The False Equivalencies Continues… Begins… Whatever…

The above assertion showed up in my feed (“Obama Broke the Law First!)… My response:

Yeah, the 2008 Obama campaign was late filing it’s paperwork, there were some donations over the legal $1,000 limit for individuals and they raised a huge amount, the largest amount of individual donations at the time, and so they were fined over $300,000. It was a civil fine because the FEC, who runs these investigations, determined that the errors were not deliberate and not an effort to hide money. Cohen’s guilty plea was BECAUSE their intention was to hide this illegal campaign contribution… slight difference. You’d think this Jack fellow would know the difference between a Civil action and a Criminal one… or the difference between turning paperwork in late and lying. Maybe not…


Spelling Out a Few Things

DailyRandomShit for 2016-06-08

I don’t exactly agree with every point of this essay, but LaMonte M. Fowler pretty much spells out many of my thoughts… One of my biggest feelings is that if your largest effort is on complaining and/or blaming others and not in finding solutions I’m pretty much done with all of the Internet whining. Thank you very much. I’m generally willing to listen, I understand your concerns, but I also know that some folks are all about the fear… sad. jbb

By LaMonte M. Fowler:

I feel the need to drop a little truth on y’all. So buckle up…I’m about to be politically incorrect.

We don’t need to take America back. No one stole it. It’s right here…you’re sitting in it. Chillax.

Mexico isn’t going to pay for the wall and we’re not going to deport millions of people and break up families. If you think either one is a good idea, you’re not smart and probably not a person I want to hang out with.

We don’t live in a democracy. Technically we are a Federal Republic. But in reality we are ruled by an oligarchy. If you don’t know what that is, look it up. Reading will do you good. You probably need to do more of it.

FoxNews, CNN, and MSNBC have an agenda and are not “fair and balanced” or in any way unbiased. I’ll reiterate…read more. Read newspapers (even online ones). Read lots of opinions and sources and then (stay with me here), THINK! Form your own opinion based on as many facts as your can brain can tolerate.

Speaking of facts…there actually is a difference between facts, opinions, and propaganda. You should learn the difference. (Another opportunity to show off your mad reading skills.)

Science is real. We know things because of science. Don’t be afraid of it. You have an iPhone and Facebook because of science. It’s your friend.

Global warming or “climate change” as the cool kids call it IS REAL. Anyone who tells you it’s not real is not a smart person and probably should not be dressing themselves or caring for children.

Racism exists. And you are probably a little racist and should work on that. Seriously.

American Christians are not under attack. We are not being persecuted. We wield so much power in this country that politicians pretend to be Christian just so we will vote for them. No one is trying to take your bible away from you. The gay people are not destroying our families—we don’t need any help from them, thank you. We do a fine job of that by ourselves. So stop saying we are persecuted. You sound stupid.

Poor people need help. If you’re not helping them but complaining about how the government helps them with your money you are not a nice person.

Be nice to the people who teach your children. Don’t send them nasty emails or yell at them. Their job is 10,000 times harder than your stupid job. You are not a professional educator so just shut your mouth and be thankful someone is willing to teach your offspring.

You don’t know what Common Core is. You think you do, but you don’t unless you’re a teacher. So stop complaining about math problem memes on Facebook. You can’t do the math anyway.

ISIS is not an existential threat to the United States. We do not need to rebuild our military. Our military is the strongest, scariest, most badass killing machine the world has ever seen. So stop being afraid and stop letting politicians and pundits scare you.

Guns do in fact kill people. That’s what they are designed to do. If you feel you need a gun to protect yourself in America, you are probably living in the wrong neighborhood and should move before you go out and buy a gun. There are like a billion places to live where you won’t need a gun, or even need to lock your front door.

If you do own a gun, then make sure you know how to use it really, really, really well. Seriously…get some training because you still don’t know how to record stuff with your DVR. Go to the gun range and shoot the thing a lot. Learn how to clean it properly and be able to disassemble it and reassemble it with your eyes closed. It’s a freaking gun and it deserves that level of care, proficiency and respect. And for God’s sake, keep it locked up and away from your kids.

If you are even a little bit crazy, sad, or pissed off…you shouldn’t have a gun. And the Founding Fathers would totally agree with me.

Stop being suspicious of American Muslims. I guarantee the guy sitting next to you in the cubicle at work is probably more of a threat to you than any Muslim. He has to listen to your uninformed ranting day after day and has probably already imagined very colorful and creative ways to end you.

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and all the rest are ENTERTAINERS! Stop getting your opinions from them. (Here’s where that reading thing can really be an advantage.)

Stop sharing Facebook memes that tell me to share or else Jesus won’t bless me with a laundry basket full of cash. That’s not how prayer works. And I don’t want money delivered (even from God) in a laundry basket. Nobody ever washes those things out and they just keep putting nasty dirty clothes in them. Yuck!

We are the United States of America and we can afford to house every homeless veteran, feed every child, and take in every refugee and still have money left over for Starbucks and a bucket of KFC.

Unless you can trace your family line back to someone who made deerskin pants look stylish and could field dress a buffalo, you are a descendent of an immigrant. Please stop saying that immigrants are ruining our country. Such comments are like a giant verbal burrito stuffed with historical ignorance, latent racism, and xenophobia all wrapped in a fascist tortilla.

That’s all for now. I feel better.

LaMonte M. Fowler

Nokia Resorts to FUD Ads

What does it mean when an advertiser begins his campaign by knocking the other product about issues over two-years old? I thought making the consumer think about the market leader (not your product) was a bad thing. This week Nokia, following phone-partner Microsoft’s lead, dropped a series of FUD ads purporting to be secret behind-the-scenes footage highlighting decisions made at an unnamed company (Apple) proving that this unnamed company (Apple) knew that they were selling defective products. Really? I guess this would work if I just flat out hated all things Apple, because it would reinforce my distrust of them. But then because I’m not told anything about their alternative, I’m just as likely to let myself get talked into buying a Samsung Fablet (aka, the Note). Especially after the “Smoked by Windows Phone” flap (see below). Oops. Fail.

Continue Reading

What’s In a Model Number – Does It Help or Confuse?

Happy iPad delivery day! The following is for those making a big deal about the new iPad losing it’s number designation. How many of you have gone shopping for electronics thinking that you knew what you wanted only to be confounded by the naming/numbering nomenclature of the different manufacturers who often sell the same model device under different names depending on where you are shopping? Don’t be too surprised if the next iPhone model also drops the numbering system and is just called “iPhone.” I think they might do this just to piss off nerds who’ve forgotten that it’s not about the model number but what the thing actually does. In the meantime others have built their whole business on confusing their customers at the point of sale ’cause electronics are hard…

Pinterest, Copyright & FUD

I recently got the following question from a student:

One of my fellow faculty members had this on her facebook page. I thought it was very interesting. I know that several faculty members suggest that students use pinterest as a mood board for coming up with concepts for design projects. Would like to to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks, Dorreen

Brilliant timing on the part of Linkedin-News, Business Insider and Alyson Shontell, the latter being the author of the non-inflamatory titled linked article: “A Lawyer Who Is Also A Photographer Just Deleted All Her Pinterest Boards Out of Fear.” Yeah, that shouldn’t cause any anxiety. Just in case you’re scratching your head wondering, “What the hell is a Pinterest Board?” It’s the latest social website to reach “hotness” status, where participants create virtual bulletin boards or pin boards organized by personal interests and then participants are encouraged to pin images or media from around the web and from other participants. I chose to create boards titled Favorite Places & Spaces, For the Home, Products I Love, My Style, Books Worth Reading and The Beatles. I’ve just started so I only have one image in the Beatles section. It’s a kind of visual scrapbook where one can gather images for inspiration, or gather images to create a project like home improvement, or images to plan a trip or as the student’s coworker suggested: as a mood board (whatever that is). The buzz is that it has a strong female base because of it’s potential crafty nature. It’s completely personal and with an installed “Pin it” button on your browser, it’s just a matter of clicking the button when you’re on a page with an image that you want to add to one of your boards. You can then select the image from all of the images on that page to post on your board. Simple, one, two, three.

This is where the article steps in and screams, “Copyright Violation!” Oh yeah, copyright, how can Pinterest or its participants legally take images from other websites and post them on their own pages? As my students should know after the first week of my class, copyright is about whether you have permission to use a piece of media or not. Period. No permission means the usage is a copyright violation. Yikes. Run for the hills. Pinterest users are violating copyright! But wait, there’s something called the Fair Use doctrine (17 U.S.C. 107) which says that one does not need permission if one is using a small portion of the media for teaching, news reporting, critical comment or parody and the usage does not prevent the original copyright owner from profiting from his/her creation. In the original article the author/lawyer makes comments about whether Pinterest’s “pinning” is the same as “thumbnail” images that was a loophole used in another case. But, alas, in general pinning media on a Pinterest board does not qualify as teaching, news reporting, critical comment or parody, so Fair Use cannot be employed here regardless of the “pinning” versus “thumbnail” quandary. The article establishes the same, but with much more urgent language (small “yikes!”).

How does Pinterest get away with promoting what the article would call the theft of others images? Legally Pinterest’s user agreement is based on the idea of safe harbor, where Pinterest is only providing a service and it’s up to the individual user to not violate any laws and that Pinterest will not be held liable for any violation. How can they do that? Oh my god, there out’a be a law against that kind of thing… My guess is that Ms. Shontell (not the lawyer) has never read any terms of service for any product or service… ever, because that is basic business 101 language of every product or service sold in this country if not the world. So, surprise, you’re responsible for what you do on the Internet too. Wow, how’d that happen?

In the original article written by kristen, the lawyer, she then pushes the panic meter up that much higher by equating pinning unauthorized images on ones boards with illegally sharing music a la the now-departed Nabster. What? This is where those who are used to collecting physical art objects get tangled up with digital etiquette. If I were to go over to Flickr, find a photo someone posted from the Grammy’s of Paul McCartney jumping down from his piano to rock out for the last song and post the image on my Beatles Pinterest board have I taken the image down from Flickr? Nope, it’s now on my board and still on the Flickr page. It’s not theft in the traditional sense that for me to have it the other must lose it. We both now have it. That’s confusing. It is in violation of copyright, if I don’t have permission to use it on my Pinterest board, but it’s not theft because the original is safely tucked away in Flickr.

So, here is how the web is different from the guy selling CDs and DVDs on the blanket at Venice Beach… if you are posting pictures, recipes, graphic ideas for a project that you’ve gathered from across the web, the usage is mostly personal for you and your friends or followers. It’s a virtual scrapbook like what I did when I cut out the pictures from several Life Magazines to make a scrapbook about the Apollo missions to the moon. Pinterest strongly encourages that any images that you use that you directly link back to the original image, so that if someone likes the image they can go back to the original creator to view other images by the creator. If this were Creative Commons, it would fall under the Creative Commons/attribution license. So, Pinterest believes, because the images are largely for personal use (mostly non-commercial) and that they are directly connected to the originals, giving them proper attribution, then the practice falls within standard community Internet etiquette. If the guidelines are properly followed one is not misrepresenting someone else’s work as ones own. It’s still a possible violation and most like not Fair Use, but it’s not theft in the traditional sense either.

So, what can they do to you? Theoretically you could get sued, so don’t take any images from Getty or Disney. But it’s more likely that you might get a DMCA take-down notice if someone were to object. That’s about it. Call the police! Yeah, this one is one giant grey area in the area of copyright. Kristen (the lawyer), is correct that the Pinterest people could make it easier by encouraging the use of Creative Commons more so that one is informed of the nature of how images can be shared. Other than that, the two articles are just taking advantage of the Pinterest hype and adding their own Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD)! Way to muddy up the already grey waters. Yuck. BTW, you can find my mostly empty Pinterest boards at Enjoy.


Microsoft’s “Gmail Man” Spoof Video Continues FUD

So, apparently Microsoft still thinks that it can do comedy. Yeah, I guess they didn’t learn anything after spending millions on the Sienfeld/Gates commercials. Worse than just not really being funny is that the issues raised in this video are complete FUD. Again, Microsoft is misrepresenting the point, in that anyone who uses any email product should know that unless they are applying encryption to their email messages that email is analgous to sending a postcard in the real world. Anyone along the way from one’s ISP to the hosting servers can view your email, this would include unencrypted email sent via Microsoft’s products too. FUD. I wonder how that girl who bought an HP laptop and said that she was a film-maker is doing with her career. Now, that’s comedy.