Monthly Archives: December 2013

Presents – Bah Humbug

You shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth — Traditional saying

This saying has some truth in it.  What it doesn’t explore, is whether the person actually wanted a horse.  I’m thirty seven years old, and not a child, I don’t get all starry eyed by gifts.  In all honesty, they tend to make me feel awkward.  I should be thankful, shouldn’t I?  I have a hard time doing exactly that and I am not a good actor.

It isn’t even a secret! I openly say: “Please no presents”, and I mean it.  At my age you should be giving presents to your own children, not receiving any from whoever.  Yet, people don’t listen.  This year a particularly clever one wrote on the present “not a present”.  Inventive, I admit.

Each element in the set of “objects” (and thus its subset “presents”) can be pretty much sorted  according to the properties “need” and “afford”.  The “need” factor is pretty self-explanatory: it defines whether I need something or not.  Logic says that if I don’t need it, it doesn’t make a good present.  You can thus eliminate all objects which I don’t need.
At first glance, the “afford” property doesn’t seem have any importance.  It does, because affordability determines whether an object is obtainable to me.  Since we already eliminated the objects I don’t need, only objects that I need are eligible.  I can either afford those, or I can’t.  If I can afford them and need them, I’ll buy them myself.  So, a good present can only be something I need and can’t afford.

There’s the rub: There is a property we haven’t talked about which applies to the subset “presents”, and it’s “appropriateness”.  Well, expensive presents are, by definition, not appropriate.  This leaves us with an empty set as potential gifts, which means it is logically impossible to get me anything.

Please, save your money, spare me embarrassment, and don’t get me anything.  In our family, we decided decades ago that presents were a no-go.  Best … decision … ever…

You want me to blacklist you on Facebook? Here is the recipe

I’m quite a tolerant guy.  Really, I know, it’s hard to believe.  There is one thing you can do to anger me on social networks, and that’s deleting my comments.  Yes, I know it’s your thread and you are master and commander of it.  It’s still not okay.  Sure, I make tasteless jokes, but you knew that since you friended me.  I also make thoughtful contributions.  Deleting either one is simply disrespectful.
I took the time to write something in your thread, to make people laugh or to make people think.  You delete that, you are directly disrespecting me.

So, my unwritten and, up until now, never published directive is: “You delete my comment, you get removed from my view”.  There is no trial, there is no discussion.  It’s what happens.  Do note this is not me censoring you: It is protecting you from me.  You clearly can’t handle my comments, so I won’t bother making them and, given I don’t see you, I won’t be tempted to contribute to your threads.  Your freedom of expression remains, I just chose to ignore your expression.  You did not grant me the same courtesy.

To achieve this technically, I do not use the “block” functionality.  Instead, I add that person to the “restricted” list and then “unfollow” them.  (Technically, I could use the “acquaintances” list for this, instead of unfollowing)  It’s as good as blocking, but without the person noticing.  From their point of view, everything is as before, just it isn’t.

That’s it.  Now you know.  I know many of you won’t agree with this policy, but I won’t delete your comment if you say so.

Witness of an accident

Writing this just in case I get called as a witness.

Thursday 12 December 2013 around 19h00, I was driving through Holzem on the Route de Capellen (CR103) direction Capellen.  I was about to turn left into the Rue du Moulin when a car came at high speed in my direction, one side of the car was engulfed in sparks, due to the tyre being damaged.  The car veered to the right (from my point of view) apparently into the small road connecting the Route de Capellen and the Rue du Cimetière.

I decided to go see what happened and didn’t continue my initial route, parking on the corner of the Route de Capellen and the connecting road to Rue du Cimetière.  I turned on my warning lights.  A white car, registred in France was embedded into the front yard of the house on said corner.  Clearly stopped by trees and having missed a traffic sign.  First on site, I knocked on the drivers window.  Not much reaction at first.  By then a neighbour had arrived, telling me his wife had called both an ambulance and the police.  By then the driver, talked to us, and we tried helping him out of the car.  He said his leg hurt.  The driver was clearly confused and dazed.  While interacting with the driver, I did not smell any alcohol.  There was not much space to help and the neighbour was in a better position to help him out.

There was a lot of debris on the road, so I decided to warn oncoming cars to slow down and take as much of the large debris from the road as possible.  Later we discovered that the car must have hit an electricity distributor further up the road which explained the sheer number of debris on the road.  Electricity was gone in a whole segment of the road.  At about 19h20, police and the amulance arrived on the premise.  I notified a police officer that I was a witness and would stay there in case they needed me.  I moved my car, so that I did not block the access to the accidented car.  Around 19h30, I think, the firefighters came to secure the site.  When the ambulance was gone, and the police had done most of its work, I talked to an officer, gave him my ID and phone number and left the site.

Google Plus Custom URL is so messed up it’s not funny.

I sent this  to G+ Feedback.  I feel better now.

Subject: Custom G+ URL.

A few months ago, I got an email for a pre-approved custom G+ URL.  It suggested JorgWillekens as I used my real name G+.  I didn’t want that, but asked for the name I am known on the internet for (Hell, I own the .com, .org, .net and .eu) which is “jawtheshark”.  To my knowledge there is nobody else on the Internet using that nickname, and I’ve been using it at least since 1998.

Today, I got this nickname denied.  I do not approve of this, and I’m pretty certain it’s just your system that is making stupid blanket assumptions.  It doesn’t stop there.  Due to the forced integration of YouTube, I renamed myself to “Jaw The Shark” because youtube became useless with its native accounts (which, *surprise*, was “jawtheshark”… Check, it, I know you can!)

Now, the custom URL suggests JawTheShark to me, but I absolutely need to add a suffix.  You’d think, it would be clear to such a big data-mining operation as you, as what account is what person.  My suspicion is that it’s not allowed because it exists as a youtube account or because I tried getting it before.

Now, comes the kicker, back in the day, I created a serious GMail aptly named “jorg.willekens”.  It’s used mainly for email, but obviously it has a G+ account as you always get the whole package with Google.  I was curious whether I could get JorgWillekens custom URL on that one.  Guess what?  I can’t: I need to add a suffix.  My best guess is, because of my other account.

The TL;DR version for you:
- The account jorg.willekens@gmail.com can’t get the custom URL “JorgWillekens”
- The account jawtheshark@gmail.com can’t  get the custom URL “JawTheShark”, but can get “JorgWillekens”.
- The custom URL “JawTheShark” is, for some bizarre reason, not available at all.

How effed-up is that, I ask you?  Especially, that the person behind these accounts is one and the same, and you undoubtedly know that or you should really hire some better data-miners.

That’s all I have to say.  I’m pretty sure, you are not interested in my ramblings.

For the record: Facebook had no qualms in giving a custom URL “jawtheshark” and LinkedIn’s custom URL knows me as “willekens”.  Notice the difference between usage?  I’ll give a hint: private use versus professional use.
You want me to use G+ or not, because more and more, I have the impression that the message is “Use FaceBook for crying out loud, the social  thing is just a fad!”

Jorg “jawtheshark” Willekens

(Also published to my blog, and all social network sites I operate on)