What Would You Do?

Billionaire businessman Elon Musk offered to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share in a filing published yesterday, saying the social media company needs to be transformed privately. Musk’s offer values Twitter at about $43 billion.

According to Musk, the social media company needs to go private because it can “neither thrive nor serve” free speech in its current state. “As a result,” he said, “I am offering to buy 100% of Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash.”

$43 billion to buy total control (100% ownership) of Twitter? Seriously? Doesn’t that make you wonder…

What would you do for the world if you had 43 billion dollars to spend on anything and, when your done, you’d still be a multi-billionaire?

Hiding in Plain Site

Did you see what I did there with the title of this post? I used “site” instead of “sight” because I blog anonymously. I have a moniker for my blog. It’s Fandango. I use it instead of my real name for security purposes, as I’ve had my identity stolen from me three times already. I know that’s not a record, or anything, and it’s not something that can’t be undone by canceling all of my credit cards, changing all of my passwords, and making a lot of phone calls to resolve bogus charges and get my credit rating straightened out. But it’s time-consuming and it’s a hassle and I’d rather not have to experience it yet again.

Unfortunately, it’s something that we need to deal with in the online, connected world. As Marilyn Armstrong pointed out in this post today, “Humans seem unable to create anything without also weaponizing it. No matter how much good it could do, we always find a way for it to do more harm than good, or at least as much harm as good.”

So the wonderful technology that enables us to do almost anything online — shopping, banking, streaming movies and music, using social media, and even blogging on WordPress — can, and likely will, at some point, be used against us.

And as taciturn as we may wish to be, we can’t not talk about it. We cannot ignore it. We have to protect ourselves, even if it’s just being amenable to using a moniker for our blog.

Besides, you can make it easy on yourself by doing what I do. I put all of my various passwords on stickers and attach them to my monitor. That way I don’t forget them. Smart, huh?

Written for these daily prompts: Your Daily Word Prompt (moniker), Ragtag Daily Prompt (security), The Daily Spur (record), E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (undone), Word of the Day Challenge (taciturn), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (amenable), and My Vivid Blog (stickers).

Throwback Thursday — Student Daze

Maggie, at From Cave Walls, and Lauren, at LSS Attitude of Gratitude, alternate hosting Throwback Thursday. The idea of the prompt is for them to give us a topic and for us to write a post in which we share our own memories or experiences about the given topic. This week, Maggie chose the topic of “Report cards and Progress Reports.”

  1. Looking back now, would you say you were a good, fair, or struggling student? I was a pretty good student. I was actually kind of a nerdy, book-wormy type.
  2. How often were your school efforts reported to your parents? If I remember correctly, report cards were published every eight weeks.
  3. Did you receive letter grades, (i.e., A, B, C, etc.)? Yes.
  4. Was your behavior reported on your progress reports or report cards? In elementary school, yes, but not in middle or high school.
  5. In what subjects did you excel and which subjects were a challenge? I enjoyed English, history, social studies, and most liberal arts/humanities courses and science courses. Math was never my strength.
  6. Did you ever try to change your grade? Turning a C into a B for example? I so rarely got grades below B that I didn’t have to.
  7. Did you keep any of your report cards? Not a one.
  8. Did you get rewarded for good grades? Punished for ‘bad’ grades? Both, but I rarely got “bad” grades, so mostly rewarded.
  9. Did the subjects you excelled in prove to be where you excelled in life? Pretty much, although I did develop some decent math skills for my work.
  10. What was your biggest detraction from your school work? Pretty little maidens all in a row.

Go Big or Go Home

When, much to our chagrin, the condition of our old gas guzzler started to reach the breaking point, my wife and I had to make a decision about buying a new car. I wanted to get a hybrid model, specifically a plug-in hybrid. It uses a battery to power an electric motor and then, once the battery is nearly depleted, the car automatically switches over to use the gas powered internal combustion engine.

My wife had a different idea. “Go big or go home,” she said. “Let’s buy a fully electric vehicle and never have to buy gas again.”

Gas was around $4.50 a gallon at the time, and after giving it a lot of thought, I figured why not? Gas prices were bound to continue to go up, so let’s switch to electric. And that’s what we did.

This past Saturday, when we hosted a birthday party for our son over at our place, his father-in-law said to me, “You were quite prescient when you and your wife bought your electric car last August. With cost per gallon of gas approaching $6.50, you must be jubilant over that decision.”

“I am,” I said. “I actually smile every time I pass a gas station. It’s a great feeling.” Then I said to him, “So when are you going to get yourself an electric car so that you, too, can be inducted into the EV car club?”

He laughed and said, “As soon as there are as many electric vehicle charging stations as there are gas stations. Now that I’m retired, my wife and I have turned somewhat nomadic and we’re driving hither and yon all the time. I don’t want us to be out in the middle of nowhere and for our electric car’s battery to run out with no place to charge it up.”

“Fair enough,” I said. “I just hope it will be before the air is too polluted to breathe and the water is too brackish to drink.”

He looked at me, smiled, and said, “The good news is that, at our ages, we’ll probably be dead before that happens.”

Written for these daily from yesterday: My Vivid Blog (chagrin), The Daily Spur (condition), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (hybrid), Word of the Day Challenge (jubilant), Your Daily Word Prompt (induct), E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (nomadic), and Ragtag Daily Prompt (brackish).

Throwback Thursday — Technology

Maggie, at From Cave Walls, and Lauren, at LSS Attitude of Gratitude, alternate hosting Throwback Thursday. The idea of the prompt is for them to give us a topic and for us to write a post in which we share our own memories or experiences about the given topic. This week, Maggie chose the topic of “technology influences.”

1. What kind of technology existed around your house as a child?

Keep in mind that I was an early Baby Boomer and in my early years the only “technology” we had was a 10” B&W TV console and a Victrola record player that played 78 RPM records. We also had a land-line telephone with a “party line,” which meant that multiple families shared the same phone number.

2. What technology do you remember coming into your home for the first time?

I think it was the late Fifties when we got an RCA color TV console and a Telefunken HiFi record player that had three speeds: 78, 45, and 33 1/3 RPMs, and an AM/FM radio. I also got a small Zenith transistor radio (AM only). We also got our own phone line.

3. What kind of televisions or radios did you have – post pictures if you can find them.

See answer to number 2.

4. How did music technology change in your lifetime? When was the last time you purchased music? In what form was the music?

It evolved from 78 RPM records, to 45 RPM “singles” and 33 1/3 RPM LP albums. FM radio stations took over radio for music, 8-track tape and cassette tape players came along and the Sony Walkman was the portable tape player everyone got, except for those who got off on boomboxes, the bigger the better.

Then music CDs supplanted vinyl records, but that was shortly replaced by downloadable MP3 format songs and the Apple iPod player. Now there are all kinds of music streaming options, like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. I think the last time I actually purchased either a single recording or an album was on iTunes for my iPhone maybe a few years back.

5. Did you have a home computer? If so, what was it? Did you have a webcam? Did you stream content with it?

My first computer (circa 1982) was the original IBM PC, with a blazingly fast 4.77 MHz 8088 chip and two 5 1/4” floppy disks (i.e., no hard drive), and with a Princeton Graphics monochrome monitor. Shortly after I got it, I added a 10 MB hard card, figuring that would suffice for the rest of my life. My next addition was a Hayes 300 baud dial-up “Smartmodem.”

My initial connectivity experience was with so-called bulletin boards that, if I recall correctly, I accessed through CompuServe. It was all text-based and rudimentary. Eventually I upgraded to a faster computer with a larger hard drive and a 1200 baud dial-up modem. Woo hoo.

At some point I discovered Prodigy, the first of the early-generation dial-up services to offer full access to the World Wide Web and to offer a graphical user interface. Then America Online (AOL) began giving away floppy disks and soon, with its email, instant messaging, and chat rooms, it displaced Prodigy as the internet access point of choice. It, too, was primarily dial-up.

None of these early computers had broadband connectivity, webcams, or streaming functionally. Those were all 21st century technologies.

6. What kind of phone did you have? Do you have a landline today?

Back in the early Fifties we had party line phones and then single family lines. As adults, we had landline phones up until around 2010. Now we rely solely upon our mobile phones.

7. Did you have toys with integrated technology, robots, automation, etc?

Only video games like Atari, Sega, and then the Xbox, Sony PlayStation, and now the Oculus Quest VR headsets.

8. What technology ‘blew your mind’?

The World Wide Web.

9. When did you get your first cell phone? What brand and model was it? Did you carry a pager?

My first cellphone was an old Motorola “brick.” After that it was a flip phone. Then a BlackBerry, and since 2010, iPhones. and yes, before I got my BlackBerry device, I had a SkyTel pager for work.

10. Is there any current technology you refuse to own or have in your home?

Are DVD recorders and players considered to be current technology, because we don’t have any in our home? Other than that, I can’t think of any technology that I would refuse to own or have.