Monthly Archives: August 2018

Connected TV: there’s good news and bad news

CTV is a giant leap ahead as we search for better ways of doing things that are bad for us.

Connected TVI’m doing a little project on Connected TV. CTV – aka Smart TV – is basically a TV/computer hybrid, a category of Internet-connected devices that allows viewers to stream video, listen to music, check email, access social media accounts and search movies, photos and other digital content on the Web. In other words, they can perform most any TV- or computer-based media consumption activity.

More than 60 percent of US households have already migrated their viewing to “Internet TV” devices (such as Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, Google Chromecast TV) and services (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Pandora) as well as multiple Nintendo, Xbox and Playstation consoles. According to eMarketer, “more than 164 million U.S. Internet users access video content via [C]onnected TV devices, and this number is predicted to grow up to 200 million viewers in 2019.”

Advertisers love it because it allows better targeting. As in, it integrates with all those Big Data platforms out there, like the ones used for Web advertising, so that it knows a lot about you. You. You specifically. 

If we’re looking for a silver lining in the CTV cloud, we get fewer commercials and the ones we do get are more relevant. You did an online search for shoes last week? Hey, look – shoe ads on Better Call Saul! This is great news for those of us keen to trade our privacy for convenience so we can spend more money on things we don’t really need.

[sigh]

We live in a Capitalist, Consumerist society that makes hypocrites of us all, don’t we? The only difference between the principled and the clueless is that the principled take years off their lives thinking about it…

joi-advertise-on-connected-tv

White privilege and the NFL: take a knee, Aaron Rodgers

I’m looking at you Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, Carson Wentz, Rob Gronkowski, Luke Kuechly and Matt Ryan.

If you wanna kiss the sky
better learn how to kneel. – U2

I’m going to show you some pictures. Tell me if you notice anything about them (other than “they’re football players and they’re kneeling”).

NFL players kneeling

NFL players kneeling

NFL players kneeling

Okay, now a couple more. Notice anything different? Read more

There is no future: the ironic peace of learned hopelessness (#zenofdoc)

We must be prepared to laugh with the universe at the banality of our own immolation.

Full moon. Snowfield, vast
beneath the mountain:

	to understand the 
truth of people, study
their contradictions.

This morning I posted this little koan (minus graphic) to Facebook:

It’s easier to live in the now once you accept there is no future.

I’m hardly the first to trot out a “there is no future” Zen meme. My grasp of Zen philosophy is minimal, at best, but it seems conceptions of the future are perhaps related to the ever-corrosive want, which is an impediment to the ability to live in the now – and the now is all that truly exists.

My friends took the observation in different ways, with roughly an equal distribution of Likes, HaHas and Sads. One friend clearly identified with the trap of indulging in helplessness while others I think invested wholly in a subtle gallows humor that these days accompanies more and more of everything I say.

Was I attempting profundity? Was I being ironic and hopefully funny? A bit of both, honestly.

Many of us are dealing with DTSD. Some cope with anger and resistance. Others are overwhelmed. And there are those for whom that gallows humor thing seems useful for safeguarding sanity.

In my case, the last few years of my life have seen things go every which way except the way I wanted, and I can’t really see an end to it. It’s tempting to give up. The worse things go the more energy is required to maintain hope.

But an odd thing has happened. If you have spent massive energy in keeping goal X alive, and if you have lived with massive stress over the possibility of failing at X, as it becomes clearer over time that X is less and less likely to happen … the stress relents.

The stress has resulted from obsession with the future and with want. If I accept there’s no future, I am liberated from want and stress.

It doesn’t mean the consequences of failing at goals go away, but perhaps letting all that pressure go affords me more emotional and spiritual energy to deal with the evolving now and to invest in the things that bring joy to the now.

As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” I won’t assert that my intelligence is especially first-rate, but I am at ease when my mind is filled with contradiction and ambivalence.

My koan was intended as dark humor, but it also springs from a place of self-searching and a belief that the truth can be conflicted and brutally ironic. We must be prepared to laugh with the universe at the banality of our own immolation.

Managing your privilege

Whatever power you will have begins with accepting who you are.

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde

I was fortunate enough to see Audre Lorde speak not long before she died. There was a moment that evening that’s always stuck with me, and I think it’s relevant to what some of my friends and I are facing in our lives these days.

A young woman in the audience – maybe 20 or 21 and obviously looking to the famous activist guest of honor for validation – went off on all the injustice being perpetrated by whites against minorities. She concluded by saying she was ashamed of being white.

Lorde, if you don’t know, checked off a lot of minority boxes. Black. Woman. Lesbian. And perhaps worst of all, poet.

Her reply surprised me. She told the girl that whatever power she was ever to have in life, whatever chance she was to have of confronting the injustices of our society, it all started with acceptance of self. She couldn’t be black. She had no choice but to draw power from her whiteness and from her womanhood, so she needed to accept these things and get on with it. Read more