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A letter from the Cuprohastes-in-Chief

Welcome to the site - I'll post tutorials and otehr comments here intermittently - Subscribe via RSS to get notifications!

5:40AM

Confirmation bias and the dangers of being a nerd in the herd.

A short essay on why confirmation bias is bad for your website, and what confirmation bias is.

Click to read more ...

8:46PM

A short but informative guide to Social Media Ettiquette

Welcome to Social media, you've probably been here for a while already, or you're quite new to this!

Either way, here's a short guide; It's not here to let everyone get the most out of their experience without having to stab anybody!


00: Don't post guides telling people how to use social media sites. This is important. Nobody reads those things anyway.

01: Posting

You found a neat-oh Thing on the Internet and you just have to post that puppy (Or Kitten, as the case may be), but hold on there a moment, is there something you're forgetting?

  • Who else posted this? Is it someone wildly popular that has hundreds or thousands of followers?
  • Was it someone who is also a friend of a lot of your friends?
  • Is it likely to be something everyone has seen in their stream fifty times already?
  • Is this a video, picture or meme that's now more than a week old and therefore, by Internet standards, a tired, old cliché that will cause you to be mocked and de-friended by all the cool kids?

So you've determined that that your neat-o find really is worth posting! here's a couple of simple little things that you can do to make it even better!

Write a little something about it!

This is especially important if you're going to use a URL shortener. Here's an example!

Bad:

"Lol" http://goo.gl/zPOD

This link doesn't show you what it points to and there's no explanation. It could be anything! It's probably something everyone's already seen before, and even if it isn't, it's something not everyone is interested in.
Good:

"My favourite moment in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (Sonic Rainboom)... 'Uh-oh!'"http://goo.gl/WVTFY

This link also hides what's behind it, but you know what's there because I left an explanation. Now you don't need to click if you have a persistent loathing of MLP.

If you re-post someone else's post, add an explanation of why you're re-posting it, and if possible, add your thoughts - it's more interesting than just stealing someone else's link!

When you're posting links in Google+ it will try to add a thumbnail and a text snippet. Don't forget to use the 'Add Link' button to add your link so you can see what it looks like - if the text or the thumbnail aren't great, turn them off!

Before you post, ask yourself - does anyone really care about your game score, favourite game, or the fact you just got up? The answer is - No actually very few people care. Only the people who know you well will not hate you for saying 'Good morning' or 'Goodnight' or posting that you are going to lunch.

The obvious exception to this is Warren Ellis. You are not Warren Ellis. Don’t do it.

In fact, in Google+ you can arrange your contacts into circles - Why not arrange all your really good friends into one circle so you can post about your life only to that circle instead of publically broadcasting news of your impending sandwich?

Don't be a Bore.

If you have exactly one topic of conversation... try hanging out on a forum instead.

02: You and the Social Scene

Don't forget to fill in your profile, otherwise nobody will know who you are. It's like going to a party and refusing to introduce yourself before you loudly start trying to shout comments at other people who are having conversations!

Be self aware, especially in hangouts  – Just because you are…

  • Goth
  • Emo
  • Into Animé
  • Furry
  • A total Weeaboo
  • An asshole…

… doesn't mean everyone else is!

In hangouts, don't forget to say "Hello!" – But you don't need to give your life story! Try and stay away from the obvious comments like:

"So where are you all from?"

"How do you like Google+?"

"Are you wearing a hat?"

"Cool! A chick! Hey, you're hawt! Did you know Google Plus is like 90% guys? Can I see your tits?"

Remember, if everyone starts to look uncomfortable and leave, it's because you're really really creepy and nobody wants to talk to you!

Happy Google Plussing!

10:15AM

Gmail, Google+ and Google thoughts

Google’s rolling a lot of it’s flagship services into the one Google+ brand.

How will this affect you?

Well… if you use any of them, they’ll all get a unified interface (Probably) and it’ll be easier to put things into the services and then have them display elsewhere, and you’ll have more control over who sees what.

So… actually this is a good thing? Right?

Pretty much, except you now have even greater capacity for accidentally having your boss, mother, grandfather, kids etc. see those embarrassing photos or conversations because you forgot to lock them down, or one day you send an e-mail to someone and Google helpfully connects the two accounts and displays the user icon of a horse’s arse that you were using for them in your contact list.

Oops.

More than ever, people need to have two accounts – One for public display, and one for having fun with.

10:20AM

Am I a hipster?

No.

Hipsters by and large are drawn to things outside of the mainstream and use things because they’re counter culture. They refuse to use a PDA, and carry sheafs of paper secured by a bulldog clip and loudly declare it’s their ‘Hipster PDA’ and smugly show it off as ‘like an iPhone but the battery never runs out and the resolution is like, infinite’.

They write in Moleskine notebooks with blackwing 602 pencils because it’s the ‘Notebook of Hemmingway and Van Gogh’ and the ‘Best pencil in the world’ as used by Lennon and Steinway, as though trying to connect to greatness via some cargo cult sympathetic magic.

Never mind that Hemmingway and Lennon would have been great if they’d used a half chewed crayon and the back of an envelope to write.

So what’s my flimsy rationale for using a blackwing 602 and a moleskine notebook (Or 5)?

I like paper and pencil.

I type a lot. I read e-books and websites. I make notes in evernote and stash text files around. I use Photoshop to draw and sketch, but when it comes down to it, I need a little variety, and going old school, messing around with pencils and sharpeners, ink and paper is fun.

It’s a very different tactile sensation to typing, stroking one’s hand across paper. Listening to the nib of the pen catch, rolling a pencil, trying to keep the line thin enough to write before giving in and sharpening it.

The paper is cold, cool on my skin – smooth, but not the smoothness of glass.The ink flows onto the page a deep wet black and in seconds has become a solid, charcoal grey against the ivory paper (Moleskines don’t use white, they use ivory folio paper. It’s an aesthetic choice, it could be nearly any colour). My pencil glisdes, each stroke wearing the tip down, the line softening widening and becoming lighter. The letters loop and flow, here small and regular, almost printed, there swirling and undulating with fanciful strokes and relaxed sprawl. now a carefully considered phrase, and next to it, a quickly dashed quip.

Why?

For the fun of it! The enjoyment of playing with a book and taking a little time out to thrw down a thought or shopping list.

Warren Ellis buys Field notes Brand notebooks. In them he writes ideas and scenes for his books and comics and movies.

In mine I put shopping lists or write down the number of the support desk for the woefully inept ISP I have to ring up and slather in scorn, or any one of a number of little handy notes which if placed on post-it notes would hide my monitor from view. And it’s far more satisfying for me to scritch it out in pencil or pen than fire up my note-taking app on my android and wrestle with the bloody minded keyboard that changes every ‘and’ to ‘android’.

And that’s why I like paper notebooks.

8:19AM

My battle with the ISPs

Yesterday I called Virgin Media, who hadn’t gotten back to me within the 3 working days they’d promised to contact me within.

I called and indicated I was not, as the colloquialism has it, a happy camper. In fact I went on at some length about it, especially when I was told ‘Well normally this wouldn’t happen’ which is when I lost it a little and stated :

“I don’t care what normally happens. Normally isn’t good enough if you didn’t do it in this case. For an ISP and telecoms provider, you’re really incredibly bad at understanding basic use of a telephone or e-mail! Is this call being recorded? It is? Good – ahem. For the Record I wan the people responsible for this rolling FUBAR found and chastised most acerbically, and publically in an extremely sarcastic way! Further more, I demand compensation for the hassle and time wasting you’ve caused me! A box of chocolates or a puppy will do.”

Then made the person on the phone explain exactly what the problem was. Apparently they’d decided, without asking or notifying me, to install a new telephone line. I argued for five minutes and made them go  away and have a think and then agree to use my existing phone line, at which point they cancelled my order pending a ‘MAC code’ – which they were unable to acquire by themselves.

The very next day I called Talk-Talk at 09:05 and was put on hold for 20 minutes, after which time Talk-Talk hung up.

I called back, was told everyone was busy, left a number, was called back, told it was the wrong department, forwarded to someone who declared that it’d take 5 working days to generate a MAC Code apparently because of sigh mumble sight tch mutter and was I happy?

I indicated that I wasn’t particularly. Then they moaned a bit and finally explained that it was all down to paperwork and they, frankly, didn’t really care, so please go away, and also that they would cancel my demand to cancel my account because when the other ISP took the MAC code it’d automatically cancel my account.

I bet it doesn’t.

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