“Hackers Assault Epilepsy Patients via Computer”

March 29, 2008

  Wow, my last posts have been on articles that I have seen at Wired.com.  For some reason they have interested me.  Apparently some people used some javascript code on a message board for epilepsy support that had used “flashing computer animation to trigger migraine headaches and seizures in some users”.  At first I thought this was an April Fools joke but then I realized it isn’t April Fools yet.  Maybe I’m wrong but this might be the first physical attack someone has done by the Internet.  Unless of course you include some children watching Pokemon online.

 The article is here.


Stupid Computers

February 14, 2008


I was going to write something completely different today but I needed to vent.  My computer has been running slow lately so I decided to do a clean install.  This has put me in a shitty mood.  I backed up everything I needed on a hard drive and reinstalled.  No problems, Windows XP Pro installs fine.  I have a shitty USB wireless card and the drivers for it I backed up.  Well, this hard drive is a 300 gig SATA that XP doesn’t install the drivers for by default.  As I have no Internet I can’t go online and download them for my mobo from Asus.

I end up finally getting the SATA drivers installed (don’t ask me how, it was an hour long process).  I start installing programs that I use and guess what?  I need to download Service Pack 2.  Windows Update doesn’t start the download, I do it manually.  Installed it, reboot.  Install the applications I need and they want me to reboot.

Right now I am downloading Windows Updates… I picked and chose the ones I felt I needed and there were 95 updates .  Currently I am on update 8 of 95 and ready to smash this computer like it was Reginald Denny.

Cars and Technology

February 6, 2008


I love watching old movies or television shows from the 1950s or the 1960s where they said that we would have flying cars in the year 2000 like The Jetsons.  Well I guess we are a bit behind on schedule for doing that.  Too bad, it would have been interesting to see if the accident rate increased.

I have a compromise though.  Following the last few weeks of fricking cold weather in Lethbridge, Alberta I would gladly give up ever seeing the flying car concept coming to fruition to see something else come out… A car that starts when it’s cold out.  You’d think of the technology that has came out and how we make everything smaller and smaller (ex. cell phones and music players) that there would be a battery or another way to start a car when it’s cold out and not plugged in.  Instead you deal with freezing your hands and ass off boosting your car in -40 weather because these damn inventors are too busy putting their time into making things smaller.

Cell Phones

February 1, 2008


Is it just me or were there not commercials a few years ago that promised people that you could talk on cell phones and see each other while talking?  Maybe this technology is out but I have personally not seen it yet.   To me it seems that cell phones have progressed too much.

For example, Camera phones have been banned in many places for privacy reasons.  Also for some people text messaging has replaced verbal communication.  When I am at a theatre and I see people text messaging it angers me.  The glow from the god damn cell phone stands out in a dark theatre.  My concentration goes from watching the movie to restraining myself from snapping on the self important jack ass who is sending “sup?” and “lol” messages to their friends.

It is also possible to surf the web on a cell phone and for some that means they have web access anywhere.  This to me is scary in that for some the web has became their main source of interacting with others.  They had to leave the computer sometime and engage with the rest of society but now that they can use the internet anywhere, this physical interaction with others can become even less.

I have a cell phone and I only use it for talking.  I’ve never texted with it but it’s because the phone isn’t capable of doing it.  It’s a second hand phone that I got from a friend for free.  It doesn’t get a digital signal (only analog).  I don’t know if I would text message as it seems to be an emotionless means of communicating.  There have been times I have been talking online and a message came across in a way which wasn’t intended due to there being no tone in someone’s voice to signify what they went.  If it is possible to avoid this, I would like to take that route.

Dumbing Down

January 31, 2008


(As a side note, when I used the Google Image search for “dumb” tons of pictures came up of George W. Bush.  While I’m not a supporter of him, I find this joke of calling him dumb getting as old and lame as a comedian saying “Git r dun” after every punchline.)

  I was sent a link the other day which was video that was critical of the American education system (this video is available at the end of this blog post).  High School students are asked who important figures in history are and some of the responses are shocking.  I’ll be honest and admit I did not know who Calvin Coolidge was but the other people I did.   

   It is scary that students recognize pop culture icons before people who played (or play) an important role in our world.   Often I find Canadians criticizing the United States for this but I think that Canadian High School students would probably perform pretty similiar on this test.  While we do have Canadian laws in effect to try and promote our culture, with the Internet being or on its way to becoming the primary media source for many Canadians, these laws will eventually become obsolete.  American culture plays a large role in Canadian culture whether we like to admit it or not. 

Internet Communications and Social Networking

January 28, 2008


When I first started using the Internet (probably in 1995 or 1996) I used IRC to talk with and communicate with my friends.  At the time all of these friends were people I knew physically.  (I did not have an e-mail address until a few months after using IRC as I didn’t know about Hotmail, Rocketmail or Yahoo! Mail).  I met many people on IRC from across the world and for a few years would probably talk to them at least once a week online.  Although I still occasionally use IRC, there is only one person who I met using it that I still keep in touch with who I haven’t met.

I noticed that in terms of communicating with others on the Internet there has been a trend.  For me, in terms of chatting online it went IRC->ICQ->MSN.  For many of my friends they skipped IRC and ICQ and have only used MSN.  During this change involving chat client I have noticed that Social Networking has seemed to take over.

I have had accounts with Hi5, Myspace and Facebook but one day I decided to delete my accounts on all of these sites.  The main reason I did it was that I found they were taking up too much of my time (especially Facebook) and in reality I had no real reason to be on them.  In my opinion Myspace is a great site if you are promoting something.  You can find thousands of musicians and comedians who have a venue to easily self promote where they may not have the opportunity elsewhere.  I don’t have anything to promote so I thought that being on there was somewhat useless.

I have heard stories of people using Facebook and finding people they have not talked to in years (whether it be old friends or classmates from school).  This shows how large and powerful of a site it is when so many people are members.  I did meet some people on there that I hadn’t talked to in a long time and still keep in touch with them without the site through e-mail.  In this respect, I find Facebook a powerful tool.  However, for me the cons outweighed the pros. 

It almost became an addiction with checking the site every few hours to see what is new and if I had got any messages.  An e-mail would be sent to me saying that I had a new message from someone but would not say from who.  As a user this was annoying as you had to login to the site to see the message but from a marketing point of view in terms of advertising, this was a smart tactic.  Now I know some people don’t like Facebook due to the advertising on it but it is somewhat naive to think that a site this large would be able to function without advertising or a pay to use platform.  However, some of the advertising techniques they use (such as Beacon) are more controversial.  These factors did play some part in my decision to leave Facebook but the biggest factor was that it was taking up too much of my time.  Now I have more free time to aimlessly surf the internet and do other unproductive things. 

Sampling and Turntablism

January 28, 2008


“Caught, now in court cause I stole a beat
This is a sampling sport”
– Public Enemy – “Caught, Can We Get A Witness?”

 When it comes to sampling and turntablism in regards to music, I am pretty much clueless.  However I feel that both of these art forms are often neglected and given negative connotations as either “stealing” or “noise”.  If you are remotely interested in either sampling or turntabling, I recommend watching the documentary “Scratch“.

  Some people refer to scratching as merely noise due to a dj dragging a record against a needle to make sound or noise.  As well they may say all it really takes to do is a person to turn a record.  In regards to this, isn’t drumming just hitting something?  There is more to these arts then just simple body movements.  Some DJs and turntablists are able to take a single sample of an instrument and through various scratching techniques make it sound like this single instrument is playing a more complex piece.  For an awesome example and video of this check out Kid Koala – Drunk Trumpet.

  Sampling sometimes has the negative connation of “stealing” due to dj’s taking pieces or samples from other musician’s music.  However look at a musician like DJ Shadow who’s album “Endtroducing…” is built around samples and uses them merely as building blocks in creating a song that is uniquely different from the artists who he sampled from.  DJ Spooky has an interesting view on sampling in saying that songs which use many samples form kind of a network between songs and/or genres which may not have existed before.

To illustrate an example of this I am going to choose a song from, in my opinion, one of the greatest rap albums of all time: Public Enemy’s “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back”.   The song I am choosing is “She Watch Channel Zero“.  According to Wikipedia the samples that are listed (and known) for this song are:

  • Angel of Death” by Slayer (guitar)
  • “Funky Drummer” by James Brown (drums) 

  •   In this respect, “She Watch Channel Zero” acts as a connector between Slayer’s “Angel of Death” and (the often sampled) “Funky Drummer” by James Brown.   This in a sense makes “She Watch Channel Zero” an amalgamation of a thrash metal song and a funk song.  Although this is a simple example consisting of two samples it helps to show how sampling can be viewed, in a sociological-like sense, as a bridge between two different musical genres that appear to share little in common.