Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Instagram Is Right To Want To Sell User Photos To Advertisers—If You Want To Talk About Empowerment Rather Than Selfishness, I Am Ready For The Discussion

149783_10200153499661632_1751353875_n
 
 
I read today about the prospect of Instagram selling user photos to advertisers.  This caused an uproar on the web. Instagram is owned by Facebook.
 
(Above–You get what you pay for.  This is a picture I took in Downtown Houston last week.)
 
I don’t see how a for-profit company that people often use yet refuse to pay for, owes either privacy or even simple respect to so-called customers.
 
Use of Facebook is a transaction in which we offer our lives, relationships & thoughts as a commodity to a corporation that logically expects to make a profit. I get more than a fair deal from Facebook.
 
This blog is written on WordPress. I don’t pay for the service. WordPress runs ads on my posts to help meet the costs of the business. I don’t see any of the revenue that these ads generate. Why should I? WordPress has been providing me with a “free” service for over six years so far.
 
If you want to discuss a worker’s uprising in a nation where hard work increasingly does not pay off, or the fact that the web and associated technologies are bringing about intrusive private sector and government tracking of our lives—I’m happy to discuss all that and I’m set for big changes in our nation. I’m firmly of the left and I’m ready to be part of moving our nation to the left.
 
However, I’m less open to the view that the fruits of other people’s labor and ideas should be offered for free, and yet at the same time we don’t like the terms of the exchange. There is little ideology or belief of any kind behind this type of thinking other than selfishness.
 
If folks want to talk about real empowerment rather than selfishness, I am ready for the discussion.
 

December 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Concerned About SOPA—But Leaving Some Lights On

As varying alliances of corporations fight over the so-called Stop Online Piracy Act, I’m not going to black out Texas Liberal today.

This is a different approach from my comrade Perry Dorrell who has blacked out his blog Brains & Eggs out of concern for the effects of this legislation.

While I have no trust in the corporations that back SOPA or for the intentions of the legislators in Washington that these corporations purchase, I also say that people who work to create content for a living should be paid if they produce something that others value in one way or another.

Instead of blacking the blog out, I’m going to offer up a picture that I took of  Downtown Houston in the dark of night, but with lights on in the buildings to suggest that people who work should be paid. (I’m guessing Houston City Hall is in red because Houston Mayor Annise Parker is a closet socialist. We can always hope.)  

Here is an overview on the issue from CNN.

Here is an article on Daily Kos written by a freelance film editor who says that while he feels he should be compensated for his efforts, that the legislation now before Congress is a threat to civil liberties and goes beyond protecting the little person hoping to sell his or her music for a fair price.

Here is Occupy Wall Street on SOPA. 

It is important that we focus on threats to web openness, and that we work to prevent government-corporate partnership that favors large interests over everyday citizens and that could lead to forms of censorship.

At the same time we should realize that government has a role to play in many aspects of commerce, and that even the biggest most impersonal corporation has people who depend on that corporation for a job.

January 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

You Are Not Connected To The Internet

You are not connected to the internet.

Photo taken in a vacant lot here in Houston.

(Picture copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.) 

April 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

I Was About To Write A Blog Post, But Then Got Caught Up In A Facebook Chat

File:AbelTasmanNP.jpg

I was about to begin writing a blog post a few minutes ago, when, instead, I became engaged in a Facebook chat with a friend of many years who now lives in New Zealand.

People are easily distracted in this time of so-called social media.

It is as if I am no more than a leaf in the wind.

Though I was quite glad to hear from this person who I have known since 1980.

30 years is a solid friendship and stands in great contrast to a leaf in the wind.

There are many trade-offs involved with this technology many of use each day.

It is now too late in the evening to begin the post I had intended to write this evening.

Being flexible of mind—As we are told we must be in this globalized age—I will offer up this post you are now reading as a replacement.

Above is a photo taken by a Steffen Hillebrand of Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand.

That sure looks like a nice place to visit.

I wonder if I could connect to the internet at Abel Tasman National Park and if I could call someone from my cell if I were at that park.

December 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If We Are Having An Information Revolution, Why Are So Many People Still So Ignorant?

I’ve been wondering today that if we are having an information revolution, why are so many people still so ignorant?

I’m sure that in many parts of the world computers and the web have made a great deal of difference in terms of access to information.  

In the United States though, it is not clear that people are any more knowledgeable than they were in the time of just three major television networks and no cable, print-only newspapers, and bookstores and libraries as the only places to get books and do research.

Here is a 2007 Pew study where only 69% of the people knew the name of the Vice President.  

Information revolution?

Maybe instead it’s a revolution in fragmenting people’s attention to the point of constant distraction, and a revolution in making people unemployed with technology. 

I can’t say that I’ve yet to see people with any better grasp of information than they had in the past as a result of the so-called information revolution.

June 1, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Self-Aware Net?—That’s Terrifying

File:Robot dog.jpg

A recent issue of New Scientist magazine asks if the world wide web could ever become self-aware.

( Above–A robo-dog. Who will be master? People or machines?) 

(New Scientist has interesting content every week. While I do not subscribe, I buy the magazine on the newsstand about twice a month. Free content on the web is never free. Someone has to pay for it or it will go away.)   

Two experts of the subject say it is possible that the world wide web could become self-aware. One of these mad scientists even says that this is something we should work to encourage.

From the article— 

“In engineering terms, it is easy to see qualitative similarities between the human brain and the internet’s complex network of nodes, as they both hold, process, recall and transmit information. “The internet behaves a fair bit like a mind,” says Ben Goertzel, chair of the Artificial General Intelligence Research Institute,  Not that it will necessarily have the same kind of consciousness as humans: it is unlikely to be wondering who it is, for instance…. To Francis Heylighen, who studies consciousness and artificial intelligence at the Free University of Brussels in Belgium, consciousness is merely a system of mechanisms for making information processing more efficient by adding a level of control over which of the brain’s processes get the most resources. “Adding consciousness is more a matter of fine-tuning and increasing control… than a jump to a wholly different level,” Heylighen says…. How might this manifest itself? Heylighen speculates that it might turn the internet into a self-aware network that constantly strives to become better at what it does, reorganising itself and filling gaps in its own knowledge and abilities. If it is not already semiconscious, we could do various things to help wake it up, such as requiring the net to monitor its own knowledge gaps and do something about them. It shouldn’t be something to fear, says Goertzel: “The outlook for humanity is probably better in the case that an emergent, coherent and purposeful internet mind develops.”

Here is the link for Ben Goertzel. 

Here is the link for Francis Heylighen.

These people are out of their minds. If they want their toasters and clock radios killing them while they sleep I can’t do anything about that.  I can just tell you it is not the future I want.

Now I know I’m someone who has trouble with technology more advanced than a wind-up toy, but the idea that we might have an aware internet watching us and knowing us is crazy. I don’t have to know how to operate the cable remote to figure out that I don’t want a self-aware net following me around. 

( If the internet is already self-aware, I hope it realizes I’m being forced to write this by parasites in my brain and that I’m deeply sorry if I’ve offended the internet in any way.)

You can say the web will develop only a limited capacity for awareness or action, but how can you be sure?

A rival intelligence on Earth?

That will go really well.

May 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

That Free Web Content You Enjoy Is Likely Costing Somebody A Job

The Economist has an editorial this week saying that the model of free web services sustained only by advertising revenue is for the most part not viable.

From the editorial—

The idea that you can give things away online, and hope that advertising revenue will somehow materialise later on, undoubtedly appeals to users, who enjoy free services as a result. There is business logic to it, too. The nature of the internet means that the barrier to entry for new companies is very low—indeed, thanks to technological improvements, it is even lower in the Web 2.0 era than it was in the dotcom era. The internet also allows companies to exploit network effects to attract and retain users very quickly and cheaply. So it is not surprising that rival search engines, social networks or video-sharing sites give their services away in order to attract users, and put the difficult question of how to make money to one side. If you worry too much about a revenue model early on, you risk being left behind.

Ultimately, though, every business needs revenues—and advertising, it transpires, is not going to provide enough. Free content and services were a beguiling idea. But the lesson … is that somebody somewhere is going to have to pick up the tab for lunch.

(Just as a note, I have a paid print subscription to The Economist.)

I’m glad The Economist ran this view because I often wonder how people think the web services they enjoy and use can operate if they are given for free. Even more so, I wonder how it has come to be that people feel entitled to use something for free.  

For all the financial  problems with newspapers these days, the problems are not the  result of a lack of readers. When you figure in web editions, more people are reading the newspaper—in one form or another—than ever before. It’s just that people are not willing to pay for the services they are using.

At core what folks want is something for nothing. The bottom line is not some type of information revolution or technology revolution. It’s the lure of something for nothing.

Content costs money to produce. People may think they are getting something for free–But what is really happening is that people are losing their jobs because nobody will pay up. This is the cost of so-called free content.

March 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 9 Comments

What Does A Blogger Do When The Internet Connection Is Down?

I got home from work yesterday around 5:15 PM. 

I signed on to my computer to see if Texas Liberal had 50,000 views for the day.

(I was 49,200 short as it would later turn out.)

I found I could not sign in online.

I called A T & T. They said there had been an outage and that service would be restored by 8 PM.

That did not happen.

This morning I still had no connection. I called again.

I was told it was not about an outage but about some sort of connection issue either specific to my computer or just outside my home.

It was fixed by 5 PM today.

Okay–Good enough.

I was off from work today.

Though I have plenty I could do and a million books to read, I was at a loss this morning without the ability to go online. 

They say people become addicted to being on the internet.

I think this is true.

What I did today instead of blogging, was buy a huge burrito and take it home. Then I found a DVD of The Taming of the Shrew with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

I’d bought this DVD at the supermarket at least a year ago. Today was my day to watch it.      

I ate my big burrito and watched The Taming of the Shrew.  This was a good way to spend an afternoon.  

Below is the poster for the movie.

Here is information on the play as Shakespeare wrote it. 

Below is a picture of a burrito. Here is some information on the history of the burrito.  

I’d say my day was okay without the internet.

April 11, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

   

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 138 other followers