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America's Debate > Archive > Assorted Issues Archive > [A] Science and Technology
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Curmudgeon
I'd like to start this topic by congratulating Wertz for winning several awards. Among them were Most Convincing Post, posted in the Best Topic: Casual Conversation Forum, Defending the Indefensible. That led me to read the post, and then the entire topic.

I hadn't really noticed "Defending the Indefensible" before reading Wertz's post. It looked as though it may have spawned some very excellent independent topics. It seemed to have stalled out though, with Victoria Silverwolf's request that we defend a "graphic novel" as the ultimate art form of the 21st century. There had been no response for a month!

I was unfamiliar with the term "graphic novel," and Victoria Silverwolf has since been kind enough to define it for me. However, it was 2:00 AM when I decided someone needed to revive the topic. I made a rash decision that it was within the spirit of the thread to defend something, that was not only indefensible, but which I was completely ignorant of.

As we are less than 3% of the way into the 21st century, it seemed presumptuous to me, to defend anything as the ultimate art form of the 21st century.

As a working man, I used to maintain that someone should develop and maintain "anti-game" software. online2long.gif (This sounds like an interesting topic, I thought; has it been done before?)

With those thoughts in mind...

I created and defended the concept of "Graphic Novel" as a bizarre computer game, and defended it as the ultimate art form of the 21st century. devil.gif

I certainly hope that I held to the spirit of that topic at least, but I was reminded of an old prejudice. Working maintenance on the afternoon and midnight shifts, I often saw both operators and plant security playing computer games. The icons were front and center on supervisor's terminals as well. Click here," we were taught in class, "to shrink the game and start your screen saver if someone walks in on you." It was obviously within the Corporate Culture that we spend time playing the games. It was also against the company rules.

Why, I often asked, doesn't someone create an anti-game software program akin to anti-virus software? The proposed software would purge all games from industrially owned personal computers and/or log the USERID's of anyone who was playing a game, or trying to load one onto a company computer. I was always told it was too difficult, technologically infeasible, etc.

I argued that it could easily be marketed to industry and government customers with the concept that it would improve employee productivity. I was told that it would destroy employee morale.

As a parent, I argued, I might be tempted to subscribe to such a service so that I would be allowed to use my computer productively. I purchased a second computer. I've been asked often to purchase a third.

I would like to see two questions discussed here:

1) We obviously have some programmers and technically savvy people active in America's Debate. Is this really "technically unfeasible" and "too costly" to develop; or is it as one programmer told me, "My life would be in danger if I even proposed writing such a program. It's counter to the programing culture." ph34r.gif

2) As a taxpayer, employer, parent, or user; would you purchase (or advocate the purchase) of such software; whether as a one time purchase or as a subscription service. money.gif
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Young at heart
Filtering programs like Surf Control provide the ability to block specific web sites, email sources, P2P software, and instant messenger applications.

The web site filters are based on a host file maintained by the vendor by categories not unlike gambling, porn, sports, games, etc. and while they work for internet based games they are not effective against locally installed games. Additionally software not unlike this can monitor all desktop activities across an enterprise once the client is installed at the targeted workstations.

I work in the BT administrative area although I do not work on the NT platform per se but do work closely with the folks that do and I was actually shocked by the reports being generated by Surf Control before re-directs to the intranet copy of acceptable use policies was being pushed to users trying to access non-business related web sites. Accessing porn sites in particular was more widespread than I could have ever imagined.

The talks of implementing the filtering/monitoring software was started for a reason you might not expect and that reason was bandwith utilization spikes between sites that were impacting the business on a regular basis. Upper management increased the pipes between sites twice to compensate for such usage until they finally said "Enough" and unleashed the hounds to reel in employees using bandwith for non-business functions.

The results of the implementation have been quite impressive although unpopular and barely does a day go by now that I don't hear someone grumbling at the copier, water-cooler, or cafeteria about being greeted by the acceptable use policy when trying to use company resources for personal use. Policy has since been modified to some extent as most filters (except porn and gambling) are lifted between the hours of noon and 1:00 p.m. so that employees who wish to surf for personal content can do so on their lunch hour. I'm sure all of this sounds very fascist in nature but believe me when I tell you that I was literally shocked at some of the activities being conducted at workstations across the enterprise.

I would add that such technology is easily implemented on an enterprise level and more and more companies are headed in this direction so I would advise everyone to bear in mind every click, every keystroke, every word of every email inbound and outbound is easily monitored by big brother.

In closing I would say that I have objections myself to the policies implemented by managment in this regard but the legal department gave these folks the green light and they wasted no time bringing down the hammer once they received permission.

Now the ironic part. Exclusion lists by userid are maintained and I'll bet you'll never guess who is on these lists will you?

You guessed it....the folks doing the monitoring.
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