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Ovation: Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment.

KillSwitchLong before the days of identity theft and privacy regulations, I used to live in constant fear of losing my wallet.  I didn’t carry much but, like most everyone that I knew I carried my driver’s license, some cash, a department store credit card and a gas credit card along with a library card and a video store rental card.  I also carried a spare car key and a spare house key in my wallet.

While I certainly worried about losing any cash that I might have in my wallet, and if it were to be stolen, any charges that a thief might make on my credit cards, but mostly I was afraid that anyone who found my wallet would immediately know where I lived and have a key to my house.  If they were criminal enough to steal a wallet, I thought, they’d surely rob a house.  But still, I thought it was more prudent to carry the spare key with me than to leave it under a flower pot on the porch.

Today, carrying a wallet is quickly becoming a nostalgic pastime.  Billfolds, wallets, purses and pocketbooks are quickly being replaced by smart phones, tables and other handheld devices that store more information than we could possibly carry in a wallet.

If anyone had told me back then that there would one day be a way to make everything in my wallet disappear if it was lost or stolen I would have thought them crazy.  I would have been wrong because, after July 2015, all smartphones manufactured for sale in the United States will be equipped with new “kill switch” technology.  The feature would let a phone’s owner erase contacts, photos, e-mail and other information, and lock the phone so it can’t be used without a password.  The kill switch is expected to be offered at no cost to consumers and will prevent phones from being reactivated without an authorized user’s consent.  Any data stored on the phone, however, would be retrievable if the owner recovers the phone.

Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft, along with the five biggest cellular carriers in the United States are among those companies that have signed on to a voluntary program announced earlier this week called the “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment”.

Apparently, the wireless industry is finally agreeing to do something to deter smartphone thefts in the United States.  It seems to me that this could work.  Not even the most foolish of thieves would steal a wallet if they knew in advance that it was going to be empty.

Do you think the “kill switch” is a good idea?

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Diatribe: Marijuana Vending Machines.

vending%20machineBack in my younger years, cigarettes used to be sold from vending machines in just about any place you could imagine.  A cigarette machine could be found at the entrance to almost every restaurant, bar, filling station and bowling alley.  Looking back, it seems like everyone smoked back then and it was relatively easy to buy cigarettes.

Where I grew up you were supposed to be eighteen years old before you could legally purchase tobacco products.  So high school students were, generally, too young to purchase cigarettes legally and would frequently buy them from machines when older smokers were unavailable or unwilling to purchase them elsewhere on their behalf.  Purchases from these vending machines were essentially made on the honor system … “I promise that I’m old enough to buy them legally” … so the system was abused all the time.

Guilty as charged.

I remember buying packs of cigarettes from vending machines for as little at sixty cents.  And the machine would also dispense a complimentary book of matches!  Smokers today routinely pay ten times that amount for a pack of cigarettes and many have never laid eyes on a book of matches!  Last Friday, a marijuana vending machine made by American Green called Zazzz was unveiled in Colorado.

Biometrics aside, teenagers and criminals will undoubtedly figure out a way to manipulate and abuse these machines just like the cigarette machines were abused a generation ago.  I can’t see how the pros outweigh the cons on this issue at all.

Do you think marijuana vending machines are a good idea?

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Ovation: Collabro.

There are Boy Bands, boy bands, “boy bands” and then there is Collabro who, after only one month, auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent.  Enjoy.

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Diatribe Revisited: Priscilla’s Big Fat American Gypsy (Arranged) Wedding On Television.

During a long-overdue and internet-free vacation with loved ones, please enjoy several days’ worth of “Best Of …” posts from the DiatribesAndOvations.com archives … an opportunity to re-share some of the blog’s most popular posts from the last three years with readers who may not have been around at the time that they were first published.  Enjoy!

Originally published on May 5, 2012, “Diatribe: Priscilla’s Big Fat American Gypsy (Arranged) Wedding On Television” remains one of the blog’s most popular posts.

priscillaCable channel TLC, the home of intellectually stimulating drivel like Toddlers & Tiaras19 Kids and Counting and Sister Wives, is about to aim a little lower with My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding.  As the title suggests, this eight-episode series will feature the gypsy communities in our country and their weddings.  The first episode will focus on 14-year-old Priscilla whose parents have raised her according to their gypsy culture.

What this means, in part, is that it’s time for her to get married.  She’s been trained to be a good gypsy housewife and to serve her husband like her mother serves her father.  This poor girl, homeschooled by gypsy parents (why is this legal?) will be married off by her parents so that she can clean a different camper home.  The episode will include scenes from a party that her father hosted in hopes of finding a husband for his young daughter.

Wow …

1890 called and it wants its women back.  This medieval sort of lifestyle brings to mind images of damsels in distress and knights in shining armor … a time when all men were rulers and women were but servants and concubines.  I think this is really sad.  I see an entire community of people who are teaching their daughters that their only role in life is to care for a husband and be satisfied while he provides for her and his offspring.

Wow …

I understand, but don’t agree with, the concept of arranged marriages as is the practice of many religions and cultures but this seems different to me.   Will Priscilla go to the highest bidder?

While they seem like a harmless bunch and they all appear to be enjoying themselves, this feels to me like TLC’s attempt to engage viewers in the Jersey Shore/HousewifesOf/HillbillyHandfishin’ train-wreck-watching demographic and make some quick summer cash.  There’s a reason that they only ordered eight episodes.

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Copyright © 2014 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

Ovation Revisited: PAWS Chicago.

During a long-overdue and internet-free vacation with loved ones, please enjoy several days’ worth of “Best Of …” posts from the DiatribesAndOvations.com archives … an opportunity to re-share some of the blog’s most popular posts from the last three years with readers who may not have been around at the time that they were first published.  Enjoy!

Originally published on March 27, 2011, “Ovation: PAWS Chicago’” still rings true as the organization continues to do wonderful work for the animals of Chicagoland.

paws-chicagoMy cousin is an avid animal rights activist.  I admire her consistent passion for the cause.  Currently, she is the Development & Communications Manager for PAWS Chicago.  PAWS Chicago (Pets Are Worth Saving) is the city’s largest no-kill humane organization whose work is focused on alleviating the city’s pet overpopulation problem.  The staff of this state-of-the-art, cageless shelter envisions a city in which pets are not destroyed just because they’re homeless.  My cousin is often seen on television or heard on the radio talking about a wonderful dog or a beautiful cat that needs a home.  She helps facilitate many animal adoptions and has been known to, from time to time, foster a dog or two in her own home.  Since PAWS Chicago does not receive any financial support from federal, state or local government agencies, she works tirelessly with fund-raising events throughout her community.

I’m also a supporter of a local shelter, The Nashville Humane Association, that does similar work in middle Tennessee.  The Nashville Humane Association is one of the oldest service organizations in Nashville and can be traced back to a society founded in 1887 to protect draft horses from mistreatment.  I wonder if anybody’s cousin works there.

If you’re thinking about getting a pet, please consider adoption from your local animal shelter.  (Both PAWS Chicago and Nashville Humane Association accept donations if you feel inclined to give.)

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Copyright © 2014 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

Diatribe Revisited: Is Jack-In-The-Box’s ‘Marry The Bacon’ Campaign Offensive To Those Fighting For Marriage Equality?

During a long-overdue and internet-free vacation with loved ones, please enjoy several days’ worth of “Best Of …” posts from the DiatribesAndOvations.com archives … an opportunity to re-share some of the blog’s most popular posts from the last three years with readers who may not have been around at the time that they were first published.  Enjoy!

Originally published on February 7, 2012, “Diatribe: Is Jack-In-The-Box’s ‘Marry The Bacon’ Campaign Offensive To Those Fighting For Marriage Equality?” still seems a bit offensive to me.

I have no tolerance for people who don’t take marriage seriously.  And, while thousands of couples across the nation fight for and dream of the day that their relationships will be recognized by the government, I think the new marketing campaign from Jack in the Box restaurants is insensitive and offensive.  The following commercial debuted during the Super Bowl and features a man that’s totally in love with bacon.

The commercial is just a part of their new advertising strategy.  They’ve also included a website where visitors can create a virtual bacon baby and buy bacon clothing.

Why aren’t the defenders of “traditional marriage” in an uproar?  Where are Maggie and Brian from NOM and why aren’t they calling for a boycott?  Where’s the outrage from advocates of marriage equality?  Watch the commercial again and let me know your thoughts.  Am I overreacting?  Or is it offensive to you, too?

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Like this post? Follow the blog and get involved in discussions! Find “Follow via Email” on the right side of the page and click “Follow.”  Click on buttons at the end of each post to share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media sites, too!

Copyright © 2014 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

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