Dear Brian – Why do computers make mistakes sometimes?
Its well known and believed that computers never make mistakes, it will do what you ask to do and one day I encounter this issue.
Computers never make mistakes – never. Computers do exactly what they’re told to do. They’re machines that aren’t capable of making a mistake because they can’t think for themselves. If you ever encounter a computer making a mistake, it’s because either the programmer or the user is making a mistake.
Whenever you blame a computer for something, what people who understand computers hear is you admitting you’re an idiot. A favorite IT game is to send “ID10T” errors to employees through the Net Send feature of the command window of Windows (for those stuck working on Windows machines).
Computers have been around for decades, and you’re not the first person who suddenly came up with some kind of error a computer made. Google it, and if you don’t understand what’s happening enough to search for the problem online, call someone you know who does understand computers, to tell you about it.
Dear Brian – What is a dirty little (or big) secret about an industry that you have worked in, that people outside the industry really ought to know?
I’m not going to go too deeply into this as it’s been well documented throughout my career as a writer and whistleblower. Here’s a link to the search term “force-placed insurance” within this website for those too lazy to simply type the term in the search bar at the top of the page: http://thoughtforyourpenny.com/?s=force-placed+insurance
I spent 5 years making sure force-placed insurance is no longer a secret and in that time, hundreds of millions of dollars in fines have been levied against the mortgage and insurance industries for this fraud.
Now I work in the media. I don’t know whether or not people outside the media industry know it or not, but I get a lot of free products for working in the media. Companies and brands who want to get exposure send me review units of everything from video games to drugs to tech gear in hopes that I’ll cover it.
Advertising is far from the only avenue for money within the media and in following the money, my clients have shifted from mostly media publications to mostly SEO and Content Marketing clients. Balancing the two is a constant struggle of ethics and I learned the key is complete transparency as to where I obtained a product and my relationship with that company.
Of course, many companies try to coerce, guilt, or strong-arm me into providing them coverage, so I’ve become more selective about what brands I’ll discuss. Sending me a product in no way guarantees coverage on any of my web properties.
Knowing how this trade works, however, I have a much more keen eye toward other journalists, marketers, and bloggers who are working in the same industry. We’re all content creators at the end of the day, and there’s a lot of crazy business going on behind the scenes (known as the game).
Also, as a whistleblower, for those of you who have never been a whistleblower, there’s a lot of negative emotions created when you pull yourself away from the herd. People like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden face a lot of depression and anger, but you’ll never see that in the media because they don’t want to seem weak. I know it’s there though, because I, too, am a whistleblower.
Dear Brian – What caused you to quit League of Legends?
I stopped playing League of Legends around 2012. Part of it was because I simply didn’t have the time to dedicate to it – I moved to Clearwater, FL and only had an internet connection at school. I spent that time researching and studying instead of playing games.
Then I started living out of a van and cut my technology back. Without a desktop computer at all, the amount of doing anything on a computer I could do was limited.
By the end of 2013, I was crashing with a friend who played Smite often with his roommates. I enjoyed the perspective change from League of Legends and continued playing Smite instead.
After getting out of jail last year, my laptop was destroyed and I had downgraded to the Asus Transformer tablet that wasn’t capable of running MOBAs, though I was able to install Hearthstone on it.
Last October, I finally built another desktop PC and I downloaded both Smite and League of Legends to get back into them. This is when I noticed Heimerdinger (my favorite character, and one of few I actually purchased) had been completely nerfed. After playing a few games, I just couldn’t get into the game anymore.
I still play Smite and Hearthstone pretty often and recently renewed my World of Warcraft account, which now has three characters at level 90 (Shaman, Rogue, and Paladin). Beyond those, I play Bloons TD 5 and whatever handful of Android games I’m checking out for Hardcore Droid at any given moment.
I have fond memories of League of Legends, and the game did a great job of killing time and distracting me in 2011 when I left the bank and was experiencing their retaliation machine. I have no hard feelings – I just don’t have that itch anymore.
Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America. His work appears in High Times, Huffington Post, Fast Company, and Hardcore Droid.