Did You Pay Your Internet Protection Payola?

Do you buy books online, use Google, or download to an Ipod? These activities will be hurt if Congress passes a radical law that gives giant corporations more control over the Internet.

Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality, the Internet’s First Amendment. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more. Amazon.com doesn’t have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to work more properly on your computer. This is the equivalent of a protection racket of money paid so that organized crime leaves your business alone.

Politicians don’t think we are paying attention to this issue. Many of them take campaign checks from big telecom companies and are on the verge of selling out to people like AT&T’s CEO, who openly says, “The internet can’t be free.”

How will you be affected?

  • Nonprofits–A charity’s website could open at snail-speed, and online contributions could grind to a halt, if nonprofits can’t pay dominant Internet providers for access to “the fast lane” of Internet service.
  • Google users–Another search engine could pay dominant Internet providers like AT&T to guarantee the competing search engine opens faster than Google on your computer. 
  • Innovators with the “next big idea”–Startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay Internet providers for dominant placing on the Web. The little guy will be left in the “slow lane” with inferior Internet service, unable to compete.
  • Ipod listeners–A company like Comcast could slow access to iTunes, steering you to a higher-priced music service that it owned. 
  • Online purchasers–Companies could pay Internet providers to guarantee their online sales process faster than competitors with lower prices–distorting your choice as a consumer.
  • Small businesses and tele-commuters–When Internet companies like AT&T favor their own services, you won’t be able to choose more affordable providers for online video, teleconferencing, Internet phone calls, and software that connects your home computer to your office.
  • Parents and retirees–Your choices as a consumer could be controlled by your Internet provider, steering you to their preferred services for online banking, health care information, sending photos, planning vacations, etc.
  • Bloggers–Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips–silencing citizen journalists and putting more power in the hands of a few corporate-owned media outlets.
  • Advocacy groups like MoveOn–Political organizing could be slowed by a handful of dominant Internet providers who ask advocacy groups to pay “protection money” for their websites and online features to work correctly.

The free and open Internet is under seige–can you sign this petition letting your member of Congress know you support preserving Network Neutrality? Act Now to Save The Internet

Christians Sue over Tolerance

A senior at [tag]Georgia Tech[/tag] is suing the University for the right to be intolerant. I’m always amazed at how much effort certain [tag]Christians[/tag] can expend condemning others and defining new ways to form divisions between people. The excuse most often cited is ‘Holiness’ and the Greater Morality™. My concern is that I rarely meet someone of the “I’m standing up for what’s right” crowd that embodies much Grace.

Most believers I’ve met who came to faith through great loss and even greater brokenness are usually so consumed by [tag]Grace[/tag] that there is not much room left inside for Condemnation. If we are truly focusing on God’s calls to “Love our neighbor as ourself” and “Love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength” I believe there would be scant time left for moral posturing. I wonder what would happen if the world saw the Church actively loving the broken, the weak and the different instead of aggressively distancing itself. This kind of [tag]separatism[/tag] isn’t about [tag]morality[/tag] or holiness, it is about [tag]fear[/tag] and insecurity and [tag]doubt[/tag]. After all, if you’re looking for the true spirit of God and [tag]Christianity[/tag] do you look to Mother Teresa or to Jerry Falwell?

So Ruth, after you finish suing Georgia Tech and push the Church even farther out of reach of those in need, I hope that your happy little club is proud of you. I’m fairly sure God won’t be. The God of Scripture and history and my life wlll undoubtedly be just one more bit heartbroken.

End the genocide in Darfur

http://www.savedarfur.org/images/logo_mvd.jpgAfter reflecting on the [tag]genocide[/tag] in [tag]Rwanda[/tag], the late Senator Paul Simon said: “If every member of the House and Senate had received 100 letters from people back home saying we have to do something about Rwanda, when the crisis was first developing, then I think the response would have been different.”

During his first year in the White House, [tag]President Bush[/tag] wrote in the margins of a report on the Rwandan genocide, “Not on my watch.”

Since the beginning of the conflict in [tag]Darfur[/tag], an estimated 400,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million people have been displaced. Send President Bush a [tag]Save Darfur[/tag] postcard and remind him of his earlier sentiments to act now to stop the [tag]genocide in Darfur[/tag].

Gratitude In My Pocket

In my pants, my wallet, my bookbag, even my Moleskine, there are little pieces of paper. Written on them is one word, gratitude. To some it may seem simplistic, but I have never been as happy as since I started reminding myself how much that I can be thankful for. Sure, I could complain about a lot, but who can’t? I’m loved. I eat well. I travel. I have my health. The daily negativisms have little hope in encroaching on my life as long as I keep armed with a healthy outlook. Complications that use to seem overwhelming are downright trivial compared to the power of gratitude. So yeah, I’m grateful. =)

First Google China, now Google Mars

Google Mars is up with some amazing pictures of the Martian landscape from NASA. The pictures are available in three ways: an ‘elevation’ topographic model, a visual satellite image, or an infrared satellite image. It is the same interface as Google Maps and includes indexed maps of the highlights, like mountains, canyons, and craters.

If you know the name of a particular landmark, there’s the ubiquitous search box to help you along. I tried searching for Taco Bell and the post office, but, alas, nothing came up. Maybe in version 2.

Basecamp saved my life. really.

Basecamp project management and collaborationIn case you haven’t seen it, Basecamp is a website for project management, but more to the point, it is quite possibly the best collaborative organizational tool ever. Create a project, add the people involved and then share to-do lists, milestones/goals, post messages with files and write on virtual whiteboards, all while assigning everything to specific individuals and keeping everyone current by email notifications and RSS news feeds.

and almost everything is completely free…

The key is in the perfection of its user interface and deceptively constrained feature list. It doesn’t have 4076 buttons, options and gantt charts that you’ll never use. It just has exactly what you need to collaborate beautifully.

C’est brilliant,

“Embarassed by Evangelicals?” =)

Hehe… You know, it is not terribly hard to amuse me and make me happy. I do it quite a bit all by my lonesome. However, the kind of smiles that warm you up and remind you that while all may not be right in the world, there are great people standing in the gap… well, those moments aren’t quite as common. So imagine my surprise when the phrase “embarassed to be an evangelical” leads me, on its first entry, straight to my dear friend, the Right Reverend Benjamin D. Dubow :)

Ahh, Ben. The kind of Christian that reminds us of the power of faith in one man and steadies my hope in the promise of the Church. Men like Bonhoeffer, Chesterton, Rich Mullins, Pastor Marc Wolff… and Ben.

After the smirk faded ever so slightly, I read Ben’s post and remembered why I love him so. After laying out some background on the scandalous title (well, ok, it’s not scandalous to me), he ends with a thoughtful list of affirmations on true evangelicalism. It’s worth a read. (or 20)

-We affirm that the Bible is in fact authoritative and inerrant, though we are not arrogant enough to suggest that we are authoritative and inerrant.-We affirm that Jesus is in fact divine and the one, true savior–and we let him speak for himself when he says “I am the way, the truth and the life.”-We affirm creedal, Orthodox, historical Christianity.-We reject tendencies towards anti-intellectualism and fundamentalism.

-We affirm the unique worth of every human being on planet earth as created in the image of God–regardless of race, ethncity, gender, religion, creed, sexual orientation, or anything else.

-We affirm that all truth in God’s truth, whether found in the sciences, philosophy or anywhere else.

-We affirm that seeking justice and mercy in the world is a Christian duty, commanded by Jesus and found throughout the scriptures.

-We reject the notion that “behavior modification” and “sin management” are the goals of Christianity. We equally reject the notion that it is our job to force Biblical morals on people who are not following Christ.

-We reject spiritual litmus-tests that make debatable matters into essential ones and draw strong distinctions between “who is in and who is out” theologically.

-We affirm that every person has the right to hear about Jesus Christ and to make their own decision about how to respond to him.

I feel much better now =)

Boyles and Hendricks Furniture Newsletter Spam

Ahh, newsletter spam. Boyles Furniture, of the Hendricks Furniture Group, doesn’t seem to care that I have unsubscribed to their newsletter 14 times in the past six months. It’s kind of a game now. They send me a newsletter in violation of the Federal CAN-SPAM Act and I forward that newsletter to the Federal Trade Commission, their hosting providers, their internet provider et al…

Also of interest, their message uses 4 separate email addresses and pulls content from 6 different websites. The main domain registration for boyles.com has privatized registration information at Network Solutions, but if you check the other sites in the spam, you will find some other (ineffective) contact information. Someone doesn’t want to be easily tracked down. They conveniently don’t include a phone number in their CAN-SPAM required contact information in the email footer. Though not required, most responsible emailers include a phone number as a sign of good will and integrity. Their sales/order number was also unhelpful.

The Real Simpsons

After, what, 16 seasons or something of unique intro credits for The Simpsons, they’ve finally made a live-action version. Marge needs bigger hair. Why is Lisa twice as big as Bart? Why is Maggie on the wrong side of the car? (it’s british). Not all I’d have hoped for, but still fun. Here’s the Simpsons Intro on Google Video.

Tagworld : a Rupert Murdoch-free MySpace

tagworld logoIf you haven’t checked it out yet, you need to play with this new social networking site. It has some cool Web 2.0 stuff (meaning AJAX) and is a lot more customizable than MySpace. It’s in beta so there smoothing out the kinks.. Seems to have some mac issues with the AJAX, but very promising. Give it a whirl, see what ya think…

Forget Regret Or Life Is Yours To Miss

RentRENT has finally arrived and I loved it. I’ve seen RENT on stage several dozen times and I was apprehensive but hopeful for the film treatment of my favourite musical. As I expected, the film critics are split on the movie, but the fan base is loving it and the cast are enthusiastic as well. So tonight, we went and I was thrilled. Sadly, the sound at our theater could have been better, but the theater was packed with people and I am thoroughly pleased with it.

I liked the conversion of some of the transition songs to dialogue and the more detailed scene developments over the minimalist stage sets. The cast is strong, even if not everyone is my favourite from the various stage productions I’ve seen. Some of the songs lose a bit of emotional connection, but lyrically, I believe the visuals that Chris Columbus chose really reinforce the overall concept of RENT. The scenes of Roger singing in the New Mexico desert hills were a bit too Sound of Music for me, but the treatment of Angel’s death with the disappearing Life Support members on through to his hospital progression deeply moved me.

Like the stage show, I will see it again and again and will eagerly await the DVD.

There’s only us, there’s only this. Forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other road, no other way, no day but today. I can’t control my destiny. I trust my soul. My only goal is just to be. There’s only now, there’s only here. Give in to love, or live in fear. No other path, no other way. No day but today.

Thank you Jonathan Larson for your gift to us.

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire Rocks

Just back from the midnight premiere and a bit jacked on too much Coke past my bedtime. Quite a bit darker than the previous movies and much more encouraging of a book adaptation, the fourth Harry Potter movie plain rocked. While some of the teenage acting continues to limp along and the Yule Ball scenes drag the pacing down a bit, the visuals were impressive to say the least and the film captures the 4th years’ angst and awkwardness surprisingly well. Now I just wonder what Harry is gonna sound like in two weeks with a French accent when I see him in Montpellier.

Discover New Music – Pandora

Need help discovering new music? The creators of the Music Genome Project have the answer in Pandora. By analyzing the elements of your favourite artists’ songs, like instrumentation, tonality, phrasing and the general aesthetic, it can suggest similar songs and artists. It will read your mind.

I think the $36 is pretty fair, but if you need to reset your 10 hour limit or want to skip past more songs than it wants to let you, here’s some helpful info. Resetting your cache or clearing cookies won’t help because the Pandora player is flash-based and uses Local Shared Objects (basically Flash cookies). In your Flash Player preferences folder, just delete v2_Machine.sol and v2_PerfComp.sol and you will reset your 10 hour limit and all your stations/artists. Or you could just give them the $36 bucks like I did.

Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Price Documentary

This week, the director of “Uncovered: The War on Iraq” and “Outfoxed” released his latest film, “Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Prices.” It’s a powerful expos

Who wants to be James Bond?

Well, they are hiring… It doesn’t mention that you will be replaced after 2 to 4 missions with someone younger and with a more current acting, I mean intelligence agent, resume. Yes, yes, I’m still bitter that we’re getting the Blonde Bond instead of Pierce Brosnan for the next flick.

Does Google Know Me?

How many of your website’s pages are listed on Google? Simply type site:ethannonsequitur.com inurl:ethannonsequitur.com into Google’s searchbox after changing ethannonsequitur.com to your own site’s URL and you’ll see exactly what pages are listed by Google. In the upper right of your screen, you will see “Results 1-50 of Gazillions” to show you the total pages indexed. (Results may vary based on your own popularity =) Enjoy!

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Ooo those crazy romans… a latin primer.

Ever wonder what that latin phrase or motto you’ve always heard actually means? Here’s a list. Feel free to comment any others that aren’t included… fortes fortuna adiuvat (and aida)

Microsoft Previews Its Google Start Page

Now available, Start.com is Microsoft’s answer to the Google Start Page. While the page doesn’t have any Microsoft identification besides the copyright, it is an obvious copy of the Google page, from the layout to the DOM / CSS / Javascript coding. As an incubator project, it is probably just a pet project idea of a couple of unpaid interns, until, of course, Microsoft likes it and then takes it from them and runs with it. Imitation is such flattery…