Monday, May 24, 2010

In Defense of Facebook: Privacy Issues

Note: For a less—um—ranty take on the Facebook privacy issues, check out friend of the blog, “The Miller Times.”

The hoopla surrounding Facebook’s latest privacy gaffe is getting absolutely ridiculous.

People are organizing a “Quit Facebook Day” and a “Facebook Protest Day.”

Listen up folks, Facebook isn’t the problem.

You are.

If you don’t want the entire world to know that you just love the crap outta “Real Housewives of Atlanta” or every Nicholas Sparks book ever written, you should probably never, ever, ever, EVER put it online.

If we’ve learned anything in the last 15 years of ridiculous web-growth it’s that anything you put online is out there and it’s out there for good.

More than ten years ago I called in—note: CALLED in—to USA Weekend to ask a question about Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Even though they totally butchered my question to involve Jennifer Lopez and the word “sizzled”...that question is still out there on the interwebs.

That’s right, something more than a decade old and something that originated over the phone and in print is available online. So do you honestly think the things you punch in online aren’t going to haunt you?

Seriously folks, if you're on Facebook and you have more than 100 friends, you've signed away your privacy.

Let’s be real here, you don’t have 100 friends. No one does.

Odds are pretty good that if you went through and deleted everyone that you don’t really talk to and/or care about, you’d be down to about 20-30 people, at the most.

That goes double for all of you half-naked blonde co-eds who have 3,000 friends; your privacy argument is out the window.

Dang near everyone on Facebook is friends with complete strangers who can see all of their favorite bands and television shows and pictures of them wasted on Jagbombs.

Anyone of those “friends” could just as easily be taking all of your oh-so-private information and selling it to the highest bidder, yet no one seems to be concerned enough to go through and wipe out their friends list.

Seriously, go through your friends and try to find someone with less than 100 friends.

On the off-chance you actually found someone who fits the bill, odds are pretty good that they’re either a Facebook newbie or someone’s mom who has yet to figure out how to find “friends.”

It is 2010, everyone has a Facebook page, a blog, a Twitter account, a million online profiles at Yahoo!/MSN/Google/etc. and who knows how many other online entities telling the world all about themselves.

We live in the vainest of times, everyone—whether they know it or not—wants to be an online star.

This is why we all spend ten minutes trying to come up with a witty status update or pose every time a digital camera pops out thinking “this is gonna be a great profile picture!”

Privacy is dead and gone.

If you really want privacy, you’re not on Facebook. You’re not reading this blog. You aren’t on the internet at all.

People who really want privacy don’t talk about how their privacy is being invaded because they’re living in the remote foothills of Kentucky or up in the mountains in Idaho.

Unless you’re ready to live in a cabin and eat raccoon—and/or move to northwest Iowa and hang out with my parents—it’s time you buck up and deal with things the way they are.

If you don’t go around posting everything you like on Facebook, then there’s nothing for the website to share with anyone, let alone those big bad advertisers who you can—you know—ignore.

You control your privacy, not Facebook.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Productivity Killer, Thy Name is “I Saw You MIT”

The huge nerds fine folks here at MIT are known for their creativity.

Whether hacking the ‘Great Dome’ or doing their damndest to rip-off casinos in Las Vegas, the students always seem to be coming up with something to help stave off the stress of—well—going to MIT.

In the last 24 hours, my co-workers and I have discovered a new marvel brought to the world by MIT students, the incomparable I Saw You MIT.

Essentially, this is the same concept as the wildly popular “Missed Connections” section of Craigslist that gives people—usually hopeless romantics and/or simply the hopeless—a chance to toss out a vague message and hope that someone (anyone) responds.

This almost always leads to a confusing thread of replies where some stranger who also happened to live in Alabama and also wore a tie one day last week when it was raining assumes that the post is all about them. It rarely is.

Initials, shirt colors, specific train stops and other completely random facts are then exchanged in an attempt to figure out if either party is actually talking about the other.

In the end, very few of these posts result in anything more than a few chuckles for the large audience of addicted readers and another missed connection.

Beyond the awkward attempts to forge a love connection, there are also the equally entertaining rants that often appear in these sections.

Say for instance some dude farts in an elevator at a busy mall. There’s a pretty good chance that before the day is out someone will work their way to Craigslist and write a scathing rant about the “smelly wildebeest who had the audacity to unleash his foul halibut and old-milk scented odor on the unsuspecting people of the Pine Bluffs Mega-Shop-O-Plex”….or something like that.

Anyway, you get the gist.

Now MIT has its very own version of “Missed Connections.” This means that the odds of being mentioned, knowing someone who is mentioned, and/or at least loosely recognizing someone mentioned are pretty freakin’ high.

This creates a whole new form of entertainment for all of us here at work who have undoubtedly gone through checking for all things “Barker,” “Hayden,” “Library,” “Reading Room,” etc…etc…etc…

We’ve already stumbled upon at least one post that we’re like 98% positive references a co-worker who apparently resembles a pirate.

There are a few others that are just vague enough that they may be about other library peeps and/or they might just be about our patrons.

Either way, productivity here has been pretty much shot as we’ve spent most of our day reading ridiculous post after ridiculous post and giggling madly, thanks MIT, you’re the best.
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Monday, May 10, 2010

Cheeseburger Chronicles #055 & #056

I know, I know, I know…

I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of Wendy’s I toss in my face, but I really couldn’t resist.

I hadn’t really eaten all day and was at softball practice for like three hours. I was tired and hungry and on my way to have an adult beverage or two. Without some food in my belly I’d undoubtedly turn into Blackout Gravey…and the world doesn’t need any more of that than it already has to deal with, as such, Wendy’s was a solid choice.

Cheeseburgers #055 & #056

What: Junior Bacon Cheeseburger

Where: Ghetto Wendy’s

When: May 9, 2010

How (was it): They were about as good as anything at Wendy’s that costs a buck can be.

They were hot, the toppings were all crispy and good, and they totally spaced on the tomato, which was great because I wasn’t really feelin’ tomatoes yesterday anyway.

In the end, the burgers did what they were supposed to do, pad my stum-stum and keep me from either vomiting because I was starving and/or keep me from getting wastey-faced after one beer.
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Cheeseburger Chronicles #054

Okay, if I thought going to Four Burgers within two days of my previous visit was a little embarrassing than this visit was downright ridiculous.

Barely 24 hours after my previous trip to Four Burgers, I returned after a few adult beverages at the infamous Muddy Charles Pub with Dan and Shayna – two kick-ass work peeps of mine – along for the ride.

Once again, Four Burgers did not disappoint.

Cheeseburger #054

What: Cheeseburger

Where: Four Burgers

When: April 30, 2010

How (was it): Bad-to-the-Ass!!

Although it is hard to tell from my crappy-ass cell phone camera, it was another wonderful burger.

Once again I implemented the razzle-dazzle technique of ordering a “medium rare” burger to ensure that it was cooked to a perfect “medium” and once again it worked to perfection.

After a few beers, there really is nothing better than a cheeseburger and there is nothing better than a Four Burgers cheeseburger. All-in-all, that’s a pretty solid situation right there.

Additionally, Shayna hooked me up with a nibble of her veggie burger. It tasted mostly like falafel, but it wasn’t all bad. I don’t foresee me ordering one (ever), but it’s good to know that even the weird non-meaty stuff can be pretty bad-ass too.

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Cheeseburger Chronicles #053

I’m not going to lie, this is a tad embarrassing considering that I’d gone to Four Burgers not more than two days earlier, but let’s be honest some days a dude just needs to have a cheeseburger for lunch, right?!


Cheeseburger #053

What: Cheeseburger

Where: Four Burgers

When: April 29, 2010

How (was it): Delicious.

Having deduced on my last journey to Four Burgers that it was in my best interest to order things “medium rare” to get what equates to a “medium” everywhere else in the world, I was blessed with a perfectly cooked “medium” burger.

It was hot and juicy and jam-packed with a veritable butt-load of flavor.

Additionally, the fries were super-duper bad-ass. Can’t argue with that, right?!


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KFC Double Down: Meh

The KFC Double Down has been the recipient of many a headline in recent weeks.

It has been lauded as the greatest thing to happen to chicken since buffalo sauce and it’s been derided as the worst thing to happen to food since – um – everything on the This Is Why You’re Fat website.

Friend of the blog, “The Miller Times” took on the bunless terror a while back and today it’s my turn.

Being that I’m – well – a fatty, I had no choice but to attack this seemingly decedent treat guns-a-blazin’…and I did just that a mere two weeks ago (obviously, I’m a little slow at keeping up on my blogging lately).

It was laundry day.

Anyone who has stopped by here a time or two is well-aware that I f’n hate laundry day with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. Not because doing laundry is any sort of agonizing process or anything, but rather because I have to travel to do laundry.

This infuriates me. If laundry were right near my place, I wouldn’t care in the slightest and I’d probably have clean clothes far more frequently.

Anyway, I seem to have gotten off track here, where was I?!

Ah yes…it was laundry day.

Every laundry day, I treat myself to a stop the vaunted KFC/Taco Bell hybrid near the Lost Sock Laundromat.

This generally works out pretty well because in the time it takes me to hike it up the block, order my food, wait and wait and wait for my food and eventually eat me food and get back to the laundromat, the wash cycle is usually finished.

This seemed like the prime opportunity to sample the Double Down. So I sauntered to the counter, full of the swagger that only a man who eschews buns in favor of more dead animal flesh can muster and placed my order.

The gal behind the counter looked as though every asshole male between the age of 10 and 30 who had come in with the same douchey-swagger and order for the better part of two weeks, but she hooked me up with the Double Down nonetheless.

As anticipated – service is a tad, um, sluggish here – the food took about ten minutes, but once it arrived I was on it like a pack of ravenous hyenas on a three legged elk. I tore the “sandwich” from the bag and shoved it in my face.

I then took a minute, or two, or three…as I tried chewing and swallowing the gigantic mass of chicken breast in my mouth.

“Gee…that just tastes like a fried chicken breast,” I thought to myself as I finally – with the aid of an entire glass of watered down Mt. Dew – finished off the first bite.

I took another and another and every time it was the same situation. All I could taste was chicken breast. After my third bite I finally peeled apart the two layers to see what the inner-workings really had going for ‘em and it wasn’t much.

There were two virtually non-existent slices of cheese, some bacon and whatever the hell the Colonel’s secret sauce is. Personally, I think if he’s a legit Colonel, then we can go ahead and invoke the don’t ask, don’t tell policy in regard to the sauce.

Sauce of sketchy origin notwithstanding, it was still a very un-awesome experience.

I eventually choked the whole thing down, feeling disappointed in both KFC and the choices I was making with my life and I slowly meandered back to my laundry.

All-in-all, it was a less-than-inspiring dining option and I can’t say that I’d recommend it to anyone.

For all the hype and hoopla surrounding the Double Down, I was anticipating some sort of dining experience that would change my life forever.

Instead, I got two big pieces of chicken and some stuff in the middle that I couldn’t even taste.

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