Monday, January 21, 2013

I Need a New Internet, My Old One Is Broken

It seems that I might just need a whole new Internet. The old one used to work fine, but then people started making it better. The new one keeps reading my mind and filling in the search box for me while I am typing. The magic person that does this job spells pretty good, but there is another magic person in there that help me fill out text boxes by changing some of the words I type and that one doesn't always spell things right or use the right context.

I use to have one browser that worked pretty well but now I have three. The old browser used to let me watch videos ... if I downloaded a player. Now, it lets me watch some videos with or without the player, other videos only with the player, and still other videos only without the player. Browser C works very well very and lets me me watch videos ... if I download the player. But, it is a different player than Browser A and totally interferes with Browser A’s player. Browser B plays all of the videos all of the time but secretly runs six instances of itself in the background all the time, even after I shut down the browser.

Every page I visit now overwhelms me with dozens of unrelated advertisements offering to help me loose weight, improve my looks, enhance my sex life, reduce my car insurance rates, telling me I should go back to school at some online college, and promoting the latest movie or computer game. And these ads don’t just set still; they follow my cursor around, pop up in the middle of text while I am reading, or suddenly expand or shrink moving all the text around on my screen. The worst ads are the ones that start talking to me and I can’t figure out where they are on the screen, which tab they are on or how to shut them off.

I used to be very good at searching for information on the Internet and finding it. The secret was to choose my search words and phrases carefully or use the advanced search functions. Now almost every search ends in frustration and I find page after page with just a paragraph or two of vaguely related text that was obviously data-mined for the sole purpose of tricking me into thinking I would find something useful on the page so that I would look at a whole page full of advertisements.

Maybe the most frustrating part of the Internet is when you go to look for technical support of any kind and discover hundreds of pages of comments and replies to common questions provided by well-meaning and self-proclaimed experts on the subject who obviously know nothing about the subject but post replies anyway filled with technically incorrect information that is at its best not useful and at its worst misleading.

Yes, I need a new Internet and I would ask you all where I could get one, but I’m afraid that most of the replies would be from socially dysfunctional people who spend their entire day posting drivel in comment boxes, or others trying to sell me something. Maybe if I’m lucky someone will send me a link to a porn site and I will get a free eye full of smut and will be able to say that I didn't go their on purpose. Somewhere between 10% and 15% of Internet use is to find porn. It might be the only part of the Internet that still works well no matter which browser you use.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thank Goodness the Governor is Looking Out for You and Me

On December 31st, Governor Rick Snyder got his veto pen out and thumbed through the big pile of bills setting on his desk. Two of the bills that I am certain all of us were concerned about caught his eye. The first would have prohibited a person from importing or attempting to import a large carnivore into Michigan unless certain requirements were met. The second would have prohibited the possession of a large carnivore without a permit; regulated the handling and care of large carnivores; established standards for keeping large carnivores; and specified owners' responsibilities in instances of attacks.

If there is one thing that I was worried about at the end of 2012, it was that I would no longer enjoy the unrestricted freedom of importing non-native species of large carnivores or that I might have to invest in proper caging for the dozens of large carnivores that I keep as family pets!

OK, so I don't import or keep large carnivores and it wasn't high on my list; in fact, it wasn't on my list at all and probably wasn't on yours either. But you have to wonder why the governor would get his veto pen out for this largely uncontroversial legislation that enjoyed bipartisan support. I don’t imagine that his In Box was filled with emails from angry Michigan residents who owned large carnivores or that tens of thousands of large carnivore owners were staging protests on the capitol lawn.

I’m sure there is a perfectly good reason why the governor vetoed this bill that would have protected Michigan from non-native species escaping into our communities and/or harming our neighbors and our environment. And, it probably has something to do with the income level of the people who can afford to import and keep these exotic species.

I'm just saying ...

The Long First Day

The first day of the 2013-2014 session of the United States Senate began on January 2nd but apparently won’t end until January 22nd. How does that work? Well, normally a session day would end with adjournment, but the day is extended by going into recess instead of adjourning.

I might have never noticed this clever move if it were not for my interest in business that must be conducted on the first session day; day one is the day that the Senate adopts it rules and many of us are asking our Senators to end the silent filibuster and the secret holds. If the Senate fails to change its rules on the first session day, it will not change its rules for another two years.

Moderate and conservative senators from both parties are desperate to present the appearance of reforming rules without actually reforming the rules. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) has joined with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to protect the filibuster from serious reform with a watered down measure.

If you haven’t done so already, there is still time to let your senators know that you want serious reform to end the silent filibuster and the secret hold. Tell them you support the proposal being offered by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Tom Udall (D-NM).