Category Archives: Social Media

What’s With Wednesday — Feeling Secure

Round and round we go, and where we stop, nobody knows.

Faded Glory

Faded Glory

For the second year in a row, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (a.k.a CISPA) has passed the US House of Representatives.  Last year the Bill never made it through the US Senate, possibly because it was under threat of a presidential veto, possibly because of the fairly vocal internet uproar about the Bill’s many flaws.

At present the US Senate is not looking at voting on it anytime soon.  CISPA’s authors say that most of the concerns for personal privacy have been addressed in amendments to the new version.  Others are not so sure of this, and indeed, President Obama has restated his determination to veto the Bill.

So what exactly is CISPA, and what does it mean for bloggers (and writers)?  This short piece by PC Magazine does a nice job of summarizing many features of the Bill.  I’ll let you read up on the details and make your own opinions.

For me, the biggest issue with CISPA isn’t privacy.  The information that would be shared with the government is nothing that they cannot attain already by following due process.  It’s that due process part that is this issue.

CISPA takes due process and tosses it out the window…effectively.

If you look at this list of agencies that will be able to gain access to your information if CISPA passes, do you have the same questions I do about it?  As in “why do these agencies need information to protect us against cyber-attacks from China and Iran?” (Bill proponent Mike Rogers’s (R-MI) words, not mine), among others.

The Bill has been amended so that companies who share information can “anonymize” (yes, I know that’s not a word) data, but there is no real requirement that it be done.  Indeed, companies that just share it all are exempt from legal repercussions for any violate of the Terms of Service/User Agreements their users have agreed to.   As “Time is money” often rules the corporate sector, why would a company invest extra time in safeguarding private data when it gives them little to no extra again?

And speaking of money, let’s look at a newer amendment to CISPA.  Presumably  to ease fears that corporations who have shared data with the government won’t be fully nullifying their Terms of Service and User Agreement contracts with customers, there is now a fine imposed for any other use of this information beyond protection of a cyber-attack.   But how big of a fine?  A look at the recent case where the Google StreetView car accidentally collected personal data (email addresses, passwords, URLs, etc.) as they drove down streets in Hamburg, Germany shows that fines are basically trivial.  In the Google case, it was an accident, and they fully admitted the problem, but when any company can make up the loss of a fine in less than an hour of business (or as [again] in the Google case, 4 seconds), violations can become more profitable than following the law.

Why am I suddenly picturing a Steven Segal movie now?

Sorry.  This isn’t supposed to be me fear-mongering or promoting conspiracy theories to you.  There are plenty of enough sites out there to do that.  But I do suggest you  look up CISPA on your own and see what you think of it.   And try to consider this when you do–most people who go into public service do so because they really do want to help make the world a better place (especially those in the lower strata of politics).  The problems we see in politics usually aren’t the result malicious intent or a wish to harm anyone.  It’s solely a matter of a better place for whom, and how determined are some people to promote their vision of better.

ROW80 Check-IN

As you can see, I’ve been occupied with reading lately.  Reading law wears on me; it’s hard to believe that I wanted to be a lawyer in high school (or that went out of my way to volunteer at a law library in college).

Thing is, one needs to know how to read these documents, because legalese is everywhere and just saying “I agree” can have its drawbacks (you may want to read the comic thread… or the whole comic–Userfriendly makes the ins and outs of IT fun).


A bit of this, a bit of that

Still, I managed an awesome evening of writing and editing last night (turned off the internet distractions and just worked).  I wrote some wonderful notes on Monday and got all my comments done for both my sponsor posts (including my sponsor post–complete with formatting errors–on the Round of Words in 80 Days blog)  and on several others blogs.

I was a busy blogger this week.  Facebook, Google + and Twitter kind of fell by the wayside, and truthfully, I feel better for it.   Less and less of the time, I feel inspired to hang out online.  The exception?  I may resume my reddit hour or so–there is a lot of discussion about current events there and keeping up better would be nice.

So that’s my week.  Hope you all are enjoying your ROW80 journey.  Here’s the new linky.  Go ahead and visit a few more of us.  We love to hear from you.

Photo credit: me (images from my Flickr feed)


Apologies for Missing Yesterday

Welcome Spring... Boodle-style

Welcome Spring… Boodle-style

I was out and about with the Boodle yesterday, and my writing time came in chaotic intervals where I couldn’t get my head together well.  Of the several ideas I had for my What’s With Wednesday post, all of them seemed disjointed after I looked them over last night (at 3am) because I’d fallen asleep in the chair after waiting for my laptop to boot.

It’s an older laptop, but it’s not that old.  I was that tired.

It’s that same cold (or flu) bug I’ve fought for weeks on end of late.  I’m better.  I can get out and about and do things….  but not as much as I thought I could.  I wear out too fast.

Much to fast for anything like this:

Who am I kidding?   I was never up for this type of thing…  I just watched with extra envy today, because I agree in spirit.  I don’t normally like “vacations” either.  At least not the lay back and relax kind.  If I travel, I want to see and do things.  Sitting still or relaxing be a pool seems like a waste of the trip…

A friend from college days used to say a similar thing about getting drunk:  “If you’re not out having fun when you’re buzzed, you’re wasting it.”

I guess it depends on a person’s idea of waste.  Having spent enough time enjoying the fantasies and daydreams that come from downtime, I know that nothing is really wasted.  At least as long as one allows him-/herself the chance to discover the gift of the moment.

Not all gifts are obvious.

Wednesday was ROW80 check-in day

I have been writing.  Not as much as I need to catch up after my last Sunday post where I’d taken a break…  I’m still behind on my CampNaNo project, but I’m not too worried.  It’ll get there, or it won’t.  What matters is that I’m writing; I’m editing, and I’m getting out and about with my family despite fighting the sick and ick.

In that, I think I’m doing just great… great and sleepy.

This doesn’t mean I’ve been at the top of any game, but I’m running and hitting all the check points (I even managed to visit two extra ROWer blogs  this week for sponsor-like posts).  I’m participating in some of the Twitter sprints, except when I’m falling asleep during them (my bad).

Oh, and editing and reading are both going better than I’d planned.  Mostly because they feel like something I can do when I feel too tired to sit at my desk and type and think.

Lastly..  please note:

In Solidarity

In Solidarity

I normally do not post links of this type (though I do forward them regularly in my other social media networks), but since most of us are bloggers ourselves, I’d like to draw your attention (if you don’t already know) to some recent events in Bangladesh.   Blogging is real writing–it is saying things that could help, inspire or even offend others.  And…  in some countries, it’s dangerous.

These bloggers are writers–like us–trying to share their thoughts and feelings.  They’re trying to speak to the world, just as we are.  Their views are secular, but that’s not why this matters to me.  It matters because people should always be allowed to speak and write.  And they should be allowed to disagree with someone without fear of being imprisoned for doing so.

Of course, it’s not just in Bangladesh.  This happens everywhere.

I’m offended at all these people being offended.

(As a more fun, but equally thoughtful, closing link, let me pass along this piece on writing good social media comments by The Art of Manliness.  Enjoy!)


Wednesday Writing Woes, Wonders & Words

Stained...glassThis post is a hodge-podge.

Because I’ve allowed myself ro fall out of the habit of blogging, and because I’ve chosen a personal goal of participating in A Round of Words in 80 Days, I have committed myself to doing more regular blog posts.

A commitment, I realized this morning, I was not as ready to fulfill as I’d hoped I would be.

Eh…  It’s not as if I ever allowed a lack of preparation to stop me from speaking my mind.  😀

So, in the spirit of my former check-ins (you can see most of them by looking through the links on the pages I setup for each round above), I’d like to offer you more than just “This is what I did” and “This is what I want to try doing next time”.

I want to play with words.

It’s been actually a week of playing with words…more play than actual process.  Though I’d started the week out with grand plans to sit with pen and notebook and organize some of the events in this rapidly avalanching set of stories I have called The Swan Song Trilogy, things changed course quickly.  Given how Monday morning started with virtual possession of the spirit of Ted Geisel during a visit to fellow ROWer Lena Corazon, I should have realized that unlike the two bones in my forearm, my humerus was well and needing attention.

So… from watching Rowan Atkinson and John Cleese performing a pseudo-interview on being an apiarist to spending a bit of extra time last night with my husband (who, for those who do not know him, is an incredibly funny man who has perfected such skills as giggling and telling me “I love you” like the Schmoo and dancing like a Muppet *), I have made an effort to attend to laughter and joy.

Those things, while great in their own way, haven’t helped me get writing.  So, I’m playing in different way, mixing up some metaphors and poking at two writing related sites that I used to enjoy for inspiration: The One Minute Writer and Three World Wednesday (links for the prompts I used here).

The socks were folded, pair upon pair;
The cashier’s gaze vacant, a semi-focused stare
Blue and then red, her expression half-dead,
and we never bought groceries again there.


shmoo (Photo credit: Exploding Aardvark)

Well, short and sweet, I guess.  Then again, I typed it in one minute with one hand and a huge pillow separating me from my keyboard…

Time for that ROW80 update part:

ROW80 Progress:

As this post shows, I’m doing well on my goals.  I realize I missed putting in a Social Media goal into the mix (actually quite vital in a group like the ROW), so here it is:

  • I will visit at least 3 ROWers per check-in, and try to look at one new blog a week.
  • I will be attending #teamsprinty a bit erratically, but attending at least once a week
  • I will maintain at least one post a day on my Facebook Author Page.
  • I will not take more than a week to reply to any comments.

So, there it is, and so far, I am on target there too.  *pats self on back before heading off to cheer on other ROWers here*  And all should be as well or better by Sunday’s check-in.

* Videos from my brother-in-law’s wedding as “Dancing like Muppets” has become quite the family joke.  The four “dancers” are my husband and his three brothers: Part 1 and Part 2