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Marking a new beginning March 23, 2009

Filed under: Everything — Jason Olson @ 8:46 pm
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earmarksThis one just shocked me, and I haven’t had the moment to comment on it. When President Obama commented about the latest economic stimulus package with over 8,000 earmarks, he stated:

“This piece of legislation must mark an end to the old way of doing business”

Now what really gets be about this is that typically you “mark an end” to something by change. Otherwise it’s just empty words and more promises. It would be something to slash 8000 earmarks to only 800, and call that “an end” – a turning point. But how can you consider more of the same “an end”???

Now, I truly wish the President all the best in the future with ending the “old way of doing business”. But I simply cannot believe that his professional speech writers don’t understand the logical fallacy of this statement.

Now it could be an honest mistake, or perhaps an impromptu ad-lib by the President “in the moment” — but I really hope this wasn’t actually written into the speech.

What do you think? Do you mark the “END” of something with change, or with more of the same?


Blogging August 27, 2008

Filed under: Everything — Jason Olson @ 8:02 pm

I have been amazed at my little experiment with blogs on both my personal and business websites, and it has not only made a very notable change on the ranking of those main websites, but the blogs are frequently visited by real people at a rate much faster than I expected. Pretty wild to see how popular blogging is. It is also a little scary to see how many people will absorb un-vetted blogs!


Behavioral Targeting August 15, 2008

Filed under: Everything — Jason Olson @ 10:43 am
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In sci-fi movies we’ve seen that advertisements know your purchasing trends and provide target specific advertisements. Walking down the street, the billboard will reflect something you’re inclined to purchase. Good or bad, this is something which is beginning to take form online. In a recent Tech Republic Blog it exposes how the US House of Representatives is beginning to question ISP and other online agencies about their Behavioral Targeting practices. It is an interesting point to discuss. On one end, as a person who has no interest in beer and “female undergarments”, I really would appreciate not seeing those ads on signs, magazines and online pop-ups. Then again, it would probably be filled with the latest books, technology and most significantly ads relating to Disneyland. There may be way too much temptation for me if I saw such ads everywhere I turned… 🙂 But I digress…

There is nothing new about behavioral targeting, and it is used every day in virtually every form of advertising, ever since the science of marketing was invented. The problem that most people have is that instead of targeting a group, they are now targeting me specifically, and individually. And the fact that somebody knows that sort of information about me is concerning… or at least it is to some people. Yes, this information could be used for ill purposes. But stop for a moment and think about Amazon.com – they use this sort of individual, behavioral targeting – placing products I’d likely purchase on the homepage. Do we really have a problem with this sort of usage? At what point did we really be concerned about out privacy to this degree?

Let’s take a step back, and go low-tech for a moment. Rush back to the turn of the century, and you purchase your groceries from the local market. You see your regular clerk twice a week, and he notices by pure observation that you’re purchasing baby products, perhaps you even bring your child to the store. At some point there is a sale, or perhaps about to be a sale on cloth diapers (remember, no disposables back then!) — and he mentions this to you… Wouldn’t you be genuinely appreciative that he took a moment to acknowledge you as a unique person with specific needs – and then addressed them? Yet, fast forward to the 20th century — we would probably be offended by that same clerk today that he was prying into my private life… Last time I checked, things readily observable is not something any privacy law protects. How far is too far with this in-reach of privacy laws?

My guess is that it is the people that have something to hide – perhaps people involved in illegal or other questionable in legality — or perhaps just some things they think are slightly immoral, or would be the subject of questioning — if other people learned about their habbits. Now I don’t think our houses shoudl be made of glass walls — some things that take place in my home are made to be private… But if I am interacting with the world, then I really shouldn’t have the expectation of privacy: amazon is an extension of my local bookstore, and google is an extension of my library.


Time zones August 14, 2008

Filed under: Everything — Jason Olson @ 4:17 pm
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Watching the Olympic games has been very frustrating living on the West Coast. The reason is that virtually everything “live” is tape delayed by three hours. In many things this works out fine, to hear national news when I am awake instead of a 5am. However, with regards to the Olympics it has been challenging because I love to use the Internet to research information while watching. What is the world record, more info on the athletes, etc. NBC does a great job ensuring that their website stays synchronized with their “live” broadcast — for those on the East Coast who are truly watching the events unfold in real time. However since we’re delayed, when I look-up something about the Men’s Team Gymnastics, I find out the results on the home page — I didn’t want to know that! So it has made the Internet almost useless for research since I’m watching on the west coast. Perhaps they could fix their website so that it too is delayed to match the local broadcasting, by entering in our zip code or something…