mercenary. This letter is atrocious.

These are my thoughts, and this I freely share with you all: I firmly believe you should stand by what you say. And I do.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

slack_rgbIf you don’t know what Slack is, well, let’s see if I can explain it:

  • It’s a communication tool, allowing for group communications (rooms) and private communications (direct messages) and everything in-between.
  • Communication can be text, emoji, gifs, urls, and files.
  • Everything is searchable and, if you’re on a  paid account, that means EVERYTHING from ANYTIME for FOREVER. This has come in handy a few times, which I’ll detail in a minute.
  • It works on computers, both Mac & Windows, as well iOS, Android and the various phones and tablets they power.
  • Notifications are customizable and easily turned off.
  • It’s easy to use, and does some pretty amazing things.

At TSI&T we’ve been using it basically since the beginning of the company. We tried other solutions but they just didn’t work for us. Nothing was simpler, nothing was liked more, and in the end, nothing worked better. And while that seem damning with faint praise, the truth is we put everything through the ringer of dealing with us, and nothing else even survived, while Slack shone like a beacon of happiness in the darkest of nights.

But lately, we’ve evolved and found a new way to use Slack that doesn’t require one of many Slack Apps, this is built in from the get-go, and it’s just two parts

  1. Custom name a room: something like #install-new-client
  2. Add a single-channel guest.

That’s it. Now, when we are doing a massive installation that involves our SuperFi™ internet service, VoIP Phone Service, Security Cameras, and internal networking with public access, well, we like to have the customer contact involved every step of the way. This is important because in many cases we’re installing service to buildings that have been around for decades, have intricate or interesting access issues, have multiple issues with construction that might have been up to code at some point in the past but is surely not that way now, and could just have unexpected surprises or timing issues. By having a client inside our Slack we can discuss all of this, in real-time, and get answers to questions, adjust scheduling, buy materials, etc., and we don’t have to chase down clients via phone, or email or actually stopping by their desk because they’re at least as busy as we are and haven’t gotten to the 40 bazillion emails sitting in their inbox yet and why isn’t there hot coffee who the hell drank it all and where did my pen go andwhyisthisthefontwe’reusingonthisaddidsomeonegoblind?!

*ahem*

Anyway, we’ve started this practice and already it’s sped us up on projects. If you’re still using email and phone and text and smoke signals and postcards and ponies to communicate, it might be time to cut yourself some Slack.

And if you like what we’re doing at TSI&T, you might consider investing.

Better Connections

tsiandtblockAs most of you know I joined the team at TSI&T about a year ago as the Chief Marketing Officer and I’m also one of the owners of the company now. I’m super excited about what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it, and, after this rather short post, I’m hoping you will be, too.

You see, internet in Montana has gotten bad. We’re a very rural state, and in many cases, the rural is so rural is considered untouched by mankind. The saying that Montana is one city with really long roads is kinda true, and being the 4th largest state in the Union by landmass, while having a population that just barely scratched 1Million this decade, and there’s not a ton of businesses who see building infrastructure here as a good plan.

And I get that. I totally understand. When you’re looking at where to put your business a huge part of it is “where are my customers?” and that, my friend, is rarely a condensed group in Montana.

But we still need roads and highways. We still need water and electricity. We still need  internet. The growth of these needs is not the same. More roads are needed as more people are here, same with water and electricity. Internet needs, tho, go up based on what you do with the internet, and these days, there’s not much we don’t do online. Shop. Share. Watch. Communicate. Celebrate. It’s all online.

But holy buckets of chum does the internet suck a lot. Which brings me back to TSI&T, and what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. I was kind of being glib when I said:

“Here’s the thing about Internet: It’s miserable around here,” Kevin Hamm, chief marketing officer for Treasure State Internet, said. He added that Montana is “like a third world country” in terms of Internet speed, which the small business is trying to change block by block.

but then again, I’m not wrong. Have you tried to get internet in Montana City? Century Link will tell you that they’re not signing up new customers, and even if you did their DSL service, it’d be 4Mbps down and 750kbps up, if you’re lucky. Just to be clear, Montana City is so close to Helena that my rather chunky bum could walk there if I had, too. And Charter doesn’t even offer anything in Montana City, and most of the homes are surrounded by towering trees and majestic rolling mountains and hills, and so wireless internet can’t happen either, and let’s just pretend that satellite wasn’t even mentioned as its speeds are still beaten by the dial-up modems of the early 90s. And again, this is within 10 miles of our state capitol. It’s pathetic.

How much worse is it in Winnett, population 182? There’s no incentive to go there for companies the size of Century Link, and much less Charter now that they’ve gobbled up Time/Warner Cable.

Enter TSI&T. And yes, we’re a bit different. We believe that

  1. Everyone deserves internet, no matter where they live;
  2. Slow internet is worse than no internet (after all, look where we live!);
  3. Caps are for heads, not for internet;
  4. Fiber to every home and office in Montana is doable.

We’ve been in business now for just over three years, with two years of active customers and construction. We’ve built a wISP system and realized its shortcomings are too egregious to continue that path much longer. We’ve built fiber out and the customers we’ve connected have been overwhelmed with how awesome that service is. We can’t wait to reach more people with our SuperFi™ network, because, yes, it’s that good. We have over 100 customers now, and if you talk to any of them, they’ll tell you how good we really are. Are we perfect? Nope. We’re just very good, and we’re here, responsive, and growing, and our service is really fast.

In fact, the only thing slow about our company is our growth, which takes money and time. Now it’s time for everyone who has complained about their internet to step up and invest in us. You don’t have to invest much – in fact, if you’re a Montana resident, you can invest as little as $100 – and you do have to make sure you understand the risks involved with investing,  but you’re all smart people. You can handle this.

And when enough of you invest, just wait and see what we can do!

Why not me?

I’m 42, soon to be 43, and I’m HIV-. I’m a gay male in the United State who grew up with the warning that if I had gay sex I would get AIDS and die. It hasn’t happened to me.

But why not? Luck. That’s all it can be.

I’m not particularly promiscuous, nor am I a prude, and nothing near a virgin. Sex can be amazing, and why not enjoy it?

I look at my friends, so many of whom are dealing with the disease in their lives. In their bodies. Living with it. Owning it. Not letting it control or destroy them.

Undetectable.

Alive.

Living, loving, and wildly still out there creating and changing the world. Fighting for a better place. Standing tall and proud and not backing down, not for the disease and not for the world, either.

Inspiring. That’s what they are.

I find that, on this day when we yell from the roof tops that AIDS is still here, still very real, and still very bad, that these amazing people stand on the front lines and fight to remove a stigma and that inspires me. I stand with them, beside them, hold their hands and shedding tears at losses just like them.

And because of dumb luck, I’m not on the front lines. I don’t have HIV, that I know, and I need to get tested today as it’s that day, and I’m pretty sure I know how it will come back, but it’s something we do.

I remember my first HIV test. It had to be a blood draw. In a doctors office. And sent away, like a macabre cereal box-top prize that would arrive in a few weeks. And it did. In a plain white envelop, with my name typed on the outside, with a single sheet inside it, and I had to steel myself to open it. I sat in the huge windows of my apartment in Bozeman that overlooked Main street and I cried as I opened the letter, sure that my world was about to crash to nothing.

But it didn’t. I was spared.

I move to Portland not long after, and met amazing, wonderful, talented people. And after a short few months, I got to go to my first funeral for one of those amazing, talented, wonderful people I’d just met. That was weird. It also started a pattern that I’ve kept for nearly 23 years of getting tested every 6 months. Not everyone died, but too many did. I still miss them, even though I can’t recall their real names, only faces or drag names or nick names or something they once said that was so funny I laughed until I cried, and it still brings a touch of joy with a soupçon of melancholy when I do remember it.

I moved to Phoenix, and met more amazing people. I was there when some found out they’d seroconverted. Most are still alive, but not all. Medical science has changed the world, but not eradicated this plague. It’s amazing what we can do, and it’s more amazing what people faced with this choose to do. Inspiring doesn’t really cover it.

I moved to Caribou, and met amazing people, who couldn’t wait to get out of The County and move to a city. I spoke about condoms and caring for yourself, and saw them leave and it was good. And things happen, and it’s not always good things.  But they stand and they fight and life continues for most of them.

I moved to Houston and got a taste of a truly metropolitan city, and worked at a nightclub of outstanding proportions. And I met many who were positive, and knew many who seroconverted and I know they face the challenges head-on and don’t shirk away from the fight. And they are awesome. And still, life continues for many, but not all.

I moved home to Montana. I met a group of gays, and found a life I love, and a community that accepts me for the bombastic asshole I am, knowing that my passion and my inability to shut up can work to make a difference in our lives. I thought maybe I could hold the virus at bay, stop it from creeping into my life here, but I was the first person called when a friend seroconverted, and we got together and I made sure he was ok and wouldn’t do anything to harm himself, and I was pissed at the virus that it was back and I couldn’t stop it. But I wasn’t going to sit down and stop fighting.

So I stand. I fight. For equality. Against the stigma. And when people ask me if I’m HIV+ I have to tell them, no, I’m not. But it’s simple luck, and I still get tested. In fact, I’m getting tested tonight, at 5:30, and while I don’t know the results, and I’m supremely lucky, I get tested with a pall of dread covering my mind because it can happen to anyone. It can happen at any time. It’s still here. It’s still deadly. And it’s not cured.

On this World AIDS Day, I stand with my friends who have been directly afflicted or affected by this scourge and miss so many of you. I want one more time to hold you, to tell you I love you, to give you warmth and a moment of safety, fleeting and imaginary that it may be. I don’t know why it got you. I don’t know why I’m so fucking insanely lucky.

I just know I want it to go away, and never bother anyone again. And I wish those it took were never taken, and that tears at my heart with sharpened claws and bloodied talons. I never want to lose another, but it seems I will because we have no cure.

Except knowledge.

Get tested. Know your status. Get on PrEP. Change the world. Love your friends.

AIDS-Ribbon

If All Birds Could Fly

twitter-logoTwitter has been both an amazing service and an incredibly frustrating company nearly it’s entire existence. From the beginning when the founders made a service that they knew they liked but somehow didn’t understand, to the point where the company had more Fail Whales than hours of uptime, to when they decided that those who actually knew the service best should be strangled out of building on it, to today when they have no permanent CEO, a founder wants to come back, even though it’s not apparent what he’s going to do differently than his first go around, their stock is sinking, their goodwill is nearly burned through and the passion for the service has died off. How did we get here?

Hindsight being 20/20, we can easily answer that, and in doing so, we might find a solution to what can fix things.

I’ve been a twitter user since early 2007. I found I liked its concise communication, and more importantly, I liked the people I found on the system. Twitter wasn’t particularly about who you knew, it was about what shared interests you had and who else had them. It was the social network not for your real life, but to improve your real life. That was, and is, revolutionary.

More importantly, Twitter fulfilled a niche in our culture that accentuates what Facebook, Friendster, MySpace et all couldn’t do, because Twitter was ‘now’. Every other social media is the past. Things we’ve done. Things we’ve seen. Things we used to care about. Twitter, while still maintaining an archive that allows you to venture into the past, wasn’t and isn’t focused on the past. It’s focused on the now. That, too, is revolutionary.

It seems that two revolutions might be causing confusion, because somehow the people that founded it didn’t get this. There used to be a saying: “Facebook is the people I know and already hate. Twitter is the people I wish I knew in real life.” The really amazing part of Twitter in the early days is that if you followed people who you liked that happened to be on Twitter, they could follow you back, and you could create a relationship with them. That relationship could lead to many interesting things, up to and including actually meeting these amazing people in real life.

This didn’t just happen to me, it was common. I say “was” because something stupid happened inside Twitter that was the first of many clues that the corporation doesn’t understand the product they produce: they made it so that when someone replied to a person you weren’t following, you didn’t see the replies. Why? Twitter claimed it was to keep your timeline clean.

Do you know why I’m following the people I follow? I follow them because they have insights into the world around us that I lack, and those insights are freely given and awesomely on display in their tweets. Free! Open to the public (mostly)! And Twitter thought they were clutter! No, people, they are not clutter. In fact, they were and remain the easiest way to find smart people who are passionate about the same things that you’re passionate about, and I can’t see them in my stream without going to look for them.

What’s worse, Twitter included a mechanism to override the hiding of the reply, and everyone has seen this. The dot-lead tweet is a miasma of idiocy for one very real, tragic, reason: the people who use it shouldn’t, and even they don’t use it when they should. I follow a couple of people who constantly use the dot-lead to show their blistering wit or to enlist help in a flame war. I’ve been stupid enough to jump in and play along a few times, until it got through my head that it’s a waste of time and no one really cares. Those are the wrong moments to engage your entire following, yet it’s the only time people think to do so (again, I’m guilty of this).

When people are calm, lucid, and tweeting through a discussion with another person on Twitter, you see magic. Reasoned thinking and collaborative, concise, back-and-forth leads to amazing things, and that always, always, happens without the dot-lead because the participants have two things happening – they are conversing about something that they are both engaged in, and it’s not about anyone else. They never think to open the discussion to the wider world because they aren’t there to give a speech or hold a public debate, they are simply chatting.

Yet Twitter allows the rest of us to see it. This is magic. I can see a fantastic conversation happening between two of the leads at Pixar as they discuss a working environment that produces some of my most beloved stories. A work environment that I have little chance of seeing, much less of occupying in a professional capacity, but that I get to understand from some of the people who not only work in it, but who helped to make it a reality in the first place. In public. For free. It’s a thrilling reality, on display many times a day.

While over on Facebook, I get a funny cat picture. That’s nice.

Somehow Twitter is failing. Its stock is down below its IPO. It’s leaderless, and it’s managed to alienate the people who gave the service the power it had to change the world. When you send a tweet, you’re using the terminology that was developed by the team at The Iconfactory, not at Twitter. The Iconfactory came up with Ollie, a little bluebird of happiness, long before twitter even called their messages tweets. Even putting the @ before a username wasn’t a convention that Twitter came up with, but they adopted that one almost immediately. It was a tweet directed @ev that caused that, and it was integrated immediately. Hashtags are very much Twitter-centric, and again, weren’t something that Twitter invented. Twitter acquired a third-party search tool, integrated them, and hashtags were then a part of the system. And now, the world.

All the innovation for how people used Twitter came from people using Twitter and developers building things for people to use Twitter. All of it.

Naturally, a company that didn’t understand its own product and didn’t like that others appeared to not only get it, but got it well enough to invent things and make money on top of it, decided to do the only thing that would make things worse for everyone: cut off third-party developers from the API and bring everything in house. In-house development had made Twitter, but not most of the reasons people loved using Twitter. They brought in a CEO that didn’t use the product and didn’t understand its magic, and didn’t believe in anything but business school, money, investors, and the valley. Last time I checked, business school teaches you about things that have happened. Twitter is truly something new, so business school might not yet have a semester on its particular magic.

Regardless, Twitter has to figure out what it wants to be, and I have a suggestion: be Twitter. And be everywhere. If it’s everywhere, everyone will want to use it, because it becomes the one thing it’s really amazing at: What’s Happening NOW.

I want Twitter everywhere. I want to be able to have it in my car, read to me by Siri via Twitterrific, telling me that the polls show that Trump’s dumped, that the middle east is enjoying a turmoil-free day and that JC Penney is having a sale on fat pants and I could swing in and get some. Yes, I want the service to succeed and that means I have to deal with it making money somehow, and that probably means ads. Fine, just make them not suck.

A quick digression re: Advertising not sucking.

There’s a premise out there that people hate ads. That’s a lie. People love some ads. People hate plenty of them, but here’s the secret: people generally hate an ad for its delivery, not its product. Remember pop-up ads? Think hard, and I bet you realize that now you love Netflix, but if you ever see another pop-up or pop-under ad for them you’ll think of canceling the service. If you’re annoying me and shouting in my face, I’m probably not going to enjoy it, and that disgruntlement transfers to your product as a lost sale. If you’re nice, clever, cute and endearing, or even just clean and simple, I’m far more likely to engage with your ad and become a customer. The best example of this is The Deck ads. I’ve been a fan since I first came across them on Daringfireball in 2004. When Twitterrific launched, they had a free version that included showing ads via The Deck in the stream. I immediately bought a license and then didn’t activate that license because I enjoyed the ads from The Deck enough, and they weren’t intrusive and they were for products and services that, over the years, I’ve come to appreciate.

Yes, I appreciate not only the design and style of the ads, but the delivery was clever and clean and not only didn’t bother me, it added to my day and my work in subtle ways. And I spend a lot of money on products from The Deck.

When Twitterrific on iOS was released, same deal. I used it without restoring my purchase for months, right up until I needed to use a second account, and then that option went away. But I chose to see the ads, actively, for as long as I could.

Why? Because the products are relevant to me, and were presented in a way that didn’t disrupt my enjoyment of Twitter.

Again, the Iconfactory has already figured out what Twitter needs to do, and given them a map.

Everything about my usage of Twitter is available to Twitter. They can mine my access, my words, my times of day, everything. They have it all. And they can use that to create targeting for advertisers to tap into to deliver to me clean, crisp, concise, advertisements that show up in my stream and are easily digested and incorporated into my day. No disruption. No muss. No fuss.

And Twitter should be everywhere. The API should be re-opened so that third-party clients can do all the amazing new features (Quoted Tweets are the best!) directly, and Twitter should just design a simple way to create clean ads. Yes, they need links. Yes, they need images. Yes, they need to be awesome, but you can do that with a good team that says no to hideous and horrible and awful with a passion matched only by the users who will enjoy getting to see art in advertising again. Find a modern day Don Draper and make it happen.

Twitter should be everywhere. Everywhere. That should be the goal. On my phone. On my computer. On my watch. In my car. At my bar. Let me see everything that’s going on in the world in the cleanest, crispest way, using a tool that best matches my life. Some people want Tweetbot. Some want Twitterrific. Some want Tweetie back so bad they cry when they think of it. Let’s have them. Let’s access Twitter from whatever we choose, however we choose, because here’s the thing; Twitter has a choice to make: It can be a website that becomes part of history, or it can be integrated into our lives completely.

I look forward to the day that Twitter is back, integrated in my life in an awesome way.

But it warrants further exploration.

Yes, it does. After laying out the basic tenet that the movement toward equality has been hijacked by the current batch of SJW’s, Aristotelis Orginos believes he has found the problem, and the problem is …feminism? Or perhaps just those who call themselves feminist? His article isn’t quite clear, but it starts out unpromising and then falls into logical fallacies that leave one aghast that he’s a self-proclaimed “future teacher”.

First up, the confusion between ‘hate’ and ‘anger’. His supposition is that “…in attempting to solve pressing and important social issues, millennial social justice advocates are violently sabotaging genuine opportunities for progress by infecting a liberal political narrative with, ironically, hate.” No, they are angry. I don’t know of anyone who is truly fighting for justice and equality that is lining up a list of all the idiots they hate.

I’ll quote him extensively for a moment:

“Many will understand this term I used — millennial social justice advocates — as a synonym to the pejorative “social justice warriors.” It’s a term driven to weakness through overuse, but it illustrates a key issue here: that, sword drawn and bloodthirsty, millennial social justice advocates have taken to verbal, emotional — and sometimes physical — violence.

In a dazzlingly archetypical display of horseshoe theory, this particular brand of millennial social justice advocates have warped an admirable cause for social, economic, and political equality into a socially authoritarian movement that has divided and dehumanized individuals on the basis of an insular ideology guised as academic theory. The modern social justice movement launched on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Jezebel, Slate, Huffington Post, et al. is far more reminiscent of a Red Scare (pick one) than the Civil Rights Movement.”

Really? Has he read anything of Malcolm X? What about the riots of the miners and other unions who fought for the 8-hour workday and child labor laws and everything else we currently enjoy? Does he realize that those were actual battles, not just verbal engagements fueled by tacky, fruity, fake martinis? People fought and people died for those social justices to come about. They were angry at being abused and they picked up weapons and fought. That’s not hate, that’s exhaustion and self-preservation. And it’s nothing new. And the words that are currently being used to battle are far more civil than the knives and guns used in the past. Which would you really want us to use?

That asked, I don’t see the current crop of names most associated as “SJW’s” picking up swords or guns or anything other than cameras or code to fight currently. They are being pretty civil, and haven’t chosen to join the darkside just yet. I get that you, a straight-white-cisgendered-male don’t like being a target, but I’m pretty sure that no one does. I’m a gay-white-cisgendered-male, and I’ve been a target for anti-LGBTQ bigots my entire life, and I despise that. It makes me angry. However, I don’t hate the people who target me, nor will I let them get away with their vile attacks simply because they don’t like being challenged on their bigotry. You don’t like being attacked, stop attacking people.

Oh, but he can’t help himself. He then attempts to draw a parallel between the book 1984 and the current landscape of the equality movement’s millennial contingent. And he misses, but only because he’s completely wrong.

In 1984, as in any authoritarian system, the authority has the power, as one might expect, and can and does shut down dissent by exerting that power. Pretty simple concept.

When a dissident moving is trying to change the situation, and authority rises up against it, some go sideways, yes, and some go violent, yes, but it’s very rare that the dissident movement completely replaces the current hegemony. As we’ve yet to elect a woman as president, over 90% of leading companies are run by cis-straight-white-men and current statistics[1] estimate that 1-in-6 women in the United States will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime, you cannot reasonably say to anyone that the feminist movement has won. It’s not even close. To say, therefore, that the movement has gone overboard and is now using its power, which is relatively small, to endanger and demean all of society is ridiculous. Well, it would be if so many cis-straight-white-dudes didn’t believe it.

And now we dive into ‘Rape Culture: Does It Even?’ which is a nice way to dismiss statistics and research as lies because they make you uncomfortable. Yes, rape culture exists. Done. End of story.

No you don’t get to claim it’s not real because you don’t see it. You don’t see my sex life, either, but it’s real. That sort of idiotic thinking is what got us here in the first place. The concept that “He’s a nice boy!” and “What did she expect dressing like that?” aren’t just imagined, their in police reports. While I don’t agree with the basic premise that all rape reports must be treated as if they are true, I know for a fact that questioning a person who reports a sexual assault is still, in 2015, riddled with questions like “Are you sure you didn’t mean to have sex?” and “Why did you put yourself in that situation?”

None of those question is uncommon, and all are accusatory to the person reporting the crime. When you report your car is stolen you won’t ever hear “Why did you buy that model?” or “Why did you get that sexy red paintjob?” because they are immaterial to the case.[3] Same goes for the aforementioned questions to the person reporting a sexual assault. Asking questions the put the blame for the sexual assault on the person reporting it is the core of rape culture, and it’s a part of the current patriarchy. It’s very real, and it’s not right.

Some people get mad at that. Hell, I get mad at that. The fact that I have two sisters and a niece and countless female friends, and knowing that some of them have dealt with sexual assault makes me angry on a molecular level. How can you not think that’s a fucking problem that needs to be tackled, head on? And sometimes to fix a problem you have to really fight. It’s not pretty, but it’s necessary.

Now, I don’t agree with the statement that all accused rapists should be treated as guilty, but I do agree that all who accuse should be treated as if they are telling the truth. Ask what happened, don’t put the accuser into the role of a liar, and then do your investigation. That’s fair and right, and sadly, that isn’t what happens today. If it were what happened today, there wouldn’t be nearly a half million untested rape evidence kits rotting on shelves.

Back to Orginos tome. That he pulls the Blackstone Axiom out is not novel, yet it doesn’t really apply. With the research stating that nearly 60% of rapes are not even reported, and only 3% go to jail. That axiom is out of balance in the cases of sexual assault, so some corrective must be applied to the course.

Now, here’s where I agree with Orginos, “Due process, or the idea that a governing body must respect all legal rights of an individual, is granted to Americans by the 5th and 14th Amendments. To suggest that there is no recourse for the accused — and to ask for it is actually rape apology — is absurd…” and he’s right, it is absurd.

However, it’s no more absurd than the continued thinking that prompts questions like “What were you wearing?” and “Why didn’t you just leave?” which are both victim-blaming and dangerous to justice as a whole.

The idea that men are incapable of seeing a woman dressed a certain way and not immediately raping her is asinine, and yet it’s pervasive in our culture. From High Schools attempts to ban leggings all the way up to legislative representatives trying to tell women how they should dress, the sad fact is, it’s men pushing for these policies and inherently admitting they are incapable of acting in a civil manner because: TITS-AND-ASS. That’s not just disgusting, it’s shameful.

Orginos continues:

“…and to ask for it is actually rape apology — is absurd, reactionary, and further highlights the black-and-white nature of this certain brand of millennial social justice advocates. Why, after all, would someone ask for due process when a woman is accusing a man of rape? The millennial social justice advocate views this as an insidious question that results from sexism against women and is corroborated, they feel, by a statistically insignificant rate of false rape accusations.”

Some vocal people do view it this way, because our system has pushed them to this view. Just like the miners who, when pushed too far, fought back with weapons we, today, hope to never see in use, these people are using weapons that Orginos finds distasteful and wrong, and, honestly, neither him nor I know if they’ll be effective or not. We’re in the middle of the fight, so it’s not like the outcome is guaranteed either way.

That’s not to say that the weapons aren’t valid – they absolutely are. All’s fair in love and war, and the current fight for social justice for women against rape culture is a perverted mix of both. The sad fact is, 1 in 3 men would commit rape if it weren’t called rape. (But what’s in a name, right?).

Then Orginos opines the greatest love-letter to mankind, ever:

“To the social justice advocate of our time, conclusions are not contingent on facts; rather, facts are contingent on conclusions. In a global example of confirmation bias, the truth is malleable. The malleable truth is molded around the theoretical viewpoints of social justice. In order to uphold the sanctity of this viewpoint, adherents ostracize dissension. It’s nothing new — it’s a tactic as old as religion itself. Instead of holy texts, though, the millennial social justice advocate bows at the altar of the currently-in-vogue ideological Trinity: Marxism, Feminism, and Post-Colonialism.”

The only quibble I have with this is that his entire thesis is predicated on his firmly held belief that rape culture doesn’t exists, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. When you start out from a viewpoint and then go collect facts and write evidence to support that viewpoint, he’s saying you’re doing it wrong. It’s also exactly what he’s doing.[2]

But just because Orginos hasn’t stirred up enough shit, he decides to take on the racism, a social ill that, honestly, this country was founded upon. Only, instead of fighting against racism, which is what anyone with a brain will do, he decides to use the condensed format of twitter to try to prove that SJW’s just don’t get it.

The quote he pulls is “You cannot be racist to white people just like you can’t fire your boss because you don’t have that power” and he manages to miss the part about power. In fact, he missed it so much he puts forth the idea that “[t]he mantra of the movement is thus: It is impossible to be racist against white people because racism is the equivalent of prejudice and power. Since white people have social and economic institutional power and privilege (in America), those who are racially oppressed cannot be racist toward whites since those who are racially oppressed do not have power.”

That’s not how I view racism. That’s not how anyone I know views racism. That’s how people who want to claim they are being attacked for being a part of patriarchy deflect criticism. You most certainly can be racist towards whites, but if you’re a minority and you try to exert that racism in any way, what does it do? Depending on how high up on the social ladder you are you might be able to get away with some sort of racism towards white people in this country, but given the power that whites have in this country, it’s not going to be much or for long. And those fighting for social justice intrinsically understand that fact. The condensed format of Twitter doesn’t allow for a long explanation, but the tweet wasn’t wrong – if you don’t have the power, your racism doesn’t mean anything.

That he then tries to prove that sexism towards men is a problem is laughable. Men have power over women, physically by nature, and socially by the constructs that we’ve forced on society through the application of our nature. That’s not a bad thing in an of itself, so long as we don’t abuse the power. It’s really too bad that we have.

“Instead of the discussion being focused on how advocating to “kill all white people” as a political statement or how the hashtag #KillAllMen are prejudicial and hateful sentiments, the millennial social justice advocate excuses and legitimizes these phrases and behaviors by suggesting that they are not racist or sexist but are legitimate expressions against their oppressors. The discussion of how legitimately hateful and anti-liberal these statements are does not ever surface because, as the script goes, this is “derailing” discussions of legitimate problems of oppressed people to focus on the non-problems of oppressors.”

I don’t know anyone who is advocating to “kill all white people” but any idiot can see that it’s racist statement. It’s also called genocide, but whatever you call it, it’s evil and wrong. And the hashtag #killallmen is just the same level of stupid, and yes, it’s sexist.

What he never proves is that this the chosen tool of those fighting for social justice. The lack of proof is easy to understand, tho, as it’s almost impossible to come by. Of the prominent people who proudly fight for social justice, not one is this way, and all of them have advocated for calm to return to the discussion. So I ask you, Aristotelis, who are the people who have said this, and what power do they actually wield?

In searching Twitter for the hashtag #KillAllMen I can find a lot of people complaining about SJW’s saying it, but not any SJW saying it. I can see a lot of writing from sites like Breitbart, but that’s about the same level of thinking as buying stuff from Acme. And as soon as the  #gamergate hashtag is invoked, I can and do find a hate mob. And don’t forget the doxxing, swatting and threats to rape and kill female SJWs.

But even though that’s publicly searchable information, that can’t be right. It’s an outlier. Nope, it’s just a statistic, and as we know, it’s all about lies, damned lies, and statistics. If you’re going to claim that all research and statistics about the pay gap and rape culture are flawed because you can manipulate data in such a way as to exclude them, you’re fighting against research and the scientific method. And you’re doing so to fit the narrative that you want to be true, which…

“But here’s the thing — who I am does not (or should not) have any bearing on facts.”

It shouldn’t but it often does, on both sides of any debate. You don’t like being lumped in with rapists, but then you tacitly defend them. You don’t like being a bigot, but then complain when someone like you is called a bigot, so much so that you’re now upset at the whole movement. You have, right in your writing, done exactly what you claim that SJW’s are doing – you’ve discounted the arguments of a group of people because you are feeling attacked (oppressed) by them.

Why are you feeling attacked? Why are you, a white male with a comely beard, feeling like you’ve done something wrong? Have you? Is guilt, that you refuse to acknowledge, eating you? While you write in antiseptic language, and try to keep it as devoid of your personal angst and defensiveness, it’s still coming through loud and clear.

You even go so far as to define ‘ad hominem‘, lacking the self-awareness that, right off the bat in the title of your essay, you’ve leveled an ad hominem attack. “Bullies”? You don’t like being told not to rape and that you have to treat women equally, and you’re calling those that do so ‘bullies’? Ad hominem, indeed.

As for your conclusion, let’s be quick about this in the hopes that, like removing a bandaid, it’s less painful:

  • Identity Politics is only a problem for you if you lack an identity. That’s on you. And your supposition that identity politics is somehow new is ludicrous. Identity politics is the base of human history, as we define ourselves and define ‘the other’ which we are not. That the definitions are less about tribes and classes and more about attributes is an interesting wrinkle for our time, but even that isn’t particularly new.
  • Safe Spaces are separate because the powers-that-be only left us those spaces. You aren’t welcome because, in many cases, it’s all we have. Get over it. Believe me, we’d like nothing more than to not have to retreat to them – and easily seen proof is the reduction in gay bars in cities. We used to need them as a safe space because we were separate but not equal, and now, as we’re becoming more and more part of the mainstream, the bars are fading away. Amazing how that works.
  • You don’t like that we’re fighting using the tools available to us in Academia. Tough shit. You shouldn’t have been dickbags to begin with, so we wouldn’t need to fight back. You don’t like the tactics, so sad for you, but the only way to end the battle is for us to win it, because we won’t go back to being in the closet, being slaves, or being servants with no rights. Is that hostile to say? I don’t think so, but you might be feeling my anger at the system that attacked me, and that you are admitting to being a part of, and you might mistranslate that to hate. It’s not. I don’t hate you. I will fight against you, tho.

“The world is more than one viewpoint. The ostricization of those who hold alternate viewpoints is not any way conducive to social progress. The opposite of hatred is not hatred in the opposite direction. There is no excuse — none — for being a bad person toward another on the basis of their identity.”

I whole-heartedly agree. Why you are doing exactly that?

You’re theorizing that the way we are fighting is wrong. Really? Have you tried fighting for what we believe to be right? You claim to be a liberal, but everything you’ve written is libertarian, not progressive. You don’t want to be dragged into the fight, you just want everyone to be equal and get along. That’s not liberal. That’s libertarian, and it’s a nice ideal. I’d love to see it happen at some point. We have yet to achieve the equality that you are saying we should have – and we won’t achieve it without a fight. I’m sorry that you are going to have to suffer through the fight; I’d rather we didn’t have to fight, but we’ve exhausted all other options.

The fact that you can’t see the inequality that surrounds you, and try to defend your blindness by saying “I expect these responses — partially because I am so used to having seen this script play out over the last four years at NYU.” only proves how misguided and out of touch you really are.

You need to zip up; your privilege is showing.