ACTA, PIPA, SOPA and Internet Censorship

Some people I’ve spoke to recently have considered acts such as SOPA, PIPA and ACTA as things that need doing to protect the intellectual property and believe that those of us that oppose the bills are simply “hippies” trying to “stick it to the man”.

These people I’ve spoken to are clearly misinformed about how much these proposed bills will effect the internet. I know that this blog does not drive millions and millions of viewers a month but even with 100 views a day, if I can help change an opinion or gain support for opposing the bill that helps a cause I feel strongly about.

There is no point me explaining what each bill is because other people have done it in a far better way than I ever could and the internet being fantastically open and lovely in it’s current state has allowed me to embed some videos for you to watch to help you understand what will actually happen to the internet.

I will start with ACTA as it is one of the least talked about:

Now after that, you can see how that effects the world  and how pathetically boring the internet would become afterwards. It completely restricts freedom of speech and things such as twitter and wordpresss could not exist in the way they do today.

So now SOPA, similar ideas, also restricting and changing our internet:


The problem with SOPA is that it targets the provider of content rather than the person who has uploaded it. Websites like YouTube and Blogger could be shut down imediately just because one person uploaded copyrighted material, whether they knew they were doing it or not. Obviously Google services would have systems implemented to minimise the chances of this but as it’s processing 60 minutes of video a second now, it’s unlikely they’d be able to track it all. The freedom of information would be so limited that websites that don’t support government acts and papers could be completely unaccessible and that prevents the chance for the end user (internet consumers) to even find out if these things are being done. It would put us completely in the dark.

I’m going to pop one more video in here that explains PIPA and SOPA in one because there aren’t many PIPA dedicated videos around:

Even experts are completely against the ideas proposed by the ignorant politicians that well and truly do not understand what the internet is about. There are ways to prevent this from happening, Wikipedia and Google did massive raise awareness days by limiting their services or showing a black banner. Over the next few months numerous boycotts and protests will be carried out by internet freedom supporters around the globe to protect the internet. People are boycotting companies that support the bill purely to get them out of pocket, counteracting exactly what they thought the bill has done.

I hope, those of you that didn’t understand how much this would change the internet, now do! There is more information around via a quick Google search of SOPA or ACTA and it’s worth keeping an eye in the news searches for them to see what activists are up to in order to try and prevent them from being passed. Many politicians have stopped backing the bills since the internet black outs on the 18th of Jan 2012. The bill has also been shelved temporarily although it is still on the cards and that has to change.

 

Uni Life: Sainsbury’s Basics and Bad Decisions.

I remember telling people that I’m moving into halls of residence up in Kingston and they tended to tell me how nice it would be. They’d say things like “no more steaks” and “beans on toast for every meal” which hasn’t really turned out true until now.

December and January have absolutely rinsed me for money and it’s pretty much all my fault. Turning down nights out didn’t really happen once, weekends in expensive clubs in central London and eating food out nearly every night has taken it’s toll and I’m now well and truly living on the bread line. I’ve got hardly any money for the rest of the month so I went to Sainsbury’s to stock up and ended up coming back with things like basics tomato soup, pasta and rice and a couple sausages. All standard items that students usually live on but because I’ve always been a massive budgeter I’ve never really been in a position where I literally have no choice but to eat the standard “student meals”. Not only that we tend to chip in together and collaborate whatever random foods we have to make some pretty nice meals. I honestly think I’ve made Spaghetti Bolognese once since I’ve been in uni and only really had Spaghetti/Beans on toast a maximum of three times in a week.

I did eat some relatively terrible food at the start of the semester (kebab’s 3/4 times a week) and drank a fair amount but I did try and get in as many healthy meals as possible. This month it’s not been as easy because I find healthy meals cost more and take more effort to make and tend to taste fairly bland. Especially seeing as I’m the fussiest eater going. I hope I’m going to survive on the basics stuff. To be fair it’s relatively nice for what it costs although I’ve not tried some of the stuff I bought this time so I could be in for a shock. The fish fingers are epic and you get like 10 for 50p but I forgot to pick any of them up, they make a nice sandwich and the meal comes to like 30p if that’s all you have.  I’m also a bit annoyed because since coming to university the instant chicken noodles have gone from 9p to 11p and are now coming in at a massive 15p! Just for a small portion of chicken noodles!

Ah well, only got myself to blame, spent a vile amount on clothes in the january sales and beer over Christmas. I keep convincing myself I’ll save money if I go home for a bit but it never happens because I end up spending loads on going out with my friends from home and the trains there and back aren’t cheap. It’s also annoying how I love to ignore that spending money on my oyster card is spending money!

Needless to say when I receive my next instalment of money a better and more efficient budgeting system shall be used and impulse buying will not be taken into account. I shall also do everything in my power to avoid the clothing stores.

ITToolbox Major Assignment: Managing a website

I have had a hosted website for just over two years with a free hosting company called x10 hosting. They offer me unlimited downloads from other people and unlimited storage space for absolutely no cost what so ever. I am slightly limited in a way as if my website is  deemed to be using to much processing power or memory then they have the right to suspend my account. This encourages an upgrade to the premium service also offered by X10 hosting that offers features that I don’t really need as I’m not an expert Web Master.

In order to put my blog that is hosted on x10 hosting onto my domain name I had to change the DNS settings so that the domain name pointed to the x10 servers where my websites data is stored. Then when TimFord.co.uk is typed into a web browser it will display my wordpress blog which I installed on the server using an installation package found on the server.

 

 

Above is an image of my control panel, this is based on the CPanel software that is installed server end and gives me powerful control of certain options to do with my storage and domain options. I was able to create new emails addresses using my domain name and now use an @timford.co.uk email address as my main email which is linked through my Gmail account so all my mail is received in one place.

From CPanel you are also able to use another piece of software called Softaculous that allows you to install various software packages such as blogs, forums and e-commerce shops free of charge and without having to create SQL databases and configure the server yourself. It is an automates complicated installation procedures using a simply GUI. I installed my WordPress blog here and maintain the updates from within WordPress itself.

 

The only real downside to X10 hosting its that you have to login to the forum once a month to keep your account active, it’s not really a big ask but if your AFK for a month or so and just don’t remember it can be annoying.

I have installed various plugins to my blog in order to keep an eye on things like statistics by using a module called stat surfer. I had used this for a long time however I may uninstall it soon as it is putting unnecessary strain on the host and with the latest update of WordPress an add-on called JetPack has been included which puts the strain on their servers rather than mine and costs absolutely nothing.

Sometimes in the past I have had problems with permissions and code not running on my web servers however after spending a few years toying around with them I tend to be able to spot simple mistakes.

Zell am See 2011

So this years snowboarding trip involved going back to the resort I’ve probably spent the most time at in terms of snowboarding and skiing. I’m not exactly sure why, I think my parents just enjoy the familiarity with the resort and the fact the slopes always tend to be quite good.

The thing that really did it for me this year was going from being a student eating beans on toast and 11p noodles from Sainsbury’s to having absolutely everything done for you. Hotels are definately the way forward. Here’s a brief list of things that are better than living in halls:

  • Food – Breakfast is a requirement when you go up the mountain, you need the energy and in the hotel we were spoilt for choice so this was automatically better than uni because usually I’d be eating some frosties using as little milk as possible in the hope that I can make a cuppa too. I probably drank more fruit juice than ever before as well. It’s far too expensive in the UK. Lunch was also great, extortianate prices on the slopes but good food. Nothing like a pint of lager and a wiener schnitzel too get you through the afternoon! Then of course, you have dinner, 4 courses, every night. Absolutely incredible.
  • Drink – it was expensive but the Austrian lager is a lot smoother than we have in the UK. It’s less carbonated and served with a large head to keep the beer fresh. If you recieved a beer in the UK with the head you get in Austria most people would complain and never go to the bar again. They also serve in 500ml glasses rather than pints (568ml). Then there is obviously the non-alcoholic drinks. Just like Wales, the water tastes ten million times nicer than the disgustingly hard water you get in London. It’s something you can’t really appreciate until you have to de-scale your kettle every day and your squash tastes like oil.
  • Snowboarding – This sort of goes without saying, I go snowboarding with the university Snow sports soicety every now and then but it’s only a short slope in milton keynes and other than that (I do once a month) I have absolutely no fitness whatsoever in university. So it was nice to actually feel the burn in my legs after three days of shredding on the Austrian alps.
  • The Spa, I only used it twice, but I don’t have a pool to go to in Uni because I refuse to use a fifth of my monthly budget to pay virgin active for the privelege. Having a chance to use a sauna and pool was like being treated like a god when compared to what I use to detox in halls. A bathroom so small I can touch the mirror above the sink whilst being in the shower without stretching my arm out all the way.

This years trip also involved my first Christmas away from home. We celebrated Christmas on the 23rd before we left at the house with christmas dinner and the exchanging of presents and what not but overall it seemed like I’d had three christmases in a week by the time we were leaving Austria. The reason for this being is that they celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve in Austria and in our hotel we had an incredible 8 course meal to celebrate. I also got a new snowboard, boots and bindings off my Dad whilst we were out there and it’s absolutely amazing to ride. The third Christmas was obviously Christmas day and it’s probably one of the best 25th of December’s I’ve ever had. You can’t as for much more than the sun shining on a mountain with barely any people on it, no lift queues and a new snowboard to spend the day on. Absolutely zero stress, just me, my snowboard and the latest playlist I had constructed on Spotify that very morning. Fantastic!

It was also the first time I had been to Zell am See since I’ve been old enough to really enjoy the apres ski so this time, our rep told us there would be a “Zell am See by night” bar crawl that we could join onto for €5. It was a pretty good night, extremely messy. Maybe the pre-beers at the hotel were not a good idea but there are some really cool bars in Zell am See and even some nightclub-esque bars. Shots at every bar for free and a couple too many beers is all I could expect from a night out on a winter holiday to be honest! The best thing is for some reason, no matter how many beers I seem to have when snowboarding, I can always get up in the morning and get a full day on the mountain.

So yeah, all in all a pretty good holiday. Love Zell am See, love my new board and boots and my first Christmas away from home was awesome! Roll on Avoriaz in Easter is all I can say!