Down in the Data Mine

Today’s post comes from tim

my dad told me that you could tell everything about a person by his watch. today a lot of people dont wear watches so if you wear a watch that tells something and then what you wear tells more.but i have noticed tht there is more than one way to tell a persons outlook on life.

shoes do it. you can tell exactly who a person is by their shoes.

shirt pants /outfit to a great degree this is true. the multi millionaire i coffee with freqently is a low low low key dresser but i am pretty certain when he goes to visit with his big customers and gives coprorate presentations he doesnt wear shorts and a t shirt.

your car. almost everything about a person is spoken in their choice of car. if you dont have a car that tells more than enough to tell what you need to know. as i get older i notice peoples choice in glasses, group affiliation.

as data mining has become a hot topic and how much you want people of entities to know about you it becomes how apparent and transparent you become once you start tracking/ observing/ charting for business related promotional based processes.

when i first got started in sales fingerhut was a pioneer in doing studies of who bought what. if you bought a blue set of sheets with teddy bears on them they were entered into the mega computer as blue and sheets and teddy bears and they would file that away and see if it made a difference if they sent blue or yellow or red to you on subsequent offers. then they would try teddy bears and see if they hit pay dirt and then sheets and towels and see if they could get a handle on you there. it was early test process that today has turned into the most sophisticated art form of predetermined market selection and focus where the demographics rule the beast instead of the other way around

it is a little disconcerting on your travels through life to realize that target can call out to you to inform you your brand of dog food or paper towels is on sale as you walk by them. its good to know when lyle lovett or bob dylan are coming on tour but my wife gets mad when the iphone calls out to me as we go by the trip joint. thats supposed to be a private guilty pleasure not one that gets broadcast.

custard birkenstocks autoparts record store food co op sporting goods organic tea how do you stop it once it starts its odd to realize that the next 5 things you do/ look at/ think about and act in any way on/ are in the loop forever more.

big brother was a scary unthinkable entity when i read orwells 1984 in 1969 qand thought about the fact that it was coming up pretty soon and certainly none of this stuff would be true.

wrong again buffalo breath. its all there with a variation on a theme. its interesting to look at the world though different sets of eyes. like who would buy that apple i watch anyway? and who doesnt do cable tv or texting? its a new world out there. think of what has changed in the last 40 30 20 years, and whats coming up…

i always thought 2020 was way out there. now 2050 is just around the corner.

whats coming soon at a theater near you?

72 thoughts on “Down in the Data Mine”

    1. typo
      it was supposed to be a strip joint.
      i was intrigued by what i may have writtenm about a trip joint too.
      tyhats the beauty of dale. he leaves my posts alone warts and all

      Liked by 1 person

      1. im in the hospital checking in fro a “procedure ” this morning so i will be out of commish for a while and will check back this afternoon to see whare this conversation leads. their computer works great,. bless the world where you can pop in oin a computer fora copuple minutes before your next appointment

        Liked by 2 people

    2. i too was intrigued what i had to say about the trip joint. its part of dales freedom in blogging to allow my warts and all word puzzles run as typed. gotta love it. it was intended to be a strip joint and that was intended to be humerous. when you need to explain your own punch lines as bill pointed out, yop are in trouble

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Some folks buy stuff on impulse, and I’m not sure the computers know much about them. I’m a deliberate, reflective consumer. I spent four years studying cars before buying what I now drive. I bought a lightly used rental fleet car, getting for $17,000 a car selling new for $22,000. It is a station wagon with some qualities of an SUV, and yet it has earth-friendly mileage. The Outback has several unusual engineering innovations, giving it appeal to folks who like originality and good design. The Outback’s distinctive features are most attractive to drivers who aren’t into snob appeal but who appreciate great design.

    Anyone with enough data on me would have been able to predict the model of car I would buy with perfect confidence: something nice but safe for an aging sportsman with little money and liberal politics. Such a person would buy a stripped down used Outback. And because of his politics, it would be green.

    It is mildly embarrassing to be so predictable. But there you go. As I drive around the west I often find myself in neighborhoods where half the cars are Subarus, often driven by aging hippies, their white hair tied in ponytails. And I always think, “Hey! I’m back among my people!”

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I’d guess what’s coming next to my house is already starting to show up at other houses on the block: a thermostat, lighting and other devices that I can not only control from my phone, but that “learn” (e.g., the thermostat that not only kicks up the heat at a certain pre-programmed time but can – via other technology – take in signals from a smart lock and use that data to adjust the heating of the house based on our actual comings and goings). Lighting that tracks my dog’s movement, so the poor blind guy can turn lights on for himself as he moves about the house (and anticipates if he is moving up the stairs that the hall light and bedroom light should go on – the next step in motion sensors, as it were). If I play my cards right, I could get a house that sends out for chocolate and red wine based on what I’m cooking for dinner…

    Liked by 2 people

      1. He has some ability to see light vs dark – his seeing eye, such as it is with its cataract, sees better in bright light and he will change me to the light over the back door at night (he can see the ambient light, but not the door itself – without the light he navigates the edges of the yard until he finds the house and the steps).

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I like the idea of a house with a brain. It could shut off appliances for you, based on its knowledge of what you likely want left on, and what you typically just forget to turn off. It could raise and lower window coverings based on weather data. Start the coffeemaker in response to a voice command before you get out of bed in the morning. The possibilities are endless.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    Love that picture–are those computer geeks and a picture of data?

    I don’t what I will buy next after a year of more purchasing than usual. The house renovation triggered an orgy of new things–a stay in a hotel, flooring, doors, light fixtures, sinks. I am really tired of buying stuff and ready for a financial and buying diet.

    After the stock market crashed yesterday, I did place tiny orders for 2 stocks today. That’s it.

    So what is next for me? Perhaps a vast empty buying abyss in which nothing at all occurs. No on-line research of goods, no wandering box box aisles, nothing.

    Weeding, eating tomatoes and corn, walking dogs, going to work. Sounds like heaven.


    1. CG, is not May Day Cafe your spot? I think you said it would not be very busy at noon last Thursday. The line was out the door at 12:15. I came back at 1:15 and they only had one item left on the menu. I had a ball driving around neighborhoods and finding locals.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not a good prognosticator, so I have no idea what’s coming soon to a theater near me. In fact, I have no idea what’s showing there now. That should tell you a lot about me.

    We’ve known for a long time that all kinds of information is gathered about us based on out spending habits. Amazon can quite accurately predict what books and musical releases that might appeal to me. And I suppose that tells them something about me, but what?

    Likewise, my FB posts clearly reveal my liberal bent. That’s one reason I don’t believe that the posts that show up in my news feed are necessarily indicative of what is going on in the world.

    I’m intrigued by the conclusions we draw about others based on what car they drive, which watch they wear, and what their shoes look like. These seem like rather superficial indicators, but I suppose if you’re trying to sell me something, that’s all that matters. I’d say you’d get a better idea of what’s important to me by paying attention to other things.


    1. “Ricki and the Flash” is really good. Meryl Streep as a Rock n Roll bad mom is a wonder–as she usually is. She sounded like a combo of Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt.


      1. I love Meryl Streep, but I hated her in Mama Mia, and somehow is can’t imagine her in this. Just not my cup of tea. Think I’ll wait till it’s available on Netflix, but thanks for the recommendation, Jacque.


        1. Absolutely not, Wes. I’m saying that even a good performance by her couldn’t redeem it, in my estimation.


        2. The thing about ‘Mamma Mia’ is you have to take it as pure unadulterated fun. There’s nothing serious in it and you can’t look too hard for a plot.
          The point was just to put the music of Abba in a movie. And when I remember that It’s a fun movie.
          …if you like Abba music…

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Here’s an example for you PJ. Farmers in pheasant country get strangers at their doors asking for permission to hunt their lands. It is a delicate sort of social exchange. One farmer told me he decided yes or no based on the hunter’s boots. If the boots were brand new, the guy obviously had money but wasn’t necessarily an experienced hunter. If the boots were badly kept, he worried the hunter wouldn’t be careful with his fences. If a stranger came to him wearing boots that showed they had been used a lot but cared for too, he said yes. This is superficial and maybe arbitrary, but I was intrigued by the way a hard-working man tried to evaluate strangers who might abuse his precious farm. This data has not found its way into Amazon’s computers, I think!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Steve, I get that you can draw conclusions about people based on whether or not their shoes are shined or well maintained. I’m merely suggesting that it’s a rather shallow measure. And, depending on who you are, you might want to pay attention to other things. Is the guy with the well-maintained boots driving a Subaru Outback with an Obama bumper sticker, or a pick-up truck with a Confederate flag in the back window? Might not make a difference to one farmer, but may very well to another.


        1. I agree with you, PJ. These are superficial indicators of a person’s true identity. But that might not invalidate them as a way of learning about people. If my interest in a stranger centers on how well he might respect my property, superficial things about him might influence me to trust or distrust him in that brief moment he makes a first impression.

          An old friend was highly concerned about first impressions when he asked permission to hunt. Although he worked in Des Moines, he bought a home about 25 feet outside Polk County so his car license plates would not signal to farmers he was “a city hunter.” At the door he spoke in a credible southern accent (from the mid-south, not the deep south) because he believed farmers trust rural people more than city people.

          We all make snap judgments about strangers, and most of us a smart enough to understand they are not appropriate ways to assess the character of anyone. For all I know, the old hippy with a bandanna around his white hair might drive his Outback home and beat up on his wife. But I’d sure be surprised!


      2. And that works for me.
        For a few years the property adjoining our farm was for sale. It wasn’t very clearly marked and we’d get people down at our place looking for the land for sale.
        I’d look at what they’re driving and tell them, ‘I don’t know anything about you, but based on the car you’re driving, you can’t afford it.’. Usually they laughed; if they did any research at all to come looking for this land, they already saw it listed online at $10,000 / acre. And that was cheap compared to 8 years ago when they listed it at $40,000 / acre.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Except I can afford real estate my car implies I cannot because I yhink real estate is more important than a car :).

          But I’m weird, I accept that.

          Also, I think my parents would be rather put out if they knew I was getting emails about shoping for housing for my elderly parents. They aren’t in the market and I most certainly will have nothing to say about it when they are.

          Liked by 2 people

  5. Hmmmm. While you are welcome to decide who I am based on my car, shoes, watch (or lack thereof), I doubt any of it really tells you much about my “choices”, except maybe that I don’t choose to buy things I cannot pay for.

    But this tells you nothing about my taste, only my income and amount of leisure time.

    I am continually amused by data mining fails in my direction. S&h needs gear to compete with his foil and I get ads for chain-link and security fencing. Trying to train a foster puppy? Sudden flood of new baby product ads.

    But I did just get a bill nailing me for speeding in Cedar Rapids almost 2 months ago.

    Checked it out online and it is a speed trap camera the Iowa DOT ordered removed over a year ago.

    City refuses to disable their money machine.
    That’s fine, we can do the 4th of July 5K in a more welcoming city next year.


    1. Hope you’re fighting the speeding ticket, mig.

      I agree, there’s so much room for misinterpreting data. I suppose there’s ample evidence, however, that a lot of people’s spending habits are in fact indicative of what they may be enticed to buy next. But I’m with you, I refuse to buy what I cannot afford, so even if they think I’d like something and they’re right, doesn’t mean I’m going to buy it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Given that you have to go to Cedar Rapids within 30 days of “the infraction” that they send you notice of 2 months later (and that you receive that day after the payment “due date”), there’s not much hope of a fight.

        I could dig around and try to join a class action suit, but that’s not time I have either. Instead, I’m justmaking this known in casual converation and staying out of a city I have very little reason to go to. It’s really gone downhill since I grew up in the area, I don’t see this sort of thing helping them.


        1. No, no, no, mig, all the more reason to fight them. This seems like a no brainer to me. Please email me, surely this can be dismissed without a lot of effort.


      1. Yes. Declared unconstitutional and ordered removed by the DOT.

        Makes no difference. If you din’t send the check to Massachusetts fast enough (saints forfend some poor joe in Cedar Rapids gets an actual job out of this), your squeaky clean credit history is toast.

        It may seem silly for someone who buys only what she can pay for to care about her credit rating, but I do.


  6. Favorite topic of mine, how our behavior reveals our inner selves. A favorite of mine is watching body language, especially between strangers I see in public. I think parents show much about their parenting by how they relate to their children in public.
    Data mining: so I do a search in Amazon. Until I search for another product, that product appears on many websites I open. Interesting and eerie. I look at books in IBooks or Kindle. It tells me what people who bought this book also bought, which match me poorly, but I think that is just me, my sort of odd reading taste.
    Goodreads I find terrible. I call it Badreviews. Most reviews are ego trips. Goodreads should require reviews to only say 75 words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Goodreads I mostly use to keep track of what I have read – I don’t use it too much for reviews or recommendations. Occasionally I will troll through the lists of my friends’ books but ignore most of the rest..


  7. Not much new coming our way. Just more of the same. Our ordering is pretty predictable -garden supplies (just ordered a gallon of neem oil concentrate for the hops ), books, music, psychological testing supplies for husband, table linens for the new table, Playmobil toys for the play therapy room. We probably order more on line than most baboons due to remoteness.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The data miners must be really confused by me, as I keep seeing Zulily, which has darling clothes for a twenty-something that I could never pull off…

    Only theaters close here are multiplexes, so I can only tell you what’s playing currently at the Riverview in S. Mpls, (Spy, Jurassic Park, and something else), and Central Ave’s Heights (Ricki and the Flash). I get weekly email updates from both…

    Coming soon may be something like an iPad, but this post is making me rethink getting a smart phone that’s any smarter than the flip job I’ve got.


    1. Like you, BiR, I drive the computers nuts by roaming through car reviews. The web sites hysterically beg for my zip code so they can send me great offers on the cars I’m examining. How do I tell them I don’t buy cars? I just read reviews and fantasize.

      My browser (Google’s Chrome) has an incognito mode. I jump into it freq

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I won’t read anything by Tim. The lack of attention to capitals, etc. drives me crazy, distracts from whatever message he is trying to convey. Am I alone in this?


    1. I found him difficult at first. Then I began to enjoy the gems of observation he scatters through his posts. Now I read them for what I can get from them, and when I’m confused I just let it go. That’s tim, and I have enjoyed many posts.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. tim’s posts take some getting used to. You’re making a bit mistake, Kay, if you’re thinking that his admittedly idiosyncratic spelling and writing style is indicative of an inferior intellect. tim is a very eclectic, smart, and creative person, and I love his input here on the blog. I’ll admit I have my days where I wish he’d use a little more punctuation, but I consider that my problem, not his.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. The subject of data mining made me wonder, once again, who Google thinks I am. So I googled “who does google think I am” and followed a link offered to the ad profile google had constructed for me. To my great satisfaction, both my age and my gender appear as question marks. Google thinks I am interested in Broadway musicals (wrong) and hair care products (wrong again) and social media (seriously?).
    I think it may be because so many of my searches are difficult to monetize. Searches like, ” Does the song ” Yes, we have no bananas? ” have anything to do with the fungus that wiped out the Gros Michel strain of bananas in the early- to mid- twentieth century?” (Possibly).
    And converting your searches into sales pitches is what data mining is all about.

    Liked by 4 people

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