Monthly Archives: March 2002

good tech articles of the day

Nelson was right-on with his thoughts of using images as passwords – it seems as though Microsoft thoughts of that. People have much better visual memories that verbal ones…

It scares me to realize the approach that our government is going in copyright protection. I think that we’ve lost a sense of the purpose of copyright. The idea is to get more information to the common good in a way that protects the creators of the ideas. Alas, we are now seeing bills like the SSSCA/CBDTA. Of course the tech-industry is up in arms – this is against everything that we stand for, and it’s just not reasonable for the common technologies.. talk about a way to make all but the monopolies have no chance…

And remember all of my worries about consumer agents being automated, meaning that you could prioritize your customers in scary ways. It seems as though more and more companies are using bots to replace customer service folks. And i thought Sprint’s Claire was annoying… Shit… How can you make a bot realize that what you need is important or doesn’t fit into the previous protocol? How will i be treated as a young person without enough credit?

And isn’t it funny that the government can order websites to delete data, but consumers and general people can’t? I really hope that works here…

Oh.. and it’s really funny to think about artificial societies– how do you grow them and what can they tell us about the future? I think that my problem is that i want to have my own society, my own rules, my own system.. i keep thinking that i should start my own country.. i wonder if i would be a bad dictator…. i still believe that the best countries are run by benevolent dictators..

They just announced that CNN Student News will remain commercial free – thank goodness!! To me, this situation is a *big* sign that capitalism has reached a point of being absolutely ridiculous. I mean, isn’t it a bad sign that everyone needs corporate sponsorship in order to be functional in this society? Corporate sponsorship means corporate control which means limited control. If a site is supposed to be educational, supposed to teach students (which means is supposed to give multiple perspectives, not just the ones desired by that corporation), isn’t it dangerous to imagine corporate sponsorship? It reminds me of the battles that Ms. went through when they were battling whether or not to have advertisements. They couldn’t get food-related ads because they wouldn’t put recipes in their magazine; they were denied makeup-related ads because some of the images on their cover had women without makeup on!! If educational material was all corporate-sponsorship, would students not be able to hear conflicting perspectives? Would they not hear about oil spills because Exxon was a sponsor? Eek!

aweful automated decisions

What a dumb policy. I tried to order an American Airline / Citigroup credit card today to start earning miles on American Airlines instead of USAirways (mostly because i’ve grown cranky with USAir’s service lately). Of course, i was already feeling guilty about getting a credit card with miles, because of Zittrain, but still.. i know the reality and i know that i travel and fuck, i hate it when i’m willing to give up my privacy for rewards. So, i was feeling guilty, but i called anyhow. And i went through the process and they sent me this letter in the mail stating that they are sorry that they’re unable to process my request because they couldn’t confirm my home telephone number. So, i politely call them up and explain that i am a frequent traveling and don’t have a home telephone number. And they tell me that they can’t offer me a credit card. And i got very confused, saying that i couldn’t imagine that i am the only one without a home telephone number, that i was a frequent traveler and maintained only a cell phone number. And they told me that they couldn’t confirm my identity and that it was their policy to deny credit to anyone that they couldn’t confirm by way of a home telephone number.

It was like talking to a machine – i couldn’t get anywhere with them because they had orders that they were told to follow and no matter who i talked to, they only relayed the script that they were given. Human computers. Fabulous. Let me tell you how much i love this new society. So, alas, i got frustrated and hung up, proceeded to immediately call American Airlines who was outraged and said they’d work on it.

When nothing had happened in quite a few days, i decided to call American back. This time, i got someone on the phone who told me that there was nothing that American could do because they were a separate company and that they couldn’t dictate the rules. Another human-computer reciting lines and not really being a customer service person. Great.

Once again, annoyed, i decided to call up my current Citibank credit card number, explained who i was, went through a few changes on my account and then said, oh, by the way, can i change this account to a Frequent Flyer account and !bam! sure enough, i received the change. ::sigh:: I hate dealing with stuff like this – jumping through hoops just to jump through hoops. It’s just downright irritating.

And besides, it just can’t be a good thing that society is turning away from human services to human computers. If there was any question about how aggressive powerful individuals would maintain power…