Logic’s Last Stand

July 15, 2010

Some Things Change

Filed under: Computers, Gaming, Life, Movies, Music, Philosophy — Zurahn @ 7:31 pm

For a long time now I’ve felt like a living contradiction. Everything I used to think about myself has been inverted, and everything I currently think about myself include both ends of the spectrum. Brilliance and idiocy, joyful and sorrowful, sincere and flippant, superior and inferior. There have been some constants, but those appear to be dying.

The latest to fall is probably for the best. I’ve played up my own negativity on things, as I do tend to focus on what the problems are. I think it plays into programming, as handling exceptions is necessary, so picking apart the little things is part of the job. But in a general sense, I’m so sick of the negativity.

It’s one of the best things we had going for us for a long time at The VG Press — the criticisms may have been legitimate when we had them, but they were in good humour. Yet, nowhere’s perfect; here and moreso the Internet at large is creating a great big bastion of hate. I’ll mention up-front that I’m not referring to factual matters; those who, for example, rally against vaccination are doing enormous harm and deserve to be vehemently shot down. It’s the realm of significant subjectivity. It doesn’t have to be videogames and it doesn’t have to be personal; any area where there’s room for reasonable disagreement, there are plenty to take it as an absolutist position.

If there’s a criticism, it’s not enough to just bring it up in the appropriate context, or if as a reaction, to expand on it. With anything and everything, there are some to try to ruin it for everyone else. It also gets worse, as it does spread to personal attacks by relation. Those who support X are amateurish, or any number of other insults for no other reason than a difference of opinion.

So I’m done. Keep it to yourselves, I don’t want it destroying me from the inside out. If you want to berate people for playing “casual” games, or PHP developers as not real programmers, or country music fans as hicks or any other selfish, outwardly hateful, spiteful and utterly immature positions, that’s your prerogative, but you’re not going to ruin it for the rest of us. You’re not going to ruin it for me.


June 24, 2009

I Didn’t Pay to See a Commercial

Filed under: Computers, Gaming, Life, Movies, Music, Philosophy, Politics — Tags: , , , — Zurahn @ 12:50 am

An often ignored aspect of the “piracy” issue, at least on the side of strict intellectual copyright laws, is the matter of quality. The traditional concept of “pirated” media is that they’re cheap, low-quality versions. Poor quality and a hassle. Well, perhaps once true, this hardly the case anymore, and the shared versions over the Internet are a significant problem for traditional media because the quality is in fact better.

When you have a better product, it’s easier to charge more. If you have the same product, you can still get the sale based out of guilt and implicit morality. When your product is worse than what’s free, you’re a lost cause.

Put in a DVD and you are treated to a series of advertisements showing off the publisher of the content. Choose to play the content, and you then get the honour of sitting through the warning reminding you that you can get a free version without all this crap, except you shouldn’t. Try and play it in your DVD drive, hopefully the CSS decryption software can manage to work its way past that anti-copying DRM that clearly works so well.

This extends to videogames as well. How long does it take just to get to the title screen? Is it entirely necessary to tell me everytime I put in the game to whom the developer outsourced the cinematics? You’ve already gotten my money for this product; don’t make me less likely to do the same in the future.

The FBI warning is ironically an advertisement unto itself for why it’s beneficial to act against it.

May 24, 2009

This Is My Country

Filed under: Computers, Freeware, Life, Movies, Music, Philosophy, Politics — Zurahn @ 1:28 am

I live on the border to the United States of America. A place where the people love their country almost as much as they love hearing themselves say as much. It’s one of those indisputable, inarguable truths that would otherwise be unfathomable to be without, equivalent to the love of one’s mother. Well then, what does this lowly, despondent introvert think of his obnoxious, overbearing extroverted nation? While it’s nice to feel in a superior position to the boisterous Americans, I can’t say the need for patriotism is quite so onerous on me. Call it ambivalence, if you like.

But that’s not to say I’m in no way patriotic. At least, not when taken in the spirit of the word, and not necessarily in the direct literal sense of a recognized state. My country is one without borders, without limits. In the truest sense of the word it is by the people and for the people. My country is the Internet.

In every way as one would dictate their emphatic devotion to his community, so can you place that within my own digital world. In the physical world I am very liberal, but in the virtual world I am libertarian bordering on anarchist. The Internet is the last true bastion of freedom the world over, and I won’t–I can’t–give it up without a fight.

And there is a fight. It’s not in the news, it’s not on television. But it is happening. There’s propaganda in the news, yes, but not the real story, because there’s noone there to understand it. The terms net neutrality, piracy and the like are thrown around with no understanding, no actual reporting. Nobody cares.

For the better part of the year what little efforts the Internet community can manage with regard to politics here in Canada has been fighting off the Conservative push for bill C-61, termed the “Canadian DMCA”. A media-lobby push for legislating against their outdated and dying business model. How many members of parliament even know what a byte actually is? How many representatives have any idea what DNS even stands for? Without a basic understanding of how the Internet functions, they’re on a collision course to break one of the greatest achievements in human history.

It’s not just Canada, or the United States. It’s the world over. The Pirate Bay case is currently under review for the judge’s undisclosed membership to copyright lobbies. The judge appointed to review the case? Was removed for the same bias. This is in Sweden.

And no, it’s not just a matter of idiot politicians and lobbies. The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have long since monopolized the market and are consequently abusing their power. Usenet support from Rogers was killed under the guise of protecting against child pornography. Bell Canada’s throttling is suffocating resellers as they’re effected as well. You get what you get, because that’s all you’ve got.

Meanwhile society as a whole is as ignorant as those in control. The Conficker worm has affected by rough estimates at least 10 million PCs. This is a worm that is only on Windows XP, transmits primarily via a long-since patched exploit in network sharing–which should be off–that should also just be blocked by Windows Firewall anyway, and would be completely nullified by passing the connection through a NAT router, which you should be doing anyway. There are services such as “Geek Squad” that costs more than buying a new computer, which is convenient since they can then can sell you that too. Your computer is not “broken” you just don’t know what you’re doing.

I’m running Linux as a desktop operating system. I wrote and maintain TheVGPress.com, which runs on the Apache Web Server and is coded in PHP 5 using a MySQL database. All of which have been developed and written over the Internet, are open-source and free for anyone to use. Freedom: It’s more than just a turn of phrase. It has meaning, and you can see it here.

This is my country; this is my world. My entertainment, my hobbies, interests, friends. My hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

All of it. It’s all in danger. In danger of ignorance, of corruption, of greed and profiteering. Morality and law are two entirely different things. While I wrote a series of pieces on the morality of the sharing of copyrighted materials, which in itself wasn’t one-sided, legally standing there is no argument. Arguing that, for example, downloading a song that a recording studio has the rights to is illegal threatens literally everything. You’ve now made the entire structure of the Internet invalid. I’ve gone on long enough; if you don’t understand how that last sentence is true, then that’s exactly the point. You don’t understand. Nobody in any sort of position to make a decision on what is right has any idea what right is.

Some may have a view of my country as a bit weird. What with the grammatically challenged cats, random videos, and a penchant for abhorrently graphic imagery. Well you’re close. We’re out of our damned minds. And that’s just the way we like it.

March 6, 2009

Freeware Fridays – mp3blaster

Filed under: Computers, Freeware, Music — Zurahn @ 2:43 am

Perhaps not a program to be used by many, this week’s choice appealed way too much to the computer geek side not to get a highlight.

mp3blaster is an audioplayer for the BASH command line.  That’s right, a full-fledged mediaplayer for the console window.

mp3blaster screenshot

The program includes all the functions you’d expect, including playlists, moving files, grouping, searching, repeat and shuffle.  It even has functionality built-in for filetype conversion.

So get out there and CTRL+ALT+F2 your way to favourite songs.

January 19, 2009

Weekly Worldly Song #7 – Italy

Filed under: Music — Tags: , , , — Zurahn @ 12:50 am

Not to play up to the stereotypes, but you pretty much had to know an operatic tenor was coming. Without further ado, for Italy it’s…

Andrea Bocelli (and Helene Segara) – Vivo per Lei
  1. United States (Code Monkey)
  2. Japan (Sore Iro no Album)
  3. Germany (Nur Geträumt)
  4. China (Ai La La)
  5. United Kingdom (Imagine)
  6. France (Le Temps des Cerises)

January 10, 2009

Weekly Wordly Song #6 – France

Filed under: Music — Tags: , , — Zurahn @ 12:01 am

French is heavily romanticised for its poetic sound and flow, leading naturally to verse and song. What song is apt to represent this poetic heritage? This song was originally written in 1866 by Jean-Baptiste Clement as an anthem of sorts for the working class. Presenting…

Nana Mouskouri – Le Temps des Cerises
  1. United States (Code Monkey)
  2. Japan (Sore Iro no Album)
  3. Germany (Nur Geträumt)
  4. China (Ai La La)
  5. United Kingdom (Imagine)

December 18, 2008

Weekly Worldly Song #5 – United Kingdom

Filed under: Music — Tags: , , , — Zurahn @ 12:38 am

Inarguably, the United Kingdom has been a worldwide leader and trendsetter in music for the better part of a century. Genesis, The Police, The Beatles among many others, there’s no dearth of selection. There is, however, but one choice for my choice as a representation, and that’s…

John Lennon – Imagine
  1. United States (Code Monkey)
  2. Japan (Sore Iro no Album)

December 11, 2008

Weekly Worldly Song #4 – China

Filed under: Music — Zurahn @ 10:26 pm

Given a country of over a billion, you’d expect a few who can write a song. Following the thematic naming of Eastern styles, China is the origination of “C-Pop,” and a fine example is this week’s song…

Hai nan – Ai La La
  1. United States (Code Monkey)
  2. Japan (Sore Iro no Album)

December 4, 2008

Weekly Worldly Song #4 – Germany

Filed under: Music — Tags: , , , , — Zurahn @ 12:22 am

Despite the fact that Germany is well known for its affliction for death metal, it is also fairly big in the highlight for this week, and that is Eurodance. This song (which is a cover of a song by another German singer, Nena) is actually the inspiration for this weekly feature, and it’s…

Blümchen – Nur Geträumt
  1. United States (Code Monkey)
  2. Japan (Sore Iro no Album)

November 25, 2008

Weekly Worldly Song #2 – Japan

Filed under: Music — Tags: , , , , — Zurahn @ 11:51 pm

Second in line for my musical endeavours into the music of the world is Japan. For myself, it’s near impossible to just select one song, or even just one artist. Hitomi Yaida, Kaela Kimura, Ai Otsuka, Rie Fu, Kotoko, The Heartsdales. But my selection this week to represent Japan is simple, beautiful. It’s…

Ai Kawashima – Sorairo no Album
  1. United States (Code Monkey)
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