The 2012 Technology Multiple Choice Test
Hey, why not give a quiz to prep for 2012? Makes sense to me. And since a *ton* of technology-related shenanigans have transpired thus far, this seems to be the best way to get (me) up to speed. So here we go…
 What is SOPA/PIPA and what’s it got to do with me and my Interwebs?
- a) A kind of flaky, crumbly dessert one can only order online
- b) The latest round of US legislation aimed at protecting copyright holders/owners at the expense of users (like us).
- c) The new Cirque du Soleil show, where they block your domain name for watching it.
- d) None of the below.
- e) A good thing to shelve and/or majorly revamp.
 What’s all this talk about Drone use in the US?
- a) Wait, like the bee?
- b) It was only in N. Dakota and over some cattle, get over it.
- c) Marks the beginning of what could become a very disturbing trend.
- d) Well what else can you do with $37 billion?
 I remember hearing something about Carrier IQ… Do you?
- a) Basically if you own a cell phone your carrier can gather and track all sorts of personal data from your smartphone.
- b) Yes, I do remember hearing something about it in-between Thanksgiving and Xmas meals…
- c) It’s almost the latest “to do" on Congress’ investigatory checklist.
- d) I don’t own a cell phone.
 Why does Google want to include “My World” into its searches?
- a) Because social media is awesomer then just plain searching.
- b) Because social media is the new SEO.
- c) Because we are Google’s best products.
- d) Because organizing the world’s information just isn’t fulfilling anymore.
 Really? Only 5 questions…
- a) Well, yeah.
- b) So much to cover, in such little time.
- c) Looking to start really pushing Cyberspaces and Global Affairs, actually.
- d) More to come… Obviously.
- e) all of the above.
Answers:  - b, d, & e, - c,  - a, b & c,  a-d,  e
NEW post on DES: From Old Paris to a New Internet
In a now somewhat dated book titled Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the way we Create and Communicate, author Steven Johnson invokes the disorderly nature of Old Paris, with its winding streets and unpredictable neighborhoods, as a metaphor for the Internet. Old Paris was built from the ground up, organically; in piecemeal according to those that lived on and traveled its streets. This works incredibly well with our conception of the Internet and its democratic ideals: It is the people who use it. Norms and values on the Internet were/are created unpredictably, vibrantly, and, at times, chaotically. But then, staying with the metaphor, Paris was rebuilt to heighten its efficiency, to make travel easier. Here, Johnson’s comparison stops. But there is an aspect of this metaphor that is beginning to hold true to our current Internet. Paris wasn’t merely rebuilt to improve travel—it was also rebuilt to bring a greater sense of control to Napoleon III. The streets were remade so that dissent and uprising could be found and squashed more quickly and efficiently. The local knowledge that reigned supreme in the haphazard street layout of the old city was now debunked by a new administrated system of purely functional streets and pathways that allowed for quick orientation and unhindered maneuverability. Gone were the random, casual encounters of Old Paris’ public life, replaced with grand boulevards meant to merely move people from one place to another. This seems more like where the Internet is headed today.
Text lasts. It’s not platform-dependant, you don’t just get it from one source, read it in one place, understand it in one way. It is not dependent on technology: it is what we make technology out of. Code is text, it is the fundamental nature of technology.
New post on DES: The Cost of Virtual Currency
The advantages seem awesome, in light of the current global economic crisis. Virtual money and virtual transactions can occur strictly between people, or person to company—banks and governments aren’t included. They can be traded with fair, level exchange rates that are (ideally) reflective of the Bitcoin (BTC) marketplace. And, to expand this idea further, competing online currencies could pop up, keeping prices honest and acting as a check and balance to currency monopolies. And for a time it was awesome, even with one investor purchasing $20,000 worth of BTCs at less than a dollar each in February 2011, only to turn around and sell them that June at $30 for a single BTC. That’s a 45,152% growth rate, and one hell of a way to make millions with twenty grand.
Then a great correction occurred in the form of a computer hack. Mt.Gox, the leading BTC exchange, was attacked in mid-June first by newly discovered Malware that pilfered away $300,000 worth of BTCs, then later that week a Bitcoin account was hacked into and the perpetrator tried to sell 400,000 BTCs (6% of the total circulating at that time) for $17.50, the going price in June. This amount of BTCs up for sale led to a massive devaluation sending the exchange price below $1.
And so there are some drawbacks to the virtual currency model—namely security and value protection. Also, as long as people like Mr. $20,000-to-millions continue to look at Bitcoin as an investment, instead of as a currency, it will always bubble up with investor hype, then eventfully burst. Hardly the stability needed for the exchange of goods and services.
- What Is Bitcoin? (npr.org)
- The BitCoin Dilemma: Can We Trust It? (makeuseof.com)
- Google Launches Google Wallet - But Not For Everybody (makeuseof.com)
Google Wallet has arrived
Yes. It’s here. The further abstractification of currency. Because that’s not what got the world in its current financial mess, or anything.
Really though, Google just wants more (of your/my) data. Financial data has to be the some of the juiciest available.
But oh, it’ll be convenient.
First Google+, now the entire Internet
According to this NYT article, the White House is behind a new effort to authenticate your identity online with a kind of Internet ID. Much like Google+’s argument…
The idea is that if people have a simple, easy way to prove who they are online with more than a flimsy password, they’ll naturally do more business on the Web. And companies and government agencies, like Social Security or the I.R.S., could offer those consumers faster, more secure online services without having to come up with their own individual vetting systems. (emphasis mine)
Of course, people are opposed to this saying that it might increase people’s chances of identity theft—what with all of this info in “one place.” But obviously what’s going to be the big driver here is convenience. Being able to handle both official business (like the IRS) and personal dealings (like shopping) using one handy ID will win people regardless.
But would current privacy laws have to be revamped if these “online driver licenses” became widespread?
And will the blowback to all of this online authentication come too little too late?