Back to Year 12 (for real this time)

19 06 2008

Today was my first history lesson I’ve had since my exams finished.  Mrs. History Teacher was supposed to be sorting me into a class, but unfortunately wasn’t in today.  Instead, Mr. History Teacher told me to attend his class.  I’m pretty sure the class in question isn’t the one Mrs. History Teacher wants me to be in, and since I don’t even know what the timetable is, it’s probably best not to get too used to being in that class in case it clashes with music tech.

My classmates were all Year 12 girls.  I recall that Mrs. History Teacher didn’t think it was a good idea for me to join in the set containing only girls; maybe she thought I would find them intimidating or something.  Or else she thinks I’m some kind of pervert who would be a liability in a class of girls.  It’ll be one of the two.  There were only four of them, so maybe there are other boys in the set and they just didn’t bother to turn up.

Us Year 13s have never really gotten along particularly well with Year 12s.  That might be something to do with the fact that they kept throwing stuff across the study area at us (such as mints, rubbers, pens, and contraceptives), or it might just be because they had the nerve to invade our territory study area, the little gits.

In any case, it was a relief to find that this particular class were friendly, seemingly well adjusted and reasonably normal.  There was a cheerful girl who struggled to operate a pair of headphones, accidentally fused the words “deacon” and “vicar” together so that it came out sounding like “dickar”, and got called a “freak” a lot.  There was a tall, slightly scary girl, who talked a lot about obscure historical events and figures that nobody else had heard of, and expressed a fondness for “chavvy music” and gory horror movies.  Then there was a girl with a grey hoodie who listened to loud, extremely heavy rock through a pair of headphones, described various violent scenes from movies as “hilarious”, and offered everyone chocolate.  The other girl was fairly quiet and said she might be dropping history the following year (oddly enough, there was a girl just like that in my old Year 12 class).  They all seemed like very nice people.

Unfortunately, hopeless case that I am, I can’t remember their names.

In class, we will be selecting and researching a historical period of our choice.  Last time I wanted to do something to do with the Mughal Empire in India, but struggled to find any relevant books, so this year I’ve decided to restrict myself to Western history, preferably no further back than the 1500s.  I’ve narrowed my selection down to three possibilities: The Golden Age of Piracy, street gangs and organised crime in 18th century London, and nobles and duelling in France between the late 16th and mid 17th centuries.  I need to choose one of those by next lesson, so I’m going to have to research them and see which is the most interesting and which I can find books on.

After the lesson, I went to the cinema with some friends and we watched the new Indiana Jones movie.  I’m thinking of doing a post about that; I know a lot of other people have already done posts on that subject, but I saw it from the perspective of someone who knows very little about the Indiana Jones series and has never seen an Indiana Jones movie before (I had meant to see Raiders of the Lost Ark first, but somehow I never got around to it).  Maybe I should write a media studies type analysis, to “make up for the lack of drama in my life”. 😉

In any case, it was a good movie, and we had a great time mocking all the implausible scenes.  We had the theatre pretty much all to ourselves – there were about 2 other people in there – which meant that we got the comfy seats at the back.  I guess everyone else must have seen it by now.  We did go in the middle of the day though, so maybe it’s more crowded outside of work and school hours.

Anyway, I realise this post has been one long ramble, so I’m going to finish it now.  I’ve got to, anyway; Heroes is on in a few minutes.

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MEPs reject anti-piracy proposal

11 04 2008

As reported by the BBC, European politicians have rejected the plans to throw suspected file-sharers and illegal downloaders off the Internet, because they were deemed to infringe on “civil liberties and human rights”.  This narrow vote is not legally binding, which means that individual governments (e.g. France and the UK) can still implement anti-piracy laws if they see fit.

The battle wages on.

Current listening: King Crimson, “Fallen Angel”.

Obtained legally, on CD, naturally.





Half term holidays

15 02 2008

It’s half term, and tomorrow morning we’re heading off to the Costa Del Sol for a week, during which I’m unlikely to be able to access a computer, so there won’t be any more updates for a while.

Well OK, technically it’s not half term but the end of a term, since they recently changed the way the year is organised, but it comes to the same thing: a week off school.

I’m hoping to see some Spanish culture, and enjoy the sunshine (please let it be sunny!).  Of course, it won’t all be fun and games; I’ve got an English essay to write, to be handed in first day back.  I’ll also probably go into CD player, webcomic and piano withdrawal, and I don’t know what I’m going to do about the two episodes of Primeval I’ll be missing.  Yes, I know, this is a really exciting holiday, so I shouldn’t worry about trivial things!  *Shakes head in dismay at own nerdiness.*

In the meantime, I feel I should leave you with some media-studies relevant material.  Here are the Wikipedia articles on Public Service Broadcasting and PSB in the UK.  The latter provides an answer to Adam’s homework question of whether digital channels are required to provide some PSB – apparently not, since Wikipedia specifically says that it’s terrestrial channels.  Of course, that’s only in the UK, so other countries might require digital channels to provide PSB.

In the news, the BBC report that net firms are rejecting the government’s suggestions that they monitor Internet use to reduce piracy, both on legal and technical grounds.  All stations monitor how much is downloaded, but the 2002 E-Commerce Regulations define ISPs as “mere conduits”, which means they aren’t responsible for what is downloaded; on the contrary, there may be laws preventing them from being so.  The confusion continues, and the war on piracy rages on.

 Current listening: Iron Maiden, “Aces High”.





TorrentFreak

1 12 2007

If you’re curious about file sharing and torrenting, it looks like the place to go to learn more is TorrentFreak.com.  I had never heard of this site before Cat mentioned it on the piracy post, but it seems to be pretty major; as TorrentFreak themselves are happy to brag about, Jack Schofield, writing for the Guardian, described them as “a more reliable source” than the BBC, at least where the subject of torrenting and piracy was concerned.  They aim to be a “credible” source of news on the subject of all things BitTorrent related.

As a side note, I wonder if the seachers realise that there’s a “recent seaches” box on the bottom of the page displaying the things they just searched for?  Many of them look to be just too disturbing for words.  Yuck.





A pirate’s view of piracy

1 12 2007

BBC’s Click have published an article in which they interview Fredrick Neij and Peter Sunde, of The Pirate Bay.  The reason the site still exists is that they can’t be prosecuted for searching for pirate material.  It would only become illegal if they actually hosted the stuff.  That and the fact that a number of people got very upset when they tried to close it down.

I thought this quote from Peter Sunde offered food for thought:

“Nobody is crying that people who used to go around selling ice to people do not have a job anymore because of the fridge.  It would be stupid but it is the same thing…  Technology has changed. You can’t go back, there’s no way to go back. And I don’t think there’s a will to go back.”

And not an “aargh” or a “yo-ho-ho” in sight.

I thought it was interesting to see the perspective of the much-vilified pirates on this issue.  I really don’t want my favourite musicians and film makers to “not have a job anymore” due to pirates, but all the same, I can’t help but think they do have a point.





Piracy costs Internet connections

25 11 2007

According to the BBC, the French net firms will be monitoring the behavious of French Internet users to check for illegal file-sharing.  Persistent offenders will be thrown offline.  This move has pleased the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, who describe it as “groundbreaking”.

 I wonder if we could see a similar move made in Britain, given the recent concern about file sharing.  I would be in two minds about it.  On the one hand, it’s good that the creators of music won’t have their music stolen, but on the other hand, that happens all the time – music corporations run off with the rights to songs that other people created.  So I don’t think this will be protecting the creators of music so much as the big corporations that never created anything in the first place and are strangling the industry anyway.

Hmm… death by downloads or death by record labels?  I’m not sure there’s very much to choose from between the two.