Saturday, April 11, 2009

Rich And Clueless

Watching the news has been a bit of a joke lately. No, not the news itself, just the people that are on the news. I constantly see TV "personalities" that happen to make a hell of a lot of money commenting on the economy like they are really in danger of being poor. Come on people, give me a break here. You're telling me that someone that gets paid $10,000 every time they are on TV is really concerned about whether or not they will have to live paycheck to paycheck? I don't buy it, and frankly, it's starting to irritate the hell out of me.

Today I watched the Flipside segment on CNN. What got to me was the fact that one of the talking heads was trying to convince people that a loss of benefits, insurance, was a good thing for you. She tried to say that because you don't have benefits with a job anymore that you could change from one job to another with less of a hassle. Well, that is true, except for one important detail. There are no jobs out there. I think it's irresponsible to try to tell people to not worry about insurance or other job benefits in an economy where there is no better thing. If someone loses health insurance from their job in this economic climate they most certainly will not be able to afford it themselves. I would love to know if that commentator has lost any benefits in the last year, if she had to struggle to find a new job, if she had to live paycheck to paycheck like so many do today, but I already know the answer to that one.

These people commenting on the state of affairs today are not like you and I. Take Rush Limbaugh for example. He's been leading the charge for a tax revolt in New York recently. He states that he refuses to work and live in New York today, not for your benefit or mine, but because he refuses to be charged more in taxes. I'm sorry Rush, but I can't sympathize. First, most people living in New York today cannot afford to just up and move out. They can't afford to just leave their jobs. They can't just refuse to be a part of the economic system that holds them. They are the ones suffering Rush, not you and to announce that you refuse to be a part of that same system just shows how out of touch with people you are. I still seeth when he said that he could afford it, but just didn't want to.

I'm sick of watching the news. I don't want to hear about the horrible economy. I don't want to hear about falling stock prices. And I definitely don't want to hear any rich, privilaged individuals trying to tell me that they what they are doing is for my benefit. It that's the case, I'm more than willing to accept a check from you, cash is preferable though.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Art Of Twitter

Anyone that's used Twitter before knows all about how it works. For those of you that haven't, and that's probably only one or two of you, you have 140 letters, characters, punctuation marks, spaces or whatever to communicate with other Twitter users. 140. Why 140? I have no idea, but sometimes it's a challenge to compress a large idea into such a small space. Take last night for example. I had just finished watching The Spirit and wanted to share my thoughts on the movie. What I wanted to say was this:

I just finished watching The Spirit and I can honestly say that I was really impressed. I love the look of the movie, very reminiscent of Sin City (another favorite of mine) but unique unto itself. The characterizations are 40's pulp perfect and highly engaging and its sense of humor is very colorful. Seeing The Octopus in the garb of another hero of the 40s, after a sense, was funny as hell. My only wish is that they make more Spirit adventures for the big screen.
But instead, this is what I was able to write:

Just finished watching The Spirit. Very cool movie. I like that it's a throwback to the 40s and 50s style of storytelling. Awesome stuff.
All characters, punctuation and spaces total 140. It's very short, but I think I'm able to get my main idea across, and I definitely think you get the message about me liking it. Half the fun of using Twitter is trying to be creative in getting your message across. It's a bit harder to do with only 140 characters, but far from impossible. Well, time to go practice, see you on Twitter.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

L, TU's Word Of The Day

Today's word of the day* is technophobia. Let us begin with the formal definition provided by

Technophobia [tek-nuh-FOH-bee-uh]

Abnormal fear of or anxiety about the effects of advanced technology.

Related forms:

Think about it for a second and take a look around you. How many electronic devices do you have sitting around you right now? Think you don't have many, look again. Right now I have more than just a couple, not that I'm a technophile (the antithesis of technophobe), I just like gadgets. Looking around me I have (obviously) the laptop that I'm writing this blog post with, an HDTV, DVD player, Xbox 360, PSP, DS, digital camera, digital watch, LED flashlight and various accessories to go with those devices. Now, think about this, how many of those would have been possible 20 years ago? Maybe one or two of those, if you had the money for them. 15? Maybe a couple more, again if you had deep pockets. 10? Almost all of these devices could have been available, and nearly affordable then. How about even 5 years ago? All but one or two, but that's really not the point I'm trying to make.

Technology by it's very nature changes rapidly. In the last 20 years we've gone from VHS being the dominant video format, with DVD and Blu-ray following. Now, the paradigm is starting to shift away from physical media altogether. Who out there has not downloaded a computer program or a movie or TV show? I know I have and I'd bet money you have too. But some people are not like you and me. Some people hate when new technologies are released. Why? Some people just hate to see their old favorites replaced. Just look at the backlash that happened when CDs supplanted records as the dominate music format. Then again, some people just hate technology.

Which leads me to technophobes, people that hate technology for no logical reason. I just read an interesting article on about a group of technophobes, well, probably just one technophobe and a bunch of his clueless neighbors. The article had the quaint title of "English villagers send Google snapper packing", quite catchy I think. Anyway, to quote the esteemed gentleman that was so horribly defiled by the evil Google syndicate:
"I was upstairs when I spotted the camera car driving down the lane," villager Paul Jacobs told The Times of London newspaper. "My immediate reaction was anger: How dare anyone take a photograph of my home without my consent?"
Upon seeing this car drive down his lane Mr. Jacobs coordinated with his neighbors to block the route of the vehicle. Let me get this straight. This guy sees a car driving down his road. He doesn't like that the car is going to take a picture of his house from a public access road and decides to form a mob with his neighbors. He then blocked the road to prevent a person that was not committing an illegal act from doing what he was hired to do by a reputable company. And this guy thinks he was the hero here. I can just hear him now.
"I saved the lives of all my neighbors...No, wait. That's not right. I saved the reputation of my villiage by...Hang on. I'll get it in a second. I know. I impeded an evil technology from...Never mind. I've got nothing."
There have been several arguments brought up against Google implementing its Street View technology in Google Earth. Some have even said that photographing homes will lead to an increase in burglaries. Now I have to say that that idea sounds completely ludicrous to me. How would photographing the front of a building, something that ANYONE with a camera can do, lead to an increase in home invasions? Maybe today's criminals are tech savvy, or maybe just lazy.
"Why, back in the old days criminals used to scope out prospective victims in person. Now they can plan a strategy from the comfort from their own home."
Except for one minor detail. Google Street View only shows views of buildings from a street perspective. That's not the idea entry direction for a would-be crook to go. I don't know, I've never robbed anyone before, but wouldn't going in the back (where no one including Google can see) be preferable?

It isn't that the technology or Google itself is bad, in fact, this technology has been around for decades. It's just the fact that this guy is just afraid. He is afraid of change and of new things he does not understand. But, instead of researching the subject and understanding what it's all about he chooses instead to be ignorant. Choosing to be ignorant, and displaying it in public is his right, but he does not have the right to interfere with a company that has broken no laws.
*Disclaimer: In using the phrase "Word Of The Day" I am not stating that I will, in fact, write about a word every day. It just sounded better than "Word Of The Week" or "Word Of The Whenever The Hell I Feel Like Writing About A Word".