John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica



 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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JfZ making a mess of the web
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Sunday, March 07, 2004
Big Brother


Like sheep we go That's the Big Brother award.  This last year it was given to a store.

Everyone has seen Radio Frequency ID (RFID) in use whether they realize it or not.  You may be more familiar with RFID tags in goods, like clothing, to prevent theft.  Along with RFID tag on the item, you've seen the readers that you pass through at the entrances and exits of a store that will alarm if the RFID tag is not first de-activiated.  But RFID is much more than a nice way to prevent theft.  The RFID tag is actually a tiny processor connected to the more visible and familiar coil antenna.  RFID is the Big Brother UPC of the future.



 













I think there will come a time
that you will pass through the entrance of a store, the RFID tags
in the plastic cards and currency in your wallet will be read, and that store's marketing computer network will know everything there is to know about you before you say hello to the first pimple-faced clerk.

In 1997, ExxonMobil developed the wireless payment application known as Speedpass. Since then, six million consumers have utilized the payment option at 7,500 Speedpass-enabled locations.  Speedpass uses RFID.  Seems pretty HFD. But the price of the RFID tag is getting cheaper and they are getting smaller and smaller, too.  We found one in the damn box of One-a-day Vitamins purchased at Wal-Mart.

Stop RFID What can the RFIDs do?  Unlike UPCs that have to be scanned, the RFIDs can be read remotely, like the Speedpass or walking through the reader.  The RFID chips are microscopic, the tag's antenna can be paper-thin, and they can cost as little as 1-3 cents to produce now.  So, guess what?  That means they can affordably be put in anything. According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) section on RFID:










The European Central Bank is moving forward with plans to embed RFID tags as thin as a human hair into the fibers of Euro bank notes by 2005, in spite of consumer protests. The tags would allow currency to record information about each transaction in which it is passed. Governments and law enforcement agencies hail the technology as a means of preventing money-laundering, black-market transactions, and even bribery demands for unmarked bills. However, consumers fear that the technology will eliminate the anonymity that cash affords.

March 2nd, the San Francisco Library Commission voted to approve funding for the implementation of RFID chips in books and on other library materials before holding a hearing on the matter, which the Commission had promised to do. The ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are among the groups that oppose the RFID tracking at the library without implementation of privacy safeguards.

So, 1984 is here.  It's a little late, but it seems to be making up for lost time.



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Saturday, March 06, 2004
Martha, Martha, Martha


JfZ forehead logo branding It wasn't all about the Forehead Logo Branding.  She saved a lousy $54k from her then billion-dollar wealth by selling her Imclone stock and then lied about it to the feds.  So says the jury, according to the NY Times:  "Guilty," intoned the judge, Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum ... A gasp went up from the crammed spectators' section as the judge spoke. Ms. Stewart's daughter Alexis, who has watched from a front-row seat since the trial began six weeks ago, slumped and began to weep.










"It's NOT a good thing," Martha wasn't heard as saying after the verdict.  Over on the Martha Stewart web site the Crafts bulletin board was a-buzz, especially the Tools and Techniques Bulletin Board.   To get you started thinking, they ask:
Who makes the best-quality pinking shears?  How do you keep a hot-glue gun from getting clogged?  Exchange tips and advice.
I would think there may be different questions in the near future.
She is scheduled to be sentenced June 17, and unless her case is overturned on appeal, she faces a punishment of up to 16 months in prison, lawyers who have dealt with the sentencing guidelines said.
To put some perspective on this absurdity, pretend you have a million dollars.  Would you go to jail over 54 bucks?  Anyway, what do you imagine Martha will do with her time?  Spruce up the ol' cell?  Make jumpsuit-orange doilies?



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Friday, March 05, 2004
Fraggin' Friday: Q3A - Dead Souls


Always use a condom February 29th only comes around once every four years and it's fitting that Glassman released Dead Souls on this past leap day.  A rare release date for a rare Q3 map. Dead Souls / gm3tourney2 is a great Q3 map -- hands down.  While I wouldn't have wanted to wait another eight months for this map, it would have been appropriate for him to release this work on Halloween!


 


 










Glassman has really done an awesome job conceptualizing and carving out a very spooky place to get fragged.  Very chilling sounds are triggered when players scramble around the dark places and some very haunting new models, like this ominous statue of Xaero with a flaming sword, are placed around the Dead Souls map for an experience of ultimate creepiness.  Take a look at some of Glassman's screen shots of Dead Souls / gm3tourney2.
Fog o' Death












No hope for you Floors are carved out and suspended by chains above a fog of death.  Arched hallways lead to dilapidated great rooms with crumbling walls and broken windows streaming shafts of sunlight giving you a small ray of hope that you might survive another few minutes in this god-forsaken haunted place.

Download this map and have a Fraggin' Friday!












"Everyone has talent; what is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark places where it leads." - Erica Jong

more quake maps 



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Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Digi-chix


 
























Here are two digi-chix I made for you.  The first one is Hunter, a real bitchy bot from Quake 3 Arena.  She runs around with that damn Lightning Gun and fries anyone that dares to come near her.  She might get a little testy if you try to move your mouse and touch her with your cursor.

The second digi-chick is soon-to-be-more-famous Six of One, or Six for short.  She's the sexy cyborg from Sci-Fi channel's first animated series
Tripping the Rift.  We will see what she's like once the first episode airs tomorrow night.  I can tell you this one I made is a little flirtatious and likes to dance around if you try to touch her with your cursor.

 


















In other internal blog news, I started v2.0 of Moving Day.  As I envisioned, it's a suicidally tedious task but I am killing two birds with one stone.  Since I have to not only painstakingly re-edit each and every past blog entry that contained any grafix terminally residing on Atlantic.net but also find and FTP the local back-up of those condemned files to their happy new home on Mical.net anyway, I am adding the [> permalink <]  to those past blog entries that don't have one also.  So, that's a good thing I guess.  I made it back to Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.  That's actually the last entry I posted before my knee exploded.

How did kill two birds with one stone ever start as a cliche', huh?  Some sadistic bastard who hated pigeons bragging about getting a good bounce?  Oh wait, that would be Diablo.  I remember he used to call pigeons "flying rats".  I guess saying that cliche' probably could have started that way then ... nevermind.




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Tuesday, March 02, 2004
P isn't for Politix


P is for Propaganda
You have probably heard me rant on occasion about the media.  I'm not talking about the popular complaint that media is too liberal.  The neo-cons have Fox News now, and in my humble opinion, it balances out the scales of the liberal versus conservative bias with a thud like a flying cow patty hitting the windshield of a speeding SUV.  The problem is the same as it's always been with american media -- no matter what the popular slant or shade of politics it's whoring around with this year -- manufacturing consent.


What is manufacturing consent?

Back when Kel was going to the University of Michigan (UofM) studying linguistics, she was introduced to some of the works of reknown Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) linguistics professor, Noam Chomsky.  Reading some of his work is probably why I can be so annoyingly cynical.  Besides being a scholar of the technical aspects of linguistic theory, Chomsky is also the pre-eminent scholar on the planet for the philosophy of language. 

Chomsky has written and lectured widely on linguistics, philosophy, intellectual history, contemporary issues, international affairs and U.S. foreign policy.  A quick glance at the titles of some of his works on the MIT bio page will give you a small idea about what he writes and there is a very nice ZNet online Chomsky archive available now.

Noam Chomsky wrote a book entitled Manufacturing Consent. It's even available as a documentary on DVD.  If you have a few spare minutes, read "What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream" and you'll get a glimpse of the instutition of our media striving to win over the hearts and minds of Iraqis ... I mean, Americans.  Same re-run, different audience.  Chomsky starts:

"Part of the reason why I write about the media is because I am interested in the whole intellectual culture, and the part of it that is easiest to study is the media. It comes out every day. You can do a systematic investigation. You can compare yesterday's version to today's version. There is a lot of evidence about what's played up and what isn't and the way things are structured."

While I was considering blogging something about Chomsky after I saw him talk about various issues and receive an award from the United Nations Correspondents Association on C-Span, Plastic popped this article up Monday, " We Report, You Decide Based Only On What We Report, Of Course".
"While stumping for the Democratic Party nomination in Ohio, Senator John Kerry criticized the Bush administration's plan to increase jobs and went on for about three minutes citing various statistics in support that his plan was superior. The CBS News producer covering the event was disappointed that there was no convenient soundbite to make the evening news and asked Senator Kerry to try again."

The reason I like Plastic is obviously reading some of the comments from the other users about the given news topic.  Timnet, who interned at a news station, wrote "this is how the game works" and is very informative.

I've avoided using the P-word until now.  Propaganda.  There, I said it.  When you watch your evening news be mindful of the psychological fast food you're stuffing into brain.

 
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