United Nations still moving to control the Internet

I’ve said before that I think the Internet is doomed in the long run, despite the victory over SOPA and other misleading “anti-piracy” censorship schemes.  Right now the FBI, DEA, and the RCMP are roaring because IPv6 will make it more difficult to track what everyone is doing online.  Meanwhile, “Digital Rights Management” is the name of the game in the video game world, where major companies impose ridiculous restrictions on how and when customers can access the content they’ve already bought (Diablo 3 being a perfect example), making people wonder what they’re actually paying for and when the paranoid power-grab will stop.

Well in case you forgot, the United Nations thinks that it should be in charge of policing and the world (big surprise!), and is overseeing a conference on the subject, the World Conference on International Telecommunications.  CNET reports on the secret document leaked to the public from the conference:

Several proposals in the newly leaked document, for example, would authorize governments to inspect incoming Internet traffic for malware or other evidence of “criminal” activity, opening the door to wide scale, authorized censorship.

There are plenty of greedy, power-hungry organizations seeking to have a hand in the rewriting of the treaty, including ones who want to tax content providers, control how new IPv6 addresses will be distributed, and otherwise shut down anything they don’t like at the press of a button.  Will they be successful?  I wouldn’t be surprised.  The La-Li-Lu-Le-Lo would be happy at least, don’t you think?


So I’ve been paying attention to the Consumer Electronics Show 2012, and this stuck out to me.  It’s a pretty clever alternative to the QWERTY keyboard, and although it uses predictive typing (room for error) it could really catch on once you learn the basic premise.

The idea is to take all the characters on a normal keyboard and reduce them to only four “buttons”–those that stand on one point (F, I, T, etc.); those that stand on two (M, N, X…); those that stand on a wide base (Z, U, L…); and characters with a closed circle (@, P, O…). Snapkeys introduces four new icons for each of these new typing areas, effectively reducing the full QWERTY board down to only this:

CNET image of SnapKeys

These cute, emoticon-esque figures are hoping to kill QWERTY. (Credit: Screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET)

You can fool around with the idea here.  In order to teach how it works, it gives you something to type (found between the header and the SnapKeys buttons) and doesn’t ask you to click on a specific letter.  Instead, you hit the square that contains your letter, and it predicts which one you want.  The second test is to see whether you can type a sentence while only thinking about the four “types” of letters you want, and let the predictive system do the rest.

Once you start thinking about the alphabet in terms of closed loops, long bases, two points, and single points, it’s quite fun.  The developers say that this system will render QWERTY obsolete on touch-screen devices within three years, and I believe it.  I always thought adapting the QWERTY system to a touch screen was awkward, and this is exactly the kind of ingenious system that I’d expect to replace it.

They also mention installing this software directly into steering wheels, although they admit they don’t know whether this would make things better or worse for road distractions.  Can I make a suggestion?  If you’re going to let people type on their steering wheel, make sure it’s only enabled while the vehicle is parked!  My goodness.

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