Recent Technology Commentaries

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Surveillance – Part II
Should the U.S. government be permitted to collect data on citizens such as e-mails, phone calls, as well as Internet activity for the purpose of intercepting possible terrorist actions against Americans? “Fifteen years ago, I would have been outraged,” a friend confides. “However, we live in a post 9/11 and Internet age where terrorists are actively seeking vulnerabilities to exploit...
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June 14, 2013
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Government Surveillance
When I first learned of Edward Snowden, the computer whiz of Booz Allen Hamilton who leaked hundreds, perhaps thousands, of classified documents from the National Security Agency (NSA), the first person I thought of was J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover created the most sophisticated, large-scale crime-fighting mechanism of its time. The FBI was a formidable presence that got results. However, as...
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June 13, 2013
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Shame and Other Good News
“Shame,” writes author Richard Reeves (Mar. 15) “is an essential ingredient of a healthy society, particularly a liberal one. It acts as a form of moral regulation, or social ‘nudge,’ encouraging good behavior while guarding individual freedom.” Just when I think that we’re going to politically correct ourselves off the cliff, along comes a breath of fresh air. Reeves asks, “Where and when shame...
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April 1, 2013
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Women
Skimming Huffington Post, something jumped out at me. “My company is more likely to be a success because of me!” There it was, on the Business page of HuffP just belowBreaking News about Warren Buffett buying Heinz, (he must love the ketchup). “According to the hard numbers – as presented in a new study by researchers at Dow Jones VentureSource (Women at the Wheel: Do...
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February 14, 2013
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The Cloud
Here’s one symptom of a growing problem: “Jeff Rothschild’s machines at Facebook had a problem he knew he had to solve immediately. They were about to melt. “The company had been packing a 40-by-60-foot rental space here with racks of computer servers that were needed to store and process information from members’ accounts. The electricity pouring into the computers was...
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November 26, 2012
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The Social Network
The level of thought demonstrated in many of the papers written for the New Hampshire Technical Institute’s Contemporary Ethical Issues class co-taught by myself and Stephen Ambra was quite refreshing to see. One assignment was to compare and contrast 1950’s news media (i.e. Good Night and Good Luck) with that of today’s social media as observed in the feature film The Social Network....
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January 27, 2012
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Mindfulness
Voltaire once said, “Common sense is not so common.” I’m sure the 18th century French writer had people who gab endlessly on cell phones in mind when he made that observation. Back in the Stone Age, when people needed to speak to someone outside the home or office, they would go to a special place away from everyone else called…...
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December 5, 2011
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Now you can’t trust Caller I.D.
The sacred cow of protection from unwanted sales calls has been breached. “Telemarketers,” the New York Times writes, “increasingly are disguising their real identities and phone numbers to provoke people to pick up the phone. ‘Humane Soc.’ may not be the Humane Society. And think the I.R.S. is on the line? Think again. Caller ID, in other words, is becoming fake ID…....
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November 25, 2011
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Would Lincoln use Facebook?
When founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that his social media giant, Facebook, had reached the equally gigantic goal of 500 million users, my first reaction was, “What’s Facebook?” I mean, I’m computer literate – have been since the stone age of 1990. I rely heavily on my laptop for all work and most long distance communication. However, when Facebook was explained to me,  » Read more...
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June 3, 2011
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The Social Disease
Director David Fincher’s film, The Social Network, is as deeply disturbing as it is deeply engrossing. It’s a testament to Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin that I could not take my eyes off the screen sitting on a crowded flight from Boston to L.A. The film follows Mark Zuckerberg – a computer geek trapped in the delusion that what he creates...
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May 17, 2011