Tag Archives: CIS 0835 – SP12

Time Machine For a Website

9 Apr

So this assignment for time traveling through your favorite websites is awesome!  It’s funny how quickly we forget how certain websites looked before the last update,  You constantly hear people complain about every new Facebook update but how quickly we forget how we hated the last update just as much. Way Back is a great tool to look back at how things were!

But for the purpose of this assignment I chose to do a website that’s not Facebook.  I picked one of my old favorite music websites called finetune.  This website offered the ability to comb through their music catalog and create playlists.  The only catches at first were you were only allowed 3 songs from the same artist per playlist and the playlist needed to be at least 45 songs long to be playable.  This website opened me up to a whole world of music that would never known about through suggestions from similar artists and listening to other people’s playlists at my own leisure.  It was a really good tool to get to know specific bands and songs because of listening to your playlists randomly being played multiple times.  I spent many nights just going through music and learning about artists and new genres.  Sadly the website is not what it once was.  Because of the massive funding necessary to maintain a website like this and the money that would be due to record companies for using their songs, the website no longer offers the playlist building ability, This practically brought the community and usage of the site to a standstill, They are still in existence and have tried a few branch off ideas such as an online DJ similar to Last.FMs scrobbler that allows the website to access your iTunes and broadcast what you are currently listening to others but it never took off.  Fine tune also offered a few different players that could let you use your Wii to stream music to your TV and another app to stream to your I-Phone.  There are plenty of other websites that have developed like Fine tune such as Last.FM, Pandora, Grove shark and 8-track, but it is just inconvenient to have made all these playlist and not be able to add to them anymore.

I think flaw finetune had to its structure was poor programming, it was prone to freeze up and load things in an odd way.  Your player could often freeze or not load something causing you to have to restart the playlist.  Also later on skipping songs became a limited ability, they did not want you to make playlists solely for the purpose of listening to one song and just skipping the rest as filler.  This is true for most music player websites now though, with the exception of grooveshark.  Music sharing is a touch subject, the lines of ownership, stealing and radio have become blurred because of the internet and how we use it.  I don’t think these big companies and record labels that are against sites like fine tune and last.fm understand how greatly these internet radio sites affects the amount of people it brings to their artists.  A lot of people do buy the albums and pay to go to concerts and buy the merchandise simply from finding the music on their own through interactive sites like this.  It’s a shame that they are constantly being threatened by being shut down under different copyright acts.

Finetune.com

All images are from http://archive.org/web/web.php and Finetune.com.

Jays presentation on open source

4 Apr

Today my classmate Jay talked about Open source Software and some of the debates surrounding it.  He gave a few good examples of big projects that are open source such as Firefox and Gimp.  I was wondering how big companies like this can function if all their work is given away for free.  Apparently groups like this can get backing from big companies that use their services for instance Mozilla, the creator of Firefox, apparently gets a lot of their financial backing from Google.  This seems strange to me since Google has its own open source browser Chrome, but I suppose that is one of the beauties of open source, it’s all free so it’s not as if  one is losing money over the other doing better.  A few things that he brought up that I thought was really interesting though was the controversies between companies trying to get a hold of pattens on specific code functions, such as Apple fighting to get the right to making calls by touching the phone number on the screen their own, unique from other smart phones.  It seems like such a silly thing to waste time and money on, it just seems very anti-progressive and without this flow of open ideas how do we progress.  Also the idea of one company owing all the pattens, such as Google, is frightening.  I have heard rumors of Google trying to eventually control the internet and make it a completely free service.  In theory it sound great but they would have a scary amount of power over how it is used.  It makes me a little more apathetic about open source.

http://www.weusecoins.com/

When Jay brought up some of the most interesting open source projects I was quite baffled by Bitcoin.  I have never heard of this before.  It is apparently a digital currency that is not associated with any one nation and can be exchanged for a variety of real life items just like physical currency.  I am still having a hard time grasping how your computer generates money but It just seems like a way to use some thing like online banking and stock exchange without paying all the stupid fees of the real world bank since it is a peer-to-peer software as well as being open source.  It makes me wonder if this currency will one day replace our current way we use money or will it fizzle out as a fad of sorts.  it’s still young since it only started in 2009 but three years in the computer world is ages.  Regardless this was an eye-opening talk and I want to thank Jay for that.

The secret alliance of guys who do challenging things.

3 Apr

In this world there are things that need to be done.  These guys are the guys you may consider hiring when combing the yellow pages for “people who do things good” because they are the only group that do things good.  The leader of the group is a man whom dresses in a penguin costume and has the power to eat 10 or more Tacos at any given time.  He goes by the alias Pengo, the eradicator.  His right hand man is the Talker, a Giant man who could talk a deaf mans ear off.  His quick tongue allows him to overload even the most attentive listener causing them to freeze in a trance like state.  His Brother Dr. Explosion Von Brownie is able to use him extreme strength to catapult baked good s at any foe, no matter the distance.  Next on the list is The Libertarian, A man whom has the ability to alter the standings of any election using his semi-physic powers of persuasion.  He has an impeccable power to excrete green Guacamole  substances from his palm dispensers.  Party girl fits the bill as a girl who can party hard without warning, but don’t think you will get anything past her she can detect any mental activity you can throw at her with psycho analytical powers.   She can also make a mean Buffalo Chicken Dip and other party foods.  Then there is The Great Meatball Machine.  A man-boy with the power to ball up his own meat like flesh and splatter it on his opponents spreading raw meat diseases such as salmonella. Last but not least is speed-car man.  a man who can drive the gang around at warp speeds in his gas guzzling war tank.  His lack of respect for local law enforcement makes him a key part of getting to places before anyone else.  Also he has a Knack for fixing things by hitting them or taking unnecessary pieces off.

Picture of cos-players at NY comic-con 2011, I took the picture!

Picture of cos-players at NY comic-con 2011, I took the picture!

In the debut episode of their adventure as a team a woman calls the hotline for help saying her dog that has some how gotten itself stuck up a tree.  The team hardly assembles fast enough to even remotely call it an emergency rescue, but when everyone finally makes their way to the war tank and speed-car man promptly makes a pit stop at WaWa for sandwiches and drinks.  Afterwards when the team finally made it to the distressed puppy, whom was now asleep in the tree, Meatball machine Man started to throw meat at the dog.  Pengo was still eating his Taco Sandwich while Dr. Explosion Von Brownie and The talker argued over who would win in a fight, Harry potter or Superman.  Party Girl was rocking out to Andrew W.K. trying to shake the Dog out of the tree and The Libertarian was eating Guac out of his hand dispensers.  Needless to say the dog did get down when knocked out with a meatball but the owner was less than pleased with the service.  The gang quickly regrouped in the war tank and off they went to Karaoke.

Seven Person Story

The Visable College response

28 Mar
Image

screen shot of Dr. Bryan Alexander from lecture.http://vimeo.com/38611377

With this recent Lecture with Bryan Alexander he proposed a few different predictions that the future could go in, in the year 2022.  After explaining some research methods Bryan Alexander showed four possible futures, Phantom Learning, The Lost Decade, Alternative residential and Renaissance.  They all seem to idealized but I think that of the 4 a Renaissance would be the best of the possible outcomes.  perhaps the future just scares me but the way in which all the other possibilities seem so idealized and inhuman, where technology dictates humanity and not the other way around.  I think the view of schools disappearing and being replaced with more on-line education scares me in the sense of people not really getting the same education they would be getting in a more traditional atmosphere.  Also when things are done on-line, acquiring a degree seems less meaningful, its possible for someone else to do all the work for you without you ever have even done a shred of work.  Also It frightens me even in today’s world how cut off people are from one another.  A big part of going to school is the social interaction you get from being there and meeting people in person.  If you never go to school, and get a job where all your work is done through a computer what do you really DO?  Maybe I am just slightly old fashioned in my way of thinking but it genuinely frightens me.  I am no exception from the masses of today who mindlessly ogle their feeds on Facebook and what not while touching away on their i-phones and devices instead of interacting with the people around you.  I often wonder while I am doing this one thing who am I missing the chance to meet?  This is not to say technology and human interaction can not exist together in a constructive manner but the example of phantom learning seems to be so extreme.  With the idea of the Renaissance there is room for massive amounts of creativity and always seems so alluring to me as an artist.  I do not think that any of the possible futures will actually happen being that they are just predictions but I think they do lend valuable insight as to where we may be headed if you combine them into one view.

Lets talk about Repression, Control and Propaganda! ^_^

15 Mar

So for my Topic I am talking about Repression, control and Propaganda in relation to the article “Does The Cybersecurity Act Of 2012 Mark The Beginning Of The War On Cyber-terrorism?”The article addresses the topic of The Cyber security act of 2012 that has come out of congress, an Act that would give any part the US government freedom to take action against any suspected “cyber terrorist group” that is trying to compromise Infrastructures in the US economy.  Supporters of the act compare cyber crime damages on a global scale to the black market drug trade which makes no scene in association. Here’s the excerpt from the article.

 

“A Norton study last year calculated the cost of global cyber crime at $114 billion annually,” said Sen. Susan Collins. “When combined with the value of time victims lost due to cyber crime, this figure grows to $388 billion globally, which Norton described as ‘significantly more’ than the global black market in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined.”

This article brings up the point that this is simply a scare tactic being used to coerce people into feeling insecure and siding with the bill.  It is always important to take a step back and look at what is the bigger picture here.  Most of the bill is concerned not with your individual personal safety but big corporations best interests.  The bill is essentially asking you to give up part of your civil liberties so these big companies can feel a little bit safer.  Cant the government already intervene against acts of terrorism?  Why do they need another bill on top of the Patriot act which allows the government to listen in on any phone activity they want to?  With acts being passed like this over time individual freedom is being eaten away.
One of the key figures these supporting politicians are pointing out is the group Anonymous.  They denounce Anonymous by calling them a “Cyber Terrorist Group” and compares them to al Qaeda using the term “stateless group”.  They then contradict themselves by saying that Anonymous is not powerful enough to pose any real threat of an infrastructure collapse at the moment in their “stateless group”.  Anonymous has never made it their goal to try to dismantle any major company or hurt any individual.  They have made corporate operations more transparent and simply asserted that people who are not in a place of high power are able to think for themselves and act when instigated.  I am not glorifying Anon. (Anonymous) but am simply saying the government is using them as an excuse to gain more control than they should have over matters.  There was also talk of Russian and Chinese spying on US information through Hacking but of course the countries have denied any involvement.  At the end of the article the author makes the point that Even if Cyber Hacking poses a Legitimate threat to our way of life is having the sense of security really worth giving up civil liberty?

Response to Lei’s presentation of “The end of Online Privacy”

15 Mar

On Friday the 9th I listened to Lei talk about his article he analyzed.  The Article The End of Online Privacy talks about how big websites and companies are getting an inside look at who you are as well as how through smartphone apps your information and privacy of everything related to your phone is compromised through the way you are forced to accept the terms of use with many applications.  With companies like Google who have so much sway with how technology is used it is hard to keep tabs on what they are doing at all times.  A big problem now is Google’s newly updated privacy policy that connects a lot of the information from their monopolies is being utilized to target advertisements more precisely to your interests.  Lei pointed out an example in the article that I thought was interesting of a story of a service Target has on their website where target will predict a 25 item list it thinks you would be interested in based on past information.  This apparently was a big controversy when a pregnant teenage girl who had yet to reveal to her father she was pregnant was receiving coupons in the mail for pregnancy related items based on her online purchases.  The fact that everything you search on Google is not erasable is a scary thought.  Eve if you delete your cookies Google still has that information saved on a server.  It is truly hard to be anonymous anymore, you have to really know what your doing to hide your tracks.  Going back to this cellphone app is a more serious risk than people realize.  Giving access to your information by just pressing that OK button is risky in that companies can access your contacts, credit card info related to the purchase of the app and if a hacker gets into their information it can be very detrimental to you.  You are able to get viruses on your phone just like your home computer now.  Hackers can set up fake apps that can burn out your phone completely or steal your information with just that single push of a button.  Thanks Lei for sharing this article, it is good to take a step back every so often and get the bigger picture of how things are working in the world. 

1 second Video

20 Feb

The Assignment was to make a one second video that tells a story.  This sort of constraint presents an interesting challenge that can have surprising outcomes.  I chose to use a 1 second video of my Friend Jacob.  In this video he is simply being Himself.  It’s strange how sometimes a single second can tell you more about a person than knowing someone for a long time.  Not to say that you don’t know your best friends or Family better than any other person but a single second has some sort of honesty behind it.  A second is enough time to see something but just short enough to not judge a person.  There is also something nostalgic about seeing a second long clip, it sort of makes you try to imagine what was happening in that given situation and lets you relate to it in how you perceive it.  I’m not sure if my video is the best example of all this but the Video that inspired the assignment is definitely a good example of how 1 second can be nostalgic in a sense.