I make films. I'm also a nerd.

Posts in culture:

Robots In The Headines

Robot Wish Granted

Just another day in The Future.

PRISM Data Totally Nothing To Worry About

Carl Franzen, The Verge:

The director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Robert Mueller, told lawmakers in a hearing today that the data collected through its and the NSA’s mass surveillance of all Verizon customers, and other US phone carriers, can only be used in FBI investigations into terror plots, not for separate domestic criminal investigations.

Oh, good. I feel much better now. Yup, I believe him completely.

PRISM Is Even Scarier Than You Think

Michael Arrington, I must admit, can generally be considered to be representative of flawed humanity at its worst. But I want to hear him out on PRISM and FISA, because his seemingly wild rants have an unsettling ring of plausibility in them:

[…] we won’t be able to go back and change our history. They’ll see that a decade ago we donated to Planned Parenthood and voted for President Obama. Suddenly, going out and buying a gun or two won’t be enough. The new government will know we’re not true believers in the cause. We’re secret left wing or right wing extremists, and guilty of a new crime – engaging in personal behavior designed to fool the surveillance state.

Yes, I can easily see a future law that prohibits us from engaging in behavior that is designed to trip up the surveillance machine.

There may be no point in attempting to maintain even rudimentary notions of privacy, because the entire history of everything you’ve said, done, or looked at on the Internet is already sitting on an ugly government server, ready to be mined, searched, and cross-referenced on any future date, to serve any Totalitarian purpose. And any attempt to hide what you’re interested in will seem suspicious.

Contextualize that thought within the observation that you’ve statistically committed three felonies today, and you’ll soon see that something has to be done about all of this immediately.

Browse Anonymously With TOR on iOS

Onion Browser, a 99¢ TOR-based browser for iOS, provides what is likely the most secure browsing environment you’re likely to find on your iPhone or iPad. The good news is that despite a few potential security holes, it’s pretty much just as secure as connecting via the TOR network on your desktop machine. I’m guessing that there are a lot of Apple customers looking for something like this, given the news this week.

more »

Google Bans Google Glass From Its Own Shareholder Meeting

Matt Clinch writing for CNBC:

Tight security restrictions at Thursday’s Google shareholder meeting led even the company’s much-hyped Google Glass technology to be banned, infuriating a consumer watchdog group who accused the tech giant of hypocrisy.

By all means, snap photos of another man’s junk while you’re taking a wizz. His privacy doesn’t matter. But don’t you dare invade Google’s privacy.

On the NSA Matter

That pretty much sums up my thoughts on the subject. The actual spying is not particularly news to anyone, I should think. The real news here is the frightening prevalence of mockery aimed at those who still want to be able to take a shit in private.

Surprise, Surprise

I’m assuming that you’ve all heard about Sean Parker’s nuptial ‘Fuck You’ to nature, California, and humanity already. This little tidbit, however, seems to have gone without much notice:

The Coastal Commission checked out the area on May 1 after receiving a tip about the construction in late April. Two days before the wedding, Parker signed a settlement agreement that allowed the wedding to go on.

Let me get this straight. A billionaire shitmuncher (who made his billions, incidentally, by A) facilitating widespread theft and B) doing cocaine with the right people) decides illegally to build a bunch of ugly crap in a rented grove of ancient, endangered redwoods. He is found out before the planned event. He is permitted to carry on, so long as he coughs up a little somethin’ somethin’ ($2.5 million). Shithead wins, world loses.

There’s nothing at all that surprises me here. I’d offer some wish that he be met with justice, but of course “justice” only happens to poor people.

White And Black Make Grey

Harry McCracken:

How can we talk about who’s “winning” if we can’t agree on what “winning” is? In case you hadn’t noticed, the gadget business isn’t all that much like Formula One racing, Yahtzee or curling. There are no rules; there aren’t any well-defined opposing forces; the battle has no beginning or end. And zero-sum thinking — the assumption that one company doing well hurts another, or that all companies are even playing the same game — is often out of whack with reality.

I didn’t realize until just now that sanity is, in fact compatible with discussion of gadgets. This changes everything.

Kidding aside: the childish black vs. white, oppressively binary way of thinking that so pervades tech journalism is more than a nerdy fanboy phenomenon. Our entire culture operates this way. We hate ambiguity. We loathe nuance. We think people are either Americans or Terrorists. If a movie makes money, it’s good; if a movie makes money, it’s bad. And so on. Nearly every human judgment is artificially constrained within an infantile boolean-only logical system.

Anyway, let’s get back to what we do best. Reality TV: cultural feces, or The Literature Of Our Age? (Hint: feces.)

Zach Braff: Wish He Wasn’t Here

So much hysteria has been floating around about this Zach Braff Kickstarter campaign that you’d think I’d want to just stay out of it–but no.

Here’s Braff:

Anybody that understands business will understand that most business investors are not taking 100% of their own money and investing it into their projects. They’re investing some of their money, and then going out for equity partners who invest with them. What’s revolutionary is that instead of four rich guys, I’m going to what may be 50,000 people who become my financiers. [emphasis mine]

Look, let’s put aside a couple of things: 1) the fact that Zach Braff is an insufferable knob, and 2) the fact that Garden State is somehow even more off-putting than its creator (quite a feat). And let’s note that the outrage over this whole experiment of Braff’s is even more ridiculous than the experiment itself. The world is far too ugly to get all upset over something stupid like this.

more »

HBO Hates Money

Boy Genius Report:

Jeff Bewkes, CEO of HBO’s par­ent com­pa­ny Time Warn­er, said on Wednes­day that the com­pa­ny has no plans to offer HBO GO with­out a cable sub­scrip­tion.

OK, then I have no plans to give you any money.