The NY Times has published a column in its Bits Blog that summarizes the evolution of Facebook’s Beacon advertising program.
I think that it is more revealing than focusing on the backlash or petitions to actually examine the program itself, along with the supposed improvements made by Facebook along the way. The column does a good job at pointing out the small tweaks that seem to address raised concerns, while essentially presenting the same thing again, but with more labels.
It becomes the user’s responsibility to be ever watchful for Facebook’s unorthodox info harvesting. A better approach would have been a way to opt-in instead of having to constantly opt-out. There is currently no way to globally say “no thanks” and be done with it, either.
Continue reading “Why I closed my Facebook account”
Photos of a 10-day whirlwind of sightseeing along the Nile River are now online:
image uploaded to latimes.com by Irvine resident
The hills around my office are on fire. Part of a huge firestorm in Southern California. The air is filled with smoke, and close to half a million people have been evacuated from their homes in surrounding areas, but life remains strangely familiar. The dusky sunlight gives an eerie cast to the day, but businesses are open here and people are out doing errands while ash snows down on their heads.
Amid all the confusion and chaos, I am still packing and preparing for a vacation to Egypt. My ordinary life has become surrounded by the remarkable and extraordinary, so the normal anticipation has been turned sideways. I am no longer escaping a normal life and returning to a normal life. The incredible things I’ll see as part of my travels will dovetail with the incredible things I am seeing on television and out my window.
I wonder how this will all fit together in my memories.
Possibly the coolest pointless project I’ve ever heard of…
This 83-pound, 5-foot long NES controller actually works. You can play games, but it takes the coordination of at least two people to manage it.
Tomorrow I begin almost 3 weeks of travel. First, Dubai, UAE. Then, India.
I have just learned that my friend and bandmate, Rene, is moving back to NYC to attend nursing school. His partner, Sandy, is also going to be leaving California for New York to start school. I know that Rene must be excited to be going back to New York, even though he’ll miss San Francisco. You will both be missed.
…and cilia enters yet another chapter in its geographical expansion…
It was my privilege to march with 8000 to 10,000 people (The Los Angeles Times website reports 10,000 to 15,000) in a pro-immigrant rally in Santa Ana. Smaller in scale than the massive rallies in Los Angeles and other cities, but still inspiring.
A quick glance at the online coverage of the event reveals that there were about 60 counter protesters, but I did not encounter any.
Dubbed The Great American Boycott 2006, or A Day Without an Immigrant, this call to action is hoped to spread awareness of, and to protest against, recent immigration law reforms. People were encouraged to stay home from work or school, and to refrain from buying or selling anything today in order to demonstrate the significant economic contributions of immigrants in this country.
The catalyst for the wave of immigration policy protests is The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, aka H.R. 4437 (wiki). The result of this bill would be the creation of millions of felons and increased spending on border protection, in the form of 700 miles of fence. As Bill Hing of UC Davis School of Law points out in his article, The Moral Choice in Immigration Policy, fences and the increasing militarization of the border have not been effective deterrents to illegal immigration.
I am not sure that I can really claim that blanket amnesty would be a wise idea, but I am deeply troubled by the bill as it stands and I do not believe that it will make any of us safer.
More info about the bill can be found here.
I have been on a Studio Ghibli mini-bender this week, in celebration of the fact that My Neighbor Totoro has finally been re-released on dvd, with a new English dub and the Japanese soundtrack.
My Neighbor Totoro is easily one of my favorite Studio Ghibli films. The English soundtrack from the US VHS release was definitely a bit screechy and left a lot to be desired, but it never prevented me from falling in love with the movie. What a disappointment it was when I learned that the Fox dvd release included neither the Japanese soundtrack nor English subtitles. The Disney re-release promises to be all that I had been hoping for. I am anxiously awaiting delivery from Amazon.
In the meantime, I amused myself with Howl’s Moving Castle and Pom Poko.
Continue reading “My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro)”