Privacy Arms Race

Google, Twitter and Facebook are mining our data. Our data is taken and sold to advertising companies who then can create highly specialized advertisements based on our personal interests as suggested by the contents of your online accounts. This information can range from email addresses in your gmail account to contacts in your smartphones to your credit card number. This information is collected and stored indefinitely and is not deleted when you close an account.

This invasion of privacy is limited in Europe. New laws may be passed to require companies to delete collected information upon request.  In America the only legislative restrictions are in place to protect medical information and children 13 and younger.

Is this kind of specialized advertising  necessary? Email providers existed for years with traditional advertising.  Facebook provides chat and online photo albums. What necessitate privacy intrusion for this service? More likely it is not necessary and the fact that they had access to hundreds of millions of peoples personal information. Greed caused this abuse.

People make a decision to use the service. They agree to the terms of service and must abide by it. However the companies that require your compliance with these agreement do not hold themselves to such constraints. Google was caught  rewriting tracking cookies for Safaris browsers something not allowed by Apple. Twitter was caught collecting address books from users cellphones without their permission. These violations won’t be reversed until companies are punished.

If an Anonymous hacker did something similar, he’d be labled a thief and a criminal. Maybe get arrested by the FBI. But Google does it and when caught promise to never do it again and nothing happens. What a joke.



Sprawl City

I like this image. It’s suggesting that if you take suburban sprawl into account, then US cities are more massive than is popularly believed. I think it’s really cool. I like the idea of a gigantic mega city spanning from Boston to Atlanta. The setting in the Gibson book Neuromancer was called BAMA, the Boston- Atlanta Metropolitan Axis. The Star Wars franchise has various incarnations of the monolithic city planet. America’s not quite there yet, but with the current trends in US immigration, population growth is likely. Urban growth would trend along the same lines. I like living in the big city.

I think I like it because of my love for Tokyo and the massive sprawl resultant from limited space.  Not that Tokyo is the only example of this. Singapore, Hong Kong, Osaka and Souel are all crowded, compact, clean with ultra modern architeture. People are also largely considerate of others and crime is low.

I think the ecological impact would be fairly significant in the sense that it would damage woodland areas and dislocate indigenous wild life. However with a higher concentration of people, a higher demand would be created for localized supply distribution. This could make electric vehicle use in the United States more feasible, helping to drive down CO2 emissions.

As for electric consumption of households and the manufacturing sector, my favorite alternative energy concept is the Orbital solar collector. Massive  satellites placed in geosynchronous orbit collect sun light without atmospheric interference. The energy would be transmitted via microwaves to ground based collection dishes. Microwaves do not degrade in the atmosphere like sunlight which is the problem of solar collectors on Earth. This transmitted energy would power a series of massive batteries. The actual distribution of electricity would be the same as today .

Image from here

Old Kansai

Caption – “Ronin mercenaries track down known cattle russler T. Wright Hickens. He was arrested  on charges of kidnapping, extortion, russlin cattle and uncivilized barbarism.”

This is the Culture Clash assignment where you show how two cultures would mix. I thought it would be funny to do a picture with samurai and cowboys in it.  I took a picture of two samurai and a still from the 1946 film “Duel in the Sun”. I spliced it together in Pxler and it was fairly simple. I hope it doesn’t look like they are trying to kill the girl…

16 Bit Dreams


I did the Your Dreams Out the Window assignment. I wanted to do something fantastical with pyramids in a jungle on the coast. It came out looking more like a 16bit video game landscape. You got polygons, jaggies and animation sprites. You can almost hear the Mario World music. I’d like to vacation here.

I drew the image in Gimp. I used to lasso tool to make the pyramids. I painted the waterfall river and used airbrush to make the mist. The horizon and the mountain are repeating rectangles. The hardest part was removing the original view from the window frame. I used Pixlr to do that because my Gimp opens in Japanese and I couldn’t figure it out.

I got the frame here and the wall here.

Black Hole

I did the Banner assignment where you design and make a new banner for your word press. For this assignment I used Gimp to make a little spacey image of Jupiter and Mars with a nebula annihilating black hole in the back ground

For Jupiter I used the elliptical tool to make the planet then I selected it and bucketed some orange in. Then I used the paint brush to draw yellow  lines for an atmospheric effect. I did the same for Mars and Jupiters moons. The little asteroid belt are air brush points. I used purple on the gradient tool set to Aneurism to make some neat plasma jets out in the distance. I smudge them around to make a cloudy nebula effect and added a little black hole in the center.

Web 2.0

) For the end user, how is the experience of Web 2.0 different from web 1.0?

Web 2.0 is a term that attempts to make a distinction between two eras of the internet. The Web 1.0, content  was generated solely by corporations and marketers. Webpages and videos were static displays that internet users had limited interaction with.

Users could make webpages but it was complicated and required writing in HTML. The easiest way to participate in this era was in a chat room,on an instant messaging services or online forums. Users could have conversation with friends or people with mutual interests. The people of this era were generally socially akward and had the time to devote energy into doing these things.

2.0 witnessed the move to facilitate and encourage user generated content. The ability to make personalized webpages was streamline in the advent of social media. The proliferation of digital cameras coiniceded with the simplification of uploading photos and videos.

Word of mouth spread and more and more people started using internet media. Computers lost their nerdy stigma and internet literacy and computer use became popular.