The air is cold as wind stings your face, the cars are all coated with salt and something feels like it doesn’t fit. That nagging tug at the back of your mind that is an almost complete puzzle. You’ve run out of pieces and start calculating how much time you’ve wasted to only end up here. Just thought I’d convey a feeling as the sun sets on a Thursday afternoon in late February.


State of The Network

Here at NIU the torrent protocol is outright blocked and downloading any file ending in .torrent from an HTTP server ends in a reset connection error. Blocking the most efficient and distributive method of transferring files, is a careful balance between laziness and the want to cover their own ass.

Every time I watch a video on Hulu or YouTube, it’s nearly impossible to get all the way through without it stuttering or stopping to buffer. Each time that happens, I think about how happy I’d be if NIU simply allowed me to torrent overnight at 1Mb/s. The Cogent connection that NIU uses for student connections is a 1000Mb connection, of which, only a quarter is utilized at peak usage. During peak usage, I get more than 1Mb/s download speeds, so what’s the problem?

It’s not a matter of usage or statistics, it’s the scare tactics used by the MPAA, RIAA and other like-minded, archaic thinking, self-serving regulatory agencies that keep bringing this nation down.

Take a look at the insurance agencies in this country, which make astounding amount of money to prevent sick people from getting care, while siphoning money out of our pockets on a recurring basis. The RIAA takes a cut of what artists get, and in every lawsuit, they get the court-ordered payment. I’d think the artist should get the money but you have to look at it from another point of view, are they really losing money or not making what they would if everyone paid for the music.

Sure stealing is illegal and wrong, but copying and using isn’t stealing, is it? Would you arrest and fine heavily someone with a photographic memory who walks into an art gallery and fills their mind with paintings, which later get painted and hung up on the walls of his house? This person doesn’t sell them or attempt to make any money from them, they use these for their own. He has a copy of an original, and the only loss here is tim spent to make a new painting. You may say, well the artist lost money! I beg to differ, it’s only a perceived loss.

It all stems from money.

That’s what it all comes down to, isn’t it? NIU doesn’t want to deal with lawsuits and having to lose money.

Challenge: What does a college need with money? It needs to pay the staff and bills, (if you simplify it a bit). What do those people need the money for? All of it ends up in the hands of an individual, more or less, which they use to buy shit.

What if there was no money?

I find it an interesting proposition. Would the world be a better place? I don’t know, but I’d probably be able to torrent, and Hulu wouldn’t annoy me because they still use flash.

Why I like Google

Here’s some background on me and Google. We go way back to April 2, 2007. That’s the day I signed up for Gmail and left Yahoo in the dust. Since then they’ve given me an imap server to use, something Yahoo charges for. All my email is stored on their glorious servers and in 1047 days I’ve only managed to use 1% of the limit allotted to me.

I use Google Voice for texting and making free phone calls to anywhere in the country. I have a dorm room with unlimited incoming calls and GV is excellent for that.

I use Google Docs for a few things here and there, but it’s just as free as my copy of iWork, so either works.

I use Google calendar for scheduling and reminders. I put in my class schedule and any appointment, it texts my GV number which forwards straight to my pay-as-you-go phone. All incoming text messages are free, so it’s like having someone watching me at all times. “Hey, class starts in 25 minutes” which means I have five minutes to get ready and go. When there are two classes back to back and leaving on time is paramount, that little buzz tells me it’s time to get up and go without having to stare at the clock.

I use Google Chrome for all my browsing (I would if it wasn’t in beta. WordPress is really buggy and keeps crashing.) With the recent addition of extensions to the Mac version, there’s no longer a reason to use any other browser. Any copy of chrome I log in to will automatically pull in my latest bookmarks from Google Docs. Of course there’s an ad-blocking extension, so Firefox no longer has that over Chrome. Up in the corner is a little twitter checker, a Wave notifier, a countdown until my next event on my calendar.

I use Google Wave for note dictation and more recently, for my databases class CSCI 466. We have a group project that requires a certain level of collaboration, and it’s perfect. Without needing everyone logged in all the time, it’s still there when anyone needs it.

In addition to all this, Google also keeps track of all my contacts. You’re free to be paranoid about giving them all your information, but I’m not. Believe me, if someone had more attractive alternatives, I’d leave. Really.

Goodbye Facebook

I don’t use Facebook anymore, if you haven’t noticed. I don’t like it. (What’s more likely is that you won’t read this.)

Before that I stopped playing any and all games on Facebook. I don’t like flash, it’s clunky and sucks.

I really wish Hulu didn’t use flash.

Last week I officially applied and interviewed to become a CA. I received a glowing reference form, from a friend who lives a few floors down and another from my CA. I’m not sure what the latter said, but if it’s at all a representation of me, I shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Wednesday was a social, where I found out, to my surprise, that Brad Saxon want’s to be a CA too. Thursday was the actual interview. I had a one-on-one, a two-on-one and then a group observation process, wherein they see how we interact with other people. The most unnerving was sitting across the table from two people interviewing me. It’s hard to know which person to address with your answer, because they would both write down what I was saying.

My interview to become a CA in the Honor’s House is the 19th, and hopefully I meet the criteria they’re looking for. Being in the honors house and being a CA is the one thing I could wish for, that’s attainable. I’m in the Honors Program, I’m a like-able (enough) person, and I want to be there.

Tomorrow I should be getting my test back in Philosophy 205. *fingers crossed for an A*

The Start of A New Week

I’m getting pretty fed up with my Mighty Mouse because the scroll ball repeatedly stops working; I assume there’s junk stuck in the mouse somewhere. There’s no good way to take apart the mouse without breaking it completely so I can either live with it or get a nice Logitech mouse, with two actual buttons. Guild Wars has such a trying time distinguishing between the two buttons apparently. Since it’s an Apple piece of hardware, (and bluetooth) it doesn’t work well with anything Microsoft. I want to get a corded laser mouse with at least three buttons on it, and the neat forward/backward feature in the scroll wheel for navigation through webpages.

My interview for CA is this week on Thursday, hopefully I remember to go, unlike the restech one. Though, I don’t know how fed-up with people I would have been if I had to work at Restech, helping people with their computer woes. I have little patience for woefully ignorant people.

Happy February all, I do not look forward to my birthday. Being a 20-year old isn’t appealing to me; I want to go back to being 17.

Don’t you just hate people who can’t substantiate their ideas enough to make them look like paragraphs.. c’mon people!

I was thinking about maybe getting my latest poem published. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, scroll down to the previous entry. While looking up a respectable place to submit my poem, I got bogged down in reading about all the poetry scams that are out on the internets.