At the Ref Desk (10/14/17): Phrase du Jour: Happy Researching! [more...]
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No Dear, ISPs Are Not Websites

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 4/5/17 (10:19am)

Snider, Mike: "ISPs Can Now Collect and Sell Your Data: What to Know About Internet Privacy Rules", USA Today (4/4/2017).

So here's an analogy: if 50 years ago AT&T (or whatever they called themselves back then) had kept records of all your phone calls and then started selling that information to the highest bidder -- would they have gotten away with it? I don't think so. (In fact, interesting research topic.)

ISPs are not websites. They're governed by different rules, regulated by different agencies and golly-molly, ya just can't get on the internet without them. That makes them a utility and frankly, there's no similarity to Facebook, Google, etc.

But, hey, we're living in a free country! There's nothing keeping those ISPs from setting up their own groovy websites so they can take advantage of the same benefits. Problem solved!

Infrastructure on the Skids

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 1/25/14 (8:58pm)

"High speed" Internet provider AT&T tells me that my connection speed sucks but instead of trying to fix it, they're throwing in the towel and lowering my monthly rate.

"About Your AT&T High Speed Internet Service - We regularly test the speed of your AT&T High Speed Internet service to ensure you have the best Internet speeds possible. Recently we sent a letter to let you know that our testing has found that your modem speed is slower than the speed shown in the AT&T High Speed Internet Terms of Service. We're moving you to a lower-priced plan more in line with your current speed, although we cannot guarantee specific speeds."

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And Now From the People Who Gave Us 'Smart Tags'...

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 2/20/13 (1:38am)

Kind of ironic ad considering it's from the people who (almost) gave us 'smart tags'. Background info...

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Perils of 21st Century Communication

Submitted by Leo Klein on Fri, 2/8/13 (1:30pm)

No wonder no one could hear me on Google Hangout -- I forgot to plug in the USB part of the headphone. Shucks.

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Perils of Outsourcing Your IT Expertise

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 12/24/12 (3:51am)

This article on the differences between the Obama and Romney campaign operations has been making the rounds. I think the best approach to its catalog of hits and misses is a healthy dose of skepticism. I mean, did the fate of Romney's campaign really hinge on whether they put together a documentary film showing "how Romney had helped average people in personal ways"? Who knows? Anyway, what really caught my eye, was this comment about the organization of Obama's IT team:

As [Harper] Reed assembled his team, he insisted on being given leeway to hire some of the best techies in the country, from ­Facebook, Craigslist, Twitter. Moreover, he insisted the team be largely internal, rather than have the enterprise be divided up among outside consultants.

Meanwhile according to this great article in Ars Technica, the Romney campaign was stricken with a severe case of outsource-a-ritis:

... [T]he Romney campaign did what many corporations have done in tight times—it kept its IT budget in check and heavily outsourced technology relative to its budget, keeping only a few strategic efforts in-house. At the same time, top executives took care of their own base, bringing in their own companies and those of friends to provide key services. While it wasn't exactly a consulting feeding frenzy, the Romney campaign left most of its technological fate in the hands of outsiders—and even internal projects like Orca were dependent on quick fixes from outside talent.

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Blast from the Past (1985): Tech-savvy Educators Choose ... LaserDisc!

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 6/18/11 (10:53pm)
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"Rapidly changing technology confronts an educator with difficult choices in selecting new equipment. Will today's state-of-the-art equipment be tomorrow's Edsel? Obviously, educators must be careful in choosing a particular technology, making certain that it will play an important functional role in the educational system. The Laser Videodisc system is such a technology."*

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*Schwartz, Ed. "The Educator's Handbook to Interactive Videodisc" (1985), p1.

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The IT Professional's dilemma: 'So have you picked up Susie in Oklahoma yet?'

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 10/13/10 (11:49am)

To which I respond, 'Who's Susie? And where in Oklahoma?

I'm not quite sure if there are similarities in other professions -- I 'spose there are -- but in the wonderful world of IT, you're routinely asked to trouble-shoot systems that you either didn't know existed or that you didn't know anyone had access to.

I remember one time when I was asked to solve an ethernet problem, the reason wasn't that I had any idea how the thing was set up -- I hadn't -- but that 'I [probably] knew a bit more than anyone else'.

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Living the Digital Life - Amtrak Edition

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 8/21/10 (3:10pm)
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Roy's got a post on all the digital paraphernalia he was lugging around on a recent trip to Boston. This reminded me of my own experience going to Springfield -- and how attached I still was to the 'Cloud' no matter what the circumstances were.

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Humanities -- the Salvation of Technology?

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 7/26/10 (9:19am)

Friend of mine from my undergrad days. Being an English major, it's nice to read reaffirmations such as this one by Daniel Paul O'Donnell in The Edmonton Journal, called 'Humanities, Not Science, Key to New Web Frontier':

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