Tag Archives: government

Can you feel it?!

After seeing Al Gore endorse Obama the other night I was a bit dizzy.  The ‘hope’ campaign had finally made its debut in Michigan and I was standing front-row center when they took the stage.  Actually no, if I remember correctly we had nosebleed seats and it was a bit hard to hear.  Though given the unusual ant-sized perspective we had I was happy to at least recognize each politician before they reached the podium.

To understand the personal significance of Monday night’s rally we’ll have to go back in time a bit… not far back but about six months.  So Christmas had long passed and the new year had arrived, and I now had a brand-spanking new hard-drive to fill (thanks Santa!).  This is when I began to download heaps and heaps of new media, which I highly recommend doing.  I had my own place with my own computer, and I paid for the Internet, so why not?  I managed to download just about every political documentary that was floating around on the pirate bay.  I started running out of video content to discover and in some cases my searches began bringing up the same results… so I switched media.  This is when I discovered the art of the audio book.  GENIOUS!

The Art of the Audio Book:

It never really occurred to me how listening to a book could actually be so enjoyable but audio books really make the act of absorbing a book painless and the material easier to comprehend.  This is the case with Barack Obama‘s audio translation of The Audacity of Hope in which Barack himself passionately narrates the story behind his grassroots Illinois Senate campaign, then actually leads listeners into Washington to hear stories about meeting President Bush for the first time, candid conversations in congress, and hundreds of new observations.  This audio book is a breath of fresh air.  Also note that if you listened to this for just one hour each day it wouldn’t take even a week to finish!

Enlighten yourself.  Change your Perpective.  Try something New.

If you’re reaally feeling risky you might try putting in a copy of Al Gore‘s newest, punchy and thought-provoking audio book: The Assault on Reason narrated by Will Patton.  The material might seem a little dry at first (after all it was written by Al Gore) BUT, and this is a huge but… the conclusion that is eventually reached stands as an accurate depiction of our current state of politics.  Its a bit disturbing.  Focusing mostly on media, former presidential candidate Al Gore expresses a sincere outrage to a nation that is described as being continuously misled and ruled through fear.  He details all the lines that were crossed by Bush’s administration leading up to the unnecessary war in Iraq.  Gore also brashly devotes an entire chapter of this book to the explanation of all the ways in which Americans are ruled through the television media.  Finally!  The book also covers the importance of net neutrality and its link to democracy.

These audio books have made a huge impact on the way I choose to follow politics in 2008.  They give concrete proof to the sad fact that presidential campaigns, wars, and entire ideologies are now being sold to the American people by our government.  We are beginning to lose our highest form of democracy to the age of government marketing strategies and a way-too-highly concentrated media.

So Monday night was special -I knew it would come eventually but to actually be there to witness Gore publicly endorse Obama was kind of magical.  Watching ant-sized Obama preach about carrying his grassroots campaign until November and hearing his strong reach for younger generations gives this country hope that we can break from the disguised lies, and from the sound bytes.  I don’t want to comment too much on the next election, but wow it almost feels like something is upon us.  Maybe you’re in the dark and don’t see it.  You will.  American Revolutions always seem to happen at a decades end, so here’s to 2008.

P.S. if you’re interested in a copy of either audio book I mentioned e-mail me and I’ll send you a free copy.

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King of the Web

Look at Alexa’s World Wide Web traffic rankings and compare any top-ranked company’s website to it’s real world operations -at least for those companies that actually do “real-world” operations (i.e. microsoft, google, amazon, BBC) It was announced last week that YouTube.com overtook the #2 spot for overall traffic worldwide; beating out Live.com (Ranked #3) and it’s own parent company Google (Ranked #4). Who’s still at #1?

…to everyone’s surprise that would be Yahoo.

Interesting stuff because much like everyone else, I use Google to search on the web (77% of web searches are done using Google). I also keep the website as my browser’s homepage like the rest of the world. So who uses Yahoo??? After thinking about it, I can recall having a decent-sized list of contacts whom I message through Yahoo’s mail server. These rankings are suddenly more important when we find out the #1 and #2 could just become a bigger number 1.

A few months ago Microsoft Corp. who manages two separate domains in the global top 10 (Live.com, MSN.com) made a bid of $42 Billion for Yahoo. $42 BILLION! This acquisition is unsettling for those of us who enjoy using an “open internet” like we have today. The world wide web was originally thought of as an open forum for individuals and groups. The internet as a platform has continuously encouraged open communication and more lately has provided the advancement of data sharing, which can now be sent almost instantaneously. Within years we’ve evolved the world wide web into a “newer modern-day internet” with the help of system administrators, database engineers, and the designers of each page.

Web portals and newer, more practical web applications have raised the bar yet again, coining the term “web 2.0”. These websites offer dynamic ways to share information through multiple domains seamlessly. This is evident through text ad campaigns, the sudden development of web API’s and their large range of applications around the web. These applications can be a convenient map service, a local weather forecast, new stock updates, or a from-afar image upload. Around this time last year, Microsoft acquired the #1 global e-mail provider hotmail.com which gave them a head start on the competition. If you can’t beat em, buy em? Which is perfect reasoning for a company now bidding on Yahoo, who is the largest provider of e-mail today.

Microsoft is buying users into the internet experience they intend to provide, which sounds harsh but this experience is sold as Windows Live. Imagine a internet portal that gives each user an internet toolbox, with resources that update automatically and easily convert, and mountains upon mountains of customer support. I would be okay with that idea, and it actually sounds quite nice… but the mere idea of selling e-mail accounts and web traffic seems like a doop. Will I be eventually be stuck using Live? I would like to assume the world is capable of upholding its diversity and not surrendering to any one company who attempts to control everything at large. If Microsoft can strike a deal with Yahoo the company would grow to provide nearly 20% of all the world’s e-mail.In conclusion, if my e-mail is so valuable to a company willing to buy it, then where’s my cut???

Windows (OS) + Internet Explorer (Browser) + Live (Online Services) = Total Domination

Microsoft is aiming to take the space that AOL once held in the mid-90’s… Is it fair to let one company take hold of this technology? Net Neutrality is important and Open-Source standards are important. Diversity is also very important because if we let this pass us by there may be no turning back, the internet should not be controlled like radio and TV. The net lives off of its users and this is a medium that was born free, we do have a right to decide.

Big government and Internet providers are slowly trying to pass legislation without anyone realizing the big effect on our information. When I discover new ways to speak out against these regulations I’ll post them on this blog. Stay tuned!