Technophobia: Orwell was 28 years too early

Technophobia is a column by James Hardy. Views expressed are not necessarily those of Digixav.

Welcome to China everybody! Yep, renowned file-sharing site The Pirate Bay is being blocked in the UK by five of Britain’s biggest internet service providers: O2, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk and Everything Everywhere (aka T-Mobile and Orange or T-Morange). BT requested ‘a couple more weeks’ before announcing their position on blocking the website, but they are under no obligation to do so.

I can’t help but think that this is the beginning of a slippery slope. The government won’t know when to stop. They’ll block all file sharing sites, websites which have links to them, any search engines through which you can access these sites and, while they’re at it, why don’t they just block any anti-government websites? Oh snap, they just killed free speech!

They say that these sites take millions of pounds from the entertainment industry, but the truth is the money the industry loses is minimal. I download American TV shows from file sharing sites. Why? Because I can’t get them here in the UK. Show them over here, get more views, get more money from advertising, everyone wins. Simples.

Often the reason people download games from these websites is because they come out earlier in the US. People want things ASAP. Say a game is released in the US two weeks before Europe, and someone across the pond uploads to The Pirate Bay. So, if you live in the UK, you can have it now, or you can wait a fortnight to get it. I wonder what you’re going to choose? The same goes for films and music – release at the same time around the world and more people will pay for them. Fact.

The movies I download from file sharing sites are ones I wouldn’t go to the cinema to see. They’re ones I would wait to see on TV. I’m going to see The Avengers in the cinema because it’s going to be awesome. If I can be bothered, I might even write a review on STR. But other movies, ones which tend to get a resounding ‘meh’ from critics, I would download. So, film industry: make good movies and I will pay to see them. Cinemas are overpriced, too. It can cost me £20 for a movie and some popcorn. That’s too much.

The entertainment industry needs to get with the times. Services like iTunes, Netflix and Spotify are doing brilliantly for themselves. That is what the people want. Whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want. The entertainment industry wants you to go to a real shop and buy a DVD. Sad though it is, human beings are lazy. They don’t want to do that. The entertainment industry needs to make things downloadable. Why not have file sharing sites where you have to pay some money which the industry gets to download something? Everyone wins.

Blocking The Pirate Bay won’t work. People will use things like proxies, *insert more technological terms here* etc. to get round it. And blocking it will just mean more sites like it will appear. It isn’t the answer.

File sharing sites aren’t losing the entertainment industry money. It’s bringing about its own downfall.

Another news story that came out last month was that of the government introducing a new law so they can monitor our email, phone and web use. Whenever they feel like it. Just like that. Which, according to the Home Office, will be used to tackle crime and terrorism. Of course. It’s interesting to note that Labour tried to introduce similar plans when they were last in power, but they failed due to massive opposition to the proposals, mainly from the Tories. But it’s fine now they’re in power, erm, why exactly, Mr Cameron?

The government will be able to look at any website you’ve visited, group you’re in contact with or email, text or phone call you have made from the last two years. Without needing permission from anyone. And to those people who make the ‘I have nothing to hide’ argument, you are unbelievably naïve. Would you want someone to be able to open your post and reseal it? I think not.

So while the government criticises China, Iran and other countries with similar regimes for taking similar measures, they do exactly the same back here. That’s fair. At this rate, it won’t be long before they control exactly what we can and can’t do with the internet. They’re not far away from controlling our thoughts.

Anyway, seeing as how the government could block this site if they wanted to, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to call them lying, hypocritical bastards. Turns out George Orwell predicted what was to come pretty damn well.

Enjoy the future, people!

This article was originally published on Stuff Things Rants

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Why Minecraft is awesome

If you haven’t heard what Minecraft is yet, then please go away and look it up on YouTube. The game, made by indie Swedish studio Mojang, has taken over the world in recent years. The reason that I do this is because whenever I am sitting around and just playing Minecraft, many people will come up to me and say things like:

Why are you playing Minecraft? Its gay and it has really bad graphics.
What’s the aim of the game anyway?

If I had enough time to explain to them without them still saying it’s ‘gay’ then they would get the answers they desired.

Anyway, on with the argument, however one-sided it may be.

Many people, who haven’t played, will give reasons for Minecraft being a bad game like:

  • It has really bad graphics, so pixelated.
  • What can you actually do? There’s no aim to the game.
  • It’s boring.
  • It’s childish.
  • It gets really repetitive.
  • It’s outdated.
  • It’s gay.

And for people that have played:

  • It gets really laggy (slow) sometimes.
  • You can’t ever find diamonds. Why not?
  • I always get killed by a creeper.
  • A creeper always blows up my house.
  • I always die.
  • Whenever I “get” diamonds I have to say I fell in lava to make people think that I actually got some.
  • Even when I don’t have diamonds I still fall in lava.
  • When you do finally get to the credits they take so long!

But the game is still absolutely amazing. Let me explain why, by dismissing the most common arguments that I have come across that are against it.

It has really bad graphics, so pixelated.

Seeing as the game is made by a few Swedes and is based around blocks, it is only right for the game to be all blocky. How would it ever work if you were continuously taking out spheres out of the Minecraft ‘world’? I mean, I think the designers of the game would have thought about graphics if it wasn’t part of the game. There is actually something you can do about this. You can design you own or get someone else’s texture pack which will give the game of Minecraft a completely different look, and in some cases make it HD quality.

What can you actually do? There’s no aim to the game.

If you had decided to pay attention, the game has been updated and now has a start to the aim of the game. It will take you a while to do, and a lot of preparation, but when you finally find the portal to get to the “end” then you can kill the only (at the moment) boss. Again, that might take you a while if you haven’t prepared properly, but it is still achievable.

 It’s boring. It’s childish. It gets really repetitive.

That’s your problem. If you get bored of computer games then don’t play them. I personally have been playing Minecraft for two years, for the plain reason that it is being continuously updated. If you really think its childish then, I’m sorry that you have grown up so fast. Seriously, did your guardians just not let you have a childhood? Did they just deprive you of games and instead make you read books all the time? If they did, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, then I feel for you. It gets really repetitive. This is stupid. There is so much you can do. You can make potions, build massive houses, build a farmhouse for all of your sheep and pigs, go and find a dungeon, get a saddle and go and fly a pig off of a mountain! There’s even an achievement for that.

It’s outdated.

You may say this because you don’t like indie games (refer to above) or you may say it because it is never updated. Well, Minecraft is updated so often that you have to read Twitter every day to check that there isn’t an update coming out with new features. I managed, within a week, to download a new Minecraft three times because of bug fixes and general updates.

IT’S GAY!

I know you are, but what am I?

It gets really laggy (slow) sometimes.

Get a better laptop. Or, you could even use the functions that have been implemented into the game to make it better/worse.

You can’t ever find diamonds. Why not? I always get killed by a creeper. A creeper always blows up my house. I always die. Whenever I “get” diamonds I have to say I fell in lava to make people think that I actually got some. Even when I don’t have diamonds I still fall in lava.

The simple answer is get better. The more complex answer is on the way.

When you do finally get to the credits they take so long!

Try the escape button. It does wonders for the impatient.

Conclusion

Minecraft is a really good game and there is always a valid reason why something is the way it is. There is always a forum, mod, texture pack or even multiplayer server that can answer all your prayers. If you have any questions or qualms then feel free to express yourself in the comments section below and I will be happy to reply, when I’m not digging for diamonds, of course.