Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

Many Happy Returns Webby!

Posted: May 10, 2014 in bankers, Business, Computers, Current Events
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

World-Wide-Web

The World Wide Web, created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, turned 25 years old this year, 2014.

There has never been anything like it before, certainly not as regards the impact it has made on society and the way we live our lives. Many of those changes are good, many are not so good and a few are downright annoying.

Here’s my take on some of them.

To concentrate on the good parts first, the one thing the www has done, for those who can use it effectively, is to give access to information that was previously only available to the elite few who managed to claw their way into the lofty heights of academia, or who worked in places where information was readily available. Now the same information is accessible at the touch of a button to anyone and everyone with a smart phone, tablet or computer.

Another benefit, in my view anyway, is that is has sent a massive wake-up call to telephone providers world wide, many of whom were fast asleep, content to rake in healthy profits from antiquated systems. No longer do we have to settle for slow and temperamental data transfer lines. Nowadays, particularly in the last few years, people are demanding systems that can cope with download streams in the gigabyte range. If you are old enough to remember the first modems you will know you wasted too much of your life trying to download at 12Kb/sec., sometimes less.

Freedom is also a welcome by-product of the World Wide Web.

The freedom to work in any country in the world, from virtually any country in the world is one big plus – it is for me anyhow. Another one I particularly like is the freedom to watch TV programs that I like, when I like, no longer tied to the schedules of some brainless bean-counter working for a broadcasting company. And the freedom to have your say on things as and when the mood takes you – they call that blogging don’t you know! – is also a great advantage to the ordinary person.

www words

As is the freedom to disseminate information across the globe instantly, as Mr Snowden ably demonstrated, although I would hazard a guess that the powers that be would not agree with me on that one.

Indeed, this is the one aspect of the www that really bothers big brother.

China for example is one country where access is controlled by the state. Coincidentally this year also marks the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, you’ll find articles about that if you do a search, but probably not in China. They get away with it because they are not a democracy and do not pretend to be one.

In other countries, like the good old Land Of The (Not So) Free (Anymore)), the powers still like to con their people into believing that they are living in a democratic nation and that the people have the power to vote for this or that. But think for a moment, when was the last time you got to vote on whether to start a war, or whether to give $billions of your money to the greedy banksters to pay themselves huge bonuses and gamble away the rest?

It is because they need to keep the pretence of democracy going, that they do not yet have the confidence to start overtly censoring the internet. But they do all they can to snoop on what people are reading, or writing, or looking at.

This is where the freedom the www and associated technology provides can also be a negative, when it is used by governments to surveil us and record every piece of data they can. If they were doing this selectively and targeting terrorists and criminals no one would be too worried. But they are doing it to all of us, guilty and innocent alike.

big brother is watching

They are also doing everything they can think of to impose taxes on internet commerce – of course they have to coz they’re stoney broke.

The www has revolutionized business practices and created all sorts of new commerce opportunities, Amazon perhaps being the best example of a company that has gone from nothing to a multi-billion dollar business in just a few years.

Communication and social interaction are also areas where the www has liberated the ordinary person – first with email and more recently with social media. In the near future expect to see social media expanding to become much more than individual platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. We are already seeing many new applications that are allowing people to communicate more widely, more easily and more often.

social media

Another negative is that the World Wide Web has unwittingly facilitated the proliferation of pornography and violence, and is teaching a generation of morons all the wrong things. Things that will ensure they become a burden on society, not an asset.

And it has also opened a whole new environment in which criminals can operate. Millions of dollars are being stolen every day through scams, confidence tricks and outright theft.

You could say (and I frequently do) that people dumb enough to fall for these scams deserve all they get, or all they lose, is perhaps a better way of putting it. You know, the idiots who believe they really have won a lottery they didn’t buy a ticket for, or who think that Dr Umbungo Watanga from Nigeria is being truthful when he tells them that someone they never heard of has left them $25 million and all they need to do is send all their personal details and a few thousand dollars to unlock the fortune that awaits them. There really is one born every minute it seems!

All that said, and twenty-five years on, the www is still in its infancy. We have come a long way in the past 25 years, but we have really only scratched the surface as regards what the web has the potential to do to further improve our daily lives.

Where the vision to develop the www will come from in anyone’s guess. The only thing we know for sure is that the initiative won’t come from governments or their bureaucratic servants, simply because the people we elect to those positions do not have the required intelligence.

So its up to you. If you have any great ideas you want to share, send me an email.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the World Wide Web.

.

===================================================

.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

It’s time for a Sunday Sermon!

cartoon-illustration-of-a-spy-wearing-a-hat-and-trenchcoat

. 

Whether we realize it or like it, the advent of the internet has changed all our lives. From power users like myself to just casual users, things are a lot different from how they used to be.

There are, of course, negatives like the increase of spam, fraud, pornography and so forth, but by and large the impact of the internet has been a positive one.

It has made finding information much quicker and easier.

It has given us better and cheaper communication possibilities such as Skype.

It has revolutionized shopping for millions of people.

And it has spawned new social interaction platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and not forgetting blogging sites such as WordPress, allowing people to find groups and individuals all over the world with similar interests to their own.

But perhaps the greatest thing that the internet has achieved is to give freedom for ordinary people to say what they want to say and have that reach a much bigger audience than would have hitherto been possible without having to spend vast sums of money trying to do it.

Unfortunately, however, that freedom is the one thing that governments cannot tolerate. Hell bent on control, they see the freedom that the internet provides as a threat to their power. And slowly but relentlessly they are chipping away at that freedom.

In China there is no pretense or deceit. The government there controls the internet and that’s just how it is.

However in the West, as they always do, governments create smokescreens to hide their real objectives. They read our private emails and listen to our private phone calls in secret, only reluctantly admitting to it when they are exposed by a whistleblower such as Edward Snowden, last seen leaving Hong Kong and heading for Moscow.

edward-snowden

And even when they are exposed they can’t tell the truth about what they are doing and why they are doing it. Invariably the excuse trotted out is “security issues”, in other words, they are doing what we don’t want them to do and invading our privacy, for our own good! 

If governments expect the people to have confidence in them, then they in turn should show confidence in the people. That means doing their job properly and targeting people and groups that are a possible threat without treating everyone as a potential terrorist.

And it means being honest with their people. 

Will that happen?

Not a chance!

As I said earlier the game isn’t about what is good for the people, the game is about control of the people. And a big part of that control is ensuring that the herd shall not be heard – if they have anything important to say that the government doesn’t want us to know!

————————————————————-

.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

I haven’t had a rant for a while, so one is long overdue. Here it is.

.

I’m sure hardly anybody noticed, but last week the bureaucrats in Washington effectively shut down the web site Intrade for US citizens. Intrade was the popular web site that any adult, including Americans, could use to wager on the future price of certain commodities, like gold or oil.

Effectively the bureaucrats have now made it illegal to solicit Americans to buy and sell commodity options contracts unless they are listed on an exchange registered with them or on one designated as legally exempt by them, and they have taken upon themselves the power to regulate nearly any commodity-related activity unless Congress provides a specific exemption.

Of course the politically well connected investment banks and hedge funds into which the great and the wealthy put their money can carry on as before speculating on the price of everything from pork bellies to platinum and manipulating gold, currency, oil and other markets. The recent MF Global scandal really puts that beyond reasonable doubt.

Intrade is just the latest move by the bureaucrats and the thought police to restrict the freedom of American citizens. Not so long ago it was the online gambling websites, then New Zealand based Megaupload was targeted, then banking in any offshore jurisdiction, now the Ireland based Intrade, and tomorrow, well, who knows.

Maybe the ever sensitive morons in the thought police will try to stop you reading blogs critical of their asinine bureaucracy? Oh, oh, gulp!

The way they are acting is nothing short of a complete perversion of the concept of a government with limited powers. But are the liberals, who should be in the forefront of upholding such principles, falling over themselves to defend the ordinary people?

Not likely.

If and when this type of interference happens in China or North Korea or somewhere similar, they are rushing to get on to their high horses to condemn and ridicule.

But back in Washington they are busy trying to create an inefficient and bureaucracy-ridden nanny state that they know will necessitate clamping down on individual choice and freedom, if it is to even stand a chance of making it look as if it is working.

To add insult to injury the bureaucrats make their usual claim that they are taking these steps for “your own protection”.

Why is it that the steps the bureaucrats take in the ”public interest” never seem to turn out to be in my interest or in the interest of anyone I know?

By the way, in case you are wondering, I have never used Intrade, it’s not my kind of thing and I don’t know enough about that field to speculate with any consistent degree of success.

But I would appreciate the freedom to make up my own mind on the subject, instead of having the faceless and less intelligent bureaucratic thought police dictate the decision for me.

We all know how successful the Volstead Act was at the beginning of the last century, but the bureaucrats learn nothing from their mistakes. And they never will, because their desire is not to do what is right or just or even sensible, their desire is to create an ever growing bureaucracy which they control.

Home of the brave? No doubt about that when you see the young people who are willingly putting themselves in harm’s way to help to defend the nation.

But land of the free? No siree, not no mo!

.

.


==========================