caitsith01 writes "ITNews reports that Australia's ever-unpopular Minister for Communications, Senator Stephen Conroy, has foreshadowed new action by the Australian Government to crack down on illegal file sharing under the guise of promoting the digital economy. Options apparently being considered include the controversial and previously reported French three-strikes approach and an approach which sounds suspiciously like New Zealand's even more dubious guilty-upon-accusation approach to filesharing. Needless to say, although the Government is consulting with "representatives of both copyright owners and the Internet industry in an effort to reach an industry-led consensus on an effective solution", arguably the most significant group — ordinary Internet users — are not being consulted.
caitsith01 writes "I'm in the market for a new laptop, and it seems that almost overnight all major manufacturers have stopped offering Windows XP as an option and now only offer Vista. As I will be running XP and Linux no matter what, I strongly object to paying for Vista. Where can I find a quality laptop that comes with XP as its default OS? Please note that for a variety of reasons (games, price-performance, lock-in, natural aversion to zealotry) I am not interested in buying a Mac. I am also in the 'rest of world' category, so I can't take advantage of Dell's U.S.-only policy of offering greater choice in operating systems.
Alternatively, can anyone provide an update on the possibility of getting a refund for an unused copy of Vista?"
caitsith01 writes | more than 10 years ago
I was just wondering if anyone could help me out - I have been a member here for quite a long time, I read and post every day, I am logged in pretty well continuously, and I have never, ever, had any mod points. I meta-moderate all the time, but to no avail. My karma is excellent, and my posts often get +5s for insightful, interesting or funny.
Any idea why this would be? I would like to be able to punish a few infidels from time to time, as well as reward others who make intelligent contributions.
Is anyone else concerned about the possible long term effects of living in an environment in which you can always be contacted, always be located, and always contact others?
I'm only in my mid 20's, but when I was young I lived in the country and for whole days would be out of contact with 'civilisation.' I could have fallen down a well and noone would have found me for ages. Somehow I survived. By the time I was 11 or 12 I would camp out with friends, again with no ability to phone home if anything happened and no ability for my parents to check where I was. By the age of 16 I was living in a large city and starting to learn about wine, women and song - still without a mobile phone or TrackCo Tracking Brain Implant. It was only a few years ago that I started using a phone, and although it's useful I make sure to turn it off frequently and leave it at home occaisionally. I also regularly let it ring out so that people don't assume I will be contactable at all times.
Now my question is this: what about people who live their entire lives, from their earliest years, with a phone? Always in contact, always trackable. Surely this will have a serious psychological effect - severing of the umbilical cord of cellular connectivity already leads to panic in some people I know. If we go out camping and there's no reception, they get upset and on more than one occaision have climbed large hills in vain attempts to get back on the network. Other individuals have phoned me at random times sounding panicking and asking - why was your phone off? Are you ok??!
Basically what I am concerned about is that we will become a species addicted to the security of our cell phone blanket, and thereby lose a bit of our independence. I think we should change the culture to make it less centred around constant connectivity and more focused on convenience - convenience for the OWNER of the phone, not others who might wish to contact them. People should make a point of travelling occaisionally without their phones, turning them off during meals, movies, or even just for a few hours when they want to relax. The phone should be a tool, not a social floatation device to reassure us that if anything bad happens help is just a button-press away. Living with a panic alarm is just going to make you worry more about when you might need to use it.
I have recently become a member of a couple of organisations dedicated to causes that I am interested in - Amnesty International, and an environmental group with a very realistic and practical approach to protecting the environment.
I was motivated to do so because of the influence of money in politics. I decided that, if business interests are going to use money to influence political outcomes and marginalise the power of my vote, I had better fight fire with fire and put some of my own money into the mix to fight for what I believe in. I therefore tried to select groups who will use the money to maximum effect whilst still maintaining the ideals I want to support.
Really, this is quite a depressing situation. I feel like I shouldn't have to pay to have my views expressed, but when there are oil companies and anti-abortion religious extremists and weapons manufacturers and drug companies all pouring money into buying political influence it is not going to do much good to refuse to participate on the basis of principle. Recently, however, I've started to belive that it's possible that the only way to beat those who seek to corrupt the political process to serve their own interests is to get down in the mud and fight them with their own tactics and weapons - money, and to a lesser extent media spin and hidden influence of public figures. I think it is possible to do this and still maintain the moral high ground, because the 'interest' I wish to protect and serve is not financial, nor will it benefit me more than anyone else.
It's a dangerous path to take, though. There are so many examples of people who were once idealistic, decided they had to be in the game in order to win it, and ended up caring about the insider dealing and their personal interests more than the ideals they originally sought to champion. They say "anyone who isn't a communist when they're 20 is a coward; anyone who's still a communist when their 40 is an idiot," but to me that is just a lame justification for the tendency people have to lose sight of their higher aims and ideals and focus entirely on their own circumstances. I think that it's the person who is 40 and who has lost all of their idealism who is the coward and the idiot, not the person with the courage to still believe in something better and to fight for it.