The price of free conversation

•November 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I choose to keep my online lives segmented in such a way that it becomes difficult to gather enough info to fully target me with advertising that will actually reach me, and more to attract the ads that will amuse me. I do this by slipping in random items in profiles, titles, postings, etc. The goal is to have these red herrings come back to me as adverts that I can then see the connection. While this is a seemingly innocuous hobby of mine, occasionally it happens (as so many wonderful things in life), completely by accident.

The culprit: Facebook Chat
Topic: Female Mormon Blogs
Ad: Female Mormon Blog

It was innocent enough, a friend and I were chatting on Facebook chat about how fascinating she was finding these female Mormon blogs, and my sick fascination with her being fascinated by them. This was not a full in depth conversation, we’ll say it took up 4 sentences, tops. Within about 15min, I sure enough had an ad on Facebook about Female Mormon blogs. We have grown accustomed to seeing targeted ads based on emails, surfing habits, ip address locations, etc. but what about live, real time communication?

This could easily have been going on for years, be the reason ICQ and AIM have always been free, etc, etc. who knows.

If you started to receive ads on your phone based on the texts you were sending/receiving, would you care?
If after talking about how great a nice honey baked ham would be for Thanksgiving you received a coupon from the Honey Baked Ham store, would you care?
What if after breaking up with someone, being alerted to a death in the family, or calling in sick to work, you were to receive coupons for chocolates, a call from a florist, and have a Doctor email asking if you would like to make an appt, would you care then?

We place such high standards on instant telephone commnications, yet nothing on instant textual conversations, but why? What is it about the written word that we seem to hold in less esteem than the voice of another? Think of the technology that exists with visual voicemail and what that technology could do if we were tapping everyones calls and marketing to them directly based upon their conversations.

I hear your gears moving already, you’re thinking “well data is the price we pay for free services we depend on”, and you’re right, you do pay. So let us imagine for a moment a cell phone company giving you a free phone, and severely discounted service as long as you allowed them to data mine your phone calls, would you do it? What would it take for you to give someone that control? Where do you draw the line between interpersonal private conversation and a target for data mines?

Do we even care?
Will it ever get “this bad”?
Rhode Island is neither a road, nor an island… discuss.


The discrimination of Wikraffiti

•May 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So a little while ago I “made-up” the word “Wikraffiti“. I assume it is fairly obvious to all what the word means, and while I never truly proceeded to push it into the sphere of consciousness that is the internet meme world, I did make a Wikipedia article about it to address the very issues it was meant to encompass.

The results were nothing less than savage.

First the word description was “deleted” from Wikipedia by technocratic elitists who would rather spend their time squashing what they do not understand, or feel is Neologism and self-reference.  I will not speculate as to which they feel it was, but they did tend to make reference to the Neologism and self-reference more than them being technocratic elitists. This prejudice essentially means that I have no way of referencing this word in future discussions as no one will be able to find out it’s true meaning. At any rate, this happened almost 3 years ago, I am not sure how it took me this long to actually find out, something to do with work apparently. I would however like to take the time to say that now more than ever my “made-up” “neologinistic” “self-referencing” word is truly needed.

It would seem that on an almost daily basis that whilst surfing Wikipedia I often see posts that have been vandalized, and since surfaces that are often able to handle “posts” or “changes” from others have become ubiquitous as “walls” (ala Facebook etc.) then I see not why something like the word “Wikraffiti” is not only valid, but captures the truest sense of what the act of defiling someones (or somethings) Wikipedia page is all about. It is like graffiti that while easily removed, does in fact need to be “scrubbed” off the virtual “wall”.

I therefore move to have this word returned to it’s rightful place as a reasonable reference to this type of vandalism, and if you feel the need to dispute it’s truthiness, then do so on your own grounds.

Explaining Twitter over christmas dinner…

•December 4, 2008 • Leave a Comment

So it’s holiday time! … and I am sure that if like me, you will be on twitter (or insert similar) and inevitably you will be asked “what is twitter?”

Why do they ask you this? Because you are their “smart friend”, and the family member they always turn to when they go for tech advice is you! So… here ya go:

Twitter is like being in a public (unless you make private) room with friends, and people you know. When you think of something witty, interesting, or want to share a picture, link, or info, you shout it out to the whole room. Everyone is able to hear it (sent to their phone and shows up on website), and it goes to all that are in the room with you (following you). It is also able to be heard by anyone that wants to hear (those that lurk, or look at your page).  If someone wants to respond to what you said, they can either shout it across the room, or whisper it to you.

Now when someone asks you “what are you doing on your phone all the time?”… you can explain it to them, in terms they will not only understand, but possibly want to get involved with!

if they tell you to steal this film… isn’t it really just sharing?

•January 17, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Go watch…

and if you have… what did you think?  

oh… and I still don’t like using mac’s… I don’t know what it is, but I’m just not a fan. I guess I’ll have to start using some programs to see how well I like it.

I also would be annoyed because I couldn’t use my super di$counted version of CS3… this would cause me grief.

I shall be testing it with installing on Vista later, as we just got a new PC at the office, which means I have my own comp there, something Im very happy about.

When is it really ‘Cruel to be Kind?’… how being cute can kill.

•November 9, 2007 • Leave a Comment

You’re walking around town, and suddenly people jump out of the bushes with guns, and they start shooting your entire group, your best friend from playground days, your cousin, and even your girlfriend. People around you scream in fear almost instantly, but then either laugh, or get pissed that they were given such a shock.


What about all the people who were just shot in the street?
Why aren’t these bystanders calling 911, or rushing to help?

Because the guns were water guns, and you were involved in a game called, “Assassin
But what about those people around you that were legitimatly scared? Do they have the right to call the police, and file a complaint of a public mennace?

With the way the current social climate is, telling a joke about a bomb in an airport will get you arrested, if you put up little colored lights of cartoon characters you’re a terrorist plot, and making fun of religion in a comic can start riots, one can see easily the fragile waters to be tread when in public spaces.Enter “Cruel 2 be kind“.

This is a game very similar to  assassin in the sense that you have to kill or be killed, but at the same time completely different. To kill someone in this game, you literally have to be kind, nice, or helpful. Simply telling someone they are gorgeous is enough to kill them dead.

It wouldn’t let me embed… sorry

I personally like assassin better, but at the same time, when watching the video of 200 people playing ‘Cruel 2 b kind’, it did seem like fun, in a completely mob oriented way. I liked the idea of the large groups of people, and the walking up to strangers, it all made for a very interesting concept, and to see it practiced was at the very least highly entertaining.

Also, if I may say… since you’ve been reading this… you do look particularly gorgeous today!


Underwater Screendoors Vs. Dark Fiber

•October 23, 2007 • Leave a Comment

One is a blonde joke, the other is a cruel reality.

It’s no laughing matter… much in the same way that Enron would flip the grid off and on to control black outs and power outages, and thus artificially control the price of power via scarcity, telco’s are doing the same thing.

The big argument is that there simply isn’t enough bandwidth to go around.. that there has to be some regulation, or control of how much people use because there isn’t enough capacity to support all the downloading that goes on.

Previously you will note the idea of changing the way we communicate, and thus speeding the process of packet transfer up. (don’t know what packets are?.. check the bullet point!) I guess to understand dark fiber you should know what fiber is and does… here’s the short end of the long pole: You have a glass “wire” that you pass light through… the light carries information, and since it’s light, it moves fast (lets imagine lightspeed and Hans Solo).. now since you need light to use fiber optics, it makes ironic sense to have massive amounts of ‘dark fiber’ laying around. Fiber optic carriers laid the equivilant of 100 lane highways through the middle of the UTD campus… thinking that UTD would suddenly have the entire country of china driving to campus daily… the problem is that it never happened. Lets call it bad planning, or short sightedness, or better yet, lets call it the government spent billions of tax dollars funding these telco’s because they were “developing new infastructure”. Ooops.. I think that hit it… the government paid these companies billions of dollars to build a network that you’ll never get! Why?… because it made those companies money, and grew their size… which helped them donate money to campaigns, and get those officials elected that voted to pay for them, it’s a circle of life that would extinct the entire cast of Lion King.

All in all… we’ve got the lanes, and we’ve even got a way to produce less traffic over existing networks… but doing all this doesn’t make the powers that be any money, if anything they lose money because Verizon, ATT, and Comcast all provide television, and as we all know… you don’t need a TV to watch TV when you stream TV from the PC.

So the next time you hear a blonde joke like “yea thats about as smart as a solar powered flashlight!”… just respond with “still not as dumb as dark fiber!”

I’d like a side of faster internet please…

•October 23, 2007 • Leave a Comment

FAST… no it’s not just something we all wish the internet was, it’s actually a way to get it there.

Currently technology is not up to the digital snuff when it comes to the speed demands of it’s most influential users. We are downloading full length movies, music video, streaming new casts, and wanting more everyday. Eventually we’re going to want HD video streaming wirelessly… but will it be possible with todays current tech?

This is similar to the production and fabrication process in the original assembly lines. We used to produce, and assemble all products by hand, as demand rose, we had to produce more, in shorter time spans. We figured out ways to integrate machines into the production side, and using them for the assembly side also. Eventually we had automatic production machines that produced the parts for us, and we then assembled them. Now we are at a point where machine produce the parts, and robots put them together. Currently with the internet, one could easily argue that we have machines that assist us in the production and we still assemble by hand, this needs to change.

With the advent of networks that are able to handle the traffic (see fiber to home) we are entering an age where we become our own networks, and we become content pullers, rather than receivers. We need to start implementing faster networks, and faster forms of communication. All to often we find ourselves fighting battles that don’t need to be fought. If we had a faster way to communicate through the currently used infrastructure, we wouldn’t have to worry about bottlenecks, and bandwidth hogs. Sure people will be getting more content, but in effect using less resources because it will take them less time to achive their end goals.  So lets get things moving FASTer (wiki link)