Friday Fun: Audiotorium

Well, its been a while, and unsurprisingly the first thing I end up doing is a post about another chilled out flash game, “Auditorium“.

Its a simple enough idea, you control various spheres which effect in various ways streams of particles which when correctly manipulated fill bars which play music… simple enough in theory but pleasurably challenging without being frustrating in reality. Its not that long, but it does serve as a good demo for the full game they are developing. Enjoy.

Click the image to play

Robert Kirkman on comics

My geek-ness is a wide ranging one, and falling within is the world of comics. I love them, at their best they can easily be considered literary masterpieces. However the printed comic world is facing an uncertain and problematic future and its not just from the web but it stems from their lack of innovation. Creator Robert Kirkman talks about such things in this video – LINK (I have tried to embed but its not working)

From my viewpoint I agree with Kirkman, things must change, I find myself reading stories that although new can easily be read as rehashing older ideas (some not so old), the lack of creativity in especially DC and Marvel results in a recycling of characters and plots which inevitably will lead to a creativity stagnation.

So what are your views:
– Do you even read comics?
– Do have an opinion on the future of the big four (Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and Image)?
– Have you noticed a dip in creativity in the mainstream?
– Do you read independent/creator owned titles?

(via: Angry Zen Master)

XKCD – Daddy, Junior, and Spook

XKCD is, in many ways, the pinnacle, so it seems, for geek humour. Blending maths, physics, linux, and virtually every geeky field in between with the joy of sarcasm and a every so slightly twisted wit. Now, of course this raises the question of webcomics in general, but I think that will have to wait for a different post.

So as a sampling of its brilliance may I present unto you the most recent strip…

Google must give Viacom YouTube info…

Before I give my reaction you may want to read this (BBC News), here is a brief outline:

“Google must divulge the viewing habits of every user who has ever watched any video on YouTube, a US court has ruled.”

So, yeah… to put it simply… YOU WHAT!?!?!

No really… I had to make sure I had read this correctly and it was saying what I thought it was saying. It was. Viacom has got a legal decision that will force YouTube to hand over records of not just Viacom copyrighted material but EVERY and ANY video watched on YouTube and information that shows who they are!

The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) is understandably rather upset and shocked by this ruling (you can see thier blog post here). Thier reaction is summed up well by their closing statement:

“The Court’s erroneous ruling is a set-back to privacy rights, and will allow Viacom to see what you are watching on YouTube. We urge Viacom to back off this overboard request and Google to take all steps necessary to challenge this order and protect the rights of its users.”

While it possible to debate the pro’s and con’s of various net issues such as, net neutrality, piracy, freedom of speech, and even personal privacy, this ruling I think is less defensible. If it just targeted violations of Viacoms copyright and intellectual properties you could defend this ruling, but since it targets all videos it becomes a major violation of rights and privacy, and its not even a government but a corporation.

So, does this ruling up set you as much as it does me? Am I wrong to be upset? Is Viacom justified? Or is this just a sad reflection on the state of the internet and the world?

(via BBCNews)

ISP and data snooping

Our lives are becoming increasingly monitored we are constantly under surveillance, our movements, purchasing habits and more can be tracked and analysed by not just the government but corporations. Now the same level of surveillance may well becoming the norm from our ISPs (Internet Service Provider) as we surf what is meant to be one of the last bastions of free speech.

There is a growing movement within ISPs to “listen” in to your data use for either advertising use or for third party interest groups such as music and film industry. Take Virgin Media, which used to the really good broadband provider Blueyonder, has announced that it is working with the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) to monitor the data use of its service users to see if they are downloading music illegally and then send letters to them about it.

Now here is the problem with this, are they going to just monitor BitTorrent usage or are they going to snoop so much they actually detect what information is being torrented? If the first then that will catch those who use BitTorrent legally (yes it does have its legal uses), if the second then that is, in my view, an invasion of privacy as they monitor and analyse ALL data coming in… of course this makes it highly unlikely as that would cost a lot.

Then there is the whole issue of Phorm and the controversy surrounding it (also here) is another concern that keeps growing. There is of course moves to make Phorm illegal under the wiretapping law, which raises questions about the above snooping by Virgin (and other ISPs eventually).

Of course this all touches on the larger issues of civil liberties, freedom, surveillance, big brother, net neutrality, and the like. But what do you guys think, do you think data snopping is ok? Do you think its a good thing? Whats your views of Phorm? Should we just accept this as an inevitable part of our world now?

Let the (civil) discussion begin

via BBCNews

May the LHC be with you…

I was going to go with “The ability to collide atoms is insignificant next to the power of the Force” but thought it might be a tad long. Anyways, I found this via Angry Zen Master, basically its a petition surrounding the Large Hadron Collider at CERN… and its not an anti-LHC petition:

…No doubt the Directorate of CERN will have prepared something similar to match this historic event.

However, we the undersigned feel something simple will suffice. Upon activating the LHC for the test, we advocate the opening words be “Commence Primary Ignition!”, a call back to the 1977 movie “Star Wars” when the villains destroyed the planet Alderaan with their Death Star.

… <snip>

Further, in the event that the sum total of human knowledge painstakingly amassed over course of history is wrong and the scientific illiterates are correct and this experiment does result in “opening a gate to hell”, “blowing up the planet”, “creating a stargate to another dimension”, or “granting the antichrist newfound powers” etc etc etc then this deliberate link to the destruction of a planet will allow the scientists to claim they knew this would happen and they meant to kill us all the entire time. …

I don’t know about you but I laughed out loud when I read that… however I would like an addendum, if we survive its ignition I want one to utter the immortal words, “Where’s the Kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth shattering kaboom!” :)

Anyway, HERE is the petition if you feel so inclined.