an image of an eye glowing green...

0wn yourself


in all the wrong ways...

you might have heard that bittorrent dot com has announced a new modus operandi--they've partnered with major media corporations to transform into a 'new' legitimate channel for distributing media for money.

there are two problems which spring immediately to mind with this scenario. one--with the bittorrent protocol you need to have a good upstream going where you share the pieces of the object being downloaded that you already have with the other people downloading that object (so everybody shares with everybody, all at once--that's how download swarms work), which adds to your bandwidth usage. and two--the effing industry powerhouses are still the ones getting in there and setting the prices and restrictions (and other unnecessary middleman-type behavior).

nobody (well, almost nobody) has a problem with paying the artists they want to support, but who wants to support these tycoons who've had the industry cornered and divided for longer than any of us can prolly remember? i don't.

i think that at one point in time these middlemen (a comparison i'm fond of) were a necessity. you really couldn't get out and touch the whole world unless you had some help. please bear in mind that this in no way excuses some of the practices which evolved in these industries, but this is another matter, i s'pose.

the bittorrent protocol allows for user moderation in a sense. it's self-feeding (almost like a turbo). when a file becomes more popular (and more people are downloading it) then it becomes much easier for everybody to find other users to swap packets with ('cause everybody's downloading the same things) and start getting all the pieces they need ('cause everybody's downloading the same bleeding things).

media of small or infrequent interest is prolly better off with more traditional (http/https/ftp/etc) protocols, but in pretty much any situation where multiple people are going after the same file(s), bittorrent is the modern-day supreme protocol for the job. there's just nothing better (yet, anyhow). makes the most efficient use of bandwidth, runs hashes for verification, supports resumes, etc. and the more people going after it, the better the whole system will work for everybody.

but the question still begs--if this magic protocol is running the show, these aggregator sites for torrents are creating the jumping off point (with search capabilities), the artists are making the media, and it's our (the consumers') bandwidth that's making this a reality, then what do we still need the likes of mtv and paramount for?

there're about six billion creative and vibrant people out there with ideas of their own, many of which have something to say (a few of which are saying it) and the internet brings us all together. what are you going to do now?


0wn the media distribution channels


what do you do when . . . . find yourself agreeing with a category who hold values that repulse you?

racism is terrible. it's a horrible concept which should never have been accepted, yet by many it is (whether they admit it (even to themselves) or not). judging people on stereotypes is just as flawed an idea, but ignoring stereotypes is not the answer either.

stereotypes bear a lot of similarity to demographics. one's a word used to describe a science trying to make assumptions about people based on their measurable or observable characteristics (or the various 'groups' to which they belong). the other's a word used to describe a person trying to make assumptions about people based on their measurable or observable characteristics (or the various 'groups' to which they belong).

for better or worse, demographic analysis/stereotyping does work at least in a limited and incomplete fashion. does it work all the time (or with everyone)? no. no way. does this make it right? depends on what you're using it for. should you make decisions based these practices? nope.

when you're making a decision, you want to make the best decision possible, right? that's what demographics are all about, too, right? efficiency. used in marketing, you want to get the biggest return on your investment--get the right message to the largest body of people who will be the most sensitive to your message.

similarly, in day to day life decisions you want to make the best decision you can--and that means taking into consideration all of the information you can acquire about the situation, weight that against the sum of your knowledge about how the universe functions, and then pick the most advantageous choice.

the trouble comes in from two vectors--people making uninformed choices (or choices based on the wrong set of statistics) - and - the behavioral influences of 'being in' a particular 'group' or demographic.

i'll address the the first one first. when you go back to my previous example, and start running certain statistical assumptions through that filter, you can see them ground to logical fallacies (or poorly made decisions based on incomplete or improperly weighted criteria). racism unfortunately jumps back to mind.

making a decision about somebody solely on the colour of their skin or the layout of their dna is a prime example of a stupid decision. there are too many other factors, too much variance within that type of a grouping of a given population to make any kind of good choices. simply put, that's just not nearly enough information to judge a person on.

the other kind of trouble i see is the alteration of behavior based on influence of a group. in other words, changing your behavior (whether restricting actions or causing expansion of actions) in order to 'fit in' to a certain group (or tragically because somebody else placed you in a group and now you feel that's what's expected of you).

and actually, these practices aren't necessarily bad either. if you choose to make certain alterations to your conduct in order to align yourself with a group or idea you believe in and agree with can be both healthy and admirable. but when the group or idea you're trying to emulate is not a good one, you can damage yourself and those around you.

i guess the trick is to know as much as you can, sort it out as logically and level-headed as you know how, and then pick the best choice. easy enough, right?

i know.

but all we can do is keep trying. when we change, let's change for the better, okay? this post is for those who are trying. trying to be better. trying to make the world a little better.

the group that i associate myself with is the group of the like mind--those who are trying.


0wn yourself


project blackbox

this is kinda cool. i've always been a fan of modular things. and shouts to aghaster for pointing this out.

project blackbox, by sun microsystems, is basically a datacenter built into a shipping container (i.e. the trailers pulled around by semis).

if all their claims are valid, this is actually a really sweet setup. s'posed to be ├╝ber energy efficient--it can be easily packed up and taken to just about anywhere. they also say it ranks in the top two hundred supercomputers in the world.

i want one.



0wn your black box



looks like walmart's gonna have a class action lawsuit about discrimination based on sex.


i guess we'll see what happens, won't we?


0wn your evil corporations

a few thoughts on augmented reality

the convergence of media and communication through technology just keeps becoming more ubiquitous in our lives. augmented reality, or the process of overlaying metadata/alternate data streams over a set of realtime inputs, has rapidly been improving lately.

i mean, when you think about it, it's been around for awhile (at least as long as camcorders have been around--zoom and date/time overlay) and with the advent of more powerful computers (not to mention improvements in search/tracking algorithms) are really providing some powerful new tools.

this short list of projects might give you a few ideas about what some of these cats are doing with this. definitely some interesting possibilities.

howstuffworks has an okay piece on it, too. personally, i'd love to have access to that much data while i'm walking around in the real world.

crazy times we're living in.


0wn your reality