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ECHELON and Other Things
I still hate Daylight Savings. I hate the fact that at four o'clock I look up and see evening hovering outside my windows. It makes me feel weirdly atavistic, like there should be a flickering campfire, a haunch of animal roasting on a spit, and paintings on the walls of the cave at the edges of the picture. None of these things being available, I light candles and bake (and eat) enormous amounts of chocolate chip cookies, and feel more or less constantly tired. It's dark out, you should be sleeping, my body nags.
No rest for the weary, however. Privacy is back in the news this week, for some reason. Other nations' news agencies are cautiously getting around to saying that well, yes, ECHELON might be real after all (did anyone ever say that it wasn't?). There's a fuss in Washington about setting limits on the kinds of consumer information Web sites can gather (I don't gather any, just in case you're wonderingI hardly even bother to check the site stats). Web watering holes like User Friendly and Slashdot are chatting up a storm (I included links so you can go hang out there if you don't like me).
It's aggravating almost beyond the bounds of rationality. The kind of thing where you just have to look at people blankly while they tell you the same old lame excuses, which tend to be an amalgamation of "It seemed like a good idea at the time" and "We really didn't think anyone would mind."
No, I don't mind at all. Read all my e-mail, listen to all my phone calls. I'll make sure to make unveiled references to assassinating the president at every conceivable opportunity, so you folks can earn your pay. Track my every click across the Internet to see what precisely defines my one-member consumer demographic, what ads you can send my way that will entice me without fail (good luck, guysno really, I mean it; I never buy things over the net if I can buy them in person, so I'll be impressed if you can tempt me).
Our only real hope is that they're using Windows to run this whole operation, and they haven't installed the correct Y2K patches (the number and composition of which continue to baffle me at work; I fully expect civilization as a whole to be fine, but I'll go in the next day and discover that my office computer is a paperweight... then again, maybe I wouldn't notice).
Speaking of which, I'd like to end this week's rant with a rousing HIP HIP HOORAY for the gender-neutral folks at Apple! For one shining, glorious day, their stock was worth more than Microsoft. If I was Steve Jobs, I would have gotten trashed, flown up to Redmond and driven around the campus with my head out the window yelling "Who da MAN!?" then stacked up a few NT boxes on their lawn and taken a baseball bat to 'em.
But then, for all I know he does that anyway.
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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson