Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Do we have too much faith in the internet?

A long time ago, a friend who was a psychiatrist commented that many patients were chatting away online to "friends" who they didn't know, couldn't possibly know and didn't even know whether they were human or a computer at the other end. Asserting that it was impossible to determine that there was a human at the other end, it transpired that the psychiatrist considered internet users to be somewhat suspect mentally, in believing that there actually was a real individual answering them or that the individual was actually what had been claimed.

It is interesting to note that many women complain that men on dating sites are there just to get sex. All will promise undying love but the reality is that is a ploy just to get sex. Often it is a short-term goal with several women in the plan rather than a monogamous relationship. In olden days, this used to be the preserve of bar flies. Now just about anybody with access to a smartphone can do this. Thus it has become much more prevalent. Various studies have shown that the rate of infection with sexual diseases has skyrocketed with greater ease of access to online dating sites.

In the 1970s, when the author was a youngster, mobile phones had not been invented and the internet was limited to boffins in expensive labs. Computers were for geeks that hand built them and pored over circuit boards for days on end. The rest of the world got on just fine without. This was a time without spam, without junk phonecalls, withought Nigerian scammers - a simpler time and a more productive time.

In the 1970s, navigation was done with a street map, a pencil and paper. When a tradesman was summoned via the telephone or by visiting their store, just one tradesman was summoned. Sometimes it could take days. People took responsibility for knowing where the stop-cocks and off switches were for things. There was no casual browsing of the internet at work nor surreptitiously checking of Facebook on a mobile phone while pretending to work. More and higher quality work was done.

Today, people come to work and work very hard but achieve very little in comparison. The day starts with checking email - a largely pointless task of sifting through 20 emails for Xanex, another 20 for "male enhancer" or "breast enlargement" a few from Crown Prince Unpronounceable from Nigeria whose entire family was horrendously killed in one of the daily plane crashes in that region (remind me never to fly if I ever visit Nigeria) and 20 requests to view some superstar's naked body. Having sifted through all that, the genuine emails that have not accidentally been deleted through this filtering process are reviewed. Most are a complete waste of time yet have to be replied to, wasting even more time.

Jobs are advertised daily on the internet as companies find dissatisfied staff, unhappy with having to fiddle around with computer junk and irked that the company's computers keep crashing and losing their work, leave for other positions. Meanwhile, scammers place fake job advertisements in order to steal the identities of applicants for their nefarious purposes. Many job advertisements are copied by a plethora of agencies that have sprung up, all trying to claim a piece of the prize. Some agencies are less reputable than others. Occasionally, emails from agencies that have produced nothing worthwhile and that have been long forgotten pop up in email. The following example is for an agency that hasn't checked their books in over a decade.
User Access Administrator - London - 12 Months
From: Hina Hussain (Hina.Hussain@mbauk.com)
Sent: Tue 5/27/14 4:46 AM
To: '<removed>' (
User access administrator urgently required to work for a Leading Trading organisation on an initial 12 month contract.
You will be responsible for the administration of Windows accounts and the clients in house and external applications/systems, including user
permissioning, authentication, and authorisation, identifying and reporting back on security and compliance issues within the Security Operations area to
the Global Logical Access Manager as well as creating and maintaining adequate procedures and controls, to ensure that the Security Operations function
supplies a quality and efficient service to the Business and IT departments. The candidate will be expected to assist in and help drive efforts and initiatives
to simplify and automate logical access administration.
The ideal candidate will have experience in a highly pressured environment and the candidate should feel comfortable working at a fast demanding pace.
Must be enthusiastic with a willingness to learn and pay attention to detail. Ability to strictly adhere to security regulation, procedure, and policy
surrounding logical access and account management at all times. Strong working knowledge of MS environment required - Outlook, Excel, Word, and
accurate typing skills. Detailed experience and exposure to information security requirements, primarily in Logical Access and SOX security
requirements is also key for this role.
If you are interested in this position, please can you contact me, also providing a update profile and a overview of your experience in relation to the role.
MBA do have a policy to fulfil job requests within 24 hours therefore a quick response is important.
MBA does apologise when this job does not match your profile. However, if you have any colleagues who may be interested in this contract opportunity;
please forward this email to them. If they are successfully placed at our client site, we will award you with £150.00 (180 Euros).
Thank you for your time and we hope to hear from you soon,
Kind Regards,
Hina Hussain
Recruitment Resourcer
Tel: 00 44 (0) 207 749 5627
Mobile: 00 44 (0) 7715578017
Email: hina.hussain@mbauk.co.uk
Website: www.mbauk.com
12 Brook House, Chapel Place, Rivington Street, London. EC2A 3SJ
London - Amsterdam - Brussels - Den Haag - Eindhoven - Geneva - Munich - Paris - Rotterdam - Utrecht - Zurich
Disclaimer The views expressed in this mail are entirely those of the sender, and do not necessarily represent the views or position of the MBA Group of
companies. The information contained in this communication is confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended solely for the use of the
individual or entity to whom it is addressed and others authorised to receive it. If you are not the intended recipient you are hereby notified that any
disclosure, copying, distribution or taking any action in relation to the contents of this information is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. Neither the
sender nor the represented institution is liable for the correct and complete transmission of the contents of an e-mail, or for its timely receipt.
Please refer to our website www.mbauk.com for a list of all Group Companies and registration detail
This email did indeed arrive this morning. If it's a genuine email then it's an agency that never purges its books of out-of-date resumes. The very fact that the email states "MBA does apologise when this job does not match your profile" indicates that the company has a vested interest in just spamming out job descriptions that don't match anybody in particular as they never check whose resume matches the job.

Just about everybody suffers spam like this - exemplifying the earlier statement that a lot of time is wasted every morning by staff going through junk emails. Many junk emails actually look genuine, such as the one copied herein. It's unclear whether it's a genuine email or just spam but the fact no UK based agency has had a resume originating from anybody here for over a decade would suggest pure spam.

Just about an hour of daily activity is wasted on e-garbage. Of the remaining time, based on a few minutes here and there, looking for "information" for projects on Google, probably another hour is wasted. Much of the important information sought for projects will be of an immensely trivial nature and definitely not worth reading nor incorporating.

Social Media is discussed widely. Indeed it is hyped. Twitter is mentioned extensively and yet the number of genuine Twitter users is dwarfed by the spamcasters. Indeed, @NikkiHaley (the Governor of South Carolina) ostensibly uses Twitter but judging from the complete lack of interaction with humans responding to messages, has a totally automated account. Being automated, even the Governor's account is not worth following. Unless there is interaction on Social Media, there is no point whatsoever in the public following accounts. Thereby hangs a problem - in order to engage users, somebody or indeed a team of staff need to operate various social media accounts in conjunction with a social media planner.

How much income does Social Media generate? Little to none. As an example, this site is advertised to 15,000 Twitter accounts via several Twitter spamcasters. This activity results in perhaps one hit a month from humans actually being reached by the spamcasters. Another account is handled manually and little to no interaction happens unless discussion of politics or something unrelated to photography occurs. That account yields less website hits than the spamcasters that yield virtually none.

Staff have their mobile phones in their pockets all day. Before smartphones, staff idly texted friends and family when allegedly working. With smartphones, staff now idly play interactive games interspersed with "back in a bit - boss is coming". Staff attention spans have dropped to the lowest levels ever. Productivity has dropped yet people are working harder than ever, trying to catch up with all the garbage.

Has the internet been beneficial? Not really. There is little that cannot be done without it. People have become slaves to the internet. People are not the masters of their technology, rather they are the slaves to technology. Look at wedding photographers as an example. This is a species that has been utterly wiped out by digital imaging and the internet. Photographers now randomly run through weddings taking hundreds if not thousands of random photographs then retire to a sweaty office for days on end working themselves into a frazzle just to produce from those thousands of images, maybe 20 for a wedding album. In olden days, photographers mindful of the cost of film made each photograph count and took up to six rolls of film or 216 images. The ease of technology has meant that photographers capture now and then spend days sifting through the spoils rather than concentrating on taking good pictures and having less time in the office. Technology has made photographers much less productive.

Has the mobile telephone had a positive effect? Not really. Its introduction has heralded a lack of patience and a must-have-it-now attitude which is totally counter-productive. It has also allowed rioters and criminals easy access to a secure communication system that can be used during the conduct of a crime.

Will the human race return to a golden era of staff working productively or will the time-wasting technology era continue?

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