Google Wants YOU ! (The Google Control Factor)

Technology is amazing. It is fun. It makes activities more enjoyable. It makes work easier.

There is much to be admired about the tech world.

There are also the problems faced when that technology, which has become so completely integrated into both work and play, goes down. Nothing is cursed more than a crashed server or frozen screen when one is in the middle of an important project.

Even further, though, there is a tech-control factor at play.

While the leaders of the American government have used all manner of excuses to erode the personal liberty and freedom upon which the country was founded, there are tech giants willing to go the extra mile in their quest for control.

Witness, specifically, the Samsung Nexus S 4G by Google.

It is a fabulous smart phone, an excellent alternative to the much more expensive Apple iPhone.

But, buyer beware!

Google insists that Nexus S owners use Google Wallet.

How, one might ask? Easy. If Wallet is not activated it eats battery juice at an unbelievably fast pace. Without using the phone, with the Wallet application running (though not activated and in use by the consumer), the phone will last less than 24 hours before needing to be charged.

That, quite simply, is insane.

The issue is that Google does not allow an owner to delete the Wallet application, despite the fact that certain consumers will never use a wireless device to transact financial matters.

The only effective method found to date to limit the intense drain caused by Wallet is to take a minute or two, every few hours, and Force Stop Wallet. Doing that will keep its energy-gobbling to a minimum.

It is true that Google has, in many ways, made life better for millions upon millions of people around the world.

However, a line must be drawn between convenience and dominance (i.e., control).

If a Nexus S owner desires to use Wallet they should simply be able to activate it. Likewise, if someone does not wish to use Wallet they should not have to Force Stop it every two or three hours to prevent battery drain.

That type of control loses customers.

The iPhone is looking substantially better all the time.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

And What Else Don’t We Know? Unknown Webcams At Home

This taxpayer is not particularly a subscriber to the conspiracy theories that abound.

However, when one reads a news article such as the below from the Associated Press, it really makes one pause.

“PHILADELPHIA – A federal lawsuit accuses a suburban Philadelphia school district of spying on students at home through school-issued laptop webcams.

“The suit says Lower Merion School District officials can activate the webcams remotely without students’ knowledge. The lawsuit alleges the cameras captured images of Harriton High School students and their families as they undressed and in other compromising situations.

“Families learned of the alleged webcam images when an assistant principal spoke to a student about inappropriate behavior at home.

“The school district says it has deactivated a security feature intended to track lost or stolen laptops.

“The district says the tracking feature would not be reactivated without ‘written notification to all students and families’.”

Wait one minute. No, two minutes.
 
Supposedly there was a security feature in the laptop designed to track it.
 
How is it that this “security feature” was a webcam? It would seem as if a device, more like LoJack (which is made for laptops), would “track” a lost or stolen laptop to a location.
 
Perhaps it was someone’s bright idea that installing the webcam would then also provide the identity of the thief.
 More importantly, why would an assistant principal even be involved with what he/she considered inappropriate behavior by a student – in the student’s home?
 
That certainly oversteps any and all authority that school district personnel have with students. (What does the U.S. Department of Education have to say about this district’s antics?)
 
This action tramples all over our Bill of Rights.
 
Thankfully, for all the families in Lower Merion, the assistant principal acted inappropriately and confronted the student and that the student had the presence of mind to report such a gross invasion of privacy. 
 
Just as astonishing, the school district says that the tracking feature “would not be reactivated without ‘written notification to all students and families’.”
 
Written notification?
 
What gives the school district the right to have a webcam in a taxpayer’s home? There is no issue with something like LoJack, but this citizen has grave concerns about a school district even having the idea that it is okay to place a webcam in someone’s home.
 
From there, the leap begins.
 
Are the urban legends true that the webcam in my laptop is monitored by someone, somewhere without my knowledge, let alone consent? That the reason cable/FIOS boxes are bigger (when almost all electronic equipment has become smaller) is that they are hiding cameras that capture my every move? 
 
When something as atrocious as this story is real, it does make one wonder.
 
Over For Now.
 
Main Street One