Technology Tuesday

When I was a copy boy in the mid-’70s this was one of my babies.
Ding! Ding! Ding! Photo liberated from UPI

I’ve embraced antisocial media in 2018.

Facebook? Don’t care how it rejiggers itself, my account stays croaked. Ditto for Instagram and Snapchat, the latter of which I never did figure out, because apparently as a senile old goat I’m not supposed to.

And a couple weeks into the new year I can’t say I miss Twitter, either. That account remains open, but unused as of Jan. 1.

I enjoyed the service once. At 140 characters it reminded me of headline writing, which was always one of my favorite parts about deskwork.

Even at twice that its immediacy reminded me of the wire services. Man, you’d hear those bells ring in the teletype room — Ding ding ding ding ding! — and you knew instantly that some shit was hitting the fan somewhere.

But there were those long stretches of not much going on, too, just the machinery mindlessly punching out dreck from drones that nobody was ever going to read, not even the copy boy, and that’s what Twitter has become for me. More characters and fewer characters, all at the same time.

Now if I crave to inspect the latest outrage from Sir Orange of Golf, I have to go looking for it, which mostly I don’t.

And yes, the reverse QWERTY dent in my forehead is healing nicely. Thanks for asking.

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17 Responses to “Technology Tuesday”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Twitter, like most social media, encourages people to talk whatever shit they want without reflection. Kinda like this post. I am not sure what to do with it, except for severely scaling back the number of people I follow. Lately I find Twitter is deadly boring, predictable, or aggravating. Or all of the above.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, and so much of it has become roboticized. WordPress will let you use its Publicize feature to automatically crosspost to various social-media services, and pretty much everyone is using something like it to scream “HEY LOOKA ME!” at everyone.

      I’m kinda over it. I don’t mind people watching while I act out, but I’m not gonna send ’em an engraved invitation.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    They are antisocial indeed. A friend defended Facebook today saying it was the only way to inform many other family members that one of them had died. How fucking sad is that?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Jeebus, that really is sad. I hear similar stuff all the time from people who say it’s the only way for friends/family to stay in touch.

      I’m not much for talking on the phone — my sis and I chat now and then, and Hal and I holler past each other occasionally — so I mostly keep in contact via Apple’s Messages, texts or simple email, which makes me a total codger. None of the Kool Kidz use the email anymore.

  3. Steve O Says:

    The whole lot of them would be fine if humans would consider them the two-legged equivalent of dogs pissing on fence posts. The thing is, dogs only do that a couple of times a day. They don’t walk around 24-7 with their sniffer glued to the target of their neighbor’s wizz.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Some people like to get in the first punch, others the last word.

      I think the biggest problem with social media is that most people don’t have an inner editor, which means that an awful lot of stuff that should never see the light of day is broadcast far and wide.

      Just because you think it doesn’t mean you have to say it. Jeez, if only the people who dislike my work could see the stuff that doesn’t make the cut.

  4. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Zuckerberg stole the idea for a college-based hookup site and now the whole thing is become like Frankenstein and this bozo has no clue how to control his monster – but he likes the zillions rolling into his bank account too much to kill it off. It was only a matter of time before guys smarter than him figured out how to manipulate it for their own purposes. Now it’s a race-to-the-bottom and I think the bad guys will always be ahead. How long before it’s in the same s–t-can as MySpace? We can only hope.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      What’s amazing to me is how much personal time you recover once you shut off the faucet.

      This isn’t always a good thing, especially in my case, where idle hands are indeed the devil’s workshop. But still.

      Meanwhile, how’s Italy? Fill us in when you have a moment. Just don’t do it on Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat.

  5. SteveP Says:

    One of my chores as Night Darkroom Guy (before I was promoted to Real Photographer) was to check the UPI “fax” machine paper and insert a new metal strip before I clocked off. The AP/CP Laser machine was simpler – just check the paper supply

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It’s amazing how quickly the technology changed. When I started we still had Linotypes and engraving rooms; by the time I quit we were getting at least some of our AP graphics on a Mac Plus and were cold type throughout.

      • canamsteve Says:

        My father was ad manager of a medium-size paper and when I was quite young, he would take me down to the press area and some Linotype operator would set my name for me.

        At university, I was photo editor of the student paper. We used Compugraphic typesetters that output photo-processed “cold type” that we waxed onto layout sheets along with half-toned photos. We then shot the whole thing on a process camera to make page negs, which we raced off to the printers who made offset plates for the press run.

        By the time I made it to the Big Time in the Big City (late 70s) they were on a dedicated dumb-terminal HP system making up pages on screen and making page negs directly. They also pioneered satellite printing with identical central, east and west coast simultaneous editions printed at contract printers. That would have been 1982.

        When I started teaching journalism-related courses in a new college program in the early 80s I had to pitch for about $250K for a smaller front-end system. I remember it came with two mirrored 20MB (!) hard drives that cost about $20K. Each. Terminals were a similar price. The dot matrix impact printer (still in use at Avis) was a steal at $3K. It had an 8″ floppy drive. A few years later the Macintosh came out and we bought a dozen or so. A few years after that we did a “forklift upgrade” and ditched the front end system for more Macs and (IIRC) Quark Xpress.

        Photoshop was still to come…

        • Herb Clevenger Says:

          Ah the 70’s. Damn..sounds like putting a newspaper to bed, or other printed materials back in the day, was like birthing a baby! Makes me feel guilty for all the times I failed to even glance at our local rag as I was working 80 hours a week. But I still kept the subscription up and let the papers pile up until they made their way to the dump. Egads….we didn’t even have recycling back then. Now I feel doubly guilty especially since I now have the time and inclination to put down the iPad and hold a newspaper instead.

          • Pat O'Brien Says:

            When I was in a data processing school in the late 60s, I ran a 3 color Fairchild-Davidson offset press for part time work. Turns out the print shop was making more money than the for profit computer programming school that was the other half of the company. Never took printing for granted after that. I loved newspapers until I got here. The local rag here never was much to brag about. I subscribed to Patrick’s old employer in Tucson instead, the Arizona Daily Star.

          • canamsteve Says:

            I predict in a few more years you will see a guy walking down the street and say “Ooooooo – he must be soooo rich.He’s got a *printed* copy of the New York Times!”

          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            The rest of us will be living under copies of USA Today.

  6. psobrien Says:

    Reverse QWERTY dent, huh. Only took me this long to get that. That is why they pay you the big money.

  7. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    My e-reader battery was dead the other day so I bought a paper copy of the NYT instead of reading it my usual way. By the time I was done with it my old-time romance for newsprint was pretty much over. Here in Sicily of course there ain’t no printed copies of the NYT anyway…but there’s BICISPORT!

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