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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Superstar

Posted on: August 26, 2010

Guess what? By accident I happened to stumble upon the following PDF of a presentation from Transportekonomisk Institutt (literally Institute of Transport Ekonomics).  From what I gather they manage the Norwegian governments long term transport and infrastructure planning.

Anyways, guess who’s credited at page 2? :-D

http://www.ntp.dep.no/2010-2019/pdf/2008_10_09-foiler_til_oystein_engebretsen-toi.pdf

And my master thesis none the less! Never thought I’d have a hand in the Norwegian national infra policy making :))

I’m sitting here reading through the comic book (that would be marketing brochure) from Google outlining their new Web Browser project, called Google Chrome. Most of the news sites are abuzz already praising this yet to be released product, calling it “an innovative new open source web browser” that according to arstechnica.com will offer ‘extraordinary’, ‘unprecedented’ and ‘revolutionary’ new features.

It could also be seen as another step in Googles ongoing attempt to monopolize the web, but that would be mixing technology and politics. Let’s do just that :).

As blogoscoped.com writes:

Google is playing this as nicely as possible by open-sourcing things, with perhaps part of the reason to try to defend against monopoly accusations – after all, Google already owns a lot of what’s happening inside the browser, and some may feel owning a browser too could be a little too much power for a single company (Google could, for instance, release browser features that benefit their sites more than most other sites… as can Microsoft with Internet Explorer).

Sure making it Open Source gives any technically highly adept individual the possibility to take it apart and modify it, but the fact that this opportunity will be used by a very small fraction of all the people browsing the web makes it a poor excuse to give up both the browsing experience and the content to the same company.

In fact this goes even further with the announcement of the phishing/malware protection features announced in the same comic (p.33). According to the brochure:

There’s a second list of malware websites. Websites where a ton of bad things might happen to your computer, just on arrival.

When we discover malicious content, we notify the owner of a website, who usually wasn’t intending to be malicious, and they can take this information and clean up their site.

In effect, Google will thus be policing the web on our behalf and notify owners of websites hosting malicious content, so that they can clean up their site. Now, from a practical perspective, this might seem like a nice idea, after all, Google is already watching just about every step you take on-line and all the content you might be accessing, they are most likely event telling you where to go based on your Google searches. But from a political/philosophical perspective the idea of Google playing big brother on-line is not so appealing.

Blogoscoped.com is right , Google already owns most of what’s happening inside the browser, including your email on Gmail and any file you created with Google Apps and saved in Google’s on-line storage. Owning your means of accessing the web, as well as policing its content would seem to spell a little to much power for one, any, single commercial entity…

As for ‘unprecedented’ and ‘revolutionary’, most of the usability features of Chrome has already been around (in some form or other) for some time. Mozilla has the Prism project, the Tab Page is already a part of Opera, and the Incognito privacy mode has been around in Safari for years and will be part of IE8.  As for the OmniBox (that would be the extended address bar) and its auto completion features, FireFox 3 is already doing some very nice and innovative work here as well…

On the other hand, the idea of handling each tab as a separate process is a very neat architectural idea that I am sure will have great impact on performance and stability, perhaps even on security, in a good sense that is. Also, I for one totally disagree with the people claiming that it would be best to have only one single browser, for standards and compatibility. There are many ways of browsing the web, and equally many ways of digesting and organizing online information. More browsers mean more options to choose from in terms of usability, UX and features.

In short, I’m not saying I hate Google or that bringing another browser to the market is such a bad thing. However, I do think it is important to remember that Google is Just Another Profit Oriented Company, that will do what it takes to increase market share and quell their competitors.

Clever slogans like Do No Evil and punch lines like ‘whithout competition we have stagnation’ (p.37) will not change this, though it might dupe some journalists and geeks into thinking the company really is just a big and Friendly Giant…

All in all, it’s just business as usual…

Reading the BBC news site today I came across this funny little passage:

Reebok, which is owned by Adidas and is outfitting 250 Games participants, has decided against making its athletes available for press conferences or one-on-one interviews during the event.

Instead, it plans to use a video news service to interview athletes and distribute content to media organisations.

“As a brand, we didn’t want to put our athletes in the position when being interviewed or having to explain their personal views on the human rights issue, and we also didn’t want to act as a censor either,” explains Josie Stevens, Reebok director of global public relations.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7463085.stm

How is this not being a censor? I’m perplexed…

Watching the news coming in from India I just have to comment on this… It was never, and it still isn’t my intention to turn this blog into a political arena, but this is just too … absurd.

So here’s the situation. (My interpretation…)

We’re gonna jog around a bunch of cities in the world carrying a flame, that is supposedly kept alive all the way but that is obviously put out must of the time while traveling from city to city. In order to keep it peaceful and safe from disturbing elements that represent political views other than the ones that promote the commercial interests of this glorious event, we’ll keep most of the rout secret. Also, it will be surrounded by hundreds of commando soldiers and police men. This means you wont be able to see much of it, and even when it does happen to pass close by, we’ll recommend you turn around and look the other way.

BUT, make no mistake, this flame carry the hope of peace and prosperity for all of mankind. This is for your sake and it is a peoples event of joy and festivity…

….

and I used to enjoy watching the Olympic games on tv…

Very creative interpretation of the word peaceful …

Some 15,000 police and commandos have locked down the heart of the city where the torch relay will be held.

A least 50 Tibetans were detained by police at a rally in front of the Chinese embassy in Delhi on Wednesday.

The torch was then driven along a route into the city lined with hundreds of police.

The authorities have closed many main roads in central Delhi in the run-up to the ceremony, creating huge traffic jams.

Police have ordered workers in government offices overlooking the route of the torch not to look out of their windows to witness the ceremony because of the perceived security threat.

Police patrols have been issued with blankets and fire extinguishers to prevent protesters from setting themselves on fire.

“We have taken every precaution to ensure the event remains peaceful,” Junior Home Minister Shakeel Ahmed told reporters.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7351713.stm

How is the above described scenario, in any possible interpretation of the term, peaceful?

Running around with this little torch sure is starting to seem costly to me…

Det gor ont i hjartat att lasa om Kinas overgrepp i Tibet. Sjalv var jag funderade jag sallan pa situationen fram tills den senaste tidens mediarapportering, men for var dag som gar med okad rapportering kring de narstaende olympiska spelen blir det allt mer uppenbart hur handlingsfattiga poilitiker och idrottsorganisationer star infor valet mellan de lockande kommersiella prospekten och ett stallningstagande for manskliga rattigheter.

Kort sagt ar linjen fran Kinas hall att politik och idrott ar tva skilda varldar utan inbordes relation. Nagot som naturligtvis blir resten av varldens daliga samvetes kryphal. ‘Det ar for jakligt, vi borde gora ngt, men absolut inte stoppa matchen.’

 

Dom Båstadbor som hotar
med batonger och gevär
vill bara skydda dom profiter
som turismen innebär
Precis som generalerna
har dom ekonomiska motiv
Och se´n säger dom
att sport inte hör ihop med politik.

Stoppa matchen (1975)
Text/Musik: Mikael Wiehe

 

Uppdatering: Mycket av det ovanstande verkar bekraftas i foljande artikel i DNs natupplaga 20080326:

– Kinas ledare är säkra på att västliga ledare inte kommer att uttala högljudd kritik, och de vet att det inte blir någon OS-bojkott. Det är bara frivilligorganisationer som protesterar i omvärlden. Högt uppsatta kinesiska ledare har sagt att “Bush står bakom oss, så det här blir inga problem”, säger Xu Youyu, en liberal filosof, vid Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

http://www.dn.se/DNet/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=148&a=754864

Ytterligare en uppdatering:
Rubriken till foljande artikel borde snarare vara

Kinas av staten censurerade nyhetsbyra havdar Vapenbeslag och 26 gripna i kloster.

http://www.dn.se/DNet/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=148&a=756200

hmm

Posted on: January 12, 2008

Lycka o frojd. Ingen risk for tristess i de svenska tv-sofforna i var, TV5 satsar pa annu ett moraliskt bottennapp i TV varlden.

http://www.dn.se/DNet/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=2374&a=731569

Enligt DN’s artikel ovan ska TV5 under varen sanda programmet “Moment of truth”. Jippot ar enligt DN’s artikel fran borjan “en colomiansk produkt”, jag antar att de menar colombiansk. DN skriver att programmet blev en stor succe i landet, men andrar sig i nasta mening och sager att det efter stora protester fran folket fick laggas ner. (??)

Enligt artikeln:

Bland annat erkände en kvinna att hon lejt en person att mörda hennes man, för det erkännandet fick hon 25.000 dollar.

Fundera pa detta uttalande en stund och las sedan Kanal 5’s kommentar till programmet…

Lars Beckung, programchef på Kanal 5:

– Det är ett kontroversiellt, spännande och engagerande program. Det är intressant att se hur långt deltagarna är beredda att gå för pengar.

Sans? Vett?


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