Friday, October 18, 2013

Windows 8.1, the cloud, and a bigger tie-in to intrusive marketing has a nice article on how Windows 8.1 make your PC more like the tablet computers replacing the desktop personal computer in the market place.

It seems Microsoft is moving in the "right" direction, according to writer Mat Honan, with increased reliance on the cloud, specifically Microsoft's commercial venture "SkyDrive", and hard-baking Microsoft's "Bing" search (and marketing lead sales) engine onto the desk top.

Now, I wonder if the government is working with Microsoft to keep track of people that have files that might appear to violate copyrights? I mean, government lawyers need to prosecute folk to keep their jobs, and to earn Christmas bonuses. At least, they have in the past. Just look at how the IRS works to use information gathered for all kinds of uses by different government and private agencies.

In spite of government claims they have used their vast spying networks to arrest terrorists and felons, not one such defendant has been able to review or even have acknowledged the information the government gathered and either used or discarded, in deciding whether or how to prosecute -- clear violations of the law and the US Constitution, of a defendant's rights to a fair trial. If the government searches your mail box, your house, your car, you have the right to know what was searched, what was found or not found. Why give the government a clear, blank check, to hide what they do electronically, if something they *know* would benefit the defendant? There is the secret "no fly" list, and no knowing how people get on the list, or how they can get off, is a mistake is made.

So I am less than enthused about the "right" direction that commends Microsoft for.  And I sent them the following comment.

I am disturbed by the increasing reliance on SkyDrive, in terms of government intervention, policing, and regulations. Storing stuff "in the cloud" makes that stuff more visible, easier for government scrutiny.

This is disturbing both as a citizen, where government intrusion has resulted in flagrant and casual "mistakes", where expanding government surveillance results in more data used to further various political agendas.

I work part time at Walmart. Walmart, for better or worse, frustrates some customers, as we pull merchandise to make room for the next "season"s use of finite shelf space, as manufacturers are dropped or products are out of stock. So we refer them to What I see happening is a stratification.

Some people are less willing to expose their personal information to government scrutiny -- they cash their paychecks and deal strictly with cash.

Others are distrustful of computers, of relying on people and companies they don't know and may not trust. (Yes, even Walmart shoppers).

Microsoft "going in the right direction", relying on the cloud, and baking Bing into the OS, these all widen the "trust" gap, further stranding many across a technological divide increasingly exasperated by government surveillance, government deceit and misuse of information, and a perfectly smug marketing environment targeting the young and others disconnected from the people in their community.

Electronic "connections" favor marketers and manufacturers, not families and communities. Just like my criticism of Viagra and Victoria Secret ads -- they cannot claim to make better babies. That is, they don't enrich the span of generations, or the resilience of a sustainable community.

There are those that garden that raise grandchildren -- and they don't do it better because their tablet (if they have one) or PC searches more files on their computer, making the results available to marketers looking to distract them from their work, their families, and their, well, their lives.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Obamacare and civil liberties vs. the budget and government shut down

So, I am browsing along, and find a glam "survey" -- something about should Republicans continue to use Obamacare for leverage in the shutdown debates, despite growing 'backlash'"?


So, I wrote Congressman Jon Lucas (OK),

Mr. Lucas,

I am disturbed by questions, "Should Republicans use Obamacare as leverage in shutdown debate?"

I think the first question is, "does Obamacare or any other proposal diminish civil liberties of Americans?" Obamacare and many other issues fail this test, and should be shunned or repealed.

The bigger, all-encompassing issue, when talking about budgets, is spending money that hasn't been collected. And, of course, that huge, whopping national debt that no one has paid lip service toward paying *down*, since the Democrats took leadership in the house -- and current Republican leadership has miserably failed to address.

Please consider a "continuing resolution" that binds expenditures through 2016 to collected revenues, and requires a reduction of the principal of the national debt equal to interest payments, on a month-by-month basis.

Thank you,

Friday, October 4, 2013

I would like to see a different kind of "balance" to the national budget.

And, so I wrote to Congressman Jon Lucas (Oklahoma):

Mr. Lucas,

Please consider the elements of national security when considering the ongoing arrogance and disrespect of the White House to the budget process, and to the overwhelming risk of the current national debt.

Please act for a balanced budget - one that spends less this year than is collected in revenue this year, one that makes a dent in the national debt this year.

I could only respect and applaud you and your fellow Congressmen if you passed an actual budget, one that takes the impact of an economy impaired by runaway government spending  on the security of our nation, into account. Passing a real budget, even if (maybe especially!) over a Presidential veto, would send a strong signal for change, and possibly healing.

Thank you,