Sunday, September 14, 2014

Neocolonialism in Berkeley

the Hovercam Solo 8 overhead scanner

Got the cardiac stress test results yesterday.  Negative.  I have been feeling the lifting of a weight I had not admitted to myself I was bearing.  I am now looking forward to a long and healthy​ life.

I have at last begun doing something about my diaries.  I brought them down from the attic.  45 volumes, penned over 50 years.  On the web I learned that the way I had dreaded scanning all those thousands of pages was stupid and wrong-headed.  It turns out that instead of the xerox machine-like lid-and-glass-plate​ flatbed kind of scanner I already bought for the task, there are overhead scanners.  The book lies flat on the table and the scanner is on a head 18 inches or so above.  Not only can the fancier ones be set to take a picture every so many seconds, they can also take a picture cued by my turning the page.   Which means the task is reduced to lying the diary on the table and turning the pages.

I also sent for a tsotske that fits flush in the pci-express slot on my elderly HP laptop and gives it two USB 3.0 input ports.  Which means that the laptop can now accept data as fast as the scanner can send it, and puts off the day when the laptop goes to Goodwill.    

​There is still no software that can recognize longhand and change it into text.  Only people can do that.  I have a list of typists in various poor countries like the Philippines who will gladly take my scanned .pdf's and return Word .doc files.

​For a generation I was unable to hire and exploit Mexicans to do work for me that I could do myself.  My then-fiancee Sheila finally overcame the residue of my socialist and Zionist scruples with the argument that the disparity of Mexican incomes and American ones like mine and the exploitation inherent in it, was part of the historical development of the two societies.  Remedying the disparity is to be worked out between the governments of Mexico and the United States, if at all, through mechanisms like NAFTA and that it was not my personal responsibility.  Further, the Mexicans in front of Home Depot needed the work and I needed the work done.  Eventually I relented, hired a bunch of guys to work on my house, and promptly got a lot more work done a lot faster than when I had been doing it all myself. 

Scruples, like hymens, once broken are not soon mended.

So once I have made .pdf files with the scanner, which should arrive in a few days, I will be able to send them as email attachments to poor people in remote lands.   For so many tenths of a cent per word, they will type them for me and send the product back to me, also as email attachments.  

I will send them files which they will process to a different kind of files and send back to me.  I expect to be able to pay them via Paypal.  How's that for good-old-fashioned neocolonialist exploitation in the Information Age?  I think Paypal will even do the currency exchange transaction as part of the payment transaction.

Still, the piecework rate I will pay, though paltry in the US, will be good pay in the country where it is done.  All the more for safe clean work that can be done at home while tending one's children.  It is my way of outsourcing carpal tunnel syndrome.


  1. And having you diaries saved as Word files is important because???

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