Category Archives: technology

Weekly Summary

I haven’t been posting on this blog too much. I have a lot of other things going on but I’m hoping to start a little something new here. I spend a lot of time online throughout the week, I read a lot on line, and watch a bit of online video as well. Every week on our radio show, This Small Town Life, Kinsee and I have a little segment called This Week on the Internet. I always tend to scramble at the last minute to remember what happened and come up with things to talk about. My plan is to start posting weekly summaries here, on either Friday or Saturday, both to comment a bit on what’s going on, as well as to help me with the segment for the show.

CollegeHumor Back to the Future Sex Scenes Parody — I’m a big fan of Back to the Future. And I think Collegehumor makes some of the best quality online videos (they can be juvenile at times, but the production quality is always great).

Facebook Denis All Wrongdoing in Beacon Data Breach — I remember when Beacon came out, I consider myself pretty tech and privacy savvy, so I read about Beacon, and how to disable it. I (thought) I disabled Beacon with Facebook’s instructions and then bought something from an online store that was part of the program. Sure enough it showed up on my Facebook wall. I never figured out what I did wrong, but after that I think I took a more technical approach and used a browser extension or script to disable it.

NPR on Richard Brautigan — I only heard of Richard Brautigan a couple of years ago, while at a wedding near Redwoods National Park. Someone told me I looked just like him on the cover of Trout Fishing in America the way I was dressed. I picked up a copy of the book not long after. I can’t remember the last time before this that a book has had such an impact on me. Reading The Pill Versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, while backpacking in the Sierra Nevada with friends was an amazing experience.

Net at Night Episode 139 — I listen to a handful to TWiT shows each week. I can’t stand Leo Laporte, he glosses over so many details and doesn’t research things before talking about them on the shows, it’s really annoying. But typically the guests and co-hosts are more informed. Jeff Jarvis and Gina Trapani on TWiG and Amber MacArthur on net@night all impress me. I liked this episode for the guests though, two people involved with streaming music online with differing views in regards to curation vs discovery.

Google Is Being Evil, Music Bloggers Say — Under the DMCA (or other laws), is there any recourse if a company (in this case a record label) files a false DMCA complaint and your hosting provider (in this case Google/Blogger) deletes all your content?

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iPod Touch and Switcheasy Thumbtacks Mic

I bought an iPod Touch about a week ago after my five year old iPod finally died.

I love the Touch, the apps you can download are great and make it really expandable. I stream music from the internet and my home computer, play games, read email and browse the web on it, it’s great.

Another thing I was excited about was the ability to record notes, use Shazam, the app that tells you what song is playing by recording a little bit of it, and trying out Skype. To do this you need a microphone as there isn’t out built into the Touch. I saw the Switcheasy Thumbtacks Mic and it looked good. It’s small, unobtrusive, cheap and has good reviews. I ordered one right away and was anxious to get it. According to their website arrival time is 2-5 days depending upon the distance from their warehouse.

Well, here I am 9 days later, anxious to play with my new toy, and I still haven’t gotten it. I emailed them when I didn’t recieve a tracking number and was given a tracking number and told it would ship soon. When I check the tracking number on the USPS website it shows that it hasn’t even shipped yet.

Hopefully the mic itself is better than Switcheasy’s customer service.

Audience Atomization Overcome?

Audience Atomization Overcome? That sounds overly complex to me. Fortunately, the article the name comes from: Audience Atomization Overcome: Why the Net Erodes the Authority of the Press by Jay Rosen on The Huffington Post isn’t nearly as hard to understand as the title given it.

The first part of the article focuses on the inherent and often unacknowledged bias of political journalism. I think in some ways that bias can be carried out to more than just politics and more than just journalism. Anyone acting as an expert or authority on a subject fills the role described I think.

But it wasn’t the first part of the article that got me to read it. I wanted to hear how the net is changing things. That is the focus of the second part of the article, it talks about how blogs allow like minded individuals to network and share their ideas.

It’s all well and good, I agree with a lot of the article more or less, but I was disappointed that it didn’t touch on the fact that this benefit that comes with the internet, how easy it is for people to share news and their opinions also places a burden on the consumer of that information. Because anyone can have a voice the reader must determine if the author they are reading has any authority on a given subject at all. It’s easy for someone to create a professional looking website or blog and then spew total nonsense while acting like an expert.

That is what I see as one of the biggest hurtles to online media. The consumer has to be much more vigilent about what they read and how much they scrutinize it. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. But because there is hardly ever anyone fact checking blog posts I think news and media must be consumed online in a much different fashion than with the traditional medial.

The joys of technology

Even before I read the book Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering for the 21st Century a few years ago I was weary of technological improvements in voting systems. I have a love-hate relationship with technology it seems, sometimes I love new tech gadgets, other times I think we shouldn’t mess with what works, and reading that book definetely pushed me over the edge from just being concerned about electronic voting, to downright distrustful.

Amy Goodman reported on Democracy Now today that early voters in multiple states have already had problems casting votes on electronic voting machines. Many of these electronic voting systems have no paper trail or verifiability. Once you push the button you just have to trust that your vote gets counted for candidate you intended. There’s no way to ever got back and double check like with paper ballots. Many of these electronic voting systems are closed-source, meaning no one has examined the source code to make sure there are no bugs that can cause votes to not be counted properly, or ensure that there is no malicious code to change votes.

Many states have withdrawn approval for certain electronic voting machines, but other states are still using them.

Wikipedia has good summaries of the controversies surrounding two of the electronic voting machine companies Premier Election Solutions and Sequoia Voting Systems.