Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Just Say "No"...to Pretext

I'd like to get to bed in the next 30 minutes so that maybe my mind can wrap itself around the 15-Puzzle tomorrow. Clearly, however IDA* is supposed to work here is lost on me (drop me a line if you have tips). I don't know if anyone will get my topic, but I meant it to plan on the old campaigns to get kids to say no to drugs. No? No takers? Hey, it's been a long Tuesday! Anyway, the MPAA and RIAA are fighting to amend a bill in California that strengthens federal regulations again pretexting, or lying to obtain information about someone, from phone records to all kinds of personal information, including stuff vital to your identity and your financial records. I know we're not in California, but this is still an important topic. What you have to wonder now is how many piracy cases have been won by these guys through information obtained by dishonesty. Even if it wasn't illegal at the time, I'd still call that pretty despicable. It's not like you're lying to catch a killer or a child molester or anything like that, but rather you're lying to appease your own greed. They should be forced to go through lawful channels to honestly get the information they need, otherwise they kind of get an unfair advantage. Not only that, but if their amendment is tacked on there it would give any copyright holder complete access to all your information since they could say they're Jesus Christ or something and that'd be ok, even if it's something like your Social Security number. Doesn't this scare anyone else? Maybe if they narrow their amendment a bit, it would be something we can reasonably debate because they could argue that there's certain information that they may have a right to get to much like an undercover cop would (not that I agree with that logic, but just playing devil's advocate), but they should not get a free pass to our identities. Again, it's California, not national, but that doesn't mean that this shouldn't be a concern because it just means that we're already vulnerable in the other 49 states. Kind of creepy, no?

Apple has now sold 100 million iPods in 5 and a half years, which is right up there with the PS2 and Walkman. It's a pretty big feat, and it makes you wonder when the iPod will lose steam. This streak can't possibly last forever, so what will be the nail in the coffin? I guess it'll stop being a hot item when their new generations become expensive and/or burdensome in features. It just seems like every iteration of any product has more junk you can do with it, and people eventually get tired of that. Or maybe people will get tired of having to replace the whole damn thing when the battery or hard drive fails. Maybe they should just quit while they're ahead and design an insulin pump instead. I must say, that's kind of an interesting concept. What if Apple stopped being selfish (no, product [Red] doesn't count as being altruistic, sorry) and tried putting its powers to good to help with a product that benefits the good of humanity, like a better insulin pump? Who knows, maybe Steve Jobs will eventually grow the heart Bill Gates has.

We have an actual insider rumor regarding the next Zune, or rather several small bits of information. There's to be a new Zune and a Flash Zune, both with the doubleshot design, video functionality, and WiFi capabilities. If the price is right, Microsoft could end up giving the Nano a run for its money. It's not that special, after all. It's just a cutesy, expensive iPod.

Back to Apple real quick: their first Apple TV television spot is out, and it's slightly less creative than what I would've expected. It's very literal, which is nice, but does it really make anyone want an Apple TV? It's like they're saying, "Yes, we now have a product that will let you watch movies on your television! Isn't that stellar?!"

Wired interviewed Eric Schmidt about Google and the whole "Internet operating system" gossip that has gone around for the past several months, and I like his thoughts on everything. He sounds very genuine. I like that referring to server-based computing has having information "stored in the clouds" has now become technical jargon; it sounds like something a tech blogger inadvertently invented.

One-liner: there's an awesome list of online converters here. Some of them are random and kind of useless, but there's a lot of awesome ones, like for PDFs and images.

If the visual effects in Grindhouse look cool to you, you'll enjoy this article on the pre-viz process. A lot goes into making the film so clean and yet so vintage grainy at the same time, so it's fun to see concept art become reality and how.

The UK trailer for Live Free or Die Hard (again, it's called Die Hard 4.0 there like is in every freaking country except here) is a lot better than ours in that it actually tells you what the premise is. Obviously, I have to criticize that premise as being totally far-fetched because it makes it sound way too easy to bring down the country's technological infrastructure. Granted, things like RSA encryption can technically be compromised, but that doesn't mean that all Hell breaks lose all at once. With action movies though, suspended disbelief is a necessity, so I'll forgive them.

Lastly, basically the same team that brought you Da Vinci Code (including Tom Hanks) is coming back together again for Angels and Demons, that other Dan Brown book that every other person has read. I can't say much because I haven't read it myself, but it sounds like they just want another cash cow, in my opinion. Let's hope the movie quality doesn't suffer (I personally enjoyed Da Vinci Code, actually).

I'm going to do Ten on Tuesday this week:

10 Highschool Memories
10. The pep rallies that never got anyone pepped up, just happy get out of class.
9. Going to Bellaire Broiler Burger for awesome milkshakes.
8. Being in a ton of clubs, most of which did nothing.
7. Worrying about AP exams and college like constantly!
6. Stupid crushes.
5. Playing guitar nearly every night.
4. Being accused of cheating and burned at the stake for it.
3. Sleeping about 5 hours a night.
2. Prom sucking, like hardcore.
1. GRADUATING! Thank God it's over!

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