Flack pointed me to this nifty little PC card today that turns your computer into an FM transmitter. Slap the amp module on there (funny how that’s not available in the U.S.!) and you’ve got yourself a little radio station. (And the FCC will love you for it, at least one you’ve been arrested and they’ve fined you eleven grand.) OK, pirate radio amp aside, I’ve got to say that I’m seriously considering this gadget for home. Working around the house or around the yard/pasture, this would be great. I’ve had a gadget somewhat similar to this in my car for quite a while, which in theory is supposed to broadcast a little FM bubble around my source so whatever portable audio device I have (in my case, a Net Minidisc player) can make the jump to my car stereo. Neat idea, except that little doohickey is very analog and very unreliable (I almost think the FCC clamps down on these things to where the manufacturers are all but forced to make them unreliable). It also puts me in mind of a thought exercise I’ve thrown out before on Digital Press and NotNews.org, about setting up a seven-day TV programming schedule with shows you have on tape or DVD. What would you put on the radio if you had a little FM bubble of radio free you? (I have to admit, some mischievous part of me would love to set up a disposable PC somewhere with the FM card and the 5-mile broadcasting amp, load up the drive with the most annoying music ever heard – I have several remixes of “Hamsterdance” in my collection – and throw in some bogus station IDs saying stuff like “You’re listening to K-Y…….jelly!”, and then leave the thing plugged in and running somewhere and take off for the hills.)
Speaking of broadcasting yourself into the world, I saw a report on World News Tonight about how “social networking” sites such as Facebook and MySpace are coming back to haunt folks – i.e. underage college students getting expelled for mentioning drinking, etc. – and I’m a little torn on that. I agree with the assessment that one of their on-screen experts gave – don’t put anything you wouldn’t want your family to see on one of these sites – but at the same time I found myself conflicted with the idea that – according to the report – at least one government agency is checking out prospective employees’ MySpace sites before hiring. I know that putting anything on these sites, or blogging, or anything of that nature, is something that you’re putting out there for the world to see, so technically the liability is that of the end user. So it’s not like finding someone’s Myspace site or their blog or what have you is really prying. But there’s still something a little disturbing about the idea. I think my concerns lean toward the younger crowd. Kids say and do stupid things. God knows I did when I was a teenager. The thought that, in some respects, people can more or less by tried and convicted by a judge and jury of one based on their blog bugs me. Maybe this means I’m just not really a member of Generation Blog (and y’know, I’ve never claimed to be), but it almost seems like we’re slowly supplanting things like, oh, talking to people and getting to know them, as opposed to having read every thought they’ve ever confessed to having online and making some kind of judgement there. Even in this age of Perhaps Too Much Transparency (where individuals are concerned, at least), the internet is still a barrier that allows some people to put up a front. The thought that we’re now going to judge people’s livelihoods, college admission worthiness, and other major, life-changing things by someone’s blog bugs me.
Be careful what ye blog, brothers and sisters, ’cause Big Blog Brutha is watchin’.