Alright, so everyone has heard about it. Some of you probably use it. But most people have a very hard time explaining what the heck Twitter even is…
So I’ll try my hand at this. The aim is to write a short description of why so many people love Twitter so much, and explain why it is a major new form of communication, just like email and instant messaging were in their time.
If I do things right, next time your friends ask you about Twitter and you go insane trying to explain it, you can just send them to this article and they should have a vague idea of why it’s such a great tool.
Democracy isn’t a perfect system, it’s just the best one we’ve found yet. And as with anything that’s not perfect, you’ve got issues that can become pretty freakin’ annoying after a while. On the Internet, which is probably the most extreme form of democracy we have, everyone can express their opinion equally. And it seems that most of these are: “THIS SUCKS!”
I’m sure you’ve come across this idea yourself: whether it’s on the net or in real life, it sometimes seems like people are never happy. About anything. “People” will bitch and moan all day long, and all you hear about in the news is controversy. And from there it’s easy to go to the conclusion the rest of the world is a bunch of dumb saps that will always be unhappy, no matter what the topic is.
Well, while I agree that most people are probably dumb saps, I still think that this view is a sort of optical illusion. The thing is, there is no idea in the world that will get a unanimous approval. And I mean none, like, ever! Go with me on this: try to think of an idea that would garner universal approval in a modern western society. Even the brightest, shiniest, happiest proposal would get a couple of groups of people who would violently oppose it. As long as it’s something “realistic”, it will make some people unhappy.
I wanted to wait a bit before commenting on Proposition 8 and the banning of gay marriage in several states in the US. For those who don’t know, a few states now have it written in their constitution that marriage is only possible between one man and one woman. Which is ironic since the California campaign for this was heavily pushed by the Mormon church, in which men often (sometimes?) have multiple wives…
Anyway, that’s besides the point, but it does also state the obvious fact that the organizations supporting this mostly take roots in religious circles (though I imagine not all supporters are religious).
And before I talk about the ban on marriage proper, I just want to say that Florida not only banned gay marriage, but also pre-emptively banned any contract that would try to “emulate” marriage. While the language isn’t crystal clear, this pretty much puts a ban on civil unions too. This is just ridiculous… Marriage is one thing, and I can understand the debate. But this?!… Ok, let’s not derail the post.
This article is cloaked under a semi-funny title, but it is actually a pretty serious topic… Just a warning.
I want to talk about what makes us who we are for a minute. I will try to keep it to the point. Here is the premise: we have a few fundamental values that define us, as western societies. Freedom, equality, fairness… These are the ideas that world defining documents like the French “Human Rights Declaration” and the American Bill of Rights were written to protect. And the moment we start losing them, we start losing our soul. We start turning to “the dark side”.
Here comes the sadly funny part: millions of us have watched the Star Wars movies, and we’ve all heard the wise reflexion of the old green little Jedi master guy.
“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”
Everyone knows that line. Yet no one seems to understand how it relates to the attacks of September 11th 2001. Are you afraid? Are you sacrificing what they attacked you for? Then you are giving “them” what they wanted in the first place.
This is Part 2 of The Blizzcon Dairies.
If don’t know what this is, find out here with part 1!
7 – The panels
The opening ceremony is about to start. I make my way to the front row… May I see your pass please? Well of course you may, good sir. I look for a good spot, thankfully there’s a lot more seats than there are journalists. Here’s Kathleen Sanders and the guys from the one up show “Hey, it’s Mini! Love the show!” “Thanks!” Mini’s owner smiles back. I sit down, the ceremony starts. Morhaime on stage, giving numbers. Then Starcraft 2 and Wrath of the Lich King, we already knew all of that… Still cool, but a little bit underwhelming. “Damn you, Interwebs!” I hear Chilton screaming inside his head.
The ceremony’s over, and… The horror. Regular people are ok, but “ze journalists” enter a stage of panic that I’m no stranger to. Quick, update our pages we must! Blog and post and announce we have to! Well, the cool ones are sitting and chatting, cause they already live updated everything from their palm-treo-PDA thingies. Curse you technology savvy professionals!
I run and plug in and start typing. Maybe some kind of PHP script would have been a good idea, instead of actually coding the page and formatting the pictures by hand… And maybe this could have occurred to me, oh I don’t know, TWO WEEKS AGO?!
Freedom of thought is essential. Anyone should be allowed to put forth any idea and not be ridiculed or shun for it. This is how our world advances, and that’s the way it should be. It’s a given in any “free society”.
That being said, what starts out as a good intention can be perverted. This can bring us to accept an idiocy as a respectable theory. When something as asinine as “the earth is 5000 years old” becomes a somewhat accepted opinion, we, as a society, have to put our foot down.
In august 2007 I was lucky enough to be at Blizzcon. Randy, from The Instance, asked me for a few words about the trip and the experience. Even though I didn’t intend to, I ended up writing a little essay which was never really published. I figured that with Blizzcon 2008 coming up, some people might enjoy reading this monster of an article.
So here it is: The Blizzcon Dairies.
Hope you enjoy it!
1 – The departure
Early morning, I get up in my usual haze and grab the clothes I carefully folded the day before. T-shirt, check. Pants, check. Socks, check. Sexy underwear, ch… Errr no wait, that’s from yesterday. Regular underwear, check. Ok, no need to waste time opening closets, having breakfast or taking showers, I’m going to Blizzcon, yay!
Bus ride to the airport. I’m on time, the stars must have aligned.
Let’s head to the check in counter. Not this one, not this one, not this one… Wait… I think… Yup, that’s it. Great, it’s the one with thirty seven thousand people in front of it. Typical. Ok, no worries, I’ll just wait in line. And take a couple of pictures so I can laugh about it later. Nothing can bring me down, I’m going to Blizzcon, Yay!
I’m smiling. Everything’s nice. The girl next to me is smiling back and even laughing at my stupid joke about the on line check in thing, and it wasn’t even funny. It’s probably because going to Blizzcon is giving me a sexy glow.
Still smiling, the airport security people are checking you’re in the right lane and looking at the passpo… OH MY GOD, MY PASSPORT! I DIDN’T CHECK FOR MY PASSPO oh here it is, here you go miss. “Everything is in order, go ahead”. Of course everything is in order, what did you think?! “Thanks, have a great day!”
Ok, this is getting a bit long, and the kids next to me are beginning to get on my nerves. Control your damn spawns, agents of parenthood hell!
Counter in sight! I have to go through one of those automated thingies… Nice girl is coming to help me, cause apparently 20 years of using computers isn’t enough to know how to operate these damn things. She’s smiling. I can go in straight cause I don’t have any luggage to check in, cool. Ok. She’s smiling. Err, let’s punch in that number again. Ok. Hmmm, wait.
- “Is there a problem?”
- “No no, it’s fine”. But she’s not smiling anymore.
The music industry has been banging us over the head with it for years. The movie industry has been pushing it for ages. And now the games industry is giving it a go too.
Well, if you get DRM on a product you’re selling me, then I want CRM on the money I’m giving you. That’s “Customers Rights Management”. Here’s the idea: when I buy something from you, we are in agreement that I own the product I purchased, and you own the money that I payed for it. So if you get control over the product I purchased, then I want control over the money I gave you.
- You told me this DVD was great but I really didn’t like it? I’m taking half my money back.
- I bought your CD and I hear your company is not eco-friendly? You can only use my money to invest in green projects.
- Your game was great, but a patch made it less enjoyable for me? I get to freeze my money in your account until you make it fun again.
*shaking fist* So how does that sound? Unfair and ridiculous? Unwarranted? It’s overkill and in the end it doesn’t really address any relevant issue?
Hmmm, sounds familiar… I wonder what CRM rhymes with.
DRM (Digital Rights Management) is, in short, a way for the publisher who sells you a digital product to control the way you are using it. Where you can play a movie, how many times you listen to a song, stuff like that. To be fair, there are legitimate uses to DRM. But many also think they are counter productive, and only really hurt legitimate customers, not copyright infringers.
I also know that this analogy doesn’t really stand close scrutiny (or any scrutiny at all really). The point is merely to express the customer’s frustration in a way that the rights’ owners might relate to a bit more. As if they care…
Rants are supposed to be semi-rational angry spiels, and I don’t expect everyone will agree. I’m just having a bit of fun (and maybe trying to make a point?) but if I offend anyone I apologize in advance if I do.
First, let me make a couple of things clear:
- I think obsessing over the looks of photoshoped models is ridiculous and unwarranted.
- I really bare no ill will to anyone, I love all people of all shapes and sizes.
That being said, I’m tired of people who think being overweight is an uncontrollable curse. I’m not talking about people who have a few extra pounds. Or even three dozens. I’m talking about obese people who think it just happened to them. No, it didn’t. Listen to me: the reason why you are fat is… wait for it… because you EAT TOO MUCH!