Sunday, December 03, 2006

Mechanical Failure

New technology is great, but there is always the risk of a system failure. Because these machines hold large quantities of information and can transmit it anywhere, they are very helpful. But for this same reason, any glitch can be tremendously harmful. Just recently, electronic trading at the Chicago Board Options Exchange was shut down on a Friday from 12:00 PM untill the close of the market. Only open outcry floor trading was available. As a result, the exchange traded 1.8 million contracts on that Friday compared to 2.8 million contracts the day before. This could have resulted in large losses in profits for heavy traders. Fortunately, the electronic orders were able to be electronicly routed to other exchanges. This was seen as officials at the other exchanges reported a spike in volume.
Eventually, if a larger mechanical failure occours, it is possible that the electronic markets will be shut down, resulting in large losses for those who can not access the live trading floor, like me. The best way to solve this is force companies to spend more money on server infrastructre, maintainence and security to ensure ample room for failure only in "clusters." This would greatly decrease the likelihood of a massive system failure.
Business Week: Electronic Trading Interrupted

I was browsing around the internet and ran accross Veoh. It's like Napster and Youtube except even better and only videos. I downloaded the client and signed up for a free account, and now I can download lots of movies and music videos ect for free. I've heard they have entire movies like Allie G and South Park. I'm sure this must be because they haven't gotten caught yet, but for the mean time its really badass. And if you don't want to download, you can still go to the website and strem the video, for free. This is great for us the consumer, but it hurts the performer and the movie company. As the movie company gets less money, they will hire less talent and the quality of production may decrease, so they can keep their profit high. (They are a profit maximizing firm anyways) Eventually, the uncontrolable masses will be using the internet to get their media, and for free. The next best thing the movie companies can do is then support Veoh in return for ad revenue sharing. (In a way, how cable TV is today. There is even room for premium content) Make it the next big thing that syncs with the iPod. Sure, the movie company lawers may shut down Veoh, but there will just be another one, and another one, and another one. They can only fight for so long until they must give in. Thats a lot of money waisted on lawyers and TIME letting content be stolen online. The sooner the move, the better.

This is a prime example of how networked technologies have evolved the difficulties and overall logistics of media distribution. It is clear that using the internet is quicker, requires zero materiels, and bears no responsibility like a movie rental. But it also brings up issues of intellectual property rights as the files are easily transfered from one user's computer to another.


Are My Shoes Watching Me?

For the past year or so, Nike and Apple have had an agreement together to sell the "Nike + iPod Sport Kit." Its simple in opperation: A small wireless device is put in the Nike running shoe and a counterpart wireless device is plugged into the iPod. Then data is recorded to the iPod, such as speed, calories burnt, distance run, ect. You can even sync the data to your computer every time you sync your iPod. This is great because people who really enjoy running can take their experience to another, more enjoyable level. The data can be usefule for training, or even online competitons held by Nike.

However, a report has come out recently that has made people think twice about what they are putting in their shoes. The report states that with the proper detection systems, a person's location and dirction can be traced based on the origional ID number that is being put out in the open air waves from the device in the shoe. Specifically, the sport kit device will transmit upto 60 feet. This clearly shows a danger as we are moving into the "wireless age." Everything that has wireless capabilities can be traced and located: A cell phone, wireless internet cards, even the little device in the running shoes.

The report goes further to point out that Apple and Nike could have taken more steps to prevent problems from arising such as encrypting the signal sent out by the wireless chip. This simple precaution would ensure protection of the right to privacy.

We are setting the scene to move towards a state where we are tagged and tracked like animals by our "superiours."

Cyber Terrorist Attack

A posting on a "jihadist website" claims that there will be several cyber attacks on US financial institutions including the stock market, banks and investment firms. They claim that they will delete mass amounts of data, potentially ruining financial companies and investors. Every threat must be taken seriously; even if these "terrorists" don't have the working knowledge to hack into large servers, it is verry possible that they have the money to hire someone who DOES know how to break into comptuers. This threat exemplifies the dystopian view of networked techonlogy and computer systems that work to store and automate financial data. The only steps that can be taken are the hiring of people to constantly test and protect the network from hackers and thieves. They must work hard to keep the edge on their "opponients." However, it must be realized that before the birth of this relatively new technology, all the data was kept in paper form large file cabinets. Just as computers can be hacked, paper can be burt or shred. A terrorst could potentially achieve the same goal in the past as he can now, so no new threat really arises from this networked technology, just a threat of a completely different nature.
CBN New Article

Second Life

After downloading and installing second life, which was pretty easy, I connected to the network to find out what this thing is all about. After the load screen finished, I was taken to a grand imaginary world. People flying around, odd looking things placed in odd places, and chaos and confusion were this first things that came to my mind. I knew that it was going to take a while to get used to this new world. I started walking around trying to find something to do and eventually gave up. I was board and frustrated at my lack of understanding as to how people can be entertained by this seemingly pointless game. Eventually, I decided that I should give it a shot and start taking to someone. I walked up to a house, and a lady told me to come in. After we said hello, we sat down and started talking. She said she was a mother and that she had been playing Second Life for a while. She mentioned another game similiar to SL called Moove, but she said that she prefered SL because you can do more. After this and a little more chatter, I decided that we didn't have much in common. I left her house and left my SL.

Last Thursday, we met for class in the UT section of SL. I thought that this was kind of odd. It was hard for me to pay close attention to what was going on and I got easily distracted. In way, I feel that it is difficult for me to take a classroom setting as seriously in the medium of SL. Joe even had to tell me to come back and listen to the speaker a couple of times. I didn't think it was rude when I left the circle for a second, but if I had done that in real life, it most definately would have been taken as rude. I feel as though I can engague myself more in the situation if I am in the presence of someone speaking or someone I'm trying to talk to.

Second Life is great because it levels the playing field for everyone. Initially, no one knows what you look like so they may get to know you on a different level than they would have gotten to otherwise. It is possible that a persons bias for somones looks may interfere with the content that person has to offer. As well, the span and ability for communication of a more diverse group of people is offered by second life. For example, I can find someone who speaks spanish and start talking to them if I want to work on my spanish speaking/understanding skills.

This power can also be taken for the worse. Creepy old people could lie about their age, gender or their complete existance. When you actually go to meet them, you may be in for a surprise. If used to replace a serious setting like a class or a meeting, SL opens up the possibility for more side distractions. It could be the avatars flying around or the music you have playing on iTunes or the environment of your "first life" that could throw you off and make you completely miss the point of whats going on.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Worlds Fastest Text Messager

A sixteen year old kid from Singapore broke the world record for the fastest typed text message ever. He put out 160 characters in less than 42 seconds. I think this is great because it's validating text messaging as a meaningful medium for communication. I remember when I was in middle school, the teachers made a huge deal about being able to type 60 words a minute, or 30 or something like that. They promised us that if we weren't able to, then we wouldn't graduate and we'd be a failure in life. Well, fortunately I never took the class. I used computers so much, that I eventually taught myself how to type rapidly.
SO... what if future generations have to prove to their teachers that they can send text messages rapidly to graduate? Why not?
News Article

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Free Hugs

Maybe all this internet stuff really will save the world. But probably not.

However, I did find it interesting when I was browsing YouTube and I came along this little video: (Click here for video) It's basically a 3 minute long video of some guy giving lots of people hugs, hugs getting banned, then the hug guy getting 10,000 people to sign his petition so hugs were legal again. It was mildly touching and even made me feel like giving people hugs; not my every day normal kind of thing. But the real shocker came when I looked below the video to find that it was added less than a month ago and already had been played 3.5 million times. Thats a lot of views for one month.....
Then I got to thinking; the reason that this video has 3.5 million views is obvious: because 3.5 million people want to see videos like this. Every day on the news, in the media, all we hear about is people dying in Iraq, kids getting shot by their father, or hurricanes running a muck. Never would the guy on campus trying to give people free hugs find himself on the 6:00 news. Why you ask....? Because the news guys in their Viacomm office think that 3.5 million people wouldn't want to hear about this; they think (like the blood sucking vampires they are) that people want to hear about death murder kill. Well, they are fucking wrong!!! I think it's great that we now get to select our content vs. filter through poo-poo on the cable.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

BOOM! BAM! then...... WHAM.

Where are all these loud explosions coming from? North Korea.... maybe. But more likely they're coming from the year 2000 in a time portal named Google. The YouTube aquisition has caught the attention of many people and in every article I have read, they have payed homage to the 2000 bust, just as I have started this blogg. But is it really all going to be the same thing over again? I think not.

I admit, it is scary seeing Google buy an internet website that doesn't make any money. But I'm going to break the cardinal rule and just say it right now:

It's going to be different this time.

But "why" you may ask. The reason is that Google has acutally figured out a viable way to lots and lots of money. If it is a bubble, at least it has backbone and is made out of unpoppable materiel this time.
I believe that Google will be able to place their AdWord technology with YouTube content to increase their revenue. Simple. And it has already proven to work. As well, Google had 9BILLION dollars in cash. Now, they have 7.5BILLION dollars in cash. Not investor money, not a loan, CASH. But they are paying the YOUTUBE guys in stock. Someone thinks Google's stock is undervalued/prebubble....... just make sure you get out in time.
The whole point of this rambling is that I think this single aquisition is great considering the circumstances. But if this trend were to pick up like it did before 2000, that would be bad.

I think irresponsible investors have learned their lesson. I hope.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Party at My House

This weekend, I'm going home to Dallas to watch the football game. But unlike everyone else from UT thats going north this weekend, I don't have tickets for the game. Instead I will be found at my parents house in McKinney, TX with at least 5 or 6 of my friends, drinking beer and watching the game on TV. While this is going to be fun, I thought I might one-up myself a little bit.

When I was thinking about flash mobs, I decided that they are cool as hell. So today, about 4 hours ago, I started contacting everyone that I know via text messages, emails and Facebook telling them all to meet at my parent's house at 1PM this Saturday to drink beer and watch the game. Short notice, but I would love to crash my parents house with 40 or 50 people. I guess you could say that's my goal right now. Already, I've gotten a lot of responses off of Facebook. 5 confirmed, 17 maybes, 29 NOs, and 167 people haven't responded yet.

I will update on how the party goes.

By the way, your invited.
1318 Lakewood Dr.
McKinney, Tx

UPDATE: Party went well. Had 25 or so of my friends come over, no strangers. Most effictive means of communication was the mass text messaging. Facebook was second most effective. Once I was in town, the telephone worked well too.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Paying Bills

Today I used the internet to set up automatic payments for Earthlink cable internet to charge my credit card automatically every month. The cost of the cable is 40$ a month and I verify that this amount is charged correctly to my credit card bill, which isn't due until a month after I recieve it. This service is great for me and the whole world because I never miss a payment and don't have to worry about writing a check every month. As well, I don't have to worry about getting ripped off because I can still deny payment if something goes wrong with the transaction. Improved services with no compromise in security or my rights.
However, one must trust the credit/debt card company.
I think they have proven their legitimacy thus far before the internet revolution, therefore I believe they will continute keeping up with their reputation.


Since I barely have enough money to pay for internet, I don’t have cable in my apartment. This is not a huge deal because 90% of the content on TV sucks. But there's still that 10%.

So sometimes when I want to relax or zone out or just have a nice laugh, I watch podcasts that I am subscribed to. And then when I'm feeling adventurous, I subscribe to new podcasts that catch my eye. They are free, and its extremely easy to cancel your subscription. I hate canceling subscriptions for magazines and newspapers.
This new medium for media content, available via the internet and iTunes, is great for parents, people who don't want to waste time, and just about everyone. Parents can more easily filter out bad content by manually blocking a show or only allowing certain "ratings" in the iTunes control panel. However, its possible that the average parent user of iTunes may not know how to use the "preferences" button. I know my mom does't. But then again, she probably wouldn't have cared if I subscribed to Bill Maher's "Explicit" marked podcast. This feature is the same with cable TV, however podcasts must be asked for and then they are transferred to the computer. TV channels are all sent to your house constantly, simultaneously and mostly unfiltered. (How many people actually use their vChip? iTunes preferences may be hard for average users, but the vChip is nuclear science to this same audience)
Podcasts are free. Digital cable and satellite, each of which have the same capabilities on the surface as iTunes, are inferior and cost 40ish dollars a month. When using ITunes (or any equivalent software that comes along in the future. Microsoft. Zune sucks) you can transfer this content to an iPod portable media playing device, or you can wirelessly stream the podcasts to your TV that your already have in your living room via wireless 802.11n technology. (Much faster than the current 802.11g standard) Say goodbye to wireless connections lagging on streaming high quality video.

If you ask me, iTunes will modify podcast play back rights to not be skipped ahead, and will soon replace cable. but who knows. Sucks for the cable guys but kicks ass for the iPod maker.

Right now im listening to Episode 83 of Real Time with Bill Maher. The audio content (that I believe is also available on HBO?) is free on iTunes right now. I also subscribe to the video podcasts of MacBreak, Strong Bad Emails, and the lightning round from Jim Craimer's TV show.

This technology is great for the world because with the stupid amount of commercials that are on TV, the content should be free. Now some of it is. Podcasts worked for me.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Another day being networked...

Today I had to depend on the internet for several things.

This morning I went to the football stadium and got a wristband so I might be able to get a ticket to see UT play Ohio State. After 5PM I had to go to to find out if the number on the band had been drawn. It turns out that I'm number 4,000 out of 13,000 people who want to get ticktes, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I might get some tickets. If the university had not had the internet available, they would have had probably used radio and newspaper to relay this information.

When I completed the video for SINS thats due tomorrow, I saved the completed file to my iDisk. I find this feature (like UT Webspace) to be extreemly convient because I can share documents, like this video, easily over several computers all the time. If I did not have the iDisk available, I would probably have just burned the file to a CD.

As well, I left Mail open all day long and answered emails as I recieved them.

Hope you enjoyed my day in a networked society.