Quick, Commissioner Gorden! Turn on the Bat-signal and summon the Dark Lord of Gotham to rid the city of this nefarious cast of evil-doers. It’s a tough choice narrowing it down to the number one bad guy of technology. The best we can do is round up the usual suspects from 2007 and present them as runners-up. We report, you decide.
Facebook – How can a web social group go from Internet superstar to complete doofus in just one year? They were riding on top of the world, then they decided to monetize their users by essentially recording data on every move they made and selling it to the highest bidder. Beacon became the stealth-marketing tool that no-one dared call “spyware”, even though that’s exactly what it was. Then they got caught and had to go “oops, we’ll let you turn that off.”
Comcast – The rest of us get to heave a groan of relief because we can say, “Thank God, Comcast isn’t my Internet provider!” But Comcast operates as a monopoly in much of its service area. So Comcast, with an ill-will directed towards music pirates, secretly throttles your connection if you’re using a peer-to-peer program to upload or download files. This is like if you made a car that detects when you’re driving somewhere the car manufacturer doesn’t like and slows down to 2 KPH. By the way, you did notice that people usually download Linux distros by way of BitTorrent, so any measure against an MP3 pirate will conveniently hit an open source software user as well.
LiveJournal – Let’s start a blog network and advertise ourselves as a platform for free expression. Invite everyone to work for years, building up their online reputation with each post to their blog hosted on our server. Now let’s suddenly delete half the blogs, based on arbitrary content rules covering everything from kinky sex to Harry Potter. People actually had the only copy of their life’s work vanish, all based on the fact that an automated search uncovered some keywords which weren’t even in the same context as they intended, and which they had no business censoring even if it did.
Con Kolivas – An object lesson in “uncalled-for”. If you want to work on the Linux kernel team, learn to work with other people. If your patch is rejected, it’s OK to be disappointed. If you can’t handle the rejection, it’s OK to quit. If somebody asks why you quit, it is fair to answer honestly. However, when you launch a one-month-long speaking tour in which you scream “Linux SUCKS! SUCKS! SUCKS!” in every possible media outlet, from KernelTrap’s mailing list to Slashdot to FOX News to the Wall Street Journal to Women’s Day magazine, you have now crossed the line into proving to the world that you are God’s number-one asshole. We wish a happy holidays to Con Kolivas, who is currently standing in an unemployment line because everybody in the world is scared to hire him.
RIAA – The Recording Industry Association of America has a misleading name. They are actually the Recording Industry Association of the World, reaching out with their tentacles to strangle the last drop of freedom from any corner of the world. They’ve become such a cliche for sheer, black, stinking evil that you expect to see a mash-up of Monty Python’s “Spanish Inquisition” sketch done with the RIAA. Because nobody expects the RIAA!
Meh, that’s the main five. People might be asking why I left Microsoft off this list. Well, they’re a given. As for Steve Ballmer…. aw, come on! He’s not evil, he’s a clown! Check the first picture in this Wiki write-up; now think of Peter Boyle from “Young Frankenstein”. Seriously, Ballmer is a parody of himself. He’s playing a role. Hasn’t anybody noticed yet?
Well, then, it’s good I point this stuff out to you, isn’t it?
- What To Do If the RIAA Comes To Get You
- Social News Headlines – an interpretation
- Stop fighting technology and USE IT!
- Things We’re Tired of Hearing from Linux Users
- Now We’re All Famous All the Time