Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Following the Path (what I have so far)

“I’m late” Zuse said.  “I can’t believe I’m late again”

It was the same road that thousands drove down every day, except today it was half the size of normal.  The local Department of Transportation had been working hard to fix the roads throughout the city before fall.  For some reason, they decided to start on this road in the middle of rush hour traffic.  Now everyone within two miles was stuck in bumper to bumper traffic.

Zuse knew that he wasn’t going to be in much trouble if he came in late; construction has been a vary large problem ever since that one bridge fell into the river.  The bridge hadn’t been used in over a decade, but some politician decided that all the bridges in the city needed to be checked and repaired.  While no one had a problem with the repairs themselves, they did have a big problem with being forced to take at least three detours just to get to work.

It took twenty minutes, but Zuse finally made the two blocks he needed to get out of the construction zone.  Fitting with the luck he was having, the light turned red just as he reached the intersection.

Looking at his watch, he saw that if he drove a little faster then he normally would, he could make it to work just in time.  He took a deep breath to calm himself.  It wasn’t the construction workers’ fault he was running behind, it wasn’t really anyone’s fault.

The light turned green and Zuse put his foot down pulling ahead of the cars around him.  Just at that moment, a red sports car ran the red light and hit Zues’ Jeep right on the driver side door.

Zuse floated in and out of conciseness.  One moment he saw a man in an EMT jacket, the world behind him was flashing red.  The next he was in a small room being jostled around while the man in the EMT jacket yelled words that he could not understand.  Zuse managed to pull himself into conciseness just long enough to see someone put a needle into his arm and he fell into blackness.

Zuse felt the world pulling at him again, he could hear voices.  Soft mumbles at first, the voices seemed to be getting closer.  He opened his eyes and found his family looking back at him.  They had seen him stirring and gathered around.  His father was to his left, his sister right beside.  On the other side was his mother.  If she was here, he must have been out for a long time as she lives over two hours away.

Someone else walked into the room, it was his best friend, Sam.  He had run off to grab the doctor when they noticed Zuse was waking up.  Not far behind, the doctor walked in.  There was a frown on his face.

He addressed the family.  “He has massive internal bleeding, two dozen broken bones, and his kidneys are failing.  While he’s awake, you will want to say your goodbyes.  I’m sorry, but he will not live threw the night.”

Everyone was devastated by the news.  Zuse’s father fell back into the chair, his mother burst into tears, and his sister had to turn away.  Sam was the only one who managed to stay composed.

Zuse gestured to the doctor to come over and remove the breathing tube.  Knowing there was nothing that could be done, the doctor complied and called the nurse to help pull the tube.

Managing to breath on his own, he forced himself to speak.  “I’m... sorry...”

Before he could finish, he fell into blackness again.  Three hours latter, he was declared dead.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The War is Not Yet Over

I'm sure that everybody has heard the news that SOPA and PIPA have been delayed.  Well, you know what?  That's not good enough.  "Delayed" is a terrible word, I like "Canceled" better.  But how do we do that?  Vote out the idiots who supported it?  That's a good start, but it's just taking care of a symptom.  Want to make them go away for good?  Teach the source a lessen.

Where is the source?  Well, let's follow the money.  Two of the largest campaign contributors are the MPAA and the RIAA lobbying firms and they were big pushers of the bill.  Well, now that we know at least two of the sources, how do we stop them?  How does one man fight against that?  In the best way physically possible: doing nothing.

Don't do anything.  Don't buy from them, don't download from them, don't promote them.  Any artist that's under the MPAA or RIAA umbrella is now off limits.  They're so worried about losing money, then lets show them what it truly feels like.

What about the rest of the supporters?  Lets give them an example of what the Internet can do.

The war has begun and obscurity is our weapon of choice.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Internet Goes on Strike!

I'm sure by now that you've seen the websites that have gone dark today, Wikipedia, Reddit, Craigslist, WordPress, and many more (Yes, every letter is a different link).  Others are getting into the spirit in unique ways.  Google blocked out their logo on the US pages, 4chan (totally not safe for work) is censoring all text, Twitpic blacked out their logo, and Fark even went white in sarcastic support.

But why are they doing this?  Two little bills called Protect IP act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).  These bills claim to stop foreign websites dedicated to copyright infringement online.  They do that not by attacking the foreign sites directly, but by forcing US based advertisement companies, payment processors, and search engines to black list the accused sites.  I say accused because there is not court involved, there is not trial, there is no innocent until proven guilty.  The accusing party only has to send a legal letter to the US companies, then the companies have two choices; ignore the letter and risk liability, or stop doing business with the accused site and get immunity from any potential lawsuit.

There's much more wrong with these bills, but that right there should stop them cold.  It's violating one of the founding principles of the United States; innocent until proven guilty.  That's not "a US citizen is innocent until proven guilty", that's "EVERYONE is innocent until proven guilty." 

Add on top of that the fact that the law is not meant to punish the "pirate" site, the site is left alone.  The burden is on US companies.  The Pirate Bay doesn't get affected (though it's not affected due to another idiotic part of the law), Google gets the burden of censoring the links, PayPal gets the burden of blacklisting the account.

This brings me to my two main rants.

1) The US Constitution doesn't actually apply to US citizens, it applies to the US government.  The First Amendment starts with "Congress shall make no law...", not "US Citizens have the right to free speech."  This means that the US government cannot infringe on anyone's free speech.  I think if we all realized this, the world would start to be a better place (Or the US would at least get their noses out of everyone's business).

2) If you were working with a company and they falsely sued you for breach of contract, would you ever work with them again?  I feel the same about any company that supports these kind of laws.  I will not buy, download, or even talk about anything these people sell.  Please, stop this bullshit.  I want to buy your stuff, I want to give you my money, but I won't as long as you're trying to remove my rights and destroy my Internet.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Setting up a host file.

I've been hearing this a lot recently; "Just type the IP address into your browser's address bar and it will take you right to the page."  This is not 100% true.  While it is possible to go to Http://74.125.133.104 and get Google, it is not possible to go to Http://209.166.161.50 and get Cracked.com.  This is due to a thing called "binding".

Warning: in an attempt to teach everyone no matter what level of tech knowledge they have, I will be using metaphors that aren't completely accurate.  This cannot be avoided since the Internet is so unlike anything we've had before.

An IP address is almost like an address to a house (not quiet, but for this tutorial, close enough).  When you want to go to a house, you look at a map and follow the path to the address.  The internet is kind of the same way.  You have an IP address and your computer follows the map to a specific server.  This map is provided by what are called routers and nodes; they're basically intersections and street signs on the information superhighway.