Things I've learned

Just got back from a trip to Cancun for the weekend, and I've learned a few things:

  • No matter how technologically advanced we get as a civilization, you still need to carry a pen.
  • Laws should be written with some semblance of intelligence assumed in the people. Things move a lot quicker.
  • I appreciate the ability of US Airports to publish their gate number assignments more than 50 minutes before flight time.
  • I can appreciate why people get buzzed socially. Still don't know if I enjoy it that much, though.
  • It's quite possible to walk around for 10 minutes and find 8 different USD-MXN exchange rates. It is also mathematically impossible to make any money playing the exchanging game between those vendors.
  • The US Dollar is starting to suck.
  • When relying on SPF50 suntan lotion, be sure you get every square inch of your body. I have an interesting sin(x)/4x shaped line down my back (with the 0 near my right shoulder)
  • If you're going to visit a foreign country, at least attempt to learn some aspect of the language before you visit. Baño, bien, y tu, para ti, and gato only take you so far.
  • Bodyboarding is still freakin awesome.
  • As is snorkeling. We saw 3 dolphins in 30m deep ocean!
  • Take more shirts then you think you'll need.
  • The intracity buses in Cancun are 6.50 MXN, roughly 60 cents US. Freakin nuts!!

There's probably a few more, but those are the ones I remembered to write down on my phone between planes.

Two weeks in...

Well, it's been about two weeks since I've moved into the DC area again for the summer, and here's how things are going so far:

  • Moving in sight-unseen into an apartment was a bad idea. Not a horrible place, just not for me.
  • Washington DC will probably reign as the most interesting and engrossing city in the United States, for years to come.
  • No matter what anyone does, there will be people to protest it. Always.
  • Do not forget your shampoo at a house you are moving out of. There is no pain like a 2am trip to CVS because you need shampoo.
  • World of Warcraft is addicting. Period.
  • Adams Morgan is busy, very very busy. Also, There's this great midnight coffeeshop/bookstore/restaurant called Afterthought, or Afterword, or something.
  • Cheesecake is still delicious.
  • The colonial-style rowhouse areas around the Capitol are freakin gorgeous.

But in all seriousness, I'm loving my stay here in DC. I'm busy to no end, and now I have a place WAY closer to work. It's good to be home, away from home.

Martin Luther's 5F Theses

(Note for pretty much everyone: 5F is 95 in Hexadecimal.) Well, today, the revolution of the tech-masses has begun. Digg, a user-powered news site where people submit stories and vote stories up so that others may see them, made an unwise decision by silently removing a news story about the HD-DVD Key Crack (the decryption key that will allow players to extract the raw video data from any in-market HD-DVD's). (More about Digg in a second) Of course, the key itself is not particularly useful to the regular consumer, as one would need certain HD-DVD Decryption Software to actually get the video data from it. A few blogs posted the discovered key in February, and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) decided to send Cease and Desist letters to the blogs asking that they take down the keys, citing the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, a law protecting copyright owners from users trying to break copyright protection schemes.

So what is wrong about 09-F9-11-02-9D-74-E3-5B-D8-41-56-C5-63-56-88-C0? I mean, it's merely a series of hexadecimal digits, right? I mean, speaking 09-F9-11-02-9D-74-E3-5B-D8-41-56-C5-63-56-88-C0 should have no intrinsic illegallity to it? I mean, I find 09-F9-11-02-9D-74-E3-5B-D8-41-56-C5-63-56-88-C0 quite an amusing set of numbers, as you have E3, the now defunct gamer's expo, F9, the activation key for Apple's Exposé, D8, a clever shortening of 'date', and a few other amusing tidbits. It's not like 09-F9-11-02-9D-74-E3-5B-D8-41-56-C5-63-56-88-C0 is going to destroy the world or anything? You might have heard about the Illegal Prime Numbers, prime numbers that when decompressed result in C code to decrypt DVD's copyright protection. Funny that, all these regular media companies are trying to censor and contain NUMBERS and STRINGS on the INTERNET. Good luck :-)

(Back to Digg) So when someone submitted 09-F9-11-02-9D-74-E3-5B-D8-41-56-C5-63-56-88-C0 to Digg, many diggers voted the story up, and it recieved a rediculously high number of votes (about 15000, one of the site's highest in history), the MPAA sent a quick C&D to Digg, and Digg complied. However, as opposed to publicly stating that the MPAA had sent the C&D and informing the viewers of that story WHY the story was taken down, they silently deleted the story and banned the user who submitted it. Their Explanation sounds reasonable enough for the takedown, but many, MANY diggers thought they did it the wrong way. So they fought back, and the past 80 or so top-ranking stories have been about 09-F9-11-02-9D-74-E3-5B-D8-41-56-C5-63-56-88-C0.

Digg tried to remove some of the stories, but they could not keep up with the rampant pace. Images, T-shirts, posters, coffee mugs, songs, dos command boxes, mathematical manipulations, and every possible trick to get 09-F9-11-02-9D-74-E3-5B-D8-41-56-C5-63-56-88-C0 out there. Wikipedia has perma-deleted the Appropriate Wikipedia Pages, Digg kept on deleting stories, but alas, the power of the Internet prevails.

The Pirate Bay posted the key on their front page, the entire face of Digg has been flooded with 09-F9-11-02-9D-74-E3-5B-D8-41-56-C5-63-56-88-C0, and finally, they relented. We shall see how Digg will recover, what the MPAA will do, and if the mainstream media will pick up on this.

Me personally? I have about 09-F9-11-02-9D-74-E3-5B-D8-41-56-C5-63-56-88-C0 more things to do for school before finals, so I'm getting back to that. Enough procrastination for me :)