Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Notes on Chapter 4

First of all, in my opinion, I hate the argument for stealing music that goes something like this: "It's not stealing because I didn't take the songs from someone, I just copied it. We can both still listen to them." I hate this argument because it completely ignores the fact that the thief is denying someone, somewhere, their living. You may be not stealing the song, per se, but you are stealing money from them. By not paying for something they worked to produce, you are essentially stealing money from them. While I have long since sworn off stealing music, there was a time in my life when I indulged in a little sampling of music from kazaa. What I did is I would download songs from bands that I had heard about and that I thought I might like. I would listen to them and if I liked them I would go out and buy their CDs. I've bought at least 20 albums by this method, and I have deleted all of the original stolen songs since then, keeping only the ones that I ripped off of the CDs that I bought. While I certainly don't expect everyone else to have done this as well, I bring it up because of the vicious nature in which the RIAA has gone after people who stole music at some point. Even if they have deleted all of it, even if they never even listened to most of it, even if they bought dozens of CDs from artists as a result of sampling stolen music, the RIAA will still heartlessly drain the person for as much money as they can. I think that is wrong. I think the RIAA should use far more discression in the area of seeking compensation for stolen music.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Notes on Chapter 3

I think there are two types of advertisements in the world. Those that we are forced to witness as a way of paying for something (this is the ok kind). For example, when we watch our favorite television programs, we are forced to watch commercials, basically, as a way of paying for having TV shows to watch; commercials are what make TV possible. The other kind of advertisements are unsolicited ads. These are ads that are forced upon us in places where they don't belong; they are forced upon us simply because they are not outlawed. They can, and so they do. One example of this, in my opinion, is billboard ads. Billboard ads do not pay for roads or highways. They in no way benefit the roads themselves, rather they leach off of the roads. Billboards are wrong, in my opinion. Spam email is similar to this. Spam does not fund the email service. Profit from spam emails does not go into ensuring that our email service continues. If anything, spam email makes reliable email service harder. For this reason, in my eyes, spam email is wrong. It's not a benefit to the system, it's a leech on the system.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Notes on Huggins and Postman

Both of these articles mention the two-facedness of technology, how every benefit derived brings problems as well. "Culture always pays the price of technology" says Postman. My question is who is deciding what is better for culture? Just because our culture is different doesn't mean it's worse; just because our culture as it exists now is not the same as the one we grew up with, does not make it bad. Are technology naysayers merely uncomfortable with change?
I understand some of the arguments made in these articles, but some statements, especially ones made Postman's article, are simply absurd. "We can say that the computer person values information, not knowledge, certainly not wisdom. Indeed, in the computer age, the concept of wisdom may vanish altogether." This statement, needless to say, is pompous and inaccurate. I would say that wisdom and computers are two very unrelated things. Certainly the former can be propagated by means of the latter, but the existence of computers in no way undermines the persistent need of wisdom.
I find the point to be quite valid that Postman makes about how technology changes our culture rather than adds to it. American culture with television added does not equal old American culture + television; contrarily, our culture now is completely, entirely different now than it was when we had no television. With that in mind, it is important to consider if our new technologies are actually improving our culture rather than simply providing another way to spend money.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


I haven't been able to find the book yet. :(