The Internet’s Changing!

What an interesting week in the Internet world.  We’ve had talks of firewalls, government bills, blackouts, hackers, and copyrights.  So, what’s it all about?

Well, this week started off with the whispers of SOPA and PIPA, bills introduced in congress to curb internet piracy of copyrighted materials.  They, of course, were backed heavily by a few headliners over the past decade: the RIAA and the MPAA, among cable and media content companies.  While their intentions were noble, their methods were not quite straightforward, nor guaranteed freedom of expression on the Internet.  One post by one blogger had the possibility of having an entire website blocked overnight.

So, the web “took back the day.”  Wednesday, dozens of websites went dark to boycott the legislation and get Internet users to understand what was written in the bills and to get them to contact their representatives.  Wikipedia, reddit, and many other sites went completely dark (blocked access to content), while others kept functional services but posted information on their homepages (Google, Mozilla, etc).  Well, it worked, and with overwhelming success.  Both bills have been slowed while they are reworded and reconsidered, if not killed (since PIPA will be coming to a vote next week).

Then Thursday happened.  The FBI took down the MegaUpload family of sites, which did not even operate in the US.  They shut down the site and arrested the leaders involved in the sites.  So, of course, since the FBI has global reach, why do we need legislation like SOPA and PIPA?  Clearly we can arrest those involved, who are not only non-US-citizens, but also lived in New Zealand.  Of course, the interesting events of this evening have been the shutdowns of Anonymous, who are acting out against the shutdown of MegaUpload.  They have attacked sites and forced the other part of the “internet population” to go dark–the proponents of the bills that were boycotted yesterday–namely, the MPAA, RIAA.  As one who sets up systems and builds websites, I’m not surprised that there are security holes in these systems, but I am surprised at how open the sites have been left to vulnerability.

So, maybe the internet will return to normal tomorrow?  Let’s hope so.


(and no, don’t hate me for listing fox news as a resource… it’s not usual ;) )

Abram’s Vision

I was reading my daily chapters in the Bible today, and came across a very interesting revelation given to Abram well before he was Abraham.  This is something that I have completely overlooked in the past, but lays out the end of Genesis and the Exodus.  Here it is, in the NASB:

Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him. God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age. Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.” –Genesis 15:12-16

Why have I not put this together before?

New Years Resolutions

I’ve been thinking about new years resolutions this year, reflecting on years past.  This morning, Jim Sommerville almost took the words out of my mouth at First Baptist in Richmond.  I still figured I’d share my thoughts.

Every year, I’ve tried to make resolutions, but they all seem to fail in time.  Two years ago, I tried to do a 365 days of pictures on Flickr, which lasted on and off for just over two months.  It was a lot of fun, but eventually “life” got in the way.  Even trying to stay simple, I’ve tried from giving up things such as fast food, soda, and tv time to promising to read for fun every day and going to the gym more often.

I don’t think this is the right direction to take the beginning of each year.  Rather than try to add specific goals, such as “lose weight,” “get in shape,” or “read more,” we should strive toward who we want to be and who God wants us to be.  I know the person that I know I can be is not the person I am now, since there is so much more I want to do and be in this world, and I believe that God uses those dreams and passions.  For me, this year, it means that I will be more focused on serving God wherever I am; being more proactive about quiet times, reading time, posting and taking photos, building friendships; and researching new directions that God wants to take me.

So, my parting questions are: 1) Who do you want to be, and who does God want you to be?  and 2) What can you do in small steps to become that person?