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Added on: 26/4/2011 13:03
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    The Internet is Wrong - Volume 1

    Perhaps volume is too vast a word, heck, chapter is probably too much of an exaggeration. Part might be more appropriate, but in this day and age where one is trying to desperately grab those page views amidst much competition, advertising blurb is key.

    Yes ladies and gentlephones, the Internet is so full of things that are wrong, that the thing itself wrong! You've no doubt heard many a factually incorrect joke on a radio programme, or read a blatant lie in a popular newspaper, but one thing all these mediums can hopefully agree on, even if the irony of stating that fact is lost on us, is how much wrong there is on the Internet.

    Each day I read a lot of Internet, I work on the Internet, I make things for the Internet, sometimes I wonder if Terminator had it all wrong and the world has already been taken over by a passive monster that demands to be fed with our attention. If there was a god, then he/she/it would be really annoyed about how much time we spend feeding the alternative god that is... the Internet.

    One thing that drives me crazy, is wrong. I hate wrong, I really, really hate wrong, almost to the point where it is an OCD. I don't mind opinion, I have no problem with opinion, you might not like a certain song, you might love a certain TV programme, prefer gawping at naked breasts instead of reading about world news in your paper every day, hark back to the days of hanging, that's all okay. But just don't say X is Y when it isn't, that drives me mad.

    And I have bottled up my madness no longer, as today I'm embarking on an attempt to cure myself of this ill, by ranting at all that is wrong on the Internet. Unfortunately it is a big place, so this could take some time. Anyway, let's have a quick look at things I read on the Internet that were wrong this week.

    Andrew Parker of The Sun Was Wrong

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    I know, I know, pointing out things that journalists, and I use the term loosely, from British newspaper The Sun is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, but anyway. Last Saturday they posted a news item entitled, "S and Dem: Candidate poses in fetish gear". The tabloid headline is an unusually accurate title for this pile of trash, the newspaper not the lady featured in said trash, though it ticks all the expected boxes.

    But soon after it quickly fails when it states that Holly-Ann Battye, "has left her party embarrassed after posing in S&M gear on a fetish website." What is the name of this website I hear you cry? It is none other than DeviantArt, which I guess sounds a tiny bit perverted. Needless to say, anyone who has ever been to DeviantArt, and yes you just have to visit it from the comfort of your own keyboard to find out, not a hard task for a journalist surely, would struggle to honestly call it a fetish website, or even an erotic website.

    It describes itself as "The World's largest online community of artists and art-lovers!", and whilst I am in no position to dispute the first part of that sentence, the second is hard for anyone to argue with. I'd love to know if Mr Parker of The Sun bothered to check the site before he wrote libellous comments about it, much as I'd like to know if the people who posted comments to it attacking Ms Battye's looks are anything other than ugly.

    I think I've invented a rule for the Internet Mark 2, this shall be it's first rule. Before you criticise someones looks, you must first present an accurate portrayal of yourself in whatever state of undress is equal to that of which you critic. I hope someone is writing these down.

    Anyway, on Holly's DeviantArt webpage she says, "I'm proud of who I am =]", which is obviously a lot more than the posters to the comments section of The Sun website, hiding behind aliases. Which leads us quickly on to a bit of irony, as one comment by tampico said, "She's got a head like a boarding house cat." Click through to his profile and you see amongst his hates, "Do not like snobs." No inconsistency there then.

    Almost Every Website Reporting the iPhone Tracked Your Location Was Wrong

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    Oh where to start on this one, so many fish, so many, many fish. Do we look at how everyone is talking about Apple yet Google are doing the same thing, possibly more than Apple is? Which is wrong because it makes this all about Apple, when it is actually as much about Google?

    Do we laugh at the uproar over your phone knowing where you are, when it is just collecting data that your mobile phone company probably already does anyway? Is that not like getting shocked that your land-line house phone knows every time you are in the house whenever you make a phone call, when your call provider is sending you an itemised bill with those calls on every month?

    Let's perhaps first look at some scare mongering by Wired, a reputable magazine which is usually better than this. Firstly it shows a letter Apple sent in reply to a http://markey.house.gov/docs/markeybartonapple.pdf"" target="_blank">questioning one from two Congressmen. One thing this letter does clearly say, is that your iPhone will collect geo-location data and send it to Apple, but anonymously. I'm not quite sure what that word means to some people, but in the IT industry it is pretty clear, it means what it says.

    But is making such a fuss about this geo-location tracking wrong? The answer is simple, it neglects a load of far more important facts which relate to one simple thing. Your iPhone data is not encrypted, when it is backed up to your PC it might not be encrypted there either, unless you choose to make it so. This is all iPhone data, not just the tracking information it stores locally.

    Anybody who has their iPhone nicked should be far more worried about having any email accounts set up on it compromised, the fact that names, addresses and phone numbers for all their contacts are also on there, as will be username/password restricted access for websites you've chosen to let it remember. Not to mention anything private you've stored away in apps.

    The issue here is that none of your personal data on the iPhone is encrypted, not that it tracks where you have been every so often. Making the geo-location the issue is wrong, it isn't one, and it's one of the least interesting bits of data your iPhone carries about you. Sure, a stalker might find it useful, but no more than following you around. Criminals will find other data on there far more useful.

    But the other side of the argument isn't being helped by the likes of David Pogue from The New York Times, when he claims that time honoured wrong statement of, "I have nothing to hide. Who cares if anyone knows where I've been?" Let us not forget the hilarious antics of Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, who in his newspaper column laughed off the issue of identity theft by proudly displaying his bank details. One amusing reader signed him up for a £500 direct debit for the British Diabetic Association.

    So if anyone was responsible for a double homocide around the times and locations David Pogue shows in his article, you might want to consider planting evidence in his home and placing a quick call to the local police. Actually please don't, it's a horrible way to prove a point and I'm sure he's a lovely man.

    Jason Hiner Calling 3D a Scam Was Wrong

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    Oh wow, another case where do we start here. Jason Hiner of TechRepublic posted a piece last Thursday entitled "Stop being duped by the 3D scam." in which he claims, amongst other things that, "There's only one reason why the entertainment industry keeps relentlessly pushing this at consumers — it's a transparent attempt to bleed more money out of people." What did he think they were doing with every entertainment product before it? Does he think that DVDs were about saving the starving in Africa? That CDs where all about bringing cultures of the world together through the medium of song?

    Anyway, he calls it a scam, which is in all senses of the word, wrong. I've seen bits of Avatar demoed on a 3D TV, it is definitely 3D. I took the glasses off and the effect was gone, the image was blurry and double, I put them back on, the image was back in 3D. You can argue about whether you like it or not, about how much you want to pay for it, that is opinion. A scam it is not, and I'm pretty sure if Mr Hiner targeted a specific company or person with his comments on some form of media in the UK, he'd struggle to win any subsequent Libel case brought against him for his choice of words.

    Oh, and he also adds in the line, "In fact, optometrists estimate that up to 25% of people get headaches or nausea from simply watching 3D at all." He then links that to the scientific bedrock that is Fox News, which even itself states, "Based on an unscientific, online survey, the American Optometric Association estimates that 25 percent of Americans have experienced headaches, blurred vision, nausea or similar problems when viewing 3-D."

    An unscientific, online survey! Who knows if that figure is actually right or wrong, perhaps a scientific survey might actually show it. Until then, let's just not worry about it, especially when the lack of facts fit the narrative we are trying to push. Or would that itself be a scam?

    Share Your Own Wrongs

    Found things on the Internet which are wrong and winding you up? Send them to me at trebor[at]ku.oc.reweiver and I'll promise to at least look at them and get annoyed. Together maybe we can clean up this mess! Though I expect not. :)

    Your Opinions and Comments

    Liking it, this could run and run...
    posted by Si Wooldridge on 26/4/2011 20:50
    Or I could turn into one of those moaning people I hate so much! I guess time will tell...
    posted by RJS on 27/4/2011 12:06
    Brilliant! I'll start digging some stuff out myself. Oh - and totally agree. The Internet is becoming a complete wild west where anything goes. And don't get me started on Wikepdia. It would be a lifetime's work to sort that out!!
    posted by Stuart McLean on 29/4/2011 18:02
    I don't find Wikipedia too bad, usually more accurate than most places anyway. At east it strives to be accurate rather than not caring. ;)
    posted by RJS on 29/4/2011 21:42
    To a degree. I can only say that an article about a band I played with in the early eighties was totally inaccurate....re-writing history, however slight. I just assume that those slight inaccuracies apply to more important things too.
    posted by Stuart McLean on 29/4/2011 22:29