Post-Human?

After reading this news story of a Quebec man who has received a mechanical heart and therefore no longer has a pulse or a measurable blood pressure. In some ways, this drives at the question of what does it mean to be human. I am both fascinated and boggled.

(*more on this after I have my coffee)

As the pendulum swings…

Back to the holidays, as I prepare for my 8th annual (wow!) holiday party this weekend, I have been busy in the kitchen, whipping up a feast of holiday treats – my mother was always adamant about her ‘holiday baking’ – a very fond childhood memory indeed. Since most of my time during the year is spent between my children, school, my work (paid bits) and other life duties, it is feels like a luxury to be able to spend the day (or days as it has been over the last week) in the kitchen making these, these, these, these, and these for those who don’t have a sweet tooth (i cannot forget my mother’s pecan banana bread too!).

New Reading

As I procrastinate the actual writing process of my thesis, I have found myself reading something new – something I was told I was not allowed to do until my thesis was completed. But I could not help myself. The book has been sitting on my shelf for over 6 months (i cannot believe that I took this book out of the library in March, and not one person has recalled it on me!). Nonetheless, in order to prep my brain for thinking deeper than holiday recipes and new decor ideas for my new house, I cracked open the pages and started reading. I am not sure how helpful it will be for THIS thesis (good thing I have one more left!), but the ideas in it move me. The idea that our longing for a technological state of being has been with us much longer than today’s virtual revolution gives credit – as Ihde puts it, techno-fantasies has been a part of human culture since at least the thirteenth century with Francis Bacon.

In this book, Ihde, who is a ‘phenomenological materialist’ , seeks to understand the current state of the relationship between the body and technology. The impacts of ideas (perhaps even moreso than actual occurences) of virtual reality, embodiement and the internet.

Although I am not done the book, it is taking me in a direction that I have been craving for. A desire to think about games, technology and the self on a relative philosophical level … on a level that has no answers, but only digs up more questions about who we are as a culture and society, what drives us and how long it has been so much the same even though it seems like things are changing at light speed.

Holiday Game Giving

As Christmas approaches, I am faced with the seasonal crowds shoving their way into the already small local EBGames store. I am also challenged with what games to get for who this year (usually this is a neverending list!). I have not made it into the lucky Wii club, and shiver at the price of an Xbox 360 let alone a PS3, I notice that the list of hot new games for PS2 is alot shorter now that the competition has shifted to the greener pastures of next gen consoles.

My list seems a little dated, as my oldest daughter requested the Sims2 for her gameboy advanced; Dance Dance Revolution Supernova for my youngest daughter and games like Jade Empire for my partner. Is the offerings really that slim these days?

We always say "It would never happen to me…"

When we think of bad things that happen to people, our first reaction (if we were to be honest with ourselves) is that “it would never happen to me”. Indeed, we can think of 101 tragedies that always seem to happen to someone we know, or someone we read about etc. etc. My recent ‘it would never happen to me’ moment, was less tragic than most, but I was nonetheless victim of my own arrogance of things happening only to other people.

I pay $29.99/mo. for my internet connection – not the best of prices I am sure, but I have had this account since cable internet was first available in my area. At one time, that account was “limitless” buffet connection. One flat rate for as much as you can stuff in your mouth. Over the last few years, that has changed (but sadly the price has not). I am allowed 20g of downloads, and 10g of uploads… usually not a problem since we don’t download movies, rarely do we file share or buy music online. Although I was informed today that my WOXY.com daily habit could potentially blow my limit (although I cannot imagine how). Today I received my monthly cable bill to notice that there was $30 extra dollars in over-my-limit usage fees. Looking at the numbers, I was astonished, some days as much as 2gigs of downloaded material (for a surpassed amount of 11gigs of downloads).

My first instinct was to call the cable company and ask WTH! but after repeating my birthdate and address for “security” reasons, the tech support on the other end asks – “do you run a wireless router ma’am?”… why, “yes I do” I reply. He then asks me to click on it and read him what it says… a few mouse clicks later… I sheepishly read aloud “WLAN. Unsecured Wireless Connection; Firewalled”. “Ahhh” he says – it seems that since October 23rd, you have had someone piggybacking on your wireless – and they were making sure they got the most out of it.
Sadly, there is nothing can do since it was an unsecured network. But “please ma’am make sure you secure it soon if you do not wish to support the neighborhood’s downloading habits”.

The sad … ironic… frustrating thing is, is that I live with a tech person. One who studied Internet Security & Networking (of which we paid a fortune for!) and have friends who work in security & networking for a few big companies. My partner has hooked up a secured network for several of my friends. It is not out of the inability to know what we were doing that I did not have a secured network – but rather, out of laziness; out of ‘always getting around to our own stuff last’; and more than likely, out of the “it would never happen to me” blase attitude some of get when nothing bad ever happens.

Guess its time to secure these networks and let free wireless groups support the neighborhood.