I don’t really understand exactly what is afoot in the EU regarding data privacy, or if it is the right thing. But I’m pretty sure I’m happy they’re taking a crack at it and hope the results work out well for end users.
I do believe that the Silicon Valley approach of “click to accept our terms, take it or leave it, and we can change the terms at any time,” deserves to die. Most human beings (some would say all) are not lawyers, and are not in a position to be weigh the infinite-term implications of their first tweet or FB post. Moreover, as most of us are not futurists (and even the best futurists are terrible at it) nobody can understand the ways their data may be used against them in future, as yet never imagined scenarios. Yes, rules will slow down SV innovation, particularly when the rules are in flux. It may well be worth it.
What worries me more is that rules will eventually benefit the largest companies like Google and Facebook, which can easily build whatever infrastructure is necessary to comply, whereas upstarts may have a hard time. There is ample evidence that regulation has a funny way of ultimately benefiting incumbents, even if they complain the most when it is first suggested.
I do not want this blog to be overtly political, but I’m already bending my rule. I have to post this.
I recommend everyone take a gander at this floor speech that Ted Cruz made last week.
Policy aims aside, this speech is from an unhinged person. An unhinged sitting US Senator, that is. My better half suggested that this is just rhetoric to fire up his constituents. But it is more, as it outlines the real strategy his caucus persues.
His caucus’s simple reality is they lack the votes to enact their agenda. So, democracy aside, he’ll just take the whole country hostage, for its long-term benefit, presumably.
I dunno. I find it stunning and extremely un-conservative.
For better or worse, the US has a two-party political system. It won’t work if a faction of one of the parties wants to play global thermonuclear war every time they don’t get their way.
I saw today that Ramm Emanuel thinks every high schooler in Chicago should learn to code. The folks on Slashdot think it’s a really bad idea.
I’m with Ramm. The point of teaching all young people to code is not to create an army of coders. In fact, I think the world would probably be better off with an Army of Darkness than a bunch of people with one high school class in programming writing software.
But that’s not the point. (Well, maybe it is Ramm’s point.) I would say that most people don’t use trigonometry much, nor do most people write term papers in their daily lives. But those things are worth being exposed to. They teach you how to think abstractly and how to organize ideas for consumption by someone else. Moreover, even if math is hard for you, you hopefully learned that it’s not mysterious or magical. Same goes for writing.
And so it should be with computers. People should feel that they understand them at some basic level, that they know what programming is, and is not. It will help them make better choices in life about computers and software. And those choices come fast and furious these days.
Creating a new vanity blog in the year 2015 is more than a little absurd. Yet, these days, I admit, I’m more drawn to quixotic enterprises than ever. As a result, this exists.
My goal is not to turn this into a place to vent political opinions or screeds, but as a calm place to discuss the absurdities of our world with old and new friends. I hope you’ll join in, and together we’ll keep each other a bit more sane than we might otherwise.
The Thoreau quote above relates (I think) to the tendency of us to get caught up in the things, institutions, rules, gadgets, websites, jobs, etc, that are suppose to make our lives better, but which end up sucking up our lives rather than freeing them. The quote also relates to my desire to create a forum that does not exist merely to deliver my friends to advertisers.
Don’t expect much thematic consistency here, except perhaps that most topics will be about the things that fly by all the time that only make sense if you don’t think about them very much. Also, if I can convince a certain co-blogger to engage, there will be #zoning.