IN THIS ISSUE:
Man of the Year: Me
Comic: Rapter Agent
Give Free, Or Lie!
Comic: Dr. Philistine
iToon on Vista Reaction
THE NEW WORLD
A CYBERBARF CYBERSPACE ODD-ESY
Don't forget to check out the
CYBERBARF BARF BAG podcast.
EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE
I would like to thank the publisher and editor of TIME Magazine for making me Person of the Year. Finally, I am getting the recognition of my peers for personally providing original content to three web sites on a regular basis. I think now I can comb my hair back more to make room for a forehead billboard proclaiming I am Time's Man of the Year. I think that will get me as much action as a football player on probation in a Chicago nightclub before game day. Everyone should have 2006 PERSON OF THE YEAR tattooed on their bodies . . . because Time Magazine has told us that we are great, the greatest, and best person last year. Wow. What a cop-out.
It is not like I, you, me, we don't deserve it. The average person has a regular 9 to 5 but 55 hour work week job, a colony of stress ulcers, family obligations, financial plate spinning gymnastics, but finds time to engage in some other activity or creative release like on-line shopping, beer guzzling, television vegetation or surfing the internet for strange and weird stories, like the justification for this year's Time award. Since we, the average American worker with issues, has found the time and energy to create a striving virtual world through our computer networks instead of running amok with semi-automatic weapons in the streets screaming for pagan justice, I guess that meets the standards of professional kudos.
Instead of finding a single, representative of the new information age, the editors threw the blanket over everyone. Like, maybe, who invented the Internet, who is at the forefront of on-line gaming, who is the most recent billionaire who sold a non-profitable idea to a bigger fish for a bundle of cash and stock. You know, real success stories. But it is easier and less leg work to paint the fence with a Tom Sawyer common man white wash. The individual user is the back bone of the digital age. Time finally recognized that we lowly workers are the lowest common denominator, the middle common denominator, and the high end maintenance common denominator. It is a clever cover ploy to increase subscriptions like those Best Of or Top List issues. If Time wants to increase subscriptions, maybe it should offer free Florida swampland as a incentive.
But we need to take advantage of this honor. Everyone should re-draft their resumes immediately and put under recognitions: 2006 Time Magazine Person of the Year. Then see how far you get during your next job interview.
Thanks, Time. Now, was there any monetary grant with this award?
Inspired by the world being on the verge of the wide world of professional video gamers,
there will be the same kind of professional sports weird craziness, like prima donna players and strange pro agents.
And the with the term, Rapter, we defer to the Japanese anime spelling just to be difficult/different.
A NEW REAL NEWS KOMIX:
REALITY ISLAND TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY
IRS INDICTS VIRTUAL MILLIONAIRE FOR TAX EVASION
SIM COUPLE FILES FOR DIVORCE
CYBERCOURTS JAMMED WITH CASES
Tomorrow's headlines twenty minutes into the future. The headlines will be coming to your computer screen if not today, soon. At a certain point, fantasy turns into ugly reality.
The American economy is bankrupt. The federal deficit is massive as it continues to grow to feed the war on terror, the entitlement society and alleged free health care services. Worse, state governments are also bankrupt. Illinois, for example, is at least $103 billion in debt. In order to service the cash flow needs of the legislature, the state sells more bonds (debt) in order to balance its illusory budget. The numbers are so big that they are unnoticed by the voters, who may just be shellshocked by the collapsing system to care. So the tax collectors are out looking for ways to increase government revenue. Real estate taxes have climbed to the point where fixed income homeowners can't afford to live in their homes anymore. User fees for license plates, park fees and building permits have skyrocketed while public improvements have been downgraded. States are crying that they are losing local sales taxes to Internet sales. So several states are aggressively attempting to tax out of state businesses in order to collect local states instead of directly assessing their voters. These battles are bound by the physical presence of taxpayers and entities, and court precedent. But that may change.
The Internal Revenue Service is looking into ways to tax the virtual game world. In on-line communities like Second Life, players can create valuable commodities, collect virtual dollars that can be converted into real U.S. currency. Players can accumulate virtual wealth and property that can be converted into real US currency values. Media reports indicate that there was one cybermillionaire recently created just through game play. It is becoming such a lure that major corporations are having their marketing departments stake out virtual property in the game space to sell virtual services and content to the players. So the theory goes that if there is being money made in unreality spheres, the government will follow the trail and tax it.
The largest demographic household group in the country is the single person. More households are controlled by singles. In the rush of the current work cycles, interpersonal relationships are put on hold to maintain a career path. Many singles have gone onto the virtual dating scene as a substitute for one-on-one dating. It appears safer, quicker and fulfilling a need at a base level. Adult chat-rooms and dating services are the distribution channels for this modern dating mechanism. But what happens if two people meet in an on-line community like Second Life, join together to create a virtual home, virtual wealth, and a cyberhomestead, but then the relationship sours. Is there such a thing as cyber-community property? Is a shared password protected account a binding marriage contract? Since the legal definition of rights has been stretched to the breaking point in the real court system, there will be a time where those strained logic tenets will invade the virtual world. Maybe the community will set up a sub-game, a populist on-line divorce game, where a jury of your virtual peers would vote on how to divide up the digital loot. But then again, some one will not be happy and bring the entire sordid affair into the real court system for resolution.
And just as one snowball rolled off a mountain top will create a giant snow boulder, litigation breeds more litigation in our society. The courts have taken the place of councils, town hall meetings, the business hand shake and a person's word is their bond. Now, real courts are so swamped with criminal drug cases and civil complaints that court administrators are forcing litigants into mandatory settlement vehicles like arbitration or mediation to lessen the court work load. The results have been muddy at best. But if the virtual floodgates open with more litigation, the courts would be over run with these cyber disputes. Now the game operators, by contract, limit the runaway scope of things by creating membership resolution rules. But that will not stop a mad player from suing the game operator directly.
In the wild west mentality of these new cyber communities, it is usually the man with the most money and the most muscle that controls the valley. Long time games players have made their escape from reality into a real world with real world implications. The horses may be already out of the barn when it comes to the potential litigation and real world invasion of taxation on play money.
GIVE FREE, OR LIE! ARTICLE
The revolutionary cry of Live Free or Die! may be only license plate slogan in the northeast. But the technocrats are using a similar banter to turn cities into free Wi-Fi hot spots. Someone must have whispered into the locals ears Give me Free Wi-Fi, or give your city techno Death. The gullible succumb to catch phrases. There is no such thing as a free lunch, especially when the government is in charge of the lunch line.
A few coffee houses and restaurants created an Internet hub, a cybercafe, in their premises in order to attract and keep customers who would want to surf the net instead of reading the newspaper while sipping a latte. In small establishments, the increase in traffic on their Internet account was probably marginal. Market forces made it a win-win proposition at this level.
Local politicians have seized on this concept to create their own Wi-Fi zones throughout their towns. There has been an increasing riff between traditional telecos and local governments. In the past, all utilities had to be granted a franchise to run their wires under or above the local streets. Cable operators, a later utility, piggybacked on these existing franchises, to the chagrin of the old Ma Bells. Now, the telephone companies are putting in fiber optic (non-cable) cable on their existing franchise rights to the chagrin of the local governments. The town councils are upset that these huge transfer station boxes are popping up like eyesores, that this new technology is not called cable (because of the pre-existing cable franchise already granted in the community to a cable operator) but it will compete with and deliver television and movie programming to the home. It is turning into a regulatory mess, because the federal government still controls the public airwaves.
Unlike a cybercafe luring customers into the premises to buy a product, local governments have nothing to sell or value add to pay for the cost of open and free Internet access to their taxpayers. The city has to invest in equipment, maintenance agreements, and tech support in order to run a city-wide virtual network. This costs money and manpower. But it is being sold as being free to the users. But that cannot be true: the telephone, ISP and equipment manufacturers do not give away this service for free. They are in the business of making money, and the biggest, slowest and most profitable pig is a juicy government contract. So the costs are buried in the local version of a federal defense spending bill: increased taxes, user fees, auto registration stickers, local phone tax levies; those charges that most people don't realize are taxes --- government income extractions.
Unlike the market forces theory, government analysis of a project does not factor in whether the project will be successful or even needed by the general public. Since the end motivation is not to profit like a real business plan, government spending creates white elephant money pits on a regular basis. Even if one assumes the population is addicted to their technology, their cellphones and iPods, why would a city try to compete with existing personal handheld devices that can deliver the same technology rush? Cellphones can instant message and read emails, and surf the net, play music videos and download new ringtones. The service provider has integrated those features into each device, negating the need to connect to a computer or a separate network (like a free Wi-Fi zone). A personal music player is a pre-loaded personal juke box. When people are out and about walking, or running, or working out, the music player is a secondary diversion which does not need the attention of a separate network (like a free Wi-Fi zone) to work. So is the proposed market user the individual who wants to continue working on his laptop during his lunch hour? The business class traveler sans an airline ticket? But in the local work place, is it not more likely that the office worker leaves his or her office cubicle to get away from his or her computer workstation, at least for a quiet hour or so? So, does this leave the homebody or student sitting at home. But most tech-savvy homesteads already have their Internet connection: DSL lines or cable modems. So a local Wi-Fi zone is meaningless to their normal routine. Why would anyone give up their cable channels to twiddle their thumbs waiting for downloads from the city service provider?
There is no cost-benefit analysis with these kinds of government projects. It sounds cool. City leaders may think they are cutting edge. But just having a free local Wi-Fi zone does not mean your town will suddenly become the next Silicon Valley and massive tech giant corporations will spring up like mushrooms in this digital forest. If that is their plan, then they are missing reality.
Inspired by the souls being lost in the sink holes of cyberspace, comic commentary cyberbarf style.
A NEW REAL NEWS KOMIX:
The Brits have lots of issues. But when the story crossed that the United Kingdom was thinking about giving Robots rights and possible pension benefits, it's time to call the dog catcher and lock them up tight. The concept of conscious robots is still science fiction. But to give artificial intelligence rights of human beings is nuts. The same concept of animal rights is just as twisted when your legal system classifies animals as mere personal property owned by citizens. Personal property like toasters, cars, clothing, iPods, television sets and calculators. Some of those items are really substitutes for human brain power, does your iPod have a right to go on strike? Take half your stuff if you go buy a Zune music player?
A report claims that 91 percent of all email is SPAM. Well, duh. Those of us who spend more than a half hour a day deleting the in-box with this junk correspondence can attest that Spam has been a growing problem since, let's see, since email was invented. Spam is this decades junk mail which clogged your mailbox and crippled your postman for years. Direct marketers save the cost of postage but still get to clog your mailbox, but in real time.
The do-it-yourself videophiles, in search of their own mythbusting-Lettermaniac video chaos, have been uploading the self-produced strange to the Internet for some time now. But we have come across a weird one: willitblend.com. Check out the iPod episode. This is something public access cable would have classified as a public service announcement 10 years ago.
The US Immigration Department raided four meat packer plants. The agency found hundreds of illegal workers. This was a result of an identity theft investigation, the number one growing crime in America. The meat packing company went to court to stop the raid, but the judge denied the request. So almost the entire work force of this company was sent to the deportation bin. As a result, thousands of applicants lined up around the block to apply for jobs as a butcher, a slaughterer, a fabricator, a warehouseman or meat packer. The lines were long because American workers are a growing underclass. After manufacturing jobs were exported to China and the Far East, skilled tradesmen and craftsmen were at a loss in the growing (and touted) field of high tech service business. But low tech people do most of the grunt work, the agricultural work, the packing work, the shipping work, and the delivery work in this new economy. Physical skills still count for something in the high tech age.
If you want to pre-occupy the kids for hours, purchase an iRobot carpet cleaning bot. Children and adults are amazed by the roaming UFO making crop circles on your living room carpet. Amazed by the fact that the unit can zoom toward the edge of a staircase, then suddenly veer away from danger. And when the power runs low, it knows to go back to its docketing station. The kids cheer the first time the bot gets home. Cool tech can keep a child's attention as well as the latest video game.
THE NEW WORLD A CYBERBARF CYBERSPACE ODD-ESYThe Sultanate of Clintonia-Rogstaden
The global on-line gaming experience has quietly exploded into a a bandwidth python of multi-hour, multi-kingdom game spheres. Whether it is the team combat arena, or the total simulated fantasy genre, more and more men and women are using their free time to escape to a virtual world. As a result of our tech guru's prodding suggestion, cyberbarf.com has created Sultanate of Clintonia-Rogstaden. Readers will have a running update of the status of this virtual country; get the backstories outside the game's program. For example, check out the images of the national currency. There will be inside jokes, satire, humor and pulse of a real bizarre country. New features will be added on a regular basis. So check out the cyber-soap opera of nation building here at cyberbarf.com.