Wednesday, December 11, 2013

When High Tech Is Scary

Like many Americans, I’ve been following the Obamacare website debacle with some interest, particularly because at my work we’re struggling ourselves with a new software upgrade.  Is there ultimately a limit to what technology can do?  If there isn’t, should there be?
     I mean just about everything electronic now has a chip in it, from multiple parts in our car to the electronic gadgets you use to communicate, entertain and keep track of your life in one way or another.  And they say you can’t do anything on your computer anymore without somebody  being able to find out about it.
     Take my fantasy football team, for instance.   For the second year in a row, I’m at the bottom of the league.  That I blame on being cursed after a visit to Stonehenge in England last year (it might have affected my favorite University of Michigan wolverines as well but that’s another story).  Week after week, I tried changing my line-ups, acquiring new players, even using a charm acquired from an occult shop to transfer the curse to another manager . . . nothing worked.  I still kept losing.
     Then I noticed something peculiar.  When I loaded up my fantasy football team page, there’s a sidebar advertisement for Toyota that pops up with an actor smiling while he says something that's not audible but pops up later in words on a separate screen.  After my team had been doing horribly I loaded up my team page, and I see this actor looking over to my team record from his sidebar box and shaking his head.  What?!  How does he know how I’m doing?   The following week my losing streak was extended and I see this same actor in that same advertisement putting a paper bag over his head as he looks at my team record.
     How can they do that?  How does an advertisement get programmed by somebody to react to something that happens independently?  Or, at least I think it’s independently.  Sometimes . . . I wonder.  In my work, I deal lots with numbers of all kinds—batch numbers, transaction numbers, ID numbers, etc.  I was working in a particular part of my spreadsheet that involved random batch reference numbers generated by our computer software.  Then I saw this—check out the last line in this table below:
BATCH                                                          REFERENCE
I find that too eerie to be a coincidence.  

Finally, there is something that happened to me tonight.  I was typing in a Yahoo search engine and mistyped the year 2014 as 3025.  So, for the fun of it, I continued on anyway leaving 3025 and the next couple letters of the word I intended to type to see what hits I would get.  What happened next was jaw-dropping.

If you search Yahoo, you know it tries to guess what you're searching for by giving you some suggested options as you type.  What it did was give me 3025 and my last name.  Mind you, I have an unusual last name.  Everybody with my last name is at least a shirt-tail relative.  But apparently one of us has a street in Illinois named after them because that's what Yahoo suggested I might be looking for--an address on a street with my surname.  Weirdorama.

I see this is the first blog I've put up in two months.  I know I've said it before, but it bears repeating, time is just like water through my fingers lately.  But I'm not too late to wish everyone the best of the season and a happy 2014.


Blogger Lee said...

Who knows? Not me...but obviously "it" does! Dooodooo-doodooo-doodoo (supposedly eerie music to go along with my comment...)

Dave, I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas, too...and I hope 2014 treats you all kindly and generously.

Take care. :)

11:03 PM  
Blogger CAROLDEE said...

Spooky for sure..I know we are all so tech savvy and attached that an EMP can make us all go crazy unable to communicate in a matter of seconds. Then what?? Too scary to think about. We are living in a BIG BROTHER age..they know all and see all I guess. Glad you updated.. I know you are just as cold as I am here on the southeastern side..Dang it's going to be a long winter if this keeps up. Take care and you and your family have a Merry Christmas and Happy 2014..

6:38 AM  
Blogger Carine Nadel said...

as you know Dave-I do not consider myself the least bit technical and I too have found some very eerie things happening! Read this week's blog (I wrote it yesterday)to see what I had happen!

9:55 AM  
Blogger Carine Nadel said...

oops! Forgot: The happiest and healthiest of holiday season to you and the entire family!

9:56 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

LEE--I wonder how much "it" knows. I'm inspired to right a science fiction short story, or maybe it won't be that fictional.

CAROLDEE--I'm thankful I don't have one of those mobile devices, though I wouldn't mind having M-Perks through Meijers'. Big snow coming on Saturday, they say.

CARINE--Will come over to check out your latest blog.

Everyone, enjoy the holidays and the best 2014.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Dike said...

Happy New Year, Dave! For SPARTANS, beating Stanford at the 100th anniversary of the Rose Bowl was an auspicious beginning, to be sure!

8:02 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

MRS DIKE--Yes, congrats to them. The news here was overshadowed by the world record set New Year's Day by the Big House in Ann Arbor (largest crowd to ever watch a hockey game). But I think I saw a blurb in the local paper about the Spartans win.

6:07 AM  

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