Thursday, April 22, 2004

Random Rambling

Just got a few minutes, thought I'd share a few random thoughts with you.

First... I just got this alert... anyone in GJ care to confirm this?

Second, I added yet another email to my growing list of addresses: I'm telling you this only because of the controversy that is surrounding it. Google is venturing into the "free webmail" market, and is taking a lot of flak for it. They are giving each user 1000MB (which sounds better than 1Gb), which is MUCH more than anyone else that offers free email services (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc). The reason some idiots are up in arms over it is the way they plan on targetting the advertising to their users.

The other email services all have banner ads plastered all over your screen. The thing that makes Google Mail (Gmail) different is that the ads will actually be targetted based on the content of your email. All your email will be scanned looking for "keywords" to give you advertising that is more likely to be of interest to you. For example, an email mentioning buying flowers or a car would produce advertising from florists and car dealers. The ignorant masses have declared this to be an invasion of privacy, and are literally trying to have laws passed against this type of thing from happening. Namely Senator Liz "Laguna" Figueroa, who feels it her personal responsibility to meddle in affairs she obviously can barely comprehend.

Liz and the "nearly two dozen privacy groups in the US and Europe" that "have demanded that Google suspend Gmail's launch until privacy issues are adequately addressed" are missing a fundamental point here. Gmail is a FREE SERVICE, and NOBODY is forced to use their service. If you have concerns about the "expected privacy" of your email, then DON'T USE THE SERVICE. As a matter of fact, maybe you should read ALL the Privacy Policies and Acceptable Use Policies for your current email service, no matter what it is. For your info, all ISP's already have the right to retain and read your email.

Personally, I completely support the concept of targetted advertising, whether it be email, radio, or TV. I would love to live in a world where I only had people bugging me to sell me the things I am actually interested in buying; like computer games, gadgets, etc... as opposed to the current glut of spam I get concerning enlarging my penis, refinancing my home, online casinos, and "Free 8 cup Thermal coffeemaker and mugs from Gevalia".

The same argument has been raging about the use of of "cookies" on websites. A cookie is a small file placed on your computer to remember who you were the next time you visit a website. It can remember things like your username, password, and preferences for a website. In some cases, it can also report what websites you've visited. Some people are just appalled at this! They don't want people to know where they've been, that's "NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS"... even though the majority of them don't go anywhere interesting ... like me. I go to the few gaming websites I have time to visit faithfully, the occasional news sites, Amazon, eBay, etc... If the advertising that I will be looking at ANYWAY were actually informed about me, instead of just throwing a random image in the hopes of catching my eye, I would be a much happier person. As it is, I have NEVER indicated to ANYONE that I was shopping for penis enlargement methods, yet I get at least a dozen offers a day on ways to do just that...

(ok, I promise, no more penis references ... at least in this post.)

And the last thing I wanted to share with you has been a recurring theme for me: the media's propensity for only showing the bad things happening in Iraq. As I've said repeatedly in the past; here in Kuwait we constantly hear of a lot of good things happening up there. Well one of the ways the Iraqi have found to tell their stories (that isn't controlled by anyone else) is by blogging ... the same way I'm getting this to you. Check out the link for some good reads!

And lastly, I promised you something unique to my area with every post. I realize my last post had unique pictures hidden in the Latest Photos album, so I thought I'd leave you with this picture:

Fortunately, this was taken up in Iraq, and not here. If it were here, I'd be carrying an aluminum bat with me everywhere I went. My loathing of spiders is a well-documented fact.

Have a great day! Much love to all of you!
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