Saturday, July 21, 2012

Don't Look Behind the Curtain!

I like to pretend that I'm tech-savvy.  A few days ago there was a great deal at Shopko on a 7 inch Polaroid tablet computer that came with a case with a keyboard.  Including the coupon, and the two year warranty, the price with tax was $105.  The tablet comes with Android ice cream sandwich.  Cool!  Or so we thought.

Now don't get me wrong.  This is a very nice tablet.  It is low end, which means I wait a few seconds for response times.  Of course if I wanted quick and snappy, I need to put out quite a few more bucks.  But this isn't a hardware review.  This is a rant about Google.

Since the OS is Android, I assumed "Great!  I can go to Google Play and access my music that I uploaded!".  Not.  Apparently Google has decided that since my hardware wasn't up to their standards, I wasn't allowed to download their Google Play app!  Huh?  That's right.  No Play on the Polaroid for me!

Fortunately, Polaroid has the Amazon app store already installed.  And Amazon says "Inexpensive hardware?  No problem!"  I downloaded their mp3 app to the tablet.  And surprise, there is all my music that I had uploaded to their cloud as well!

So my question is this:  When did Google suddenly become such dicks with their Play store?  They invite people to use their service, only to let us know that they're following Apple's business model?  If I wanted to do that, uh, I'd use an iPad and iTunes, folks.  I really wanted to stay completely in Google's universe, but ONCE AGAIN, they've pissed me off.  And there is Amazon, standing with their welcoming arms.  Needless to say, you know who I'll continue shopping with.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

And So It Begins...

This story is starting to gain momentum.  A man and his family were in a McDonalds in Paris, France.  The man has a medical vision implant.  All very legal, with documentation to authenticate his condition. And yet employees from a public company purposely destroy the papers, and physically attack this man, due to their narrow-mindedness.

Now I could imply that the employees were acting out of instructions from the franchise owner of not allowing public photography as it could be a ruse for undercover journalism.  The McDonalds Corporation has a policy of not allowing anyone to do a news story on their premises without previous authorization. And only interviewing the general manager of that particular restaurant, or the corporate rep. And I can understand the logic of this.  It controls libel or slander or simply misreporting facts.

But this is far more than a simple  "keep the media at bay" situation.  I think this man was attacked by people out of religious principle.  Attacked out of fear of loss of control of a perceived lifestyle that can no more be controlled now, than thousands of years ago.  Fundamentalism is equally narrow minded in Islam, Christianity, and Judasim.  And God forbid if you happen to be from the American continent.  It doesn't matter if you are a Yank or a Canuck.  Then you also fall under global sterotyping.

They tried to yank out a medical implant.  What is going to happen when Google releases their final version of the Glass technology?  And not just Google. You know that other companies are lining up to release their own version of augmentation.  Does it become a stand off between cyborgs and fundamentalists?  A holy war between transhumanists and the religious right wings?  Or something even more ludicrous as the tech public against corporate elites?

Some reading this will say "Hey, you work for McDonalds. Why aren't you supporting the company?".  I'm not real proud of this right now, for my own reasons.  Whether or not the McDonalds corporation makes this right for Dr. Steve Mann is besides the point.  At some time in the future this will become personal for everyone.  We will need to take up positions on whether we embrace technology and the direction it's taking us, or shun it from our lives.

On this, I stand solid with the transhumanists.