Tag Archives: Observations

Gen-Con Day 1 – Day 2, LARP short report

Short version.
Zombie Apocalypse LARP: Started human, ended human, participated in six of the game’s major explosions. Good times.

Steampunk LARP: Started the game as a Gentleman Boxer nicknamed “The Doctor” (for a boxer, I had disturbingly high medical knowledge), and the bodyguard/meat shield for The Patron. Over the course of the game, I was involved in assisting the timely disposal of a large bomb (somedays, you really can get rid of a bomb) and the untimely disposal of an escape vessel (somedays…wait, used that line).

Both LARPs were best described as First Person Actor games, and for a non-LARP player, I play a wonderfully devious characterisation with wicked lines to the straight people characters around me. All up, well awesome in game, and massive fun for close combat acting.

Day 3 sees me back on hallowed ground in the L4D tournament structure.

East Coast Roadshow: Bandwidth a’ burning (Social Media Ritual Bonfire)

Back in the day, Alex Social Butterfly Rampy posted a social media ritual.  As part of the East Coast Roadshow tour, I’ve stayed connected to the internet through my (flaky) 3 Prepaid Modem 12 gig package, which I’m cheerfully burning through at great pace.  So I thought I’d map what I do with my bandwidth

The Morning Pre-flight

  1. Load Firefox and hit the “Routine” tab that springs open my five most commonly used sites
    1. Gmail: I’ve routed four e-mail accounts to the gmail mailbox, so I can manage most of my personal e-mail in the cloud
    2. Google Reader:  260 subscribed feeds means there’s virtual always something in the inbox, and usually there’s 150 messages of a morning. I let the account slide for a few days in Brisbane and it resulted in a 400mb burn to get it down from 1000+ to zero.  I do like to have a Google Reader Zero policy.
    3. Twitter: Given I have Twhirl running, this is more to get a quick glance at the current messages on the way past as I’m scanning items from Google Reader
    4. Facebook: Message check to see if anyone’s left mail for me. It’s a lot like my pigeon hole at work on the internet.  Plus a quick check to see if people have replied to status messages etc.  Later in the day, I might stray into a Bejewelled game or twenty.
    5. Livejournal: LJ is my watercooler/tea room moment of checking in with my friends to see they’re alive, doing stuff or if they’ve found anything interesting to report back to the rest of us.
    6. Blog admin page: I’ve decided to put more effort into frequently updating SDDC this time around, possibly at the expense of other things, but as part of the reminder to actually blog daily, it’s sitting at the back of the queue.
  2. Work mail.
    1. On tour, the work mail is wrangled through Microsoft Outlook connecting back to the parent mail server through IMAP.  There are pro/con moments for this approach, with the largest con being the tendency of the IMAP server not to respond when I want to read a message, or the discovery that most of the messages I wanted to address weren’t available offline – whilst my broadband was down.
    2. Sending mail through the IMAP requires a local mailhost, and there’s problems with trying to jump onto a local free/paid wireless and get an outbound SMTP server to authenticate and deliver the mail.  Spammers have made life harder for the legitimate multiple network users.
  3. Bsckground tabs in Firefox
    1. For the most part, I’ll read the content of Google Reader within the reader itself, and just pop the odd article up to a new tab (and by odd, I mean that I had to change the permitted pop up count from 20 to 500 to avoid running out of open-in-new-tabs during a session)
    2. With LJ, I’ll often skim the list, and pop open posts into new tabs if they have images, cut tags or are posts I want to spent time reading.  I’ve been commenting less and less recently because I feel a bit like I’m railroading the conversation away from the poster to me, and I’d rather not post if i think I’m derailing.
  4. Twitter scan
    1. Starts with the @messages to see if there’s anything to reply. I really rarely get direct messages
    2. Scan the list to open links, twitpic photos and short urls.
  5. Close down the tabs, close the browser, and, depending on the day, recheck the basic routine to see if there’s been anything come through (reply e-mails, new content, new messages) that need response before I head off to do something else.

This process manages to chew up a minimum of 250 to 400mb a day minimum, and help me end up with a quota draining gig-a-week habit.  Since I’m on tour, I’m not even opening Steam to see what new games are up, or what needs patching, updating etc.  Even the Youtube and  iTunes use is significantly down to preserve the allocation.

Absence of consent is rape, and not technical rape, and is not an excuse for victim blaming

Judge raises ‘technical rape’ problem

A judge in Australia has decided that a rape case has “technical rape” because of a victim blaming mentality where the possibly unconscious victim didn’t consent or reject, and because it took three criminal acts to get to a rejection, somehow this was all the woman’s fault for not rebuffing the attacker sooner.

Suffice to say, this is utterly unacceptable, and a despicable attempt to convert a clear cut assault into something other than a clear cut assault. By the judge no less. Not the defence counsel who is charged with defending at all costs their client’s proclaimed innocence. The juddge who’s supposed to be the embodiment of the law.

.Let’s  start with some background information from the newspaper article.

Some time after attending to her about midnight when she was sick from drinking, Prasad got into bed with his victim, waking her but she made no objection, pretending to be asleep, he said….[description of the attack removed for potential triggering risk]… Justice Crawford said, in the law’s eyes, Prasad did not have consent to do that.

He then had intercourse briefly with her before changing positions to continue having sex with her.

“Once again, the girl made no objection but continued to pretend to be asleep,” Justice Crawford said. [Editorial Note:

Justice Crawford said that legally a person does not consent to an act unless they say or do something to communicate consent.

Shortly after, Prasad rolled her onto her back and got on top of her.

This time, she made it clear that she was not consenting by striking him in the face and saying: “Don’t”.

At no point did the attacker have actual consent. Implicit non-consent and actual non-consent.  Nothing in the attacker’s statements indicated that there was actual consent, given willingly or freely.  So, a very drunk female who had been sufficiently drunk to have recently vomited failed to make any form of consent.  Clear cut?

Yes.  Very clear cut if you’re a decent human. If you’re a rape apologist or believe in the rape culture tenet that the absence of active consent is implied consent, despite having clearly state as a matter of law that you need active consent for consent, you’ll find an excuse.

The reason why she did not object earlier to what he was doing was not explained to the court,” Justice Crawford said. “I find the sentencing task a difficult one because of circumstances that are unusual so far as the issue of consent is concerned….

I don’t find it an unusual issue of consent. I find it it a clear cut. You said “legally a person does not consent to an act unless they say or do something to communicate consent” Absence of consent is not consent. No active consent given to any part of the process, and the final part involved active rejection.   Failure to actively rebuff isn’t active consent. What more do you need here Chief Justice?

To cap it off, the attacker is granted clemency on the grounds that the victim failed to adequately deter the attacker when the victim was demonstrably in a situation of incapacity.

Justice Crawford noted that had the victim objected to the two illegal acts that led to a definite rebuff, that was observed, then the man would not have committed those crimes.”

Given the circumstances, the attacker’s claim that the victim was “pretending to sleep” versus the possibility of the victim actually being passed out and incapable of providing active rejection or consent, the benefit of the doubt should go to the victim.  Namely, the lack of consent is not consent (Note: should you find yourself being bashed with a house brick in your sleep, it’s unlikely prosecution will have to indicate that because you were asleep (or feigning sleep) when the bashing began, you were consenting to being hit with a brick until you complained).

There was another way the man could have avoided those crimes – by not committing them.  He didn’t need to get into the victim’s bed, he didn’t need to attack the victim, and he didn’t need to engage in criminal acts against a semi-conscious person who he was aware was sufficiently intoxicated to the point of vomiting.  He is capable of owning his own actions, and his actions are not the responsibility of the victim.  He made a deliberate set of choices in his behaviour, and should take the consequences of those choices.

The Chief Justice, however, elected to blame the victim for the assaults by pointing to the timing of the rejection. The legal system attacked the victim for not actively stopping the first assault (when it’s the attacker’s word that she was feigning sleep, and not actually unconscious). Rather than putting the responsibility for the attack on the attacker, the Chief Justice decides to blame the victim for failing to assert a sufficiently robust denial.  Despite having stated as a matter of legal opinion that the attacker needed to have secured actual consent audible consent for real consent to exist, and that continuing in the absence of actual consent was an assault.

Despite that, the judge decides that the woman is at fault for the attack continuing to a third round of illegal assault.

You want to know why women don’t want to press rape charges? Because the system is stacked against them.  The judge looked for a mitigating factor to reduce the sentence, and settled on the failure of the victim to deter the attacker rather than focus on the attacker’s ownership of their actions.

Unacceptable judicial failure.

An internet tradition: Telling the internet that something is on fire

It’s okay, I’ve sent an e-mail to the fire brigade.

($) Dr Stephen Dann says: just burnt a potato in the microwave
($) Dr Stephen Dann says: trying not to trigger the fire alarm and dispose of the potato’s corspe
($) Dr Stephen Dann says: door wide open, aircondition on cold,
Jen says: oh dear
($) Dr Stephen Dann says: crisis mostly averted
Jen says: you’re telling the internet, right? :P

Fire + potato = good (most of the time)

Fire + potato = good (most of the time)

I am now. FWIW, when you’re staying on the 15th floor of an apartment building, and you decide to sacrifice a potato to the microwave gods

a) open the pod bay doors Hal.

b) put the airconditioning down to the coldest setting it has available.

c) place exotically crisped potato in body of water

d) place still smouldering plate under extractor fan cranked to the max setting

e) hope like hell that alarm siren is coming from next door (it was)

f) plan something with rice for dinner.

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East Coast Roadshow: The Irregular Verbs of Business

The Irregular Verbs of Business

Bernard: It’s one of those irregular verbs, isn’t it: I have an independent mind; you are an eccentric; he is round the twist.

The nature of my trade is that I listen to academics and industry speakers across a range of related business fields, and the nature of my sideline interests is that I spend a lot of time online reading blogs, listening to people talk shop about their trades, and usually speak in crisp, clear and totally precise phrases and terms that are native to their industries.  And this is where I encounter the irregular verbs of business mindset that goes like this

  • I have technical terms.
  • We have shared understanding.
  • Marketing has buzzwords.

I went to a marketing conference recently where everyone spoke the same business dialect, and we were able to quickly, cleanly and relatively precisely communicate ideas within our shared framework.  For what it’s worth, no-one actually said “leverage core competency[1]” since that’s a management phrase.  We talked, swapped ideas, and looked at how we could share our technical understanding of our discipline with each other.

It felt like the presentations I watched at the BarCampCanberra where the UX or social media people spoke to each other, and whilst I had no idea what half of the shorthand language meant, I knew that I was watching compressed language in action.  Both the audience and speaker respected their terminology, and each other’s rights to speak in trade language in front of an audience that they couldn’t guarantee also spoke the same trade dialect.

Lately it’s started to bother me that many of the technical language dominated areas such as  social media and UX  have picked up a habit of disregarding the technical languages of other discipline areas as “meaningless buzzwords and jargon”  whilst proceeding to produce a veritable encrypted dialect of their own. If I see one more encrypted language post or tweet containing the code word “engagement”, I’m going to ask for the speaker to spell out in detail what they’re saying, since I’m never entirely sure that I know what they think the word means, or if there even is a consensus on the meaning.   Same goes for those who break out “connected” and “conversation” when talking about unidirectional broadcast blogging.

This links to a second problem I’m seeing show up rapidly as a relative outsider to the social media trade language.  “Conversational”, “conversation” and the fast and loose application of these terms to technology is the one that’s got me most uncertain that people are saying what I think they mean, and meaning what I think they’re saying.  Conservatively speaking, conversation is one of those things where it takes two or more to tango, and I’ve watched more than enough solo dance numbers in the “conversation sphere” recently.  I tend to read blog posts, journal updates and the like soon after they’ve been posted, and long before the replies arrive.   For me, over here in marketing, the difference between monologue and talking to yourself is having an audience. The difference between monologue and conversation is having both of us on the same stage at the same time. Twitter, IRC, MSN, chat rooms (yes, chatrooms. Still out there, still in use) have conversations.  Everyone on the same stage, same time, and able to talk (or write) in semi-real time to each other.

More and more though, I see the blogs as a soliloquies and the comments section as monologues and prepared speeches. It’s like ASCII question time – with less Dorothy Dixers and more civilised debate.  I see real time (or near real time) as the conversations (because my understanding of conversation has the dynamic of faster interactins), and blogging as the stump speeches.  But is that what others see?  Because if it isn’t, then shouting “conversational engagement” becomes unhelpful at best and meaningless at worst. Since I think it means Twitter, and you think it means Facebook and they think it means blogging, the lack of shared meaning means an empty language term that could swiftly fall into the “nominee for buzzword of the week” category if marketers wanted to start playing tit-for-tat

Which, really, I don’t want to do.  I’m from marketing, we speak in codes, tongues and technical terms. I respect that about my trade, and I respect that about your trade as well.  I just need you to realise that your codes, your dialects and more complex shorthand needs translating for me as much as mine does for you. Let’s share the respect, build the language translators, dictionaries and try to avoid being divided by a common language, and can the habital defensiveness of shouting “Buzzwords” at my technical language.

After all, those words conversational, conversation and engagement? I don’t think they means what I think you think I think they mean[2].
[1] FWIW, “leverage core competency for synergies” means

  • Improve another aspect of our life/business/work/project (leverage)
  • by using the parts/processes/tricks of what we do really well somewhere else in the organization (core competencies)
  • so we get the most out of what we put into the project  / maximum gain from minimum input  (synergy).

Best example: When the Planeteers combine their available powers to summon Captain Planet, they’re leveraging their core competency for synergy by calling in the plot resolving greater-than-sum-of-parts deus ex machina.  It should also be noted that I can’t actual say the word synergy outloud. Something about synergy being connected to the Planeeters means it’s on the Trebuchet List.

[2]And if there’s one thing we know for sure in marketing, is that you never, ever start a land war in Asia under any circumstance. Ever. You’re far better going in against a Sicilian when death is on the line. Much greater chance of success