Facebook Lost Me

I’m sorry to say, that I have to quit Facebook and Instagram. I can no longer cling to my ability to stay connected to my very small and scattered family, nor my wonderful friends, through these platforms.

But why? I mean, we know they are shady, and use our data against us, but we’ve always known that. Why now? What was the straw that broke the camel’s back, for me? This is why:

Facebook Fired An Employee Who Collected Evidence Of Right-Wing Pages Getting Preferential Treatment

I am ½ Jewish and ½ Catholic, by birth. As far as I know, my Jewish family came to the US before the Holocaust, and I did not lose part of my family tree in that genocide. As a white person, I cannot allow my privilege to dismiss what white supremacy has done and continues to do, to oppress Black and Brown people around the world. It may seem like this is not tangential, but this is how white supremacy seeps in, and we are all made to believe it’s not that big of a deal. It is.

If you are close family or friends, I will have messaged you to make sure you can contact me by phone and/or email. For everyone, I hope you’ll connect with me here:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/misscrf
Medium: https://medium.com/@misscrf
My Blog: https://imagerotated.com/

I know I’m just one speck in Facebook and IG’s likely zettabytes of data specks, but I have to cut that off now. I have to cut off their ability to profit from my participation of their platform. Every click I make, every quiz I take, every post, every like, every comment, gives them data. They sell it to every bidder. Not just the highest bidder, but all of them. They are double-dealing, as they court the GOP who are intrinsically aligned with white supremacy. Comment on this post, if you would like me to detail that alignment, in another post. It is extensive.

Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook/IG will do anything they can, to ensure the US government doesn’t attempt to regulate them. They are using their massive power, to make sure we stay powerless. To make sure we don’t own our data. To make sure they own us.

I know Twitter has many of the same risks, as does YouTube, and Amazon, and so much of the internet. For now, I will do this as best I can. One step at a time. This is a big one, and one that doesn’t come lightly. It’s not just seeing what everyone is up to, and posting a portrait pic of that amazing culinary creation we just made. It’s a mechanism for being able to connect with the people we care about, readily.

It’s insidious, in that way. It latches on to that emotional connection, so it can be digitally leveraged against us.

I look forward to the day that we can own our data, and share it safely, with who we choose, without it being leveraged to help white supremacy. I hope I can come back, I really do.

I know, it’s totally uncool to announce your exit from the party. I’ve never been cool. This is a big change, and one that I don’t take lightly. These platforms take our big round world and make it digitally flat. My family is few and scattered across this country, and Facebook has been a lifeline. I will miss this mechanism for connecting with them, greatly.

For now, I would like to call on generation X, to help lead this charge for change. That is my generation. We are the generation who grew up riding in the back of the station wagon or pickup, with no seat belt. We took a beating and kept on going. We didn’t have the internet. We had cans with strings, and long walks or bike rides to see if our friends were home. We are also the generation that most people counted out. We were lost in the brutal shuffle of life, between boomers and millennials. This is what we were made for, and no one knew it, least of all us.

We can lead this charge, to disconnect from something that is making us sick. Those who have grown up with this technology may be unable to see this for what it is, but my hope is that older generations can. Generation X was the last generation, who grew up without social media and technology. We know that it’s not necessary. It’s a luxury. We can hold out for better. Being able to hold out, will make us stronger. We don’t need billions of dollars to do that. We just need to be able to take a beating and keep on going. We can make a hard choice, and all of us will be better off in the long run.

What can we do in the absence of using those platforms, in an active effort to regain control? We can vote. We can be informed about the candidates on the ballot this fall. We can vet information we read, and make sure to read the whole article. We can make sure our friends and family do the same. We can vote, and honor John Lewis, by demanding Mitch McConnell and the Senate pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act (https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/4/text).

The House passed it last year. Mitch McConnell has called the Democrats’ attempts to expand access to voting, a power grab. Ensuring the will of the people is protected, is a power grab, as far as the GOP is concerned. They doesn’t want the will of the people to be heard. The GOP knows that if everyone in the country has access to vote, the GOP will lose. The Majority Leader of the US Senate is holding our voting rights, and election security hostage.

I know COVID sucks and a lot of things suck, but the reality is that we are the ones with the power. We have to fix this. We are the only ones who can. Voters. In 2016, 120 million Americans voted, but 90 million registered voters did not vote. We are 200 million strong, and growing, but we have to show up and be informed.

We have to call our reps and pressure them to make the changes we need. We have to vote out the ones who gaslight facts, voting rights, regulating the tech industry, science, and so much more. We have to show up and vote, even if our first choice isn’t on the ballot. We have to look at the 2 candidates at the top of every race and compare them not just to our wish list, but against each other. Who will do the least harm and the most good? We have to vote responsibly.

Then we must show up next year, and the year after, to make it better and better. That’s how a healthy democracy works.

This year, we must be prepared for USPS delays. Trump installed a Postmaster General (Dejoy), who is actively dismantling the USPS, and causing delays. They know that absentee and mail-in ballots must be postmarked and received by specific dates, in order to be valid. Election day is not November 3rd. It is well before that day.

We must verify our registration is active now, before any deadline passes. Most deadlines are 30 days before election, but it can take time to get a registration in, if your state doesn’t allow online registration. We need to contact our county Board of Elections now and request an absentee or mail-in ballot application.

When we get our ballots, we have to fill it out immediately and get our ballots back to our Board of Elections filled in exactly as required. Mail-in ballots are often invalidated for missing a signature on an envelope, or something seemingly innocent and simple. We can’t be afraid to ask each other for help, to make sure our vote counts.

We also need to be prepared, to not get the results of the election on November 3rd. Start having that conversation now. Many states don’t open mail-in ballots until after election day. Whether that is a good policy or not, it is the policy now. Want it to change? Keep paying attention and communicating with your state government, but I suggest lobbying for those changes after this election. The state election laws are not going to change, before November.

We have to be willing to be patient, and demand that every vote be counted. Trump will absolutely call the election rigged, when we don’t have the results immediately after the election, particularly if it looks like he is already losing. He has a well-established pattern of denigrating our institutions of democracy. Don’t be a willing participant in his anti-democratic rhetoric.

I know that spending your time getting out the vote, and talking to voters about an election, does not sound as satisfying as talking to friends and family on Facebook, or posting pics and videos on IG. I get it. I’m asking something really hard. I don’t expect many will join me, but I figure I might as well make the pitch, for why this is so important, seeing as I’m making this big change.

As for my friends and family on Facebook and IG, we can see each other again, and IRL hopefully. I will miss seeing your beautiful children grow. I will miss sending you digital support when you need it. I will miss posting all my political awareness posts, hoping everyone reads them and takes them to heart. I will miss being part of conversations with people I haven’t seen in years.

Sci-fi nerds like me, love to dream of time travel. Facebook certainly didn’t accomplish that, but memories popping up in your timeline can feel like you can almost grasp it. Revisit your past. Feel those feelings. All the while, powerful people are watching our interactions, aggregating what we do, and tracking us on and off the platform. They are using those feelings to leverage our buying of goods and services. They’re using it to manipulate our votes too.

Because I get that this is a big decision to make, I have also grappled with the preparation that needs to take place. For me, this has included downloading all my data. I wanted a copy of my photos, videos, and my friends list. I went through my friend’s list, so I could identify people I wanted to reach out to and give my contact info, so we can connect outside of these platforms. If you have interest in the process I took to make this move, please comment on this post. If there is interest, I will make a follow-up post detailing how I did this. I took print screens of the steps I took, because I’m super cool like that.

Bottom line is that Mark Zuckerberg is allowing white supremacy to leverage our data and our lives, for their gain. They are giving preferential treatment to people and outlets who are gaslighting facts, and simultaneously trying like hell to suppress our vote. I can’t be a part of that anymore. I can no longer be a willing data point, that they use against me and everyone I connect with on these platforms.

I have to be part of an effort, that encourages Americans to fulfill the promise of our democracy. That we take up our civic duty to participate in our government. I will spend my time encouraging citizens to exercise their civic right, by voting in this election and every one after.

I suggest doing so as early as possible.

Continuing the Work of an Ally

I did a video last week and wrote a blog post with a bunch of resources. Some people went to a protest. We’re done, right? We showed up and said we cared. I mean, Black Americans can’t expect us to keep showing up, can they? We have lives, don’t we?

You know where this is going, if not, you’ve never met me and you do not understand sarcasm. Of course there is more work to do. 400 years of racism and oppression doesn’t just get solved in a day, or with one kind gesture, or a nice social media post. I know. It would be so great if that would get it done.

We’ve got real work to do, and as a white American, I know that starts with me. I finished The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin, last week. It was incredible, but I would consider it advanced reading for white Americans who don’t think they perpetuate racism or come from a generationally racist construct.

Now I am reading White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo. My mom is also reading this. In about 3 weeks we plan to have a discussion about it, and I welcome anyone else who wants to join. Please contact me here in the comments, or on social media, so we can plan a date and time that works for everyone. My facebook is friends and family (people I know IRL) but twitter is open, and my handle is @misscrf.

The reason I am inviting people to join us, is because the initial thing I have found (so far) in White Fragility, is that white people avoid discussing racism, and that needs to stop. I can admit that I have often been apprehensive about discussing race, especially in front of a Black person. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing or offend anyone. I certainly didn’t want to be seen as racist, when that’s the last thing I want to be.

But that’s not good enough. Admitting that is the first step. Admitting I felt that way, is part of how I dig myself out of this, and I welcome other white people to do the same. We have to confront our own avoidance of talking about race. If you don’t know by now, Black Americans can’t avoid race being a part of their lives, and this won’t get better until white Americans stop avoiding discussions about race. The ability for white Americans to avoid discussing race, is in fact part of our white privilege. Our unwillingness to discuss race, is part of our white fragility.

Seriously, I’m only in the first chapter and I love this book.

I can absolutely recognize that I have been conditioned through my life to not view myself on the terms of my race, but to view Black people on the terms of their race. That, in itself, is conditioned racism. I think when white people hear the word racism, they think that means I just hurled expletives at a Black person. Racism is way more nuanced, and it involves marginalizing people, erasing first person, Black narratives, and applying a different set of rules to people, solely based on race.

Recently, I have had to un-friend some people on facebook. I know that sounds frivolous, but these are people I have known since high school. I know that I’m not alone in having to make these tough decisions, but I want to go over this, because I think it is important. As a white person, it’s really on me to check my inherent racism, but also to call it out in white people who are in my sphere.

I will never understand someone finding any value or worth in Trump, aside from white supremacists and Putin. Yet, there are so many who do, and so many of you will decry that they are not racist. I’ve called people out for this, and they have commented on my posts that underscore the inherent racism in supporting Trump.

What I found, in calling out these friends, is that eventually the arguments go flat. I reject their gaslighting, and they refuse to critically examine any evidence I show them of the Trump’s long-documented history of being racist. It goes well beyond the last 3 years, and has been evident for decades. Despite all that, it’s too inconvenient for people who are surrounded by an environment of Trump loving MAGA folk, to accept any criticism of someone who makes them feel like white people deserve their privilege and status.

What I realized, is that I had to make a decision. If I stayed friends with them, wouldn’t I just be saying that is was ok to agree to disagree? Wasn’t I dismissing their willingness to support a white supremacist, as acceptable? I realized I cannot do that. I will try to reach you, I will call out your rhetoric and implicit bias, but if you refuse to reason, gaslight the facts, make strawman arguments, and try to end the discussion, then I have to say goodbye. I cannot condone supporting white supremacy. Even if I wasn’t Jewish or a lesbian, I’d still be white, and I can’t care about Black Americans, while condoning the support of white supremacy. White supremacy is antithetical to the promise of this country, that we are all inherently equal. It’s not just that we are inherently equal, but that we have an inherent right to equality under the law. It is on me, as a white American, to demand that we make it a reality.

One thing I want to mention about this is the comments I see from white people, when we discuss racism. Again, we are not talking about hurling racist words, burning crosses, or being violent against people based on their race. I’m talking about the words we use in every day conversation. I recently read this list: 10 common phrases that are actually racist AF. I was surprised at how many phrases I use, that I didn’t know were rooted in racism. I see a common reaction from white people, when this type of thing is brought up. An eye roll and something to the effect of “you can’t say anything anymore!” or “everything has gotten so PC!”

Really, that’s just lazy. No one is saying you can’t say anything, but we are saying that you should care if your words perpetuate racism. It’s not just about your intent. It’s about the impact your words have. It’s common decency and respect. It’s about wanting to be inclusive enough that you aren’t just reluctantly willing to un-train yourself from the habit of saying certain things. It’s about actively wanting to, because you want a better world, not just for you, but for those you hurt. Because that is the reality. When you speak carelessly about someone on the basis of their race, you perpetuate the marginalization of all people within that race. You also bolster those who are overtly and violently racist. You help the racists feel that it’s ok or it’s not a big deal. Well, it is.

Another thing I want to take the time to do, is mention some of the action items I did last week, to step up and do more than just talk. This is not meant to be a point of bragging. Look at me! I’m an ally! Rather, it’s in part a way for me to be accountable. It’s a way to show that I’m not just sharing news and the narratives of Black Americans on social media. The other part of this, is that my whole point of posting these, is to encourage other white Americans to take tangible action. I hope by listing the things I’m doing, with links to resources, others may see that they can do some stuff too.

Last week I used resistbot to send a letter to my Senators, asking they demand a vote on H.R.35 – Emmett Till Antilynching Act .

It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t get a lot of likes and retweets, because it sent that letter to my Senators.

I signed on to a petition to end qualified immunity:

Another to end no-knock warrants:

and another to repeal 50-a in NY State, which kept police misconduct hidden from the public.

I’m thrilled to say this repeal has officially passed, which is not the end of our work, but it is substantial change in the right direction.

I donated to a group fund that was split between the following organizations:

I also donated to Equal Justice Initiative, twice. It wasn’t totally intentionally, but it kind of was. I watched Just Mercy, which is free on Amazon Prime. Try getting through that without a mountain of tissues. I’ve been a huge fan of the Innocence Project for years, and always been against the death penalty, but boy does this show how incredibly damaging it is.

I also did some phone banking for the State Senate candidate I am supporting, Samra Brouk. It was only about 40 calls, but hey if 50 people volunteered, that could be 2,000 calls. If you read my posts and watch my videos, you’re going to hear more and more about volunteering for candidates. Voting rights are under attack in this country, and Black Americans have never had full access to voting. That has got to change, but it will only change if we all demand it. This is our government, but only if we do the job of making sure it runs properly.

I didn’t do a video this time, partly because I’m more comfortable writing, but partly because I don’t want to repeat what I just said above. Maybe I’ll do another video in the future, but for now, let’s make sure we all get to work and keep on working. For the next week, I plan to keep reading White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo.

I have a Monroe County library card, but as a New York state resident, I am also allowed to get a New York City Library card. Check big cities in your state, and you might be able to do the same. I use the Libby app, which has both library cards in it, to search for books I want to borrow. If one library doesn’t have the book, or there is a hold/wait, I check the other library. Once you borrow a book, you can send it to your kindle, you’ll get taken to an in-app browser page that is on the Amazon side, where you choose the device to send it to, and bam. All set. You can get the kindle app, even if you don’t have Amazon Prime, and you can put it on your phone, and tablets, even if they aren’t Amazon phones.

I love reading with the Kindle app, because I can highlight passages and words I learn, and then upload all those to goodreads, where I can have that book on my reading or read list and I can write reviews of books I have read. I’m just telling you all of this, because if you want to read White Fragility, please do, and I would love to discuss it with you.

I also want to encourage everyone to watch this video:

And then make these 3 calls. I will be making these calls as well:

Call Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer at 502-574-2003 – Demand he fire officers who murdered Breonna Taylor. * Note – I did this. You have to press 4 for the directory. Then I type his name, last then first = 34724374734. That gives his ext. 5025744545. Press # to be transferred. Then it hangs up.

Call Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron at 502-696-5300 opt 1- Demand he charge the officers who murdered Breonna Taylor. *Note – I did this, and it’s interesting that they updated their phone system to put option 1 for feedback on Breonna Taylor’s murder, but they haven’t charged the officers who murdered her.

Call Interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder at 502-574-7111 – Demand he complete his investigation and immediately turn it over to Breonna’s lawyers and the Attorney General. *Note – I did this, and chose opt 6 then 4 to get to the Chief’s office. The mailbox is full.

She was murdered, while sleeping, on March 13th. The investigation has not been completed, and nothing has been done. The police department released the incident report and it’s virtually blank. This is not justice.

Breonna Taylor should still be alive. There must be justice. We must demand it.

If the President Can Do It, So Can I Right?

To every hacker in the world,

Will someone please do us all a favor and hack Mitch F**king McConnell? Seriously. Dude has to be the most corrupt person in Washington. Please, for the sake of everyone, just hack his corrupt, racist ass and dump that shit on a public server.


A grateful citizen

P.s. I apologize for the profanity.


Virtual Spring Digital Cleaning (not really a) Ted Talk

A lot of people are quarantined or at least home a lot more, as many things have been cancelled.  This is a great time to go through your digital life and clean things up.  This post is to help people who may know they should clean up their facebook, but don’t know how or where to start.

I will go through some basic clean up steps here, to help those who don’t know where to look. This involves who can see your posts and activity, but also what companies you are giving access to your information and your friends list. To do this work, I highly recommend you do this on a computer (PC or Mac). I will be going through these steps, and including pics, based on doing this from an HP laptop, with Windows 10, and a Firefox browser.

One obvious step is going through your friends list. Personally, I keep my facebook to only people I know in real life (IRL). This is something I imposed on myself years ago. I post pictures of my family and friends’ kids, and I don’t want strangers having access to those pics.

I also figure that people I don’t know IRL can follow me on Twitter and Instagram, if they like. I consider those platforms as intentionally public ones, while facebook is set up in a way that allows us to connect with friends and family in group settings, which can be exclusively controlled by you.

Review your Friends

To check your friends list, do the following steps. On your facebook home page (your feed), click your name on the top, to the right of the search bar.

On your profile page, scroll down and on the left side under the Photos section, you will see a Friends section. Click on the Friends title/link.

You will see a series of your friends, in 2 columns.  Scroll through and review how they are set. There are a few options. Hover over the box on the right side, of any friend, for whom you want to adjust their connection with you.

  1. The default will look like a ✓, and this indicates they are a friend.  This is the mid-range connection to have with someone.
  2. A contact card means they are set as an “acquaintance”. This would be the lowest level of connection.
  3. A star means they are “close” friends. This is the highest level of connection.
  4. You can also create lists and add people to those. This allows you to share posts with just a list of people, instead of all of facebook. This is the equivalent of the permissions on your posts, where you set the post as visible to friends or public. You can create a work list, or others that are target a specific group of people.
  5. Finally, this is where you can unfriend someone.

Hover down to the choice you want, and single-click that option.  Here is more info on those different friends categories and how they can be useful in keeping your digital landscape tidy. https://www.facebook.com/help/200538509990389

My recommendation is, do a first sweep and any you are not really in contact with, who do not bring joy to your life, or you don’t know, maybe clean those up first.  Others you are not sure about, jot their names down in a note (on on your computer or on paper). Think about those, check their feed over later, and take some time to consider if you want to unfriend, or just unfollow.  If you cannot unfriend someone, you might just unfollow them, so that you don’t see their posts, but also don’t hurt any feelings, by unfriending them.

To un-follow, just click their name or search to find them and on their profile page, just click the drop down to un-follow them.  You can do this on your phone too, so no picture.  Comment below if you need more assistance with this.

Now comes the main attraction in this clean up.  Settings.  On the top of the facebook page, on the right side of the navigation bar, is an upside down triangle. Single-click this, and you will see a drop down menu.  Hover down to Settings, and single-click that option.

I am not going to go through every section here, but it is a good idea to go through this a couple of times a year, or on a schedule that is appropriate for how much you use this platform.

Settings – Privacy


You can allow people to find you by your email here, or not allow that. Same with your phone number. By limiting it to your friends, it means only they can see this information tied to your account.

The next section includes something a lot of people care about, which is what people see on your timeline and who can see posts or items you are tagged on, including photos.

Timeline and Tagging

Edit any you wish you adjust, by single-clicking the Edit on the right. Click View As to view your profile as the public sees your information. When you click Vew As you will be taken to a new page, that will look like your profile, but have a message for you to see first.

When you are done looking around, single-click on the back arrow in your internet browser to get back to the Settings – Privacy – Timeline and Tagging page. I will say, I am disappointed that they don’t have a drop down where the Public marker is, on the View As page. You should be able to see what close friends see, acquaintances, and each list. What if you posted something to the wrong list, but didn’t really notice, because that setting marker is small on the post, and we don’t think about it? Why not show the differences here?  Just a thought.

Now I want to jump down to one that I think many people will find is a mess with devious stuff. This is what I want people to really check out. It’s like cleaning up junk mail, but do it now, and be more careful going forward.

Apps and Websites

Every time you take a quiz, or play a game, or sign into an account using your facebook account,  you are giving a company access to your information. It varies what they have access to, and whether or not they can check for any changes/updates you have made to your info.

These apps and websites are listed in 3 categories of having authorization by you, to access your information. These are active, expired, and removed.  Active are apps or websites that have an active connection to your information. They can store it, and they can check facebook for any updates you make to the information you are allowing them to access.  This can be name, email, friends list, birthday or other info.

Expired means if they had rights previously, but now they cannot check for updates. If your recently changed your info, they may not have that change.  They are allowed to store your information still.  Removed means they must destroy your digital information, or any replication (likeness) of it.

See how many you have. Clean up ones who no longer need access to your friends lists.  You’re doing your friends a favor too.  This is how tech targets us.

On Twitter and IG, I simply suggest going through the list of people and accounts you follow. Are you following a lot of accounts that aren’t really active? Do any of the accounts not interest you any more? These accounts dictate what you see in your feed, so periodically clearing them out will clean up your feed.  If you like these tips and want more, let me know in the comments and I will work on others.

Thank you for coming to my Virtual Spring Digital Cleaning (not really a) Ted Talk.

The Newb Perspective

I joined Twitter in 2009, but I didn’t really get it.  I followed a few accounts, mostly friends, and some other accounts I can’t really recall.  In 2015, as the Presidential campaign heated up, I started to get more active.  It turns out there are are few interests that draw people to a live feed platform, like Twitter.  From my observations, twitter is meant to be a public forum, unlike Facebook, which is more where friends and families can connect, and can keep their circle closed if they want. Twitter is great for live-tweeting events (and tv shows) , and for engaging in news of the moment.

My interests on Twitter are mostly politics, activism, and news.  I also love all the kitties and following actors I like, but when it comes to politics, Twitter is great. It at least has the potential to be great.  I can follow my reps. I can follow excellent journalists covering elected officials, and I can engage with them using tools like resistbot.  In college, a senior student came to speak to one of my poli sci classes.  He said something to the effect of “This 4 years here, will be what you make of them.”  It seems the same goes for most social media platforms.

Many complain that Twitter is a cesspool, because of all the trolls, and hate that can infiltrate conversations. They aren’t wrong, and that is a problem.  It gets made worse, because foreign interests are paying for bot accounts to pop up and fuel discord and online fighting.  How can one avoid it?  I imagine it would be pretty difficult. I often get caught up in fighting with someone, before realizing I should just block them.  But that is only one part of the problem.  The entire concept of the platform is geared for people to seek having high follower accounts, lots of retweets and likes, and to get the elusive blue check mark. That’s the golden ticket to being legit on this site. All others might be bots, trolls, an account that was bought and sold, or some pathetic loser like me, who just wants to be part of the conversation.

Following a number of well-respected and verified accounts, there are often a lot of tweets reprimanding people for bad twitter etiquette. Most commonly, this is tagging someone in a reply or retweet, that the original tweeter did not tag.  I have to agree, it’s a crappy thing to do.  You open up that person to attacks that they did not sign up for. It was their decision to tag someone or not. To overrule their decision is certainly something another tweeter can do, but it’s also a bad move.  This contributes to the cesspool environment.

I have learned a lot in the last 3 years, as I have become increasingly active on Twitter.  My follower account is in no way impressive, though I feel I make up for it with the massive amount of accounts I follow. I’m a liberal Democrat, and I see a lot of people posting with a hashtag of #FBR which is for the follow back resistance.  I don’t really get this. It seems like a disingenuous way to up your follower account. People can certainly pay to promote tweets, which is most certainly disingenuous, although I would understand if it was for a political campaign or for someone selling products or services.

What baffles me, is the way some people use the platform, in what seems like a manner that doesn’t align with the values they profess.  People will like tweets from people they don’t support, and I don’t understand that.  They will retweet a post from someone hateful, which they are mostly doing to say, “Hey look. This awful person said this awful thing.” but they don’t add any context or refute the original tweet in any way.  What purpose does that serve, other than to spread the hate or misinformation? It elevates it with your account.

I consider myself a newb on the platform because I don’t use any analytical tools, or promote my tweets, and I don’t have that pretty blue check mark.  I tweet and follow people/accounts I like hearing from.  I refuse to follow people who I don’t support or like.  I will never follow Trump. I blocked him a while ago, because I think Twitter has a bad exception to their policy, by saying they will suspend and ban accounts that spread hate, but they won’t apply that standard to a world leader.  Does that mean if Hitler or Stalin were alive today, they would let them spread their hate, free from consequence?

It seems to me that we, the users of the platform, have the power and responsibility to use this tool in a way that will ensure it is one that promotes the good and bans the bad, whether the company’s admins are consistent or not. These are my self-imposed guidelines for being a good tweeter:

  1. Don’t tag someone in a reply or retweet, if they weren’t tagged in the original tweet. If you want to tag that person, write your own tweet. If they were sharing an article, bring up the article, grab the link and make your own tweet. The exception to tagging someone not tagged in an original tweet, is if the account is not a person, like a media outlet such as The Washington Post.
  2. Don’t follow people you don’t support. You up their follower account, and legitimize them. The exception is for journalists who have to follow people to report on them. I feel for them. This also applies to elected officials, who may need to follow other representatives they don’t disagree with. If it’s for your job, that makes sense. Otherwise, I don’t get doing that, as it elevates that person.
  3. Don’t like tweets that you actually do not like. It offers no context and gives the illusion that what was said is popular.
  4. If retweeting something bad, the retweet should contain context, correction of any lies/inaccuracies, or refuting what was said. Only retweet tweets without saying anything, if what was said stands as is. If someone said something and said it well, don’t feel the need to say more on top of it. Retweet it and elevate that voice.
  5. In line with 3 and 4, think of retweeting and likes as endorsements and recommendations. If you don’t agree with the original tweet, say so, or don’t like/retweet it.
  6. Make sure to tweet your own tweets, so that your entire timeline isn’t just retweets and likes. It’s important to make sure your twitter timeline has your own voice, as much as a feed that shares and elevates the voices of those you admire and agree with.
  7. Be respectful. This should be number 1, but I didn’t really go in order.  It can be hard, when firing off your passionate response to something, but keep in mind that there is a human being (generally) on the other end. I am not always good at this, but I always try. Don’t put something online, that you wouldn’t really say to someone’s face. If your argument is that you would be rude to someone’s face, I wouldn’t brag about that.
  8. Give credit where credit is due.  I’ve seen that there are accounts out there, who steal tweets from other people.  Not cool. When you find out someone you follow is stealing someone else’s words, un-follow them, and follow the original tweeter. It’s not easy being original and coming up with good content. Don’t reward accounts that steal from others.
  9. Report, report, report.  When an account is threatening or harassing someone you follow, report them and block them. It helps Twitter to weed out the bad actors.  I would say that 99% of the tweets I report come back as an account that Twitter found violated their policies. The trick is identifying what the account is doing wrong, so that you pick the right reporting option. Is it just offensive? We can’t really expect Twitter to respond to every person being offended. Are they harassing someone? Are they threatening someone? I consider that the most important to report. Are they spreading hate toward a group of people? Get that content off the site, by reporting it. Then block them, so they won’t end up in your world again.
  10. Verify if you aren’t sure. If someone tweets something, but they don’t have a source, take a minute to look it up. If you have to, bookmark the tweet, so you can go verify it later, before sharing it.  I know, how annoying. We want everything to be easy and convenient, but if we want quality, we may have to sacrifice some of the quantity. Take the time to do some searching and find a source that either proves or disproves what is being said. If it will help, include the source you find, in your retweet or reply. Make it your standard that you demand receipts be part of the conversation.

These aren’t exactly visionary guidelines, but I think if everyone followed them, we could make the platform better than it is.  Those spreading hate and being hateful, would have less visibility, and those creating good content, would be seen.

If everyone follows good guidelines we can, as a mass user base, affect how the platform works and is used.  It takes some self control and discipline, but it gets easier and easier, once you employ the standards that will make it a better place to be.

That’s at least what this newb thinks.

I Wish People Would

I wish people would leave Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande alone. That doesn’t mean I don’t want his friends and family to be there for him, or hers to be there for her. I just wish the public would respect their privacy. I wish the media would. On my way home from work, last night, I heard the radio DJ say that Ariana was turned away from SNL, during their set, Saturday night. The DJ said, “Stay tuned to get the dets!” I don’t get it. It’s not healthy to be voyeurs in the private challenges people face, just because they are celebrities. It’s also not helpful to them.

If you claim to be a fan, do your celebrity crushes and icons a favor. Pay attention to their body of work. Their acting, singing, etc. Pay attention to the parts they choose to make public, like charitable work and political/social advocacy. But please, for the love of their health and yours, let their private life be private. If you can imagine your life under a microscope, and you private life all of the sudden being plastered all over the internet, imagine how much harder that would make your life. It’s not healthy, for anyone in our society, least of all the people who are subjected to this social act of mobe mentality barbarism.

By now, everyone knows that Pete Davidson is struggling with depression. My heart breaks for him, and I just keep hoping those close to him can help him get help.  On the off chance he might read this, I would like to make sure he knows the following.


You and I both know, that depression is a crippling disease. You also know it’s not your fault. I have fibromyalgia and lupus. I know people who have had breast cancer. It’s not their fault. It’s not my fault. It’s not your fault. You have to keep that in check. Write it down. Put it on your fridge. Say it out loud, any time it’s getting hard, and you are feeling like it is somehow your fault.

Here’s the thing, though. Part of depression, can be suicidal thoughts. The depression tricks your mind into thinking there is no way out. The depression thrives on getting you to believe that. The depression convinces you to isolate yourself. That is how it gets stronger. With no other voices, to drown it out. Once you acknowledge that you have depression, you also have to be on guard for your mind trying to trick you.

When your depression is pushing you in that direction, you aren’t allowed to trust your mind. You just aren’t. You have to have reminders, that tell you not to trust you mind. I know that’s counter-intuitive, but I know, that you know it’s true.

I know it sucks, because when can you trust your mind and when can’t you? How can you know? If your mind is telling you to isolate yourself, that is always the trick. Friends, family, counselors. They are the support we all need. They are what being in this world is all about, even when it’s hard. The “funny” thing about depression, is that it gets weaker, when we talk about it, when we express it, when we reach out for help and tell people that our mind is going in that direction.

Please keep your friends, family, and counselors/therapists close. I see a therapist, and I think of it like any other health measure I take. I go to a chiropractor. I see the dentist twice a year. I check in with a therapist, to discuss the things I might not want to share with other people in my life. Sometimes it’s stuff I don’t mind sharing. Other times, it’s stuff I’m trying to process. Trying to get straight in my mind.

Allow yourself that imperfection. Remind yourself, that you aren’t perfect. Remember that I’m not perfect either (no where close). No one is. Those who seem it, are working to present that. Whenever I look at someone who seems to have their life incredibly together, I try to keep in mind how much of their life I know.  For example, Michelle Obama. She’s pretty close to perfection, right? I mean, come on. But here’s the thing. I probably don’t know 1% of her life. That doesn’t mean it’s all a veneer. She’s got brilliance, grace, and so much more. But that doesn’t make her perfect, and she shouldn’t have to be. My point is, that I have to keep in mind that I know very little about her life, and I only know what she chose to share. That’s how it should be, but that means I can’t really just assume she’s perfect.

Apply that to any person in the world. No one is perfect, and anyone who looks perfect to us, we probably only see a small amount of. We see as slice of who they are. That’s ok, but that means we can’t just judge that they are better able to make sense of this world, than we are. Everyone has their own struggles. We shouldn’t judge theirs and honestly, people aren’t really judging ours.  Yes, I know. Trolls online, the media, fans in the streets. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live in a celebrity bubble. But I can convey what my mom taught me.

She’s a nurse, and for a few years, she was volunteering at a crisis hotline. She said she sometimes talked to people who were clearly paranoid schizophrenic. They were sure people were judging them, and constantly watching them. She would say, “what do you spend most of your time worrying about?” The person would answer, that they can’t stop thinking about what other people are thinking of them. My mom would respond that honestly, that is what most people were thinking. The person would respond either with “What???” or “I told you so!” My mom would clarify. Most people are just like you. They mostly worry about what everyone else is thinking about them. She would put that to them, and ask, “Do you think other people spend time worrying what people are thinking of them?” The person would respond with some variation of “I guess”.

And that’s when she had the argument. People may comment online and discuss the lives of celebrities, but that is a distraction from their own lives. Most people spend most of their time, worry about what other people are thinking about them. They aren’t judging us, as much as judging themselves. When we start obsessing about what others think of us, it does us no good. As my mom told me, it’s none of your business what anyone else thinks of you. Why? Because it has more to do with what they are worrying about, in regards to themselves, than it does have anything to do with you. Your reflection on their life, is just a mirror for them to try on different parts of themselves. We all do the same thing. It’s an unhealthy trap, and a waste of our energy.

Anyway, keep your friends, family and counselors close. Keep the media and troll far away. Only let in what is healthy and helpful to your life. What will build you up. The rest is not meant for you.

Much love,


Paypal It’s Not Me It’s You

Let me tell you a little story and you tell me if I’m off base. See, I’m thinking of breaking up with Paypal.  I’ve had Paypal since the early 2000’s.  It’s always been a great way to send someone money by email. Then, I got screwed.  I relied on Paypal to do what I asked them to do, and instead they drained my funds.

I had about $500 in my Paypal account, and was keeping it there, for a specific purpose. I have my Paypal account set to use my checking account as my default payment method. I have that set for all payees that I have authorized.  Unfortunately, Paypal decided to override this, against my wishes.

Today I saw that I only had a balance of $34.  What the $#%#$^$%^!?!?!?!?! I was so careful! What happened?  I sign onto my account, and sure enough all these transactions went against my balance and not my damn checking account!

Well, I better contact support, right?  So I go to Help – Contact Support, on their site.  It keeps re-routing me to search their knowledgebase.  This isn’t a how-do-I-do something type of issue. This is a I-need-to-talk-to-someone-about-my-specific-account type of issue.  I get frustrated and tweet at them.

Crickets. I see they have another twitter handle, just for support.  I reply to my original tweet, asking them if they can hear me.

Again, crickets.

I go to their site, this time NOT signed in (typical IT type troubleshooting at how to get through to a human). I see you can email or call.  I email.  It will take 24 hours. No thanks. I’d like to understand this now.  I call.  I keep getting asked what my issues is, and I’m done with automated shuffling of my patronage, to the right tube of let’s get rid of you and your concerns. I keep saying “operator” and “I give up” until is just puts me into a queue.

I finally get to talk to someone, and we go over what happened.  The rep (who was nice and trying to help) informed me that while I can have a default method for my payment, from Paypal, I may have a different default, with approved vendors (payees).  He asks me to sign on to my account, so he can show me where.

This is where Paypal customer service could use the adage that attorneys know.  Never ask a question. you don’t know the answer to.  ie. don’t lead someone down a path, if you don’t know where it leads.

First, I say, ‘OK I signed on to the app’. He tells me, no you need to sign on to the web browser (desktop). I comment that limiting functionality in the app is so stupid and short-sighted.  He directs me to the appropriate section, of going to my profile — payments manage pre-approved payments.

It looks like this:

Notice the small print under the chosen payment method. It says “We’ll use your balance first”.  Who in the actual #$%$# decided to make that happen?  If you edit the payment method there is no way to turn that off, which is what the rep found when we got there. I pointed that out, and he was like, “Oh, I see that. I guess you can’t change that.”  So you’re saying my issue is legit, there is nothing Paypal can do to rectify the issue, and oh well?

I set a default payment in Paypal.  I set it again with each of the automatic payments to vendors, but for some reason Paypal decided to override my wishes, drain my account, and I’m left holding the bag of dog @$#%.

Yeah, I’m a little pissed.


I’m thinking we may just have to break up. I’ll try Venmo or something.  You were great, for a long time, but now you just screwed me. I have to put together this money again, and I was counting on the money I had in each account, being there.

If I do decide to close my account, and never look back, just know; it’s not me. It’s you.


A customer since 2000

#TrendChangeTogether The Need to Support Each Other and Effect Real Change

We saw a lot this week, about women coming forward with stories of harassment, assault, and rape.  We also saw a lot of reactions to those who bravely came out.  They didn’t come out soon enough, no they should come out in their own time, no they should have done this or that or something else, to be more effective.

Then Rose McGowan, one of the brave women who has led this courageous move to bring sexual assault and intimidation out into the public, was blocked from Twitter.  I don’t know what her reasons were for coming out.  Her reasons are her own, and they should be.  Maybe she didn’t intend or mean to lead this move to encourage others to come forward and be brave like her.  Maybe she just needed to come forward for herself.  That’s good enough for me, and it should be for everyone else.

What’s more in the public eye, is a side-effect of her having come out about what happened to her. She was tweeting about her screenplay, and wanting to get it back from Amazon. At least I think the issue occurred within those tweets.  Apparently she tweeted a phone number.  While that’s against Twitter policy, it’s a policy that is not consistently enforced. I was tweeting with someone else, after that happened, and the woman mentioned that her personal number was tweeted, and the perpetrator was never suspended. Why did Twitter suspend Rose, and not another person, for the same violation?

Because Twitter is being political. At least, that’s what it seems to be doing.  I hate personifying a social media platform, but it’s easier to for the flow of this discussion.  Twitter is seemingly taking some people’s reports more seriously than others, or at least listening to some, and ignoring others.  Maybe it’s the amount of people who report a tweet.  Are there so many reports that they give a tweet with, say 100 reports, more credence than a tweet that gets 1 report?  I can understand that type of prioritizing, but it would be a horrible way to structure the process for reporting and getting equal treatment on the platform.  It would instead encourage a mob/bullying mentality, where bullies can get people suspended, and victims have no justice, because they oftentimes stand alone.

After Rose’s account was suspended, people started tweeting #WomenBoycottTwitter, with the idea that everyone should boycott twitter, to stand in solidarity with her, and against Twitter suspending this brave person, who was trying to speak out.  At first, I thought this was a wonderful notion as a way to stand in solidarity, and ensure she was not alone.

This morning, I saw the #WOCAffirmation, and started to read about how this attempt to boycott and stand together was somewhat shortsighted.  We thought to come together for Rose, but what about countless women of color, who have come forward and did not have such a swelling of support?  What about Anita Hill? I can’t imagine what she went through, testifying in front of the whole country.  It was incredibly brave, and the country barely noticed her.  People did not rally around her, the way they have around the brave women, who came out this week.

One thing I’ve been learning, as I follow #BlackLivesMatter, watch 13th, and read articles by Shaun King, is that we must learn to speak up for others more.  We can’t just rally around those who look like us, or who look like they are going through something that could happen to us.

We have to learn to speak up for ourselves, but also to speak up for others.  What’s just as important is learning how to speak up for others.  It starts with listening to them.  Really listening.  Whether they are people of color, Muslim faith, Jewish faith, LGBTQ, or any group of people who are different from you.  Men or women.  We all need to learn to listen to each other.  We need to acknowledge that the way we might want someone to support us in a time of need, is not necessarily what another may want or need in their time of crisis.

With that in mind, I think that instead of a boycott of twitter, as I have been seeing others suggest, we should be more vocal. Let’s not protest being silenced by being silent. I think there are times where that can be effective (#TakeAKnee, #BoycottNFL), but in this context, I wonder if we need to make some noise.  For that noise to be effective, we’ve got to be together on the message. On what we want.

So, if we are going to stage a protest, we really should have a list of “demands”, or things we want changed.  I thought of some changes I want to social media platforms (Twitter, facebook, etc).  I came up with a draft list, and I’m sure others could come up with others/better.

  1. Block all accounts tweeting hate against other people eg nazis, kkk, alt-right etc
    1. Suspend until hateful tweets removed, deactivate account if hate tweets are repeated after suspension
  2. Take away check mark for fake news
    1. If an account tweets a false story, suspend until fake post is removed, remove check mark if fake posts are posted again
  3. Treat all violation reports equally
    1. tweeting personal info of another person (user or not)
    2. tweeting hate/threats/bullying
    3. tweeting fake/false posts or links
  4. Identify “bots” or fake accounts and delete them
    1. Go after person’s or entities creating them

I’m not naive enough to think it’s that simple, but it does seem that social media platforms, and the people who run those, have an obligation to take it that seriously.  They shouldn’t be giving the same level of credibility (verified check mark) to fake news and hate groups, as they do the rest of society and the truth.  I get that no one regulates the internet, but that’s the problem and the virtue.  Having overarching control over the internet could have the impact of silencing those who would speak out or dissent. It could stifle free speech.  At the same time, having no authority, means that we have a somewhat lawless frontier when we are online. It means that bullying and fake news run rampant. It means entire countries can wage war on the elections of other nation’s, by targeting fake news at people. They can sow discord and division. They can bully people into submission.

I propose that each social media platform has a responsibility to tackle this, and the ones who can figure out how to handle it best, will set the standard for the rest.  Whatever the solution, I imagine it will be most effective, if it is transparent to the users.  That way they will have buy-in from the users, and that’s buy-in they should seek.  It is, after all, a platform they built for our use.

Streaming Apps Review

I cut the cord a couple of years ago.  Purchased a couple of Roku’s, and got subscriptions to a few streaming apps.  Those include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and HBO Now.  On my phone, I’ve also gotten a couple of series on Apple’s TV app, so I can download them to watch when I’m offline.

The great part of this is that I pay about $40/ month for my tv services.

  1. Netflix – $9.99/mo
  2. Hulu – $7.99/mo
  3. Amazon – $99/year = $8.25/mo
  4. HBO Now – $16.19/mo

Total =  $42.42/mo

Relying on these services, I’ve come to find the many goods and bads about how these apps work.  For one, they often function differently on the Roku, then they do on mobile devices like iPhones and iPads.  I work in application development, so it baffles me when I see API bugs or a lack of basic functionality, which should be obvious to any developer working on these platforms.

Below, I will break down each app into their good, bad and ugly qualities.  To be fair, I haven’t tested every feature of each service across all devices, but I’ve definitely compiled a love/hate list of features and functionalities for the different streaming apps I’ve come to depend on for tv and movies.  Streaming isn’t going anywhere.  It’s expanding, and it’s becoming an industry trend.  Streaming will only grow and take over traditional cable and satellite services.

Some of my “review” of these services is based on content, some on the content controls. The API or interface, if you will.



Most people know why Netflix is good.  They’ve got some great content (I wish Marco Polo had been more popular, because it was visually stunning and a fantastically told story).  They’ve got great controls, good profile management, and seamless auto-play streaming.  I love when they ask me “are you still watching?” aww, Netflix. You’re cute.  Yes, I’m still watching, and no I haven’t showered yet today. Don’t judge me.

Seriously, they have a decent selection of content, some great original content, and their interface is intuitive and friendly. I’m bummed the price went up, but I had a good ride at the $7.99 tier for a long time, so I guess it was inevitable.


I know when I am on some semi-public wifi’s I can’t get on to Netflix, because they are blocked.  I haven’t tried their newer feature of being able to download content for offline viewing, but I am wondering how that would work, if the app forces a connection in order to launch.  Something to look into, I guess. (For me, you or someone. Anyone? Bueller?)

As I mention below, with Amazon, they don’t have a method to “reset” a season or series, if you want to watch it again.  Someone really should get on that.


Not much to say here.  I wish they had some content sooner than right before the next season is coming out, but if that keeps prices down, I can wait.


The most obvious leg up, that Hulu has, is their next day availability.  I don’t have to wait until the season is over, or the next season is about to start.  I can see it the next day.  That is fine with me, because I don’t care if I see something live.  Cutting the cord can take some getting use to, but it is incredibly freeing to not feel like you have to stay up late to catch the show, or you’ll miss out.

They also have a good selection of content. I would like to see them fill out a complete contract with FX shows, but they are starting to get their content, so here’s hoping. (add current seasons of AHS and Taboo!, eh?)


If you are on the Roku app, and you go into movies, you will see a scroll-able list of about 250 movie titles, with poster art.  Start scrolling to the left or right, and if you scroll a page’s worth at a time, at some point it will jump back to the beginning. It’s the most annoying bug, and I can’t believe they haven’t fixed it yet.  I say that, while knowing I haven’t specifically reported it.  That being said, their developers should be testing the front end use, at least enough to have caught a bug like that by now. I’ve had Hulu for over 3 years, and I’ve always known that bug was there.


They used to have a formal watch list, where you could intentionally subscribe to a series.  Now whenever you watch one thing, it automatically adds that show/series into your watchlist.  It’s more like a touch list, because it tracks anything you even click on by accident and watch only 1 second of.  My mom comes to visit, and she watches E! content, which I don’t tend to watch.  Now I’ve got her stuff littered in my watch list, and it was never her intent to add that stuff.  I set up a separate profile for her. but apparently it is impossible to allow apps backwards compatibility with “relatively” older tech.

I have a roku LT, which was the first I ever got.  I keep it updated, and use it in my yoga room.  I move it into guest room when she stays.  The app won’t update to the most recent version with profiles, which I believe is a limitation of the version hulu has made compatible with that version of the Roku. I get that versioning between tech and hardware can be messy and difficult to manage, but this is why it gets categorized under ugly.  It’s ugly for the customer. Yeah, that’s me.

Another ugly feature is that when a show is done, we move on to something else, from the Roku.  Whenever we go back, if we didn’t watch all the way through the credits, it still shows as a new episode available.  They used to have a feature where you could remove the episode from your watch list, as an intermediary step from removing an entire series from your watch list.  I don’t know why they stopped including that feature, but I wish they would add that back in.  That, or some way to mark a show as watched, so it doesn’t list as new anymore.  



Their mobile app for the iPhone is great.  The play button is in the center of the screen, and away from the progress bar.  This means you won’t accidentally jump to a different position in the program you are watching.  On either side they have jumps to jump forward or backwards 10 seconds.  Not something you’ll use often, but nice to have in an accessible way.

As a bonus, while watching your program, there is a bevy of information available on the screen, that you can click on.  It won’t interrupt your viewing, to see this info, as it’s semi-transparent, and they fit a lot on there.

The obvious info/features there, include the progress bar, and aforementioned play/pause and jump controls.  Also out of the way, but available is a function to send/beam the playback to another device/audio, as well as closed-captioning controls.

The coolest feature, is one that most apps don’t have.  That’s their X-Ray feature.  It shows a listing of the main cast, and you can view more to see the whole cast and crew.  Clicking the “view more” will pause your playback, but sometimes you may want that.  If you click on an cast or crew member, you are taken to their embedded imdb like dossier of that person’s professional work.  Their bio, known for, credits.  It’s pretty great for film and tv enthusiasts who might be watching something and think “Where do I know them from? Oh, that’s right!!!”


There is one feature that no streaming app seems to have, and it baffles me that no one has come out with it yet.  For many enthusiasts of a tv series, we may re-watch the series at some point.  For a service like Amazon, which has no profile switching, this can become an even trickier thing to manage.  There is no way to reset a season or a series.  Once you watch an episode, the progress is bookmarked to the end, and so you can’t start the series over.

I went onto the Amazon Prime forums, years ago, to look for any way to reset all episodes in a series.  I ended up joining a thread, and despite over 100 posts in 4 years, this feature has not been added.  Either Amazon isn’t scrubbing/sampling or checking their own forum, or they really aren’t that interested in the features their customers want.  I could be wrong about that, but just sayin’.  This is the thread, if you’re curious to see it: “Is there a way to reset a watch list?”


Despite their fantastic original programming, like Transparent, Catastrophe,  Goliath, One Mississippi, Mr. Robot, and Betas, they gave up on the incredible Good Girls Revolt after one season.  There must have been a reason that wasn’t made public.  From what I read, they had a good and respectable level of viewership, certainly enough to give it a couple more seasons.

The character depth was great, and they were on the verge of doing what not many shows are even trying to do.  They had women as the primary main cast, and telling the stories of women, when they were fighting for a place in journalism, in the work place, and in the legal system.  Toward the end of the season, they had begun to develop the character of a minority black woman attorney.  Imagine that.  A black woman character, who isn’t a maid, a slave or a servant. What a novel idea.  It was transformative.  It was the telling of hidden figures, and they let it go.  Such a disappointing loss.  They could have pivoted the show to make her the central character, and keep introducing the hidden figures who fought for minority and womens’ rights during the civil rights era of the 60’s and 70’s.

The only other complaint that I have is the odd schedule they have for releasing prime content.  Not everything, on Amazon Prime, comes with the Amazon Prime subscription.  Some of it you have to purchase à la carte.  Sorry to tell Amazon the bad news, but I pay enough in the yearly subscription, and am not likely to pay for single episodes or to buy movies all that often.  I have here and there, but it’s not something I would do on a regular basis.

This means that when I get into a show, I get stuck waiting for the new season to “become” prime.  For instance,  I watched season 1 of Mr Robot, and now I’m stuck waiting for season 2.  I can’t afford to pay for every season of each show I watch.  It’s not a feasible cost structure.  So I have to wait for season 2 to be prime.  This gets somewhat “ugly”, because there is no schedule.  I understand why.  Why would Amazon let us know when they plan to provide this content to their yearly subscribers, for free? Their à la carte sales would plummet.  But for the many of us who will wait it out, it kind of sucks that we see that offering, with only purchase/rent options exist.

Another example, of a show that is not an Amazon Original show, is Vikings.  Great show.  Seasons 1 – 401 are available and free to Prime members.  Season 402 is only available for rent/purchase. I have no idea when it will be made “prime” meaning free to annual subscribers.  I will wait it out, but in the mean time I’m just frustrated that I have to look through the glass window, because my budget is for the Prime membership, not for paying for each episode of each show, which would be a massive expense and luxury. That’s to say, I get that none of this is a necessity, but that is why these type of expenses are discretionary and must be able to be mitigated.  A budget has to be able to be set, and per episode pricing is too much to fit into a realistic budget.


Content, content content.  When I was growing up, we lived in a small town, outside a small city.  The owner of the cable company in our town didn’t believe in music television, so our cable programming didn’t include MTV.  I was seriously under-educated as a result.  My parents, either in defiance of that, or just because they knew what was good, got HBO instead.  I could never thank them enough.  Despite having the shit scared out of me, with the nazi documentaries, I also learned a lot from docudramas like And The Band Played On.  After seeing that, when it first came out in 93, I realized that fighting for transparency, education, funding of AIDS and HIV research was so incredibly important.  The human side was so well portrayed. I based school reports on the subject, because of that film.

I also loved Live From Baghdad, which chronicled the beginning of CNN’s ascent to become the first 24 hr news channel, covering live in the middle of a war.

Now we have some of the best series you can find.  Game of Thrones, Westworld, Big Little Lies, Silicone Valley, the list goes on.  There are so many, now completed series, which were so well done you’d be hard pressed to find any other network on the same level.  They push the envelope in a grand manner, that I just love.


They don’t have all their original content available all the time, and I don’t understand why.  The aforementioned Live From Baghdad is a perfect example.  This would be an ideal time to have that available! Right now, when our POTUS is attacking journalists and journalism, we must remember why we need them, and the fights they have fought and continue to fight. The risks they take to bring us the news, from around the world.

When you are on the roku app, it doesn’t allow you to auto-play the next episode if you are watching an old season or series.  You have to go into a series, and into a season, and then into an episode and choose to play it.  When it finishes, you have to back out of the episode, go over to the next episode, and go into that one to play it.  Other apps do this better, allowing you to “binge”. Maybe they are just attempting to discourage unhealthy binging habits, but I doubt it.


The apps are all seemingly a little different.  the iPhone app vs the iPad vs the Roku.  They all show titles differently.  I like the iPad view with the poster tiles.  I can’t stand the Roku listing of all movies.  It has the movies alphabetized, and you have to scroll through the movies in each letter, one at a time.  So you arrow down to letter B, then scroll right to view all movies that begin with B.  Then you have to go down to each letter (ie C), and scroll over.  It’s not about being intuitive.  It’s intuitive, in that it’s not hard to get how it works.  It’s about being a friendly interface.  Imagine a user doesn’t know what they want to watch.  They are looking for something that will catch their eye.  They may not even know the genre they are in the mood for watching.  Having the ability to view by release year/date could be a nice option.  No matter the sort, one continuous list is definitely easier to scroll through, as opposed to 26 (+ numeric & symbolic prefixed movies) separate lists.

iTunes TV App

I don’t have much to say.  They had the West Wing series at 1/2 the price of Amazon, so I went with them, because I wanted a series I could download and have available to stream when I’m offline.  This works for that, but not much else.


I don’t have Apple TV.  I looked at it, but it is 50% more expensive than Roku, and Roku is an independent product that won’t push their content or store the way Apple will.

This app didn’t used to be bad. It used to be decent.  But in the last year, they made an update and screwed the pooch.  So West Wing is a great example.  They have all episodes/seasons in 1 long continuous list.  That’s fine.  The title of each episode is there, and you can expand it to see synopsis.  My fury has to do with how the list appears on the iPhone.  You go into the series, and you see 6 episodes. You have to scroll to the right to see another 6 episodes.  Why in all the name of all that is logical did they choose 6? Why not 5, or 7, or 10? I am baffled by this horrendous design.

I can get passed it though, until I try to interact with the list.  I can click a cloud to download an episode to my phone.  Now comes the crappy part of this.  Imagine I want to download 2 or 3 episodes, for a flight or something.  Each time I click the cloud on a episode, I can’t do anything while the download starts.  I can try, but nothing will be successful. I’ll know when it does start, though.  Want to know how? Because I get jumped back to the beginning of the damn list. EVERY. DAMN. TIME.  I can’t just click the episodes, click, click, click that I want.  I have to start a download, get jumped back to the beginning of the series, scroll back to where I was, start another download, get jumped back to the beginning, rinse and repeat.  The same thing happens when you want to remove a download from your phone.  It’s not intuitive at all.  You have to press down on the episode, and then another window pops up, with a trash, and then you can remove it.  You can guess what happens after you do that.  The screen freezes and then jumps you to the beginning of the list again! AHHHHHHH!!!!! Find a freaking bookmark, will you?

It also doesn’t auto-play to the next episode, if you have it downloaded or are on wifi that can handle streaming one in the cloud.  Either way, too bad. You have to go in and out of each episode, like you are shopping in a mall in 1992.

See the bad, above.  I almost wish I hadn’t made the purchases I did, for use in this app, because of those issues.  I hope they fix the app soon. It sucks to make that kind of purchase and then have the delivery method made into a horrible user experience.