2013 — 21 March: Thursday

A nice piece of webby stuff1 while I sup my initial cuppa.

To be confused with someone else is a small death that draws together the two paradoxical imperatives of fashion that the sociologist Georg Simmel identified in 1905: be unique, and be part of a crowd. Fashion is not just clothing but a mode — a way of doing things, a cycle, a trend, and the constitution of the covetable. The reason that academia works by envy is that it, like any form of society, is subject to fashion, despite the failure of most academics to dress well. At the heart of it all is desire; we know what we want — even who we are — by seeing what other people desire. Even people whom we'd rather not be, but who seem to be like us...

Jessica Burstein in Uni of Chicago

So, it seems the envious academics are different from me, too. This one's an associate professor of English.

It's cool (19.7C) in here, cold (4C) drizzly and breezy out there. I think I shall be staying put for the time being, the time being 10:37 and ticking.

Having just read...

... a piece in last December's issue of Scientific American ("Is drugs research trustworthy?") that ended with a paragraph far more typical of one from Private Eye, I asked Mrs Google to tell me more about the author — Charles Seife — and I soon found a lengthy extract from his book "Proofiness" that was entertaining. But it's a pity this earlier (1954) little book...


... has dropped off the radar. After all, the principles Huff so humorously expounded remain completely true and relevant today. And the late Mel Calman's cover and cartoons alone are well worth at least 45.6% of the 50p I spent back in 1975.

Meanwhile, the ever-more-prolix "Rudolf" (having clearly forgotten the letter he sent just yesterday) has sent me another "complete list" of direct debits from my previous bank. (The point he fails to grasp is that this second batch came from a different previous bank.) And another bit of his vast enterprise has finally got around to sending me the card reader with which I can generate PINs for Internet banking until the cows come home to roost (or the two CR2032 batteries expire).

I don't much like it...

... when software rears its often-ugly head and says "permission to update?". In this case, it was the Media Centre. Meanwhile, earlier today I got one-too-many of those annoying popup messages from "Software Manager" and decided to expunge it. "It" turned out to be some aspect of FlexNet Connect that has been adopted by InstallShield as part of their process of gaining "deep insight" into their install base demographics and had managed to hitch a ride on an application I've put on BlackBeast). Pah! To hell with that.

They are free to keep imagining they are "increasing customer satisfaction by proactively delivering electronic software updates" until they are blue in the face. But, since they've also made a removal tool available (if you dig deep enough) just to remove this unsought annoyance, I can't have been the only not fully-gruntled customer.

Away it went.



1  And I've yet to make breakfast, too.