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. 126.96.36.199). 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.
Sunday, October 16th, 2011 @ 10:36pm
I don’t often like to use this blog to help push an agenda, but this agenda is definitely for a good cause. Ride for Refuge is an organization that helps fund raise and support organizations and charities for those who are displaced, vulnerable and exploited.
In particular, I will be riding for Make Way Partners; an organization committed to prevent and combat human trafficking. I wouldn’t be posting this if I didn’t strongly believe in their cause and the work they are doing abroad.
If you would like to sponsor my ride, you can do so here.
Monday, April 25th, 2011 @ 5:55pm
Nearly a year ago, I felt brave enough to try the impossible. Would it be possible to go without cable?
And a year later, the answer is a resounding yes.
With the onset of things such as Hulu, Netflix, ESPN3, and iTunes, I’ve found that a lot of media can be found online for “free” or for a nominal cost. And I believe that it’s scaring cable companies. Just today, an article popped on how 7% of Americans subscribe to Netflix, and that’s an ever growing number. Unless cable provides try and adapt to the ever changing market they may end up on the losing side before too long; not unlike the situation between Redbox and Blockbuster.
In the past year, I’ve been able to watch a majority of the shows I watch on Netflix or Hulu — as long as I’m willing to sacrifice a delay and not have the need to see it immediately. Additionally, most of the football games I wanted to watch last fall ended up being on ESPN3 or CBSSports so it was a simple affair to stream the content live.
In the short run, it’s not for everyone. Many sports events have blackouts and a few networks do not license their content to be made available for various streaming sites. But for me, it’s an excellent value allowing me to save $60-80 a month and to be able to pick what I want to watch when I want to watch it 75% of the time.
Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 @ 10:05pm
It’s hard to believe, but I’ve had this blog for 5 years now. Of course it’s gone from “Jason’s Thoughts” to “Let’s See Jason’s Photos!”, but I guess that’s okay. What are some of these things that have happened in these past 5 years?
- 274 blog posts
- 253 photos posted to flickr
- Graduated from college
- Ran over by a car
- Learned many new instruments
- Almost 80,000 page views since Jan. 2009
- (finally) visited the pacific ocean
- Hit a hole-in-one
- Bought a motorcycle
- Bought a house
I still have a lot of goals in life to accomplish, a lot of things unfinished – but with whatever happens I’ll be sure to post it here. I’ve laughed, loved, and have been broken. I’ve tried to experience life to its fullest and want to say, give it your best shot; I can take it! I’m not done yet and I don’t plan on giving up. Thanks for putting up with me for 5 years, and here’s for more to come!
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.
Thursday, December 10th, 2009 @ 8:40pm
It’s been a while since I’ve had a reflective post, and I’ve had a lot on my mind recently. So here goes…
A while back I heard an interview with Michael Caine where he was asked, “…do you have any regrets in life?” in which his reply was, “I only regret not having done something.” He goes on further to say, “…if you did not do it and it was something great, that regret would stay with you for the rest of your life. Regrets about things you did do never stay with you.”
Regrets about things you did do may not have the expected outcome you are looking for, but at least you can’t say you didn’t try. I’ve been trying to apply this philosophy more recently since I want to be able to say I have very few regrets for things not done. For the things you did try, you may regret doing it if the outcome did not result in your expectations but at least you can continuing in knowing that you tried.
I feel sad to say that even at 25, I feel like I have regrets for not having done things. I look back and see missed opportunities and think, “What if…?” What would have been the outcome had I followed that path? Would I have been happier? Could something great have happened? It’s painful not knowing if I’ll ever find out the answers to those questions, or if there’s any chance at rekindling those opportunities.
That’s not to say I’m not trying to learn from those regrets and move forward. It’s difficult to try and adjust your life to a new philosophy especially when it pushes the limits of your comfort zone. But even in the midst of my failures and regrets I have to move forward realizing the potential of having no regrets. If I make it to be old and gray, I want to be able to look back on my life and say, “I have accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish and left no stones unturned.” I want to do the best I possibly can with the opportunities that are presented to me and be satisfied with the outcome, no matter how horrible it may be.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and life changing philosophies take time as well. I’m taking it one day at a time and trying to learn from my mistakes. I think that’s the best I can do.
Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 @ 10:50am
It’s amazing how much stuff you can accumulate in so little time, yet you only really find out how much junk you’ve accumulated when you move from one place to another. Things have been a little slow here since I’ve been trying to get stuff moved in the past couple of weeks, but I’m glad to say that everything (except for bills) is finally complete out of the other place. I’m still in boxes at the new house, so I’m trying to find where in the world I placed some of the most random items, but it is a process.
I’m not exactly sure what is going to happen in the upcoming months, and exactly how long I’m going to be here. Thanks to the generosity of Guy Walker (one of the roommates in the prior town home), I’m staying in his new house until I figure out what I am going to do. I would like to buy my own home, depending on how my finances turn out in the next couple of months, while the market is still down. It may be in Birmingham, or if I really want to take a leap, somewhere else where the job market is slightly better and geared towards what I want to do. The latter portion of that statement is difficult and will take some time to think over, since I would be giving up much of what I’ve established here and jumping into a vast plain of unknown. But unfortunately, it may be the leap I have to take if I want to get out of this rut that I feel like I’m in.
Friday, May 8th, 2009 @ 4:27pm
To think today that the internet is where it is today is just amazing and the amount of changes that have happened in the past 20, or even 10 years ago. 10 years ago, can you imagine when companies like Google and Amazon were in their infancy, and sites like Wikipedia, Youtube didn’t exist.
Even more interesting is how I got my start doing web development, and as I stumbled upon some of my older site designs I thought it would be interesting to showcase them, and how I got my start on the internet. It’s kind of scary for me to look back and think that I created that, but it’s here for your entertainment.
I don’t remember exactly how I first got started. I recall my dad popping in an old AOL disk cd when we had a 2400 baud modem, and attempting to access the Cartoon Network channel of AOL. It wasn’t until some time later when we eventually obtained a computer with a 28.8kbps that I got my real start sometime in 1996-1997.
My first website was a result of my infatuation with SimCity, so I wanted to share that interest with others. Through Earthlink, we had a member space available at home.earthlink.net/~charawilson/ (no longer exists) that was the jumpstart for that first site, Simcity 3000 News Central. From that spawned a sister project called SCN (SimCity Network), which was a portal for SimCity sites at the time.
Eventually I outgrew the member space that Earthlink provided, and through the generous offer of a friend moved to simcity.boulderd.com (internet archive). With the move I discovered NewsPro (which eventually became Coranto), a perl script that would allow me to update the site from anywhere and not have to edit html code any time I wanted the site to be updated. This is really where my interest starting growing, as I discovered how one could make a site dynamic, and do cool things with DHTML as well.
Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 @ 1:44am
Today marks me having spent a quarter of a century on this planet earth. I guess 25 isn’t usually a very big birthday, but it feels like a very big milestone to me. My insurance is (supposedly) reduced, and I can now rent a car. Yay?
25 is a big milestone for me at least, since I had a lot of goals that I expected to accomplish before I was 25, but sadly some of my largest goals that I had hoped to achieve have fallen short, although no fault of my own.
“Life is short”, they say, but I think life is really what you make of it. Sure I haven’t accomplished two key goals I had in place, but I have very few regrets of these past 25 years. I heard a very good philosophy the other day that applies very well here, and it goes something like this: Live life without regrets. A regret is something that you wish you had done, but didn’t. To live life without regrets is to take the opportunity even if nothing comes of it. Don’t live life such that have a regrets of inaction.
While I didn’t realize that concept until recently, I have noticed that over the past few years I have been living by this philosophy. The regret of not doing something is much greater than being disappointed by the results of said action. The event may not have the expected outcome, but you will never have to experience the emptiness of not at least having tried. I don’t want to live through life wondering, “What if…?”
It’s difficult to say what I expect or want to accomplish in these next 25 years, God willing. Maybe I had unrealistic goals for these last 25, or maybe the time just isn’t right yet, but I don’t plan on giving up. There is something worth fighting for, and I am going to fight for it with all my heart. The battle isn’t over yet, and today just isn’t another day. It’s a milestone of my accomplishments and stubbornness to keep on going, even when the going gets tough.
Happy Birthday to me indeed.
Monday, April 20th, 2009 @ 11:20am
I’ve been sporting the 7000 x64 build of Windows 7 for several months now, and wanted to post some of my impressions on Microsoft’s latest push on their newest OS. Vista has been a marketing disaster for Microsoft. Even with service packs improving Vista’s stability and functionality, the stigma associated with Vista is still bad enough to have people stick with XP. I myself have been using XP for the past 8 years, with brief forays into Ubuntu for my primary OS. But Windows 7 is all about change, and Microsoft has something to prove. Will they succeed?
One of the most interesting changes from Vista and prior versions of Windows is the task bar. Instead of having the normal, “each window takes up space” portion, applications are reduced to large icons in a similar manner to Apple’s OSX dock in 7′s default setup. The task bar is surprisingly very interactive, showing indicators of the number of windows, or status information for items such as downloads or file transfers. It’s also easy to switch between windows, or close excess windows with the preview Window feature. Of course, if all of this seems daunting, the old task bar functionality can be restored.
The start menu is not surprisingly very similar to Vista’s, but with some additional functionality. “Jump Lists” are a new feature which allow you to quickly access commonly viewed sites or files from frequently accessed programs. This feature can be accessed through the new start menu, or by right clicking on the icon in the task bar.
Of course the previously mentioned items are all about eye candy. What about actual performance? With my desktop’s configuration, Windows 7 is very responsive and I’ve experienced little to no slowdown. Compared to when I beta tested Longhorn/Vista, Windows 7 is a very big improvement in being a much smaller consumer of memory resources. Additionally I’ve been able to run Steam games very smoothly with no major issues. Like Windows Vista, Windows 7 includes a scoring system from 1.0 to 7.9 that rates your systems performance. Given my machine’s specs, here is my score:
- Processor: 6.1
- Memory (RAM): 5.9
- Graphics: 7.9
- Gaming Graphics: 5.9
- Primary Hard Drive: 5.9
Overall score: 5.9
I could probably improve my performance with faster RAM, or setting up a RAID array, but overall the general performance of everything is very speedy and quick.
Overall, I’m very happy with Windows 7 and feel that it is a much needed improvement over Vista. There is a lot standing on Windows 7 at the moment, and Microsoft really needs to make a big push to show that people really need to upgrade from Windows XP. Given that I’m running a beta version and it has thus far proved to be very stable and reliable, good things should come once the final version is ready for release.