Technology: February 2005 Archives

Hunchback nation

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Were I a gambling man, I'd bet that we will see an epidemic of dowager's hump over the next 10 years -- more and more men and women with a pronounced forward curve of the upper spine. The cause won't be osteoporosis but cumulative deterioration of soft tissues caused by years of computer work. Chiropractic and massage, whatever temporary relief they may bring from pain, won't prevent or reverse the damage, because they don't address the cause.

TulipGirl's entry about computer exercises brought back to mind something I've been meaning to write about for some time. A little over a year ago I had a pain in the neck, aches in my shoulders, which sounded like a bowl of Rice Krispies when I moved, headaches (especially behind the left eye), and occasional pain down the left arm. An MRI showed a bulging disc, probably impinging on a nerve root, and I was prescribed a course of physical therapy to help keep the disc in place and to stabilize my upper spine to avoid further problems.

I came into therapy believing that my shoulder muscles were too tight and needed to be relaxed, but the real problem was that they weren't tight and toned enough. The physical therapist explained that the problems had to do with a loss of the tone and stability of my upper back and shoulder muscles and the overstretching of back ligaments, all the result of spending far too much time with head craned forward and shoulders rolled inward, the natural result of working on something in front of you and below your line of sight.

Turkey ALA king

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One of the more notable reactions to the Tulsa World's legal threats against BatesLine came from Michael Gorman, the incoming president of the American Library Association (ALA). His response was not a defense of fair use and its role in public discourse, but a knee-jerk reaction, which, as it turns out, reflects a deeper lack of respect for blogs, the Internet, and the electronic availability and searchability of the written word. Karen G. Schneider has documented Gorman's reaction to the World controversy, along with his other controversial statements, on the blog Free Range Librarian.

Dan Lovejoy has been all over this story: The Federal Department of Homeland Security has put veterans of some of the most invasive software and Internet companies in responsible positions overseeing the department's privacy issues. Nuala O'Connor Kelly, formerly Chief Privacy Officer for DoubleClick, is now Chief Privacy Officer for the Department of Homeland Security. And an executive from Claria (neé Gator) is on a Homeland Security privacy board. Many websurfers, myself included, installed Gator because it promised to help us more easily manage all the different usernames and passwords one acquires in the course of registering for this newspaper's website and that online banking service. It also would hijack your browser and pop up windows for its advertisers based on the site you were currently browsing. Dan reminds that Gator has been the subject of a number of lawsuits.

Dan has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to find out all he can. If the Cornyn-Leahy OPEN Government Act (S. 394) gets through Congress quickly enough, the FOIA request might not be too expensive:

Tale of the tape


Dear Fry's Electronics, please, please, please open a store in metro New York. Tomorrow would be nice. Tonight would be nicer.

If any of my dear readers knows where I can find electrically-conductive tape for sale in the metro New York area, I would love to hear from you. If you can even tell me where to find the kind of electronics store that has every conceivable potentiometer, resistor, capacitor, and diode -- a mecca for electronics hobbyists, repairmen, and tinkerers -- Nerdvana, in other words -- that's the sort of place that is most likely to have what I need. E-mail me at blog AT batesline DOT com

It is a point of common knowledge back home that in New York you can buy anything imaginable from anywhere in the world. Don't let me down, Gotham.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Technology category from February 2005.

Technology: January 2005 is the previous archive.

Technology: March 2005 is the next archive.

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