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Neo7
EnsignN7@gmail.com

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The Cukoo's Egg
posted 2/14/2012 5:05:22 PM

He was out there, alone, silent, anonymous, persistent, and apparently successful...but why? What's he after? What's he already learned? And what's he doing with this information?
-Cliff Stoll

So by now you should know the heated argument of information and its freedom with the internet. Most people know the one extreme with government suppressing information to maintain control over a society. I wonder how many of you know the opposite end of the spectrum which has potential to be just as scary (and the threat on this end potentially comes from someone not ready to follow any form of ethics). Let us explore that shall we?

Espionage is the act of obtaining information that is to be maintained secret for any reason. The most common example comes from the top level where it happens between nations that have tensions between each other and they try to learn the secrets each side has discovered. It not only happens internationally/politically, but also as a means of private businesses.

Take Cheat Happens as the ever popular example. Caliber makes excellent trainers that many users want. The cost of using CHU's trainers is not what other users are willing to shell out. Many users take notice of this and begin to probe the secrets of what makes the trainers tick and eventually find out how to make it themselves. This wouldn't fall under espionage if CHU's trainers were Open Sourced but they are not. Some people could choose to sell their version ripped from CHU for much less stealing profit. Others want to be the Robin Hood and make it freeware or FOSS. Whatever the reason, it's active espionage in the form of getting their hands on as many trainers as possible not for using them to cheat at games.

Espionage doesn't stop there. It happens to many people as well. Many hackers recently have dug through databases to discover information many users would have rather kept private (such as credit card numbers and passwords). It serves to fill the gap between people with grudges to making some kind of statement by aggressive means.

A large chunk of people supporting the freedom of information probably do not know that information has a completely different definition in the realm of computer science. Most people know its general definition of "knowledge" which is indeed free (as provided by most local libraries). In computer science though it means the logical organization of data into a file. This means that if you store your password or credit card information in plaintext, it is information and subject to being distributed because information is free.

Of course the average person would rather not have this happen. This leads to the question that many have simply refused to answer: Where do we draw the line? Many people demand privacy but in return often lose safety in value. When people are granted piracy, they alone become responsible for the management of their computer and network security and when users are illiterate as to how to do this, the results can be disastrous (from scareware to randsomware...both of which you do not want).

Why? Because freedom is always abused whether it be by public or by a rogue group wanting to do whatever they please. Scareware? It's an elaborate scheme to generate fear to force users to enter credit card information to "purchase" software to remove the alleged infections. Once entered they have your information and may use or distributed it as they please. Even worse yet, those few precious moments of root access they have to infest your computer they lay other different kinds of eggs inside your system that hatch into connections to different botnets that send out the same spam by e-mail by the billions on a daily bases (don't believe me? then tell me where all that spam folder in your e-mail comes from). Most people don't know their computer is part of a botnet because a good virus masks itself to be invisible to everything.

The worst part of it all? With the rise of so many shields to protect net neutrality. There really is no infrastructure to chase these people down except for some open source style of vigilantism that cannot really do anything once they reach a point where they cannot force legislation on nations they don't belong too. At best they can just counter by stealing their information and fighting fire with fire.

And that is where we stand. A massive digital world with alliances and wars are fought with sides doing what they can to take as many resources for themselves and others defending themselves and possibly taking out these digital enemies. It's rather fascinating to see an entirely different society online than in person even though they are comprised of the same people.

Most people don't ask the most important question: "What do people want with this information?" The answer is simple: To get ahead. Even if they don't need/want the information they take from you, they can just sell it for the right price (this is what a lot of people did in the Cold War both on the US and the Soviet side).

So where do you stand in terms of privacy and security? These two concepts have traditionally been known to not mix very well.

   
   2 comments 
 


Pop Music?! (Part 2)
posted 2/8/2012 7:10:14 PM

Hey, wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world? EEEERRRRRRRGHHH
-Lloyd

So in case you were wondering:
Song 1: This song is based on Sawao Yamanaka's lonely adolescence growing up in Hokkaidō. It's main expression is loneliness without sadness (a kind of innocence personality wise)

Song 2: This song is dedicated to someone that brought a guy from sadness to happiness (kind of a ballad). No it isn't an anime song.
Lyrics: Link

Song 3: Fake Number is a Polish band that is known for being slightly towards emoish lyrics (but not much). This song is about someone who has changed her life and did not regret doing so.

Song 4: I don't have much on the lyrics to this song though I do know about the band a bit. It has a lot of influence from the band Motley Crue and has a bit of the same themes from that band as well.

Song 5: This was a trick one. It's actually a cover song. The original was sung by the same artist as song 1. This song is about discovery of the metaphysical. Lyrics Link



So why did I make you go through this (or rather not since none of you wanted to really participate)? The answer was to see how close users would get to the actual thing just based on the musical melody rather than the lyrics. This concept is rooted extremely deeply in musical theory with several concepts working together. This is the point I will be making.

First of all let us define the job of a musician. If you told me that a musician was an artist then you would be correct (only partially though). A musician is actually two different things one person has to juggle:

1. An artist (creative)
2. A sound engineer (builder)

The artist comes from what you express and really needs no further explanation to you. The one I want to discuss with popular music is the sound engineering part. Sound engineering is simply put the process of creating sound that is pleasant to hear. Popular music is engineered to be as most pleasantly sounding melodically to the most people. This is the reason why people listen to it on the radio so much to make it top the charts.

Lyrics give the message in the most direct way, but it is the music that sets the tone of it.

The above is a piano arrangement of the known Linkin Park song "In The End". Nobody is singing the lyrics and even then you can grasp that the song's melody helps to carry the lyrics into the somber/hopeless mood it has. Ready to try again with a different song?

The title will give away what this piece hopes to remind you of. How close were you? Spoiler:

Title is Dream Echoes
.

And this is just a piano. Now include all the new synthesized things that musicians have at their disposal. A multitude of endless possibilities and most of the "popular music" will sound somewhat similar due to what sounds most pleasant to us.

Think it's all bull***? Here's a Daft Punk song that uses only three words repeated 80+ times and yet to most people it never gets old.

Now you know why so many people like pop music. It's engineered for many to like it.

   
   1 comment 
 


Pop music?! (Part 1)
posted 2/4/2012 2:09:29 PM

"'Tell me your company, and I'll tell you your opinions,' might be said to many a man who piques himself on a select and superior view of things, distinct from the vulgar."
-William Hazlitt

Popular music. Many claim to hate it yet they hit the top 40 top 50 top whatever charts on a daily basis. Well before I go into this in more detail with my own observations, lets do a little experiment with an interactive blog.

Instructions if you want to participate:
Pick any song from the below list of songs in a foreign language. Your job will be to figure out what the song is about (the lyrics that is) and post your guess in the comments (or just a one sentence guess about the song's theme). You only need to do one but if you want to do more that's fine. BTW no cheating by looking up translated lyrics.

Song list:
---
1. Link
2. Link
3. Link
4. Link
5. Link

   
   3 comments 
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