Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Friday, 17 January 2003

Just some minor tweaks to the existing prose in my story. I also did a little fiddling around with my film. Jackie and I watched another season-3 Buffy episode. A good Friday evening after a pretty good Friday.

My new mobile phones have GPS built into them. (Some means of discovering location has been required by law for several years now, although the functionality is only now actually getting out to the field.) There's no user interface to get at the location info, though. Mostly it's there so that emergency responders can learn where 911 calls originated.

But service providers also can make the info available for targeted marketing.

The service providers are desperately hoping that shops will pay money to be able to send messages to people based on their location. For example, a shop that's just one block off the main drag would love to be able to send me a text message as I reach the cross street saying, "Come to our store! Just one block north!" That's the theory, anyway. We'll see.

I turned on the location service. The manual says that the network will ask me before identifying me to anybody. We'll see about that, too.

People who know me might be surprised that I'm willing to reveal my location in real time this way, but my logic is much the same as it is with this journal. Part of the reason this journal is public is that journals really aren't private--the police will seize and read your journal if they have occasion to search your house. Opposing parties to a lawsuit routinely subpoena journals. I figure that it's much better to make my journal public--that way I'll never be under any illusions of privacy. Similarly with my new phone. While I'm carrying it my location is very nearly public information. By explicitly authorizing the phone company to reveal my location to third parties, I reduce the chance that I'll be lulled into imagining that information will end up being private.

I still think of the building where I work as "the new building," even though we've been here two years now. (The same length of time as this journal, in fact: the first day at the building was also the day I posted the first entry in this journal.) Except for having cubicals instead of offices, the building is great. That's a pretty bit "except." Still, there are compensations.

The windows just outside my cubical have a great view. This evening, it's spectacular. The University of Illinois's Agricultural school provide us a pastoral landscape with flocks of sheep and a llama: a wonderful break from the high-tech stuff I spend my day doing.

Just across the street from the pastures is the University's Assembly Hall. Now, at sunset, the white dome nearly glows red; its ribbed structure casts dramatic shadows across its surface. Hanging just over the shoulder of the building, the full moon is all the whiter by contrast.

On the ground, the fallen snow is already in shadow; only the tallest structures are still getting any direct sunlight. The dark blue silos beyond the pastures all have a red flair down the side where the angle of the curved surface catches the light and reflects it this way.

The solstice past, the days grow longer. The red streaks vanish only as it's time for me to go home. Soon I will head home in the daylight.


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