The Revenge of the Nerdz, I got your face!

Recently I have noticed something very strange. I am not as paranoid as I thought I was. Maybe it is because everyone around me is becoming more and more paranoid about the internet and facebook in particular, but I seem almost ok with what they have been doing. If you have no clue of what I am talking about, in a nutshell facebook has software that will allow it to be able to tell who is on every picture you post by recognizing the faces. Don’t panic, you can turn it off.

I am a geek, I read a lot of tech streams and find out about a lot of things before other people do. The biggest one lately though was the whole facebook timeline that was only available to users that were developers. It made me realize that this new world is probably scary to people without the computer competency required to understand privacy. What is worse is that some people don’t even know they should be scared.

I recently played a bit with the google image search. If you search for an image and you find one that looks like what you are looking for, drag and drop that image into the search bar and instead of searching for a word it will search for a similar image. Ebay is releasing something similar, so you can take a picture of what you want and find it on Ebay. Right from your phone.

You say, OMG that is so cool!

Wait a minute though. That is the same technology that is going to make it so scary to live in this new digital world. Face recognition software has been out for a while now, but most people don’t understand how powerful and intrusive it really is. You think your car telling a company where you are at all times and how speed you are going is intrusive? think about software that can recognize your faces so any time you are near a camera it can do the same thing. No GPS, no need to carry a phone, nope just showing your face will get you identified!

I learned something new not too long ago. There are a lot of people that don’t use the banking system and rely on cash. That was a surprise to me. Most of the people I know have a bank account, even more so do online banking. It was bizarre to have to think that there are people that still stuff their mattress.

Its not scary to me, it does not make me paranoid. I just don’t think that most people are aware of that. The government has had the technology to do this for a while, but now corporations have it too.

I think this information should be available to all, and users when signing up for a service should get a tour of the privacy settings. Also you should be prompted by the software when something is released that has a privacy setting attached to it.

I assume that most people know a lot of this information, but every time I have a conversation lately people don’t know that facebook knows who they are even when someone else uploads a picture. I get incredulous, no “f*ing” way. Oh YES way.

Addicted to Competition

Recently I read a quote that I have heard many times before.

“The rest of the world has culture, America has sports.”

Apart from the annoying thing that it is to have the United States just claim the whole continent; “Even someone born in the Patagonia is still American” the US has a real hard time getting their heads around what the culture here is. I mean, not like it is not annoying enough that American sports claims to have the “World” champions in so many sports. The more I try to explore the topic, the more it comes back to competition, individualism and in some extreme ways to look at it as narcissism.

The other conversations I have been having recently lead me to believe that more and more people don’t understand what it takes or don’t want to become adults. It is an interesting concept and I have seen it all my life. The taglines for this blog at one point was “just a child stuck in adulthood.” A lot of people told me that I had to grow up fast, or that I grew up too fast.

Considering myself an adult is something recent to me, and marriage did not do it… what actually did it was having to face the death of those around me and when the people I consider adults started to look at me for answers or advice. It was a weird feeling, and honestly I don’t know if I really like being an adult all that much. Responsibility is a tricky thing, and most of the time not a pleasant one.

Trying to anthropomorphize the United States to make a point seems valid in the discussion. If we look at the 60s and 70s as the teenage years, why does it seem like the country never came of age?

Is it because we have a nation of children that want to be taken care of at every corner? or is it because being a responsible adult is just not part of the fabric of this country any longer.

I think one of the basic principles in the culture of Colombia comes down to a simple proverb,

“El vivo vive del bobo” a good translation is almost impossible, “The clever lives of the simple minded (or dumb)” just does not encapsulate all the meaning that the phrase has for those that group up with it. It begins to teach you at a very young age that you will be taken advantage of unless you wise up. It does not have anything to do with competition though.

I was already a teenager when I moved to the US and not growing up in an average American household I have no idea what little proverbs were used to teach kids lessons. I do know what Hollywood always portrays… the rise of the underdog. The geek has to beat the quarterback at something to get the girl right?

I do think competition is good, but I don’t think it should be the only way to interact with other people. I have seen it ruin many of my relationships. Compromise is laughed at because there always has to be a loser.

I don’t hate sports, I actually love that many sports do teach a lot of lessons to kids about teamwork and sportsmanlike conduct. But what about those people that don’t get to play sports, where do they pick up those skills?

The next topic I want to discuss is chess and my love of that game. Even though the game is all about beating your opponent I think it does a lot for not just critical thinking but teaching healthy competition. Failure should not deter you from trying, it should make you want to try harder.

Is American culture just a mirror of what sports culture is like? only one winner, only one “World” champion?

Letting Others Think For You

The other day I was reading a blog and I came into a piece of writing that shocked me. I am totally going to paraphrase in the off chance that someone can actually trace it back to the post (and therefore the person)

“I continued to watch the show because it is one of the shows that smart people watch, even though I did not get the humor; I would try to laugh and I was going to force myself to enjoy it.”

Now, discarding the fact that it could be a complete BS blog written just to mess with people’s head (it kind of messed with mine if you could not already tell.) Would someone actually make themselves “like” something because others do?

I know I have done plenty of things that I did not want to do, and I do admit that sometimes I am wrong on judging stuff that I am going to enjoy. Forcing myself to like something though to be part of a perceived group of people though? That sounds more than a little bizarre for me. Isn’t kind of figuring out what you like and don’t part of developing a personality.

I guess every time that I go to a romantic comedy with Bea it is a similar exercise. I think the success rate of them is about 50% in not making me want the 2 hours of my life back. Overall I hate romantic comedies because they do to promote false sense of what relationships should be. I have an awesome relationship with my wife; but I am not that perfect dude from the movies. I don’t think that perfect dude really exists. That is what they sell… and people actually fall for it. I think some people that have a lot of issues dating are because they have built unrealistic expectation of that the ideal person should be; and yes I do sometimes blame romantic comedies for that.

The more I thought about it, the more we do try to like things that those around us enjoy. We read movie reviews, we listen to the critics, now social media makes it so our friends can also start sharing more and more of their opinions and probably having more influence in our likes and dislikes.

I guess the process can be mostly unconscious, my friends like something so I should find what it is that they like and try to enjoy it. I guess the part that freaks me out is thinking that if a certain group or type of people like something, then if I want to be like them I have to make myself enjoy what they do. Like if somehow I watch the discovery channel I will now become a scientist. Its just delusional. Is that what the newer generations are like? Do people really want to be told what to like? Do people really believe that personality traits via osmosis works in higher beings?

Da Bears

I try not to be one of those fans that panics after every game. Yesterday Da Bears defense encountered Cam Newton and allowed him 543 yards. The guy is an amazing talent, and the defense did stop him in the red zone, but overall it made many people concerned, including me.

Ulracher and Briggs are getting older, so is Tillman. I am a big fan of Ulracher and to see him do what he did the first couple of games was very gratifying as a fan, but football is a game of youth and physical punishment. I want them all to stay healthy and win the SuperBowl that they all deserve.

Being a Bears fan, makes you watch the defense more than the offense. For the years that I have been rooting for them it has been more about hoping that the offense does not screw up, than wanting the to do good. Cutler has an impressive arm, but without a good o-line it does not look like he has the confidence (or desire to get hit) to really get where he needs to be.

Yesterday we finally saw a running game and hopefully paved the way for Forte to get paid. I honestly wish that they continue to build the game around the running game and let the passing game grow from it. I am sure Martz is not all about the run, but who knows… I don’t think we have seen what the guy can do because not many of the plays end up developing.

You have to wonder if the coach is capable of just playing with what he has rather than having to make the players fit into X-Os.

A win is a win, and I love to believe that every season is the season. I think we have what it takes, but I hope that using the running game was not just a one game thing. I also hope that our defense can stay healthy and stop talent like Can Newton in the future. We cannot let the Lions beat us. Plus we do have Devin Hester returning balls, did you see that! That is number 11 if you were not counting.

Deleting your Facebook account

All the years of having a blog and I never thought that the web would make me feel over exposed. I am paranoid when it comes to computers because I know that everything that we put out there not only CAN be tracked, but it is already being tracked.

That does not bother me all that much. That is until you think of the audience.

Facebook has already called personal problems for me. When you have everyone you know being capable of knowing where you are at, what you are doing, what you are listening to, what you are eating… it gets a little intrusive. I love sharing things, places I love to go, burgers that are too big to be healthy, Gyros to make friends that cannot get them hungry, etc. It is the active thing that I like, the choice I make… but when we are moving to a “frictionless” way of sharing, it changes a lot.

Once I got my iPhone, I started to realize how a lot of applications are now connected directly to facebook. From your little phone minigames, to your music streaming apps. They are all connected to facebook. If you have not researched how to get rid of your facebook, you don’t know that it takes 14 days of not loggin into it for your account to be deleted. If any of your little apps logs in, bam, your account is back!

I am not deleting my facebook account just yet. I want to see how the new “timeline” feature really works before I cry foul.

Online interaction is a lot different than having a dinner party at your house. Unless you have your life completely compartmentalized, anything you share will be seen by everyone. I was used to thinking that way for a long time because of the blog… but now facebook might make it that way because of my life.

I just heard on the news this weekend that OnStar even if you are not paying for the service anymore continues to gather data on your car. Your car basically will track your speed, location, how long you leave your (check engine light) on, etc. This is all consumer data that can and will be sold. Scary right?

Well facebook does the same thing to your online experience. Even if you are not logged in, they are still able to track everything you do online. And now that they are adding “frictionless” posting, this might extend to everything you do.

All this information was available before if someone had enough computer tracking skills. A couple of programs in your computer and I could track your every move… but imagine everyone you know being able to do that to your life. Everyone could know that I spent most of 2010 eating Chinese food every day, not just my friends that I would joke with when I would order it because the lady already knew my voice and was ready to just send the food.

I simply don’t like it. I think it is too much information out there. There are years of my life that I seriously don’t want to remember.

The ultimate purpose of this post is simple. Think about your online behavior and see if that is something you want everyone in your facebook to know. And I am not just talking about your pr0n escapades either, but lets say that you and your spouse are looking at adoption sites… is that something that you want everyone to know?

Just think about it, and start keeping track of what sites (or little apps) you use your facebook sign on to access. If you ever wanted to delete your facebook, you would have to go to each one of them. It might not be a bad idea to have a list.

*Update*

Check out the comments for some really great links! Also make sure you check all those apps you have (like spotify, and make sure they are not “integrating” with facebook.)

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