Saturday, September 29, 2007

Free Public Transportation

Everyday I drive to work and wish I could leave the driving to others. Unfortunately, the city where I live lacks an effective public transportation system that would allow many of us to save time and money. Some people are even calling for free public transportation and show that it would save all of us money in the long run. It is very thought-provoking reading, and shows a very worthy goal to consider for every community in the world.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Is It Illegal?

Is it illegal? Really? Hmmmm ... interesting! I am referring to blocking ads on web pages -- illegal? There is an article in that indicates there is a new legal battle brewing with the aim of forcing content down our throats. The article indicates that websites that depend on advertisements for revenue think it is illegal for ads to be blocked. I strongly oppose any content being pushed to my machine without my express consent. Just because someone paid for the ad does not mean I have to watch it or run it on my computer. This is similar to forcing us to look at every billboard on the road just because we are driving on it and someone paid for the billboard! Or forcing us to read every single classified ad in the newspaper because someone paid for it and we are interested in the news. At least with TV we can change channels, mute the receiver or get up and do something else during commercials. But when we access a website we only have one choice to avoid unwanted content: block it. The same technology that is being used to force ads on us is being used to protect us from this invasion -- it only seems fair to me! Web advertisers may just be hurting themselves if they support legal action that forces this issue and prevents blocking of ads -- would you visit a website that forces you to do anything? Would they not then become part of the malware family in that they would be invading people's machines with unwanted code? Personally, I will not support any enterprise that tries to force me into something. I always have a choice and will make it well known -- will you?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Stallman's Challenge

A challenge has been issued -- and we all love a challenge, don't we? Or do we? Richard Stallman has challenged all computer users to shake apathy and fight for the right to use computers freely. Will you and I make the time and put the effort forth to realize the dream of free computing? Or are we too busy or too lazy to do so? Please read the full interview -- your freedom depends on it!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Microsoft's Failed OOXML Standard

My commentary today goes to Microsoft's latest failure to force the world to accept the "standard" they decided would best suit them. Many things worked against this campaign, but the key appeared to be unethical behavior in Sweden. That may have begun a chain reaction. Whether the OOXML format was worthy of ISO certification or not is now irrelevant. The fact that Microsoft decided to cheat its way into success -- a strategy they are used to since the company's inception -- finally backfire on them in an international arena. Microsoft reminds me of the old monarchies that would do anything to accomplish their goal. Eventually the monarchies collapsed under the pressure of their corrupted ways. History repeats itself.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

More Stupid Corporate Greed

As a fitting follow-up to last week's commentary, I came across news of ISPs turning their backs on rural America and condemning them to the ineffective access we know as dial-up. There is a complete link to the story elsewhere in this issue. The point of the story is that short-term profits are driving ISPs away from expanding access to high-speed internet for all Americans. It is shameful that the USA is already behind Japan and various European nations in the speed of our internet networks. But the fact that rural communities are excluded from much needed broadband access is unforgivable. The short-sighted business decisions leading to these policies need serious reconsideration by all ISPs. What are the chances that they will do that? I have not seen wings on pigs yet. But maybe if we all start contacting our State and Federal officials we can begin influencing how ISPs operate in our areas. How about it -- are you willing to stand-up for rural America?

And speaking of stupid business decisions, it appears someone at Microsoft has decided that the great program called "AutoPatcher" somehow violates one of the thousands of rules, laws, regulations they have invented to make more money from the public. As of this writing, thousands of IT and computer-savvy users are being deprived from using AutoPatcher to update Windows systems while offline. Yes, another greed-driven decision that not only hurts the company that made the move, but mostly impacts consumers.

Please do not get me wrong: I am not anti-profits or anti-corporate; I am pro-consumer and pro-intelligence.