Monday, January 31, 2000
Then, 1989, I went off to school and the gadgets pretty much ended. My folks had enough financial worries just keeping me in school, I wasn't about to turn around and ask them for any more high priced gadgets - especially since I was more interested in having enough money to finish my student films. Another thing happened in 1989, I saw my first Windows Laptop machine. It was glorious for it's day - it was portable, it had a backlit monitor screen, point-and-click and everything! Of course, the most my Mom could afford was a DOS laptop which, while being bell-and-whistle-free, did manage to get the job done. But I never considered it a "gadget" because it there was no cool factor. It simply functioned and that was that. That was ten years ago.
Ten years later, in 1999, I finally got my finances under control as an adult and could actually say in all honesty that I was making more money than I spent. It was great - and not so great. I finally was able to buy that Windows based laptop that I had wanted since 1989. Better late than never, I guess! On top of that, I bought a CD burner which I LOVE. This year for the holidays everyone got my obligatory comics-drawn-by-me calendar on CD-ROM - which allowed me to spend a LOT less money on everyone. For Christmas my Dad got me a RAM card for my digital camera (did I mention that I got a digital camera?) that was too big for it, so I had to take it back to Best Buy. But there, I managed to exchange it for a brand new (but open boxed and therefore discounted) Palm Pilot IIIe!! That's where I am now - what gadgets are left to me? I am infinitely happy in my new found gadgetness, but where do I go from here?
I know - if only we all had these problems. I realize it's pretty lame of me to whine about this sort of thing, BUT IT'S MY DAMN WEB SITE!! If you don't like it, TELL ME ON THE VENTILATION PAGE.
These were the Eighties' equivalent to the Lone Ranger, but they were vacant of any true moralistic spirit. Michael would get in to trouble and KITT would save his ass. Meanwhile, the A-Team would simply get revenge on some mean guy who was taking advantage of some little guy - yip-E. Even when I was a kid I watched these shows and thought they were pretty lame, it's just that watching Mr. T act like an ass and watching that sleek Trans Am made both shows bearable. The Nineties offered up no such role models. The only notable characters that comes to mind from the Nineties would be Bart Simpson, Jerry Seinfeld and Al Bundy. Jeez. So what's the deal here? Why is it that we as a culture don't seem to mind that the examples that are set for us are morally bankrupt? I mean, come on!!
Al Bundy taught we men that we should want to have sex with anyone except our wives.
The Simpsons taught us that men are frigging idiots while women are secretly brilliant but never quite brilliant enough to do anything with that brilliance.
Jerry Seinfeld taught us to blur the line separating fiction and reality so much that no one is really surprised when AFTER his sitcom goes off the air the REAL Jerry Seinfeld hooks up with a married woman and proceeds to break up her marriage.
Hollywood in 1999 gave a lifetime achievement award to a brilliant film maker who just happen to help keep several immensely talented writers from getting work in the film industry during the Communist Witch Hunt. As if it wasn't already hard enough to get work as a writer. We seem to be a country that can quite easily concentrate on what we like about a person and wholly ignore what is sheer evil about them. Did you know Charles Lindburg disliked Jews? Did you know that Bob Fosse, one of the greatest stage and film directors of all time was an alcoholic and used heavy quantities of cocaine, uppers and downers? (The combination of all these drugs help lead Fosse to an early grave.)
Since the real world is filled with flawed, somewhat bankrupt people, why don't we compensate in our media? Why doesn't SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE suggest that we can do better? Oh yeah, someone tried to once. Two thousand years ago and boy did they nail him to the wall for it. Ah well, we all have our cross to bare.
I can't believe how hypocondriatic the United States has become. A decade ago, if you never went out and shied away from people you were called mousy. A shut-in. A tea-totaller. Now, you're in need of mental therapy. For me, it wasn't a disorder, I just had an intense dislike of people - or at least dealing with them. I was more than happy to be among them, but I hated dealing with most of them. It wasn't crippling, I just didn't like to deal with people. They didn't understand me and I didn't feel like putting up with their questions, their laughs, their comments. While I do admit that there must be some people who are crippled by their shyness - these people do need help - but I still deny that they have a disorder. They just need to be helped out of their shell - assuming they WANT to be helped out of their shell. So let's not go around telling everyone that there is an epidemic of "extreme shyness disorder" effecting 10 million people when there's a good possibility that some of those people choose to be shy. And besides - if 10 million people suffer from this "disorder", how much of a DISorder is it? It seems pretty common to me.
Monday, January 24, 2000
1) Give out free internet service. They run so many ads on their service as it is - why not just raise their rates a bit and give away free subscriptions? They can afford it!
2) Stop selling any private information to third parties. AOL recently began asking it's subscribers whether they wanted their private information sold to outside marketing companies on an annual basis. So, instead of members having to tell AOL once that they don't want their info being peddled, they have to tell them once a year - if they forget, their mailbox is flooded with Spam. Yipee.
3) Come out with a lite version of AOL, a sort of AOLa. "A" for advanced. For a long time I've considered AOL to be "Internet for Dummies" because it does everything for you. I'd like a version that is customizable - a version that I can decide how much of their service I want to take part in. That way I can use exactly the parts of AOL that I like.
4) Have AOL software come with different sound schemes. Hearing "You've got mail!" from that pencil-necked scrawny white guy over and over every damn time I get mail drives me INSANE. I know I can change it, but I'd like to hear that pencil-necked guy say other things. Like how about "You've got milk!" or "I get royalties" or perhaps my favorite "You got laid!"
5) Burn all copies of You've Got Mail starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.
There, those requests aren't too drastic, are they? Feel free to add your own on the Ventilation page! Once they do all of the above, I'll be MORE than happy to sign up! (Especially #5!)
You're probably wondering where my point is, well HERE: In this world of overnight deliveries, why is it that my credit card is charged days before my order is even PROCESSED?!? Days after THAT, my order is finally SHIPPED. And THEN - THEN - I discover that some moron sent it UPS ground - the SLOWEST DELIVERY METHOD KNOWN TO MAN. $12 to get something that would never show up. NICE. UPS promises on their commercials that they move at the speed of business. Well, having been in the business world, I know that the speed of business is insanely slow. For once I see truth in advertising. THE BASTARDS! But then, it's not just UPS that is messing up - it's these online services - when you walk into a store and buy something. They charge you and you get to bring it with you right away. Now, I understand that the nature of online shopping is that you have to wait for your item to show up. So, how about a compromise - THEY don't get my MONEY until they SHIP my STUFF! I think that's fair, don't you?
Monday, January 17, 2000
But think about it - I hear they already flash more ads than a calculator on AOL, so they have GOT to be charging for it and if they stopped charging for internet service, EVERYONE would join, which would up their subscription numbers tremendously, which would mean that the ads on their service would be reaching that many more people which would mean they could charge more for the ads and pass the savings on to their victims-- I mean customers, by not charging anything. If AOL really wanted to impress me, they could come out with AOL Advanced for people who just want to get on the 'net. But that's another Bitch.
Here are the negatives to the AOL/Time-Warner merger. First off, we're all going to see a LOT more advertising for the three companies products. As I mentioned above, you'll be able to find out anything about any product they create. Of course, this means they'll do their best to jam advertising for those products down our throats. You'll see loads of cross-promotional spots where you won't know exactly what they're advertising, internet, magazines, TV, movies, cartoons, cable.
The next negative thing is that filmmakers will have less control over how their product is marketed. Odds are once the ATW PR department gets a hold of your movie it'll be plugged into the same old formula. The trailer to your film will look like the trailer for every other film. And let's just say you HATE AOL. Your movie will be splashed all over the damn service.
The third reason AOL and Time-Warner should not merge is the lack of selection for us, the consumers. Not only will the trailers look the same, but the movies, the shows and just about everything else will most likely be way too similar.
The absolute worst thing that could happen as a result of this merger is that it may set the standard for other companies. Already there is talk of Yahoo merging with Disney. I'm sure Viacom would be more than happy to get in bed with Amazon.com. Perhaps Fox's parent company News Corporation (their real name! How INVENTIVE, don't you think?) might want to hook up with Earthlink or Prodigy. SHEESH! The next thing you know, the whole world will be ruled by three or four massive companies. They'll own EVERYTHING. Not just media, but appliances, services, food, etc. By the mid twenty-first century, the three of four companies will be so powerful, they will persuade lawmakers to allow all of the companies to merge into one massive corporation. Then, there will be two kinds of people. People who work for the corporation and the people that don't. The catch is, both kinds of people will pay money to the corporation. The future sure looks bright, doesn't it?
Saturday, January 1, 2000
Recently, a Palm Beach, Florida company announced that it has developed a small chip to be implanted in a person that could use Global Positioning Satellite technology to track the person. The obvious use of such an item would be to track small children should they get lost or be abducted. A less obvious use for such a device would be to monitor heart patients’ heart in case of an attack. Both of those uses are reasonable, but imagine what law enforcement would do with this technology.
If strict laws (as well as strict enforcement of said laws) were in place things MIGHT not be bad - but without super-strict laws governing why this device is used, cops could use the device to track people who they think might be criminals.
Not to sound paranoid, but it really would be like the view screens in 1984 only more efficient. The models that exist now can monitor heart rate and location, what’s next? Brain waves? Blood pressure? Blood alcohol level? Stomach contents?
Big Brother will be INSIDE us.
Even if Big Brother were to be a good guy in the real world, some hacker guy could just wander in and steal all of your personal and private information. Personally, I don’t worry about security on the Internet, because I know that there is no such thing as privacy on the ‘net. I know that anything I put out there could possibly end up on someone else’s computer - that person could be someone I don’t know or worse, someone I don’t trust. But this implanted chip would be too much, I think that is pretty obvious.