For the last month I've been trying to be pretty regular with my postings on this site. I know that very few people come here, and even fewer people care about my opinions and happenings in life, but this gives me a place to flush out ideas and be a little more social. One of the biggest reasons I decided to make my own site using the WordPress software rather than going with a generic package at MySpace or Windows Live (like my last blog) was because of the problem with advertising.
Advertising agencies collect a phenominal amount of information about each of us. I can't visit Google without seeing AdSense adverts targeted towards me, no matter what website I happen to view. I can't go a day without at least one spam email referring to me by name. I had hoped that by constructing and maintaining my own site that I would reduce the effectiveness of these spy machines and provide readers with richer content and a better user interface (I would really like to see MSN or MySpace try to offer some of the services I've managed to get integrated here).
Relatively unlimited disk space is another benefit here. Sure, for the moment my site is a total of 28.9 MegaBytes (thanks to all the pictures), and most blogging sites let people have upwards of 200 MB or even 1 GB of space … but by hosting my own solution, I could easily have a site as large as I wanted. This might be useful going forward if I were to post streaming videos, or audio files, or whatever else might be worthwhile in the future. I think it would be really cool to have some streaming video on here showing some trips, or exciting events (like getting married, or some special moments with my future children).
One of the features that I was recently thinking about was having my cell phone contact this website and update my current GPS (Global Positioning System) location. This way I could have a Google Map showing in the side bar with a little arrow showing where I was at that moment. This would be relatively simple so long as I write a little Java application that would run on my cell phone and find out what radio tower I was closest to, then relay the GPS coordinates to a private database table on my website. This is something I will definately do when I have kids, because I will want to know where they are at any given time.
Of course I wouldn't tell them that the cell was going to act mainly as a locator … they would just think that I was a cool dad for getting them a cell phone for their first day at school :P
But this makes me wonder … is this too much information? If I did write that application so that others could see where I was at any given time through a website, would I want to let everyone know where I was?
In 99% of all instances, it really wouldn't matter. When I'm outside, I know I have no real right to privacy. I pass by at least 9 video recorders on my way to the bus stop every morning, and at least 14 on the way home. I'm sure there are several recorders that I don't even know about that catch me walking from one location to another. But one thing that I do enjoy is the privacy I have in my home. By telling the world that I was at my home, would this errode even more of my false sense of privacy?
I find myself thinking more and more about when privacy matters, and what information I can show people. In most cases, it doesn't matter if somebody knows where I am at any given time. I'm sure there are some people that would be interested to know where I might be if I wasn't online at a certain time. I'm sure that others would be interested to know where I might be if I was vacationing somewhere or travelling. I'm just wondering where the line is set for the transition from "Amusing Information" to "Too Much Information".
Of course, I'll still put that tracker software in my kids phones. They might never know how to read an analog clock because of it, but I'll have some piece of mind even when they don't get home on time.