Thursday, October 30, 2008
With deal, Beatles songs may enter Digital Age
The two surviving Beatle members, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr will help participate in the creation of this game. George Harrison's wife, Olivia Harrison - and John Lennon's wife, Yoko Ono, are also helping in the creation of this game (aspects such as the visuals and also design). Regarding the game, Paul McCartney said: " "a fun idea which broadens the appeal of The Beatles and their music,". As everyone (at least everyone who has played - or seen the game being played) knows, when you make a mistake, the instrument is muted in the game (which I personally think is pretty awesome). I don't play the game, so I can't say I'm excited about it at all, but I still think it would be neat (especially the visuals) to see how it all plays out. The original producer of the Beatles music, George Martin - and his son: Giles Martin are making last minute touches and adapting the game to be able to be used in Rock Band. The father and son team are trying their hardest to keep true to the original mixes.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Darpa Preps Son of Robotic Mule
The name of this machine (once upgraded) will be called "Legged Squad Support System" (L3). It doesn't seem to me that there is too much to upgrade. Seeing how well the "BigDog" handles tought terrains, I can't imagine they would have to do much more besides make it bigger - and find a way to make it less noisy. One issue to consider would be lugging around enough gas to last. The L3 is estimated to weigh 1250 pounds, but the weight of the extra gas would also have to be factored in. Other improvements they are seeking to add: the ability to sprint at 10 miles per hour, climb stairs (which it did an already good job of in the video), navigate via GPS waypoints, speech recognition and laser sensors.
Randall Munroe on Criminals
Randall Munroe, the writer of XKCD (from which this comic was borrowed – it’s under creative commons, of course), makes an interesting point. DRM, and all these other silly techniques of preventing us from sharing the things we buy, simply make us more and more inclined to pirate. Instead of driving us away from piracy with threats of fines and court, the people in charge of upholding copyright are simply creating an impassable labyrinth of twisted, crisscrossing traps. Sure, I suppose it makes sense, if you don’t try to apply it to people. But who’s going to want to buy a product that’s laced with all that junk? It’s not the same product, and it’s not really yours. Or at least, if it is yours, it’s only yours until your number of downloads runs out or you get a new computer. Most people will want to take the easier and more permanent products: the pirated ones. The legal companies suddenly get less service, and the pirating sites get more. That’s the very opposite of what all this protection is trying to do, but that’s really all it’s managing to achieve. I’m not sure if there’s anything the copyright protectors can do, without simply digging themselves into a deeper hole, but the tactic they’re going with right now just isn’t doing the trick.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Sir Ken Robinson: Society Today
Monday, October 27, 2008
DMCA - The Law That Saved the Web
The DMCA was also an important step in the development of the DVD.
The DMCA created the separate notice-and-takedown provision which also aided the growth of the internet. The provision grants immunity to so-called "intermediaries" or ISP’s. What this means if for example the company YouTube receives a notice from the copyright holder to take down a video, YouTube must comply. Instead of just suing a company for stealing intellectual property, those companies now have a fair warning before that company is prosecuted.
The article then goes to talk about a couple of examples of the new takedown procedure. In one court case, Universal Music issued a takedown notice to YouTube over a Pennsylvania woman's 29-second video of her toddler dancing to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy." After YouTube had taken down the video, the mother of the toddler sued the company for misuse of the DMCA. The judge in the case stated that Universal Music should have reviewed the facts before acting up. The McCain campaign even took notice to the case. McCain, a supporter of the DMCA act, has been “called out” for reusing snippets of broadcast news footage in his online campaign videos, which have been taken down off of YouTube.
The next part of the act is aimed to prevent the circumvention of intellectual property. The law dictates that "no person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.” Over the years there have been exceptions added to the act. One of those exceptions allowed customers to switch phone carriers without buying a new phone.
Without the DMCA we would not be able to blog in our class. Everyone who has made a post on our blog (that includes myself) could be prosecuted. The DMCA allowed for the growth of creativity on the internet. It created popular sites such as Google, MySpace, Facebook and YouTube. If the DMCA act had not been created, I am sure that we would still be living a Big Brother society where we not be able to express ourselves over the internet.
Sir Ken Robinson
His reference to Pablo Picasso was very interesting. He said, "All children are born artists. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up." which makes perfect sense. All the imagination we had as kids, where the hell did it go? Think back to what your parents or your teachers told you when you did something maybe a little too creative, or made a mistake.
Everytime I try to think of a Sir Ken Robinson educational system I get a little too...optimistic...it sounds too good to be true. His educational system would be a lot different from our current one. It would probably be close to the opposite of what we have today, and I wonder how much it would differ from an educational system thats purpose would be to ready a child for the harsh, outside world. Would an educational system with the arts as the main, or one of the main curriculums help prepare a child for what is known as the real world. I think Sir Ken Robinson would say so but I'm not sure....It's just a thought though.
This presentation really opened my eyes a bit more about our misguiding our educational system is. I think every parent in the world should be forced to watch that video or something like it to reevaluate what they think parenting is about. Maybe in turn that will make the parents put their children in to schools with a broader curriculum. Its a start...
Now, however, sellers can no longer leave negative feedback for their buyers. This is something that has caused the eBay sellers to file lawsuits on the buyers who leave bad comments.
Joel Jones filed a lawsuit against Chris Read after Read left less than desireable comments after buying something from Jones. Read bought a phone and was told that it was in good conditions. The product that came was in miserable condition and not even the model that Read thought he was buying. He sent it back to Jones and asked for a refund, and leaving negative feedback on eBay about the phone that was sent to him.
Jones gave Read his money back, but beforehand he claimed that the feedback left by Read was hurting his business and his sales were down. He threatened to take Read to court if he didn't delete the comments, but Read responded telling him that if court was the next step, he was willing to go there. Jones believes that giving Read the refund should have merited positive feedback, telling reporters that Read's comments were uncalled for.
Court was what Read got. Lawsuits as a result of sellers not being able to give their buyers feedback may have an effect on how many people actually buy on eBay. This would be disastrous for the people who's business is to sell online. If sellers attacking buyers through legal action continues, then who knows what will happen to eBay!
Review -- "Flat World Knowledge: an open-source textbook revolution?"
I know I'm not the only person who felt totally robbed by the school bookstore right before fall semester started. I'm actually looking at my receipt right now, and the total for all of my textbooks came out to $647.50. What a scam. I'm just not going to buy any books next semester. Kidding.. kind of.. This article made me slightly bitter (if you couldn't tell by my introduction). It discusses the launch of a website called Flat World Knowledge, which provides "high-quality" textbooks free of charge. It's really too bad it started up only this past September; had it been established a couple months earlier, maybe I wouldn't have had to spend SO MUCH MONEY on textbooks (and as a side note: of the 5 textbooks I've bought, I only use 1).
Prentice Hall Business Publishing is one of the top publishers of textbooks in the country. Their Director of Marketing Eric Frank quit the company he had been working under for 11 years to found Flat World Knowledge. Not surprisingly, his idea of providing textbooks for free online confounded many of his colleagues. Frank's line of reasoning that led him to founding Flat World Knowledge was simple: the current college textbook system is, frankly, hated by everyone. Students hate the fact that textbooks run, on average, $100 a pop. What makes them even more miserable is that as soon as they buy a textbook, a new edition for said book is already in the making, and any shred of hope they had for buy-back is lost. It only makes sense that students think that this process of constantly updating books as a way of keeping textbooks unreasonably expensive. There is a correlation between how upset the students are over the price of their outdated textbooks and how upset their professors become when students try to get away with not purchasing the material for their classes. No one is happy. Furthermore, the less number of students purchase textbooks, the less faculty authors are compensated for their work, and the whole education system turns into a disaster simply because textbooks are always expensive and usually in the process of becoming outdated (so I may have exaggerated for the sake of making a point, but at least we're all on the same page?).
Why exactly did Eric Frank leave Prentice Hall to start Flat World Knowledge as an entirely new and different company? If he was one of the top guys at PH, why didn't he just propose to launch Flat World Knowledge as a branch of the already existing, already successful company? The answer is simple: the "dead-tree" traditional publishing world is too fixed in it's system to revamp any of itself in order to even consider the idea of free textbooks provided over the web.
Not only does Flat World Knowledge license the books and send it through editing and peer review, and give all this work away at no cost online, it also provides study guides/aids and services (at some fee, but can anyone really complain about that at this point?). However, here's where all this of relates to our FSEM: Eric Frank and partner Jeff Shelstad are designing Flat World Knowledge as an open source software publisher. "In addition, teachers could edit, delete, and remix textbooks so that the books precisely match the teacher's approach to a course." I can't help but admire the ingenuity of Frank and Shelstad's idea here. This is an actual application of Matt Mason's "Pirate's Dilemma" without.. any dilemma, and it's totally respectable and completely practical.
Frank and Shelstad hope that Flat World Knowledge will serve to satisfy every level of the educational heirarchy. Professors have immediate access and a great degree of control over the material they want to cover in their classes, students pay less to learn the same material, and revenues for faculty authors increase.
As a new company with an unheard of innovative mission statement, Flat World Knowledge is undoubtedly going to run into a lot of problems. Current online textbooks are thought to be "expensive and impractical for a large portion of the student population", so to convince everyone that Flat World Knowledge will be otherwise is one task Frank and Shelstad will need to overcome. They'll also have to persuade authors the benefits of providing their work for free online (if I were an author, I would not buy into the idea even with all this knowledge..). Flat World Knowledge's main pitch is that they're all about the authors, rather than the brand name.
All I can say is: Good luck, guys. I hope Mary Washington starts using this website.. sometime in the next 2 months.. ugh.
sir ken robinson
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?
In this video, Sir Ken Robinson spoke about human creativity in general, and how it is being destroyed by schools. He initially mentioned the ingrained innovation and creativity that children have which are seen as unessential by the education system - but Sir Ken Robinson thinks it should be seen as important as literacy. He brought up the point that children are not afraid of being wrong, and they are fine with taking chances if they do not know exactly what to do. Sir Ken Robinson then said "If your not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original", and says that as we grow up, we become more afraid of being wrong. Tying this in with education, he said in our current education system, making mistakes are deemed unacceptable - thus taking away our creativity from the time we enter school.
I always have loved doing all forms of art as a hobby, but i hated art in school (along with every other subject). It was very easy to be wrong in art, at least with the teacher I had. I never did feel really comfortable with doing what I wanted and having fun in class, I always worried about meeting the teachers unclear expectations and tight deadlines. Art is probaly my favorite thing to do, but was my least favorite class in high school. Sir Ken Robinson then followed with a quote from Picasso, saying "All children are born artists; the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up". I personally think this is a great quote
Sir Ken Robinson describes this process as being 'educated out of it'. A large reason for this happens to be due to the hierarchy of subjects in all education systems, with the arts always being on the bottom (there is also a hierarchy within the arts: art and music is higher than drama and dance). Sir Ken Robinson’s opinion regarding this is that the arts should be equal to other academic subjects in the hierarchy. Many people don’t pursue their interests in fear that they cannot make a living with it. Sir Ken Robinson states that we know three things about intelligence: (1) It is diverse (2) it is dynamic (3) it is distinct. Composer John Phillip Sousa similarly shared the idea that our creativity is being destroyed - in the case of Sousa, he believed that new technology (at the time - 'talking machines') were destroying our creativity.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?
Ken Robinson begins his speech by addressing human creativity. He identifies the mystery of creativity for the future. Robinson continues to state how much creativity is limited due to work in education. Even if a child has a talent, schools have learned to hide and hinder their talent. Robinson believes creativity is just as important in school as academics. I really enjoyed all the stories about the little kids, especially the story of the little girl drawing a picture of God. It showed that the creativity in some kids have not been completely limited be education from schools. I like that Robinson touched upon the fact that like kids (and almost all humans) make mistakes and that people should take chances. Robinson states that one should always be prepared to be wrong, try things out, and be ready to make mistakes. One cannot learn from mistakes if they don’t keep trying. Robinson tells his audience not to associate creativity with mistakes, but he does state that if one isn’t prepared to be wrong than one cannot be creative and come up with anything original. I really like the Picasso quote Robinson used in his speech that “all children are born artists,” but “to remain an artist as we grow up.” Robinson states that people are “educated out of it.” A person’s artist is than lost, and thus, their creativity. Robinson addresses that every education system around the world as the same hierarchy that begins with mathematics and languages, then the humanities, and then the arts. Within the arts, drama and dance is usually the bottom. Education focuses mainly on one’s head and their brain. Robinson states education system is developed by academic ability because of one’s ability to get a job. One would take a subject to help them get a valuable job for the future. Robinson states that now with academic inflation, students are required to have much more than just a degree in order to get a job. There are many new requirements that disable students from getting jobs. Robinson defines creativity as the process of having original ideas that have value. I think Robinson used the right amount of personal experiences in order to display his thought process and verbalize his stream of consciousness. I really liked the story about Gillian Lynne. The story was about how Gillian was fidgety as a child; one might consider her to be ADHD. Gillian went to see a specialist with her mother. The specialist spoke to Gillian’s mother about how she was always disturbing people and not turning in her homework on time and just a very hyper energetic girl. When the specialist took Gillian’s mother out of the room to talk to her privately, the specialist turned on the radio while leaving. Gillian started moving to the music as soon as they left the room. The specialist concluded that she’s a dancer and that she must be taken to a dance school. So her mother did take her to a dance school. In order to think, she had to think in the way she knew, which was to dance. Some teacher could have told her to calm down by giving her medication or by hindering her spirits, but instead this teacher told her to explore her talents. Gillian Lynne became very successful with her career in dance and later discovered the Gillian Lynne dance school, amongst other accomplishments. Robinson concludes his speech by stating that parent’s duty is to educate their children in order for them to face the future without them, and to make something out of their future.
Sir Ken Robinson
The subjects taught in schools these days are very similar to what was taught a long time ago, when if you didn't go to school, you didn't have a job. The bar has been raised since then. It became you had to go to college to get a job, then get a masters, or a doctrine. But, once everyone has those, who gets the jobs? There has to be something else other than being 'well trained'.
It seems to me that the school systems now are very outdated. We've been trained to think that we can't make a living being an artist, a sports player, a performer, or anything involving some kind of creativity or natural talent. Yes, there are people who are naturally talented at math, science, and english, but what about the other 'subjects' in school that are being thrown out because they 'aren't beneficial to the studen't?' Why isn't art class beneficial? Why is it that students can't learn something in gym class or drama? The truth is, WE CAN. Its old people from an era thats long past who say we can't, and therefore these areas are ignored and deemed unnecessary.
Also, every student is different, and schools are hypocritical when they say that they cater to each students individual needs. What about the student who's an artist but sucks at math? Or the one who can write songs but has trouble in science? And the soccer player that struggles in english? Not everyone can be good at everything, but everyone can be good at something. Why not 'train' them to excel in their strongest area rather than to be book-smart? Its not that the other subjects aren't important, but some people do lack any kind of affinity for science or english.
I agree with Sir Ken Robinson whole-heartedly. Younger generations are growing out of their creativity, and its not their fault. Parents and whoever run the school programs are taking the focus off of creative arts and placing it on generic subjects to prepare students for so called jobs, or college.
Its just like read-only culture vs read-write culture. The ability and freedom to express creativity is being taken away, and eventually, we won't be able to do anything, no matter how innovative.
That's all, folks!
Virtual theft can have real life consequences
We've talked a lot about pirating content from the web. Pirates that are caught are harshly punished (way too harshly). The concept of punishing pirates for stealing songs or music or other such content makes sense, however what about items that are purely virtual? Such as items in an online game. If someone were to steal something from you in a game, should that person be punished (in the real world)?
One Dutch court said yes. The case was that two boys threatened a third to give them his virtual items in the on-line game Runescape. The third boy did end up giving them his items and then ended up suing them for the theft. The dutch court ruled in favor of the third boy and sentenced the other two (thieves) to about 200 hours of community service each.
The idea of punishment for theft of intangible things on the web brings an interesting idea to mind. If the law starts to branch out to cover things that are intangible then online thieves would start to be punished more often and maybe more harshly.
This mindset would support the way that record companies have been pursuing pirates. If a pirates downloads an entire CD then that is the same as if that pirate had gone to a music store and stole a copy of that same CD.
I completely disagree with this concept. If you 'steal' something on the web you are taking a copy of it. So the copy you have would not exist if you had not gotten it, so no loss has been made from the seller of that CD. However the pirate should still be punished, but on a much smaller scale. Like in the example of the Runescape case, the administrators of that game could have merely given the third boy his items back and deleted the items from the first two boys and then given them some sort of suspension or ban from the game. The threatening that the two boys did is something that is deserving of a harsh punishment like community service, but the punishment from the Dutch court was merely for the theft of the virtual items not the threatening.
Has Creativity Been Transformed?
Our most recent videos are two more examples of how creativity has transformed through the ages. The first video we watched was of a beat boxer. It primarily involves the art of producing drum beats, rhythm, and musical sounds using one's mouth, lips, tongue, voice, and more (Wikipedia dictionary). Even though these sounds have been around for awhile, it wasn’t until recent years that artists have been able to add all these elements and turn them into a performance.
The next video presented the question: do schools kill creativity? Through our schooling we have been taught to be well trained and book smart, but will these skills help us out in the real world. When we were younger our creative “wingspan” was endless. We would have the tendency to create make believe games and to guess when we didn’t know the answer. Over time people have become quieter and when asked a question that they didn’t know, they simply would not reply. Sir Ken Robinson then gets into his idea of “education inflation.” In the early days you only went to college if you were at the top of your class. Now it seems like there a school after High School for everyone. Robinson states that there will be more students graduating from college this year more than any other year in history. Has a college degree lost its meaning? Nowadays it seems like the elite are found at graduate, medical, law, or other professional school. If this metaphorical inflation continues will those professional schools end up becoming the norm? Will there a system of schooling after graduate school? Will having your PhD be not enough in the future? How can schools teach for the future if they don’t even know how life will be then?
Has creativity been transformed through the years? Has this new wave of technology been for the good of our society? I believe that any creativity is good for us.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Robinson's main topic for this video was creativity and its role, or lack there of, in modern day education. He starts out by saying that all children are born with a lot of creativity and, due to society and the way the education systems around the world are built, grow out of it over time. Robinson says that around the world school systems concentrate mainly on the 'non-creative' subjects such as: math, science, history, etc... and all arts, such as: dance, theatre, music, etc... are seen as secondary skills. Robinson proposes that the "secondary" skills should be given just as much attention as the "primary" skills, and that all children should be educated in them as well.
He goes on to say that the reason the system was built the way it is was to facilitate the Industrial revolution, to get literate people able to do tasks to further Industry. But now working for a big company (or industry) is not the only choice for career opportunities, people can be whatever they want to be, but the way they were educated makes them afraid to do so. One of the more interesting points he made about education and its apparent goals (to an outsider who has no idea what the education system is for) is that public education seems to exist to produce university proffessors; they seem to be the highest goal to attain in the education system.
Finally Robinson closes with a case of modern day creativity crushing. He talks about a women who is very successful at being a dancer and coriagrapher, and how she first found out that she wanted to dance. When she was a little girl she couldn't sit still and pay attention to anything so her mom took her to a doctor who deduced that she was a natural born dancer. Now a days if the same scenario had occured the doctor would put her on medication and, as Robinson put it, "tell her to calm down". So, who knows how many creative geniuses are being told to "calm down" instead of doing what they want to do.
Apple on the offensive
Topic for comment- discussion: What do you like/dislike about your OS?
TED Talks: Ken Robinson
This was the best video I've seen in our class thus far.
Ken Robinson is an amazing speaker.
Sir Robinson's talk delves into what he views as the critical shortcoming of every education system in the world: creativity is grossly depreciated while uniformity and correctness are overvalued. This point is brilliantly underlined when he correlates this problem to the problem of "intelligence inflation"; that degrees no longer guarantee jobs, and kids who obtain degrees end up going home to continue playing videogames. It could not be truer - there are so many students out there who graduate college with good grades, and are without a job. The combination of cut-throat academic programs now offered at every college and the tightness of the job market results in a surplus of people with the same socioeconomic backgrounds and the same knowledge. The universal, conventional form of educating people through grammar school, high school, and college has become obsolete. This method no longer automatically warrants success.
How could it be otherwise? In a system where each student it educated through the same lectures and the same exams, the outcome can be none other than the same people with varying skill levels for the same jobs. Ken Robinson notes that intelligence today is being squandered through this dated mode of producing successful individuals. Schools need to focus on the diversity and the distinction of each and every student. If being creative were as prioritized as being literate, the world would have a sudden influx of people who are specialized in doing something both different and useful. I think one of the big points Sir Robinson was trying to make is that no one standard can exist to critique everyone. Each person needs to be diagnosed to his or her own (e.g.: Gillian Lynne).
My favorite quote from the video was, "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original". The fear of making mistakes or breaking a rule has led schools to teach straight out of test books, give standardized exams, and suppress artistic and creative endeavors (this is a sweeping generalization, but bear with me for the sake of making a point). There is just entirely too much uniformity among the candidates for different jobs.
The above quote seems pertinent to what we've been studying in class this semester. In regard to mashups and remixes, there's are certain lines of legality that one has to cross in order to produce something creative and original (if you consider re-writes of original pieces original). Topics we've discussed such as free culture (Matt Mason's "Pirate Dilemma") and reverse engineering are all huge benefactors in promoting creativity and originality. In a sense, copyright laws and Microsoft making XBox modding illegal can be made analogous to the education systems that Sir Robinson discusses: they all suppress our culture's ability to further our creative potential, and have become obsolete. Today, it is imperative that our generation steps up to the bar in correcting recreating and restructuring both how we receive knowledge and by what means it can be legally applied to further advance ourselves in every aspect of our lives.
I'm sorry this entry had so much cheese. Let's chalk it up to that undeniable moment of inspiration I had after watching TED Talks with Ken Robinson.
YouTube; A Good Intermediary
Sir Ken Robinson review blog
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Netflix 3rd quarter profits
According to Yahoo! news, the online movie rental site Netflix profit rose 30 percent over the past three months, even with the economy in its current state. The article explains that people are "cutting corners" in my opinion this means instead of paying upwards of 7 $ a person to go to the movies lets say once a week, instead they spend significantly less to view a netflix movie where they can also save on snacks, and watch as many times as they want with as many people as they want. The article also explains Netflix's busniess plan for the upcoming quarters. they want to rent many more blu ray dicks, and charge a 1$ surcharge for people to rent the HD blu ray disks. They belive that because of the economy, the blu ray player will continue to cheapen in price and therefore more people will buy them. From my personal expeicnce, the only people with blu ray players are the owners of PS3's, which are able to play blu ray disks. Netflix would make much more money if they slow the development of their blu ray rental program and stick to dvd's. Also, Netflix is investing more in the online streaming portion of their website. This is helpful and easy because it provides over 12000 movies and tv shows at NO extra cost to subscribers. ( they could make more money if the coustomer gained permant acess to the movie, like itunes). anyway, this proves that people are spending less and will seek to cut costs in entertainment, which provides more revenue for media viewing stuff.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Microsoft gets patent for real-time f-bomb bleeping
Big Brother is listening (and grabbing): Sony's new PS3 ToS
Saturday, October 18, 2008
McCain seeks special 'fair use' copyright rules for VIPs
'Net filters "required" for all Australians, no opt-out
Friday, October 17, 2008
Selling Used CDs
Monday, October 13, 2008
FCC Opens Free Wireless Internet Access
Here is where things start to get interesting. “Adopting a national policy to stimulate the deployment of broadband in underserved areas of the nation could have dramatic and far-reaching economic impacts,” say the authors of a recent study by the nonprofit Connected Nation. By implementing the FCC’s program it would help alleviate the economic strain by providing more jobs for the lower class. This article estimates that this plan would make around $100 billion dollars a year, and would create or save 2.4 million jobs.
With the internet you can search for jobs easier, post your resume, and talk to employers easier. You could also take classes online either for educational purposes or for a trade skill. This saves on-the-site training time, and could give the individual a “leg up” when applying for a job.
The only flaw in the proposal so far is how the FCC will transmit the Wi-Fi. T-Mobile warned that the service would interfere with their 3G wireless services. However the FCC tested the service and determined that their servers would not present a “significant risk of harmful interference.” The wording of that statement sounds like the FCC would actually interfere with T-Mobiles service, but not enough to harm them. From an outside perspective this looks like the government (FCC) will just bypass T-Mobile to insure that their program will work.
I really don’t see any flaws in this program so far. It will offer more jobs for Americans. It will help online revenue. It will increase global interaction over the internet. It will only help the economy. Not only will the lower class have access to more job opportunities, they will also be able to read the headlines in the news. This looks like a win-win situation, except if you work for T-Mobile.
Wal-Mart joins MSN and Yahoo, leaves DRM servers online
In the article written by Jacqui Cheng Wal-Mart reportedly announced that they were going to turn off their servers and discontinue their service. With the growth of iTunes and other online music providers Wal-Mart has not been able to turn out a profit. After listening to customer complaints Wal-Mart now plans to “keep the DRM servers online a bit longer, allowing people to continue transferring their purchased music to other computers as usual.” Wal-Mart did not indicate, however, that the servers would remain online forever, and it continued to advise customers to burn their music to CDs.
Both Yahoo and MSN music have also gone in the same direction as Wal-Mart. Both companies were ready close their service, but later decided to stay open after listening to customer complaints. Through the process these three companies have shown that they actually do have a heart when it comes to customer service. When they could have left their customers behind and went on to “greener pastures,” they stuck with their loyal fans to keep providing them with the latest music.
If Yahoo, MSN, and Wal-Mart decide to shut down their servers then all of the music that the customers had purchased would no longer play on their computers. That is why Wal-Mart is recommending everyone who has purchased their music to burn it to CD’s. You may have to pay for a blank CD but at least you would not lose all of your music.
Currently I use two music services: iTunes and Rhapsody. When downloading music from Rhapsody it automatically directs you to burn your music onto a blank CD. With iTunes, I will have to take time to burn all of my music onto CD’s so that I will not lose all of my music.
I am glad these music services are allotting more time for their customers to copy all of their music. It can be very frustrating once you have grown accustomed to a particular music provider and suddenly they have discontinued their services. If the providers had discontinued their service it may lead to piracy.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Palin E-Mail Hacker Says It Was Easy
David Kernell allegedly posted instructions on how he hacked Palin's account on the website "4chan". The technique which the hacker used to hack into Palin's account was extremely easy (I have even been capable of easily doing this, and was close to it -- all it required was asking someone his pet's name -- His secret question). What the hacker did was input Palin's zip code (he stated that this was easy because there were only two in the certain area she was in), and the secret question asked where she met her spouse, which the hacker was able to easily discover with a quick google search. He changed the password to "Popcorn", and posted this on online forums. Even though this is so simple to do, it doesn't make it any less legal if he had used a complicated method to find her password. I personally think the punishments are too high for the crime he commited. If he had changed her password, thats one thing, but giving everyone and anyone access to her personal email is a huge violation of privacy, and is wrong no matter how much you may hate Palin. David Kernell claims to have read through every one of her emails before posting the password on 4chan, just to make sure there is nothing too incriminating, and Kernell describes the messages as "anticlimatic". I think this is a valuable lesson showing how easy it is for someone to hack your email if you have an obvious Secret Question that someone could ask you and find out when your off guard.
Apple Teases New Notebook, Rumored Under $1,000
Alot of hype is going into this upcoming apple, and many are hoping something big, due to the fact that they haven't redesigned a Mac Laptop in over two years. It is speculated that it will have an optical drive and ethernet capabilities (two capabilities that were not included in the previous MacBook Air model). Rumors have even gone as far as to say that the new manufacturing process of the Apple Brick, will involve carving a notebook out of a solid brick of metal (which I personally think seems quite unlikely) -- the process of carving it would include the use of lasers and jets of water. This would be a very durable model with no screws, but in my eyes doesn't seem at all realistic. One more rumor has come up about the Apple Brick, and that is that it would be a foldable, dual screen laptop. In this rumor, the keyboard would simply be a touchpad. I think this would be an awesome idea, giving the the user the ability to use it as a book (pages would come up on both screens, and could be folded like a book), a laptop with a touchpad keyboard, and finally, the ability to lay both screens flat on a desk (allowing two people to use it at once) -- If the rumor is true, it would be an awesome innovation.
This article takes a deep road in to the subject matter behind different video games. What happens when people take a controversial topic and turn it in to a video game? How could that affect an individual psychologically? This type of game is something that needs to be considered for the future of gaming.
With the RPG Maker 2000, Danny Ledonne created one of the most controversial, yet thought provoking, games of all time. The game was called Super Columbine Massacre RPG!. Now i know this may sound like an extremely sick and twisted thing to do, but a lot of people didn't look at it that way. Before that there were films and books made about the tragedy but not a video game. Something that could force the viewer to play the role of the shooters on that tragic day. "The media tried to play the shooters off as inhuman monsters after the shooting, but the game proves one thing better than anything else: they were human." Why hasn't an idea like this been explored before? The article states that most people play video games just for the guts and the glory, not the experience of a true story that wasn't even close to fun. For example: every single WW1 or WW2 game ever made. It makes you think...how could something be so fun, when it wasn't fun at all.
This brings up the topic of war and its future in the gaming world as well as our own. The article brings up two games, Metal Gear Solid 4 and Army of Two, both being examples of games showing the growth of PMC's, or Private Military Companies, in our world. In Metal Gear Solid 4, these PMC's are the enemy, and a threat to the United States. In Army of Two, the main characters are contractors associated with the PMC's, who go about their lives killing for money. These two games attempt to foreshadow into a world where war rules all.
I thought this article did a great job of showing the possibilities of the future of video games. An industry that is exponentially growing, and one that I think is very important to our world. We'll see what happens.
Chinese Skype Client Hands Confidential Communications to Eavesdroppers
People all over the world use Skype. It’s one of the most popular chat engines on the internet. But what would you do if you found out that some of your instant messages are being blocked? The Chinese Skype client, called TOM Skype, does just that. Not only blocking specific keywords in your chat conversations, it watches private text conversations and reports them. Imagine how people who use TOM Skype, or the people who chat with those on the TOM client, feel after Skype already boasted absolute privacy for its users and complete security.
Eight remote servers exist in China, and any of the blocked keywords that may come up in the “private” messaging conversations are sent to one of these servers. These servers have relatively low security, so it was discovered that from around 44,000 users, over 166,000 messages had been censored.
Skype claims to have nothing to do with the breach in the TOM Skype client, and that at the time they were being assured that the users’ privacy was safe. However, this did not turn out to be the case. Skype is no longer reliable in the claims of secure privacy.
Again, this isn’t limited to TOM Skype client users only. If someone in the United States is chatting with someone in China using the TOM client, their end of the conversation is being monitored, and very possibly censored, as well.
eBay, a business partner with Skype, is very concerned about this compromised client on the Skype engine. They are warning their users to be cautious of what Skype client someone else is using, and not to communicate with those using the TOM client. eBay also no longer associates itself with TOM and required that TOM remove any of eBay’s trademarked images and links. eBay has created a “Chinese-localized version of Skype.” It is programmed to give users information on TOM, as well.
This article also gives a few links to alternative open source online chat engines that are much more secure than the TOM client.
Reading Online Privacy Policies
HALO 3 RECON!!!
Why do people make products that mimic other products?
- If your apple you can sue people. They will put a price tag on their music if you want to move your music to another supplier. Apple know that people have invested so much money into their music on ITunes.
- Other music suppliers are trying to compete with apple
- Doctorow talks about how he no longer works for the company EFF. They work to keep DRM out of our computer
- There is no future in which bits will be harder to copy than they are today. This moment in time has the most copy proof bits
- Talks about how he writes books, and puts them on a website for people to view for free
- Believes artists should share music and ask their fans to buy their music, not force them to.
- Blu-ray vs HD
- region coding (Blu-ray)
- industry tries to squeeze as much money as possible out of the honest customers
-compares this strategy to a urinary tract infection
- claims that if the industry wants to survive it must abandon its doomed business model.
- Finally, the biggest problem for an artist is obscurity not piracy.
Anti-piracy tune rules at three-day music industry meet
Popkomm, an annual festival in Berlin, allowed the music industry to convey their frustrations and anger to the public about illegal copying. Robin Gibb, from the Bee Gees, was one of the artists who were upset about illegal copying. Gibb is now suing the European Commission; he criticized the European Union for making unfair rules on the music industry’s operations. The music industry accused the pirates who caused this spiral downfall of digital music. The revenues from the music industry have dropped close to 40% from illegal copying. However, Ali Riza Binboga of Turkey, which is the partner country for the annual Popkomm, believes that even though the revenues have dropped, the government has come up with new solutions to protect copyright laws. Binboga from the agency MESAM thinks that even though there has been a deficit in revenues from the music industry, at least copyright laws are reassured. During the three-day festival, nearly 400 acts will perform in different Berlin clubs both big and small names. The festival has pulled in several “recording companies, music publishers, online distributors, and technology companies.”
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Wipeout Is Sued For Copyright Infringement
Foo Fighters tell McCain to stop using song
Cory Doctorow in Helsinki
Review -- "Cory Doctorow in Helsinki"
Cory Doctorow's ideas about the future depending on the concept of self-determination hits head on. THis concept explains why things like copyright restriction software and certain logistics hold us back. In his lecture, Doctorow explains how new technology is in many ways disabling us by depriving consumers of things we could otherwise supply for ourselves and even create. He compares the lack of self0determination as being on the same basis as a child/inmate. By exploiting the power of self-determination, we can make a difference by overcoming challenges simple geography slows us with today. A big point brought up about determination was the power of the computer. Today, we can manipulate things using our own ideas to make something even greater. Taking the computer for example, we use it as a tool to communicate, create commerce, and be our own controllers. With self-determination comes self reliance and ingenuity.
Even with all the functions the modern computer has, however, there's so much more that it can do that it's not giving us access to. It's understandable that computer designers know what they're doing more than the average person, but most of us either are competent enough with computeres to avoid catastrophe, or realize that it would be a bad idea to take things into our own hands at all. Currently, computers have arrays and arrays of defense mechanisms, against even their users. Currently, the only way to acheive complete and undisputed power over your computer's functions is by learning command-line and installing Linux. This should not be the case. Doctorow makes another convincinv argument when he describes how the advertisement industry hold a giurative fun to the heads of the "carriers". In his talk in Helsinki, he's referring to cell phones. I'm not sure how he moved from computers to cell phones, but his argument stands up just as well when he applies it to computers. He says that the real power that the carriers have is not media, but connections. The best thing that a netowrking company can do is make better network. In computers, the average person does not see data storage, or mathematical calculation, but rather the Internet. And that's exactly what the Internet is: a huge network.
I think Cory Doctorow's analogies, quips, general points, and overall lecture leave something to be desired. Perhaps it is coherency that I seek.
What I took from the video:
1) Self-determination is what matters to everyone.
2) Self-determination is good.
3) Without self determination, we are nothing, we have no hope, no fulfillment, and "no desire to go on".
4) Self-determination is the foundation of everything we fight for, live for, and depend on.
5) Self-determination is the cases of the Enlightenment, democracy, progress, and capitalism.
6) Geography and gravity are bitches.
7) People like Wikipedia, because they get to edit the articles.
8) Children, inmates, prisoners, and slaves have no self-determination.
9) Moore's Law is the outcome of self-determination.
10) Computers are built by people.
11) Faster computers are also built by people.
12) Dogs that bark the "Star-Spangled Banner" are what's really the driving force behind all of our technological advances.
13) Technology today is created to restrict our self-determination and to control us.
14) You can't do anything useful with phones these days without permission.
15) The field of creativity is very limited today.
17) We want to remember the mp3 that we lost it to, rather than the mp3 we lost our computer to via rootkit.
18) Copy restriction will essentially be the downfall of mankind.
"Romanticist" is the word that comes to mind after watching the Cory Doctorow video. Can romanticists be correlated to activists? Did I mention he writes Sci-Fi and blogs for a living? Should anyone really be taking this man seriously?
I think Doctorow is getting a little mixed up between the whole idea of "self-determination" with concepts such as: independence, applied convenience, life... everything he could possibly think of.. I understand where he's going with this, but he's ridiculous. Detailed points will be delved into during Thursday discussion. (I'm sorry my part of the entry is so discordant with my team member's)