Biggest time wasters in the world – part one

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I wrote yesterday about how I filled my day when I had no obligations. Today is similar save a visit to buy some glass for the front of my stove. I think it cracked because I allowed a log to rest against the glass and it was too much.

I read the rather sad story about the YouTube pop Idol Logan Paul who has been banned from monetizing his sites because he featured a place that was popular amongst people committing suicide. It was in China somewhere or was it Japan but it was in rather bad taste, a bit like making a film about Bristol suspension bridge suicides or the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco (the most notorious place in the world for this activity).

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Off we go to Shepton Mallet. First stop, to pick up the frontal glass for my living room stove. This is a store absolutely full of stoves of numerous types as well as outdoor bubble baths of varying degrees of sophistication. The salesperson was helpful enough and gave me what I required. However, the guy whose shop it was barely glanced at me being much more interested in exchanging gossip then looking at the customers. I can say there was no eye contact apart from the moment when I came in. The basic mistake he made was to assume I was limited by the £19 I spent on the glass. For all he knew, I was about to buy another model, upgrade, and the determining factor is whether I as the customer have enough confidence in the interest and enthusiasm of the person who might do further business with me , bearing in mind it’s a few thousand pounds. Surely that possibility is worth a smile?

I should not have to say this but when you are involved in sales whatever it is, Fish and chips or Lamborghinis, you should take an interest in absolutely everybody who walks through the door because although they may spend a trifling sum, they may have a friend who will be quite glad to spend more. People gossip. You cannot tell from the way that customers dress or talk how much money they have got. If you are so grumpy that you cannot bring yourself to look at the customers naturally then find another profession which is not customer facing, a backroom job perhaps.

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a newly discovered gem called the Mad Hatter. I will ignore the possessive apostrophe

On to Shepton Mallet High Street which was at one time the main road between London and Exeter. We were looking for a place to have lunch but did not find anything to our liking. However, we were about to pass a cafe which I have done about 30 times. I’m a great believer in traditional cafes where the chef is probably the owner and takes a personal interest in his customers. We stepped in with some caution.  However, the cafe, the Madhatter, ideally suited our needs. I had cod, peas and chips for £4 and my partner had a quiche with salad for £3.40 . I had a fruit crumble for £2.40  including custard. Together with 2 cups of tea, the bill was less than £10.

I took the trouble to complement all the staff including the chef saying how much I enjoyed the visit. While we were eating, people who were obviously regulars came in and out and were warmly greeted. This makes a pleasant atmosphere completely lacking in the modern franchise places where people are working for an impersonal organisation for the minimum wage, relying on tips.

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very interesting erosion effect of wind and rain on some north facing brickwork

We went to Aldi to buy some bubbly for a luncheon party the following Sunday. A man waiting in the checkout line was very chatty and asked me if I’d had a good Christmas. I responded in the affirmative and he started telling me about his attempt at stock exchange dealings and recommendations. He is an adviser to a company and he had recommended they put £2 million in a particular company having figured out that it would appreciate by 10%. Two days later it did. The company however did not take his advice. I realised this man was a genius and all he required was a few million of capital to make himself and the investors a few more million. This reinforces my point that you never know who you are going to meet, when and where.

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And now to the main point of my story today which is about time wasting activities.  In a way, I don’t think we can truly waste time. If we are waiting for a train, we can pace up and down the platform or sit still and meditate so it’s not what the body does it’s mainly what the mind is doing that determines the’ waste’ element.  So far as the spirit is concerned, at the the two-dimensional levels time does not exist. There are philosophies that say that we live our past present and future at the same time and our actions are but a symptom of the whole.  So, I would rather call it the misappropriation of time.

In case some of you have been living on another planet, or who are technophobes, YouTube analyses everything you watch and presents choices based on your previous preferences. When you see “recommended for you” you know that the algorithms have been up to their tricks again. It should go without saying that the idea is to make money by getting you to click on certain sites which are monetised. They are not doing it because they love you but because they want to make money, fractions of a penny at a time. They see the YouTube videos as lots of little cash machines being converted into profit which they squirrel away in some tax haven or another.

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it started innocently enough when I clicked on the video recommended by one of my regular newsletters, www.forbiddenknowledge.com to watch a brief film on “The age of Graphene: Samsung’s revolutionary battery technology“. This metal is an amazing game changing substance, only atoms thick, stronger than steel, a substance that can be incorporated into mobile phone battery chargers which can make the charging 15 times more efficient. Now, here is a potential addiction that puts alcoholism into the shade. As I watch more and more videos, the algorithms get better and better at working out what I would like to see.

On the right-hand side of the screen ,I have the choice of the following videos “what is 5G? And how 5G will change the world”, secondly, “if you like railroad dramas this is for you”. Thirdly, “place two nails beside your plants and see what happens”. Fourthly, having detected my interest in machines, we have a video entitled “amazing and powerful machines – modern technology”.  The Powers That Be know that the likelihood is that I’m going to click on at least one and this is where they make their fractions of a penny on my click, the majority going to them the advertiser or filmmaker and some going to the originator of the video itself.

I felt like watching large and powerful machines and so I clicked on the ‘amazing powerful machines’ video. before watching the video I have to suffer an advertisement about ‘grammarly’, which is a grammar and syntax correction item of software that I signed up to about six months ago and resigned from shortly after but ‘they’ have not forgotten.  It is a wretched piece of software because everything that you type keystroke by keystroke goes up to the cloud to be examined and it slows the whole computer down quite considerably unless you have ultra fast Internet speed and 8Gb of RAM.

If I want to get to the matter in hand, I have to skip the ad but I have to watch it for four seconds to be able to click the skip button effectively. The number of seconds you have to wait varies. Check it out next time.  Most are not accompanied by human voices to make sure that people from any country can derive benefit from it. Alternatively, a text version appears which can be adjusted according to which country a person is enquiring from.

As if that were not enough, while you watch, advertising bars appear towards the bottom of the the video ensuring that they have at least two sources of income. So you see, there is no such thing as a free lunch. The company is quite happy to allow people to put something on for ‘free’ knowing that they are the origins or the excuse for Clickbait, as it is cynically called in the trade. if you click on the top right-hand button called “autoplay” the videos will continue to be churned out video after video until you run out of time or interest, or until the world ends whichever is the longer.

Up next on the ever-changing list on the right, knowing my interest of gardening and my searches for gardening tools we have a video entitled “Tree Stump Removal” by no less a person than Pete B that has been viewed over 898,687 times. After a few seconds I get a little message box saying “try advertising on Google. Find out more and claim your £75 free credit”. It then gives an adwords website. So, they want to turn you from a member of the public who merely clicks on videos and ads to someone who makes videos for others to click on. This is called “viral marketing”. At the end of the video I’m invited to ‘like’ by clicking the thumbs up icon or subscribing, which means that similar videos will come up in my own personalised list more frequently.

With auto play on, the next video will roll and the moment it does, the preference list on the right hand side changes automatically. The next video is “monster stump removal in high speed”  Before I watched this one, I have to watch  an advert called “The Term Paper”which I can skip in four seconds. Amazingly, it is another advertisement for ‘Grammarly”. Perhaps they have noticed my writing efforts on Word Press and my consequent quite high ratings on Google and put two and two together and conclude that someone who writes could probably benefit from a little bit of help. Are you getting the idea now? This is one massive moneymaking machine albeit very entertaining and informative . This is the deal. You make a video with your own efforts. The company will monetise it if you want. They get most of the money, you get a little bit.

On the third screen another stump removal video starts but scrolling down on the right-hand list I get an advert saying “Recommended for you” which is a video about an iceberg explosion by Greg Snider whoever he is. How strange, I love looking at icebergs, floods, natural disasters and beloved Google has found another interest of little ol’ me so I better watch it I guess. While this is playing I get titles including “a super volcano waking up in the USA”, “amazing best massive icebergs ever caught”, and another recommended for you “funniest coincidences that will blow your mind” followed by “top 10 most massive landslides in the world”.

I don’t think I need to labour the point but you see how you can be enticed to watch hour after hour. Yes, it is entertaining once in a while but every day? That is a bit sad. Maybe I am a bit sad but on the other hand, Youtube would come in rather useful if I wanted to advertise my own services.

Ooops, they got me!!!!!

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I’m watching David Icke video called ” Internet giants and the psychological malignancy destroying human society”. This is pretty much going along with Mark Zuckerman, owner or Facebook who admits the deleterious effect of social media sites. David was talking about how his Facebook channel was taken off the air for seven days. Suddenly, someone phoned him up and said there had been ‘an error’ and it has since been restored. David is commenting on how few people have the power over so many and this is really a reflection of the way this world is run.

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David Bowie RIP 1947-2016

David Bowie appeared on the scene when I was at a very impressionable phase of my life. I love the soul/rock/dance style of “let’s dance” and of course Ziggy Stardust. What I didn’t know was that he was asked to stand in for the Elephant Man in a play in London. He performed the whole thing without make up to great effect. I miss him and Michael Jackson, Prince and all the other great creative people. Who is replacing them now?

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