Life in the Cloud and what it Means.

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So the great move into the cloud is on.. we are being ushered into a new age whether or is that ‘weather’ we like it or not!

We are being sold on the idea of convenience, we are being asked to entrust all our important personal data and it’s wellbeing over to corporations for safekeeping. Whether it’s photo collections of your memories or data used by critical software for your work, the future is that the resources you require, store, save, cherish? Will be stashed away in the cloud for your retrieval when you need them.. Saving desktop real estate, memory resources in your ever smaller devices, soon you’ll just need the Google Glass, the Touch Devices and passwords… Maybe not the passwords… Iris or voice recognition.. Fingerprint? DNA?

However…. what happens when something goes wrong?

This question has of course been asked ever since the inception of the idea, the naysayers will always look for a reason something new is a bad idea, the people on the cutting edge will defend the new frontier from an excited pioneer standpoint whilst the corporate money machines will roll out the new platforms regardless as long as it’s deemed financially worthwhile…

This last week something went wrong.

It might seem marginal, it was specific to a relatively small niche sector, it was nothing that wiped billions off of an index or collapsed a bank… but nevertheless..

PACE ant piracy protection, iLok as it’s commonly known, launched it’s new revised system, website and app for protecting audio software against piracy, It is nothing new but for those that don’t know it involves the companies that use this system selling you a license to use their products. This license is then downloaded from the iLok website and placed onto your USB ‘dongle’ which must be plugged into your machine to operate the software you have paid for.

The license database is held in the cloud on the iLok/PACE servers, millions of users own and operate software protected by iLok in studio setups worldwide, from bedroom users all the way through semi pro setups to the huge industry standard facilities..

This last week saw the iLok servers have problems, their new License Manager App has been plagued with performance issues, their server update reportedly had a major problem..

The result was, like myself, a vast number of people people had major problems too, we had no access to the software we’d paid for, people couldn’t work, facilities cancelled clients, suddenly the dependency fostered upon us all became apparent.

If they screw up… We all get screwed up… I watched the discussion and rage unfold on the forums, the customer relations were non existent, to be fair i guess the PACE folks were losing the plot trying to fix this stuff.. but communication was near zero.. and the disdain people were feeling was through the roof..

Support tickets were replied to with the same generic responses, kinda like the recorded message that reassures you that ‘your call is important to us’ yet they take forever to answer… if there’s a real person there at all.

Following a long convoluted solution someone (not from iLok) posted online and with much patience as the License Manager app repeatedly timed out and froze, with many restarts and after six or more hours waiting for it to complete ‘operation in progress’ at a snails ‘pace’ (sic) I was nearly back to normal, I do still have problems opening 64bit plugins without a crazy wait time on loading though..

Many people do however still have massive issues days later.. lost revenue.. lost time.. lost inspiration..

But no one is answerable.. the cloud is above all… it’s not just PACE… if this was another database of critical importance.. like if the bank suddenly decided you have no money? Or your credit report goes south… someone should be answerable right?

‘Computer says no’ is fast becoming a scary reality and there is a distinct possibility our whole lives will become automated by algorithms with people only present to make you feel more comfortable with the fact..like a flesh and bone interface front end.. the cold steel of the cpu behind issuing the automated response.. the company policy.

The corporations are the masters…  The people are the subjects..

The response from people online over the iLok debacle has been interesting, three camps.

The first defend the system citing that nothing has gone wrong for them before or that they have been unaffected by this therefore everyone else is over reacting..

The second are the crew who always objected to the intrusive nature of the PACE system, the fact it writes weird files to your system it needn’t and collects data etc, the lack of customer care..

The third are like myself who use the iLok, are happy to pay for software and understand the need to prevent piracy yet having gone through this experience will no longer be so willing to support or purchase products that use this kind of system anymore.. There are other means to protect against piracy.

These events have shown me..

I don’t want to depend on the cloud, unseen hands that i need to believe have my best interests at heart are a common re-accurence in modern life.. I don’t mind having my ‘stuff’ on multiple hardrives, i want the choice to manage my own data..

I don’t want to wake up one morning or half way through a project and find all my stuff or tools have been stolen, deleted, frozen or disabled through no fault of my own..

This last few days has been a warning.. a brief glimpse into what we are setting ourselves up to become if we blindly accept and adopt every new idea thrown at us without the thought of consequence..

Our children know no different.. The internet is no revolution to them, just an everyday facet of life…

The cloud dependancy however marks a shift in power.. when someone or something you can never hold accountable has the ability to wipe you out of the virtual world it will be a different ballgame..

Access denied, Credit refused, Files missing, Software not authorised, Data no longer available.. ….to you that is!

Your data in the cloud can be intercepted, stolen, misused, sold, copied, analysed, altered and deleted and you’d know nothing about it before it’s too late..

They used to say it didn’t exist if you didn’t have three backups!

Soon you won’t even have one.

Zz.

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Lost Legends and Music in the Age of Information..

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As time rolls on through infinity one realises the small division of the endlessness that our lifespan actually occupies.

Popular culture changes, fashions come and go, sometimes to return again.. Flared jeans might have to wait a while now that skinny jeans are in vogue once more.. Or drainpipes as they were called in my mums day.. But you never know when some hip trendsetter will re-ignite their reign of designer terror upon us all..

Technology however is rarely unimplemented and the obsolete rarely returns for more than a brief nostalgic flash of defiance.. VHS is an ancient ancestor to Vimeo and the idea of the cassette tape is laughable in the era of the iPod like an abacus to a quad core… even technology that arguably has had a negative affect on us is rarely reversed..

Everything now happens at a speed never historically seen before, the world is getting smaller, people’s access to entertainment and interest in the media around us is at an all time high..

Yet the longterm quality appears to be falling, correct me if I’m wrong, but particularly within music it feels as though we are losing legends year on year but they are not being replaced? Is this actually a result of the technology we now use? Is it the means of delivery by which our current crop of musical expression reaches its audience? Or is it that the audience itself has evolved or mutated together with how we use and appreciate the medium of music itself?

A retrospective look at the music of passed legends like James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Hendrix, Tupac, John Lennon, Bob Marley.. The re-emergence of David Bowie, Madness, The Rolling Stones, even the endurance of Jay-Z at the summit of rap’s mountain, the continued touring from the likes of Public Enemy.. All suggest a proven potential lasting power into the decades that it somehow feels hard to imagine attributing to a lot of the music released currently.. Why?

Maybe in the passage of time I’ll be proven wrong and people will be lauding A$AP Rocky with the same enduring praise as Curtis Mayfield? Don’t get it twisted, I like new music and dig Kendrick Lamar, A$AP and plenty of current music, I’m even really enjoying the new Daft Punk album (mainly cos it sounds like Chic) but somehow it seems as though it’s all a little temporary, as though it’s all good until next month when something else will be trending..

Meanwhile Time Magazine named Bob Marley’s Exodus the album of the century, this year is the 36th anniversary of its release..

When i looked through Rolling Stones Top 100 artists ever, they were nearly all ancient barring the inclusion of one or two rappers such as Jay-Z and The Beastie Boys and Eminem, mostly it was music i’ve heard all my life and before, music that has withstood time enough to define it’s own legacy..

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-greatest-artists-of-all-time-19691231

It’s not literally like good music is not being made anymore though, Obviously I’m not suggesting something as stupid as that.. Just that our means of interacting with the music we are exposed to and thus enjoying (or not) is so different than ever before that it makes it harder to imagine anything lasting for decades like it has in the past no matter how good… will these current artists be allowed to stay relevant , grow with their music, can you see them twelve albums deep?

I love the Rudimental and Disclosure records, Bruno Mars too, Jessie J is a great singer, Tinie Tempah has some jams and swag in abundance but how long can the audience maintain it’s attention span verses artists today being able to stay relevant and make music that still touches the people, represents something and be succesful? The music that lasts with us over the long haul of our lives was never dictated to the artists by a media stream, sell by date or reality show schedule in the past…

The YouTube generation has more at their fingertips than ever before, the new up and coming musician can write, record and shoot a video, edit the promo at home and upload it for the world to ignore in two days…

There’s a worldwide audience, with a billion choices and a fifteen second attention threshold, how is the young hopeful going to have a career spanning decades?

The mainstream supported artists like those mentioned earlier have a big push from the established industry machine.. But the machine is not what it was and neither is the audience or the means of delivery.. The equation has changed but the maths teacher hasn’t noticed.. the class are no longer paying attention.. Life is expensive, life is cheap, a career needs success which is defined by money, if it don’t make dollars it don’t make sense.. Back to the grind, the day job.. So music becomes the day job, the daily grind at the expense of integrity?

“You can write my songs just make me famous..”

Music has always at its root been a cultural reflection in some way, but it has now been mostly relegated to ‘content’… In the ‘rap game’ (sic) most new contestants enter into the creative endeavour to chase wealth and a lifestyle, the image is more important than the substance but without substance the structure is hollow and brittle.. Sure it might be shiny but when it caves in it won’t be back… It’ll be replaced!

I know there’s a difference between artistic creation and hustle, I admire the entrepreneurs who are making it work financially but that’s a different subject… Not everyone can sell headphones..

But where is the music that speaks for the people, the world is in turmoil and financial crisis has spread far and wide, wars are the norm, terrorism lurks, culture conflict and oppression are prevalent… Political scandal and lies engulf the west, deprivation and booming slave labour economies dominate the east..

Where are the new minstrels? The storytellers? Chuck D once described Rap music as the streets CNN, Where are the new voices of this era? Representing the struggle on an identifiable level… Representing our days, our pain, our sharing of love and happiness.. The world the majority of us actually live through right now…

There are artists that can and do deliver in this way, Cody Chestnut, Julian Marley and Junior Gong, Nas, Plan B, Natty, Suli Breaks.. Plus countless more that I’m sure you can bring to the worlds attention…

However the fact is that in the world of X-Factor armchair A&R and YouTube attention span deficit, Flash in the pan Twitter trend led pursuit of the hours hottest hashtag…. There is less and less chance of meaningful music being a viable choice instinctive or calculated for the ones coming up with their dreams of ‘making it’… Unless a conscious decision to do so is made somehow..

Simply because their kept too busy trying to ‘make it’ rather than concentrating on what their actually ‘making’…

I think young musicians and singers, rappers, poets etc deserve better, they deserve a budget and need to be re-aligned with the concept of music belonging to us the people,creatively reflecting us and not the imaginary lifestyle and mis-sold dream of the escape from us, the world is not a crime scene, not everyone is going to be a picture perfect millionaire, we won’t all get the girl in the end of our movie… We may have to fight to win.

I wish everyone the best of luck and fully support new music I hear that hits me in the right places.. Who feels it knows it… When it hits you, you feel no pain..

I know this has been a bit of a ramble.. It could be better written but I hope you catch my vibe..

Replace our lost legends.. Or to quote Bill Hicks again.. ‘Play from your fuckin’ heart!!!!’

One Love..

Zz.

Zen Capitalism And The World We Create With Our Thoughts..

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So I was thinking..

‘With our thoughts we create the world’ said the Buddha.. well it’s true, except just sitting around thinking about stuff doesn’t amount to anything without action right?

But what power to ‘create’ or ‘change’ the world do us regular people really have in this modern world? We live in a ‘democracy’ so we can vote for someone who is supposed to change things for us in the way we want right? But in reality they fail to do so over and over again and it’s always the same only worse.. The proof is in the word around us.. Sure we are comfortable in the relative luxury of the privileged west… But what about the slave kids, sweatshop workers, collapsing factories.. The farmers, the GMO seeds being ushered in without means of reversal into Africa by those whose thoughts and ideas create the world more than ours…

Remember Tony Blair and his smug smile as millions marched against the Iraq war while he pointed at us as a shining example of how great freedom under democracy was… Then followed the shock and awe campaign and the ‘7 day’ war that lasted a decade?

Depressing really, everyone can point at the problems, anyone with half a brain can join the dots and put together a conspiracy theory or reality…

But what can us little individuals do to change it if we don’t like it? How do we find time to contribute towards a positive change whilst we find ourselves in an endless pursuit of money to ensure our own level of comfort and survival..

Maybe a future Buddha or Zen revolutionary would suggest we could change everything by merely doing what we do anyway but just a little different..

The art of fighting without fighting… ‘Bruce Lee’

Move a mountain with a mustard seed… ‘Mathew 17:20’

The truth is that we allow these things we disagree with to happen, we vote for them every day, we support them because we fund them..

We donate money to help save animals from cruelty whilst buying products tested needlessly on animals..

We oppose wars yet allow our children to be ‘programmed’ for war and desensitised to mass killing by buying video games driven by violent reality based content.. Prince Harry was quoted as referring to himself as an avid Xbox player and ‘handy’ with his thumbs when describing his ability as a real life gunner on a helicopter gunship in a real life operation killing real people, enemies or not they are still real lives being taken…

Many of us claim to respect our god (whichever faith) and all of creation in its natural form as given by the creator yet Monsanto and the rest of the shady suits behind the scenes continue to irreversibly push modified genetics onto the developing world in total opposition to the natural world itself and sneak their agenda onto our dining tables too any chance they get.. Reece’s Pieces contain GMO Palm Oil…

We can find horse meat and even traces of ‘unknown’ animal DNA present in processed food sold for human consumption and bought mainly by the lower income consumer or people to busy to cook for themselves from scratch..

We love our own children but support the abuse of the child workforce elsewhere who are paid virtually nothing to work in terrible conditions in far away lands manufacturing the clothes our children wear to look cool.. The poor might need those jobs, but these corporations profits are huge, they could easily pay more ethical rates and provide better conditions if they cared at all..

SO WHAT DO ALL THESE THINGS HAVE IN COMMON AND WHAT CAN BE DONE?

CAPITALISM IS BOTH THE PROBLEM AND THE SOLUTION!

WE NEED TO USE CONSUMERISM AS A REVOLUTIONARY TOOL FOR CHANGE!

Forget politics, voting for a better future, campaigning for a greener world is all good for awareness, marching or protesting is a good start, even viral web campaigns and petitions are positive but ineffective…

INSTEAD CHANGE HOW YOU SPEND YOUR MONEY!

Money is the universal energy in this zen capitalist world, we can all argue over territory, faith, football teams, race, politics and ideals but no one disputes the critical importance and reality of living with currency, money is a universally agreed medium and these elite super rich power brokers only occupy their position due to their wealth, these faceless corporations own the politicians, corrupted due to wealth.. Yet everyone of every culture,class, race, creed, faith is united under currency…

We give the elite, selfish and the greedy the power by spending our money where we do… They way we do, the way they want us to.

You want more non violent video games? Buy non violent video games and make them more profitable than the others..

Tired of rap music promoting senselessness and in intelligence? Seek out the music speaking your cause, reflecting our lives and support it, make it the more viable economic choice for the purveyors of the product.

Don’t wanna eat horses and GMO food that is poison? Buy the opposite, read the labels and vote against Monsanto with your money and buy the food that is better for you, bring the price of organic and natural produce down by increasing the demand.. Put the poisoners out of business!

Buy clothes from companies that support your community or treat workers better, even the lesser of two evils is a conscious and positive choice, wear Puma not Nike, rock Stussy not Gucci.

Buy pure fruit juice and not Coke, organic milk, free range corn fed or organic chicken, buy Marley headphones not Dre Beats, the list goes on…

The idea is simple…

YOUR MONEY AND HOW YOU SPEND IT IS THE ONLY TRUE POLITICAL POWER YOU HAVE LEFT! USE YOUR CONSUMER POWER TO SHAPE YOUR WORLD!

If you don’t like them, hit them where it hurts..in their pocket.. Put them out of business every chance you get..

A little thought as we make our consumer choices is the mustard seed to move a mountain, these choices, these thoughts can change the world…

If those millions of people stopped buying Coca Cola for six weeks the financial implications would rock the world..

WE HOLD THE POWER IN OUR HANDS EVERY DAY!

WE ARE NOT SLAVES TO THE BANKERS JUST BECAUSE THEY ISSUE THE NOTES!

TAKE BACK OUR POWER, WE EARN IT, WE SPEND IT, WITH A LITTLE MORE THOUGHT WE CAN CREATE THE WORLD WITH IT!

We are not just economic earthworms here to turn over the monetary top soil and make it fertile for the corporations growth strategy.. We have the right to thrive too…

Be careful what you buy, you might sell yourself down the river! – ‘Alan Gold’

Just my humble opinion and thoughts for the morning… If you enjoy, agree or whatever, pass it on..

Peace. One Love.

Zz.

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