A Day in the Life of a Transcriber — Part 01: Parts Shouldn’t Have Names

Being Part One of a serial of such posts. If you missed the introduction, it’s discussed here. The short version is I do transcriptions as my main income source and the only way I can vent my frustration is by having a laugh at some of the fail.

I never even knew nothing about it […]. Or I did, but I think it was like, pushed to the back of my head. Like, consciencesly [sic] I knew that […], but it wasn’t a thing that I took much notice about […]. I knew, but I didn’t know, if that makes sense, like.

Where do I start? Not at the beginning, that’s a little overused. We’ll start with a very interesting word — in the loosest sense of the word.

consciencely [sic]

I’m not too sure of the spelling, so I’ve typed it phonetically. I’m not too clear on the definition, but it would appear to imply a moral manner in which something occurs or is performed. Use cases may include performing surgery. One performs surgery consciencely when one does it carefully, considerately and not under the influence of substances. In this context, though, I think the word you’re looking for is “consciously” — to be aware in one’s conscious mind instead of only the subconscious. Now, note how we spell it. Yes, similarly, but without the N-sound. Minus twenty point for stupidity. Next:

I never even knew nothing about it

That roughly translates to, “I have never, not once, known nothing about it.” This can be further simplified to, “It’s always been been something I was knowledgeable about.” Minus fifty points because it’s such a well-documented, commonly-known mistake. I don’t not condone double-negatives if they’re used cleverly. Onwards:

Let’s look at the next part and the last part:

Or I did, but I think it was like, pushed to the back of my head.

I knew, but I didn’t know, if that makes sense, like.

Basically they both add up to exactly the same idiocy. We’re ignoring all other issues and just concentrating on the meanings. First off, you give the listener the choice of whether you know something because you used “Or”, which implies that they have the option of whether or not you knew. Since you’re the one doing the knowing, that’s something nobody else can decide. Secondly, you either do or don’t know something. You can’t know and not know something simultaneously, at least without entering the paradoxical land of Quantum Mechanics. Minus another fifty for stupid, but plus twenty for making me laugh. Seriously, that has to be in the top ten most idiot statements, yet I hear a surprising number of people spouting stuff like this. So, for the sake of anyone reading this who has ever said something along these lines, you either know something or you don’t (with the exception of quantitative contexts). Too confusing? Don’t worry, I’ve prepared a pocket-sized cheat-sheet below to illustrate exactly how it works:

adayinthelifeofatranscriberpart01_flowchart

You can print that (there’s a button below this post), cut it out and laminate it so you can carry it around as a reference card. That way, whenever you’re in doubt, just check the diagram to clarify.

That’s all for now, but here’s a preview of things to come: An internet avatar becomes aware she’s actually being controlled. Everything she says and does are the result of involuntary obsessive thoughts that manifest as ticks. The only time she can truly know her thoughts are her own is when the person controlling her sleeps. How will she break free? Who is controlling her? And what is the outside world that everyone call “reality” really about?

…Find all this and more in the next exciting episode of “A Day in The Life of a Transcriber”. Until then, comments, shares, likes, hates, death threats, and everything else welcomed.

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A Day in the Life of a Transcriber — Part 00: Prologue

I wanted my next post to be something meaningful. A poem, a short story, or even the first chapter of a blog-based novel. Alas, my muse fails me, leaving me with this overwhelming urge to post what shall become quite serial.

Transcription is my main income source at the moment. It’s a terrible job, despite what you may hear or think. There is no fun in listening to people barely capable of articulating themselves over the background noise of a shopping mall, a bus station, an eatery, or a busy household. There is no fun in trying to filter out screaming children, blaring televisions, and the ambient hum of other people, especially in a recording made with a smart-phone. There is even less fun in the verbal discourse itself which ranges from topics such as dental hygiene to the endless incumbent ramblings of elderly interviewees about arthritis, ingrown toenails, and chest problems.

Transcription seldom, if ever, involves interesting subject matter. There are no psychiatry sessions with the future Jack the Ripper, nor interviews with scientists and creators breaking new grounds. Just the repetitiveness of barely-audible and unforgivably dull conversation.

There are two perks to the job though. Firstly, it doesn’t require leaving home, fighting the the rush hour traffic and dealing with colleagues and customers you want to strangle. Secondly, you get to laugh every now and then because this job truly highlights just how poor the average human being’s communication skills are. This is what these posts, “A Day in the Life of a Transcriber” will chronicle. They will generally be short posts, unlike this one, containing excerpts of dialogue (modified where needed to protect the identities of the parties involved and so as not to violate my NDAs). Since this post is already fairly lengthy, I’ve decided to end with just a simple sample of what to expect:

I never even knew nothing about it […]. Or I did, but I think it was like, pushed to the back of my head. Like, consciencesly [sic] I knew that […], but it wasn’t a thing that I took much notice about […]. I knew, but I didn’t know, if that makes sense, like.

You’ll be able to view my commentary on this excerpt along with many more wonderfail (I made that up, it’s a portmanteau of “wonderful” and “fail”) moments in my next post: A Day in the Life of a Transcriber – Part 01: Parts Shouldn’t Have Names”.

Likes, shares, and positive comments sure are wanted and welcomed, but I’ll accept negative feedback too, like how cruel I am for mocking at the poor downtrodden anonymous idiots out there whose insufferable accents, bad speech patterns and idiotic discourses I must endure to make ends meet while I’d rather be publishing games and books.

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Epic Deconstruction

Deconstructed Chicken and Avo Salad: Succulent cubes of chicken breast, slices of perfectly ripe avocado, grated mozzarella, sprouts, and rocket. Served with a honey & mustard dressing.

It sound really nice, and although I know what a “deconstructed salad” is (after all, it’s pretty obvious), I thought I’d toy with my waitress a little, because I’m a bit of a bitch at times.

“Excuse me,” I said gently, looking up from the menu with large, innocent eyes, “What is a deconstructed salad exactly?”

“Well,” the waitress began, fumbling in her mind for a way to explain it without it sounding as if it was nothing more than a plate of unmixed salad ingredients.

I continued to look the picture of sweetness and innocence while I gazed expectantly at her. Hesitantly, she explained, “It’s basically, where we don’t mix the salad ourselves. We let the customer mix it how they like it.”

Well, I’ll give her points for managing to make it sound like a good thing when, on paper, it sounds like a lazy chef. “So, you mean you just bring me the ingredients and I have to make it?” I asked innocently.

“Yes,” she replied, maintaining her composure, though I could see resignation glinting in her eyes.

“So it’s not de- constructed, it’s un- constructed,” I contended. “You can’t deconstruct something that was never constructed to begin with.”

It was a weekend and the café was packed with families and their screaming children, gaggles of elderly women, and hipsters plugged into their i-devices. Perhaps my timing was a little cruel, but, in my defence, I was seated at one of my usual tables in the back, a much quieter and more private area that was cut off from the chaos in the front.

“Um…” She seemed tense. She was at a complete loss now and fully resigned to her fate, another difficult customer, as I watched the dread creeping into her eyes. It was obvious she wasn’t just new to the café, but new to waiting in general, so I decided I’d let her off the hook. It was a pity, because my trolling session could’ve yielded some very interesting fruit.

“Don’t you think that’s a little lazy?” I asked with obviously contrived outrage. “If I have to make it, then I think I deserve a discount for my labour!”

Her increasingly tense form relaxed and she began to smile. I started to laugh and she soon joined me. “Sorry,” I said, “I do this sort of thing to every new waitress I meet. Most of the staff here know I’m full of crap.”

As I always do when I torment a waitress, I left her a generous tip at the end of the meal. Feel free, as always, to share your thoughts, whether they be about how mean or funny you think I am.

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The End User Patch

Below is the beta version (0.1) of the End User Patch, the “JoDo”, by John Doe. You can read more about how he came about it here. The patch requires no installation and improves security on all devices and platforms simply by reading it. The security increase is estimated to be around a whopping 80%.

JoDo v0.1:

We’ll address the IoT stuff first

Stop acquiring IoT devices. When did you ever need a web interface for your dryer? It’s easier to turn the dial to 60 than to click three to four buttons on a PC. You don’t need a MacBook to operate your microwave. It’s more of a hassle to put food in, go to your MacBook, set the timer, and return to the microwave. That’s why the microwave has a keypad or dial, so that you can activate it without leaving the area. Why did you learn to drive? To drive a car, yes? You don’t need some “smart” software to do it for you. In fact, shocking as it may be, you don’t need GPS to find the Seven Eleven, you can get directions from the gas station. You do not want your door lock to be connected to the internet. That makes it vulnerable to hackers. You will find that a regular lock key is immune to remote attack and even local hacking.

Next, address the hand-helds

Don’t download unofficial software. Your mobile device comes with a built-in package manager. You needn’t understand this. All you need know is that is you “Software Center” or “App Store”. You get safe and verified applications from there. Anywhere else is a risk. You do not need superuser privileges if you are not a superuser. To clarify, if you cannot manually configure things, if you do not understand the difference between an OS and a kernel are, if you have never made system changes without the aid of a How-To or automated software or your friends, then you are not a superuser. The commercial game you want to download from an unofficial source is not free. It is pirated and therefore you still pay for it by risking your security. Is risking all your online accounts, saved passwords, personal information, and nude selfies worth saving five bucks? In case you’re feeling indecisive, the answer is no. Not even for double, triple, or one-hundred times that. What is your phone for? Answer for the two-dgit IQ: making calls and sending texts. So do you need a plethora of apps? No. You may benefit from VOIP and IM apps because they’re cheaper. You may benefit from social media apps. But that’s it. Can you really enjoy a movie on a five inch screen? Be honest. No. Do you need a music player? Maybe, if you don’t own another music player or an iPod, yeah. But that software comes stock so you don’t need to download one. Your phone is not a home theatre or media centre and you will never make it one. Can you really enjoy gaming on a 5 inch screen? Yes. But, can you enjoy gaming without a proper gamepad or kayboard? If you’re a hardcore games, then no. If you’re a casual gamer, the games that you’d enjoy are available from the official store. Do not install all apps on one device. Your phone should be kept strictly for comms. If it is a smartphone, install IM and VOIP, by nothing else. There’s no need for XYZ Saga. Use your tablet. The same is true of web browsing. You don’t need to browse the web every second of every day. Smartphones give a generally bad experience any way. Use a PC or your tablet. By the same token, do not use your tablet for sensitive apps. It is not a good idea to have a banking app on the same device as a game from some publisher with about five downloads and no reviews. The official software sources are usually safe, but it is foolish to rely completely on a system. Don’t have more than one device? Get one. Get a cheap smartphone for your games and insecure activities. If you cannot afford a secondary device look at your monthly expenditure. There is one smart device that retails for less than twelve slabs of chocolate. In other words, one less slab of chocolate per month covers the repayment on a twelve-month credit.

Personal Computers

Do not download software from unofficial sources. Open source software is different because it can usually be trusted to not be malicious. However, if you cannot build it yourself, you probably should not use it. It will appear in your operating system’s repositories when/if it meets the quality and security criteria. Keep your system up to date via to official method described by your OS documentation. If you do not understand, call your IT person.

General

Do not download or click on anything you see on the internet. There’s no magic pill to enlarge your penis. If you need a bigger penis, it is recommended you speak to a medical practitioner. There aren’t tons of singles dying to meet you. How can there be when they don’t know you? To find singles, use reputable sites. Paid-for sites are highly recommended because they filter out out scam-artists. If you want a free platform to meet potential soul mates, there’s a free service called The Outside World. You do not need to click on porn adverts because there are many, erm, reputable porn (sounds like an oxymoron) services through the internet or cable. Surprisingly your local video rental will have media too. You do not need to click adverts for clothing, fashion, make-up, or diets. All these can be obtained for a small fee at the mall. Is your security really worth the off-chance that an outrageous claim that you can shed five kilograms per day is true? High speed weight loss is detrimental to your health and leaves you with flabby skin and a fatigued look. So the answer is no, unless you want to look like the undead. Use a different password for each site you frequent or lock you have. It does not need to be something like @#$%B2A16709. Length is much better strength than complexity. Experts have been saying for years that using some simple words and a non-dictionary one is sufficient. Something like MyKittieIsPregnant@8Months is very hard to crack or guess so consider it. It also meets the criteria that more sites force on their users. Another example, WishIWas30&Flirtie. Do not store sensitive information digitally if you are not well-read on Information Security. Programs may promise to secure your data and passwords, but taking their word for it without assessing them and at least doing some research on them is similar to accepting an offer for heart surgery from a door-to-door salesman. If you have any doubts, remember the most secure place to store passwords is on a piece of paper. Paper, so long as stored and hidden responsibly, is immune to remote attack. If you have your own shorthand, even better, because deciphering it is difficult so if your adversary gains possession of it, it may be useless to them. Never give your details out. A site will never ask for your password or user name except when you login. They’ll never ask by email. If you receive an email from a site telling you to log in, never use the link in the email. Always log into the site from your browser history, bookmarks, or memory. Make sure the address starts with https for extra protection. Do not click links in emails generally, unless they are emails you are expecting, for example an account activation link. Do not login after activating you account, leave the site and return using the above-mentioned methods. Do not download attachments from emails unless you’re expecting them. Example A: your friend sends you some holiday pictures. This is fine. Example B: a random email offers a free something. Not a good idea

Finally:

Disconnect. Ask yourself the following questions about anything you do online.
Did I need to do this online ten years ago?
Did I ever need to do this online?
Can it easily be accomplished without physical internet access?
Do I even need an electronic device for this?
Do I even need to do this?
Do I even need this in my life?

Imagine how you’d feel, after reading all this, if you were the victim of cyber crimes. Imagine how bad you’d feel if a friend, family memeber, or other loved one was harmed by a virus that mailed itself to them from your PC all because you didn’t heed this warning.

Done!

Congratulations. You have just been patched. You can continually update your security by reading this note over and over again.

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The Ultimate Cross-Platform Patch Arrives

September 25, 2016 at 00:45 John Doe, a system administrator and security engineer was doing the thing most that most sysadmins do: monitoring his remote servers while playing Prince of Persia in a DOSBox. Despite the game’s dreadfully sticky controls and difficulty level, he’d been playing it long enough to allow his mind to wander on to one of his most recurring thoughts: cyber security.

“How does one deal with security all those different platforms? Patching one will not patch any of the others…”

In a world where more and more devices are becoming “smart”, the Linux kernel has moved away from its common uses in desktops, servers and embedded systems to become ubiquitous in “Internet of Things”, IoT, consumer electronics, too. Since all these devices were running the same kernel, they shared the same possible security vulnerabilities that a standard desktop or server may face. The difference? Where Linux-based servers are run by professionals, and can receive security updates, many consumer electronics can’t or won’t because manufacturers seldom, if ever, release updates. The logical step seemed to secure the Linux kernel and educate manufacturers and vendors about securing and maintaining systems. But manufacturers and vendors, even educated, may simply ignore the warnings. Also, this did not account for non-Linux devices. Many routers, for example, use firmware derived from BSDs, and though they share a common Unix-alike ancestry, they are very different. It didn’t end there. There many different operating systems form hand-helds and other smart devices, from Linux-based Android, to IOS, to Windows. “How does one deal with security all those different platforms? Patching one will not patch any of the others,” John Doe thought. “The biggest players on any platform seldom cooperate. They’d never modify their OS to help secure others.”

“I’ve found the single point of failure in all technologies! What’s more, I think I can patch it!”

It was then John had a thought that was so radical, he almost choked on his cold coffee, causing him to die in Prince of Persia. “That’s it!” he cried, standing swiftly and killing his DOSBox session. Immediately he called a friend of his to pitch his idea. “What if there was a single patch that was platform and architecture agnostic, available to every user that worked for all devices!?” he yelled as the call, connected. His friend was still half asleep and barely able to string a response together when John proclaimed, “I’ve found the single point of failure in all technologies! What’s more, I think I can patch it!” Although his friend had been catching up on much-needed rest, John’s idea went surging through him like a shot of adrenalin straight to the heart. The two immediately began their work as John outlined the plan details.

Two days without sleep later, John unveiled “JoDo beta”, the John Doe Security patch for for all things, and made it freely available across the web. It doesn’t require installation on the device, firmware flashing, or anything beyond the abilities of even the most technophobic user.

While he admits this patch won’t solve everything, John estimates it would mitigate around 80% of everyday vulnerabilities. Below you’ll find a link to the patch. It’s easy to activate on all devices from whatever you’re reading this on.

View or Download the Patch Here

“I know it doesn’t fix every issue, but I feel that this patch does away with the biggest problems which leaves developers free to focus on the important ones,” John said nearing the end of our Linphone conversation. After that he explained he needed some rest and would probably not be ready for the mass media for a few days. “[I] need to crash for twelve hours. Then I’m going to order myself a pizza and sit playing Centipede in my DOSBox. Afterwards, I might dust the old PlayStation off, invite some friends round and do a Tekken 3 marathon. Then, I may even see if I can remember how to breed a Gold Chocobo. At this point, I just want to chill,” John explained before disconnecting.

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No: The Internet Poet is the Modern T.S. Eliot

I found only small islands of sanity containing the tiniest rustic villages of sanity during my travels across the vast World Web, a bottomless ocean of meaningless abbreviations, misspelled words, grammar errors, missing punctuation, and, my favourite, people who have the audacity to call themselves modern poets. I shan’t mention names, but I regularly visit a particular blog of a particular ex of a particular friend of mine for the soul purpose of a few laughs. I’m not naming names but the person is question seems to draw a large amount of inspiration from the likes of T.S. Eliot, be it coincidence or design. To clarify: this is not a good thing.

A couple of years back, I was feeling inspired by the LSD-driven depravity that would-be internet poets were spewing out en mass so I wrote this:


My Cloud
By J. McMaster

Upon a cloud I gaily strode, wind upon my side
Flowers flying, wind laughing, little pigs that cried
Oh the spark-less fire warmed me by the cider stand
And ever did I lie and watch as the flowers did land

Oh petals pumpkin, gore and oil, juxtaposed they be
Like liking learning little laws, literally “losslessly”
And finally the post comes in, roosting upon my cake
Getting up, I climb the cheese, to get to Cola lake

Up the moon, down the moon, round the corner and into my shack
Up the chair, down the curtain, round the bench, come into my shack
Up the moon, down the moon, round the corner and into my shack
Up the chair, down the curtain, round the bench, come into my shack

Poor nightingale who growls a song, in pure tin-metal lust
While Other World keeps painting all, in decay, blood and rust
My eyes are open but I cannot smell, the vegetables of harvests-past
And oh the tragic lingering cabbage, a flavour which shall not last

Now wonder the tepid all alone, we have no hot-cold here
Go back to the goat and get a shoe, for shoes are what “they” fear
Another consequence of my delight, a mothball in my coke
“Yuck!” caws the lamb as she shudders in fright, at my horrid little joke

Up the moon, down the moon, round the corner and into my shack
Up the chair, down the curtain, round the bench, come into my shack
Up the moon, down the moon, round the corner and into my shack
Up the chair, down the curtain, round the bench, come into my shack

Oh the moon is bland, hand me the sour, and we’ll all drink a cup of grey
And we’ll wearily run and climb and prance, as we wind down another day
Oh I see it coming, make no mistake, blue and green are in
But gaze upon the grazing cows, and you’ll be punished for your sin

So from my cloud I seek to rest, and to hell with this poem now
I’ve had enough, I cannot go on, by any means or how
So I finish here with little else, a word just left to say
That I’ve gone sane, it isn’t, I cannot live this way.


For the oblivious, this is satirical. I was almost tempted not to mention it being so, simply to see how many “deep” thinkers out there “totally understood” what I was trying to say regarding the human condition and the plight of our cultural and religious conflict. Then I decided I’d have too many comments to wade through and too many users Weirdo_BlueStalker following, and subsequently stalking, me. As always, your thoughts, comments, accolades, death threats, criticisms, and rants are welcome.

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Sing-Along: The Twelve Days of Christmas

I dug this up a little while ago, something I threw together and posted on a forum a few years back around Christmas time. It was a mock set of lyrics for The Twelve Days of Christmas carol. It’s a little early for carols and the lyrics require a fair knowledge of geekdom and internet culture to fully appreciate, but I thought I’d share it nonetheless. I wrote it in American, which means that the letter zed is pronounced, “zee.”


My Twelve Days of Christmas
by J. McMaster

On the first day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Some software in a gz

On the second day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the third day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the fourth day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Four Four-Oh-Fours
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the fifth day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Five Free Games
Four Four-Oh-Fours
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the sixth day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Six Lil’ Ponies
Five Free Games
Four Four-Oh-Fours
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the seventh day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Seven Peers a Seeding
Six Lil’ Ponies
Five Free Games
Four Four-Oh-Fours
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the eighth day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Eight Servers Crashing
Seven Peers a Seeding
Six Lil’ Ponies
Five Free Games
Four Four-Oh-Fours
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the ninth day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Nine Pirate Songs
Eight Servers Crashing
Seven Peers a Seeding
Six Lil’ Ponies
Five Free Games
Four Four-Oh-Fours
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the tenth day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Ten Google Ads
Nine Pirate Songs
Eight Servers Crashing
Seven Peers a Seeding
Six Lil’ Ponies
Five Free Games
Four Four-Oh-Fours
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the eleventh day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Eleven Bloggers Ranting
Ten Google Ads
Nine Pirate Songs
Eight Servers Crashing
Seven Peers a Seeding
Six Lil’ Ponies
Five Free Games
Four Four-Oh-Fours
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz

On the twelth day of Christmas
the world web sent to me:
Twelve Pointless Tweets
Eleven Bloggers Ranting
Ten Google Ads
Nine Pirate Songs
Eight Servers Crashing
Seven Peers a Seeding
Six Lil’ Ponies
Five Free Games
Four Four-Oh-Fours
Three Locked Threads
Two Lolcat pics
and some software in a gz


Extra points if you read through the entire thing without skipping to the last verse like any sane person would do. As usual, feel free to share your thoughts, love and hatred with me below.

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