Clean Up

I’m just about to start writing this communication and I have realised the irony involved, however, I shall continue and ignore the double standards I so clearly employ.

As I come out of a two day migraine which was probably required by my body to make me do nothing I have realised a few things. I guess what I mean is that there are a number of things that I knew separately but I have only very recently put them all together to come to a conclusion, which I suspect is that actual definition of how a realisation works.

I’ve been spending time trying to change my behaviour for the improvement of my mental health. I have times when the weight of the world rests on my shoulders and I need to learn that there are some things I can do very little about. So, I have stopped obsessing with the news and feeling anger at all the terrible things that are happening. I have removed the Twitter app from my phone and I even deleted two of my Twitter accounts. I’m toying with the idea of deleting the final remaining account but I’m not sure about that yet. I’m failing at overcoming the “sunk Cost” fallacy where I feel that the Twitter account contains details of my life and I’ve put effort into it. However, I don’t look at my historical tweets often and I only check that place once a week or so, primarily to see if Pom has been in touch. The grander idea behind all of this Twitter removal is that no-one else cares what I think. Literally. People might be curious to see my reactions to things but the truth is no-one cares. Chucking ideas and thoughts onto Twitter doesn’t change the world and more than likely won’t change anyone’s mind about anything. It just allows me to join the faux outrage at whatever thing I should be outraged about.

Twitter used to be a place where I kept in touch with friends. But nearly all of them are now connected via WhatsApp! which is problematic in itself but that’s for another time. Oh, I learnt recently that the developers of WhatsApp! came up with the name first and then tried to work out what the app would do. So, the opinions and thoughts of people I genuinely care about are accessible to me via other methods that web based social media. I don’t expect I can change any of their minds about things, we’ve all known each other for too long to know our own thoughts on issues but if I want intelligent conversation then I can chat to them on the messaging app. I don’t need to have Twitter to chat to the few people within my “circle of trust”. By that I mean those people whom I consider to be absolute trustworthy friends. I’m fortunate to have people I trust implicitly and the only downside to those groups is that we aren’t physically close enough to meet up once a month to get wasted.

I’ve been clearing out my email inbox and I have removed all the email subscriptions that I just “mark as read” without even reading them. Why should I get those emails if I don’t care about the content? Am I worried I might miss out on something that I want? Probably but maybe I should wait for the natural processes rather than be pushed into buying something because the marketing department thinks I should. It’s curious that outdoor clothing shops keep sending me emails telling me that this new jacket is great or these shoes are brilliant but I’m expecting my current jacket and shoes to last twenty years. Why would I want to know about more of them?

I’ve cleared out all the cookies within my browsers. This is so that I can refuse all the tracking cookies that come along with visiting most sites. I don’t really want advertisers to know what other things I have looked at. I’ve also been over to turn off the custom advertising that Google wants me to use and while I was doing that I have set a time limit on the browsing data that Google keeps on me. So, this means that I’ve got things in my history in case I need to find them but also anything older than 18 months goes away. If I haven’t looked at something for a year and a half then the chances are I don’t need to keep it in my history.

I’ve deleted the Reddit app from my phone. I found I was spending around thirty minutes a day browsing through Reddit and none of it really added to my life experience. Most of what I looked at was aircraft and things designed to kill other people. I’m having a bit of a break and trying to use my time more productively. Which, I guess, also includes writing this stuff which is read by approximately three people. I found that most of the time I could avoid looking at Reddit but once I opened the app that was at least twenty minutes gone and maybe more if I didn’t keep an eye on the time. It would be a better use of my time if I read Scientific American instead.

I would like to remove or close my Facebook account. But I can’t really. There are two communities I belong to who only seem to use FB. First the 360 Radar bunch use FB as their main way of sending information out to people who contribute. So if there is an update that needs to be completed I need to have access to that information. Also, my friends within the CCF all are on FB and if I want to get in touch with them then I need to maintain that access. I only check my account once a week and that is within a browser that is used only for that. The browser also has add-ons to remove tracking. This way I hope to minimise the information that FB can gather about me, although I suspect I would be rather surprised at what they do have.

I’ve also turned off the Google Advertising customisation options. I can’t quite remember what URL is used to do this but you can access this in your Google account settings. This way, I will no longer see adverts aimed specifically at me. I will just see general adverts. I can cope with that. If I want to buy or spend money on something new then I would like to leave the choices to my own flawed thinking modes rather than relying on someone else to point me in their direction. Yes, I know this whole argument is flawed but it feels good to lower the amount of tracking information that these very large companies keep about me.

Interestingly there is, of course, the problem that this website contains an awful lot of information about me. You can find my interests, purchases, bands, travel and political ideas. But this is a site that I control and the information you see is just the information I want you to see. It is very rare for me to delete a communication and if I adjust them then my policy is to try and make sure that those changes are clear and open. This site also runs counter to the convention that no-one else cares about what I think or feel about the many issues I have written about. Again that is true. But as I say on the homepage, this site is about me and how I think. It’s got nothing to do with looking for approval. I know people don’t care what I think. But for me, this is my diary, sort of.

Fixed Now

When I got back from cadet camp a while ago I noticed, somehow, that my internet connection bandwidth had dropped quite considerably. I think I had to restart the modem/router for some reason and when I logged into it I noticed that it was getting a download bandwidth of only 20Mb/s. Now, I say only, because I was getting 60Mb/s before I went away.

I restarted the hub a few times but this didn’t increase the capacity and I also left it for 24 hours thinking it might pick itself up. It didn’t. So I contacted BT. The low upload bandwidth was noticeable when attempting to upload pictures to the cloud and the download was affect some streaming services, although 20Mb/s was still good enough for most things.

I tried to use an online tracking fault thing the BT have on their website but navigating it was pretty terrible. Eventually I chose to use the online chat. They performed the same tests that the website interface had performed and then they asked me if I wanted to raise a fault.

Yes please.

When I managed to log in to the fault tracker it registered a voice-fault. I found this curious as I had a data fault but because they travel down the same line it was a voice-fault. BT also do mobile and TV and stuff so maybe that’s another reason for their curious naming of the fault. But, I didn’t know that so I phoned BT and said it was a broadband fault. They explained the previous bit to me and then said the engineer [who is really a technician] had found three problems at the exchange and fixed them. I should head home and restart the modem/router.

Which I did and nervously anticipated the result.

Hub Information

Well, that seems a lot better. I checked it using some external speed testers, although it’s bandwidth and not speed.

Test 1

I’m happy now. I have the broadband service that I pay for. It’s all fixed and the whole process was pretty simple. Well done BT.

Infrastructure – Home Network

In 2001 I first got internet access and a home PC. I think it was 2001, it was either then or 2002! It was dial-up access with a bandwidth of around 56Kb/s I first got broadband and wireless in about 2004 or so. Since then I would agree with the “new” hierarchy of needs with Wi-Fi at the base. I feel definitely lost when I don’t have internet access, especially when my phone has no data signal too.

This is a diagram of my home network. Just because I wanted to, you know? This is an hour of my life I won’t get back, but was worth it. Click for a PDF.

Infrastructure

Facebook and me

So Mr Facebook! Our relationship is almost non-existent. The only influence I maintain on Facebook is from my wife’s account and my friends who find out about me from her.
There’s a history. I started a website in 1994 for the student union that employed me. I was in a sabbatical post in charge of clubs and societies so when we got some web space I wrote the union’s web pages. The latest which are absolutely nothing to do with me are at www.su.ic.ac.uk
I didn’t do any more web stuff until about 1999 when I bought some web space and had my own web pages designed using MS Frontpage. These were at www.iparish.org.uk
Other sites I’ve had are www.ianparish.me.uk and then www.iparish.plus.com and now finally this site.
The point is that when social networks really took off with myspace I had my own site. I didn’t need another website to write stuff or advertise my own presence to the world. So I pretty much ignored all social networking while I had a website. Facebook didn’t bother me, if people want to stay in touch with me or vice versa then we could talk or email or text.
Over the last few years I have recognised that it would be easier to keep in touch with friends if I was on Facebook but it’s too late. I refused for so long that I just can’t do it now. There are principles at stake. Not going to take the plunge now.
My wife finds this amusing and slightly annoying as I sometimes ask her to send messages to people for me, not that often though. Also I am on twitter, mainly to follow F1 and NFL. I keep in touch with one friend through twitter but basically I don’t do social networking. Just don’t see the need if you have your own website, which I do.