Sellouts!!! All Of Them!!!

…and another former TechTV geek has caved.  A few years ago I was listening to Leo Laporte’s Tech Guy show/podcast/”netcast” as he calls it and noticed quite ironically that he talked about being all pro-consumer and hated by certain tech conference organizers and tech companies for being too “pro-consumer” but then was far too soft on AT&T and the various shenanigans that ISPs pull on people these days.  Well now it looks like I can add Patrick Norton to this list.  >:-(

Seriously?  Encouraging people to just play along with Tele-Con ISP monopolists’ whimsical fantasies?  Has Revision 3 really sunk that low?  Oh yeah, I’m totally going to fork over more money I don’t have to get “business-class” internet a.k.a. less-artificially-restricted Internet service that uses the exact same infrastructure in many cases despite all the “waaaaaaaaaaaaaah congestion” crap the industry wails about.  Shameless little shills.

You know, when all this tech podcasting stuff started all those years ago, all of these RSS-downloadable shows and even the UndoTV network back in the day were supposed to be a reaction to Big Media having shuttered the one and only Tech-centered TV channel that brought us such awesome shows as The Screen Savers.  Now it looks like after years of growth of this “alternative TV network” that they’ve become the very thing they once stood against.  It’s like that movie I saw years ago where middle-aged school administrators at either some school or college had some line about how back in the 60s they stood against “The Man” now they are “The Man.”  😛

I mean, I used to be able to watch Tekzilla in HD on demand thanks to my RSS program, but then AT&T hopped on the capwagon.  Oopsie doopsie.  Crappy SD YouTube videos for me from this point forward.  😛

These sellouts don’t even know just how much this very thing they’re being all nice about damages their own livelihood.  Anyhoo, for geek coverage of America’s Broadband Kerfuffle that actually calls a spade a spade, just go to StopTheCap.Com instead.  😛  Have a nice day.  😛


Sissychowski’s Going Away – FINALLY!!!

From FreePress, apparently FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is calling it a career there.  Hmmm….  Wonder if he’s going to do the revolving door thing and end up as a telecom lobbyist.  😛

This day couldn’t have come soon enough.  This guy is an embarrassment to the world of technology.  A complete and total bobble-headed blubber-spined shill for the runaway telecommunications companies that have hijacked American broadband and sunk us in the world rankings for infrastructure, bang-for-buck, and quality of service.

The Sissychowski Era as I should probably call it saw horrendously watered-down laws about Net Neutrality all-but destroy the concept in our government, allowing ISPs to suck every last nickel and dime out of people’s nearly-empty pockets during the Great Recession and jacking up the price of broadband even as ISPs’ costs of delivering it plummeted.  This also was the era where Meredith Turncoat Baker took the offensive in ramming through the NBC-Comcast-Universal merger then stepped down to become a mucho-lobbyist at Comcast.  Revolving door anyone?  😛

This pathetic excuse for an FCC under Genachowski has been one of the big reasons why I haven’t taken the Obama Administration seriously on hardly anything, along with Steven “$8/Gallon Gas By Any Means Necessary” Chu at the Department of Energy.  Now that both are on their way out let’s just hope that the successors have some actual gray matter in their heads that they’ll actually want to use to actually do their jobs well, instead of stuff like the FCC chair kissing up to the regulated and attending posh get-together parties….errr…. industry conferences.  😛

Today, American Broadband continues to languish and become unaffordable, while companies nickel-and-dime people with either bundle nonsense or smartphone kerfuffles, at least when they’re not trying to gain the legal precedent and authorization to abandon things like DSL, reliable wired phone networks and broadband, etc.  The new FCC chairman should be nothing short of a hardliner on these issues.  If the Obama Administration can find someone who fits that role, I might actually have some respect for this administration for the first time ever.

It’s not like the Democrats can’t do it either.  They found a way to send Senator Elizabeth Warren to the Beltway.  Now we just need someone like that in charge of the FCC so consumers can at least pretend to appreciate regulatory agencies instead of having lawmakers sabotage and de-fund them then have Libertarian attack dogs jump all over what’s left going, “See?  Government sucks at everything!!!  Just shrink the government!!!”  😛

The American Consumer has put up with the whole Tele-Con thing long enough.  Hopefully the President appoints someone that people can actually respect this time around instead of setting Washington up for more revolving-door scandals.  One can only hope.  It’d be nice to see some sanity restored to the oversight of this foundational technology of the Information Age.

For more stories on this type of stuff, I recommend  🙂

Ye Olde Internet Follies… :-P

Zaranyzerak has recently showcased a great example of the exact sort of YouTube video that I would NEVER make.  😛

This is of course one of the pitfalls of Stickam and all this easy internet video stuff these days.  Now combine this with Google’s research into image searching where someone could upload a photo of this guy, search, and find this video, including an HR recruiter at a company running an extensive background check for a good-paying job he was applying for…  😛

I’ve noticed lately that many of the most dramatic YouTubers out there when they mention their day jobs usually have really crappy jobs like working in retail or something.  Some of that I imagine is because of the bad economy, but the rest is more of a chicken/egg situation where it’s a complete toss-up which came first – the easily-searchable internet drama or the lousy job.  Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, the well-paid managers and corporate folks I’ve worked with barely even maintain a LinkedIn page, much less any type of “real social media” like YouTube or Facebook.

Some Zaranyzerak fans on YouTube have actually subscribed to me because I’ve been to his Friday night Stickam chats in years past.  Some people may even get the impression that we’re similar types of people, but we’re not.  There are numerous issues where we very much go in completely different directions – whether or not Blu-Ray will ever take over the world being one of them, and this being another.  😛

The Paradox Of Electronic “Communications” and “Social” Media

Ever notice how despite our world being more wired than ever before, people still don’t want to keep in touch even though we have all this technology that makes it so easy?  I sure have, and that was my most recent topic when I hopped on the mic for my latest RadioStyle segment on YouTube.  😛

I mentioned some other videos too and decided to write up a companion blog entry for the video which will be linked in the video description on YouTube.  Here are links to some of the other videos I mentioned.  🙂

First, Brittney “Nikki” Cleary’s “I.M. Me” song, now on Vimeo, from the days when AIM ruled the world.  🙂

Then there’s “Social Media Revolution 2011”, a recent video where I first heard the idea back during Facebook’s heyday that with how unstoppable Facebook seemed before the IPO, Timeline, etc., that youngsters could easily consider e-mail to be old school.

Lastly, just for fun, here’s MySpace: The Movie and Facebook: The Movie.  🙂



YouTuber Spotlights – An Introduction

Needless to say, since this blog started out as an extension of my YouTube channel, and myself being an AV Geek who likes to goof around on YouTube from time to time, I’ve tossed around various ideas of further integrating this text blog with the YouTube channel.  One way I’d like to do that is by using this blog to revive the old YouTube “Video Log” feature from the old YouTube Channel 1.0 days a long time ago where I used to do little writeups on videos on my channel page before Channel 2.0 eliminated this feature.  Channel 3.0 has allowed for some of that to return via the Playlist feature, but it just doesn’t run the same way as the original 1.0 Video Log feature and it’s nowhere near as user-friendly.

Thus, I’ll be doing some of that here, mostly in the YouTube category.  Every so often though, I come across a YouTube channel that I want to plug and show some of its videos.  I *could* make a RadioStyle series highlighting these channels, but I think this blog would be a lot better in terms of showcasing what these channels have and bringing them views.  Thus, keep an eye on the new “YouTuber Spotlights” category for future entries about YouTube channels I happen to like.   🙂

Stupid Things People Do In The 21st Century

So The Consumerist ran a story about some bozo at this past week’s Democratic National Convention who in the heat of a politically-charged moment flashed her Medicare card in the air in front of the TV cameras putting her Social Security number on national television.  Seriously, how stupid can people get?  Sadly though, this is not an isolated incident by any means.  So many people nowadays do really dumb things and then we wonder why things like identity theft are so widespread.  Here’s a few pet peeves of mine that no doubt contribute to this century’s problems with the world being a little too wired.

  • Using Real Names In Online Addresses And Identities – This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people in a spurt of uncreative non-genius decide to go with their real name as their User ID in an e-mail address or on a site like Facebook because they can’t think of anything else.   Seriously now, don’t complain about 21st Century “Stalker Internet Culture” and/or identity theft when somebody can type into their browser and hey look there you are.  😛
  • Mandatory Sensitive Information On Online Job Applications – With most HR recruiters bawling about bazillions of job apps per position these days, it’s utterly appalling that job applications require mandatory Social Security numbers and other sensitive information that ends up being stored on a server for at least 90 days, so all these job hopefuls that are never even considered for a position get to have their SSNs sitting on an app server at a company that might never hire them, and who knows how well that server is maintained in terms of security and updates?  Seriously, compared to systems with customer or employee data, how much priority do you think an application server would get relative to other systems in the company in terms of security and maintenance with your average resource-strangled IT department these days?  Hmmmm…..  :-\
  • Phone Answerers That Are Awful With Credit Card Information – Some small businesses like pizza places in my neck of the woods are trying to be more high-tech these days by allowing you to order pizza with a credit card over the phone.  Unfortunately, like most non-tech people, many of these restaurants do it badly at best.  I’ve seen pizza shops where whoever takes your order repeats every digit you say over the phone out loud.  Yay.  Thank you very much for blurting out my credit card number to everyone within earshot of you.  I think I’ll check a recent transaction log for fraudulent activity now.  😛  The worst case of this that I’ve dealt with involved one place that used a cellular swiper where one night the lady delivering the pizza couldn’t get any signal on the swiper so she called it in on her cellphone and all-but shouted my number and expiration date to the entire neighborhood.  I no longer order from that restaurant.  Coincidence?  😛  Probably the worst example would be pizza places that do all of this AND require CCV codes.  Great, so the person taking my order may say out loud enough information for someone to steal my card, including the CCV code, or may write it down on something which will end up God knows where for someone to steal and make bogus transactions with.  These businesses should quit buying all these new systems if they won’t deploy them properly or educate their people on proper handling of sensitive customer information.
  • Tech-Illiterate Friends And Family Defeating The Purpose Of Online Usernames – This is a common gaffe I see in online gaming where a bunch of folks who know each other in real life play an MMO under usernames and call each other by their real names, sometimes their real surnames (“Well Mr. Smith we sure pwned that raid boss.”).  It just makes me want to cringe.  Seriously, we’re getting to a day and age where soon everybody will have to be like celebrities wearing sunglasses everywhere we go at the rate we’re going.  😛
  • “I Took This Picture, Therefore I Should Immediately Put It On The Internet.”  Remember that crazy party last week where you got drunk off your you-know-what and your friend Jimmy was walking around with a smartphone snapping pictures to treasure that moment forever?  Well it’s the morning after and in the midst of your brain-pounding hangover, hey look, Jimmy put everything on Facebook.  Now your whole family and friends know what a debaucherous drunk you are, but wait, there’s more.  Jimmy has no clue that his privacy settings are set wrong so all kinds of people can see that you’re a crazy drunk now, including the hiring manager of that job you so wanted to get.  You check your voicemail.  “We’ve decided to go with another candidate.”  Right.  These kinds of incidents shouldn’t happen, but sadly they do.  😛
  • Setting Privacy Settings Wrong – Gotta love when websites give people privacy settings but people using said websites can’t be bothered to actually use them.  Then we wonder why we have incidents like this Massachusetts incident from earlier this year where some high school girls’ Facebook photos wound up on a porno site.  :-\
  • Sharing Logins On The Job – One of the biggest problems I faced at my last Fortune 500 job where I got to help out with IT stuff.  Too many people got in trouble for stuff they didn’t do because they found out the hard way that sharing logins doesn’t absolve them from responsibility if the account is misused.  Usually these problems were caused by non-techie supervisors and workers sharing logins because they couldn’t be bothered to wait for IT to finish making logins for new hires, or one person had wireless access on their account and the others didn’t but needed it and the person with access couldn’t be bothered to open tickets for 20 other people to get that access.  All in all, sharing logins in a corporate environment is a shortcut/workaround that’s never worth it.  😛
  • Passwords On Post-It Notes – Hey there non-techie supervisor.  It’s nice that you can’t remember a password for beans, but you should at least pretend to try to hide the Post-It Note with your login information instead of having it sitting on your desk next to your keyboard, or taped under your keyboard.  😛
  • Monkey See Monkey Do On YouTube – Hey look.  All these other people on YouTube are making such and such types of videos.  Shouldn’t you too?  The answer of course is no.  😛  I’ve seen some videos that will no doubt embarrass their creators in a few years, but hey, everyone’s doing it, and after they get embarrassed or called out enough, they can always play the “oh I was just ACTING” card.  Yeah, like we’re supposed to believe you consciously came up with the idea to name a fictional character LOLMadDude250614 before starting your YouTube channel even though you never referenced yourself as a fictional character for the first 150 rant videos until so-and-so called you out.  Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.  😛
  • Forcing People To Say Sensitive Information Out Loud – Okay.  I just stood in line for over a half hour.  Now I’m finally to the front of the line, and I’m supposed to verify my identity by telling you my Social Security number with a line of people standing in back of me.  Really?  Maybe I should wear a bright orange shirt with my SSN on it while I’m at it!
  • Using Sensitive Information As Passwords, Etc. – Hey look.  HR just got this new system thingie online, and our default password is part of or our entire SSN.  Yeah.  Uhhh…. Ever heard of keyloggers?  😛
  • Really Dumb Passwords – Sad to say, there’ve been times where I’ve seen things like “Password” as a password.  Enough said.  😛
  • People Complaining About Password Policies – Yes Mr X.  You work for XYZ Corporation and handle sensitive customer information.  Of course you need to have a password that’s harder than “1234” and will need to change it every few weeks.  Wouldn’t want someone to brute force your account and send a nasty e-mail to your boss under your name now.  😛  Seriously, it’s like a work equivalent of parents saying, “My house – my rules.”  If companies are like “Our systems – our rules” just play along and follow them lol.  😛

I think this has gone on long enough, but it’ll suffice to say, whats-her-name flashing her SSN on her Medicare card at the DNC was only the tip of the iceberg with how people can be so behind the curve on this kind of stuff these days.  😛

“Libertarians” And Net Neutrality – Here We Go Again :-P

I once had some respect for the Libertarian movement here in the United States.  In a day and age where various assorted organizations stomp on individuals every chance they get, a group advocating for individual rights and freedoms is very much needed in this country, but ever since the whole Net Neutrality debate started up several years ago it looks like this “support of individuals” has eroded more and more.  Nowadays when I hear a so-called Libertarian I don’t know if they really give a darn about individuals or they’re merely exploiting the “less government” rhetoric as an astroturf paid-off representative of some organization who’s trying to get the government off their back.  :-\

From Ars Technica, apparently “Libertarian” groups are trying yet again to take shots at Net Neutrality in this country, the latest move being an attempt to get it deemed unconstitutional.  😛

Unfortunately, as usual, Libertarians wind up with egg on their face in the whole Net Neutrality debate, because Net Neutrality is one of those cases where someone who supposedly hates “Big Government” and supports “individual freedom” has to choose between one of the two here, and the fact that they keep leaning away from individual freedom towards simply hating “Big Government” only makes them look even more like naive ignoramuses.  Now add to that the ongoing problem I see among Libertarians and even some Conservatives of having to ignore reality in the name of defending rhetoric and you have a pretty ugly situation on your hands.  :-\

Yeah, I get it.  Government is Force.  The proper office and scope of civil government is to make proper use of force to maintain the rule of law in this country.  Because force is what government’s essentially best at, said force should be reserved only for situations where it’s actually needed, but is Net Neutrality really a “government solution looking for a problem” as some have put it?  I’ll let this entire blog just on this sort of stuff speak for itself.  😛

The answer is: Of course not!  Net Neutrality is a completely valid response to an industry that’s utterly drunk off of monopolist Kool-Aid.  :-\  To ignore the constant anti-consumer anti-technology ANTI-INDIVIDUAL antics of these organizations is to take shots at being the world’s biggest ostrich with one’s head in the sand.  Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s happening here.  Until these Libertarian organizations can firmly cement that it’s all about individuals here they will continue to run into problems like this and the official Libertarian Party in this country can look forward to still more decades of barely winning more than municipal elections if any at all.

I remember Michael Badnarik running for president as a Libertarian in 2004 who had what was quite possibly one of the simplest explanations for a political stance that I’ve ever seen.  He opposed banning gay marriage because, “Individuals have rights.  Gays are individuals.  Case Closed.”  Not everyone’s going to agree with him on that of course but you have to admire the simplicity of that argument.  I could then say in regards to Net Neutrality being a “free speech” issue for organizations, “Individuals have rights.  Organizations aren’t individuals.  Case Closed.”

Unfortunately, as we’ve seen here, things aren’t always kept that simple.  :-\

Darn, and here I was thinking Net Neutrality was largely a mid-2000s argument, but since it’s still going on and apparently isn’t going to be a dead issue anytime soon, I think I’ll add Net Neutrality as a post category.