Saturday, December 28, 2002

Dystopia Now!

Somewhere in the eighties and nineties, whenever a director/writer wanted to paint a dystopian media future, they'd show impoverished populations watching crazy fascist newscast, interspersed with creepy gameshows offering the way out for a very lucky few. Whether it was Orwell's 1984 -- that only did the fascist newscast -- or Running Man, Robocop, Max Headroom, Starship Troopers, etc. (Ok, so Paul Verhoeven's very big on this. He thought it was funny, hysterical, on the edge, a parody.)

Last week I come down to the gym and Fox News's big screen caption is "WHY WE ARE STRONGER" and there is this blond bimbo announcer basically reading military bomb tech of a list, stumbling over the names, and after every item she looks up and goes "So this is better than what we had, right?" and some real enlisted active start-powered military guy would talk about how, well, yes, this new bomb/plane is smarter and five times more stealthy than what we had in, what he called, I kid you not, Desert Storm One.

This wasn't news. This Was Not News. This was propaganda, war-mongering, populace-management. "WHY WE ARE STONGER"

Interspersed with this were endless clips of how one guy Had Made It Out by winning millions upon millions of dollars, why, it was miracle. He was elevated, achieved, rich. Next item: how unemployment benefits will simply stop, just stop, next week, for many recently unemployed, just stop, and Our President implored Congress to get it together now that everyone's in recess and he himself had forgotten to care and implore when it still mattered a couple of months ago. Switch channel, there's Our Lucky Winner who made it out again, while in my head I know the latest data about how the salaries in this country are stratifying into a large group that has not seen wealth effectively go up since, oh, what, 1976? and a big minority like me technoyuppiepimps who are comfortable and a tiny minority of the super-rich who have such a horrible, horrible tax burden as we are told, that it must be lowered now or the country will really sink into a recession. No really. Around 35 or so of them ended up in the government this last election. Because they know how people live who have to work two jobs to afford their education hoping to get out, out, out of this place where debt keeps sucking you back in over and over again, this place of never having quite enough to be able to sleep at night and not have to worry about the next week without having to numb yourself with a little consumption that will only push yourself down more.

Switch newscast: talking head talking about how the hundreds of "enemy combatants" not in Camp X-Ray are currently being sleep deprived, stressed, mistreated by agents of the US government, or handed over to governments where outright torture is known to be used. Talking head smirks. Smirks.

I have days that I believe I cannot possibly stay here. My mother-in-law was appalled when we announced we were keeping our options to move open, "You have to stay to fight the good fight!"

Honest question: have any of you decided when you are taking to the streets, yet? What your breaking point is? Which newscast makes you double over in horror?

Oceania, 'tis for thee...

Friday, December 13, 2002

An Announcement

Porn by MMS on a 7650 / 3650 type screen works.

And I can't say how happy I am that my friends here have helped me receive man flesh on my work phone. Instead of the cute cat pix we all keep exchanging with each other here.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Bluetooth Spam

Anyway, I wanted to take this moment and alert us all to the evil of Bluetooth spam. In case you aren't a technopimp like me, Bluetooth is a standard for short-range wireless communication between devices as a replacement for cables. So you'd walk into your home and your bluetooth PDA would sync up with your bluetooth-equipped computer, and when you are on the road your bluetooth laptop can use your bluetooth phone as a modem while one is still in your pocket. No line of sight necessary, just radiowaves. Low bandwidth, it is not very fast, but good enough that your bluetooth headphones can be used as a headset for the bluetooth cellphone which you threw in the back of the car while you are driving.

I have a bluetooth set. And found something disturbing: with the click of some keys, I can scan the 20 or so feet radius of my bluetooth range, and find all devices that go "Pick me! Pick me! Please pick me! I am here!" and send them stuff. I tried this at work, where we were all testing these cellphones. I just started picking random entries of that list and sending them pictures of my cat. And people would come up and go "Did you just send something to my phone?" and I'd say "How did you know?" and they'd go "Because you set your phone to say 'FJ!!'s 3650' and that is you."

Recently I was in a meeting and my phone beeped. Incoming bluetooth message; accept/reject? From whom? Someone who had set their name to 'Unknown'. I accepted, it was a picture of a cute tux cat, so I knew it came from Matt. That, and he had a guilty look on his face.

I am waiting for shops to set up a bluetooth computer that just promiscuously sends images of coupons. You walk past em and your phone beeps, accept/reject? So you check, go in now and show this image for 4 bucks off a pizza. Haha, fun the first time. A year later you can't walk past a shop in the mall while using your bluetooth headest -- which means bluetooth is set to on -- without your phone constantly being spammed by coupons and teenagers sending you scat pix.

Then again, I want to go to Helsinki or London or Copenhagen or Goteborg where I know there are already versions of these phones out, and spam people with cute smileys or funny cartoons. Just a little anonymous gift for the day.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Cam Entrepeneur

After seeing CAT CAM and then noting that there is a whole webring of these, I am starting to think that Dean's idea of may be viable. A little dark with that cam in the litterbox, but viable.

I was thinking that it would be interesting to attach a small wireless cam to R's Q, so you could see horse's-eye view all the time. They don't have the upload bandwidth, I suspect.