Friday, May 19, 2006

John W. Scherer Video Professor blog May 19, 2006

John W. Scherer Video Professor blog May 19, 2006

Talking tech!

Safety Online
Keeping kids safe should be our No.1 priority. There are too many people online today with less-than-reputable intentions. Sometimes firewalls, spyware filters, and virus protection software isn’t enough to keep us secure. A surge in Internet “social networking” sites has spawned friendships from New York to Los Angeles, but it’s also subjected our youth to some seedy characters. A bill introduced in the House of Representatives Monday seeks to ban children from frequenting networking sites such as On the surface, this bill is a good idea. The less access our kids have to these sites, the less access predators will have to them. I don’t think, however, it’s realistic to ban every teenager in the country from social networking sites. In lieu of a complete ban, perhaps we need to just step up the security on these sites. Kids will be kids, and they will continue to utilize these sites, regardless of a ban. If that’s the case, we should allow the networking to take place and step up our efforts to ban the predators.
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Victory for eBay
For all of you that Video Professor has helped learn to buy and sell on eBay, I want to pass along a bit of good news. The Supreme Court ruled yesterday “companies that infringe on patents don't necessarily have to change their products.” Previously, a jury found that eBay’s “Buy it Now” service violated a MercExchange patent.
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Educators Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve
Technology has definitely enhanced our lives. Apparently it has also enhanced our ability to cheat. At colleges and universities across the country, students are using their laptops, PDAs, and even cell phones to get an “edge” in the classroom. What shocks me is that two-thirds of students in a recent survey admitted to cheating. According to David Callahan, who wrote “The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead,” more and more students today are feeling an immense amount of pressure to succeed in the classroom so they won’t face an uphill battle when looking for a job.
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In Poor Taste
A tasteless, new online video game has a group of parents up in arms. Super Columbine Massacre RPG, an online game that debuted on the Internet last year, is starting to gain popularity. It is truly disturbing that this game was created and, moreover, that it’s gaining a following. A father of one of the Columbine victims, Brian Rohrbough, said, “We live in a culture of death, so it doesn't surprise me that this stuff has become so commonplace. It disgusts me. You trivialize the actions of two murderers and the lives of the innocent." I couldn’t agree more.
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Yahoo! Woo Hoo!
Yahoo! is trying to make our lives easier, while at the same time battling competition from its archrival, Google.
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Off topic:
Trans-Congressional Airlines
For most folks, when they fly, they fly coach. You know: the middle seat in the back of the plane where you count it a lucky day if you get peanuts. Maybe you should run for Congress because that's where the good seats are. According to BusinessWeek magazine, a lot of our elected representatives, aka "Servants of the People," are flying first-class in corporate jets. Both Republicans and Democrats use donated corporate jets to fly about the country and abuse our trust. The top abuser is Republican Senator Trent Lott who received $165,724 in free flights aboard private jets between 2001 and 2005. Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada seems a piker in comparison, logging just $69,551 worth of plush air time. Companies like UST, FedEx, and Bell South love to give legislators free rides. Might they expect favors in return? Naah!

A man among boys?
It must really be a blow to the ego not to be in the limelight. Because the publicity from his book alleging steroid use in baseball is waning, Jose Canseco must feel he needs to manually up his stock. Ex-major leaguers frequently settle on a job or a hobby in retirement, but playing in a senior’s baseball league? Come on! We all know there was a time that you were considered one of the most-feared power hitters in baseball, but you don’t have to rub our faces in it … literally. Plus, he’s using an aluminum bat. Do the pitchers in this league have a death wish? It would be one thing to stand 60 feet 6 inches away from the ex-“bash brother” when he’s armed with a wood club, but with an aluminum stick, Canseco is even more lethal.
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Ward Churchill: Fraud
We have an update for you on Ward Churchill, that yahoo prof at the University of Colorado. An investigative committee unanimously says Churchill committed several acts of academic misconduct. Their finds say that Churchill's misconduct was deliberate. Apparently Ward likes to steal other authors’ work and claim it for himself. He also claimed to be a Native American, which he's not. You may recall that Churchill got far more than the allocated 15 minutes of fame for defaming victims of the 9/11 attack. The committee is recommending anywhere from firing him to a minimum two-year suspension without pay. Whether or not CU has the courage to act on any of this is suspect, but it's finally documented: Ward Churchill is a fraud. And a disgrace, as if anyone didn't know already.

The schools of hard knocks
The Revolutionary War-era leader Patrick Henry made famous the phrase, “Give me liberty or give me death!” School children across the country better bring back the popular mantra or fear losing playground privileges.
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Quote o’ the week
"I kept thinking of the Energizer Bunny, because it kept going and going and going, and not in a good way," James Rocchi, a film critic for CBS 5 television in San Francisco, commenting about The DaVinci Code, which hits theaters today.

Site o’ the week
Summer is just around the corner. Surf’s up, dudes!
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John W. Scherer
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