Goat Shenanigans

New episode of GameWreck is live!


Ctrl Z is a lie!

This week I was supposed to learn things about cybercrime and cyberwar and to say it went over my head is a big understatement. (I’m 5 foot flat, most things go over my head.) So I’d like to begin with repeating something that doesn’t get repeated enough. On the Internet, there is no Ctrl Z. Sure, you can type something into the WordPress post editor, accidentally delete 1000 words and hit Ctrl Z and suddenly the last hour of your life wasn’t a complete waste. What I mean is, once you press “Publish” those 1000 words are on a server forever. Even if you change your mind and delete the post minutes later.

It’s cheaper for Facebook, Google, Twitter, et al to save every piece of data you ever give them than to filter and remove what might not be important now. The Ashley Madison hack is proof of that.

The closed appliance phenomenon

I’ve been running into some problems with the making of GameWreck because of the devices I am using. More details in the video below.

I decided to do a bit of research into this to catch myself up. The main reason game developers don’t port to Macs is there is not a big enough market. For a long time Macs used Motorolla processors instead of Intel or AMD. They have since switched to Intel but the consumers buying a Mac don’t do it for the games. They have other expectations. This is probably a product of the programming strategy behind Apple devices: they would rather do all the thinking for you.

Yes, there is always Bootcamp to run Windows through a Mac. But that beges the question: why are you buying a device that doesn’t support what you want to use it for? This is where the vitriol “That’s what happens when you buy a Mac,” comes from.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know what you want from a machine before you buy it? Maybe the machine should just be customisable enough to get by with any requirement.

Have this video as a parting gift:

Copyright or Creative Commons?

That is the question…

Having just resumed looking into Copyright versus Creative Commons licencing after briefly touching on this several months ago, I was directed to the United States’ Copyright Office home page. Funnily enough I’m in Australia. This is symptomatic of something legacy media is loath to admit: the Internet has broken down boarders. Any creative work that exists online exists everywhere.

There are instances of various tech giants (e.g. Apple) attempting to create walled gardens to keep certain information and material inside these walls. As a blogger and YouTube channel owner, I feel it’s important to understand what restrictions are imposed over creative work. I have created this little infographic to give a better idea of the differences between Copyright and Creative Commons.

Copyright may have been instigated to protect the original artist’s work but it’s being used now for revenue raising through the legal system. This does not benefit the artists but the record companies and publishers and so on. For more information see this link.

Websites used in making the infographic:

Creative Commons Australia
Work Made for Hire blog on Copyright
Work Made for Hire blog on Differences between Copyright and Creative Commons
GCF Learn Free on Copyright
Legal Crunch
Attornery General of Australia Copyright Information

Social Media is the Liquid Labour of Love

Yes, there’s been a major shift in jobs. Industrialisation is no longer the name of the game; information has taken over. As such, there are a lot more people sitting on their bums in front of computer screens either at home or in open plan offices, churning out information after information. If we’re not looking at laptops we’re handcuffed to smart phones, bombarded by emails and messages and the occasional phone call. (My, how times have changed!)

If the worker must always be available, consider your online social presence. Even though you may be asleep, your Facebook profile never turns off. You could be receiving messages all night long. The same can be said for any social network on the Web. What makes this more confusing is the pervasiveness of jobs available where you are paid to be online liking Instagram pictures and commenting on Facebook posts as a brand representative.

I spent the day recording how I interacted with my online world in the following podcast. (Typically I don’t have this many notifications first thing in the morning but the last few days have been an exception.)

EULA: What are you agreeing to?

A quote from Richard Stallman in The GNU Manifesto (1985) has stuck with me since I heard Ted’s lecture: “I cannot in good conscience sign a non-disclosure agreement or a software license agreement.” Thinking about anonymity and nodes and the purpose of the Internet – “all users are created equal” – means any company asking for you to pay for their software is inherently trying to tear down that key feature. What makes this worse is we don’t read them! We could be signing over our lives to Apple and Microsoft et al and we’d have no idea because we just flick through the installation set-up and as soon as the proverbial “I agree” button pops up, we click it.
The following video is just a little taste of what you already agreed to.

The pretty lights are deadly

When Morse’s dot-dash telegraph was in full swing in 1859, the strongest solar storm on record occurred. In a three-stage process X-ray and ultraviolet-soaked sunlight ionised Earth’s upper atmosphere, disrupting radio waves; followed by a radiation storm; and closing with a coronal mass ejection (CME) that collided with Earth’s magnetic field, causing powerful electromagnetic fluctuations. It is these fluctuations that caused telegraphs to spark and shock workers, disrupting communications across the globe.

Since 1859, there have been more solar storms. In March 1989, a CME caused a blackout across the city of Quebec, resulting in a halt of all trading on Toronto’s stock market.

Funny how the thing that gives us life could take away so much? It really makes you stop and realise how fragile this delicate network of nodes and servers is.