How Do You Spell Global Indigestion? G-Y-M

With an almost Romanesque flourish our modern world seems content to teeter on the brink of yet-another global energy crisis.

Yet, like a man who gorges himself on his last scraps of food in fearful celebration of his imminent Old-Mother-Hubbard-status, the human race seems bent on self-destruction in the embrace of its energy addiction.

So consider the contemporary gym: row upon row of pale-and-sweating spandex-fashionistas toiling like trained hamsters on all form of modern torture instrument. Where the heck is all that energy going? And where did it come from?

Certainly, with oil prices rising and wars being fought to push them back down, we can’t afford to burn off those calories so frivolously? From a certain perspective, however, it would seem the very purpose of a fitness club is to waste energy. Continue reading

DRM: The Shackles and Chains of Digital Media

Recent months have borne witness to a grand spectacle of geek-executive hot air and ballyhooing that all came to a head last week with a public letter from Apple’s Steve Jobs.

The issue being so publicly debated centres around Digital Rights Management, or “DRM.” This is a system of controlling how we, as consumers, use the entertainment media we purchase.

DRM, for example, protects DVDs from being copied. It’s also used on some CDs to ensure we don’t share the music we buy amongst our friends.

One of the most prominent examples of DRM is media that’s purchased online, in particular through Apple’s iTunes Store.

Any media you purchase through iTunes is controlled by Apple’s DRM system, called “FairPlay.” FairPlay limits the playback of media you buy to certain technological environments.

Apple’s iPod, obviously, is FairPlay turf. The iTunes software on either a Mac or PC is also sanctioned ground. But it about ends there. Continue reading

The Joys of Pen and Paper Revisited

Ah, the feel of pen on paper.

I’d forgotten how great it is until I was recently presented the opportunity to compose a long-form, personal letter to an elderly relative in the UK.

The circumstances were less than desirable: a favourite aunt had recently passed away. All the same, it was satisfying to perform some old-fashioned communications – despite my initial chagrin at not being able to use email.

My frustration quickly evaporated, however, when I considered the fact that, in composing a hand-written letter, I was crossing a cultural boundary. Continue reading

Email Ready for the Trash Bin

With any luck, email will soon be a thing of the past.

Once a great idea, the open email standard that the internet currently suffers under is now just an example of one of the most inefficient systems ever devised by humankind.

Consider just one truth: 80% of all email is junk. That means that a significant portion of traffic on the internet is unwanted and valueless. That further means that we, through our monthly internet access fees, pay a substantial amount of money to support waste. Even Canada Post makes their spammers pay their own way. Continue reading