Opinion Archives

Your Freedom Online

I know that in recent weeks I haven’t had much to say here about the SOPA and PIPA bills in Congress and I really should have.  Suffice it to say that there’s been a lot of complications that have kept me busy with things of a more personal nature.

However that doesn’t change the fact that either of these bills will have devastating effects on the freedom of speech that most of us currently take for granted.

They cannot be allowed to pass in any form.  Copyright infringement is a serious issue however that does not mean that it’s ok to allow Congress to, at the behest of “Big Content”, turn the internet into something that will eventually be just another part of their big money machine.  One that will allow little to no rights for the individual.

Both of those bills were crafted by the entertainment industry and essentially give them free reign over control of content.  They would stifle creativity and innovation and would also severely curtail the ability of people to express themselves online.

I strongly recommend that everybody contact their congresscritters and let them know that you want them to oppose any legislation that gives “Big Content” such a free pass to destroy the internet as we know it.  The easiest way I know to do this is to go to Http://eff.org and check their “Action Alert” page.  There you will find links that make it easy to contact your senators and representatives and make your voice heard.

The more people speak out the better.  We need to raise enough voices that they are convinced to not pass either of these bills or any future bills like them.  I’ve done so myself and I encourage everybody else to do so as well.

If we don’t speak out against it we’ll only have ourselves to blame if these bills pass.

Technorati Tags: entertainment industry, sopa, freedom of speech, piracy, copyright infringement, copyright, pipa, freedom, internet, big content, freedom of speech online

Am I Fighting A Losing Battle?

I’ve been running a Freenet node for a long time.  When I first started it up Freenet was at 0.4.  A couple of months later it was at version 0.5 and some time after that I was able to run my node 24/7 most of the time.

With the exception of occasional downtime due to technical (hardware) difficulties it has now been running 24/7 for no less than six years.

Some time ago, because nobody else was doing anything with it I decided that I would try to take on development in an effort to get the network built up and growing again.

In the last several months I’ve spent as much time as I could trying to figure out the source code and work on it.  In the last two years or more I’ve tried to convince people to use the network. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get people to actually use the Frost message boards and to create and update freesites.

The reward for my efforts has been large doses of silence with occasional comments by people whose only use for Freenet has been to complain about how it’s dying.

The problem is that if those people would take the same energy and time that they use for those complaints and expressions of apathy and use them to create new content on Freenet and promote the network, I firmly believe that it would have thousands of active users now instead of the low number of die-hards like myself.

As I’ve said before, I will continue to keep my node running 24/7 for as long as there is a network to connect to.  However I have to say that the lack of positive response on the part of those still using it is discouraging to say the least.

Is this a losing battle?  I hope not.  I still believe that Freenet 0.5 is important and needs to continue operation.

It’s just that I think it’d be nice to find out that I’m not the only one left trying to keep it going.


Learning Java on my own is not an easy thing.  Learning Java on my own with Freenet as my first project is a monstrous task.  I really wish it didn’t feel like I’m trying to do it alone.

Technorati Tags: internet, anonymous publishing, java, frustration, freenet, freedom of speech online, learning java, development, freedom of speech, anonymity

Sub4sub Spam On Youtube

There is a plague on youtube.  A plague in which people are falling victim to the stupidity known as “sub4sub”.

In theory the idea is that people subscribe to others in exchange for those other also subscribing to them.

In practice however it’s bullshit.  It’s nothing more than a numbers game.  They are not meaningful subscriptions at all because they aren’t subscribing because they want to watch your videos, only because they want you to subscribe to them and build their subscriber numbers.

The only real meaningful subscriptions are people who actually watch your videos.  The only numbers game that means anything on youtube is how many people watch, rate, comment on, and share your videos.  sub4sub is a bullshit scam from the start.

If you have even one functioning brain cell you will avoid sub4sub like the plague of stupidity and spam that it is.

Technorati Tags: scam, stupidity, sub4sub, youtube, spam

Twitter-Bots Are Really Annoying

What do I mean by “twitter-bots”?

That’s simple enough.  This is something that a lot of people use in an attempt to both gain followers and to market whatever it is that they sell.

The “bot” part of it is any of dozens of programs that search the “twitterverse” for certain keywords in people’s tweets and then automatically follows the people that use those keywords in their tweets.

The idea is that a lot of people will follow anyone that follows them.  This puts them in a position to see all of the various marketing tweets that the person controlling the bot sends.

I have seen this tactic used by everything from Internet Marketing “guru’s” to lawyers and even dentists.

For example recently I had a few exchanges on twitter with a friend in which we were talking about teeth and dental problems.  Within an hour I was auto-followed by a guy promoting dental implants.  Earlier I was talking about money and was followed soon after by somebody selling some kind of investment banking thing.

The day before that I said something about coffee and was followed by somebody selling coffee preparations niche site articles.

You can always tell a “Twitter spammer”.  All you have to do is when somebody follows you go check their twitter page.  Telltale signs of them being a spammer include:

1. They’re following hundreds, even thousands of people and only have a comparatively few people following them.

2. They have a very low number of tweets, possibly even no tweets.

3. If they do have tweets, they are all almost the same, promoting something that they’re trying to make money from and no ordinary “real” tweets at all.

Then there’s the ones that will reply to one of your tweets (again based on a bot detecting your use of certain keywords they’re looking for) and try to sell you something or get you to go to some page that will try to sell you something.

For this last group I have a standard procedure.  I use the option to block them and report them for spamming. No exceptions.

I’ll admit that I don’t have a heck of a lot of followers.  Right now I’ve got 156, probably about ten or twenty of which I even know who they are.  Since the number has been fairly steady in the last few months at around 150-155 or so I figure that probably most of them actually want to see my updates.  (the bot-users unfollow you in a day or two if you don’t follow them back)

It would be great to see my number of followers go up but I want people to follow me because they want to see my updates, NOT because they want me to follow them back.  Sometimes I will do this depending on who it is but usually no, I’m not gonna do that.  I’m getting a flood of updates now as it is that is difficult to keep up with.

Technorati Tags: sales, autofollow, bots, twitter, spammers, auto-follow, marketing, followers, auto follow, twitter bots, marketers, twitter spam, block, report as spam, twitter-bot, spam

They Should Have Used Freenet

Wednesday a blogger in Nuevo Laredo that was known on social networking sites only by his nickname – Rascatripas (or Belly Scratcher) became the fourth Mexican blogger since early September to be killed.

According to the news report that I read he helped moderate “En vivo” a site that posts news about shootouts and other illegal activities of the Zetas a narcotics and extortion gang that pretty much controls the city.

His head had been cut off

Why would somebody do this?  The answer to that is in a note that was found with his headless body.

“This happened to me for not understanding that I shouldn’t report on the social networks,”

Simply put, the Zetas were trying to not only shut him up but also to send a message to anyone else that would report on their activities.

In late September another blogger who had also been beheaded was found in the same location.  Earlier that month a man and woman were hung from an overpass.  There was a sign left with them saying that they had been killed because of their activity in social media.

Had they used Fcon they might well all still be alive today.

Using Fcon (freenet classic opennet) they could have posted their information anonymously within the network where it could then have been picked up and re-posted by people operating outside the reach of the Zetas and the corrupt government officials that help them.

so if you’ve ever asked yourself why you should run Fcon, this is one good example.  Had Fcon been large enough and these people had known about it, using it could well have saved their lives and allowed them to continue working to expose the Zetas.

In memory of those murdered for their internet activities trying to expose and stop injustice, Download Fcon and get your node set up today.

Who knows, maybe your doing so will save a life.  Isn’t even the remote possibility of that worth the little bit of effort it takes to set up and run an Fcon node?  I certainly think so.

Technorati Tags: freenet 0.5, anti-censorship, install, Anonymity, mexican drug cartel, anonymous publishing, freenet classic opennet, Internet, Censorship, censorship proof, Encryption, Freenet, install walkthrough, freedom of speech online, blogger beheaded, freedom of speech, install guide, install fcon, Privacy, fcon, blogger, zetas, install freenet, blogger killed

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