Friday, January 20, 2006

Crossing the Privacy Line?

I meant to release my Latin program today, but I still need a couple more hours to add finishing touches. It will definitely be ready in time for the Sunday post though. I read in the paper this morning about how the U.S. government subpoenaed the biggest search engines for their search results from the past couple of weeks so that they can "protect" minors from pornography. As I understand it, they want to use it as evidence to revive an law that was struck down that would require adults to use access codes to access such unsavory thoughts. Yahoo had no problem giving it up, but Google refused to. I remember thinking, "Wow, the next thing you know the government is going to sue Google." I came home after classes to find out that the government is suing Google for refusing to give over this data. Google's arguments are that releasing this information would reveal trade secrets and disclose the identities of their users, which would be totally unacceptable and a violation of their privacy policy. First of all, this whole "big brother" crap is getting old. These Republicans are letting the government get too big. Keeping kids from porn is the job of their parents, not of George W. Bush. Secondly, getting this information is definitely overstepping our privacy boundaries; it's the principle of the matter. If they can get this information from Google, what's next? Are they going to follow college students who buy liquor for parties? Are they going to put a chip in little Bobby to make sure that he's not smoking before he turns 18? And my final point: this law is idiotic in and of itself. If a teenager wants to get to the goods, they'll find a way to bypass these codes; it really isn't that hard to find it anyway.

Do you know how quickly you decide that you like or hate a website? It's actually in much less than a second according to this story, and given how fast our brain works it really wouldn't surprise me. Think about this: how long does it take for you to find a member of the opposite sex attractive (physically)? Macworld ran some application tests on the new iMac to come to the conclusion that it's only 15 to 20 percent faster than a G5 iMac. I don't doubt that Steve Jobs's performance claims were biased and, hence, exaggerated, but I think we have to realize that the software currently available for these dual-core processors are not optimized for the dual-core architecture. If they were, it would go so fast your head would spin. If you've ever wanted to take note of something you've seen online but you're not at home, then you should look into Mystickies. I haven't had a chance to try it out myself yet, but I think it's an interesting part of this revolution to keep our information universally accessible rather than just from our home (or work) computer. 1up.com conducted one of the best video game interviews I've ever read with Peter Moore from Microsoft regarding the Xbox 360. He didn't shy away from hard questions and even brought up the disappointing backwards compatibility list. I wish more interviews had balls like that. Lastly, if you want to know how the Nintendo DS has been selling so well you should read this.

Click to enlargeThere's not a whole lot going on in movies, but I'll give you what I have. There's a sneak preview for a new production diary entry for the film adaptation of 300 at Superhero Hype. The movie chronicles the legendary defensive campaign mounted by 300 Spartans at Thermopylae. This movie should be pretty damn cool. What's also surprising and cool is the unofficial announcement that there will be a few Futurama movies on DVD soon. Straight to DVD is better than not at all, and I'm sure that it's a test to see if it's worthwhile to bring back the show. Spike Lee is making a strange movie called Confederate States of America that explores what America's history for the past century would be like if the Confederacy won the American Civil War. It doesn't appeal to me much, but it did appeal to other movie geeks. You can decide for yourself by looking at the trailer. IGN managed to sneak a peek at the script for Casino Royale and they seem to be satisfied that the movie is on track to properly portray the Ian Fleming original, but I don't know whether to trust their opinion or not. After all we've heard on this movie and the actors and actresses who have turned down roles, is it really going to be that good? Lastly, we may be to able to expect Indiana Jones 4 in 2007, and lets hope that Harrison Ford doesn't need a cane by then.

I'm going to go with Friday's Feast this week:

Appetizer
About how many times per day do you check your email?

I would guess 20-30. I have Gmail always open so it's constantly checking for e-mail, and I also keep my webmail open (though I have to actually click to check mail in there). I've always enjoyed getting mail for some reason, though I do dread the bills nowadays.

Soup
If you had the money to collect something really valuable, what would it be?

I know I've thought of this before, but I can't remember what it was that I was thinking of. For now, I'll go with pieces of computing history, like old gaming consoles and computer motherboards and such.

Salad
Write a sentence using the letters of your favorite beverage. (Example: The egret admires.)

We all think Elton rocks! ;) Sorry, I couldn't resist. I'll give you another though: someone he is now enjoying reaches beyond obscure communications hitherto.

Main Course
If you could be on a game show, which one would you want it to be?

Either the Price is Right or Celebrity Poker Showdown. Probably the former because I'm better at guessing prices (squeezing pennies is in my blood) than playing Texas Hold Em (though I do enjoy it).

Dessert
Name 3 computer programs or web sites you would hate to be without.

Firefox, Zone Alarm, and Gaim.

1 comment:

JennYfer said...

Hey Elton,

I completely agree with the Google comment. I agree that this government is getting too big. I thought the Republican platform was all about keeping a more limited government when it came to how people decided to manage their lives and money. It's a shame I think because about 50% of people actually thought it was okay that the President allow wire tapping. I think this was in the Daily Texan as an opinion.

Hope school is going well! Can't wait to see you Monday!