Eightball and Thundercloud's RANT

Our Little Rant by Eightball & Thundercloud
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The New Politically Correct Internet

I was just thinking that now that the elections are over and I'm able to actually watch television without seeing those awful political advertisements (which have now convinced me that all politicians are liars) we must be back in our "politically correct" mode. Right? You know the mode where we call fat people "big" and short people "vertically challenged" and that sort of thing.

Well, folks, political correctness has now spilled over into the Internet. Now, the Internet is the last place you'd expect to see political correctness. Am I right?  But, I swear it's true. I just read an article where a famous software maker (McAfee) is afraid to call spyware "spyware". They call spyware "potentially unwanted programs" PUP. Hmmm, now that's interesting.  Next time I take out the garbage I'll call it "potentially unwanted waste" (PUW)? Or, should I call spoiled food "potentially unwanted cuisine" (PUC)?

Anyway, here's the paragraph from the article that got my mind-wheels spinning:

"McAfee prefers to not even use the word spyware because some online marketing firms, including Claria, which makes the Gator eWallet and other software for targeted ad presentation, bristle at the term. McAfee uses the term "potentially unwanted programs" instead." (For the full article see http://www.ebcvg.com/articles.php?id=332 ).

Did you notice that even the author of the article calls "Claria" an online marketing firm? That's like calling a burglar a "night-time salvage operator". Why can't we just call a spade a spade? Why not say "online adware (and suspected spyware) publisher Claria"? Well you could, but you see Claria has reaped heap big profits from its activities and has plenty of money to throw at lawyers. We don't, that's for sure. So, we'll just safely call their products "adware" and let you draw your own conclusions. Oh, in case you need more information about Claria/Gator/GAIN please read the information here. Now that sounds like potentially unwanted software to me! Are we now to refer to "viruses" as "Potentially Undesirable Self-replicating Software"?

Actually, I think, political correctness has arrived on the 'Net and we're bound to see it more and more. Once it was OK to refer to new computer users as "lamerz" (get it? Lame? Lamer? Lamest?). That's what they called me when I was new to computers. And you know what? I sure didn't like being a lamerz! It motivated me.  I learned everything I could about computers so I wouldn't be a lowly lamerz.  A little while later the term "Lamerz" softened to "Newbie". I think "Newbie" has a bad sound to it, though, don't you?  I have coined a new more politically correct term for this new era of Internet political correctness. I will call them "time-challenged users". Or how about "Embryonic Computer Geeks"? Not much motivation there. Nothing to ruffle any feathers either. So if you're an embryonic computer geek, you'll most likely remain one. Heaven forbid anyone call someone a "lamerz" these days.

The term "hacker" comes to mind too. "Hacker" conjures up all sorts of nasty things! We should call them "Online Security Testers" or "Private Security Investigators". And "software pirates"? That brings visions of billowing sails and eye-patches. People who use unlicensed software should not be called "software pirates". That's a no-no in our new politically correct Internet. We'll call them "Potentially Unlicensed Software Users".

And, Hormel (the company that makes "Spam" the undiscovered meat) is up in arms about the Internet use of its trademark as a term for unsolicited commercial email (spam). So, we'll call spam "Potentially Unwanted Email".

Even the United States Senate is probably not going to pass either of the two spyware acts passed by the House of Representatives. It appears the spyware (excuse me the "Potentially Unwanted Software") makers have lobbyists (Influence Purveyors) at work. According to the Federal Trade Commission we don't need new laws anyway; we just need to enforce the ones we already have. Seems the "Potentially Unwanted Software" makers have their fingers in many pies.

And can you imagine the acronyms we'll all have to get used to on the new politically correct Internet?

PUP (Potentially Unwanted Programs)
PUSS (Potentially Unwanted Self-replicating Software)
TCU (Time Challenged User)
ECG (Embryonic Computer Geek)
OST (Online Security Tester)
PSI (Private Security Investigator)
PUSU (Potentially Unlicensed Software Operators)
PUE (Potentially Unwanted Email)

After reviewing those acronyms I think I'll call a spade a spade and take my chances with the politically correct crowd. I'd prefer to hear it straight too. Heck, if I'm fat I want someone to say "Hey, you're fat!". If I have spyware on my computer, I want McAfee to tell me "You have spyware on your computer!"

Well, you'll have to excuse me. I'm going to eat a Spam sandwich while I delete all the PUE in my email.

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