Are You So Stupid That You Need An App To Keep You From Screwing With Your Phone While Driving?

Samsung is going to release a new app for idiots who can’t just pull the damn car over to check a text. Or wait until they’re stopped.

Samsung Netherlands has created a new app called In-Traffic Reply which is going to help drivers keep their attention on the road and not on their phones. Using your phone while you’re behind the wheel can be very dangerous. You might think that it’ll only take a few seconds to check that message or read what your friend just tweeted, but those few seconds can quickly prove to be fatal if you take your eyes off the road.

PanelWizard conducted a survey which found that one-third of the road users in the Netherlands have used their smartphone behind the wheel. In most situations, they felt social pressure to answer calls and reply to messages immediately. Samsung wants to bring down this statistic.

And it’s fine that this exists, and people want to download it and use it. I’m sure that’ll make us all safer. I don’t know what to make of people who lack both the common sense and discipline not to use their phones when driving. And I don’t want to live in a world where an app like this is mandatory.

I’m not saying I never use mine, but I have a few rules. First, since my truck doesn’t have a fancy BlueTooth system, I got a Go Groove BlueGate CTR. This thing is great. It’s a BlueTooth receiver with a microphone. It plugs into my aux port. I have the receiver mounted on my dashboard near my steering wheel. If I get a call, I just press the button and I can talk to the caller. I ignore most calls though unless it’s my wife or somebody from work. Otherwise, that’s why God gave me Google Voice. My Go Groove also has buttons for forward and back, so I can skip commercials on a podcast or skip to the next song. I never listen to the radio. Only content on my phone.

Second, I keep my phone on a windshield mount. It’s right there in my field of vision. I use Waze most of the time when I’m driving. I can see what’s ahead of me, and send reports for cops and hazards.

Third, other than minor interaction with Waze, I do not touch my freaking phone at highway speeds. I have never gotten a text or Facebook comment that was worth my life. Even if I got a notification that @realdonaldtrump followed me on Twitter, I’d wait until I’m stopped to make sure it’s not a joke.

OK, if traffic is below about 20 MPH, maybe I’ll clear notifications, but I don’t read anything unless I’m at a complete stop. And with my phone in the windshield mount, I know when the light turns green or when traffic is moving. Here in Northern Virginia, traffic gets so bad, I’ve read books in my Kindle app while sitting on the highway, not moving.

If you get a notification that you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO READ RIGHT THE HELL NOW!, you won’t hit a SINGLE traffic light. It’s the best condition to be in. As soon as you check it, they’re all going to turn red, and you’ll hit every last one.

This goes back to something I said all the time several years ago when I read blog posts about families going to extremes, like burying their phones in the yard during dinner so nobody used them. Do you own your phone, or does your phone own you? Who is the boss? In my case, if I don’t want my phone bothering me, I’ll shut it off or put it in Do Not Disturb.

I’ve never understood why other people have so much trouble with that.

United’s Customer Service

I’ve been hearing about the United incident over the last couple of days. The details I got came in slowly, until I finally had enough of a picture to come to a conclusion.

I’ll leave the actual analysis to Davis Aurini. He did a great job.

There’s the “way the world ought to be”, and the world we actually live in. We’ll never get to the way the world ought to be, and most of us have different definitions of what it should be. My ideal world involves no commercials, and violent beatings for people who drive too slow, and are screwing with their phones when the light turns green. I doubt I’d ever get that approved on a ballot, and even if we did vote on it, some court would overturn it.

Another focus of my ideal world is, the hospitality industry would have to charge the same price to everybody. Sure, they can factor in the market. But they won’t be selling one plane ticket to somebody for $1000, and the person sitting next to them gets to buy a ticket for $100.

(A great meme I saw yesterday goes “United: we put the hospital in hospitality!”)

For the most part, we do not have the rights we think we do. Apparently, if a cop pulls you over for speeding, you are legally and constitutionally correct by refusing to provide your license and registration under the 5th amendment, because the information you provide can and will be used against you in a court of law. But go ahead and give it a try. Let me know in the comments how well it worked for you.

In real life, the cop will probably yank you out of your car and charge you with some form of obstruction. You’ll be dragged to jail. Sure, if you can afford a lawyer, and all the money and time, you’ll probably win the lawsuit. But do you really have the money for that? Better to just hand the documents over, be polite and cooperative, and hope the officer lets you off with a warning for being so nice. (It actually has worked for me a couple of times. One cop was so surprised I didn’t try to bullshit him that he got a blank stare for a few seconds).

Besides, do you honestly believe you can come up with an excuse the cop hasn’t heard? Everybody lies to him. Everybody has to take a leak. The cop knows you just passed a rest stop. Everybody yells at him “You work for me, asshole! Aren’t there pedophiles and Wall Street Bankers you should be going after? I’m just trying to get to work!” They hear that from everybody; what makes you think YOU can actually pull it off?

Same thing at the airport. The TSA screeners don’t give a shit that I’m a veteran. There’s no sense in bringing it up. I just do what I have to do to get through screening and not do anything to make myself memorable to them. They don’t want to hear about radiation from the naked body scanners. They always examine my laptop like it’s an alien artifact even though they encounter thousands of them a day; they probably don’t know what radiation is.

So with the United thing, we ended up with a very bad confluence of several factors that boiled over. Everybody was right and everybody was wrong, and nobody won. Maybe United won, at least in this round. But the hit to their PR will last forever. “Fly United and get your ass beat!” I’m sure people will be saying that for a while. But all airlines suck. Name one that doesn’t.

Also, don’t count on the r selected animals around you to do anything to help you. They’ll be glad to take out their phones and record the whole thing, then post it on Twitter. But they don’t give any more of a crap about you than United does.

United overbooked, as they always do. Except this time, they ran out of no-shows. Then they had to transport some mechanics to the next airport at the last minute, so they had to kick people off the plane. Of the four, three took the vouchers. Hell, Louisville isn’t that far from Chicago. For $800, I’d rent a luxury car and drive it. This Doctor Dao said he had to be at his next destination. But why would United care? Everybody has to be at their next destination. He won the anti-lottery; get off my plane. (There are reports that Dr. Dao is into some serious deviancy, but I don’t see how any of it is relevant to his ass beating by United and the cops they called in).

If it happens to you, the best thing you can do is roll with it. Take what they’re offering. Milk them for all you can get: money, hotel, rental car, whatever. Don’t fly on a tight deadline. Better yet, don’t fly. The airlines hate you and want to ruin your personal life. I only fly for work, when they’re paying for it and have no choice but to live with schedule delays. And I always fly first thing in the morning the day before, to allow for delays. Or to get checked into my hotel early and relax, or go out and get the lay of the land.

Looking at it again, I think the only winners in this United scuffle were the people that weren’t involved. And our prize is memes. Here are a couple I came across:

Why Do We Act So Surprised At Human Failure?

This is a repost from my old blog on Blogger. I have another post I’m thinking about writing, and wanted to reference it. But I figured I might as well redirect the traffic here. I’ll provide comments at the end. This was originally written on 15 December, 2008:

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A couple of years ago, I showed up at church on Wednesday night ready to teach the final class in my series on Judges. I worked hard to prepare for that class. It was on Judges 20 and 21, the aftermath of the slaughter of the tribe of Benjamin. I thought it was going to be very interesting, and I got, well, angry when I found out that we would instead be assembling in the auditorium (in the churches of Christ, we’re forbidden to call it the sanctuary; we are the sanctuaries) for some kind of “family meeting.” I am almost ashamed to say that I normally don’t think too highly of those things. I don’t like it when we break our normal routine for these gatherings. I don’t like it when missionaries visit and we cancel classes so they can talk. I said I’m almost ashamed because I really don’t surprise myself much anymore.

That night, when I found out that the class I worked hard to prepare for was replaced, my thoughts immediately went to the cynical. I had thoughts like “Oh, great, somebody stubbed her toe and we have to get together and pray for her”. The 4 elders we had at the time (we added 2 more a few weeks after this account occurred) gathered at the podium. I don’t recall the exact words used, but apparently somebody in the congregation did something really bad. I tried to imagine who it was. For a second I worried it might have been me although that was groundless. It’s just human nature. It turned out that the youth minister that we had at the time did something very bad; so bad that we may never again have a youth minister. I’ll leave out the details here on my blog. When the thing he did was mentioned, very straightforwardly, some people gasped in horror. Some started crying. Some started shrieking. Some had to run outside to cry, others just numbly walked up and down the aisles holding their head saying something to the effect of “Oh, no, oh no, this can’t be happening!” The funny thing is, although I was shocked, I was not surprised. I don’t remember being surprised at all. If anything, considering what was done, I was almost glad I didn’t find myself in similar circumstances to fall in the exact same way.

I don’t understand why we always act so surprised when people do bad things. The governor of Illinois thing has me wondering this. A corrupt politician from a state known for it’s corrupt machine politics gets caught being corrupt. Where is the news in this? Why does everybody act so surprised? What’s the point? He screwed up and acted corrupt too far in the open, so he’ll get impeached and his power to replace the Senator who didn’t do a darn thing as Senator but run for President to the highest bidder will go away for this time, and he’ll be replaced by another corrupt Illinois machine politician, and life will go on until another one steps out of line and discusses corrupt things on a tapped line. The corruption won’t go away, but the corrupt politician who screwed up will for now.

This is why the “messianic theory” of politics has me so scared. It seems to me that when you ask people who voted for either McCain or Obama why they did so, the most common answer is some variation of “I hope he’ll deliver me from…” It doesn’t matter what. “I hope he’ll save me from health care.” “I hope he’ll save me from taxes.” “I hope he’ll save me from Global Warming.” “I hope he’ll save me from McCain.” “I hope he’ll save me from Palin.” “I hope he’ll save me from Obama.” “I hope he’ll save me from liberals.” “I hope he’ll save me from fundamentalist Christians.” The list goes on and one. Of course, most of the promises made by these candidates and most of the reasons people voted for them have NOTHING to do with the job description of the President of the United States found in the Constitution of such United States. It’s just that people are afraid and somehow believe one of these men might be the Messiah and save them from whatever they fear, no matter what else the man might screw up in his attempt to, if he actually kept that particular promise, which is not something that politicians are known for anyway. Then, when President Obama doesn’t keep his promises, or screws something up, people will act surprised! “How could he have done this? Oprah told us that he might be THE ONE!”

Knowing the capacity for human failure, I have to ask: why do you act so surprised when people fail horribly, and why do you look to other humans to somehow deliver you from whatever has you scared this election or the next? I’m asking this question in the “you” context because I’m honestly not surprised in the majority of cases, and I honestly don’t believe politicians can deliver me, nor do I trust them to. I’m happier if they just leave me alone and I vote for the one who will just leave me alone. At least, I do now. I once subscribed to the “Messianic” theory of politics, although I didn’t realize it at the time.


Additional commentary:

I no longer go to a Church of Christ. I have nothing against them. I just moved on. I currently attened what is described as a non-denominational church, where our pastor has a Pentacostal background. I’d never been in a charismatic leaning church before, although that is not emphasized.

The “youth pastor” thing I was referring to is far enough in the past to explain. I kept it vague for a reason, but like I said, it’s in the past and I’m divorced from the wife I’ll be referencing.

That church brought on a youth pastor shortly before I joined it in 2002. He was approximately my age. Him and his wife had two daughters who were both born within months of my two sons. His wife had to work. I was able to structure things so that my ex-wife was able to quit working and become a full-time stay at home mom when my first born was about 7 months old and she was pregnant with my second. My ex did not love or respect me one bit, so let’s just say even with her NOT working, things were not good. I had needs that were not being met, and had somebody come along to meet those needs, I would have easily fallen for her.

The night I was referring to, it came out that the youth pastor had a two-year affair with one of the teen girls. She was 17 at the time. You do the math as to when it started. What did NOT come out in church (which we found out through the family involved) is that he’d gotten her pregnant, gave her money and sent her to get an abortion. Yeah, very youth-pastorly.

He was convicted, served five years in county jail. His wife forgave him, and last I heard they were still married and he is working as a youth pastor. Far away, praise the Lord. That church apparently knows about his past. They get what they get, I guess.

But it goes back to the question: why do we act so surprised when people fail? I could have failed in a similar way had the temptation presented itself, although I’d like to think I wouldn’t have been stupid enough to end up alone with a 15 year old with daddy issues. But even a woman my own age at the time would have caused enough trouble.

I deal with this kind of temptation in a couple of ways. One is accountability. I have a few really good friends I firmly trust to throw the bullshit flag on me. And I have permission to throw it on them. A good friend will not let you get away with bullshitting yourself.

Another is to not let it happen in the first place. If you’re married and committed to being faithful to your wife, NEVER let yourself be alone with another woman. Women, never let yourself be alone with another man. Even when I travel, I make sure to go out in groups if there are women present.

I also deal with temptation by operating under the assumption that I will get caught.

The Life Cycle of a Blogging “Guru”

30 Days To X recently published a post on reasons not to join a master-mind group. It got me thinking about a pattern I’ve seen among other blogs several times. I left a comment on his post, and figured I’d put it on my own blog:

1) You come across an interesting blog. The blogger has a unique perspective on life or some aspect of it, or some career field. You can learn a lot from them, and enjoy their posts.
2) The blogger starts to grow an audience.
3) Rather than continue to grow personally, (and you grow along with him), the blogger resorts to writing content to the new audience, that keeps growing. New readers comment as if this is the most insightful thing they’ve ever heard; you consider the content about a skill level between tying your shoes and not getting your dick caught in your zipper.
4) The blogger publishes a book (self or traditional; doesn’t matter)
5) The blogger starts a podcast, which is usually a rehash of old blog posts.
6) The blogger then starts selling multi-hundred dollar to thousand some dollar “courses” and $45 a month or more “master mind” groups.
7) Every blog post is either a kindergarten level overview of the blogger’s content written to a new audience, a sales pitch for said “master mind” group or “courses”, testimonials from group or courses, or teases for group or courses. Or “I so LOVE writing this blog post from a Starbucks in Bangkok! You should too!”
8) After getting several “<your name>, I can’t BELIVE YOU HAVEN’T JOINED MY $45,000 <how not to get your dick caught in your zipper> course!” emails, you move on. Nothing left to see here.

I’ve seen this pattern repeat several times on blogs I’ve read over the years. You might call it “jumping the shark”. I’m happy for the blogger for finding success, but as a reader, I’m no longer the target audience and it’s time to move on by step 8.

This cycle can take a blogger up to a decade. In a recent case, the guy released a book just last year, and already is selling spots in his “Master Mind” group.

I can think of one blogger in particular, whom I have followed for about 10 years, that only in the last few months has grown almost intolerable with trying to sell his “courses”. Even after 10 years, he was still posting good content just a few months ago, until he entirely converted to rehashing old ideas and trying to sell his “courses”. He used to say he gave “98%” of his material away for free, but now he seems to do nothing but rehash old content, sell courses, or post testimonials.

One example I used on my old blog is Michael Hyatt. (You may have to scroll to the bottom of the landing page to click “Blog”). I first came across him in 2004 when he was with Thomas Nelson. I think by that time, he was President and CEO. At that point, he was posting VERY useful content. I thought “Great! Here is a Christian man who is a successful businessman, posting content that is very helpful to me!”. I read his blog for years. Then, suddenly, the cycle I documented above began to happen. He grew an audience. Then he quit Thomas Nelson for a speaking career. Then it was all about recycling old blog content, or writing at about a Kindergarten level. He started a podcast, which I listened to at first, but it was only a rehash of old blog posts. Plus TONS of commercials, which I’d heard before.

(NOTE: It drives me nuts in podcasts to have to listen to the same thing over and over again. “Boilerplate” is for the newbies, but if you want me to stick around, CUT IT THE HECK OUT!).

I still check his blog from time to time, because he occasionally posts something useful. But I long since cut off his RSS feed and unsubscribed from his emails, although every time he launches a new “course”, I get several emails over 3-5 days trying to get me to buy.

He’s not the only case.

But there are bloggers I’ve followed relentlessly over the years. Vox Day is one example. He’s very successful and intelligent (151 IQ), but he continues to grow and doesn’t try to sell the hell out of you. Sure, he runs Castalia House, and I’ve bought tons of their books, but he keeps growing and I learn from that growth, and I grow along with him. And the majority of the commenters on his blog are people I can learn from and grow with. He mercilessly takes care of the trolls and gammas. His growth challenges me. I bought his book “Return of the Great Depression” when it was first released in 2009. For the most part, the book was over my head, but I learned and put pieces together as I went along. Then, when he started writing about “game”, little of it made sense, but I learned from it. I’m convinced that what I learned about game from Vox and branched out into was instrumental in getting through my divorce, meeting my current wife, and having a much better marriage.

But so many others seem too tempted to the great riches. They stop feeding the audience that made them big in the first place. And that audience moves on. I guess if I could find an audience that would pay me for nuggets of wisdom that amount to “A,B,C,D,E,F,G…” my life would be better.

Hell, even John Maxwell has turned into a Mastermind Group selling troll.

Someday, I probably will start collecting email addresses. But I promise, I’ll provide value for it. That’s who I am. I’ve been blogging since 2004, and haven’t yet figured out a topic I should stick to,

Never Apologize to SJWs

From Tom Woods:

Colin Moriarty spent 14 years in the video game industry, and he was part of Kinda Funny, a popular YouTube channel. Until this Tweet:

Naturally, the hyenas came after him.

He followed up by noting that his significant other “thinks my blatantly obvious joke is funny. Because not all people are humorless sacks of ****.”

Then the Holy Rite of Shaming and Expiation, learned by heart by all morally superior people, began.

Colleague Greg Miller (who had probably laughed at the Tweet himself) solemnly informed us that his friend had done something Forbidden and Unacceptable.

“Was Colin’s Tweet a joke? Sure, but that doesn’t make it OK.”

Why, everyone knows that men and women never, ever joke about each other.

Continuing with the Sacred Rite, testimonies of anguish and righteous anger began to flood in from across the world of allowable opinion.

This man has helped perpetuate the structures of oppression through his joke. It is time to hear his words of repentance.

Except the offender refused to play his appointed role.

He might have read from the official text. “O sisters and brothers, I have been guilty of wickedness and oppression that fill me with great shame. Henceforth I shall work for justice (and of course pay protection money — I mean, make a coercion-free donation — to whatever group has been the loudest in assassinating my character).”

Nope.

He threw the liturgical book to the ground and set a match to it.

My kind of guy.

He launched a Patreon campaign to get donations for his future work. It’s already receiving tens of thousands of dollars per month.

Yeah, I know; I copied the text of his entire post.

This is important. You never know how or when, but something you do is likely to offend those known as SJWs (Social Justice Warriors). Or call them liberals. Whatever. They’re the self-appointed puritans who decide what is right and what is not. They have no consistency.

I hadn’t heard of Colin before seeing Tom’s post today. I thought his joke was funny. I probably said a few similar things, although I don’t associate with SJWs so nobody took them wrong. Especially my wife.

If you find yourself in Colin’s position, you must do exactly what he did: do NOT apologize. It’s one thing if you wrong somebody you care about. Wife, children, friends. But when liberals you’ve never met take offense, do not apologize.

Follow Vox Day’s advice. In his best seller, SJWs Always Lie, he breaks down the SJW attack cycle and how you can respond. He also publishes a free guide on his website.

The Blind Men And The Elephant Is A Stupid Metaphor

We’ve all heard this metaphor before. It’s used at a metaphor for all sorts of things. Normally, religion, but I recently saw it used for business processes and best practices.

It goes like this: six blind men are all on a different part of an elephant. They can’t see, so they go by feeling. One man is at the elephant’s trunk. Because that’s all he can feel, he assumes that the elephant is a trunk. Another man is at the tail. He assumes the elephant is nothing but a tail. The same goes through the other parts, head, back, underside, and if you want to get really crude, reproductive organs. That last part may be appropriate for discussing politics.

Then the person using the analogy comes back to something like “so you see, each man only has one part of the elephant, but not the whole. So if you look at <religion> <business> <rap music> <etc> in the same way, you can see they’re all correct, but they only have one part of the whole elephant.”

No, they’re not. Are we assuming that all of the blind men (6 or 8 depending on the person using this metaphor) are so freaking stupid they can’t move their hands beyond the small part being used? I’ve known blind people, and none of them were that stupid.

That’s why this stupid metaphor has never worked for me. And when I hear somebody use it, I assume that person is stupid enough to hold an elephant’s tail and believe that to be the entire elephant, even if his buddy is at the trunk or the dick and claiming that is the elephant; then they argue about it.