Monday, April 7, 2008

CS404 Ethics and Computers in Society: Smallish post 8

Open source, or free software, has benefited the world more than most know. Ten years ago, I thought we would never see any notable advances in operating systems. There has been a lack of improvement in operating systems because Microsoft has dominated the market; with the development of Linux, this is slowly changing. Because of Linux, Microsoft has come to grips with the fact that it cannot continue to produce mediocre products. Microsoft does have one hope, however, and that is the innate diversity in open source products. Un-united, the open source community produces many similar products that are not strong enough to stand on their own. If open source distributors would unite in their efforts and be completely selfless, they could create a product that could surpass Windows. A unification of open source participants could result in the downfall of Microsoft. Open source is our only hope to bring competition back into the operation systems world.

Monday, March 31, 2008

CS404 Ethics and Computers in Society: Smallish Post 7

When I hear about internet addiction, this is the first thought that comes to my mind: “Is that a joke?” To me, it seems unbelievable that someone could become addicted to the internet. However, it is quite easy to become addicted to the internet. With millions of interesting articles, games, chat rooms, and videos, one can easily waste hours at their computer. Internet addiction is difficult to overcome because it is easily justifiable. It is hard to argue that learning and socializing are a waste of time. Most internet activities can be inherently good and healthy, but too much of a good thing can sometimes be a bad thing. People addicted to the internet often neglect other important things in their lives. The internet should not take away from: Caring for children, nurturing marriages, and fulfilling responsibilities. It is important to remember to have moderation in all things.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

CS404 Ethics and Computers in Society: Smallish post 6

The crybaby strike is finally over. Record company and movie studio executives finally decided to drop their strike. When copyright laws came about, these same executives took advantage of the laws to gain profit, while hurting the writers. Now it is time for the executives to be taken advantage of. Technology has changed the way media is shared and transferred. It seems this new phenomenon is going to hurt media executives. However, through history, several new technologies have threatened to destroy their world, and they have managed to stay on top. In the business world, it is all about staying competitive and on top of the trends. Media executives need to get off their whiny butts, and professionally handle the new trend of internet media sharing. So far, they have handled the situation like little children, whining to momma government that the general public is being too mean. There is always money to be made, and there are always creative ideas springing forth. Let the desire of the populous, the customers, drive our innovations – not the greedy pocket books of executives.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

CS404 Ethics and Computers in Society: Book Inspired Post: "The World Is Flat"

Reflecting on the history of how oppression is maintained, one main ingredient seems to be isolation. Control the flow of information, force the beliefs of the people to conform to your views, and do not let anyone out. Isolating your country used to be moderately easy with military backing, but now with technology and the internet, it is nearly impossible. Anyone with a computer and internet access can send messages around the world. People can learn about any religion, culture, or other forms of government. People can develop their opinions on their current oppressive situations, and see that they are wrong. Most of the countries still practicing horrific oppression are countries where the internet is not readily available. People in these countries are trapped in their world of oppression and do not know how to escape. As countries continue to become more technological, we will see fewer instances of leaders oppressing their citizens. Citizens will become more opinionated and desirous to live free lives. They will be able to reach out for help, while others reach out to them. This is not to say oppression will be eliminated, but the world will be more educated and knowledgeable of what freedoms are available to others.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

CS404 Ethics and Computers in Society: Current Event 4

Cheating on your wife and paying for prostitution is appalling enough, but doing it while you represent Americans as a governor is inexcusable. With more power comes more responsibility. If Governor Eliot Spitzer was an ordinary man, his actions would not have even made the local news. Unfortunately for him, and Americans alike, it has made national news and is talked about all over America. This scandal gives a bad name to Americans, and political figures in America (as if their reputations could get any worse). Our political representatives need to understand the importance of their positions. They are so strongly in the lime light, they cannot even pick their noses without it being blogged about. We need representatives who have intelligence, along with moral integrity. This country was founded in the presence of God, on principles of righteousness. Our leaders need to be role models, righteous people, and preferably religious people. A country is only as good as its leaders and the decisions they make. It says horrible things about our country when our leaders are adulterous.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

CS404 Ethics and Computers in Society: Smallish post 5

When looking at statistics showing fewer women than men working in a given field, one may attribute it to sexism. However, women are fully capable of determining what they enjoy doing, and going out and doing it. Just because there are low percentages of women working in math, science, and the computer industry, does not mean women are prevented from entering these fields. Rather, these low percentages allude to the fact that most women do not aspire to enter said fields. In my experience with women who do choose to enter said fields, I have observed that women’s abilities are equal to those of men. The amount of opportunity in America allows women to obtain any occupation they desire. I am sick and tired of women’s rights activists complaining that there are not enough women in science and other technical fields. If these women activists want higher percentages of women in said fields, then they should enter said fields themselves. Workplaces should not contain atmospheres that are over focused on maintaining equal numbers of men and women.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

CS404 Ethics and Computers in Society: Current Event 3

The phrase, “The world is shrinking” is the understatement of the century. New technologies and devices, such as cell phones, text messages, instant messenger, email, and internet, decrease the distance between us. Facebook and MySpace are the new social rage. It is getting easier and easier to gather information about other people. While allowing staying in touch with old friends, it also allows unwanted strangers to learn things we do not want them to know. A new technology called “Cell Phone Spy” has surfaced, making way for alarming events to happen. Cell Phone Spy allows SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card data to be transferred from cell phone to cell phone, or from cell phone to computer. This technology does not limit itself to music and ring tones, but allows transfer of text messages (new and deleted), address books, and any other information on one’s cell phone. Spy is a perfect word to describe this technology. We are making it too easy for creeps and evil-doers to access private information. As if worrying about hackers breaking into our computers was not enough…now we have to guard our cell phones.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

CS404 Ethics and Computers in Society: Book Inspired Post: The Cuckoo's Egg

Doing something just because “you can” may provide a rush of excitement, or pride in one’s accomplishments, but can ruin the lives of millions. If you think I am talking about dangerous stunts, bank robbery, etc., you are wrong. I am talking about hacking. Hacking! Sounds like a child’s game, but, in reality, people can steal confidential information, money, and even personal identities. Hackers can pry into personal affairs and make them public, or even break into top-secret government defense systems. People’s lives can be ruined, and all it takes is a nerd sitting in his apartment thinking how funny he is. It is not funny, nor is it ethical.
Any ethical person would desire a criminal to be locked up behind bars. Thieves who rob convenience stores are often considered to be scum, poor, and desperate, which could be true. On the other hand, hackers are often viewed to be brilliant and skilled, which is outrageous and totally false. Hackers are the convenience store thieves of the computer world. Hacking gives them a false sense of achievement and intelligence, making them sad and desperate individuals lacking real achievement. I cannot understand how any individual can enjoy breaking into others’ personal information and exploiting it. History has taught us, though, that there will always exist those who desire evil. Hackers should feel guilty for all the pain and loss they cause their fellow men. Robbery is robbery any way you look at it. We must be prepared to protect ourselves from hackers everywhere.
People need to learn how to protect their personal information; governments need to keep secrets secure. We must educate ourselves on how hackers work, and how to prevent such attacks. It surprises me to learn how simple and obvious some peoples’ passwords are. Technology can easily iterate through a dictionary to find which password one may be using. We have an ethical responsibility to help those around us learn what passwords and protection are sufficient. If we fail to learn for ourselves how to protect sensitive information, and fail to educate others, we will fall to malicious attacks, and possibly lose everything.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

CS404 Ethics and Computers in Society: Current Event 2

The overall health of the American people is dropping with the decrease in physical activity. This has resulted in increased obesity rates and less interesting lives for Americans. One of the main reasons for this loss of physical activity is video games. When I was a child, I played backyard soccer and football during my free time. These days, children play video games for hours on end, sitting down in a chair, where only their hands get exercise. Well…it’s about to get worse. A new device has hit the market that will completely remove movement from video games. The EPOC neuroheadset allows users to play video games without moving their hands. This device is capable of reading the emotions and thoughts of people playing video games. When the Wii came out, I thought, “Finally, a console that requires movement and provides some exercise.” Now, with the neuroheadset, people will continue to decrease their physical activity by sitting like dead beets on a couch or chair, staring at a television set.


Thursday, February 7, 2008

CS404 Ethics and Computers in Society: Smallish post 4

Imagine dying and returning to our Heavenly Father to learn that for our loved ones to be together we had to perform certain ordinances on earth, which we failed to do. This information would sadden any who treasure being with those whom they love. I cannot imagine living forever without my lovely wife, Lauren. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church) has given us the opportunity to help reunite those who are longing to be with each other forever. Through church resources, like, we can learn who our ancestors are and perform the ordinances they need, thus uniting families forever. If I was unable to partake of the ordinances of the temple in my lifetime, I would be thankful towards the LDS Church for their genealogy and temple work done everyday.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

CS404 Ethics and Computers in Society: Smallish post 3

Technology can take the human aspect out of a task, but should not eliminate human responsibility. Technology has improved the quality of life, and makes our jobs easier. By jobs, I do not refer to our careers alone, but also to our religious responsibilities. With the vast amount of information on the internet today, any individual can learn almost everything about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). A member of the LDS Church simply referring an individual to, alone, is not enough. Too many times, people do not understand the information they are receiving, or try to find other sources to feed their curiosity. Therefore, members of the LDS Church need to take responsibility to share the gospel seriously. No technology, as useful as can be, or pool of information, as deep as can be, can replace the human element of contact and communication.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

CS404 Ethics and Computers in Society: Smallish post 2

Even though writing is a collection of “simple” rules and styles, one can get lost figuring out the rules while searching for their unique style. Through time, great writers have won our hearts by implementing the rules of writing effectively. To reproduce great writing without “reproducing it,” one must understand how to make use of the rules to create their own style. To find one’s style of writing, the best formula is to write, and write often. According to The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White, the best writers need to rewrite passages over and over again. If one has the patience to go over their writing repeatedly, until they follow the rules, one’s individual style will inevitably emerge.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

My Opinion #1

Outsourcing jobs shows disrespect for those qualified people around us. James F. Parker, CEO of Southwest Airlines, said, “People matter most, we all know that. But most companies would rather slash costs, cut headcount, replace well-paid employees with lower-paid employees or outsourced workers, and reduce customer service.” Companies who outsource do not seem to care about their people or products. Why do companies charge ridiculous prices for software, replace qualified personnel with cheap Indian labor, and/or have customer service people we cannot understand? The answers are: Money, and looking good on quarterly reports. Such companies do not care about their employees – only about themselves. In the computer industry, thousands of jobs are being “shipped” to India and other countries. This creates: Job loss in the USA, products that come back worse than before, and angry customers who are dissatisfied with the products they are buying. If companies treat their employees with respect by not outsourcing, minimizing layoffs, and having competitive pay rates, they will see an increase in productivity and sales. Happy employees produce well-designed products, which produce happy customers. Companies should say “No” to outsourcing.

link to article I wrote about

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

CS404 Ethics and Computers in Society: Current Event 1

Our ethics and personal kindness can and should be a part of our business and career. Too many people throw their kindness and conscience out the window to get ahead in their career. Throughout history, several people have taken competition and the greed of money to an extreme. We forget that coworkers, bosses, and those over whom we preside are people, too! James F. Parker, CEO of Southwest Airlines, said, “'Doing the right thing' by your employees and your customers isn’t just na├»ve 'feel-goodism:' it’s the most powerful rule for business success.” By “doing the right thing,” Southwest Airlines was able to get through the crash of airline businesses without any layoffs or pay cuts. Why can't we all treat our coworkers the way we treat our friends and family? When we treat others as we would like to be treated, we will see an improvement in our relationships, including the relationships we have with our coworkers.

link to article I wrote about

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

CS 404 Ethics and Computers in Society: Smallish Post 1

The media, with their copyright laws, are fighting a losing battle against the evolution of society. Throughout time, new technologies and inventions have shaped and changed mankind. One of these inventions was the printing press. With the printing press, the Bible was distributed to all who desired it. Though the Catholic Church tried to stop it, this new development was too big to squelch. The internet, along with CD- and DVD-burning software, has introduced a development confounding today’s media world. This development is known as “pirating software.” Today, downloading media to burn to CDs and DVDs is commonplace. Just like the Bible was, the acquisition and distribution of “illegal” pirated media is too widespread to stop. Copyright laws need to be modified to conform to this phenomenon and change in society’s ethics.