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Net Neutrality

The internet today is a battleground between the internet service providers who want to charge more for faster access to certain sites and the lawmakers who want to make sure everyone has equal access. I could spend several paragraphs describing to you how your internet service provider (who already charges you for fast internet access) wants to charge more for guaranteed fast access to certain sites, like YouTube and Wikipedia, or how lawmakers against Net Neutrality are being financially backed by the internet service providers themselves, but no explanation will even come close to this from John Oliver.

If you watch any video today, make this 13-minute video it, and then join the battle for Net Neutrality.

Identifying with your Political Party

As of 2014, 42% of Americans claim to identify as something other than Democrat or Republican, yet the Untied States is still largely ruled by these two political parties since they still represent the vast majority of registered voters. Why do so many identify with political parties other than the big two, yet still remain registered with the big two? I don’t know, I’m not a political scientist, but common sense makes me want to see the 42% who identify as something else actually register as something else.

This Independence Day, take some time to consider if the ideals of your political party still match your own, and re-register if necessary. Stand with who you are supposed to, not who you were told to.

Don’t neglect the smaller political parties either. It is becoming clear that the United States needs a strong third party if any significant legislative progress is to be made these days. Without a third competing force, we’re left with two organizations who spend most days blocking each other’s progress since they are practically the antithesis of each other.

If you are either unsure or strongly unwavering in devotion to your current political party, take this quiz. You should know that I never advocate making decisions based solely on quizzes, but this one will give you a great start to your own research.

Security, Privacy, and Resetting the Net

Accusations of online surveillance by government entities are rampant. By now, you have all seen or heard of at least one clandestine government program, like PRISM, designed to spy on citizens by circumventing what was once considered to be fundamental security.

The validity of these accusations and programs are in question, as would be expected. Is there really a threat? If so, is it really as bad as described? Are those spreading the accusations seeking only to undermine the stability of their governments? Are those defending their governments simply working for their governments or living in fear of them? I doubt we’ll ever know the truth, but why should we let that stop us from protecting ourselves regardless?

Today, over 12 thousand people joined together to reach over 12 million followers to Reset the Net by promoting security and privacy. Companies like WordPress.com are already promising better security by the end of the year, and you can protect yourself now by adopting the use of many security-focused apps and privacy-focused alternatives to popular web services, like using DuckDuckGo instead of Google. By making ourselves more secure users, we promote a more secure and private internet. Whether online surveillance by government entities truly exists or not, how could you say that a more secure and private internet is a bad thing?

Now, get out there and promote a more secure and private internet! Don’t underestimate the power of your voice online. Be the change you want to see in the world.

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Earth Day, 2014

Earth Day is today! It is once again time to at least start saving the environment for free and to donate to a great charity, like The Conservation Fund. If you want to know why I prefer The Conservation Fund, read this.

Want to do even more to save the environment? Start at home with this list of fifty ways to help the planet.

Now, get out of your home or office and spend some time outdoors, or at least watch this video.

Freedom of Speech

There seems to be a grave misunderstanding as to what is protected by the right to freedom of speech in the US amongst both right and left-wing media. That concerns me greatly, as these organizations profess to represent the pinnacle of political news coverage, and such mutilation of a major governing document by a source which claims to be the only right and true word on politics and government is unforgivable.

This is the relevant portion of The United States Bill of Rights:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Too long, didn’t read? Here’s what you need to know, “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.” That’s it, nothing more.

If Congress makes a law to prosecute you for what you say, then you have grounds to complain that your right to free speech is being violated. Until then, if someone is just disagreeing with you, if you are being publicly ridiculed for your words, or even if you are being completely censored by a private group, you have no grounds to invoke such a right.

Freedom of Speech shields US citizens from laws created by the US Government to prosecute them for their words. It does not shield them from the judgement and disagreements of others.

Happy New Year! the 2014 edition

2014 is here, or 2013s if you’re an iPhone, so it’s a great time to make sure that your browser is up-to-date and change your passwords.

Get out there and experience new things this year. Maybe you want to visit places you never have before, learn something new (like Markdown, which is now supported here at WordPress.com), or just relax and enjoy life as-is. No matter what you do, make sure that you tell the world about it, so start a blog, or start posting again if you have been neglecting your blog.

MacManX.com had a great 2013, and I’m sure you’ll have a great 2014!

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Earth Day, 2013

It’s Earth Day again! Time to start at least saving the environment for free if you haven’t been already, and maybe even plant some trees and donate to a worthy charity, like The Conservation Fund. If you want to know why I prefer The Conservation Fund, read this.

Want to do even more to save the environment? Start at home with this list of fifty ways to help the planet.

Now, get out of your home or office and spend some time outdoors, or at least watch this video if you can’t.

Where I Stand Politically

I am neither Democrat nor Republican, for both suggest that I may be stagnant on certain issues with an unwillingness to learn. Nor am I Moderate, Centrist, or any other political affiliation, for all suggest the same limitations.

I will never stop learning, and when my decision is required, I reach that decision logically after considering all available facts. I am a human being as fallible as any other, full of hope for what mankind can create and fear for what it can destroy, and I do not stand with, nor do I identify with, any particular political party.

Green Shipping?

Occasionally, I hear someone ask which shipping company is the most environmentally conscious. Look, the answer is simple. If you want to ship something in a “green” manner, just mail it. Why? Because the mail truck would have gone to the destination regardless.

Mail trucks deliver mail to the destination every day except Sunday, while most delivery services follow the same schedule but only travel to the destination when they have a package to deliver. No matter what kind of fuel they use or how high-tech their trucks are, two trucks will always release more carbon emissions than one truck, so choose the one that already has to visit the destination.

If environmental issues bug you too, please feel free to stop by Save the Environment for Free and Why I Chose the Conservation Fund.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Now that January 1st is upon us, it’s a great time to make sure that your browser is up-to-date, change your passwords, start a blog or start posting again if you have been neglecting your blog, and provide a mobile phone number for your WordPress.com account (if you have one) as an additional account recovery option.

MacManX.com had a great 2012, and I’m sure you’ll have a great 2013!