My Morning Feed

I use my morning commute to catch up on my RSS feeds (I’m not driving) instead of reading a newspaper. It’s one of those many things that Warren Ellis presaged in Transmetropolitan: A vehicle full of people, stacked in like sardines, reading feeds instead of interacting with each other. This morning’s read was particularly interesting and I wanted to elaborate on some of the posts:

“Big Government run amok: Obama Administration says citizens have no ‘reasonable expectation’ the government won’t track them everywhere they go” from Grits for Breakfast

Aside from the fact that this administration has been a dismal failure on privacy and civil liberties issues, my big takeaway from this is that the courts have, in general, been better than I expected on this issue. Justice Sotomayor has been a nice surprise so far. I expect her and Scalia to provide a lot of amusing interplay over the next few decades.

Really, it’s kind of pathetic to think that the government believes that attaching a device to your vehicle to track your every move shouldn’t count as a “search.” That strikes me as so far over the line that we shouldn’t even have to have this discussion.

“An object lesson for those who doubted” from Pharyngula

The lesson? When somebody says something monumentally stupid and offensive, slap them down hard. Silence implies agreement, at least in their mind. We might call this the lesson of the nuttiest site on the web, wherein stupid and offensive are not only allowed to fester, but they’re encouraged and reinforced. 15 years ago, that site was very different. It was the home of relatively civil discussions of a reasonably intellectual brand of conservatism.

Another lesson? When you say something stupid, it’s not an abridgment of your right to free speech when people react loudly and negatively to the stupid (or even clever) thing that you’ve said. They’ve got the same rights to free speech as you do. And, finally: Decrying someone for being intolerant doesn’t make you intolerant. I’ve heard that argument so many times and it doesn’t hold up. Moving along…

“How to crowdsource a sxsw showcase & panel in under 24 hours” from Amanda Fucking Palmer

Ms. Palmer is something of a lightning rod these days. Many people react very negatively to anything she does, but I find her unfailingly interesting even when I don’t agree with her. This is a very “Amanda” post: It’s all over the place but there are many bits of very intriguing information in there.

Specifically, this post is about her experience at SxSW this year and about how she managed to put a 3 1/2 hour show together in almost no time. It’s a lot of fun to watch the way she engages her audience – I’ve never seen anything remotely like it. If I were an artist, I’d be taking notes.

There’s been a lot of backlash to her TED talk which I find a little baffling. The complaints have centered around the idea that, since she’s successful, she has no right telling less-successful artists that they ought to be ok with giving their art away. Of course, what she’s doing is explaining how she became successful and inviting others to become successful the same way, but for some reason, a lot of folks have decided that views on the subject are invalid because of who she is.

So, you folks who don’t like her way of monetizing her art, please understand this: Any money you receive for reproductions of your art, be it music, writing, video, or whatever, is tantamount to receiving a tip. There is no way to prevent people from copying and redistributing your work if they’re of a mind to do so. Payment is more a matter of personal choice and individual views of right and wrong than anything that you or any government can enforce. Her way of doing things may not appeal to you, and that’s cool. But her way of doing things is a reaction to the new reality and, if you don’t emulate her, at least recognize that she’s trying to show you how it can be done.


And, finally…Google.

What the crap are you doing by killing Google Reader and RSS plug-in support in Chrome? I read all of my RSS feeds in Google Reader because I made a conscious decision to buy in to the Google ecosystem. It’s a matter of convenience to me. I like all of these nifty things are linked through my Google log in and they work on my Android phone and my Chrome browser almost seamlessly. I bought into this because I trusted that Google would be a stable, always-there platform for delivering these services.

So, beyond inconveniencing me by killing Reader, you’ve made me question my investment in your whole system. Blogger is, quite frankly, a piece of crap. I expected that it would see some love after Google+ started to take off, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen and I wouldn’t be shocked if Blogger wound up on the chopping block.

To me, a lot of the value of “going Google” was in the breadth of products that worked together. I’m now looking at moving this blog to another platform, and I’m less than certain that my next phone will be an Android phone. I mean, if I’m going to just be picking and choosing best-of-breed apps and platforms rather than sticking with a single, integrated solution, I might as well re-think the whole kit and kaboodle.

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