Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

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Dear Google.

 You like numbers, so I’d like to share one with you.

 4.5 Million.

 That’s the number of Windows Phone 8 devices that have shipped since the platform launched in November.

 I was one of those device activations. And, even though you’ve now declared war on the users of that platform…who number in the millions and growing…I’m not going to be running back to Android for your services. I’m sticking with Windows Phone because, even without you, I like it better.

 A bit of background. (more…)

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The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the Atmosphere.

Thomas Jefferson

Remember that glorious time back in the 90’s when every time you booted up a computer it looked like this?

That's right. You must have at least 26 senses to operate this UI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course you don’t. Because you live in a world not run by demented people who don’t actually know what computers are.

Back in 19995 some very bad men took advantage of your naivete and (because you couldn’t download movies yet because the internet didn’t work that fast and your hard drive was smaller than the storage on your camera) forced you to shell out good money for this:

We've Never Met A Geek, But We're Pretty Sure Angelina Jolie Would Be Open To Sleeping With One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To call Hackers science-fiction is to do a disservice to movies even as terribly unrealistic as Critters, Star Trek The Motion Picture and The Undefeated. Don’t believe me? The main plot involved a terrorist conspiracy to capsize boats, which are out at sea, with computers that are connected to, what we’ll laughingly refer to as, the Internet by way of dial-up modems.

Boats.

At sea.

Before wi-fi or satellite internet connections.

But, despite its intensely stupid premise, it was actually correct about two futurist assumptions:

1. Angelina Jolie, no matter how bad the movie is, will always survive to make another one. If Hackers was like nuclear fallout to the rest of the cast, then Jolie was its cockroach.

2. One day, there would come whiny teenagers who’d bend nations and corporations to their will with the click of a few buttons and from the comfort of their couches.

Or their parent’s couches, as the case may be. (more…)

First, read this.

Then, if you have time, read the very long: http://dearthey.com/2010/07/29/government-assasinates-ninjas-to-catch-pirates-its-not-stealing-if-it-isnt-real/ which was my eulogy of sorts for Ninjavideo last year.

I’ve been meaning to come back to this for a while. The very real consequence of internet piracy, as we’ve  learned from Ninjavideo, and now Mega Upload,  is that they’re not just going to shut your website down. You’re going to go to jail.

This, much like the reality of mandatory minimum sentencing for drug convictions, is both a laughable twisting of the concept of justice, as well as cold glass of water thrown in the face of anyone who still believes that the US government is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

I’m not American so, in theory, I shouldn’t care. But I do because, even though file sharing is still legal in my country, the RCMP (our horse riding, hat loving equivalent to the FBI) were complicit and instrumental in the arrest and shutdown of Mega Upload; at least so far as their presence extended into our borders.

This, to me, is unacceptable.  For a number of reasons. (more…)

SOPA.  The Stop Online Piracy Act.

If you have a web browser open for most of the day, or you just happened to have badly misspelled soap in a Google search, you’ve come across SOPA.

In short, it’s bad. Cauliflower bad or (if you’re a some kind of deviant who actually likes the flavor of cream of evil vegetables) Tea Party bad.

The entertainment industry and, I suspect, some folks along the Republican side of the aisle, want the ability to block any website from view that could have possibly, maybe once, but we’re not really sure, hosted copyrighted content illegally. In principle, I get it. The entertainment companies would very much like to stop dumping millions of dollars into projects that have to actually be good in order to recoup their cost. The current state of affairs seems to be; “I create a crappy but mildly entertaining product, people get wind of the fact that it’s probably not going to be very good and therefore not worthy of their hard-earned money and they either download it illegally, or wait for it to arrive on DVD, OnDemand, or Netflix.

The simple solution, of course would be for content producers to stop churning out endless acres of crap. But that’s never going to happen. So we get SOPA; a nuclear option to stop the money from bleeding out.

But is the money bleeding out in enough quantities to warrant a nuclear option?

I really don’t think so. (more…)

With great power comes great responsibility-Spiderman (Or Possibly Stan Lee)

You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain-Harvey Dent

Today, I evangelized for Google.

I don’t approve, in general, of selling products for companies for free. I’ve made a career out of doing the opposite, in fact. But today, without even thinking about the fact that I wasn’t getting paid, I did the following:

  1. I posted multiple links on my soon (within the next few hours) to be defunct Facebook page to my Google+ account, and encouraged all of my friends to join, as they will no longer be able to interact with me on their favorite social network.
  2. I walked a friend through the features and benefits of Google Docs over Microsoft Office and converted him to its use.
  3. I walked a complete stranger through the same process; even going so far as to create a shared doc so she could see the value of the collaboration tools.
  4. I talked to no fewer than four people, in real life, about the advantages (when they finally arrive in Canada) of buying a Chromebook.

This was all in the span of about 9 hours.

I’m passionate about what Google is doing; with social, with the cloud, and with productivity in general. I think that this whole concept of everything being rolled into a browser, making work, life, and everything in between utterly seamless and essentially without thought, is the natural maturation of the Internet. I believe in these concepts so strongly that I will soon be making some very large bets regarding them, at possible detriment to my financial security. (more on this later) (more…)

An Open Break-Up Letter*

It’s no secret, to the five people who occasionally land on this site before moving on to better things (like The Oatmeal) that I don’t like you, Facebook.

In the beginning, I wanted you, but couldn’t have you. You made me your bitch by staying exclusive; exclusive to everyone but me, it seemed. Then the invites began. I opened my email one day and there you were:

Oh thou deadly beast! What hast thou started-eth-eth?

Ah, youth. How innocent we all were back then. See profiles? I don’t know what that means**, but it sure sounds nice. Share photos? Hey that’ll give me an excuse to use that digital camera I bought last year.^ Connect with friends? You know, I’m awfully busy and, for the most part, if I’ve lost connection with someone, there’s probably a good rea…ah, what the hell. Could be fun.

Do you notice what’s not in that description? HEY! Don’t you walk away from me! I’m not done. What’s missing? (more…)

The Whole Sort of General Mish Mash (WSOGMM) is the sum total of all the different ways that exists of looking at things, or more specifically, all the different probabilities that exist through which you could look at things.

The Whole Sort of General Mish Mash is a metaphor created to help people better understand a part of the complex concepts presented by the complicated web of probabilities and possibilities (parallel universes, one could say) presented by creation.

The Whole Sort of General Mish Mash, one could say, should be viewed as a plate of pie, or as a large tank of water. You could slice it and divide it up any way you’d like, and you’ll almost always find a way of looking at things somewhere in probability (a parallel universe) that somebody will find familiar.

-Douglas Adams*

The Internet is a really big, imaginary village.

Wait. Village is the wrong word. It’s a quaint little digital giant megatropolis. It started off as a village though, and that’s still how a whole lot of us perceive it.

And that’s a problem. Because Megatropolisses (megatropoli?) need different…I want to say rules, but really it’s just conventions, than villages do.

I want to get something out-of-the-way up front. I am, in general, a big believer in privacy and our rights to it. For example, the only reason that I’m not as famous as I should be, is that I don’t want to expose myself or my family to the prying metaphorical eyes of you lot. (heh) I believe that we should all be afforded as much protection from outside examination as is possible; no one should be allowed to peek in our windows.

But that’s when we stay indoors. When we’re out in public it’s another story altogether. People will look, and we have to be prepared to accept that. The alternative is to never go outside. (more…)

The following is a four part series originally posted at http://www.dearthey.tumblr.com.

Part One: On Cloud Computing And Why I Was Wrong    

I laughed when Chrome OS was announced; A great big hearty mwah ha ha.

Why, I pondered (as I choked on the effervescent bubbles of funny rolling up from my belly), would anyone spend hundreds of dollars on a machine with little (or no) storage, just so they could work entirely in a web browser all day?

I’m not laughing anymore.

When Apple announced the launch of iCloud I was sorely tempted to smack myself in the face. When shopping for a new computer a few months earlier, I had laughed my ass off (this always gets me in trouble, I see this now) at the MacBook Airs on display. Sure, they’re thin, and pretty and, unlike my iPad, run a full OS, but 64GB as a storage starting point? For a thousand bucks? In 2011? Ha!

But then, like I said, iCloud was announced and it all made sense.

I don’t need to carry my music collection with me? Or my documents? And I get to carry around a laptop that weighs less than a burrito at my favorite Mexican joint? Sold.

Not so fast.

You see, while I had been laughing at the MacBook Air that day, I talked myself into buying an iMac instead. A sexy beast to be sure, but looking more than a little chunky for my day to day purposes once I’d made the decision to go thin*. And it cost $1700. So, yeah, three months later, I was not going to win the fight to give another thirteen or fourteen hundred bucks to my Apple overlords (Hail Hydra) with my lovely but financially conservative wife.

So I grumbled, and I toyed with the idea of putting my iMac on Kijiji (not met with positive reception by my family) to finance my craving for Air, and then, as I often do, I sulked in front of a computer. (more…)

I haven’t been here for a while.

I mean, I’ve been here, sitting in front of my computer, doing…stuff (yes, fine, there’s been some porn involved) but I haven’t been blogging.

And it’s not because I haven’t had anything to say; I’ve drowned Twitter with my inanity and the things I’ve learned just at my job the last eight months or so would fill about twenty posts worth of material; I’ve just had a hard time sorting through all the noise to find something I wanted to write about.

That noise…

The world is vastly different now than it was even a couple of years ago.  Whole lives are lived digitally; the online world allows bravery and cowardice in equal measure and the Internet as a whole has gone a long way to reversing the popular wisdom that led to, “Video Killed the Radio Star.” It no longer matters entirely what you look like, first impressions are now based on what you say about things people care about.  Let’s not kid ourselves; it’s not as though we’re living a brave new world wherein you don’t still have to go to the gym in order to get your chat room sweetheart to blow you, but we’ve certainly come to a place where thought is currency.

That led me to think about the 14-year-old Walrus and what he would think about the world as it is now.  Would he stand in awe at the technological marvels we’ve wrought? Or would he cringe at the fact that the future of Western civilization is so very bleak?

The world as we know it is ending. (more…)

Three years ago I went on a crime spree.

It started with a simple mugging; a cab driver. I pistol whipped him in the head from the backseat of his car and bolted with his money clip.  The police became involved rather quickly and, in order to escape, I shot a couple of officers; young guys, just out doing their job. Staying on foot wasn’t an option; I could hear sirens in the distance. I ran up to a car stopped at a traffic light, pulled the driver side door open, and dragged the poor bastard behind the wheel to the street. Getting into his seat, I kicked him in the jaw to stop his blubbering before slamming the door, gunning the engine and then blowing through the red.

I drove for hours, stopping only to steal gas once from a fat, pedo looking fuck manning a Pump Stop and then, in a fit of blood lust that would make Wyatt Earp nod in approval, I started shooting randomly out my window. BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG.

Reload.

Repeat.

And believe me when I tell you, if any of this had happened in the real world, I would probably feel at least moderately terrible about it. But it didn’t. (more…)