Tuesday Morning (Kind of): Assembly-Required Future

Sorry, gang, I’ve got a lot of balls in the air today and not much time to write. I’ll try to come back as time permits to flesh out this post but no promises.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future — apart from the political realm, because that part of our future is just plain bat-shit crey — and I don’t know, nothing seems clear. My crystal ball reads like a shattered Apple iPad display.

Take a look at this new phone concept, Google’s Project Ara. Users can assemble the components they want or need at any time. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s not a phone at all. It’s a new mobile computer platform with communications capability. We’ll accept it more readily if we think of it as a phone first, though, especially since we have yet to fully grasp how our current smartphones have replaced PCs.

Do enough people want a customizable device like this badly enough to merit all the effort put into its R&D?

If you’re a parent, you’ve probably stepped barefoot on a LEGO piece in the middle of the night; imagine instead stepping on your kid’s camera component for their Ara. Or the baby swallowing one of the components. Or the cat flicking off the dresser a key part you needed with all your spreadsheets for work.

Color me skeptical.

The impending decision in the Oracle v. Google lawsuit over Java’s open-source license may also play a critical role. Not because Ara’s technology may be released as open source, but because a negative outcome in the lawsuit may have a chilling effect on development by component makers. If every company participating in the Java development community (prior to Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems) believed Java was open source, BUT the court thinks otherwise, what good are any other assurances that any technology is open source?

As usual, morning threads are open. Talk amongst yourselves. What’s the future look like in your crystal ball?

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
15 replies
  1. bloopie2 says:

    I love that phrase people use, “for the foreseeable future”. How much of the future is foreseeable? And how much of the past can be seen in retrospect? If Google has its way, more than some would like. Google is fighting France’s requirement that its “right to be forgotten” be enforced by scrubbing an “offending” reference in all the world’s Internet, not only in France. I think Google is right on this one—how can one nation make laws covering other nations’ data storage? (I know, I know, don’t get me started on the US trying to enforce the Microsoft subpoena in Ireland. The US is a law unto itself, as we all know.)
    .
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/may/19/google-right-to-be-forgotten-fight-france-highest-court
    .
    Giggles on the cat video. My dogs so something similar—dig their snouts into the sofa pillows when they are excited, deliberately shoving those items onto the floor. And yes, I can foresee that happening tonight when I get home from work.

  2. John Casper says:

    Rayne, can’t thank you–and other commenters– enough for educating me on options to replace my Mac Mini.

  3. lefty665 says:

    Hillary keeps auguring in in polling against Trump. Going from 20 points up a year ago to 10 points up in April to roughly even now to 10 points down in late June and 20 points down as the convention approaches. Dem elites enter double max panic mode, spastic tics prevail.
    .
    At the Convention neither candidate wins on pledged delegates on the first ballot. Following an FBI visit Hillary suspends her campaign, pleads to a misdemeanor to avoid indictment, and releases her delegates to “Uncle Joe”. With supers under White House direction Biden is nominated on the second ballot. Sanders delegates are not pleased, chaos ensues, but gains little traction because Sanders himself is inaccessible, locked in the attic by Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
    .
    In the general Trump cleans the floor with Uncle Joe while Independents attracted to Sanders ideas ignore frantic demands for party unity and sit out the election. The country enters a reign of confusion and infinitely variable policies depending on the day of the week and the Donald’s mood. On the good side that leads to the invention of the infinite improbability drive and we enter a future described in “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” with Zaphod Beeblebrox making Trump look like a piker.
    .
    Alternative future, HRC powers through continuously falling polls and secures the nomination. Go to “In the general”, substitute Hillary for Uncle Joe. The outcome is unchanged.
    .
    Either way right wing DLC, corporate, neocon Clintonism exits stage right with HRC and we avoid a neocon HRC driven nuclear war with Russia that ends like Dr. Strangelove. The Dems are free to reconstitute a New New Deal party dedicated to serving the people of the US and live happily ever after. Or until 2048 when Chelsea emerges with the Hedge Fund, neo neocon DLC and the cycle repeats.

    • P J Evans says:

      Romney was ahead in polls at this time in 2012. Clinton was leading Obama at this time in 2008.
      It’s five months to the general, the parties haven’t officially nominated anyone yet, and it’s still way the fuck to early to start claiming the polls mean anything for the general.

      • lefty665 says:

        PJ @3:15 Clinton was not ahead of Obama at this point or much of any other in 2008, you’re making that up. In fact it was 8 years ago today that Clinton announced that even though she was behind she was staying in the race because “We all know Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California”.
        http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/24/us/politics/24clinton.html?_r=0
        Beyond the pale, but puts a fine point on your bullshit.
        .
        Hey, I’m just reporting what my crystal ball is telling me. OTOH it takes 3 points to make a trend and Hillary has gone from 20 points ahead of Trump to 10 to even/behind today. The trend is consistent, down, down and more down. That’s not good news for you Clinton fan boys. See panic in my original post above. My crystal ball tells me it won’t be long until you start developing spastic tics. Please keep us informed.
        .
        How many votes do you think Hillary and the neocon/Curtis LeMay wing of the Dem party are going attract? But wait, there’s more! 66% of the country thinks she will say anything to get elected. That’s not a good number either. But far too early for you too?
        .
        Clinton and Trump are both horrible, but in different ways. That makes it really hard to tell which one is worse.

        • P J Evans says:

          My point was that all the crying over Trump being ahead is extremely premature. And all of it seem to be coming from people who don’t want Clinton to be President.
          Do. Not. Encourage. Trump.

          • lefty665 says:

            PJ @8:32 I don’t want Trump to be President as much as I don’t want Clinton to be President. Although it seems there’s somewhat less likelyhood that we’ll be involved in endless war or incinerated with Trump.
            .
            Cat’s got the Clinton supporters tongues. You’re not out there shouting “We’re losing”, but y’all were not shy about shouting it from the rooftops when Hillary was ahead.
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            She can’t hold a lead. Sanders had 3% recognition when he started, yet Hillary hasn’t been able to put away the 73 year old gadfly even with her huge campaign and the entire Dem establishment behind her. She’s also gone from 20 points ahead of Trump to even or a little behind. Hillary is a disaster for the Dems. She’s likely to take a Senate majority and narrowing the balance in the House down with her. You can see the panic growing in the Dem elites. The country has had a belly full of corrupt, sold out to the fat cats, warmongers. Hillary or old uncle Joe are not the answers.
            .
            The biggest encouragement Trump has is the prospect of Hillary as an opponent. Want to discourage Trump? Don’t run Hillary.

  4. Rayne says:

    lefty665 (1L17) — HRC violated records policy. *yawn* You mean like most of the Bush administration, from Powell-with-personal-email, to Bush-lost-tens-of-thousands-of-emails-and-all-the-backups, to Rove-using-RNC-server, to Cheney-with-a-burning-safe-of-records-in-his-office-sued-to-make-4th-branch-immune-to-protect-Energy-Task-Force-records?

    The kicker is the right-wing media. Do they go all spastic about policy violation with little teeth in enforcement, thereby helping Trump? or do they sit on their hands and hope HRC’s polling improves over Trump in spite of this crey?

  5. lefty665 says:

    Rayne @6:50 Sorry Rayne, Duhbya and his buddies did it too so it’s ok doesn’t cut it. You wouldn’t give that argument the time of day if if you were on the other side of an issue. This was the Obama appointed Dept State IG that Hillary and her aides refused to cooperate with, not right wing media. The IGs are the white hats.
    .
    Here’s a breakout. I expect you’ll be hearing more about these issues
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/05/25/here-are-the-most-critical-parts-of-the-state-dept-inspector-general-report-on-clintons-email-use/?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_clintonemails-1030a-lede%3Ahomepage%2Fstory
    .
    Under the heading of the laugh of the day is Clinton not getting responses to her emails and Huma having to explain to her that by using that secy secy private email address they were going into staffers spam. Being a fly on the wall would have been a hoot. “You tell her”, “No, you tell her”.
    .
    The problem for Hillary is that this plays right into the really bad opinion most of the country already has about her. 71% think she’ll say anything to get elected. 66% believe she’s a chronic liar. Her dumbasadoorknob email setup and subsequent lies to cover it up reinforce those beliefs and play right into Trump’s “Crooked Hillary” meme. Trying to discount what she’s done wrong, and ignoring her subsequent lies about it only reinforces those negative beliefs.
    .
    The Dems have a disaster on their hands with Clinton as the presumptive candidate. Sanders has his warts, but also a 10-15% lead over Trump, positive ratings for character, an honest vision for the country and lots of independent voters he brings to the party. Maybe the super delegates will do their job in Philly and prevent a Clinton disaster.
    .
    We can get an idea of how high the anxiety level is getting in the Dem elites, they’re openly advocating throwing Wasserman-Schultz overboard and party leadership (Schumer, Reid etc) when asked what they think about it are saying things like “Dunno, not my issue”. Is that rousing support or what? Once she goes, Clinton is next.
    .
    Too bad Warren decided not to run. She’d likely have the delegates to be the nominee by now and we’d have avoided this mess.

  6. Rayne says:

    lefty665 (9:38) — Watching you get your tighty whities in a knot amuses me. I’m not an HRC fan. I know I’ve said that before and apparently I have to say it yet again. But if a Democratic majority in Congress could do dick-doodley-squat about the same and worse failures of policy by Bush/Cheney admin costing us blood and treasure, I seriously doubt anything will come of this exercise chasing HRC and her emails by the folks you believe are white hats.

    There’s stuff in her emails that’s not formally classified but somebody doesn’t want out. The scandal will be used to boost the GOP — like they did “Ooga-booga! Benghazi! BOO!” — but only so far because as Andrew Bacevich said (see the podcast in Weds’ post), HRC is a Reaganite, and the Deep State and GOP institution know that.

    What we are watching now is some deeply sick kabuki performed with shadow puppets. It looks like a democracy to the masses, but it’s not. Citing unlikeablity stats is useless, because unlikeability doesn’t keep people from getting elected (see Richard Nixon). The stats you should be paying attention to are the numbers of voters disenfranchised in GOP states, enabled by a fucking Democratic administration which has failed to do enough about this issue over the last eight years. The stats you should be watching are the reductions to polling places where poor+persons of color vote, because that’s been increasingly fucked up and nothing’s going to change before November. A real democracy would place a premium on assuring its citizens’ rights to vote, and instead we’re spending our time watching bullshit scandals ginned up to prop up the illusion of democracy.

    Which is why Wasserman-Schultz should have been out on her ass years ago. She’s a useless hack AND/OR a flunky for the folks who don’t want poor+persons of color at the polls — yes, she could have been kicking ass about the disenfranchisement, but she hasn’t. She’s pretty ineffective at assuring a few million folks without adequate ID get to the polls. But it’s not as simple as you seem to think it is to unseat a DNC chair. Maybe you ought to read the DNC’s rules instead of spouting about the folks you believe are party leadership, while considering how very unlikely it is that any seated Dem in Congress will openly badmouth the DNC chair who could encourage in very subtle ways a money-sucking primary against them.

    And as much as I like Warren, she’d have been treated like Sanders and before him Howard Dean as long as HRC is in the race.

    You should strap in soon, maybe after you check your blood pressure and anti-anxiety meds inventory. It’s gonna’ be a long, bumpy ride.

  7. lefty665 says:

    Rayne @12:39 You’ve been living with teenagers too long the “Mommmm (in my case Dadddd) everybody does it” argument is starting to seep into your logic system. The right answer is still “And I should care because?”, You wouldn’t accept that argument if the issue was rape. As far as I was concerned the whole Duhbya gang belonged in the slammer, but you know we had this “Looking forward” thing. One of the differences between the parties is (nominally anyway) that the Dems care about governance, and that means playing by the rules. The IGs are set up to have independence and the mandate to do right.
    .
    While the numbers are not high, there is some truly sensitive stuff in there and that’s substantive. There’s also some weird shit like Blumenthal’s notes to Hillary that read curiously like NSA reporting. But the issue, for me anyway, is the clear intent to subvert FOIA and the sense of entitlement that make Hillary think she’s above the law. Not someone I’d care to have in office, any office.
    .
    Funny that the GOP bozos have not addressed the underlying Benghazi issue, namely that the ambassador was there in the first place to arrange transportation of Gadaffi’s weapons to al Qaeda and its offshoots in Syria. If there’s a bunch of folks some of us think really do belong in the slammer it’s the bi-partisan crowd that has been arming and supporting the bastards who attacked us on 9/11. Comes under the heading of treason.
    .
    I don’t doubt we’ve got kabuki theatre. The argument Sanders has been making is that it’s time to take the country back. You address real issues with disenfranchisement, and it sucks. Don’t discount the majority of the country that so dislikes Hillary that they just won’t vote for her.
    .
    Glad we agree on Wasserman-Schultz, and you’ve got more reasons she needs to go. I’m under no illusions how easy it is to dump her, especially this close to the convention. What is amazing is that it is being openly advocated with the Dem establishment. That is indeed a measure of severe anxiety.
    .
    It’s a bumpy ride this year. I’m still trying to figure out the right combination of seat belts and popcorn. Put on your big girl panties and maybe we can figure it out together.

  8. Rayne says:

    lefty665 (8:35) — This “‘everybody does it’ argument” is on you. That’s was NOT my point.

    1) Point to the U.S. code where it says a records *policy* violation results in prosecution.

    2) Demonstrate active, malign intent versus gross, pervasive stupidity in the records policy violation.

    3) Explain how prosecuting HRC for a records policy violation is not grossly discriminatory when previous and other current records policy violations were not/will not be prosecuted.

    Dude. The ‘big girl panties’? Really? Fuck off. And the rape card, too — comparing a policy violation with a violent criminal act? Fuck all the way off.

  9. lefty665 says:

    Hey you were the one that introduced the underwear snark. Gotta take as good as you give. So go fuck off your own self.
    .
    Sorry the “because everybody who ever did it wasn’t prosecuted nobody should be prosecuted” is bullshit.
    .

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