You are the Product

Posted: January 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

Have you ever wondered what went through someone’s mind when they create a beautiful new web service that wows the world? The first thought through my mind are those of wonder and deep interest. What i then fail to picture is that there is always one clear reason that people create fancy new social, business, and commercial sites.

 

A vast number of .com’s and other websites are created with the sole intent of of taking the person you are, all of your ideals, beliefs, and preferences, and turning them into strings of code. They are turning you into the perfect line of code that creates the perfect listing of advertisements and product line suggestions to sell to other businesses.

 

Just yesterday, I did a search for the “Clarke Pennywhistle” on http://www.amazon.com. Later that evening I logged into Facebook to find out that somehow FB had managed to aggregate all my amazon data into their advertisement bar. I was receiving adverts for pennywhistles and Celtic instruments all over the internet, because they had been aggregated and transferred from Amazon.com.

 

The internet has become the place that people go to sell things. Those things include above the table purchases like groceries and home improvement items, but are not exclusive of black market drugs, guns, and other illicit sales. With this being said, the internet knows a lot more about you than you think it does. Behind the scenes of many commercial sites (facebook IS included in this, as Facebook’s product is you.) its where a ton of money and information is exchanged.

 

How do you think google.com makes its money? It aggregates what people are searching for and ports them the advertisements that are most likely to get you to click through. Welcome Google AdSense. I have striven to keep Adsense off of this blog since the beginning when I thought It would be fulfilling enough just to write about video games that I had played through, But if I had allowed AdSense onto this blog, you can guarantee that the ads that you would see on this page would have something to do with Dishonored, FarCry 3, and most other video games that you have searched for recently.

 

America, you tell me, is this the way you want the world to be? Someday when the internet knows so much about us that you could go online and have a program churn out your friend’s Christmas lists? How about if your clothes, meals, and video games were picked out for you by Amazon and automatically billed to you credit card every month? You would begin to lose the autonomy and variety that is your identity. We have to stop this now, before it becomes something that we really don’t want it to be.

     Gun control legislation has been a touchy issue for many Americans over the past few years. The importance of this problem has been exacerbated by  the two recent events in Colorado. The events in Aurora and Sandy Hook both have created and amplified awareness and driven many people to fight harder for more stringent gun control laws. This, I believe, is entirely and completely incorrect. The driving force behind the activation of otherwise complacent people was an emotional response, a response driven by the bloodshed and terror that others have faced. The president himself teared up a little bit as he addressed the unmistakably horrendous acts committed again in Colorado.

     I suppose what people need to understand is that gun control has very little to do with the mentally ill persons who make it a point to go take out their problems ankle deep in the blood of children. You are not responsible for this. The US government is not responsible for this. Responsibility and the ultimate finger who pulled that trigger lies with the shooter. So please understand that you should not at all feel like you were the one ending the lives of almost two dozen lives.

     Now that that has been explained, what do you think should be done about gun control legislation? Many of the more activated and emotional responses weigh in heavily towards the “let’s ban all the guns” mentality. That, most can agree, is incredibly wrong and should not, under any circumstances, be the option that we choose. The right of a citizen to bear arms, as guaranteed by the second amendment, deserves to be upheld. Citizens have the right to hang on to many types of firearms today, and it should remain that way.

     In the state of California, as opposed to the more open states like Texas and Arizona, has some rather stringent gun laws. Some of the band include:

  • Short Barreled Shotguns (sawed off, Taurus Judge, etc)
  • Magazine Size Limit (10 rounds in a magazine at the most)
  • Assault Rifle Ban
  • Many Smaller Bans (Tracers, Explosive Rounds, 50 Cal, Dragon’s Breath, and more)

     Some of these things make some kind of sense, as in limiting the public’s access to explosives, explosive and armor piercing munitions and the like. The right to carry a short barreled shotgun, in my opinion however, should not be abridged. Similar things where the government tries to step in and try to control the morality of the people through terrible legislative choices should not be tolerated.

     Finally, and as my most prominent point, groups  like The Armory, a branch off of the highly infamous drug sales black market site The Silk Road, will sell any gun to anyone, regardless of state regulations. It is not terribly hard to access, but it cannot be accessed through the normal browser window. Existing in the so called “Deep Web” , Armory is completely unregulated and powered by the world’s most controversial and untraceable form of currency, the BitCoin. More on that in a later post. 

     This being said, the good guys will buy their guns and ammo from an appropriate source, get background checks, and wait for the designated amount of time. Killers won’t. This simply stated means that regulations and laws don’t hold any power over the people that should hold guns. Banning guns won’t solve the problem  It will just make everyone who wants one start buying or decoding BitCoins and jump online to get their fix.

What would you guys want to see? 

References: 

http://gizmodo.com/5927379/the-secret-online-weapons-store-thatll-sell-anyone-anything

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/For-teens-illegal-guns-easy-to-get-on-streets-1283875.php

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2011/12/14/undercover-study-finds-its-easy-to-buy-illegal-guns-on-craigslist/

Upcoming Review: Far Cry 3

Posted: December 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

I cannot wait to talk to you guys about my favorite new game. I haven’t finished it yet, but when I do, I will post a better review and get you guys acquainted with its inner workings before you go and blow your hard earned cash on it. Hopefully not too long now!

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So, I recently played through Bethesda’s great new video game, Dishonored. Bethesda has a tradition of some really amazing games, and this one is no exception to the legacy at all. In fact, some of the things that I really disliked about Skyrim, Bethesda’s current breadwinner, were fixed and even improved upon. The engine used for the animations and the motions that are used throughout the game are so much more fluid than in ES5, and the gameplay play much tighter because of it.

     This game pits Corvo, the Empress’ Lord Protector, against a mad plot to rain chaos down upon this alternate steampunk-inspired world. The Empress is killed, and the murder is blamed on Corvo. As the Ex-Lord Protector, you must break out of the most secure jail in the country, find people who sympathize with you and realize that you weren’t the killer. From that point, the game is up to you. You can quite easily try and kill everybody who sticks out their head far enought for a bullet. For those who feel so inclined, you can also choose to protect all human life, innocent or not. Your choices as a killer or redeemer will effect the whole outcome of the game.

     Each and every mission can be completed in multiple ways. There is always one primary goal, neutralize the target, but there is always a way of eliminating the target without killing them. This leads to a bunch of different ways to enter, exit, and traverse the world’s maps. You can walk in the front door, shooting your heavily modified pistol in every single person’s face, you could adopt a stealthier, I-will-never-be-detected kind of approach, or even blend them together for a tactic that stresses lethality, and also silence. This was my tactic. You can rely solely on your technologies, or you can invest time and runes into powers granted to you by the Outsider. He is kind of catalyst for change that compels others to walk the lines between good and evil to maintain balance in the world. These powers can be used to teleport across short distances, take over someone’s body, create plague rats, or even see through walls and equipment to look for people and traps! Creepy, isn’t it?

Dishonored features an array of really well established characters, from admirals, to tinkers, to chemists, to Emily, potentially the best video game NPC I have ever had the honor of playing alongside. You can watch the people on the island become darker or brighter based on the way that you handle major and even minor events.For example, Piero, the tinker, can be found at multiple instances over the course of the game spying through peepholes into rooms where ladies are bathing. How you handle your conversations about it with him make or break the way you interact with him over the course of the game.

     This beautifully, non linearly built, and delightfully quirky release has made me really appreciate stealth gaming so much more, and I know that you would be able to appreciate it too. Happy hunting, and remember, the Outsider walks with us.

Let’s Get This Started!

Posted: December 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

I figured today was as good a day as any to begin my quest to find a hobby. I suppose that I very much could enjoy writing on this. Drop me a line anytime you want to see certain content covered, reviewed, roasted, or discussed. I would be happy to talk about it.