Thursday, September 16, 2010

For whom Bell tolls.

Oh Bell. I wondered how long it would take their tentacles to reach into Virgin Mobile. Now I'm looking at one of the early indicators. Pre-Bell, Virgin always had a great web site. It was smart, sexy, easy to navigate, and didn't demand a 1+ GHz CPU to navigate.

Hardly a week ago I was on the Virgin site checking out plans. (What good would I be if I didn't follow the competition?) I was impressed with how easy it was to navigate. Especially when you step over to their parent's site. Man, is it just me, or do Bell's web designers take lessons directly from Emily in designing a helpful User Interface?

Well, now it appears that Bell's VP of Making Life Hell for Users took a look at the backend of Virgin Mobile Canada and said to the design dept, "Hey guys. This site is like, SO simplistic and easy to use. It doesn't AT ALL comply with corporate. I need you to take a look at it and figure out how to stuff it full of javascript. If this sucker even runs half decently on a pre-2005 PC or Mac, it's your jobs."

And boy, did they succeed. I literally can barely browse the site with my ol' beast of a laptop. Yes, I can see the pages, etc, but the CPU is nearly maxed just by clicking on a link, the fan doesn't even remember when it was able to shut off, and I gave up in five minutes. That's what I call clever scripting. Should I just upgrade my laptop? No doubt. I'm all for supporting the wanton waste of resources. I mean, shouldn't we all have new computers every year?!

But enough of that. I was talking about Virgin Mobile. As I said initially, up until recently Virgin had a great site. I had been checking out plans on nearly all the cellular providers in Canada, and I had to say that Virgin's was in the top three for easiest site to use. Plus, it was one of the easiest on my old hardware. (I had rated the sites: 1. Public Mobile, 2. Koodo, 3. Virgin. The worst two were Rogers and Bell; you take your pick.) In short, I was impressed that Bell had left Virgin mostly alone.

But I wonder what's next. From what I've been able to see so far, I know the first and second steps.

1. Begin making billing less transparent.
2. Reduce useability.

And three? Well, I can hardly wait to see what Bell's team thinks up, but I would hazard a guess that they'll need to take some steps toward reducing efficiency.

John Donne
Meditation 17
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions

(Adapted by Jason Cole)

"No telecommunications provider is forever a monopoly, entire of itself; every CEO is a piece of capitalism, a part of the main. If a provider be washed away by change, Capitalism is the less, as well as if a superb cafe were, as well as if a friend's house were annexed by the neighbouring township or your own were. Any provider's death diminishes me, because I am involved in capitalism; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee..."

Dude, lemme read the rest...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's Not the Fall. It's the Impact...

Okay, I've just spent the better part of an hour scanning and rescanning Canadian news sites for the story I saw on CBC around 10 PM tonight. I haven't found it yet. If anyone out there has better information than mine on the situation, by all means please let me know.

Now, pay close attention to the wording.

A TTC driver has been accused...

You know, I remember learning about law and the Canamerican justice systems in school. I clearly recall thinking about the differences between Canadian law and French law. At least when I was a lad - somewhere around the twilight years of the Cold War - the primary differences lay in the definitions of guilty and innocent. For us, it's innocent until proven guilty. The burden of evidence is on the prosecution. For the French, it is the opposite.

Being Canadian and believing deeply in my nation, an exercise in passion and frustration, I was struck by the French definitions. Imagine being accused of something and unless you can prove otherwise, it's the guillotine for you. (Yes-yes, 1977. But it's more exciting this way.) I've always found the idea that my accusers must provide evidence that I'm not being improperly judged a comfort. And that's the Canadian way, right?

Ah, but then again French influences run deep within our provinces and their waterways. Certainly this was demonstrated tonight when I saw a current picture, along with his full name and age, of a TTC driver accused of sexually assaulting a nine year old girl last Friday.

And what a horrible thing to do. I mean, seriously. An utterly despicable act which will leave a lifetime mark on another human being. It's the sort of thing which brings me to say that I believe in capital punishment, in spite of the controversy. But I am also saddened by the fact. Such unnecessary pain should not be a part of any life, yet here it is. I grieve first for the little girl and her family, and secondly for the man who has fallen so far from grace.

And likely stemming from a reaction to the anger and pain of such actions, our French traces rise to the fore, and a man who has yet to be proven guilty stands unofficially guilty until proven innocent, at least in the public mind. Why don't we just grab some rope? Really. Which ideals of law are we following?

Sadly, there are many instances of individuals being wrongly painted with this colour, only to be discovered innocent. But it's too late. We cannot take back what has been portrayed, and the primitive witch-hunting mindset has already been set in motion.

Dude, lemme read the rest...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Get Some Love

Everyone loves something.

The man or woman who disputes dedication is trying to complete a puzzle without all the pieces.

So, let's talk corporate for a minute. Most who know me have a pretty good idea of my feelings toward Western Corporate Culture and their control of television-subjugated North Americans. It's not for nothing that I refer to the overall players as the Corporati. Why, then, am I now working for a corporation? Have I really renounced my hatred?

The intense individual tends to love and hate deeply. They throw themselves into the things they are pursuing.

When I worked for small companies in construction, why did I fully engage in the job? Was it because I wanted to help the Little Guy triumph over the Evil Corporate Subdivision o' Crap builders? Or was it because it is second nature for me to give everything I have to whatever I pursue?

When I worked for a shoe company, I gave my efforts wholly to them. Did that make me their slave, another blind follower drinking the "corporate kool-aid"1? Or was it that I was willing to work hard for the company, overlooking certain faults in order for the opportunity to throw myself fully into learning and the chance to work with people?

And now I'm working for another corporation, a (actually) Canadian cell phone company. What's up with that? If ever there was an industry which I should be shunning, or even working to destroy, isn't this it? But in Koodo I have the opportunity to brave new territory. It's hard work, this learning business, but oh man, am I about to give it up?

My business is learning. If I'm not learning, I'm discontented.

So, have I renounced my hatred of corporations? Not really. But have I learned that even corporations can teach and that exceptional potential exists within a large group of dedicated individuals? Absolutely. Therefore, I continue to allow my learning to take new steps. I continue to stretch myself, get angry sometimes, learn, and move into new territory.

What do you love?

1. Thanks to Eric, a fellow I know for that little gem.

Dude, lemme read the rest...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Canamerican Discovers Outside World Not Like Home!

I just happened to be looking over some unrelated information when I stumbled across this. And I quote:
dave & christine Posted this report and said:

Agadir [Morocco], where do I start,,, very good beach and sea and the weather we had was superb. After that it was terrible we felt very uneasy everywhere we went, with lots of little gangs around or people begging us for money constantly also men just urinating anywhere they wanted even in the prescence of my wife and no these were not drunken holiday makers these were the local people we witnessed 3 times, food and beer overpriced in the resort, thank god for Mcdonalds. Couple of places we went to eat were terrible but we did find 2 good places (Jazz was one and Scampy was the other) No entertainment except the odd singer or karaokee in the odd bar. If you like a beer ask for the Uniprix and fill the fridge 4 times cheaper than a cafe/bar (didn't know till later in the week) Then the suicide road crossings, any road you try to cross the drivers will not stop at all and look at you in disgust for attempting to cross their road, they flash there lights and will swerve around you overtaking in 3's actually scraping each others cars just to get fractionally in front of the others and avoiding all the people getting in their precious way. Would we go again never.

Awww, did da poor widdle babies find out dat da whole world isn't like your home in American/Canada? I'm still laughing as I read over it again. Nothing beats, "thank god for Mcdonalds."


So, just to verify that I understand correctly. Because the whole world isn't one big, homogenised, super-Caribbean/Mexican resort, they suck. Am I reading the situation correctly? Please allow me to rephrase, just to be sure we're on the same page. You wanted your town's party scene, without the prices, plus warm weather and a beach. Ah, now we're talking.

Next time, stick to a homogenised super-resort. They were built for you, Dave and Christine, to enable you to enjoy warm weather without having to expand your horizons. Go. Be drunk, stupid, and merry.

While it's not everyone's cup of tea, I personally had a wonderful month in Morocco based on research, thinking, setting proper expectations via other travellers, and staying the hell out of resorts.

Dude, lemme read the rest...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Just Keep Talking

David Suzuki is proof that you don't have to be right. You just have to keep saying the same things over and over again.

As a thirty-something individual, I remember occasionally watching The Nature of Things as a kid. (Obviously that was a long time ago.) And even then, at what was possibly the height of my love for sciences and the animal kingdom, I seldom enjoyed his program. Now that I'm a bit older, I think perhaps I understand why.

A couple of years ago I became curious about the lifespan of Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs). I primarily wondered because of manufacturing costs. It's quite simple. Take an ordinary incandescent bulb and look at its construction. Glass, a bit of metal, an inert gas, insulating material, a couple of other minor materials. Now look at a CFL. It's almost (kinda) the same thing, multiplied by three or four times the amounts. Plus, we have the addition of mercury - always used when Mr. Suzuki first began his crusade - a circuit board, and electronics.

Before I continue, yes, I know. We're trying to conserve electricity. But have you asked Why? Hmmm. "You think that's air you're breathing?"

The individuals attempting to sell you nuclear power as a good alternative (e.g., Mr. Short-Term Thinking himself, Dalton) have erroneously omitted one or two key details. First, nuclear is hideously, mind-bogglingly expensive. Especially when you have the likes of Hydro One and their Union Masters running the show.

Rabbit Trail:
If ever there was a crown corporation which should be cleaned out and rebuilt from the bottom up, it's Hydro One. I understand that they are deeply entrenched in society with multiple layers of "I'll scratch your back if...", but that doesn't absolve inexcusably pathetic resource management. (No privatisation, please. It's a cop-out of financial obligations. Isn't it, Mr. McGuinty?)

Back to costs. I've heard bits and pieces about restructuring nuclear as a means of employing laid-off workers and the like. From where? Well, let's see. Primary nuclear power in Ontario is based near .... General Motors. So, who's going to be employed, assuming they are "skilled"? Oh, that's right. Union workers with a deeply entrenched "The world owes me a fat paycheque because I breath its air" mentality. Certainly just coincidence, one of the many fascinating pieces to the puzzle.

And that brings us nicely to the burning question of population. Even with an issue this contentious, a valid question is raised. If the world's population - outside of Western Caucasians who have reached a sufficient level of comfort to stop having children - continues to rise and emigrate, we are facing an electricity shortage based on current lifestyle and infrastructure.

So, what's a government to do? The population has abdicated responsibility for anything not directly related to cheeseburgers and/or gossip. Plus, we can't resort to the only source of clean, fiscally-responsible electricity available, hydro-electric, because it requires rivers that three people have seen in the last 50 years, and this angers the environmentalists who aren't ever going to see the river. No, it's far safer, politically, to just keep the numbers, and the issue of where to hide nuclear waste, as quiet as possible while kissing babies, shaking hands, and promising to squeeze sunshine out of your ass.

Against this backdrop of complexity and our futile arguments, David Suzuki began to push hard for CFL usage, among other responsible, mis-researched behaviours. Incidentally, I'm not here to dispute his right to exist. The man has a cause and he's found a platform - just don't disagree with him. Besides, incandescent bulbs do waste the greater part of their supplied electricity: let's find a better alternative. But it's intriguing to me that he started to push when and how he did.

My internal questioning on the manufacturing process of CFL vs. Incandescent got to the point where I started researching. Lo and behold, I found an independent university study on the very matter. To make a long story short, the study concluded that in optimal circumstances, the lifespan of CFLs was long enough to overcome the greatly increased cost and resource-consumption. I.E. it's worth buying CFLs. But, what are optimal circumstances? At the time of this study, because improvements are ongoing, a CFL which was turned on and left on for less than 15 minutes at a time began to dramatically shorten its lifespan. So much so, that a CFL in a hallway or bathroom would barely outlast a general-use incandescent. That's not good, not good at all. Especially when we are constantly being reprimanded for leaving the lights on. But who's going to keep track of 15 minutes? It's easier to just say, "Turn the lights off," than it is to explain reality or balance. Perhaps balance would dictate using a mixture of old and new while developments continue, but that seems so disappointingly mundane in comparison to trumpeting a "prophetic" message of profound earth-saving.

Balance and using your brain are boring and difficult in comparison to vegging in front of The Nature of Things.

Dude, lemme read the rest...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Yahoo! and Homeland Security

I am mainly just curious about this. When I click a Yahoo! link leading to a picture of a big fish (an Oarfish), and then click "show image" within the frame which Yahoo! provides to jump directly to the pic, why do I get to the Department of Homeland Security? And because a picture (or several) is worth a thousand words...

We start with this on March 11, 2010 at about 11PM.

Note my picture settings: Large and Wallpaper.

And you might as well just click on that third page.

Now click on the same image as the circled one.

Click view image at the top.


Look at the articles. Now close your eyes and dream of freedom.

The circled one was my favourite, but the summary of the Greek Visa Waiver has the best chill factor. Just in case you don't see it, here's what it says.

Washington, D.C. - Secretary Napolitano announced the designation of Greece as a member of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)—strengthening passenger information sharing and ensuring strict security standards while streamlining travel for Greek citizens visiting the United States.

Posted March 9, 2010 in News

Yeeeesss, "passenger information sharing....while streamlining travel"

"What's that you say, 'We are being told that less privacy leads to greater freedom.' Come on J. Lighten up and go party, dude."

Yes, Yahoo! is a major search engine trying to stay second place to Google. So this is almost certainly an innocent error. Still, it's worth noting that Yahoo! is one of several major U.S. information portals on the WWW, used by millions of people. If I were in the business of developing info-mining software algorithms, you can bet that Yahoo! would be of great interest to me.

And keeping in mind that Thomas Jefferson was a wealthy man who died penniless because he allowed people to take advantage of his generosity, I'll leave you with some of his thoughts.

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.

Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence.

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.

Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.

- Thomas Jefferson

Dude, lemme read the rest...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Toyota, Oh My!

Oops. I wrote this way back at the end of January, and although I put it on Facebook (I hate their new style), I forgot to put it here. It's a bit stale now, but perhaps still interesting. //addendum

True story.

Many moons back I got in an argument with a friend over vehicle manufacturing and ownership. He is or was a long-term GM employee, although not just a basic wrench man. (This was several years before the real crunch hit the Big Three.) In a rough outline, the argument went like this:

Me: Well, you talk about GM workers losing jobs to foreign competition [because people buy foreign], but it balances out in the end. GM loses a thousand jobs, Toyota and Honda expand and employ more people. In the end, the same number of people are employed.

Him: That doesn't take into account where the money goes. When Toyota employs people, the money doesn't stay here.

The argument was getting pretty heated, and he was clearly steeped in union-speak, so I dropped the matter. Later - isn't that just the way - I thought of a few minor problems with the union line.

Number one.
GM and the rest of the Big Three own many, many companies overseas. So, when Ford owns Volvo, that's okay, because....? Well, obviously Ford must funnel all their profits from Volvo directly back into Sweden, otherwise my buddy and the hard-working unions would be hypocrites, and that just can't be the case.

Number two.
Ummm...profits staying in the country. Which country was that? Oh, that's right. GM is a Canadian company. How silly of me to forget. Of course all of GM Canada's profits stay in Canada.

Which brings us to today's thought: Toyota.

I heard an analyst on the radio pronouncing some real struggles for Toyota over their recall debacle. He said that Toyota has always depended on their reputation for quality, and with this, well, it won't be pretty. I particularly remember his commentary because of the manner of his statements. Allow me to clarify through paraphrase.

The only reason Toyota has succeeded is because they've maintained their quality, or given that appearance. As soon as that is taken away from them, which it has been now, they will immediately collapse into a pile of rubble because the North American consumer, who is the only reason behind Toyota's success, will stop buying Toyota.

Absolutely true. And the reason I know that it's true is because the Big Three have never had to put a recall on anything they've done or distributed. There have never been exploding gas tanks, popping tires, defective electronics, or anything of that nature. All these years, the guiding mantra for our Exemplary Corporate Citizens has been one simple idea: Keep quality high. Unlike those thieving overseas bastards, they've stayed the course and are now perfectly positioned to retake what God gave to them in the first place: absolute market dominance achieved through top-notch quality and honesty.

Dude, lemme read the rest...

Friday, November 20, 2009


So, I'm like, in Costco to check up on my application and their seasonal employment. I'm standing there, looking damn fine, chatting with the clerk who is wilting under my powers. Yeah, that's right.

Without warning this contessa on my right suddenly looks at me and says, "Jason!" and goes for the hug. I'm surprised, so I fake her with a left and let the bottle of Johnnie Walker in my right do the rest.

I catch myself mid-swing. Hey, I know this doll. Way back time, like the 60s, man. Yeah, all that fly dope, and stuff. We chat warmly. I compliment her on her memory and turn back to the wilting clerk, so obviously wishing that her boyfriend was damn fine like me. But the dame isn't done yet. She says, "You're just unforgettable, J."

Yeah, that's right.

I decide the clerk is reaching toxic levels of exposure to awesomeness, and I hit the parking lot. Light rain. Kinda like that mushy drizzle on the day you realised Santa wasn't real. I'm halfway to my car, parked on the far side.

I've never known why people insist on nearly parking inside the building. They clog up the lot, and their reward for circling three times? A ding in their door, a crack in their fender, may be even a rolling cart to the side panel. I prefer walking.

I pause for a second. There's some kind of sound. Almost, but not quite entirely unlike my name being called. Years of training kick in, and I turn around. There's the clerk, running me down in the mushy drizzle. Damn, I'm fine. She's carrying a pen and paper. Paper's probably a subterfuge for the pen, a stabbing instrument, since she can't have me.

Yeah, I just said that.

Turns out the fella helping my long-lost, well-brained friend happens to be a manager. Saw the whole exchange. Sent the clerk out running to catch opportunity before it drove away.

Well, she took my particulars and asked a few questions. Writing all the time. But it never occurred to me until just now that she was likely burning out there to get my phone number. Had to make up some excuse to keep from babbling like an idiot in front of me, so she kicked into office-speak. Happens all the time. Pity. Makes it hard to get work.

Dude, lemme read the rest...

Friday, November 6, 2009

This Is a Rant

I make no apologies for what I'm about to write; just as newspapers right now are producing blatant material with no apologies. I call it manufacturing terror, and it sure does lead to manufacturing. Profit margins are looking pretty sweet right now for big pharmaceuticals and others indirectly involved in the sale of terror, as H1N1 ravages populations. "Hey! fat boy. Yeah, I'm talkin' to you," to quote Lucy Liu in Payback. And like the big sellers right now, I'm going to quote from real people who have done real studies, and I'm going to be vague about it because I want to sell my opinion.

As threats and dark warnings raged through the corridors of the WHO, periodically coming out as cautiously written newspaper headlines: H1N1 KILLS ANOTHER, a young lad in a town somewhere in Ontario quietly tabulated figures. He shook his head once and looked at the screen again. "So," he silently mouthed, "In three months Swine flu has killed as many people as the regular flu kills in five days..." Hence the headlines: AN other. An individual. Not, "Another Town Wiped Out".) But wait. It's a pandemic, right?

What does this word mean? According to's
Cultural definition, pandemic: "A widespread epidemic affecting a large part of the population."* Okay, that's pretty ominous, and vague. Kinda like, We're in an ideological battle to stop the spread of communism, 'cause the Russians and Chinese are trying to take over the world. Not, We're in an ideological battle because it keeps our economies rolling and our respective governments in power. Not quite fair, but then WHO said this was about playing fair? Let's see if Random House can narrow the definition down.

–adjective 1. (of a disease) prevalent throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world; epidemic over a large area.
2. general; universal: pandemic fear of atomic war.
–noun 3. a pandemic disease.

Hmm. By the definitions the media are using, the common cold is also a pandemic, and so is the "average" flu strain. But in other years sane parents aren't plugging up ERs because their child has the sniffles. It seems that definition two is the one most purveyors of information are trying to get across. But before we entirely write off the risk, the word "pandemic" depends on another word.

Again, the Cultural definition. Epidemic: "A contagious disease that spreads rapidly and widely among the population in an area. Immunisation and quarantine are two of the methods used to control an epidemic."

Ah. Now it's starting to make sense. So that's why the pharmaceuticals rushed out a half-baked, improperly-tested vaccine with known, harmful ingredients. The alternative must be far worse. They do, of course, have historical precedent. In the past they've done the same thing, and the vaccine proved worse than the virus. Medical personnel have told me that the physical reactions to the early H1N1 vaccine are proving to be quite severe.**

I'm changing gears after reading this. Specifically this part:

We know, too, that this early, patchy picture can change very quickly. The virus writes the rules and this one, like all influenza viruses, can change the rules, without rhyme or reason, at any time.
Globally, we have good reason to believe that this pandemic, at least in its early days, will be of moderate severity. As we know from experience, severity can vary, depending on many factors, from one country to another.
On present evidence, the overwhelming majority of patients experience mild symptoms and make a rapid and full recovery, often in the absence of any form of medical treatment.
Worldwide, the number of deaths is small. Each and every one of these deaths is tragic, and we have to brace ourselves to see more. However, we do not expect to see a sudden and dramatic jump in the number of severe or fatal infections.

Did you read that carefully? Pretty balanced, isn't it? And produced by the WHO, which up to this point I had thought was merely a tool in the hands of Big Pharmaceutical. And even if they are, the nature of that quote has been ignored by the major media outlets which I've seen.

Not that it changes the nature of this rant, but it certainly challenges my assumptions. What is a rant, anyway? It is a popularising argument based on a little information. I certainly find that the more information I possess, the less able I am to produce a savage rant. They are best written in the heat of the moment, passionate diatribes against some perceived threat, or more commonly, irritation. Although I try to keep mine from becoming too one-sided, it is impossible to do that by their very nature. You might as well tell an influenza virus to start healing people with pneumonia. (Note that satire is not the same thing as a rant.)

There's no excuse not to do your own research today. "A weekly edition of the New York Times contains more information than the average person was likely to come across in a lifetime in seventeenth-century England."*** While information overload is a well-documented issue, the real problem isn't the information. It's the lack of ability to filter that information. Besides, we all just want to get on with our lives, right? Who has time to sift through it all? I'm usually able to scan quickly and often find relevant research in a matter of minutes. But I know that's not everybody. Most of us don't have the time, so we settle for the media. And that's why we become helpless. It's all too easy to settle for a simplistic viewpoint when the reality is complex.

If I was to go by the calming headlines which every paper I've seen is printing, I would freak. But then I come across factual information.

A new opinion emerging?
Relevant details which are anything but panic inducing?

So who is benefitting from the spread of manufactured fear? The answer is patently obvious. We don't have to be conspiracy theorist to check financial reports or see if we even have a pulse.

You can find additional info and sources on influenza here and here (among others). While we don't have the time or inclination to carefully study everything which comes across our path in life, we should pay attention to those things which shape our thinking. Depending on your reading and absorbing skill, 15-20 minutes of your day may open your eyes. At least check the "2009 flu pandemic" entry and read the opening. Also read the opening of section 7. "Vaccination and prevention", all of section 7.4 Facial masks, and all of 8. "Treatment".

Fear caused by ignorance has got to be the most dangerous, mob-inducing thing. I personally believe that it's responsible for more stupidity and tragedy in world history than anything else. I do not have kind thoughts for the population willing to put itself in chains over such fear when so much information is freely available.

(Yes, yes. You hate wikipedia because "anyone" can edit it. It's remarkably quality-controlled today and is often an excellent source of further research. Besides which, what makes the editors of magazines and newspapers paragons of wisdom and insight? Their primary goal is to sell, right? We all need to continuously develop the ability to filter information.)

* The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition (Used from
** I will work at getting the exact specifics for you. In the meantime, do yourself the obvious favour.
*** Wurman, Richard Saul. Information Anxiety. New York & Toronto: Doubleday, 1989.

Dude, lemme read the rest...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I just did my part to help Big Brother.

In today's vernacular, Luddite has come to mean a person who doesn't like technology. Or perhaps better spoken, a person who avoids it. Funny, that. Even the dictionary has come to present historical fact that way, stating the "Luddites" were groups of people who rioted because they believed automated machinery would deprive them of work.

But Luddites were more than that. They were individuals who saw the end of a way of life, but more importantly, they saw the way it was going to end.

Today I filled in an online Chapters bookstore psychotic, errr, psychiatric profile. It is collected by Gallup, a third-party, for privacy reasons. At the end of many circular, one-line, linear questions, a page popped up telling me that my information had been collected properly, and someone would be in touch if I fit the profile: the Chapters/Indigo/Smith/Cole's profile of a good employee. (And all this for slightly over minimum wage. That speaks volumes in itself.) While such questions do build a profile, they also ignore the fact that life is infinitely more complex than a psychiatric profile alone can convey. Take one of the early questions. (And I have to paraphrase because I didn't think to save it at the time.)

You are watching a five year old hammering. He hits his finger and starts crying. Do you:
A. Try to get him to laugh to take his mind off the pain.
B. Teach him how to hammer properly.
C. Check his finger to see if it's badly hurt.
D. Comfort him.

All valid choices. I chose B. At the end of the day, that's ultimately what I would hope to do in that situation. But first I would comfort him while taking a look at his finger. Then I would tell him a funny story about my own hammerings to get him to laugh. And finally, I would teach him how to hammer properly.

"But," you say, "They know this already. They're just checking to see what you consider most important. It's allows them to see further into your personality."

Yes, it does, but what really? I just laid out for you what any responsible, experienced person would do in that situation. How do you know that I'm responsible and experienced? Will my profile tell you that? Yeah, and I've got an online dating site waiting to hook you up. You can build a profile and take an educated guess. But it's still an online profile without a face, without the human spirit. The essence of a person - and therefore their teachability, their complexity - cannot be understood or grasped from a summary of their surface traits.

And since we're talking about me, I'll outline a specific example. As you know, communication is primarily through body language. While an online profile is fully capable of telling you what my tendencies are, it is unable to capture body language. The nervous tics we've developed in life, the impact of a facial expression, your opening smile. It's my smile that most people comment on first, but perhaps not ironically, I tend to be a cynic. Not always happy-go-lucky. Not the constant life of the party. I take a rather dim view of human nature. Yet, I still smile. And often enough that I get consistent comments on it.

It's funny. Even while I write this, I'm struggling inside. One half of me is arguing for the above, and the other side is saying, "But logically, J, they're just using this as a tool to weed out the deadbeats. What's so wrong about that? And besides, these personality profiles are remarkably accurate." And I have to answer myself, "Exactly." What is so wrong about this? Why should it upset me at all? And there you see it. A culture being programmed by another culture. We are so attuned to our progress that we have created a self-perpetuating giant. Self-perpetuating, because 99% of us just "get on with the program". Not only that, but we usually ignore or ridicule those who don't.

And now we return to the Luddites. The Weaver's Guild believed that factories didn't consider people anymore. The focus was no longer about what a human could accomplish, but what a human could enable a machine to accomplish. And as that idea progressed, they could see that a human would become less and less creative, more and more a droid. Economics aside, that was the heart and soul of their "riots". Which, by the way, were crushed.

Dude, lemme read the rest...