Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Free Gmail Invites

I've got a bunch of extra Gmail invites. If anyone would like a Gmail account, please post your email address in the comments.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Designing to Forget

The internet has a funny way of remembering things forever. I've been really careful about what I write here, because I don't know what's going to happen to the content down the road. It's a problem that I don't know how to deal with. Take the gay marriage issue, for example. I'm terribly tired of talking about it, but I'm also not satisfied with any of my posts on the subject. I'd like to simply remove those posts, or at least continue to write follow-ups. The former strategy is rather un-bloglike, and the latter simply makes me dig into a deeper hole. I cringe at the thought of what might have happened if I had started blogging 10 years ago, in my university years. Would my thoughts still be indexed somewhere by Google? Does the internet really remember everything people say? Today, the answer is mostly yes. I predict that a lot of people (especially bloggers) are going to work themselves into personal PR nightmares over the next few years. Not fully grasping the permanence of the internet, they'll spend their youths and early twenties generating content that embarrasses them for years into the future. But maybe that's part of the point -- why the blogging medium is so great to begin with. We all come from an era (and mindset) where information was very carefully controlled -- network news, company communications, politics, even music & arts. There's a lot of filters to make sure anything potentially embarrassing will never get out. As for me, I'm still too afraid to sign my name to my own blog. But really, would signing my name make the blog any better? I'd argue that you (the reader) don't really care who I am. Hopefully you're interested in my thoughts, and that's the point of all this. Still, it would be nice if the internet could be told to forget things, not simply remember everything.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Civil Joining

Ok, so maybe I'm an idiot when it comes to marriage. It doesn't affect me if two gay people marry. Maybe it would affect their kids, but I'm not touching that one. Anyway, I guess we're supposed to say it's all fine as long as nobody gets hurt, etc. Maybe some of that is true, but this is still fundamentally dumb legislation. The fact that government is involved in marriage (using any definition of the word) is where the dumbness begins. It would be better to dump the idea of civil marriage altogether and replace it with something I call "civil joining". There are three main categories of civil joining.
  1. Single people. These are people who have no legal ties to anyone else.
  2. Joined people. This includes marriages and any other dependent people. Two spinster sisters, for example. Or a gay couple. And yes, poligamists. This one isn't politically correct, but it could easily be argued that it's discriminatory to prevent a group from legally joining themselves.
  3. Joined people with their own children. This one gets a bit messy when people un-join (like a divorce), or with poligamy, but the general point is that the children are legally bound to the biological mother and father in a way the government cares about.
Within this system, any person can choose to legally join with any other person(s). You can't choose to be legally bound to your parents though - that happens automatically. People can also legally un-join if they wish. This system covers the major bases and isn't offensive to anyone. If you're offended, let me know.