Category Archives: This Blog

Going Mobile!

On July 11, 2008 — 11 years ago this week — Apple released the iPhone 3G, the first mobile phone to provide high-speed internet access to the masses.

Today, over 2.5 billion people own a smartphone; about 25 of them, give or take a thousand or two, read this blog on occasion.  I have been told that some of you (namely, my daughter) might read it more often if this site were more mobile-friendly.

Readers, your long cyberspace nightmare is over.  As my spouse can attest, I have spent most of my spare moments the last few weeks replicating the look and feel of this site for phone/tablet users.  C’est arrive! as a French programmer might say.

Of course, a few compromises had to be made for the mobile version.  The sidebar items (including The Trend) moved to the bottom of the page.  The person-of-the-day photo did not survive the transition.  Some posts with text and images nicely-arranged for desktop may not flow so nicely on your phone.  But the content and navigation are there.

A fun way for you to explore the new mobile site is to enter a random search term (other than rutabaga or theosophy) and see what pops up.  Probably something interesting that you missed while waiting for this mobile moment.

As always, thanks for reading The 100 Billionth Person, now on the device of your choice.  Let me know what you think.

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The privacy of your data means a lot to me.  I feel very badly about how you shared all your favorite television shows and music and restaurants on Facebook, and how Facebook had the nerve to turn around and show you advertisements that echoed your interests and then sold your information to others.  How dare they — and every other online presence — take such advantage of you.  But to save you further turmoil, I promise this will be the last time I mention your quaint notions about privacy.

To protect my own readers’ privacy and avoid drawing the wrath of EU bureaucrats who would love to haul my data-careless ass to Brussels for a Zuckerberg-style tongue-lashing,  I have made important plain-English updates to my Terms of Service.  If you care anything about safeguarding yourself, your data, and me, then you should read and memorize these:

§ 1.  If you comment on one of my posts and I disagree with you, I promise that I will only disparage you in the privacy of my own home.  But who knows what my wife will say and what she will share.  She is not bound by these terms.  So, your call.

§ 2.  If you share your e-mail address when making a comment, I promise to re-use it only when I order weapons from Soldier of Fortune magazine or when I write to the FBI about my shady-looking neighbors and their really annoying little dogs.

§ 3.  Under my new policy, I will no longer compile the IP addresses of the visitors of this site, and then brew craft beers, and then name my beers after your IP addresses.   Too bad, because the one I was planning to name for Reader 84.188.91.222 was a satisfying brew.  On the other hand, Reader 73.99.90.172, your beer tasted like rotted geraniums.  You are lucky I tossed that batch before your reputation was sullied.

"Private Duty" by Faith Baldwin, featuring Private Duty Nurse Carolyn Cutler§ 4.  Here at The 100 Billionth Person, we respect privacy.  We pay particular respect to Private Gomer Pyle, Private Maxwell Klinger, Private Investigator Sam Spade, Private Detective Nancy Drew and Private Duty Nurse Carolyn Cutler, whose visage graces this post.

§ 5.  People in Britain pronounce privacy with a short i, to make it sound like principle.  But I live in America, and I pronounce privacy with a long i, to make it sound like I don’t care.

§ 6.  Visitors who read half of one post and then get tired of The 100 Billionth Person and leave the site (and I know who you are) will be treated the same as people who walk out of a church service during the first hymn.  Your IP address will be sent to Franklin Graham, son of the late Billy Graham, for followup and shaming.  And roundly deserved, I say.

§ 7.  When you use a mobile device to access The 100 Billionth Person, we may install a tiny data file on your device.  This file is a harmless little app that runs in the background and uniquely identifies your device.  Also, this app randomly disables one icon every day. It is a fun game, when you think about it, guessing which one of your icons will be the next to disappear.

§ 8.  We do not sell your information to advertisers or commercial interests.  We tried, but  no one was interested.

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• Scenic is a picnic with see in it.

• When one is young, there are not enough hours in the day.  When one gets older, there are not enough days in the year.

• Over one thousand people a year complete the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail in one hike (known as thru-hiking).  Compare this to the 50,000 runners who complete the 26-mile New York Marathon every year.  So I wonder: how many would attempt these feats if they were longer or shorter?  There must be an optimum difficulty level for such endeavors that is hard enough to be considered a challenge but attainable enough to get people to try.

• We just bought a new mattress at Ethan Allen.  I was not that happy with the experience, because Ethan Allen wanted to charge us a $125 delivery and set-up fee along with a $95 disposal fee for our old mattress.  None of the other stores we shopped had a delivery or disposal charge.  When we questioned the Ethan Allen salesperson about this discrepancy, her response was, well we have no idea what they do with old mattresses but we have to send them to the landfill.  As if JCPenney drives a truck into the mountains and dumps their old mattresses in the river.

We negotiated the $220 delivery-and-disposal charge down to $75 but I still feel like much of what we paid for this item was to compensate the entitled salespersons at Ethan Allen.  That said, the mattress feels great.  Maybe if I sleep better, I will write a less resentful blog.

• I was in a spelling bee in sixth grade.  I dropped out seven or eight people from the top.  The word I choked on: mattress.  It was the last time (until now) I cried over a mattress.

• Here in the Bible Belt, the Christian code-word for being well-off financially is blessed.  I wonder what the Bible Belt euphemism is for fellow-believers addicted to painkillers.

• It is tempting to allow time to have its say and let Donald Trump be judged by history as the injurious incompetent he is.  But the long perspective is small comfort: my history is this morning, my history is ten minutes ago, my history is the period ending this sentence.  I don’t have time for historians to decide whether Trump is comedy, tragedy or chaos.

• If I ever wanted to create a video to promote my art, the persons I would ask to narrate would be David Attenborough, Morgan Freeman, and Laura Linney.  For the lighter bits, Tom Hanks.  For my dammit-who-cares-what-you-like items, Samantha Bee.

• Are we the Pretender States of America?  Our leaders say we believe in x, y and z but their actions so often demonstrate the opposite.  The United States loves to pat itself on the back, as if we were the New England Patriots of Humankind, but where is the evidence that Americans are any less hateful or prejudicial to those who are unlike us than the people of any other developed nation?  We recite our myth of plain-spoken provincialism, we toss some of the bounty of our ill-gotten lands to the nations who marvel at our lavish parade, then we proclaim ourselves to be exceptional.  We are great — marketers.

• You have just read the otherwise unexceptional 500th post on The 100 Billionth Person (D is the Roman symbol for 500).  I made special bits for my 300th and 400th posts but was uninspired to make something special of it this time, as I am not sure who (if anyone) I am talking to anymore.  It’s not that I wouldn’t like an audience, it’s more that having an audience has not led to more connections, the two-way conversations I desire.

• So on we go to No. 501.  As Ringo says, Peace and Love.  You’re invited.

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