Posts tagged ‘politics’

In search of public outrage

This one’s a bit off-topic, and mostly just for those of us from the USA.

Remember the 2008 elections?  The world’s moving so fast these days that that can feel like a long time in the past, but it shouldn’t be completely out of everyone’s memory yet.  When Barack Obama ran for President, one of the things he promised was to “take a back seat to no one” on Net Neutrality.  And he also pledged that there would be more openness and transparency in government.  But now the FCC is trying to sell us all out.

Instead of openness and transparency, they’re currently holding meetings behind closed doors with telecom corporations to decide what the rules will be.  Just as Congress did with copyright law from the 70s to the 90s, the FCC is currently in the process of allowing the very people that it is supposed to be protecting us from to write the rules!

This is a crime against the American people and needs to be treated as one.  Unlike a lot of political topics, Net Neutrality enjoys almost universal support among the American people.  This isn’t a liberal agenda topic or a conservative agenda topic; it’s something that We The People want.  All of us!  (Well, everyone except the telecom industry, who wants to be able to control how we communicate with each other online.)

Unfortunately, it’s starting to almost look like things are to the point where nothing but massive public outrage will get anything done.  But even though Net Neutrality is an issue that will affect all of us if we lose it, it’s not something easily visible.  Certainly not as easily visible as, say, a leaking oil well.  That’s visible enough to generate its own outrage.  Just point a camera at it, and suddenly all the turkeys in DC are falling all over themselves to demonstrate just how committed they are to fixing the problem.  That’s exactly what we need to have happen for Net Neutrality, but it’s not happening.

So I guess we’ll have to generate some public outrage of our own.  Get the word out.  The FCC is trying to hand the Internet over to the corporate predators it’s supposed to be regulating.  There’s a petition here that you can sign, directed at the White House and the FCC, but unless we get enough signatures to indicate serious public interest it won’t amount to much.  If anyone can think of a way to focus more attention on this issue, please put it into action.  Enough is enough.

Personal property and computing

I’ve always been a big fan of Apple’s.  My first computer was an Apple IIe, and finding a copy of BASIC on there was what first got me into programming.  A good percentage of the modern user interface concepts we take for granted today were invented by Apple back in the 1980s.  (Yes, I know, they got the basic concepts from Xeroc PARC, but a lot of their work was their work, not Xerox’s.)  They’ve always been one of the major drivers of innovation in the computer industry, and they’ve done a lot to hold the line against Microsoft’s campaign for complete domination of the computer industry.  They’re one of a very few companies that have actually had any real success in that area, and we all owe them a debt of gratitude for that, if nothing else.

Apple released the latest iPhone development license yesterday, and I suddenly find myself a lot less grateful.

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The Tragedy of Steel

Sorry if this is a bit long and off-topic, but it’s incredibly important to anyone who makes computer use a significant part of their lifestyle. Please, read this and pass it on. Link people to this post, or copy it and repost it yourself.*  Translate it into other languages if you have to. Everyone on the Internet needs to read and understand this.
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