First, allow me to apologize for letting this blog lay fallow for over three years. Though life has been interesting (as in the Chinese curse), it is no reason to have neglected my responsibilities for so long.
The primary things that have distracted me from my blogs for so long as been my work towards finally earning my Bachelor's degree in computer science, my entering the freelance writing industry, and my work on a number of soon-to-be-published manuscripts. Recent world events have, however, reawakened my view that our world needs a blog like this to start drawing together the various issues our world is facing.
Take for example the issues I have been dealing with during my academic endeavor.
Our school has a fairly strong reputation for excellence when it comes to the training of future medical, graphic design and business professionals. When it comes to our computer science program, however, there are a number of issues. Our school is marketed as a "hands-on" school, meaning students learn by doing realistic exercises that give them both knowledge and experience in their future occupations ... or at least it is supposed to.
Our school has issues in this field in a number of ways. The computers we have in-school are outdated by at least seven years, as is the network hardware. The computers used for Linux and server classes are totally inadequate for the task. Classes that mutually need what equipment is available are often scheduled for the same time slots, which limits the hands on experience for the students.
Turning to the laptops (which are supplied by the school), these do not have the software necessary for the students to complete their programming assignments, even though there is an academic version available for about $100 of both Microsoft Office and Microsoft Visual Studio. Mind you, this is a school that charges $65,000 - $75,000 for a Bachelor's degree program. Even considering the school is giving us laptops and lends us our textbooks instead of making us buy them, the lack of proper equipment and software is hard to overlook.
Which leads me to this ... we as activists and advocates are, in general, no better when we approach the general public or our political leaders. In recent weeks we have witnessed massive protests against corporate and governmental corruption across the United States (the "Occupy Wall Street" movement) that illustrates this.
While protesting the corruption, no one in the groups seemed to be able to say exactly what they were protesting or what could be done to address the issues. Without a clear understanding of what the problems are and some idea of what can be done to fix the issues, we are leaving our political leaders as helpless as my college has been leaving its computer science students. Instead of just complaining about problems, let's start focusing on solutions. If a given company is refusing to clean up its act, for example, why not buy controlling interest in the company and make the necessary changes ourselves?
Sure it will take capital, but consider this a moment. Any one of us may not have a million dollars, but with a few hundred thousand of us around the world, coming up with a few hundred dollars each would add up pretty quick. Don't know about the rest of you, but I'm in!