8 April 2010

Who's tracking you?

 Kevin Kelly has this article on The Technium: As Much Privacy As You Can Afford

What we call privacy -- the non-disclosure or transmission of information -- is ultimately a matter of economics. To remain hidden in a connected world will cost money. You can always disconnect, but while connected you will be transparent. Under this regime transparency is cheap and ubiquitous, while opacity expensive.
Apparently there is a service that will provide the current location of any cell phone for $95. You give Best411 the phone number you seek and $95 and then they will tell you where that cell phone is located is between 9am and 5pm CST.
How is this possible? Obviously the cell phone company knows because it has to track your cell in order to deliver calls. But how does Best411 know? They claim:
We are a state-licensed private investigative agency and, as such, have access to many data bases that the general public is not permitted to access.
That doesn't really explain the deal, or the legality, or the process. My immediate question is: Why does it cost so much? Why $95? Technologically this is a trivial query. It's real cost is about zero. I wonder who or what is setting the price?
Second question: If I were willing to pay $100 could I prevent Best411 from tracking me? How much would it cost to have my location "unlisted"?
I am really asking the larger question of how expensive will it become to be unlocateble in the location-aware mobile future?
 Makes you think who controls you data etc. and who has access to it when they want it.

7 April 2010

Malcolm Gladwell on social media

Over Christmas I read Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point.  (I read it quickly while I was at my in-laws out west and didn't really make any notes, so I actually might get it out of the library again this weekend)  It is about how ideas spread and how people are influenced.

This past week as I was reading dead tree version of the Globe and Mail, I came across this Q&A article in which he answers some questions about the latest social media.  There were a few quotes I thought were interesting
"People aren't spreading ideas on Twitter, they're spreading observations."
I also like his thoughts on all the people that are ready to crown Twitter and Facebook social media champs.
"[The Internet] likes nothing more than to build someone up only to topple them.  Who has an AOL account these days? Not that long ago, AOL was the single most powerful player on the Internet.  Who has a MySpace account these days?  MySpace sold fro billions of dollars not that long ago.  I'm very reluctant to crown Facebook king of the future"
He also has some great thoughts on how social media can not build the same strength to organizations the way face to face contact can.... which I think I'll save for another post

3 April 2010

Remembering Dan Fisher

I got news today that one of the best teachers I ever had has passed away.  We knew him as Dan Fisher, he was Daniel Fish in the non broadcasting world.  (try saying Dan Fish with the news, and the 'with' can come out funny, that why he changed it for radio)  The Waterloo Record has his memorial write up.  As much as death happens, you're never quite ready for it.  I sort of regret not talking to him more the last time I saw him at a get together of a bunch of my class mates a few years ago.   He will be missed by a lot of people

I had Dan Fisher as an instructor at Conestoga College.  He was the teacher of the radio lab, training of all the on air elements of a radio station.  He was a good teacher, both an encourager, but also not one to soften his evaluation.  In a way I'm glad I didn't have to work for him in radio, because I still remember some of my classmates who got so upset about the review he gave of their on-air abilities.  Some would say he had favourites, I think he had an ear for talent or at least potential, and knowing what the broadcast world was going to be like, pushed us and didn't coddle.  I think he thought that if someone was going to quit because they were harshly evaluated it was better to see them quit in their first year of school, before the tried to get jobs in the industry.  I wonder what it would have been like to have him as a PD or GM.... when money and rating were on the line.

If I was ever any good at announcing, I think I own some of it to him.   He encouraged me and helped me to be good at what I do (did).  He was a fun guy and actually cared about his students.   I'm sure there will be a lot of Conestoga BRT students that will miss him like I do.   He was a good man.

Being Easter weekend, I have to pause in thinking about how good he was, and wonder did he know Jesus?  He was involved in church, but I don't know what his deep faith thoughts were.   It make me sad to not know.   I hope that Dan Fish loved Jesus and someday I will see him again.   To hear his laugh and see his smile would make me happy.   I pray that I do again.