SOPA: An Open Letter to Spencer Bachus

Saturday, December 17th, 2011 @ 9:13pm

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has been making rounds during the past couple of weeks, and as a result I feel a need to express my staunch opposition to this bill and am including my letter to my state representative below. SOPA works by giving power to intellectual property holders to force isps, search engines, and other sites to block access to infringing content or faced being shutdown entirely. This is clearly an overstepping of bounds by the US government, and I feel that it breaks the very “openness” of the internet.

Dear Congressman Bachus,

I am writing to you to express my strong opposition of H.R. 3261: Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The internet has grown to massive use over the past two decades, and has proved to be a useful resource for knowledge, ideas and speech. This very growth has provided a wealth of jobs and tools used to enhance the lives of many people.

While I understand that protecting one’s intellectual property is important, there are already various measures to protect those copyrights. SOPA sets a dangerous precedence by giving too much power to one entity.

The passing of this legislation stands to have a serious impact on the very structure of the internet. Many architects and engineers of this very system have already expressed grave concerns on the details of this bill (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/12/internet-inventors-warn-against-sopa-and-pipa).

Even if SOPA passes, there is little that would actually prevent or stop piracy. DNS works by mapping a human friendly name (i.e. google.com) to one a computer can understand (i.e. 74.125.74.103). Blocking a DNS entry does nothing to prevent access from a “infringing” site and is simple to bypass by entering the IP address directly.

I strongly urge you to do the right thing and vote against the passage of this bill and hope that you encourage your fellow representatives to do so as well. I will closely be watching the outcome of this legislation.

Sincerely,
Jason Wilson

Facebook Privacy? Good Luck!

Sunday, May 16th, 2010 @ 8:03pm

Ever since Facebook’s introduction back in 2004, I have always been wary of freely giving my personal information to a 3rd party website. Thankfully, Facebook proved to be a useful tool for communication and was limited to college students with a e-mail address of a registered school.

Six years later, things have changed. Information that I could originally fine tune is now made public by default with no options to make it private other than to remove the information. The tool I found useful for communication has become more cumbersome and frustrating as my personal data is made open and shared freely with other 3rd parties.

I already rarely use Facebook, so I’ve long thought of deleting my Facebook account. However, I dislike the thought of having a disconnect with too many people if I need to be reached. It may soon come to a point where “enough is enough” as I get tired of removing information that I feel should remain under my control.

For those of you who do read this through Facebook, my blog is my main outing to the internet and should I find the need to eventually delete my Facebook account it will be my main point of contact outside of email and phone. Future activity will also be available on Twitter and Flickr as I deem necessary. Let this serve as a warning should you no longer find me on Facebook in future.

Corruption

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 @ 11:05am

What if...?

The politics of Alabama are a messy business, especially in Birmingham. Over the past couple of years we’ve had to deal with antics of Larry Langford and the corruption of the two-year college system. And of course that’s not even really considering beyond that including Siegelman and Scrushy. It’s a really scary thought to think what could have happened had these people not been caught and unsupervised.

It’s additionally frustrating as often times the costs of these scandals and corruption are passed on to the taxpayers. For example, when we first moved in to our Townhome here in Birmingham four years ago, our water bill was often in the $20 range. Now four years later, it’s spiked up to nearly $80 a month due to the increased sewer bond rate with no real end in sight.

It’s a frightening world we live in today with this economy and the ongoing scandals, but I think it also goes to show where your foundations are in by how you react in these times. Luke 6:43-49 is the perfect parable describing the above situation, and is almost laughable in how well it matches the outcome of everything. 43-45 talks about how you will know a man by his fruit, and a bad tree will not produce good fruit, and neither will a good tree produce bad fruit.

46-49 goes on to talk about having a firm foundation, and how going through times of trouble really begins to tear at you and show what kind of foundation you are really standing on. Just something to think about and ponder on as the rest of the world attempts to instill fear and panic.

I know I’m not a perfect person, and I do worry from time to time. But I also know that having that firm foundation will allow me to weather the storms of life and it’s encouraging to know that there is something for me to stand on, even if everything else around me collapses.

Cell Phone Plans

Thursday, February 5th, 2009 @ 12:14am

Sony Ericcson Z525My 2 year contract with AT&T finally ran out last month, and I’ve been looking to upgrade my old Sony Ericsson phone as seen on the left. It’s been a decent phone, but has unfortunately had the screen go out several times during the two year period that I’ve owned it.

But I must admit, I really want an iPhone. I’d love to have an iPhone. But the plans alone are at minimum $70/month. I’m not sure if I can use my existing plan and just add data plus the phone, but it is something I need to look into. In addition to having internet on the go, gps capabilities, and the app store, I’ve needed to replace my iPod for quite some time. I could easily kill two birds with one stone; provided that I could get an affordable plan integrated into my existing setup without having to split the line off from my family.

On another note, cell phone plans in general frustrate me for the value that is received in the end, especially with text messaging. AT&T at minimum offers 450 minutes for roughly $40. If I was not already with my parent’s family plan, I would’ve considered using a GoPhone plan, especially considering that I likely use less than 100 minutes a month; if that much. Text messaging infuriates me even more. If you are without a plan, AT&T charges 30 cents per text message received or sent! If you consider that AT&T limits characters to 160 per message, allow 96~ bytes for a header, you’re paying roughly $1,200 per megabyte, just for a simple text message! Even if you have their minimum text messaging plan ($5 for 200 messages), you’ll still be paying roughly $100 per megabyte of data. It certainly can’t cost them that much to send a simple 160 character text message!

I’m not saying that wireless companies shouldn’t be in it to make a profit, it just seems that as I look around at plans that they are more or less taking advantage of the situation and overpricing their services well beyond their value. I just wish something could be done about it, but at the rate plans keep increasing, I’m not sure it will…

Residential Associations

Friday, December 5th, 2008 @ 9:07pm

It’s time to rant.

I understand the purpose behind residential associations, and I have to say it could be a good idea if the so called “power” of members of the board was not abused. I have the feeling that there are at least a few members on the board who are on a power trip and have nothing better to do than to annoy and harass members of the community.

Let me explain: As some of you know, I have lived in a townhome community for the past 3 1/2 years. I’m sure several of you have received “tickets” for violating the rules of the community. Parking here is quite an ordeal as the streets themselves are poorly designed and are quite narrow, not really adequately designed to allow traffic here, but that’s another story.

Anyway, over these past 3 1/2 years we’ve received so called minor infractions on our record for parking, usually over silly things like blocking a mailbox (when we’re not) or parked on the grass (when the front bumper is hanging over the concrete pad by 2″). We’re quite sure it’s always the same person as we’ve had several run-ins with a neighbor across the street, but has not been anything other than a somewhat minor annoyance.

Until now.

Sometime around late August, my roommate’s car had broken down and he had it parked in the driveway until late October until I finally got him to move it to an overflow parking area so we could use the garage. Keep in mind, this parking area is away from anyone’s house and is rarely full. We thought it would be fine until we recently started getting notices complaining about the car being parked there for an extended period and that any parking here was only for day-to-day use. I figure it’s really not that big of a deal, ask him to move it a couple of times then not press the issue, since I don’t really care.

But here’s where the crap hits the fan. After a second notice we find that his passenger side car tires have both been slashed, which we find highly suspicious due to the fact that we already have someone complaining about nearly every little thing that we do so it should not be a coincidence that his car was vandalized. But it gets better, we find out that a week later his car was broken into, the electrical system ripped apart in addition to his radio stolen.

I’m normally a pretty understanding guy, but this has to stop. I don’t care what kind of problem you have with a person but vandalism is certainly not an answer, and I intend on pursuing this and finding out who it is. I hope whoever did this realizes that there is a potential for jail time in addition to hefty fine.

Needless to say, I’m tired of putting up with all of the crap that goes on here and the board with strict out-of-line senseless rules. I will be gone next year, and I will make sure to inform our land lady as to exactly why.

Get Off My Lawn!

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008 @ 6:17pm

<rantmode>

I’ve determined that living in a controlled community sucks to a certain extent, considering that half the tenants/owners will complain about the most minor of things.

In the past we’ve received multiple complaints about parking when it shouldn’t even be an issue. And the worst part about it is that no one with these complaints is man enough to come up and even talk to us about it. If you have a valid complaint, come to us first and we can attempt to resolve it first without getting others involved in the mess. If that fails, THEN you go higher up with your complaint. Don’t be a jerk and ignore that process just because you think we’re just bunch of annoying kids. We actually are really nice if you would attempt to talk to us.

The more recent complaints were about loud noises with musical instruments. What? I will admit, it probably happened once (I wasn’t here at the time) but a complaint about a one time instance? If you had come to them and let them know that it was too loud, they would have been more than happy to turn it down. But apparently my roommate said multiple people walked by without complaining and several people stood and watched the practicing out of enjoyment.

These people really need to stop being jerks and complain about every nit picky little thing that comes up. We’ll be more than happy to respect your complaints provided you give us some respect in the first place.

</rantmode>

Washington: Day 4

Saturday, July 21st, 2007 @ 10:55pm

I suppose it’s time to report on day 4 of Washington.

It was the worst of our days, and a very long day at that. Our flight was scheduled to leave from Yakima at 6:45am, and we were supposed to eventually arrive in Birmingham at 2pm on the same day. We arrived at the airport at about 6:10, with no one at the desk so we had to go straight through security to try to check Clint’s bag since we had to check it on the trip to Washington due to it’s size.

We finally make it through security only to have them tell us they won’t allow his bag on due to size and contents and refused to check it. We figure we can try to catch a later flight, and opt to wait.

Due to the size of the airport however, there was only 2 Delta flights (both going to Salt Lake) with about 4-5 Horizon flights going to Seattle. Also, according to the employees at the airport there were no actual Delta employees working there to talk to, so we had to make multiple phone calls to Delta customer service to attempt to get our issue resolved. After hours of arguing with Delta, and just attempting to get out of Yakima, we finally were able to get a flight out of Seattle — which so happened to be 3 hours away.

So we had to take an airport shuttle to Seattle, arriving there at about 2pm. Our flight left at 12:30am, so we had a pretty long wait ahead. We were not allowed to even check in until 6 hours before our flight, so we had to wait outside security just hanging out until we could actually check in.

At this point as well, we had no money and were tired and hungry, but managed to luck out. In one of our few trips to the Delta desk I noticed a blackberry cellphone sitting there that someone seemingly left behind. After a few phone calls to the guy’s wife, we luckily were able to run into him and catch him before his plane left. He gave us $20 for our trouble which allowed us to actually eat dinner.

So basically we spent about 10 hours in the SEA-TAC terminal, another 6 or so hours on the plane before we were able to actually arrive in Atlanta, and then another 45 minute flight arriving in Birmingham at 9am over 24 hours after our original flight was supposed to leave Yakima.

This experience has left me severely unsatisfied with Delta’s customer service. They were supposed to offer and allow our baggage to be sent via a later flight, which they did not. We attempted to get them to do so, only to have them reply that we would lose all of our baggage. We tried to get on a standby list for any number of flights leaving Seattle, which several Delta customer service representatives claimed they don’t do standby. Of course, we found out they were lying when the desk was calling standby passengers as our flight was leaving at 12:30am. We kept getting mixed results from Delta having them tell us multiple things many of which conflicted with each other.

In short, it was a long trip and we were just glad to be back…

The Terminal

Monday, July 9th, 2007 @ 10:44pm

Ever seen the movie, The Terminal? That pretty much describes my day in a nutshell. Since about 6am this morning, to current (7:50pm) I’ve been stuck in an airport terminal of some sort. Details to follow once I return home…

Loss of Freedom

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007 @ 12:14am

It’s time for me to stand on my soapbox again. How much Freedom and Liberty are we willing to sacrifice for a little security? How many rights must we be willing to give up before we lose the very freedom that our forefathers fought for? If the founders of this country saw where we stand today, what do you think they would say? The following quote I think sums it up best:

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. ~ Benjamin Franklin

When I see articles like this, or this it infuriates me. How long will we as citizens be complacent and allow our freedoms to be “lost” and not do anything about them?

I really feel the government (as a whole) has lost contact with the people. Even a few good men with good intentions have a hard time going against the majority. Politics is all about doing what’s good for them, or what’s good for the party. Sadly, it seems that unless you are well known and have lots a money you stand no chance at getting elected. The 2004 presidential campaign had over $1.2 BILLION in spending. Quite frankly, I’m ashamed with both parties, democrats and republicans alike.

Your freedom, our freedom, how much are you willing to sacrifice before its too late? Over 300 years ago, a group of people decided that enough was enough. And they believed in something, and fought for that belief. I believe in something, and I’m willing to fight for it. It has been said that you really do not know what you have, until its gone. Are you willing to fight for your beliefs before its too late? Think about it… don’t be complacent. Be active, don’t just be a bystander, but act upon it.

Traffic Lights

Friday, June 15th, 2007 @ 1:09am

traffic lights

Alas. Sometimes, I really wish I could slap the person who timed traffic lights. As Garfield would say, “They should be drug out into the street and shot.” Or maybe in light of this comic, forced to sit and wait at the very intersection they designed.