QueTwo's Blog

thouoghts on telecommunications, programming, education and technology

Monthly Archives: September 2008

It’s just a disappointment….


So, I usually don’t like to publicize my political views — they usually polarize everybody, and cause emotions to run high.  I’m fiscally conservative, and socially liberal, if that makes any sense. In essence, if the government is to start a new program, it should help society (things like schooling and health care), but not be wasteful or a general drain on money or the government.  I’m not a big fan of either of the major parties as of late, as they are both very poor at managing our money.

This past weekend, I was jumping between various websites and news channels trying to figure out the facts of this proposed 3/4 Trillion dollar bailout plan that the Bush administration is trying to ram through to ‘save’ Wall Street.  It is additively angering the lack of facts and lack of reporting of what is happening, other than the continuous rhetoric of "We need this so that Wall Street and Main Street remain viable" that was all over the media and Sunday morning news programs.  All I knew was that is was a large sum of money, enough to put a very serious dent into the economic future of me an my kids.

Today some of the details are starting to be released as they are being mold.  It seems that this package has been modified slightly to now include the purchase of any risky investments, in addition to the ‘trashy’ loans that have been moved around.  People are proposing that if we are going to bail out the industry, we should bail out ALL of it. And with the free tax-payer (read: MY money), why not get rid of all the nasty stuff that people have invested in over time!  Heck, why have one person suffer, when we all can. Not only does the current proposal offer American financial and non-financial investors a second chance, but it apparently has been extended to the world market, including international players such as UBS.

On the front page of the New York Times this Monday was an article about how investment companies are looking at how they can make a profit on this windfall. Many of these banks are now courting and fighting to manage this money, and these investments for the government. One quote from the NYT stated that an investment banker could stand to profit 1 Billion dollars from managing these "failed" investments for the government. Not only that, but former investment firms are now converting to traditional banks so that they can procure, and profit from failing banks that are selling these investments.  The cycle starts over again.  The big guys get to continue to make huge profits above all others.

Should the government be spending 700 Billion dollars to bail out these companies that just don’t have a straight head on their shoulders?  Is the financial security of the country dependant on this cash influx? Almost every economist agrees that something needs to happen. My hope is that this money is tied to repercussions to the industry. Repercussions such as a no-windfall clause (all dollars earned go back to the government and tax payers), and extra sanctions on those who profited from the escalation of this problem. 

If I were to default on my house (a stinky loan, as they are calling it now), I would have my credit ruined, the Bank would liquidate any assets I have, and I would start over. The same should be true from these investors, and their companies. Sure, people would loose their jobs, but they profited from errors in the industry (yes, I realize that this could hurt the little people in the industry, but that is no different than an auto plant closing its doors when it becomes less relevant). Those of us living within our means (and making wise investments) should be rewarded, not punished for the bad decisions of others.

I hope that members of congress, keep a level head in this mess. We have a lot of people that are really scared right now. Many are predicting doom and gloom. Constituents are complaining about shrinking incomes, higher expenses, and this seems to be the topping on the cake.  I’ve heard politicians talk about how if we inject this money into the industry, and simply walk away (let them self-regulate), that this will fix the economy.  That is simply not the case. The people that caused this mess, and the panic that has ensued, need to be reprimanded, beyond what the industry will do to itself. We need people to look at this 700 Billion dollars as if we were investing into the industry that just failed itself. If we don’t make wise investments, the pattern of greed will happen again (and quickly), and we will loose even more confidence (and dollar value) than we started last week with.

Sorry again, about the rant, but I had to get it off my chest. I welcome your comments and critiques of my thoughts.


You won’t see me in Chrome…


Google Chrome LogoIt’s amazing how sheepish that our industry has gotten lately. .  One thing that my current job has taught me, is to read the fine print.  A lot of applications make use of such cookie cutter Terms of Service that they are basically useless or irreverent.  The ones you want to watch out for are where they sneak in a few terms that make lawyers cringe, and make people like you and me go “Huh?”.

Google released their new web browser called Chrome yesterday.  Like anything the Goog publishes (similar to Apple, I guess), the world is in awe.  It doesn’t matter if the product is good (Google Maps), or bad (Google Groups), or just plain ugly (Google Docs), everybody rants and raves about their products. 

I decided to check out what the hub-bub is about.  I’m not a big fan of FireFox, IE is OK, and Safari just has some quirks that bother me (why, oh why, can’t I change the default search to Yahoo?).  The promise of a faster browsing experience is pretty neat too. 

I went to download Chrome, and there wasn’t really any mention of an EULA before you download the app.  I went and downloaded it, and launched the installer.  Low and behold, it seems the Chrome team basically copied and pasted their TOS from Google Apps, and included some of the worst points from their agreements:

8.3 Google reserves the right (but shall have no obligation) to pre-screen, review, flag, filter, modify, refuse or remove any or all Content from any Service. For some of the Services, Google may provide tools to filter out explicit sexual content. These tools include the SafeSearch preference settings (see http://www.google.com/help/customize.html#safe). In addition, there are commercially available services and software to limit access to material that you may find objectionable.

11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

So, essentially, with any ‘Conent’ I submit (which was very loosely defined as ‘data input into the application’), I submit a perpetual, irrevocable and non-exclusive license to do anything they want with my data.  My bank account and love letters to my girlfriend would now be public information. 

In doing my research for this post, I found one other person who noticed the same thing : Velvet Unraveled

So, without using this new browser, like many other Google Apps and Services, I will have to throw this one aside.  I refuse to use, or avoid as much as possible, any Google service that has these TOS in place.  Heh, do no Evil.  I like that.