iPad2 = Macintosh SE-30

Macintosh se30: Remember when this was state of the art?

Big business is out to steal your PC from you. You may not realize it but if you are a real consumer, you have a plethora of technological gadgets at your disposal: digital camera, digital camcorder, cellular phone, smartphone, desktop computer, laptop computer, digital reader, digital handheld (iPad, Xoom) devices.

Have you noticed the trend in the industry to convince you to consolidate your devices? They tell you its about you having the convenience to carry only one device or less devices. Hence your digital camera and your cell phone became a single unit. Now it takes crappy pictures and can barely hold a decent call while you are moving faster than a walk, but you only have to carry one device. Then they wanted you to believe your cell phone could double as a computer interface giving you access to the internet and your email, and your Facebook and your Twitter account.

So, now you have a crappy camera, connected to a barely usable cellphone that also allows you to connect to the internet at dialup speeds (Wheeeee!) and can surf the overburdened telephone network with your supersized web pages that have long since ditched any level of simplicity and instead download scripts, and php pages and database files and viruses to your handheld that does not have any anti-virus protection and they tell you its a good thing because you don’t have to wait until you get back to your computer to use Facebook or Twitter or email or whatever services they are pushing off onto your bank account next.

Lets not forget the constant push toward the cloud, and the constant need to convince you the cloud is good. “To the cloud” is the watchword for Microsoft ads these days. Does anyone watching these ads have any idea of what “the cloud” is? Do they have any idea of the fact they are simply doing what we have done for the last thirty years as distributed computing. If the word “Wang” means anything to you, you have dealt with distributed computing before. And if it doesn’t, you are likely paying for a service you don’t need or know enough about to be giving money away before you find out what it is. I am not trying to cause anyone to be concerned, per se. But I am tired of hearing about how the cloud is going to save us. Let me tell you what is really going on.

Big business has only one agenda. To separate you from your cash. If you work for corporate America, their second agenda is to make sure you aren’t make much cash to begin with, the better to keep you coming to work tomorrow. The best way to separate canny consumers from their cash today, because let’s face it, you are going to be more frugal than you have been in the past, with the economy the way it is, so you have to be convinced, okay, let’s keep it real, tricked, into giving big corporations your hard earned money.

3G, 4G, 5G: no standards for any of them, so when will you know you have it?

So the three card monty goes something like this: Big business wants more customers to pay more fees for services they don’t need so they need to convince people to use something they don’t need and create a non-existent need so people will feel they are being left out if they are not able to participate. The predicted market for smartphones is estimated to be sixty million devices by the year 2014. There are a lot of fees associated with smart phones. Phone purchase, check, service activation, check, data transfer fees, check, peak hour fees, check, non-subscriber connection fees, check, the purchase of apps for your smart device, check, antivirus (not yet available, but coming soon to a smartphone near you,) 3G or 4G or 5G network connection fees and any miscellaneous fees they can hide inside of the fine print you are too damn busy to read, check.

So what does this have to do with your computer? Glad you asked. Smartphones suck. They are, for all of their technological wonderfulness, simply inadequate for you to do anything significant on. Hence the creation of the laptop, notebook, notepad, iPad, Xoom devices designed to cost less than a desktop/laptop, in theory, and offer you access to a computer-like interface so you can be away from home and work on ideas while you are sipping your latte at Starbucks. And they sell them, like the second coming of Jesus, and if they were as wonderful as they are made out to be, they might be worthwhile, but in comparison to a good desktop, they are simply inadequate to the task.

Underpowered, overpriced, sleekly designed, and marketed with a level of cool that would make liquid nitrogen jealous, they are the most useless devices on the market today. They have all of the failings of smartphones, only bigger. Pitiful CPUs, slow performance, laughable network speeds, slow loading browsers, in some cases, incomplete or poorly performing operating systems (no Flash? Come on, only one of the most important developments since video came to the computer) No keyboards, no mice, no connectivity to printers (in earlier iterations) and most importantly, no real reason to exist except someone said they should. They are designed to required a variety of external peripherals, wireless interfaces, specialized keyboards, stands, covers, bags and the list goes on. When you are finished equipping the device with the tools necessary to be useful, you would have been better off with a laptop that you could actually work on.

Which brings me to the ultimate idea here. When you have been convinced to give up your desktop for this underpowered interface device, you are basically being told, Go Back to Being a Consumer of Content. We want to sell you access to the internet and its services. Anything you used to get for free, we expect you to pay a pretty penny for, in some cases more than you did when it actually cost twice as much to create. This is another fee you have to pony up for and you are losing your ability to create content easily because none of the interface devices: smartphone, iPad, Xoom, etc make it really easy to create content worth looking at, with the power, speed, facility, and connectivity you get from your computer. So the real message here is stop trying to make good or complex content. Just sit back and consume. Take your Soma and go to sleep. We will handle anything worth reading, creating or doing.

All of these smart devices are a menace to the internet, they are simply adding addresses and using resources, utilizing bandwidth and providing nothing useful for anyone, while big corporations lap up the network resources and leave you reading CNN and ESPN and the Wall Street Journal in 720dpi and thinking how cool you look reading while you drink your latte and drive to work at the same time. When the internet, overburdened with crappy, underpowered devices turns into the cyberghetto, you can expect that big corporations will have crafted a new internet with better security, better interfaces, more friendly tools that works better than the Internet they just corrupted and you can join them on the NewerNet for a fee equal to three times what you used to pay on their previous network. And you will pay it. The difference will be the NewerNet won’t have any means for you to create content without paying THEM.

One day, a great idea. Today, a well-designed, overpriced reliquary.

No, I am not a Luddite, or advocate running away from technology. My point of this essay is to make you question, WHY you buy technology or the company line and have you considered the ramifications when hundreds of thousands or millions of these devices, whichever they are, being created, designed and sold without any consideration for the future or the unintended consequences of those devices on everyone using the Internet. How many new devices can we create before we collapse the Internet in a twittering, social media orgasm of video feeds of cute kittens and American Idols as common as houseflies.

I don’t ever intend to give up my computer. They will get my computer and my ability to create content when they pry it from my cold dead fingers.

Soma and Lattes are counter-indicated.

If at this point, the title doesn’t make sense to you, I will help you out. In my personal belief, the iPad and all of these underpowered pieces of technological balderdash are, except for their video output a step backwards in terms of capability, usability and functionality. One day, they may grow up and be more useful or powerful but right now, we are heading backward, mesmerized by pretty video displays while we struggle to post an email using that damn touch screen.

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One More False Division in America

COMMENTARY

College Scholarships for White Men Only: Is That Racist?College Scholarships for White Men Only: Is That Racist?

Race or ethnic-based college scholarships proliferate through the country but one group is notably absent: White men. Colby Bohannan, a Texas State University student, plans to change that.

Bohannan, who is a mass communication major, said when he applied to schools, he found few, if any, scholarships he could get because of his race, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

“I felt excluded,” he told the newspaper. “If everyone else can find scholarships, why are we left out?”

He and others began a non-profit group called the Former Majority Association for Equality, which plans to offer five $500 scholarships to white male students. The group has so far raised more than $500 dollars. To qualify, according to the Statesman, applicants must prove they are at least 25 percent Caucasian and in financial need.

“We’re not looking for blond-haired, blue-eyed, stereotypical white males,” he told the newspaper. “My feeling is that if you can say you’re 25 percent Caucasian, you’re Caucasian enough for us.”

You can read the source article at: http://www.statesman.com/news/local/texas-state-st…

One More False Division in America


This was a survey question posted on Sodahead. If you have never been to Sodahead, consider it a place likely to be avoided by most people with even the slightest hint of sanity. Now if you want to wallow in the mud, fight about topics of dubious quality, see human nature at its most shallow and divisive, then Sodahead is likely to be the place for you. I have a friend there who directed this question to me. Initially, I considered it beneath my notice to even acknowledge it. But then I started reading the answers of the people who did respond. And well, it enraged me to say the least. Enjoy.


MY ANSWER: 

Merriam-Webster defines Racism: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race

So the question is inherently flawed because:

1. defining a scholarship for a particular subset of any community may be inherently selective and as the persons defining that scholarship, they are perfectly within their legal and ethical rights to do so.

2. The scholarship does not infringe on any particular groups rights. It does not cause anyone to lose access to a resource by its very existence.

3. It does not indicate the scholarship is only for elite, superior, or in some other less than civilized manner, a subset of society who engages in any particularly offensive aspect of society.

4. There are numerous other scholarships that provide for similar exclusivity that will also pass the same litmus test and are already in existence, so this one should be able to exist for the same reason those other do.

So the answer to the question is no, the scholarship or its providers are not inherently racist in their creation or provision for this scholarship.

As to the many other issues being raised in the answers posted, that is another matter entirely:

It is unfortunate as a society, such a division over such a tiny bit of money being allocated to any individual should raise such fervor when tens of billions of dollars flows easily through the hands of a select 300,000 mostly white, mostly conservative members of this society due to the economic largess of their social group. That means they help each other get rich, stay rich and maintain their wealth off of the backs of the little people (that is what they call anyone who is not one of them).

This tiny group of the American populace (less than 1% of the total population) who controlled, for example 56% of all of the wealth produced in this nation last year. This same group self-selects for wealth, so that CEOs, for example, who made $100 million last year, this year on average made five times that amount, $500 million (that is half a billion dollars) this year! No matter what they tell you, no one gets rich auto-magically. The rich know where the bodies are buried, if they did not bury them themselves literally or figuratively using lawsuits and gag orders to hide their backroom dealings to perpetuate their wealth.

The irony of this conversation is not lost on me. Any single one of those executives could afford to send 5,000 students to a $100,000 education, sufficient for almost any education facility in the nation. That $100,000 split, could send 10,000 students for a $50,000 education, sufficient for almost any state college anywhere in the nation, even today. So while we sit and debate the dubious “racial” question of whether a particular group can make a scholarship for another particular group, we are so busy arguing over these tiniest of crumbs (these scholarships are one-millionth of what those CEOs will make this year), they will happily continue to drain wealth from the local economy, meaning you and I, into their own pockets.

All of you are happy to defend their right to make money. It is, after all, the capitalistic way of this nation. But are you paying attention to the big picture? Large corporations, on Wall Street have continued to talk about their incredible profits they have earned for the last two years now, while the economy here on Main Street continues to show record levels of unemployment, particularly for the very young 15-25, or the very old 45-65, whose unemployment can be anywhere from 2x to 5x the level of unemployment for anyone else. And so many whites will say there is no racial inequality in America, and that whites are a minority in this nation. It is not true. There is still significant racial inequality in America today. All one has to do to see it, is to turn on your television.

I won’t bother to repeat what you all know to be America’s unwashed laundry. I will say instead, one day, that will be true. The concept that whites will, for the first time in this nation’s history become an actual minority, at least numerically. The US Census indicates that by between the years 2030 and 2050, for the first time in this nation’s, relatively brief history, Whites will not be a statistical population based majority. They will, however, still own the majority of wealth in this nation, particularly if the current trends in wealth acquisition continues.

That level of acquisition, of course, cannot continue. The national as well as state economies are already in a state of collapse, partially due to the increasing density of economically challenged populations, the lack of economic viability in many states, the outsourcing of the manufacturing capability of the nation to the emerging markets of China and India, the inability of home prices and values to stabilize, the inability of the government to regulate taxation on large corporations who continue to underpay their fair share of taxes.

The galling inability of state governments to raise sufficient taxes to continue to operate effectively mostly because corporations have found “corporate welfare” so effective at keeping their tax burdens low.

Add to this, the increasing unrest in the Middle East, which continues to raise the cost of gasoline, which in turn raises the cost of food, which is then passed to the consumer who has not had an effective raise in over 30 years and you have a climate that is stress-inducing, rancor-increasing, and armed with divisive rhetoric and corporate controlled media, has induced the people who could have something to say about how the nation is being run into the ground, to instead, fight over the tiniest of issues as if they were entirely significant and worthy of any conversation whatsoever.

This is a masterstroke of modern corporate malfeasance, where corporations have managed to grow staggeringly wealthy, control the Supreme Court to allow them to spend as much money as they like on whatever candidate can best continue to allow them to grow unchecked, much like the cancer on society they appear to be, and continue to manipulate and dominate any form of interaction with the people who are supposed to be in charge of this government.

Such economic power, the power to control who you have to vote for, means, in essence, they already control every aspect of this society, because we know, for the most part, election statistics prove that he who spends the most money is most likely to win. And this is because he can control what you see and hear through modern media. Millions have been spent on media when corporations were required to limit what they can spend. Our next elections will have billions spent. Now, more than ever, your government is up for sale to the highest bidder.

The number of people who are currently unemployed in this nation is conservatively estimated at 9.4%. The real numbers are closer to 19% to 22%. In some social groups, young black men 15 to 28, for instance, that number is 50%, educated with degrees or not. It disturbs me to see so much misinformation about which group is most oppressed, or which group has it the hardest. This information is out there. You do not have to guess. You can go and read it for yourself.

If you are a white person who has not managed to gain any part of that mega-wealth that is happening in the nation or have not been able to cash in on “white privilege,” that does not surprise me. This stopped really being a war of race a long time ago. It is now a class war. If you are one of the wealthy, you know this already. No one tells the general populace about it because it is such an efficient tool to keep groups at each other throats.

Stop being stupid. All of you. Stop saying stupid things. You do not have to. The information is out there. If you can spend your day saying stupid things here which do nothing for you but show how uninformed you are, you could spend at least part of your day GETTING INFORMED about issues that affect you and your economy where you live. The nation is in a shambles, but it is not, despite what pundits and politicians will tell you, because people do not want to work. It is because politicians want to control our government.

The simplest way to do that is to control who has work. Politicians DO NOT MAKE WORK. Corporations make work. Stop asking politicians why you cannot have a job, or a scholarship program that actually does anything for you. They are not in charge of those things. Corporations are. Corporations hire, corporations loan money, corporations help small business grow to become big business. When corporations sit on money, as they are doing now, NOTHING happens.

The economic numbers say, no matter what the crazed elected officials in your state say, there are five people to every one job out there. So even if we were to fill every single job that is available right now. (Poof! They’re filled.) There would still be 15 million people who are underemployed (not able to live on what they are making due to the high cost of living where they live) or unemployed (without meaningful work). Oh, and if I hear the mantra, “we just need people to get more education” someone will be getting slapped.

So stop repeating what stupid politicians are saying to keep you happy, and find out what really needs to be done to fix what is really one of the worst economic collapses in the history of the world. And if your politician says one thing and does something completely different. VOTE THAT BASTARD OUT. Put a new one in. See if he is any smarter. If not, RINSE AND REPEAT. If you do not live on Wall Street, this means you. And if you live on Wall Street, there are a bunch of people who could do with a scholarship since you have made it impossible for anyone to even become a dishwasher without a damn degree.

Once everyone has a degree, I guess HR will have to go back to READING resumes rather than just throwing away any without degrees on them. Or are all of you sheep prepared to keep getting more useless overpriced degrees in fields that have died in the time it took for you to get them, so that corporations can keep you enslaved to your debt while they suck years of your life away in a virtual indentured servitude where they pay you less and less and work you longer and longer.

http://www.wsj.com – even the free version is worth reading daily.
http://www.nytimes.com – even the free version is worth reading daily.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com – hate them, but most times they get the news right.
http://www.latimes.com – occasionally annoying but useful to read
http://www.propublica.org – last years Pulitzer Prize winner
http://politifact.com/ – politicians lie, it is a fact of life. They monitor. Worth reading
http://mediamatters.org – media agencies lie, regularly. they get monitored here.
http://robertreich.org – Chancellor of Public Policy at Berkeley – read every chance you get.
http://mediasphere.tumblr.com – a collection of news articles, I find interesting.

There are lots of other news sources out there. But that is not my job. That is your job. Now go out and fire a politician somewhere. I am certain you can find one.