Sunday, November 18, 2007

Google and The Night of The Living Dead

Google is the new Godzilla and we are all so focused on the footprints we are not paying attention to where the monster is now. Unfortunately the company is more like one of the Zombies out of "Night of The Living Dead" tring to feed upon the brains of the living but not quite alive. A drive for food and primary needs but lacking a controlling intelligence. At the same time intelligent enough to be dangerous. While Microsoft is still a worry, its big controls major information systems software and infrastructure Google seems to be the misunderstood monster in the background. Still largely ignored by governing bodies but silently creeping up ready to devour unsuspecting citizens.
I am talking about the acquisition of web advertising agency Doubleclick for 3.1 Billion which includes a SEO company called Performics, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of DoubleClick against its primary principle giving genuine responses to search queries and not being able to buy your way into the ranking. Despite this fact Google has no plans to rid itself of the SEO and clearly has plans for it in the future.
It seems that by the day the initially benign child of the web is gradually becoming a dangerous threat to impartiality on the web. Microsoft may own the operating system and much of the software used by people but Google controls access to the information and news which people used to base their thinking on. They are like Zombies positioning themselves to eat out our brains and tell us what to think.
Increasingly Google has been buying up infrastructure as well as controlling the information Google is positioning themselves to be in a position where we will have to pay them for them to tell us what to think.
The time is not here yet but it creeps closer.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Androids Wont Fix Our Problems

The world's first android was built last year. There have actually been a couple but the first one was not very human-like. Will Androids help clean the environment? Will androids stop war? Will Androids build a safer and better envronment for the next generation? Unfortunately they cannot do any of these things. They are cool toys and I would love to have one to play with but when it really comes down to it what will the benefits be?
  • less cheap labour required in 3rd world countries
  • more wealth for the wealthy
  • more unemployment amongst the poor and unskilled
  • and probably a lot more serious sad repercussions like androids being used in warfare to kill humans.

Extreme scenarios. You better believe it and I hope that none of this will ever take place but unfiortunately we humans don't have a good track record with innovations. If we can find a way to screw things up we normally find it.

Do they have a potential for good. Yes. They could perform many tasks to help people and build a better world. I am just concerned that these may be monopolized by the wealthy for the detriment of the poor.

Regardless. They are still cool and I would love to play with one. I had the great opportunity to meet Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro and listen to him speak. very interesting stuff and a very humble and polite man. Anyway check out my pages on robotics and in particular the work about Repliquee. My other pages on robotics may be useful as well

lets hope that we can use all of this technology for the betterment of humanity.

I also have a weblog on robotics at

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Blogs and Education

Today I have asked my students all to create a blog to use as a learning journal. I believe by writing in the journal and reflecting on what they are doing they will be able to understand work at a deeper level while retaining more detail.

What am I doing? This is grumpy old computer teachers and I am being positive and not grumpy. I suppose I can be grumpy against people who are so overly protective of students confidentiality they seem to think anything they do on the web is dangerous and so they create a stilted world where nothing progresses and everyone is protected in cotton wool. No fun. No sport. No anything because everything is dangerous and everyone could be hurt.

Fiddlesticks. I could use much stronger language but I really don't think it would be appropriate for my students.

What I say is embrace the new possibilities just make people aware of the dangers so that they can look after themselves and not be caught unawares.

There are too many possibilities not to embrace.

So I am hopeful that my students will learn a great deal from this actvity.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

RFID Tags and Privacy

We have been studying information systems in class. Scary stuff. Don't get me wrong. I think information systems and computers can be great things. If I didn't think this I wouldn't teach computers. Its just that I really believe that the technology is very open to abuse and that the user needs to be aware of the dangers. Imagine going to the shops and someone saying to you do you mind if we just put this transmitter on you and we sill monitor on a GPS or otherwise everywhere you go. Would you let them do it? Would you be horrified at the thought? Would you think that they have a hide to even ask? Unfortunately when we go to stores now that is exactly what happens without most people's knowledge. Goods in stores are being tagged with RFID (radio frequency identification) tags which have a life expectancy of many years and will transmit their whereabouts to an information system elsewhere which can be tracked through a GPS and are the size, apparently, of a grain of sand. It began with razor blades back in 2002 and not much is said about them anymore. What are they tagging and monitoring now. Why are we not fully informed. I don't really care about them monitoring my razorblades. They can do that anytime they want but what else are the monitoring and what information is being collected.

If RFID tags don't freak you out what about the data being collected form other sources. Everytime you log onto the net and give away your personal details they are being collected in databases. Many companies are very careful what they do with that information, unfortunately there are many more companioes which don't really care about what we think. In Australia Governement departments have been responsible for onselling that information to bring in revenue. Do you ever wonder where all ther spam comes from? large databases which are onsold with your details.

George Orwell wrote about a book which many younger people would benefit from reading called "1984". How close are we getting to that society. A society where people are continually monitored and watched. Where the use of language is controlled and eupehmeisms are used to disguise what is really happening?.

It is not my intention to scare but to%2

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Have you seen the show "Grumpy Old Men"?

This is the computer version. I have so much about computers that is great but there is a hell of a lot that is happening that is scary. Kids don't go out and play like they used to. They are getting fat playing their X Boxes and Nintendos. They are losing their imaginations to voilent computer games where they lose track of where vituality ends and life starts. If you have things that bother you about the new technologies then this is the place to vent your spleen (THAT IS UNTIL THEY REPLACE IT SPLEENS WITH SOME KIND OF COMPUTER CHIP).