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For want of a satellite photo, the battle was lost…

At IRQportz, we rarely get into politics.  Because we realize that opinions are like a long lost Uncle with septum shattering halitosis; everyone has one, and they stink.  Among the few of us there are possibly a variety of different political configurations.  Indeed, even pizza toppings are a controversial subject around here.  But, I daresay, we stand united on this day.  On this day we found that a certain politician in California, wants to “blur” Google earth (and by extension, Google maps).  Heresy!  Why take away such a cool and useful tool based on the unfounded fears of technical ludites?

CNN has so graciously informed us of this information (http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/03/11/google.earth.censor.california/), passed on from CNET.  So I am doing my solemn duty, to be another in the long chain of information passing.  As CNN’s article exposes, A California lawmaker (in a likely bid to make a name for himself) has suggested the following:

“An operator of a commercial Internet Web site or online service that makes a virtual globe browser available to members of the public shall not provide aerial or satellite photographs or imagery of a building or facility in this state that is identified on the Internet Web site by the operator as a school or place of worship, or a government or medical building or facility, unless those photographs or images have been blurred.”

To quote CNN, “Anderson … is asking only what India and some other foreign governments are demanding for their citizens.”

Because we really are just waiting in line behind India to see what great and innovative things they do next.  I see they have recently sent a space probe to the moon; however, the 1950s called and they want their science project back.  Perhaps they were actually aiming for Jupiter’s moon, Europa?  I don’t know. I realize that India is a very large nation with great ambitions.  And God bless them, they’ve been humble toward the rest of the world.  Despite this, I don’t think that they are a beacon of all that is current and modern.  Perhaps with enough call centers, they will eclipse us all someday. Perhaps.

A secondary argument of Anderson’s was presented thusly:

“I’m all for online mapping, but knowing where the air ducts are in an air shaft is not necessary for me to navigate in the city. Who wants to know that level of detail? Bad people do.”

First of all, what kind of person says they are “all for online mapping”, and then writes a bill designed to blur it?  This I find to be puzzling.  Moving on, he mentions that Google Earth shows us where the air shafts are.  You know, I hadn’t really thought about it lately.  But I’m pretty sure I knew that there were air shafts on top of buildings when Google Earth was a twinkle in a software engineer’s eye (as he oggled scantily clad Japanese female warriors sprinting across the battlefield only to pleasure each other mid air; in those dirty, dirty cartoons).  Ahem.  What was I saying?  Ah yes, his argument supposes that we a) Did not know that buildings had air shafts until Google Earth showed us.  And b) That we did not know that airshafts generally ended at the tops of buildings, until Google Earth revealed this as well.

I don’t know about you, but I thought they dug a hole that went from the basement of the building and down through to the other side of the planet, in order to vent exhaust and take in fresh air.

Moving on, the lawmaker has some witty comebacks for his critics (or so he thinks).  From the article: “I hear the argument that, “Yeah, I want to also ban cars because cars are used in robberies.” Look, cars have other commercial uses. There are no other uses for knowing on a map where there are air shafts. These are all red herring arguments.”

First of all, the argument that cars are used in robberies, and are thus somehow responsible for them is simply an excellent analogy for his entire presentation.  I laughed when I read it, and his bringing it up only made things worse.  Ok, so of course cars have other uses.  And yet you say there are no other uses for Google Earth?  Sir, have you not ever wondered if your neighbors down the street had a swimming pool?  Have you not wanted to stare at your own roof from hundreds of miles in the sky?  Have you never wanted to simply enjoy the majestic beauty that is our civilization while you are planning a simple road trip to the side of town where all the good clubs are at?

I can’t help but mention, this guy called the car argument a “red herring”, which is incorrect. A “red Herring” is a distraction argument, it’s akin to changing the subject. If I had said “I think this guy is wrong because the other day I saw a profesional boxer wearing a tank top and strawberry shortcake apron, spoon feeding an elderly man Vienna sausages while he listened to you complain about Google Earth on his IPod…” then that would be a “red herring.”

As it turns out Google Earth is not “real time.”  The pictures it takes are bought and borrowed from various corporations and agencies that own satellites.  The picture over your house could be 10 days old, and that picture over the other side of town could be back dated from when they made music worth listening to.  I can’t imagine being paranoid of technology.  Even if there were a chance they would catch a photographic glimpse of Home Depot employees having greased plunger fights on my roof, I would still not blame the high-tech.

The above is strictly opinion and hyperbole, from portzer #3.

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[@nn3d

Yes sah. We got canned here at AOL, as predicted. Our Tucson site will be closing in December 16th and along with it our jobs. We get one month severance package (yay). I only wish they would start the severance early so I could chill while finding another job.

In any case here is how the day went. On Wednesday, October 18th I went into work and I saw the Channel 13 news van. I figured, either someone got shot, or we’re getting laid off. It was that simple. And I was correct on the second account. I walked in and immediately was greeted by the Workforce management person. They had us go into a room where we listened to a Human Resources person give a spiel about why our site was getting shutdown, and what our benefits were. Well we know this was going to happen (refer to this article).

It was funny, because I was already going to jump the second I got another job offer, so this did not have the “scary” effect they supposed it would have on me. I do however, feel sorry for those who were counting on this job as it will no doubt affect them unless they can get employment quickly.

In any case, I left with a bottled water and a threat not to talk to the media or we risk losing our severance package. (Good luck figuring out who I am). Obviously that went over well. I don’t know why they didn’t want us talking to the media, maybe the media would paint them in a bad light because they are keeping India call centers open. But people should’ve known that was going to happen the second the India callcenter’s opened.

They don’t “augment” workforces with India, they replace them. And it’s so common now no one will make a big fuss when it happens. Any remaining employees working for Dell or any other big company that outsources, your jobs are in jeopardy whether your company admits it or not. I suggest education and training, and looking for a more reliable position. I will not give away my plans as I feel it may be used to identify me, but needless to say I will not be in bad shape.

For those who got canned, we salute you!

portzer #3

The New CW! Free to be Teh Ghey…

Well I just had to post this new advertisement. If Superman Returns didn’t have enough articles about “is Superman gay?” then this will surely generate more.

Sweet merciful crap man… Poor poor Tom Welling…

And now I present the CW ad entitled “Teh GHEYNESS SUPREME”

Conan at the 2006 Emmy’s

Conan O’brien was a presenter at the Emmy’s last night.  The opening skit began with a parody of Lost but many people found it to be offensive.  Only two hours before a plane had crashed in Kentucky.  An actual plane crashing was not shown but extreme turbulence with Mr. O’Brien bouncing about was shown.

Yes this is a tragedy but how can you blame them for releasing something so close to the time it happened.  People really need to think about it this way…

Law & Order deals with murders so should everytime a murder takes place the show be yanked off the air? Or should shows be censored from having people dying in car accidents because the same thing happens in real life?

What type of guideline should these people use?  How big of a tragedy does it have to be in order to be worthy enough to yank the “objectional” content.

Just something to think about…

BTW Conan was funny…

Portzer #2

We Gettin’ Canned Yo

At one time there was a great deal of speculation concerning AOL layoff rumors. That speculation is no more. It is now clear that all of the Tucson sites will be laid off in the near future (i.e. less than 6 months from now).

It’s an inevitable state of affairs if you look at AOL’s changing business model. They are changing revenue to be advertisement based and not subscription based. To accelerate that, they are giving free service to those who have high speed and do not want tech support. Clearly they are stepping away from a software platform, and embracing one that is web based. Hence no need for techs (us).

To make the possibility even more clear, they admitted to needing to layoff 5,000 people (duh), 3,000 of which will come from Europe. The other 2,000 will likely be us here in Tucson, and whatever callcenters remain (I think Abequerque). It is our belief that India will stay on to be the last techs. Why cut the cheap ones first? (thinking like an idiot bean counter).

So anyway we post here to put any speculation to rest, and plan for the future. Yes we were those guys that walked you through deleting files and reinstalling CD’s. Yes we wrote disgusting articles shortly after talking with you. We were those guys.

We hold little ill-will towards our employer. Much like you would not hold ill-will toward a retarded kid that hits you with a baseball he was playing with. You can’t get mad at him, because he’s retarded. The same holds for our company. I could go into a lengthy diatrabe about corporate stupidity. Let me just say, I have never understood the figure of speech “right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing”, more clearly than I have in the years I’ve been working at this company. For those about to be canned, we salute you!