Category Archives: Geek Life

The world as we know it, as I know it

My Public Parts Are Showing

While I understand why the issue of privacy on the internet is so important, I come from a generation that is willing to give up, or rather, have changed where my privacy priorities lie as so to traverse the internet better.

I for instance will not give my opinion as to my working conditions, or financial details and other professional matters of interest to the public. I will also not disclose more personal details between my partner and I, nor will I discuss matters pertaining to my family.

I will however, talk about my own self, how I am bipolar, my interests, dreams, aspirations, desires and to some extent and circles, my sexuality (which among Asian cultures is considered a taboo subject to approach). I understand what I am willing to share to people and the consequences that it may bring. I also have experience enough to know just how to talk about my own life to other people on the internet, making sure that my public personal life doesn't come back to bite me in the future.

More often than not, sharing my strengths and more importantly, my flaws, I've come to meet people who too have the same afflictions as I do. Their experienced has taught me to managed my condition in the more difficult times and as such I have taken to try and help them center themselves as well. It doesn't always work, but only because most people do not put stock in how real an online conversation can be in relation to actually meeting someone in person. A separate but not all too different issue from privacy altogether.

On the other hand, my partner views privacy in a German-like stance. That she needs to have a choice whereby she can never be tracked and she takes all steps to have a large wall between her private life and the internet. It took her years to start on Facebook and even so, she uses a pseudonym. She's nowhere near hypocritical in real life either considering she takes the same near paranoid steps to remain out of the lime-light in real life. That's why I'm writing only about her views on this, and not about anything that people can relate to her as a person.

The internet I believe needs to find a compromise between people such as my partner and people like myself. It is impossible and naive to believe that the internet can run properly without taking certain liberties to what we used to consider private information. Our public parts as +Jeff Jarvis puts it, ares now the clothes we wear as we take a stroll down the reality we call the internet. It is the identity we show to world as so we can communicate on the same level that body language does in a physical presence.

So rather than saying we should enforce an ability to not track us while we're online, we should hold accountable companies that require certain information about us to not misuse that information. The use of our information should be transparent to the public and steps should be taken to ensure the public can trust companies with their information.

At the same time, what the public needs to realise is that for as long as you are on the internet, nothing is really private. Like my decision to talk about my private life in public spaces, people have to be consciously aware of the consequences they might run into should they decide to just be on the internet, much like people should be consciously aware of their surroundings if they are crossing the road or waiting alone at bus stop.

This kind of common sense or street smarts towards the internet is not something that people can willingly adopt overnight, but nevertheless, if the internet is going to part of our culture and life, then we have no choice but to develop this kind of street smarts. No amount of opt-out choices or do-not-track enforcement is going to change how much the internet and our digitized representation of ourselves will matter now and the future.

This post was originally written in Google+ in response to another post I read written by Jeff Jarvis. It should also be noted that while I'm just another schmuck on the internet with another opinion on how things should be made better, Jeff Jarvis is actually a respected professor in all things pertaining to journalism and new media.

You Gonna Use All That?

Incidentally, yes. I do use all of the gadgets above. Also added to the mix, but not featured here because artistically it cannot fit into the picture, are my 3G Kindle Keyboard and HTPC which is connected to a 42 inch plasma screen. You would think that it means I am some sort of rich person, but sadly, it just means I'm willing to work my butt off to pay for it.

So whoever said that money can't buy you happiness has apparently never lived for their passions or lived in or close to poverty before because I can tell you, maintaining a life that you love costs a hell lot.

Going For Broke

Picasa kinda went funky a couple of days ago so I couldn't post up a link to my picture after I've uploaded it. Goes to show that even the most unexpected of things can fail, mucking things up for everyone.

Speaking of equipment failure, you should never invest in cheap knockoffs of a good brand, especially when you are dependent that investment to support something far more expensive. While trying to take the previous picture, I needed my Gorillapod, something I got as a Christmas present a few years ago. Unfortunately as it was a knockoff, the hinge broke while I was adjusting it, sending my camera to the ground and causing a bid dent and several other superficial scratches.

Thankfully, the camera lens and screen appears fine and everything else is in working condition; but for the most part, there is a sickening feel of not having your gadgets in good order, like a friend who has been recently left with a bad scar in an avoidable accident. Unfortunately while time heals all wounds, the same doesn't apply to machines, yet. So I'm left with the feeling of wanting a new camera or keeping what I have because I need the money to buy something else.

Going for broke. So much context today.

Geek Arsenal

Sometimes it's not enough that you own a lot of computers that you use on a daily basis. You have to support it with a multitude of other gadgets and gizmos to make sure what you own doesn't die on you when you most need them. Us geeks have our own problems to face when dealing with the technology we so crave as a solution to our initial problems. Non-geeks say that these problems are unnecessary and wasteful. In a way, it's hard to argue otherwise, but as I've said many times before, it's never what we own that makes us geeks. It's what we do and how we do it that defines us as geeks.

Regardless of what we own and crave for, our arsenal and firepower doesn't exist in the material world. It was always our ingenuity and passion that makes us who we are. Of course, that doesn't mean that we can't use that same ingenuity and creativity to earn ourselves bleeding edge technology every now and again. After all, even us geeks need to have our own fun. Why not have it that we have fun every single day, for the rest of our lives?

Being The Technological Bad Boy

I tend to believe that in the technology-dependent society of today, the act of "sticking it to the man" is what helps create a better geek. Whether it be through our expression of creativity or the practical use of our technical skills, by applying our passion and knowledge to overcome the irrational barriers that governments, institutions and corporations have imposed on us, we are highlighting what it means to be a geek.

It is because of this, I lose a lot of respect for people who do nothing but complain about the technological limitations that occur in our society without thinking outside the box and working on ways to bypass those limitations.

Yes, things like DRM, especially when implemented without regard for practical use (i.e always-on DRM that requires constant internet connection to work), hurt the consumer and we should express our discontent towards such things. However, an alternative way would also be showing corporations that things like this aren't as effective in their original purposes as one may think. After all it is possible to bypass an always-on DRM. Not simple, but possible.

Of course, things would be much simpler if we didn't have to deal with things like that, but simplicity doesn't breed ingenuity. Without problems like this to keep us on our toes, we wouldn't be able to discover, let alone develop skills and traits that allow us to get ahead in a world of this making.

To be honest, hacking hardware and cracking and using pirated software a child helped make me the scientist I am today; always trying to think of alternate viewpoints and methods to solving a problem. I am pretty sure, most successful geeks evolved from this standpoint of trying to stick it to the man and putting what they learned into effect in the real world. After all, we value knowledge especially when it comes from the face of adversity.

So yeah, there is a lot of stifling things in the world that limit our ability to have the freedom to choose. Ultimately though the real choice is whether or not we resign to being lazy whiny bitches about the things we have a problem in or stand up and just do something about it.

I opt for the latter. What about you?