A Skinny Apple Is a Good Apple

Yesterday, Apple presented its newest product, the MacBook Air, an ultra-sleek notebook computer.

It is extremely thin – at the narrowest point it tapers to just 4mm (0.16 inches), about the width of a pencil – and when waved about its aluminium finish gives it an almost blade-like quality.

Steve Jobs shows off the MacBook Air, the slimmest laptop in the world

But then there is this:

From Timesonline comes the report that Microsoft has applied for a patent for a software product that to many–including me–seems overly intrusive into one’s personal life. While I can’t imagine life without computers, and remain in awe of their capabilities, I don’t want a machine analyzing my frustrations and trying to “fix” me, even if it is on the job. Too much, I say.

Microsoft is developing Big Brother-style software capable of remotely monitoring a worker’s productivity, physical wellbeing and competence.

The Times has seen a patent application filed by the company for a computer system that links workers to their computers via wireless sensors that measure their metabolism. The system would allow managers to monitor employees’ performance by measuring their heart rate, body temperature, movement, facial expression and blood pressure. Unions said they fear that employees could be dismissed on the basis of a computer’s assessment of their physiological state.

The system could also “automatically detect frustration or stress in the user” and “offer and provide assistance accordingly”. Physical changes to an employee would be matched to an individual psychological profile based on a worker’s weight, age and health. If the system picked up an increase in heart rate or facial expressions suggestive of stress or frustration, it would tell management that he needed help.

The Information Commissioner, civil liberties groups and privacy lawyers strongly criticised the potential of the system for “taking the idea of monitoring people at work to a new level”. Hugh Tomlinson, QC, an expert on data protection law at Matrix Chambers, told The Times: “This system involves intrusion into every single aspect of the lives of the employees. It raises very serious privacy issues.”

Think about this and let us know your reaction, please. Do you think the good outweighs the bad in this product…or is this step taking it all too far?

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My devotional blog is here.

11 thoughts on “A Skinny Apple Is a Good Apple

  1. Good morning, dear Holly. Congratulations! Can’t wait to hear from you when you receive the tiny little Apple. I know you’ll love it.

    The Sprint gadget intrigues me. I want to hear all about it.

    Now, did you order the software that reads your frustrations?

    Love all of you sweet Garretts.

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  2. Holly Bren

    You convinced me. Well – actually, Patrick convinced me, but you started it all with this post. My MacBook Air is scheduled to ship on 2/11/08. To this my husband is adding a gadget from Sprint which provides me with “Always ON” internet access – completely independent of WiFi.

    My plan for this new set-up is to do all my documentation, billing, and report writing in REAL TIME, as I’m sitting in the MD office, talking to my clients, etc. The GOAL is to have my life back in the evenings, because by the time I get back home, all the day’s documentation will be completed. This is much better than the current method of writing everything on paper, then coming home and transferring it all to the internet.

    I’m a bit nervous about going over to the “Mac” side of the earth. But, I’m doing it based on your statement that it’s an easy transition.

    Here I go!

    Love ya!!

    HG

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  3. arm5

    Its a nice computer but its a scary to think that there is computer out there that can moniter every move that you make and every little thought. Could it be possible that it could be used to replace psychiatrists.

    Good morning, Arm5–No, there’ll probably always be a psychiatrist or two around.

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  4. Now I would so enjoy the skinny computer. I get tired of lugging my machine to and from class. However… I don’t want it trying to read my mind! It just seems a bit creepy to me!

    Well, Rochelle, because the intrusive item is software, and is not even on the market yet, you can rush right down to the Apple store (in a couple of weeks, I believe), plunk down a couple thousands of dollars and walk out with that tiny, thin MacBook Air. A deal!

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  5. I think God gave us “gut instincts” for a reason… and what if there were malfunctioning computer systems that unfairly rated a worker and that worker was fired because of it?

    It’s never a good idea to mechanize too many things, especially when dealing with people. There’s no way a computer could catch all the subtle nuances that we give off.

    For example, in 1 hour, I am giving a presentation about my Work to a group of 12 year old kids from the local church. I am nerved up, but it’s only because I haven’t ever done this before. I don’t need help. I am not frustrated. I don’t need to be fired…

    Some people just thrive on excitement and busyness. And I guess I’m one of them. Though I DID love being off work all day today! 🙂 I crocheted like a woman who’s trying to finish a project!

    **hugs**

    Jayleigh, what Work will you be speaking about to the youngsters? Being a pastor’s wife or your other work?

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  6. A computer to monitor us ??

    Hal oh Hal are you still there?

    Sorry I forget I am not on my way to where ever Hal was taking them. Remember Hal monitored all the occupants of the space craft, both the living and those in deep space sleep. The ability of a computer to monitor my physical being is, in a telemetry area but not on a production line, personal option.

    It is coming at us like a speeding train.

    So what do or can we do?

    Mervi

    Good afternoon, Mervi. You know there is a time when we need to be monitored–in the ICU and on a rocket ship are a couple of them. I’ll gladly take full monitoring during those hours! In the office as I work? I don’t think so.

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  7. 1984 – a little late – but too close for comfort. Scary if I am honest.
    Yes!!! A sanctuary big enough for us all. Hold on – we already have one. I don’t have to get that new computer.
    But it is absolutely amazing how fast technology is moving, and that’s without “public knowledge” of stuff in the making . What time is it?

    Hi, Catherine. What time is it? Time to trust in God!

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  8. YIKES! I only want God to know my thoughts and intentions. Well, Brian guesses pretty good, but you know what I mean. It might be nice to have your heart monitored and certain health issues, but not forwarding the info to my boss or someone else. Too scary for me.

    Jana, hard to hide things from the hubby…They get to know us pretty well.

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  9. You are “preaching to the choir,” Shirley. I even hate the grammar checker” that tells me my sentence “might be” in passive voice. LOL

    “Big Brother” is scary, and Big Brother is here.

    Good morning, Helen. I’m just hoping that some of the “other group” might wander into the sanctuary.
    Have a great day…and I can’t imagine you’re being passive. 🙂

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