The Shrub and the Staff Writing Contest
I think it's time someone held a contest.
A slash fiction writing contest.
George W. Bush and Victor Ashe. Georgie's nickname of "The Shrub" should of course be part of the story.
Let me quote Wolfbear's Blog
Leola McConnell, Democratic candidate for Governor of Nevada (who has been endorsed by WMR). McConnell is a one-time professional dominatrix.
"President Bush's speech to the nation Monday. If he doesn't say he's a gay American or at the least a bisexual one then he shouldn't be making one at all. And the notion that it would be in regards to writing bigotry into our nation's Constitution is reprehensible. Too bad it isn't me doing the rebuttal because in 1984, I watched him perform (with the enthusiasm of homosexual male who had done this many times before) a homosexual act on another man, namely Victor Ashe. Victor Ashe is the current Ambassador to the nation of Poland who should also come out like former Governor McGreevey of New Jersey and admit to being a gay American. Other homo-erotic acts were also performed by then private citizen George Bush because I performed one of them on him personally.
"Teddy" Story Contest
On March 3, 2005, ABC Online ran an Associated Press story about the "Teddy" prototype on display at Microsoft.
Slashdot.org also has a discussion about this story
On the surface, it's a baby monitor on Steroids, but as any imaginative soul can see from reading the article, there are a number of far more sinister implications afoot.
The teddy bear sitting in the corner of the child's room might look normal, until his head starts following the kid around using a face recognition program, perhaps also allowing a parent talk to the child through a special phone, or monitor the child via a camera and wireless Internet connection. ... "The vision behind this is to be two places at once,"
My mind began to whirl with ideas. How would this change the way we parent? How can something like this be abused? How would controlling parents use a device like this? How would something like this change our society?
What kinds of children will we be dealing with when parents use devices like this in place of their actual physical presence, or for pervasive monitoring?
A few years ago I saw a Mocumentary from the BBC that postulated what the future might hold, and one of the segments depicted a mother planting a tracking device in her daughter's arm that was part of a birth control implant, thus giving the mother the ability to track the daughter's motions 24/7.
So I propose a contest. Write a story involving "Teddy". Make it positive, negative, hopeful or pessimistic. Encase the hardware in different shells if you like (A clown or a Jack in the box spring to mind). Is it a gift from parent to child? Is a workaholic parent using it to "Spend time with the kids" while at the office? Is an obsessive individual or a stalker using it to monitor their prey? Is it being used as nothing more than a cuddly baby monitor, sort of a remote control Teddy Ruxpin?
Is the child's sense of "What's alive" being messed with? Does the distinction between human and machine blur, and what is the result?
Ask and or answer any of these questions.
Categories, judging criteria and prizes will be determined later. For now, just post your ideas and links to your stories.
Feel free to spread the word about this little contest, and get others involved. The topic fascinates me, and I'm intersted in reading what other people have to say about it.
By ALLISON LINN
The Associated Press
REDMOND, Wash. Mar 2, 2005 -- The teddy bear sitting in the corner of the child's room might look normal, until his head starts following the kid around using a face recognition program, perhaps also allowing a parent talk to the child through a special phone, or monitor the child via a camera and wireless Internet connection.
The plush prototype, on display at Microsoft Corp.'s annual gadget showcase Wednesday, is one of several ideas researchers have for robots. The idea is to create a virtual being that can visit the neighboring cubicle for a live telephone chat even as its owner is traveling thousands of miles away, or let the plumber into the house while its owner enjoys a pleasant afternoon in the sun.
Plenty of companies are already building robots for the work place, and toy companies have created plush dolls that know a child's name or can incorporate other personal information. But Steven Bathiche, a research and development program manager with Redmond-based Microsoft, said his company's projects go further.
"The vision behind this is to be two places at once," Bathiche said.
The "Teddy" project was one of about 150 projects on display at Microsoft's TechFest, a two-day event that gives Microsoft's worldwide team of researchers the chance to show product developers their sometimes far-flung creations, and perhaps find a fit for the projects in a future, marketable product.
TechFest opened Wednesday, mainly to full-time Microsoft employees. The company expected about 6,000 to attend, including Chairman Bill Gates and other executives. A few government officials, academics and journalists also were allowed.
Raman Sarin, a Microsoft development engineer, was just looking for a way to learn more about programming smart phones when he decided to create a program to monitor traffic a constant complaint in the car-clogged Seattle area. The result is SmartPhlow, a program that not only monitors current traffic patterns but also uses real-time and archived data to predict when the next backup might occur.
SCO License query.
I've gotten a little tired of the SCO FUD against Linux, and as a result have contacted SCO regarding the licensing prices they are claiming. Today, I found out they say everyone who owns a Tivo or a Sharp Zarus owes them $35.00, in addition to the $699 they want from anyone using Linux on a desktop or server.
This is the URL to their feedback form: http://www.sco.com/company/feedback/index.html
This is the request I sent using said form:
This is what I said:
Do I need a license for using Linux?
Do you have any white papers detailing the licensing issues involved with Linux? We are thinking of deploying a Linux server. Are licenses per server, corporate or per CPU? I've heard only some kernel versions are covered. Would it be possible to remove kernel code to eliminate the SCO property and thus have a Linux version that did not incur additional license fees? If so, what code would be involved? Does or will SCO make similar claims regarding MAC OS X or any of the BSD variants? The whole issue is very murky at the moment, and we're looking for some clarification on the matter.
And this is their automated reply:
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Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2003 07:34:30 -0600 (MDT)
This email is from the company feedback form.
COUNTRY: United States
Do you have any white papers detailing the licensing issues involved with Linux? We are thinking of deploying a Linux server. Are licenses per server, corporate or per CPU? I\'ve heard only some kernel versions are covered. Would it be possible to remove kernel code to eliminate the SCO property and thus have a Linux version that did not incur additional license fees? If so, what code would be involved? Does or will SCO make similar claims regarding MAC OS X or any of the BSD variants? The whole issue is very murky at the moment, and we\'re looking for some clarification on the matter.
More as it develops.
Linux Fund Cards (Rant)
A while back, I made the mistake of applying for a Linux fund card. This was not foolish in and of itself, but doing business with the parent parasite was.
I moved, and during the moving process I knew my new street address before I had the new phone number. I filled out all of the "Change of address" slots on my credit card and sent it off, using my cell phone as the contact number.
This was easily one of the dumbest things I've ever done, with the single possible exception of that one fling with a web cam girl, but we won't go there.
A week before this writing, I received a phone call, on my call, from the credit card company responsible for the Linux Fund Card. They pointed out that I was well under my credit limit, and were trying to get me to transfer my balances to their card.
I explained, quietly at first, that I did not want to get any phone calls unless there was a problem. I also explained that this was my cell phone, and that I wanted to be placed on the "do not call list."
The smarmy telemarketer replied with "This is the contact number you gave us sir."
"Do not call me to sell me anything."
"I'm not trying to sell you anything, I'm just informing you of the low interest rate on your existi-"
"Don't waste my time with semantics. You know what I mean. Is there a problem with my account?"
On March 19, I received another call. This one was from the same damn credit card company, offering the same damn balance transfer.
I said, very politely, "I am not interested. I do not wish to be called unless there is a problem with my account or if you suspect the card may have been stolen. If you wish to contact me for any other reason I prefer you do so by mail."
Then I hung up.
We'll see if they call again.
If they do, then I'm about to cancel a credit card.
International Eat an Animal for PETA Day
If you haven't heard by now, PETA has started yet another offensive ad campaign:
This one really reaches bottom-they are using Holocaust terminology, quotes, and pictures to liken the "slaughter" of animals to the slaughter of the Jews by the Nazis.
I've already received a letter from a child of Holocaust survivors who is, of course, extraordinarily offended. But here's the thing: PETA is known for this kind of outrageous publicity stunt-and that's what it is, an outrageous publicity stunt-and while I am also offended and outraged, there is absolutely nothing we can do that will make PETA change their ad campaign. I'm sure they knew exactly what they were doing, have a plan in mind, and, if they withdraw the campaign, will do it according to their deadlines and their decisions.
So let's make up our own outrageous publicity stunt. Let's designate Saturday, March 15th, as International Eat an Animal for PETA Day. Everybody set the date on your calendar, and either go out and enjoy a great steak, or cook one at home. Or cook up some chicken or fish or anything else that PETA wouldn't want you to eat. And let's let PETA know how their ad campaign has affected us.
Send a letter to PETA something on the order of this one: (You can cut and paste, but you can also write your own.)
I found your new ad campaign, "The Holocaust on your plate," offensive and outrageous. But I don't expect your organization to suddenly develop any sense of tact or human decency, so I thought I'd tell you what your campaign has wrought:
March 15th has been designated "International Eat An Animal For PETA" day. On that day, I'll be chowing down on a juicy steak, or chicken, or perhaps I'll have lobster-fresh, of course, chosen from the tank specifically for me. Maybe I'll have a plate of ribs at my local barbecue restaurant. Then there's that great seafood restaurant with the poached salmon and the delicious crabcakes. I could take my family there.
America's a free country, and you have the right to say what you want, no matter how offensive I think it is. But as a result of your insensitivity to those millions of people who died in the real Holocaust, and to the survivors and their descendants, I and my family will show PETA the same kind of insensitivity.
And have a great, meat-filled dinner, while we're at it.
Chew on that.
Fellow webloggers: Please feel free to join in and put up your own letter for your readers to grab. Here are the contact addresses.
Obviously, the above letter needs to be changed for the international crowd. There are more country contacts on the page.
It's like my father taught me: Don't get mad. Get even.
-- Meryl Yourish, at http://www.yourish.com
Well, here I am testing the journal mode for ./
If this works out I could find myself forgetting about setting up a livejournal account and using this as my BLOG.
Today is another dress up day at work. I'm in a suit in the IT department.
IT is located in the basement, with a few windows and no air conditioning. It's not QUITE as hot at the 90+ degrees outside, but it's close.