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Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

Living in a Cloud

In Accessibility, Cloud Computing, Netflix on October 26, 2010 at 1:15 pm

I’ve been an avid Netflix user for about, lets say, two years now. I had originally been a blockbuster guy, but after the discovery and realization that I am a lazy procrastinator, I decided to make the switch as to avoid any further exercise.  At first use, I found Netflix to be a very easy company to work with. Signing up only took seconds and the intuitive website made renting movies a piece of cake. Even the customer service is great. Anyways, after almost a month of getting my movies through the mail, I received an email informing me that I can now stream movies directly off of my Xbox 360. Naturally, I was thrilled. Turned my Xbox on, downloaded the Netflix software, and that was it… I was hooked.

I couldn’t believe how seamless the software was. I almost felt like a God, flying through thousands of movies, all categorized by genre and by films that Netflix thinks I would enjoy. The best part, for me, was that I could sit in front of the TV with my laptop and instantly add movies to my Netflix que on my Xbox. It really doesn’t get much easier than this… or does it? Just a few weeks ago I was messing around with my new iPad when I stumbled upon something that caught my attention, a Netflix application. No way, I thought. Can I now watch Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus on my iPad? I soon found the answer to be yes.

Netflix has changed my life, seriously. Since I started using it I’ve rarely shopped for DVDs, which ends up saving me boatloads of money. This maybe a bad thing for the film industry, but hey, I’m not one to complain about accessibility.

Aside from the fact that I obviously love Netflix, it’s important to note the comparison that can be made between Netflix and all wi-fi enabled consumer electronics. We are on the verge of full integration and compatibility with all our cell phones, computers and anything on wi-fi. Apple has been a step ahead of the program with applications like Mobile Me, allowing apple users to connect all of their products together over any available wifi network. Having said that, I wonder how soon it will be until all of our electronics, regardless of brand name or type, are joined together under the same cloud.

Right now, Apple and Google are preparing to release Google and Apple TV. Though slightly different, the products generally do the same thing. They connect your television to the Internet along with synching the devices in your household to the television, thus, forming a cloud network.

Cloud computing does have it’s fair share of obstacles ahead of it, mainly stemming from net neutrality. Is it fair for ISPs to direct access to websites that will be more profitable for the company? David Linthicum, a writer for infoworld.com, worries that net neutrality will restrict cloud computing from its full potential.

“The concept of allowing specific networks, especially wireless networks, to restrict or prioritize some traffic is a huge threat to the success of cloud computing. If provider networks are allowed to control traffic, they could give priority to the larger cloud computing vendors who write them a big check for the privilege. At the same time, smaller cloud computing upstarts who can’t afford the fee will have access to their offerings slowed noticeably, or perhaps not even allowed on the network at all.”

Unfortunately, because of the way a corporation is structured, it’s only a matter of time before the ISP shareholders start hounding down upper management for passing up on opportunities that would make the company money. This leads me to believe that even though cloud computing is right around the corner, we may not experience the full effect as ISPs begin to question the purpose of net neutrality laws.

A three-dimensional take over

In 3D, Star Wars, Three-Dimensional on October 19, 2010 at 2:59 am

It was recently announced that George Lucas plans to convert his beloved films to Imax 3D. As nerds around the world rejoice at the chance to watch a three-dimensional Princess Leia strangle Jabba the Hut, I find myself asking why? Why even bother converting Star Wars to 3D? I mean does it really matter now, George? You’ve already created one of the most praised trilogies of all time. Is blue-ray not good enough for you? Okay, enough with my rant on Mr. Lucas. I guess the better question to ask is, why not?

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Anti-piracy

In Copyright on October 5, 2010 at 11:14 am

Since the introduction of Napster in 1999, the illegal ownership and distribution of copyrighted material has become a key issue in the eyes of the public. Why? Because the majority of today’s younger generation, or more tech-savvy generation, have been or continue to be involved in illegal file-sharing. I can only begin to remember how many viruses I received for downloading music straight from Kazaa when I was a kid. It’s almost like tying a noose around your computers neck.

So far, efforts to regulate this illegal media trade have been gone poorly. As long as avid music goers are connected to the internet, there will always be a strong demand for free media distribution. It’s an on going war that has continued to annoy lawmakers and record labels throughout the past decade. This may change though as new legislation is being made which aims to shut down websites accused of piracy.

“The DOJ would have the authority to serve the accused site’s U.S.-based registrar with an order to shut down the site. Perhaps most important to copyright owners, the DOJ would also have the power to prevent U.S. citizens from accessing accused sites based overseas by ordering Internet service providers to black out those sites. The government could order Google or Visa to cease doing business with the alleged pirate sites.”

The legislation, also known as the The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, gives the Justice Department the ability to take any website believed to be in violation of piracy laws to court.

“Under the proposed legislation, the Justice Department would file a civil action against accused pirate domain names. If the domain name resides in the U.S., the attorney general could then request that the court issue an order finding that the domain name in question is dedicated to infringing activities.”

Now, what separates this type of legislation from ones in the past is that this will affect websites, such as bit torrent, that are based overseas. Because of this, we might finally see the nail in the coffin for music piracy, or at least until someone finds a new method to download illegally.