Category: Society

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If You’re Political, Then say So

Should journalists make political contributions? That’s a quandary raised in a today’s Washington Post story by reporter Howard Kurtz. The situation is this: Some news organizations allow staffers—and that includes editors and reporters—to make political contributions. Such contributions could infer bias and so tarnish the contributor’s and/or news operation’s neutrality.

As a former journalist too often disgusted by the news media misbehaviors, I’m in favor of the contributions, as long as there is full disclosure. My reasoning is simple. Reporters, editors, and publishers are people. That means they do have biases and even agendas. But the mask of so-called neutrality often hides the real story behind news stories. I like the idea of those purporting to deliver unbiased news stories and analyses offering readers insight into their political leanings. 

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Blog the Vote

According to a story in yesterday’s Washington Post, political candidates wooing younger voters should skip the ads and blog. The story, by Brian Krebs, cites a study sponsored by the Council for Excellence in Government’s Center for Democracy and Citizenship program and the Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement center at the University of Maryland.

According to Mr. Krebs, “The survey suggests that the Internet is most effective for candidates pursuing young people who are already interested in politics or passionate about certain key issues.”

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Boom, Bust, or Cusp?

The first rule of the Web is save a good news story, because you may never find it again. Case in point: Topic of this blog. Somewhere this week, I read a news story about the workplace generation gap between Baby Boomers and Generation Xers. Apparently Boomers are more loyal to their jobsThat’s got to hurt and might be foreshadowing of GenXers’ future. After all, aren’t Boomers supposed to be the love, peace and protest generation that refused to conform to the stuffy suits of their parents’ generation? Now look at them.

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So Would it be Stealing?

My daughter has really gotten into this old “My Little Pony” Hasbro CD-ROM game she’s been playing at a friend’s house. I vaguely remember seeing it on store shelves years ago, but just figured it wasn’t my daughter’s speed. After all, she favors things like Sonic the Hedgehog or The Sims. But apparently, she really likes this My Little Pony game. I would buy it if I could find it. Hasbro doesn’t sell the game online, and no stores anywhere in my area carry it. Sure, there are some cheap copies still available on eBay. Assuming they’re legit.

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Deals at the PC Thrift Store

I have never paid full price for a PC, and I’m not talking about bidding for junk on eBay. The best deals, both in price and reliability, come in refurbished, also known as “reconditioned”, PCs. These are models returned for some reason, occasionally for defect but mostly because the buyer changed his or her mind. Once returned, the seller can no longer sell the PC as new.

Most major PC makers sell refurbished computers online, including Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sony. Vermont-based Small Dog Electronics specializes in Apple refurbs, and PC Connection serves up a wide selection of reconditioned computers. 

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Bundling Bungle

Later in June, lawyers rallying for and against Microsoft will present closing arguments in a proceeding that has the potential to radically change how the technology giant sells software. A federal judge would then deliberate about what sanctions she should impose against Microsoft in an attempt to prevent future anticompetitive business and technological practices that violate U.S. antitrust law.

No matter what she does, nothing will likely undo the stupidity that got Microsoft into trouble in the first place. The company insists it has the right to integrate whatever technology it wants into Windows. That practice led to two trials, one still ongoing after—count `em—four years. But the practice Microsoft fiercely defends—almost as a God granted, religious right—is stupid. Microsoft has been busy integrating technologies into Windows that make no sense being there from a business perspective—and they actually make new PCs harder to sell and use. The right Microsoft defends and the way it has been used is just plan dumb—unless of course the objective is to protect the monopoly and not benefit consumers. That latter point is one reason why this case never seems to end.