Shaving My Head Bald During A Pandemic

It’s Day 44 (+/- a few Groundhog Days) of the California lockdown—and I’m bored. Since I’m not a vlogger, I can’t make random videos about being bored. Since I don’t have a Nintendo Switch, I can’t play Animal Crossing and invite you to my island. Last week I was so bored that I shaved my head bald with an electric clippers and s razor blade. I didn’t realize that “shaving my head bald during a pandemic” was a thing. That men who gives up a full head of hair to go bald are confidant, dominant and masculine. Who knew that looking like Mr. Magoo was sexy?

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Why YouTube’s Content Moderators Can’t Work From Home

Photo by Rachit Tank on Unsplash

YouTube sent their content moderators home from the office to keep them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, relying on machine learning to handle the demonetization or removal of inappropriate videos in their absence. As most content creators know too well, machine learning doesn’t always do a great job in flagging videos.

Onsite moderators must review flagged videos to determine if machine learning made a mistake. Every correction provides feedback for machine learning to refine its decision-making process when flagging future videos. Wrongly flagged videos will remain unmonetized or offline until an engineer gets around to reviewing them.

The outcry from creators was: “Why can’t the moderators work from home?!”

YouTube released a video explaining that “video reviewers” can’t work from home because their work is sensitive and/or some areas of the world don’t have the right technical infrastructure. An explanation that didn’t reveal the whole truth. Having worked at Google before and after the Great Recession, I can tell you why moderators can’t work from home.

Read the rest of the essay on Medium.

Are Real Estate Developers Shutting Down Fry’s Electronics?

Since the Palo Alto store closing announcement in September 2019, I’ve made eight videos about Fry’s Electronics Electronics being a zombie retailer. Empty parking lot, barren shelves, few customers, and the salesclerks unhelpful as always. I mentioned in some videos that I thought real estate developers would dictate future store closings. This week the San Jose Mercury News reported on a developer’s proposal to turn Fry’s Electronics’s San Jose store, warehouse, and corporate headquarters into a multi-building tech campus for 10,000 employees. Are real estate developers shutting down Fry’s Electronics?

Watch the video on YouTube or read the essay on Medium.

Will Drive-In Movie Theaters Make A Comeback?

The last movie I saw before the shelter-in-place order took effect in California was “Bloodshot” starring Vin Diesel. With people already staying away from the movie theaters, two-dozen people watched the Saturday afternoon IMAX showing in their own row for proper social distancing. Since then I missed going out to the movies every weekend to break up the week-to-week grind. Every day in Silicon Valley is Christmas morning with few people walking about and cars on the street.

If only there was an alternative for watching movies at the movie theaters. Silicon Valley still has a drive-in movie theater called the Capitol Drive-In in San Jose. The chain that operates that location is West Wind Drive-In, which has its Sacramento, CA, and Glendale, AZ, locations open for business during the pandemic. Other regional drive-ins in the U.S. are also open for business.

Will drive-in movie theaters make a comeback for today’s social distancing?

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Are Virtual Cons The Future of Comic Cons?

Wizard World started its Virtual Experiences with the cast of “Supernatural” on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, and the cast of “Once Upon An Time” on Saturday, April 4, 2020. Each person appeared in their own window during the livestream on Facebook, Twitch TV and YouTube. It’s almost like attending a panel session in person. Tickets were available for one-on-one video chat, recorded video message, and/or an autographed picture from one of the guests. Prices ranged from $50 USD to $200 USD. With many in-person events cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic, are virtual cons the future of comic cons?

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