I highly recommend those of you interested in the whole WikiLeaks kerfuffle to read Bruce Sterling’s article The Blast Shack. I think he’s hit on some strange socio-political conservation law where the Internet and the New World Order are variables in an equation that is trying to balance out. The problem is there are other terms in the equation that will be irrevocably cancelled and lost. A fairly down-beat assesment but very thought provoking.
Month: December 2010
Will I Switch to a Verizon iPhone?
A lot of people have been asking me if I will switch when the iPhone is available on the Verizon Wireless network. The short answer: Probably not. Here is my thinking.
First, I’m assuming there is a huge pent-up demand for the iPhone on Verizon. That will consist of existing Verizon customer and a slew of disgruntled AT&T customers who have been itching to switch because of AT&T’s less than stellar network. This is going to mean a ton of new subscribers hitting the Verizon network with data hungry iPhones. I have a feeling Verizon’s cellular network will bend and probably break under the strain. So the Verizon network might get worse for the first few quarters while it’s under rapid expansion of subscribers and the load on the network increases. There hasn’t been a CDMA version of the iPhone so we are not sure how it will behave on that network. The result may be a poor network experience for all those new switchers.
Second, I have to buy a new phone. My existing iPhone won’t work on the Verizon network so I’ll have to buy a new phone and new plan with Verizon. Which means I’ll have to cover two plans at once. Just to switch to Verizon. Not terrible but not ideal.
Finally, I remember all the issues that AT&T had with activations when they first launched the iPhone a few years ago. We don’t know the details but there were a lot of processes between Apple and AT&T that weren’t fully baked and tested. The first few months were a bit rough for users with activation problems. Apple can certainly bring a ton of experience to bear but Verizon is new to the iPhone. I anticipate glitches in the Apple/Verizon backend system integration that might cause issues for new switchers.
So I’m going to uncharacteristically sit on the sidelines for this launch. I have been happier with AT&T service over the past 6 months. It seems to be getting better, although I haven’t traveled to Mountain View lately. It’s been working very well in the NYC Metro area. Who knows. Maybe all those folks fleeing AT&T just might give us some more bandwidth and improve quality of service for those of us left behind on AT&T.
Lying is Not Patriotic
I don’t often see eye to eye with Ron Paul (senior or junior) but thank god someone in congress is making sense. Thanks to sean808080 for the toot!
Glenn Greenwald Makes the Case for WikiLeaks
The crux of the WikiLeaks debate via Salon
Glenn Greenwald really understands this issue. The link above points to a page with text and audio. Keep you mind open, read, and listen
Ruby in the Cloud Just Got a Shot in the Arm
Salesforce.com Buys Heroku For $212 Million In Cash via TechCrunch
I’ve never used Heroku but I’ve always known it to be the premier solution for hosting Ruby apps in the cloud. The acquisition by Salesforce.com is interesting from the standpoint that Sf.com cloud app solutions have been primarily Java based. I think their broadening their strategy, and potential user-base, by opening up to more languages. Java dominates the enterprise (Yes, I know that’s a dirty word in the Ruby community.) application space which is traditional ground for Sf.com. Presumably, vmforce, Sf.com’s Java cloud app solution will service the bulk of their customers. I don’t see how they can simply merge the two services but it will be interesting to watch this evolve.
Update: Heroku CEO Talks About Salesforce, Future via GigaOM
Heroku apparently has over 100,000 apps hosted. That’s damn impressive if they aren’t loosing money on every customer. According to the Heroku CEO, Sf.com want them to “keep doing their thing”, which should soothe the fears of those using the service. So that indicates that Sf.com will be providing a “right cloud for the right job” rather than a “one cloud to rull them all” approach. Possibly better for users but less efficient for Sf.com to run multiple businesses using different technologies.
Close the Washington Monument
Another great article on how terrorism is psychological warfare and how the US has taken the bait.
Bruce Schneier — Close the Washington Monument
Terrorism isn’t a crime against people or property. It’s a crime against our minds, using the death of innocents and destruction of property to make us fearful. Terrorists use the media to magnify their actions and further spread fear. And when we react out of fear, when we change our policy to make our country less open, the terrorists succeed — even if their attacks fail. But when we refuse to be terrorized, when we’re indomitable in the face of terror, the terrorists fail — even if their attacks succeed.
How our “security” obsession costs us
If you are only going to read one article on the TSA, please read this one.
How our “security” obsession costs us
“The terrorists never have to strike an actual target. It’s not even incumbent upon them to build a bomb that works. Just about anything will do. To be successful, they just have to repeatedly send things in our direction, inciting the expectable Pavlovian reaction from the U.S. national security state, causing it to further tighten its grip (grope?) at yet greater taxpayer expense.”
Is WikiLeaks a News Organization?
The more I think about WikiLeaks the more convinced I become that this is an organization trying to do good. I believe that in releasing the Iraqi War Papers or the latest dump of State Department Cables Wikileaks is shedding light into the inner workings of our own government. While I do believe there is need for secrecy and confidentiality in many government operations I believe this capability is given by mandate of the people. If the government is operating counter to the will, or in a way detrimental to the well-being of the people, this capability can and should be taken away. The government operating in secrecy, without proper oversight, and accountability to the people becomes a government that is prone to wrong-doing, deceit, and in severe cases treason. When the government operates this way its every citizens duty to repeal the mandate of power by means granted to us in the constitution. That includes whistle-blowing and leaking information to the press.
Whistle-blowing helped bring an end to the Viet-nam War, the corrupt Nixon administration, and were instrumental in breaking down the power of tobacco companies. So how different is Daniel Ellsberg leaking the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times from someone in the military leaking the Iraq War papers to Julian Assange? Not much if you think about it.
Black Ops Activism
Like a lot of gamers out there I’ve been logging my fair share of hours (and kills) in Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops. You know, the game that recently grossed about 650 million the weekend it was released? The game where you join in hours of endless, deadly, pretend combat, in savage team death matches. Yeah, that one.
You can imagine how fascinated I was when I came across the article Moral Relativism in a Black Ops World, and being better humans by Jeffrey MacCormack. The first half of the article read like criticism of the typical players behavior in multiplayer online combat. I think most people would be somewhat shocked by the behavior of some of my in-game compadres. I mean how do you explain to a normal person that your opponent is heaping on generous helpings of humiliation on you by pretending to tea-bag your now bullet riddled body? Kind of hard to wrap your mind around if you don’t play, but the second half of the article is a bit more interesting.
MacCormack suggests that all the attention Call of Duty (CoD) is garnering these days may be co-opted to change the real world for the better. What’s the cause he wants my fellow couch-bound war fighters to tackle? Child soldiers. More specifically, helping to reduce the types of weapons that make child soldiers even possible.
I had never considered that it wouldn’t really be impractical to use a child as a soldier without a weapon that a small person could fire. It turns out that small machine guns (SMGs) are the weapon of choice dictators and warlords use to equip these poor children and they are pretty common in CoD. MacCormack would like CoD players to contact Treyarch support and ask them to remove SMGs from the next version of CoD. An in game embargo won’t change the real world situation but it might draw big media attention to the problem. I would suggest that even a half step might help. Just ban the use of SMGs in the game for a week. I know a lot of players would bitch about that but it would be for a good cause. It might just cause a minor media frenzy. I can visualize Wolf Blitzer covering the story on the Situation Room.
It’s a great article. Read it and if you feel so inclined, take action.