Ryan Jones Blog – dotCULT.com Ryan Jones Blogs About Internet Culture, Marketing, SEO, & Social Media

June 26, 2008

Interesting Rulings Today

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 2:41 pm

There’s a few interesting rulings that happened today in various places.

Firstly, the supreme court ruled that the death penalty cannot apply in cases of rape – no matter how young the victim is. I tend to agree with this ruling, as I think that only death should warrant a penalty of death. Even the bible agrees with me.

The supreme court also ruled today that the 2nd amendment applies to individuals, not just militias. That’s key, and will ease the fears of many that the government is coming for their guns.

The house of representatives shot down a bill that would allow funding for the government to use satellites to spy on citizens. (wait, they don’t already do this? wow!) They didn’t actually deny it though, they simply tabled it until it has language that says it will follow all existing laws about privacy. Sadly, I expect this to pass.

Senators are actually looking into the border patrol policy of it being legal to look at the contents of Americans laptops without suspicion of committing a crime. I don’t expect this to go anywhere, but at least they’re looking into it.

A smaller court today ruled that the RIAA has to pay Tayna Anderson’s legal fees after she was acquitted on her file sharing allegations.

Scottish politicians also brought forth a bill that would make sending sexual content over email or text messages a jailable offense. Better watch your flirting.

Outside of the courts, ICANN approved the expansion of top level domain names (like .com, .net, .info, etc) so allow companies to register their brands as generic TLDs. Get ready for .msn, .google, .mac, etc. Honestly, when this goes live it will be a freaking circus from all aspects. I hope that the bureaucrats can keep up with all the trademark applications shooting in so people can get TLDs.

Another bizarre ruling comes from the NHL, which changed the rules to make all face offs after a penalty occur in the zone of shorthanded team; regardless of where play was stopped. Ok, this one didn’t happen today but I still wanted to include it.

It’s been a crazy day.

June 24, 2008

Can Interenet Trends Represent Society?

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 10:34 am

There’s an interesting case going on in Florida right now that centers on obscenity. The problem with any obscenity laws is figuring out what exactly is obscene. The definition can vary greatly from one location to another, and many lawyers and judges base their decision upon the local community.

Typically, attorneys use any information about what’s available locally to defend their clients. Such “evidence” can include local porn shops, strip clubs, selection of magazines offered at grocery stores, and mail order statistics (if they can be obtained.)

In this case though, the attorney is using a new tool: Google Trends. If you haven’t played with Google Trends it’s a really neat tool. You simply type in some words, and it tells you their relative search popularity. The relevant part here is that you can search by locale.

That’s exactly what this lawyer is doing. He used Google Trends to show that Pensacola Florida searches more for “orgy” than they do “apple pie” and “watermelon” combined.

In fact, if he wanted to really shock the jury he should do some searches on truly obscene terms. For example, Orlando Florida has the most searches in the US for “child porn” and “sex with animals” (strangely enough, this is where Disney world is.) Tampa ranks 3rd for “transsexuals.” The state of Florida ranks 5th for “porn DVD.”

Clearly there’s a lot of obscene shit being searched for in Florida.

Oyama But is Google Trends data an accurate depiction of society?

The whole time I’ve been writing this I’ve been picturing my old freshman psychology teacher screaming about correlation and causation – and she’s right.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that internet data is a direct representation of society in this case – at least now how the lawyer is applying it. Of course more people search for orgy than apple pie, because they’re not afraid of discussing apple pie in public.

The nature of the internet is that it appears private. I can search for anything in the comfort of my own home without fear of being judged – at least that’s the thought driving many people. People who are ashamed to go out shopping for a “big black dildo” can simply have Amazon ship it to them overnight in a nondescript box.

Due to the nature of the internet, there’s more obscenity there. It’s not just the nature of the internet though, it’s the nature of people – as the article states. The biggest problem with this case is going to be that many jurors will publicly condemn something as obscene before going home and engaging in that same behavior behind closed doors. It’s like voting against the children or the soldiers.

So can Google Trends be a valid indicator?

Yes, but not in the way the above attorney is using it. There’s going to be more searches for obscene stuff than non obscene stuff on the internet no matter what community you live it. But it’s the difference between communities that can truly prove helpful.

If he can show that the people of his county search for more obscene material than the people in a neighboring state or county, he might be able to make his case – especially if the neighboring state or county has laws that allow whatever his client is being accused of.

If what he’s on trial for is legal in Georgia, and Florida searches for more obscene stuff than Georgia, then he’s got a case. If anything, it’ll certainly be an interesting case to follow.

June 20, 2008

Congress To Pass 2 Spy On Citizens Bills Today

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 9:28 am

There’s 2 interesting bills expected to pass in congress today.

The first one gives immunity to telcos who went and placed unauthorized wiretaps on people’s phones. It also gives immunity to the president for ordering a wiretap with no warrant. Don’t confuse this with ordering the tap THEN getting the warrant. This bill allows the telcos and Bush to place a tap without ever seeking a warrant – and grants them immunity if they do so.

The second one is a provision in a housing bill. Firstly, it requires a fingerprint database of all mortgage brokers (why?) Secondly, it requires that all electronic payment processors send detailed transaction data to the government. This means every paypal payment or credit card purchase you make will be recorded and sent to the government. They will have a database of everything you bought, when, and how much you paid for it. I don’t see any potential for wrongdoing here though, do you?

There’s a chance that Bush might veto this bill though, and let’s hope he does. If so, it might be the first good thing that his administration has done. (ok, second. I forgot about that check he sent me!)

June 17, 2008

My iPhone 3 Wish List

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 12:28 pm

With the iPhone 2 coming out very soon, I’ve started thinking ahead to the iPhone version 3 and all of the features I’d like to see included on it. All of these are possible right now, so they’re not really a stretch.

  • Picture Messages – this should have been a V1 feature, and at the very least V2. Come on Apple, let me send those pictures I took without using email.
  • Mini Projector – That’s right. Built in projector. Microvision as the technology now and a couple of your competitors expect to have phones out in the next year. I’d love to be able to open a power point on my phone and show it to people at a meeting, or a picture for grandma.
  • That brings me to Store Office Docs – Sometimes I need to carry around a Word doc or a PowerPoint and make edits to it. This gets more useful with the projection, but I still need it.
  • AM/FM Transmitter – Yes I want to be able to listen to the Tigers game on my phone while I’m at the game watching, but the cooler feature is the other way around. I want to be able to play my iTunes from my phone through a radio without having to use cords. Don’t make me buy a separate device, build it into the phone.
  • Mobile TV – AT&T already has this on the LG VU, why can’t I have it on the iPhone too?
  • Geotagging – I’ve got a GPS now, let me geotag my photos
  • RFID Payment – I can swipe my VISA card for payment, why not my phone? Let me enter in my CC details in an admin and then just swipe the phone. You can set a pin # to use it or something for security.

That’s what I’d like to see on a phone, and I wouldn’t mind paying a premium price for it. What features do you want?

June 11, 2008

Salon or Strip Club?

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 10:51 am

Brian and I got into an interesting conversation on the way back from the casino last night about hair salon, tanning salon, and strip club names. The gist of it: It’s hard to tell the difference.

here, I’ll list local places in Michigan and you tell me if they’re a tanning salon, hair salon, or strip club. The only way to find out is to call or just walk in – and that can be a little weird if you’re simply looking to get a hair cut (or worse, get your kids hair cut.)

Here’s a little business tip though: Hair salons don’t have valet parking. Any strip club you’d ever consider taking your out of town business contacts to should definitely offer valet.

Let’s play Salon or Strip Club:

  1. Lady Jane’s
  2. Subes
  3. The Lions Den
  4. Korenda
  5. Atlantis
  6. Soleil
  7. Vivid Images
  8. BTs
  9. Val Luar
  10. Studio 4
  11. Deja Vu
  12. Beach Bunniez
  13. Charisma (ok this one is in Dayton Ohio, Hi Jeff)

Ok how’d you do? Here’s the answers:

Strip Clubs: 2, 5, 8, 10, 11

Hair Salons: 1, 3, 4, 6, 13

Tanning: 7, 9, 12, 13

June 8, 2008

What Happened to the Prize?

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 2:39 pm

What happened to the prizes in cereal? As a child, the prize inside used to be the sole factor in deciding what my favorite brand of cereal was. Usually, it was whatever came with a new Matchbox car.

Lately though, I haven’t seen any prizes in my cereal. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen any kids throwing temper tantrums in the cereal isle of my grocery store either.

Sure, the offers are still there, but not the prizes. I can get a Kung-Fu Panda headband if I only buy 4 more boxes within the next month and send in the tops along with $7 for shipping and handling. $7? I wouldn’t pay that for the damn prize.

As a child there was no better feeling than rushing home from the supermarket and tearing into a fresh box of fruit loops to get to the prize. You usually had to eat them for dinner that night, but it was ok because you got your prize!

Maybe I’m just overreacting, or maybe it’s just my new upgraded taste in cereal (honey nut cheerios, crispix, wheaties, etc) but I miss the prize.

Bring back the cereal prizes please. I want my Matchbox car.

June 6, 2008

Another Internet Slang Quiz

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 3:44 pm

lol ctn pos brb k thx bi.

Did you understand that? It’s internet slang. Most of you know that I’ve written the book on the subject (go buy it it’s in the right margin.) Most of you also know that I run NoSlang.com internet slang translator.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I launched a new updated Slang Quiz today. The first one is over a year old, so I thought it was time to make a new one. So go ahead and go test your slang knowledge.

PS, if you never too the original quiz it can still be found here.

June 5, 2008

Presidential Candidates Views On Technology.

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 12:27 pm

PC Mag has a nice story up about how the presidential candidates stand on various technological issues in America. It’s a long article, so I’ll summarize:

Net Neutrality

McCain: Against. He feels it could harm business
Obama: For. Sponsored a pro-net neutrality bill – the “internet freedom preservation act”


McCain: Supports increased broadband competition. Opposes Govt regulation
Obama: Wants to bring more broadband to schools. Unclear on his govt regulation stance. Wants to re-define broadband to make the label require faster speeds than currently.

H-1B Visas

McCain: Wants to increase them
Obama: Wants to allow people with American college degrees to be able to legally work in America.


McCain: Pro warrantless wiretaps and telecom immunity for snooping
Obama: Anti telecom immunity.

So basically, McCain is pro government surveillance and pro big business. That shouldn’t be a surprise considering he’s a republican. When you look at their voting record, McCain seems more interested in how the party is voting rather than what the actual issue is. Obama (at least by looking at his speeches and voting record) seems to actually understand the issues. That isn’t to say that he’s not sticking to party lines, he’s just taking the time to understand them.

My personal opinion is that McCain still belongs to the “the internet is not a dump truck” theory of understanding. He appears to be somebody who rarely uses a computer.

I’m reminded of a bill that Mr McCain once sponsored. The bill basically said that websites must monitor any user submitted information and report it to the government if it’s harmful to children. Failure to do so would hold the site liable.

This means that if a user signs up for your forums and starts trolling for children YOU can be liable.

I emailed Mr. McCain about this bill a few years ago when it was proposed and I got back a reply from one of his aides telling me that Mr. McCain is too busy to read the opinions of those outside of his voting district. That’s not the type of guy I want to be my president.

I’m sure you can tell who I’d vote for, but either way I hope that the PC Mag article helps you decide.

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