SOPA – A Primer

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SOPA – A Primer

The Stop Online Piracy Act is a bill before Congress that could very well affect every internet user in one form or the other. Its primary purpose is to prevent the spread and use of pirated, aka stolen or illegal, material across the web. However, the methods for doing so are proving to be more than a bit controversial.

The act itself would give power to the United States government to require ISPs to, “…prevent access by its subscribers located within the United States to the foreign infringing site…” (in common language, block access to a website that has been deemed/flagged as containing “pirated” or otherwise licensed material). The government could also force search providers to remove any link to a website that has been flagged for containing illegal material, force payment processors to shut down the ability for offending sites thus preventing them from making money, and to prevent internet advertisers from doing business with an infringing site.

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Equality, or Lack Thereof

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Equality, or Lack Thereof

Today’s article is genuinely on a very serious subject matter, so forgive me if I abandon my usual flippant tongue-in-cheek. In part. For a bit. If I can.

But seriously, this is no joke. This is Real Talk.

Xbox Live Bar Tag

As many of you may have heard, Xbox Live recently granted gamers the right to display a number of details about their personal details online, among them race, gender, and sexual orientation. And while in our culture we are moving in an ever-more accepting direction to different faiths and creeds, beliefs and ways of life, one of the most hostile environments for acceptance and change is in the quite faceless and odds-evening ether of the internet.

Gamers are, by and large, classified as nerds, geeks, dweebs, and generally socially unacceptable social outcasts. And while we’re growing to be more and more socially acceptable almost by the day, as evidenced by the popularity of titles like COD:MW2 and the Halo franchise, Madden and Tiger, we are still a subset of humanity that is commonly made fun of, mocked, and not allowed to sit at the cool table in the lunchroom.

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The CrunchPad is dead

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It’s my sad duty to report that the CrunchPad, Michael Arrington’s web browsing tablet has been killed by a fall out between the manufacturing partners and Tech Crunch. As Arrington himself tells it, 2 days before the official launch of the product the manufacturers Fusion Garage, pulled the rug out from under the Tech Crunch team and have apparently decided to make it without them. As Arrington put it so succinctly:

Err, what? This is the equivalent of Foxconn, who build the iPhone, notifying Apple a couple of days before launch that they’d be moving ahead and selling the iPhone directly without any involvement from Apple.

Now, Fusion Garage have yet to have their say but it sounds like the shareholders decided they wanted a bigger slice of the pie. I’m not sure how they’re going to get away with selling a product that they both have IP for, but I’m sure the courts will be involved.

It’s a real shame because whatever you think of Arrington, I know a cheap internet browsing tablet would have been up almost everyone’s streets and I was very much looking forward to it’s launch. So for what it’s worth, I’m sorry for Mr. Arrington and his CrunchPad team, I thought it was a terrific idea.


What it would look like if Net Neutrality disappears

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Yup. Scary.

Don’t know what Net Neutrality is? Here’s a tl;dr version of it.  Imagine the internet highly regulated to the point where each ISP can control which websites you can go to.  If you wanted to go to different websites that are outside the ISP’s “basic coverage”, then you would have to pay extra.  Just think the United States current health care system applied to our internets.

Yea. Scary and fucked up.

[via Reddit]

What is Anonymous?

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bag-head-compThe EFF recently posted a slightly chilling article on how NON-anonymous your online interactions may be. Would you be opposed to entering your zip code online? How about your gender? Your birth date? Chances are that you could be identified by these factors alone. Latanya Sweeney, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, has shown that there is an 87% chance that those three identifiers are enough to single you out of the crowd.

It has been stated in a related article on CNET that a ten digit number could be used to uniquely identify anyone on earth (current rough population level withstanding). Even anonymized data, when pushed through basic searching and sorting algorithms can be used to find you amongst the many. Privacy rights activists worry that one day we will all be forced to have barcodes printed on us, and our privacy will be taken away…

Fact is, you already wear that barcode… it just doesn’t give you the courtesy of knowing it’s there.

[via EFF] [via CNET] [image source]

What's Going On? 8/7/2009

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Everyday, I’ll try to post a summary of three non-geek articles I read today. This is my vain attempt at trying to spread awareness of these types of issues.

US military

Kills five Afghan cucumber farmers in air strike


Kandahar Province in Afghanistan

They thought they were “militants loading munitions into a van”

Despite police confirming the van it hit was full of cucumbers, NATO maintained that those it killed were militants. The attack is the second disputed incident of civilian killings in Kandahar Province in as many days.


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A Conversation with the Owner of a Fake Digg Profile

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CONTEXT: There’s a lot of SEO heads lurking around sites like Digg and Reddit. While I must admit that I am more of a Reddit user, people from Digg message me from time to time. Here’s a conversation I just had with “Ashley Lombardi, a 20 year-old female from the United States who joined Digg on July 21st, 2009″

(10:46:31 AM) ashleyl845669: heyy : )
(10:46:58 AM) pixelatedjamie: :[
(10:47:18 AM) ashleyl845669: Watsup, I am kind of new to digg and I came across your profile, and you looked cool so I added you heh : )
(10:47:22 AM) ashleyl845669: whats with the sadface
(10:47:43 AM) pixelatedjamie: what’s your digg profile?
(10:47:58 AM) ashleyl845669: add me : )
(10:48:17 AM) pixelatedjamie: lol
(10:48:19 AM) pixelatedjamie: what site do you work for?
(10:49:17 AM) ashleyl845669: Um abercrombie
(10:49:21 AM) ashleyl845669: but not the site the store?
(10:49:42 AM) pixelatedjamie: so you saw my profile and you thought i was cool?
(10:49:49 AM) pixelatedjamie: what was cool about my digg profile?
(10:49:55 AM) pixelatedjamie: and do you even remember what my digg profile is?
(10:51:49 AM) pixelatedjamie: figured you wouldn’t have a quick answer.
(10:51:53 AM) pixelatedjamie: here is a tip, seo man:
(10:52:03 AM) pixelatedjamie: the cute girl in a profile picture thing doesn’t work so well anymore – especially when you add almost 250 people in six days
(10:52:40 AM) pixelatedjamie: it’s disgustingly blatant
(10:52:46 AM) pixelatedjamie: good effort, though, um, ashley.
(10:53:20 AM) ashleyl845669: Huh,heyy : )
(10:53:45 AM) pixelatedjamie: another thing, seo guy
(10:53:55 AM) pixelatedjamie: guys are more fascinated with females who actually have brains
(10:54:01 AM) pixelatedjamie: not camwhores who “work at abercrombie”
(10:54:07 AM) pixelatedjamie: you might want to take another angle
(10:54:20 AM) ashleyl845669: haha Why are yyou saying all these mean things to me…
(10:54:53 AM) pixelatedjamie: what’s my profile name, ashley?
(10:54:56 AM) pixelatedjamie: and what makes me so “cool”?
(10:55:24 AM) pixelatedjamie: do you only operate on weekdays from 9am – 6pm?
(10:55:41 AM) pixelatedjamie: shouldn’t you be selling jeans or something?
(10:57:02 AM) pixelatedjamie: not sure what to say?
(10:57:03 AM) pixelatedjamie: lol
(10:58:19 AM) pixelatedjamie: OH
(10:58:20 AM) pixelatedjamie: another thing
(10:58:25 AM) pixelatedjamie: it’s insulting to other female users on digg
(10:58:37 AM) pixelatedjamie: that you would think that a girl like your “ashley” character would exist on a social media site
(10:58:51 AM) pixelatedjamie: women on digg would not say this:
(10:58:59 AM) pixelatedjamie: “I love twilight! Whose your favorite character! mine is edwardddd”
(10:59:08 AM) pixelatedjamie: women on digg are too intelligent for that.
(10:59:16 AM) pixelatedjamie: seo guy, you didn’t really think this through.
(10:59:28 AM) pixelatedjamie: “ewww spiders creep me outt”
(10:59:30 AM) pixelatedjamie: insulting.
(10:59:36 AM) pixelatedjamie: “The first one was so amazing, the second one was eh, Meagan Fox keeps getting prettier I am so jealous… but the story is sucking more and more…”
(10:59:37 AM) pixelatedjamie: disgusting.
(10:59:50 AM) pixelatedjamie: do you notice how all of your comments are buried?
(10:59:59 AM) pixelatedjamie: it’s because people can see through your fabricated character
(11:00:01 AM) pixelatedjamie: you need another angle.
(11:01:07 AM) pixelatedjamie: i’m giving you golden advice, man
(11:01:14 AM) pixelatedjamie: this ashley lombardi character is not going to work
(11:02:02 AM) pixelatedjamie: those chicks don’t use digg; they’re busy sucking off the guys they randomly met at bars
(11:02:23 AM) pixelatedjamie: and the fact that you would actually insert that type of character into a community like digg is downright insulting
(11:11:33 AM) pixelatedjamie: nothing to say?
(11:11:53 AM) pixelatedjamie: that’s a shame, i thought your profile was pretty cool ;]