New Blog

I am no longer posting on this blog. I have a new political blog called The Burning Itch, which is updated regularly.

June 24, 2007

Parents and Computers

This morning I came across a page on Microsoft's website about interpreting computer slang for parents. It amused me so much I actually laughed out loud. The very image of a person sitting there trying to interpret "leetspeak"is absurdly hilarious.

The idea that someone is trying to learn this, so called, slang is ridiculous. You either know it or you don't. Why would you ever want to learn it? Most people who know it just from playing computer games, such as Counter-Strike, with immature or "special" people who either think it's cool or are using it in an ironic manner.

More to the point, I see parents trying to spy on their kids or control what they do on the Internet and I think it's quite silly. Of course, I'm not talking about really young kids, I mean teenagers mostly. Unless you monitor a teen all the time, you're never going to be able to control all the content they are exposed to anywhere, let alone on the Internet.

Trust me when I say there's a lot of unfounded fears that parents have about the technology their children are getting into. I once worked for a company that made computer security and monitoring software. A specific portion of my workweek was spent on a quality assurance panel that reviewed customer concerns. They had a software package that allegedly allowed parents to control everything about how children used their computer. The biggest concern parents had was stopping their kids from viewing porn, which is understandable. The second biggest concern was stopping creeps from talking to their kids. It is another understandable fear, but it has been fueled too much by the media and taken out of proportion in most cases.

The best way to protect your children from the sickos out there, is to talk to them about it in a manner that's not condescending. Trying to irrationally restrict a teenager's access to something one of the worst mistakes parents can make. If you make something seem taboo, it will only make them want to find out why it's such a taboo. Plus, there's that whole thing about teenagers being rebellious towards authority figures. And if your kids really want to access something on the Internet, they will one way or another, especially with the wide-spread adoption of computers in the majority of American homes, schools, and libraries.

So, don't makes yourself look like an ass trying to learn slang that your kids use. If you're worried about what they might be doing, talk to them.

And don't even get me started on the stupidity of the V-Chip...

June 23, 2007

Throwing Money Away - Presidential Elections

Officially, candidates for the 2008 Presidential Election have raised over $150 million, although that number is probably closer to $200 - 250 million by now. In 2004, the total contributions ran up around $880 million. The 2000 election drew in about $540 million. So, in less than a decade of presidential elections, about $2 billion dollars (adjusted for inflation) has been spent on bids for the White House. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. If you factor in all the money spent on elections for congress as well as the presidency, it's nuts. But let's focus on that 2 billion.

So what could you actually spend $2 billion on that wouldn't be a a complete waste? Well,
  • a loaf of bread costs on average $2, so a billion loaves of bread could be bought with all of those greenbacks.
  • About 4 million cheap $500 laptops could be bought for schools.
  • Over 16,000 full-ride scholarships to Harvard could be given out.
  • About 250 water treatment plants could be built in poor nations with bad water supplies.
  • 4,000 $500,000 homes could be given to the less fortunate
  • 0.023% of the nation's debt could be paid off
  • Over 1 million high-quality body armor vests could be purchased for soldiers in our armed forces
  • So much more...
So do you think all this money is going towards a worthy cause?

The iPhone is Amazing

But it really isn't worth it.

The iPhone is an interesting device. It can can play music, movies, view pictures, access the internet, and it's even a phone, with a nifty touch display. Yet, the cons seem to outweigh the pros.

It can only be used with Cingular, or the new AT&T, or whatever the hell they decided to call themselves this week. But the point is their service is one of the worst of the major carriers, which is saying a lot. Then it uses the terrible Edge network instead of G3.

The battery life surprised me quite a bit, I was expecting closer to 4 hours max, so kudos on that. But the battery is not removable, which is nothing more than a horrible design flaw. Whether or not your phone has good battery life you want to be able to swap a battery out, especially if you go on long business trips.

Another gripe of mine is the screen. I do like the innovative idea of having a large touch screen phone, but it will scratch. I guarantee it will scratch. Albeit, the face is glass, but glass scratches too. Trust me on this one, I had a HP TC1100 tablet with a glass screen. I was ever so careful with it and made sure to buy protectors for it, but nevertheless it still got scratched during its thorough usage. Not to mention since you have to touch it, there will be oily fingerprints all over it.

But other than that the iPhone is great. Oh, there's also the PS3 style of insane pricing. So if you're willing to put up with all the cons and have lots of cash burning a hole in your pocket, have fun with the amazing iPhone.

June 21, 2007

June 20, 2007

The News is Shit

We all know the news is shit. If you don't know it's shit, you're full of shit. The media around the world, but especially in America, feeds pile after pile of steaming manure down our throats and we sit there taking it as if it's delicious chocolate.

So who's at fault? These damn network executives and producers. Of course... wait, NO, it's our fault. Guess what, we live in a nation with a capitalist economy in which businesses don't do something just for the sake of doing it. They do it to please their shareholders by earning as much profits as possible. They get these profits through advertisements that are worth more the higher the ratings. Which means, the more you watch, they more they make. The more they make, the more they think what they're putting out is what you want.

The more you watch stories about Paris Hilton or Anna Nicole Smith's baby, the more you perpetuate the sloth and idiocy of the "news". We have Americans and Iraqis dying in Iraq everyday. The Bush Administration is pushing for a new war against Iran. Gross criminal acts are taking place in every branch of the government, why the fuck do we care if a spoiled slutty brat is put up in jail for a few weeks.

I hear people say they hate Fox News and Bill O'Reilly, but watch it just to see how bad it is. Are you fucking kidding me?! You're just making the man more money! Why would you ever do that if you don't like him or his network. Admittedly, I too am part of this problem and have done this on multiple occasions. But unlike me, most don't see a problem with this.

Samuel Clemens once said the problem with newspapers is that people mistake their content for news. Think about that the next time you open a newspaper or turn on CNN and how much you and your fellow man have influence on their content.