Saturday, 26 July 2008

Hello?

I talked to my step son the other day and he told me he was being made redundant. All the call centre work for the company going to to another country. I know this is a national trend, and I don't begrudge the hard working people who will get the work. I know we live in a global economy.

How much work will go offshore? And when does it become a problem? GM downsized it's car production and left Flint Michigan in shambles. You should watch Michael Moore's film Roger and Me. Many big companies took their manufacturing offshore, and now the service jobs are leaving.


Yes it's probably good for some companies to go offshore, like my step sons company. The problem arises when we reach a point where the people who used to buy those products or services are out of jobs because of off shore labour. And these people can no longer buy these products or services. What happens to company profits then? We need jobs to buy their stuff.

The service sector was going to be the new economic stronghold with so much less manufacturing. What now?

As Harley Shaiken said from News Hour with Jim Leher ""Let me quote a participant in a recent U.N. study about globalization. The participant said, "It doesn't do much good for a father to be able to buy a pair of shoes more cheaply if that father loses his job." And I think that's an underlying principle that's very important here. "

So what do we do? What will the new area of the economy be that provides a job and a future for my step son?

I am an immigrant, I went offshore for heavens sake. But not for a job. I hope my step son finds a new job, I am sure he will. Anyone out there want to hire him?

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Photography outlawed?

Students have been banned from taking photographs or video of anything on the Brunel campus without prior permission. Now they have to get permission via email. So, if they set up a day in advance to take photos, and the weather is bad or something then they have to start over. Some people have had 8 page emails in a response to a request to take photos.

This is driving me mad and I am not going to take it any more (ala broadcast news). Is it right to stop students taking photographs on their own campus? We should have a protest. Lets have a big photography sit in day? Yea!

There is another problem with students taking photographs in London. Some students have been stopped and questioned by the police. One Student was taken to the station and released.

I understand the security concerns. And in a way I am glad the police are on the ball. But what about society in general, is photography inherently dangerous? What about all the camera phones out there. They could be discretely taking pictures all the time. And with wifi and 3g, gps and geo tagging, they can be uploaded to the web in a few minutes, and located on google maps.

What to do? Unless the photographer or videographer is going about in a dangerous way or causing danger to others, let them be. What about the sneaky bastard on his Nokia camera phone taking pictures and uploading them to the web without anybody noticing?

What would Ansel Adams say? Brunel and society in general have to lighten up. Let us take pictures in peace. Let our photos go.

Friday, 18 July 2008

My Head is in the clouds

Back in high school when computing was a mysterious world of the super geeks, and I was a wanna be super geek, we had access to computers, sort of. What we had was a series of terminals, in which you could execute a program or command, that was sent to a main frame computer somewhere. These terminals, just a display and a keyboard and a connection to a main frame.

There is some talk of going back to this type of computing, again sort of. Applications such as word processors could live on the net, and we would never have to install anything on our own hard drive.

So you would no longer need to purchase Microsoft Office just for a word processor. You could use something like www.acrobat.com, a word processor that is live on the web, no download necessary.

The new buzzword is cloud computing. This is what got me thinking about dumb terminals and net applications. The cloud is your email, calendar, docs etc that don't live on your computer but live on the web. So you have been using cloud computing by using hotmail , gmail and yahoo mail.

I am not writing this blog in Microsoft word. I am writing this on acrobat.com's Buzzword. Wow, an application named after what cloud computing is trying to become. A buzzword.

I think that the idea that you only need a basic computer with web access is a good thought, but for someone like me who is an avid pc gamer, it would not work. I will use the cloud, well google mail and google calendar etc. Lets hope the cloud does not turn dark and start raining on us. Heaven help us if there is lighting in the cloud.