Illegal to Use Smartphone Maps While Driving

A California judge has ruled that using a map or GPS app behind the wheel qualifies as distracted driving, just like texting.

A California court just passed a law banning the use of phone map’s while driving. The offense is equivalent to a ticket one would receive for texting or talking on the phone while driving. As someone that considers themselves ‘direction-ally impaired’ I might have an issue if this law was adopted in New Jersey (which it very well could be in the near future). It is safe to say that I would be lost every time I drove anywhere new or foreign. Being that I am a broke college student, I don’t drive one of those fancy cars with the built in navigation systems. Therefore, I heavily rely on my GPS app, Waze. Waze is the greatest navigation app I’ve found…and, get this, its free! It alerts drivers if there’s a cop, red light camera, or even a pot hole spotted by other drivers; it calculates new routes and shows nearby gas prices, along with an option to view restaurants and retail stores in your area or on your route. The best part about using my Waze app on my iPhone is the fact that I saved a bunch of money in comparison to buying my own GPS which could end up running me hundreds of dollars. 

And now courts are trying to take that away from me??? I understand the risk factor that comes along with the use of these mobile navigation apps; however, isn’t the same risk still there with portable and built-in car GPS’? Of course, there’s always the disclaimer when your device is turned on saying that “you may not operate this device while driving..its dangerous..blah blah blah.” But who really obeys this advice? In theory, I’d like to say I don’t use my GPS while I’m driving, but that would just be a lie. With this being said, I am not too worried about this law being passed in California. I don’t use my phone while driving unless its a necessity, and I’m always looking for cops and watching my surroundings. This may be true for me, but there are just too many people that are reckless and don’t take others and their own safety into consideration, and for the existence of those people, laws like this will continue to be passed affecting people that they don’t necessarily need  to affect.

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Pessimistic View on Technology

As I have grown up I have watched technology develop at an astronomically fast speed. Throughout my lifetime I have seen computers shrink in size and become portable. I have seen phones come off the walls and into every single person’s pocket that you see around you. I have also seen books become digital pages and video games become a handheld necessity to avoid boredom. Needless to say, kids nowadays are without-a-doubt growing up differently. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology for everything it grants me in my daily life, but sometimes I just can’t help but catch myself feeling all too pessimistic about technology and its impact on everything around me. I loved the way I grew up… When I went to a friends house, we played outside. When I completed essays to be turned into teachers, I wrote them instead of typing them. When I needed to talk to one of my friends, I called their house phone to see if they could talk. When I needed internet, I heard my mom yell “Don’t be on there too long, I’m expecting a phone call.” The list can go on and on… I may have complained more than necessary when I used to have to deal with the implications of technology, or lack thereof for that matter. But the truth is, I would choose the generation I grew up in any day when given the choice of now or then. Nowadays, I find children extremely anti-social due to their active engagement with technology. Everywhere you look now it is overly common to see a child playing with some type of technology; its as if kids can’t entertain themselves anymore.

I understand completely that in current times there is a need for technology in order to be successful–especially in a business world. However, there is a difference between being proficient with technology and technology running how one dictates their own life.I am not one to constantly be on my phone; I am completely capable of putting my phone down and leaving it be for extended periods of times. But on the other hand, I have become more and more aware of my dependence on my phone recently and I have to say, it scares me. I hate that I can’t start my day until I get the latest fill-in on social media, and I hate that I make myself believe my phone vibrated just to check for supposed messages (we all do it!). I also hate that it is an absolute necessity to have a laptop in order to succeed in school, specifically college. My grandmother always asked me growing up as computers became essential for schoolwork, “What if a student doesn’t have a computer?” I answered her, “Everyone needs a computer or you won’t pass because you can’t do that assigned work.” I do love bringing my laptop to certain classes because it is easier to take notes on, but should it really be a necessity for everyone? Along with bringing my laptop to class to take notes comes other distractions that present themselves right in front of my eyes–the Internet to entertain my boredom for example. Sometimes I just wish I could go back to a simpler time, a time when technology didn’t run the lives of so many people. I often feel technology beginning to dictate my life and I give myself little breaks from it to ensure I don’t let it run my life any more than I have control over. Its all about finding an equal balance with technology, and that’s something I think a lot of people struggle with because of the rapid pace that technology is being produced and gaining importance. 

My Recent Guilty Pleasure

To me, there is nothing better to do on my laptop while I am passing time than scrolling through the addicting pages of Pinterest. For those who don’t know what Pinterest is..its a fantastic website that allows users to “pin” and centralize things themselves and others stumble upon and “like” all over the internet. It consists of over thirty different categories of ‘things’ that people may have an interest in, such as tattoos, hairstyles, humor, or travel. Pinterest literally combines everything we love into one, distinct website. It caters your ‘news feed’ to strictly be things you want to see because you can follow your friends or follow a person that pins things that are of interest to you. This website combines the social connection with others that our generation is becoming so accustomed and dependent on, while embracing and catering to the different interests people may have; essentially Pinterest gives it’s users everything they desire in a website at this time. 

My fascination with Pinterest was discovered over a year and a half ago. As I have spent time browsing the extremely long pages that Pinterest offers, I have always had one simple complaint: sometimes I’ll see an item that I would like to purchase while I’m on Pinterest, but I can’t get the correct link to see how much it is or if it even truly exists. ALAS, I have found the perfect website to void my complaint–Wanelo. Wanelo is the slightly more girly Pinterest that offers the options “like” or “buy” with every single item that is posted to the website. It has the same social connection with others that many users might be looking for because you can ‘follow’ friends or other people of interest. The sheer fact that I can so easily find things that I like or want WITH the option to buy, is DEADLY. The discovery of Wanelo is not only harmful for myself and my schoolwork, it is also toxic for my bank account. So girls (or guys), this is my plug for the awesome website, aka my guilty pleasure, Wanelo. If you’re ever looking for a color changing shower-head with rainbow LED lights, Rasta dream catcher TOMS, a ‘Keep Calm and Eat’ sweatshirt, or perhaps a self stirring mug, Wanelo is definitely the website for you! 

Color Changing Showerhead Nozzle - Rainbow LED Lights Rasta Dream Catcher TOMS by BStreetShoes on Etsy   Keep Calm and EAT Burgundy Crewneck unisex size Small Cool Self Stirring Mug Cup

P.S. I am sorry to inform all of you that are going to jump on my Wanelo-bandwagon, there IS a Wanelo app to fuel your guilty pleasure…..

“My Phone is My Friend”

I love my phone. I love to text; I love my Apps; I love my pictures; I love it all. It is a safe bet that you will never find me without my phone; it is always in reaching distance of me. I do enjoy my phone, but this is not to say I am addicted to my phone. I am perfectly capable of leaving my phone in another room or putting it away during an important class. There are many people that have grown so used to having their phone by their sides, it is almost as if their phones are their friends. People can treat phones like they treat other living, functioning humans; they can talk to them, play with them, be entertained when your bored, learn new things–absolutely anything a friend can give to you, a phone is becoming capable of doing as well. 

Having said this, it makes sense that people have recently began being structured to want a phone that does more than just make a phone call. Now consumers look for phones that have more social capabilities–including access to social media, email, text–that keep them further in touch with others. As time goes on, people will grow an emotional attachment to their devices. The more capabilities a phone has, the more a person will feel a need for that phone in their life. 

How does an emotional attachment to a phone change people’s relationships with each other?

With phones becoming an absolute necessity, face-to-face social interaction is already beginning to occur much less frequently. Our generation has made it acceptable to communicate in utterly informal ways. It is now common to meet with customers through the medium of skype, or conduct a phone interview rather than an in-person interview. The importance of seeing a person face-to-face is essentially diminishing. It is becoming completely standard that people are more and more dependent on their phones; in other words, it is now okay and normal to be addicted to your phone. 

Along with accepting the normality of being attached to a phone comes the other argument: people are using phones at the wrong times causing a severe disconnection. It is one thing to think the frequent use of technology is normal, but to think it does not creep into your social interactions would be ignorant. People are using their phones, for whatever purpose, while they are in social settings, thus removing themselves from being attentive, engaged listeners. 

We (yes, you too) must stop making technology a number one priority in our lives. Technology is a fantastic creation that allows individuals access to far greater things than one could imagine. However, there is a time and place for technology and that is not to be forgotten. I recently traveled to Aruba where I had my phone turned off for an entire seven days (I know, crazy, right?). I was the typical anxious, not-so-happy girl on the departing flight without my phone. However, it ended up being one of the best weeks, and I really believe I owe that to the fact that I was not attached to my phone for the entire vacation. I felt I was really seeing and enjoying everything around me and most importantly I felt connected to everyone I was with and met throughout my trip. Being connected with other people and the world is imperative in our society today, and that cannot deter people from still practicing adequate face-to-face interaction skills. A world without formal interactions is surely a world without aware, caring people knowing how to properly get along with each other and co-exist. So, please, stop making phones your BFFs–asimpler acquaintance will just have to do… 

What Info Should Be Googleable?

Eu Google

A court case is set for Tuesday in the EU’s highest Court. The matter that will be discussed is as follows:

“If a person fails to pay social security contributions and their house is auctioned off as a result, do they have the right to ask Google to delete such damaging information from search results?”

The claim stems from a Spanish man that searched his name on Google and found a newspaper article stating the above. He now wants to make it his mission to see that Google deletes his personal damaging information along with strengthening privacy laws for all other Europeans.

The court ruled in favor of the Spanish man, however Google has since challenged the outcome in the Court of Justice. There has also been the creation of a new draft law that aims to exercise the “right to be forgotten”, specifically in regards to Google and the Internet.

The way I see it:

The question “when is information really private?” arose quite frequently in accordance with the case. I believe Google is not at fault for that type of ‘damaging’ information being released to the public. If a person commits a felony, such as neglecting to pay social security, they must be aware that the risk that comes with it is public knowledge of the said infraction. When something is big enough to be published in a newspaper, (which, may I remind you, is not considered illegal or a problem for the Spanish man in the case) a person needs to realize the infamous publicity he or she will be receiving. That damaging information will still be out there for the public to access regardless of whether Google deletes the information from their search index. I find it interesting that this man is only going after Google for ‘publishing’ his story; he should really shift his focus to the real problem at hand, the fact that the newspaper published his personal information for the world to see.

It seems to all comes down to the question “is Google the controller or the host?” I would absolutely say Google is simply a host. They did not physically create the damaging information; they merely gave access to an already created document through their search engine. That is what a search engine does–they centralize everything so that information can all be found in one common place. Google cannot be at fault for granting the public access to information that was already in existence for the public to view.

Another favorable point that I see for Google is the matter of whether Google, a company based in the United States that operates under U.S. laws and guidelines, should be subject to EU laws and regulations. It has been proposed that there be a law created to give all European citizens the “right to be forgotten.” The right to be forgotten would give citizens an opportunity to have damaging or personal information deleted, especially in terms of the web. Google defends themselves by stating that they operate in accordance with the “right to free speech” and the new EU law would undeniably revoke the already-created law.

Believe me, if I was the person to discover damaging, public information about myself on the Internet, I would be quite upset and angry as well. However, it comes down to the solid, baseline facts that Google did not create the document themselves, they are simply a host, and they operate under U.S. laws and should not be subject to the violation of European laws.

This is solely my opinion in how the court case should be executed. I am curious to see how other people would react to this article and court case in general. So I ask all of you, what information should actually be Googleable?

“A Modest Proposal on Gun Violence in Our Schools”

(My Opinion Response)

As I read the article from the Los Angeles Times I could not resist posting my own comments regarding this author’s ridiculous claims. During my reading I could not help but wonder if the entire piece was meant to be a joke. The author, Daniel Akst, proposes the extreme idea that children should be sent to school with firearms for their own protection. To think that a kindergartner is mature and equipped enough to handle a gun that is capable of killing is a thought that never even crossed my mind because I see it as entirely too absurd. The author suggests that a child should not be able to move onto the next grade if they do not pass a firearms safety test. He proceeds to compare the ‘armed self-defense’ requirement to, say, a math requirement. A math requirement is something that will be beneficial to a child’s future. The entire purpose of attending school is to grow as a thinker and an intellectual for the mere goal of obtaining a gratifying and influential job. Children are the future brains of this country; they will be the ones to discover new technologies and medicines that will benefit everyone on this earth. For people to say teaching a child how to use a violent weapon bears the same importance as teaching a child exceptional math and science skills is something that will never sit right with me. 

I am almost 20 years old and I would consider myself a very mature young woman. However, I would be lying if I said I was completely done maturing. I still get angry at minuscule things and I still act in ways that I sometimes regret after my fury. Like I said I am 20 years old and I still cannot control my emotions the way I, perhaps, should. Expecting a 5 year old to be capable of controlling their emotions is an absurd hope. Children throw tantrums where they may hit their sibling or throw a toy at a friend that is bothering them. I do not care how mature one might think children are, handing kids lethal weapons will never go without severe consequences. All it takes is one child to get angry with another at the lunch table before a weapon, capable of killing, is pulled. And then what? Every single child and adult in that lunchroom and school is now in danger. You see, it may be nice in theory to have firearm knowledge instilled in children, but the terrible negative outcomes outweigh the positives by a landslide. 

I am fully aware that there is a huge, growing problem at hand in regards to gun violence in schools. I just do not think supplying our youth with weapons will promote anything but more violence and detrimental harm to others. The only maybe-ever-so-slightly promising proposal Daniel Akst makes is the possibility of teachers being equipped with firearms. Teachers go through an extensive background check to obtain their positions already, but with weapons being around children a more thorough check will undoubtedly be needed. I think it would be a necessity to make the background checks a more frequent occurrence, along with psychiatric evaluations and recommendations/interviews from family, friends, neighbors, etc. Intense, in-depth training in regards to weaponry use would be crucial, as well, with the implementation of firearms in the hands of teachers. With all of the necessary precautions that comes with the notion of teachers bearing a gun, I can see a large amount of prospective teachers change their career path. It will turn into a job similar to applying for an FBI position with the extensive research that goes into each applicant because, after all, you can never be too careful when it comes to children’s safety.

I may have slightly agreed with Akst’s proposal of teachers with weapons, but if it were up to me I still do not agree that weapons should ever be allowed within school parameters. School is a place for learning and it should absolutely be kept that way. There are plenty of other precautions that can be taken before amounting to the extreme idea of handing out firearms to young children.

“Is Google Making Us Stupid?” (Response)

google
Advancements are constantly being made in the world; a major source of progress is undoubtedly that of technology. Along with changes in a technological sense comes the fact that a culture’s way of life and thinking can be altered as a result. As technology, such as the internet, becomes a commodity used by many, the way people think is also typically altered. This alteration can be subconscious. For example, the way reading has evolved from books to the internet has subconsciously affected our culture. Our culture now has a different way of reading that puts instantaneous answers and results as our number one priority. As our culture begins to attain this lackadaisical mindset that puts finding immediate answers above all else, former ways of thinking and reading from actual books unknowingly diminishes. Specifically, it is simply easier to search for something on Google rather than flip through the many pages of literature to find an answer to a question. Although the world has made enormous technological advancements with the internet and simplifying the work the mind has to do, has it come with the cost of today’s culture potentially changing into a passive and inattentive group as a whole?

It is important to remember that websites are not readily available for the sole benefit of its users. Similar to other areas of business and production, these websites have an overall goal of making money. Therefore, the affects they might have on their users are not a concern if they are still acquiring monetary profits; it is not their problem if they are the ones being held responsible for turning our culture into a lazy generation because, after all, we are the ones feeding into it. A way that Google gains money is by allowing advertisements on their search engine. However, the advertisements do much more than produce revenue; they allow readers to get distracted. This distraction forces web-users to navigate through many other sites linked to Google. As this occurs, Google tracks what one is doing to know what will be profitable for them in the future. You see, search engines and other websites have the power to show a user only what they want people to have access to, essentially creating an artificial intelligence. The positive outcomes of such immense technological advancements can indisputably be seen because they have granted an entire population access to a plethora of information, resources, and entertainment, but when we take a step back and look at the bigger picture of how technology truly affects the way our culture thinks and acts it is noticeable that controversial ideas tend to emerge.