Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Even government employees can appreciate my racially charged jokes.

We had a technical review with the government today for our USAF suite update. The presentations were running late, so the guy who was slated to go after me wasn't around to give his presentation. His name is Mike Eschweiler, and he's white...this will be useful information later. So I volunteered to give his presentation for him, since I was working on that item, and was familiar with it. When I got up to the podium after the meeting reconvened, these were my first words: "Alright...so I guess I'm the younger, darker version of Mike Eschweiler...". Thankfully, I received many laughs (a.k.a. LOLz), so I didn't have to worry too much about having offended someone.

P.S. - I also found out today that I was promoted. W00t! Oh, wait...that doesn't really change anything, except for the number after my job title...and a little extra change. So I guess I can't complain.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Phone tech update.

A couple of developments regarding phone tech over the past few days...

First off, I received my coveted invitation to Google Voice. The mass message with my new phone number will be sent out shortly.

Secondly, I acquired a new cell phone - the Nokia N97. I selected this because it was one of only a few phones currently available that had all the features I was looking for (3G/GSM, GPS, Wifi
, Bluetooth, touch-screen, physical QWERTY keyboard). I had to wait until my trip to Chicago to get it because I wanted to actually use it before I committed, and they are only available at Nokia stores. One advantage of this is that it is unlocked, so I can use it on any GSM carrier - which fits in with my desire to avoid cell phone contracts for the rest of eternity. After reading a few reviews, I was fearful that I would be disappointed with the phone because of the "archaic" Symbian S60 operating system and the inconsistent menus (some take one tap to select, some take two). However, I'm pretty pleased with it so far, though the UI is not as fancy as the iPhone or Android. Overall, it's a win.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Africans in America.

CNN ran a story about Africans in America (http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/07/14/africans.in.america/index.html) that was interesting to me for a few reasons (thanks to Greg for the link).

First of all, I am a second (or first, depending on how you define it) generation American with Nigerian roots. I can definitely relate to some of the experiences that the subjects discuss in the story (e.g., relating more to values of white Americans, and being teased because of this).

Another hilariously interesting point the article makes is how (in addition to stereotypes black Americans have about Africans) Africans have stereotypes of black Americans - Africans portray them as a bunch of gangsters and criminals.

Lastly, as a kid I lived in the same neighborhood in Nigeria as one of the guys mentioned in the story: Chinedu Ezeamuzie.

This brings me to the my dislike of the misnomer "African-American". Not only is it too many syllables when a simple word like "black" would do, it does not accurately describe the group it is used to represent. Not all Africans are black (see this related story). In addition, black Americans in general have pretty much no connection to the continent of Africa these days. I don't object to being called an African-American - because I indeed am one. However, if all you mean to say is that I am black, just call me that instead.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

5 people that I wish had Last.fm accounts...

...and used them...and were my friends on there. In case you don't know, Last.fm is an online social cataloging website that tracks the music that you listen to.

  1. Brian George. He basically introduced me (though I had heard one of their songs before) to my most favoritest band in the whole wide world. He's also turned me on to quite a few other good bands.
  2. Chike Orjih. After living with my bro for almost a year, I'm realizing that our musical tastes are more alike than I had previously thought. I've definitely had a few "Hey, what's that you're listening to?" moments that have resulted in pleasant discoveries.
  3. Adam Tsacoumangos. Although he hasn't yet given me any referrals, we have significant overlap in our musical collections. We also have a lot of the same interests in general.
  4. Jason White. Similar story to Adam, and a top concert companion. I'm still waiting for him to blow my mind with something.
  5. Robert Schwartz/Tom Musick. What top-5 list isn't complete without your best buds? So what if that's technically 6 people?

Friday, July 10, 2009

A racial divide in online social networking?

This article is an interesting read. The author hypothesizes a white flight of sorts from MySpace to Facebook (or, as I refer to them at times, MyFace and Spacebook). I think I was part of that flight. Does that mean I'm white? Don't answer that.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Tired of junk mail?

I know I am. I came across a website with some tips on how to stop people from sending you junk mail: http://www.ecocycle.org/junkmail/index.cfm. I've done a couple of the things on there and it seems to have helped a little bit, though not too much. They also provide a link to the website of an organization that you can pay $41 to significantly reduce your junk mail (by about 80-95%) for 5 years. A novel idea, but I don't think I'm quite ready to pay someone to do that just yet.

Friday, July 03, 2009

What is Google's civil responsibility?

Here's an interesting article about a two-pronged lawsuit that's being brought against Google:

The first claim that Ascentive makes (though they are not the first to do this type of thing) is that Google wrongfully allows other companies to purchase ads using Ascentive's trademarks. More on this in a bit.

The second claim (this is where they are trailblazers) is that Google unfairly removes their websites from search hits. The article goes on to explain why Google had dropped their sites (due to a malware warning), but to me this is immaterial. As the legal expert quoted in the article says, there's no way this claim gets anywhere in the lawsuit. I don't see how Ascentive can allege to have any say in how Google provides search results. Despite the ubiquity of Google search in society today, we must remember that this is a service provided by a private company - the pages of google.com are not owned by the public. As a side note, not many people realize the possible implications of having so much of their data on the servers of such private companies. And those that do don't seem to care (e.g., yours truly). But that's probably a separate blog post...

Back to the first claim. At first glance, it might seem wrong for Google to allow advertising with registered trademarks. But who's really doing wrong? I submit that the fault lies solely with the company that advertises using a trademark that they do not own. Google simply provides a service - it is the other company that misuses the service. It shouldn't be incumbent on Google to check that every ad they sell does not violate a trademark.

If I were the judge on this case, it would get tossed out faster than Matt Levine at a country line dancing bar (inside joke).

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A wiki for Nigerian names.

I just stumbled across this:

There aren't that many names currently, but both my first and middle names (Obinna Chukwuemeka) are listed. So people should believe me now when I say that my name is pretty common in Nigeria.

Speaking of which, there seems to be some Obinna Orji guy who may have as much of, if not more of, a web presence as I do. I'd take him on, but he seems to have studied at Harvard, so I don't think I have a chance (Harvard is the singular university I was not admitted to when I applied as an undergrad).