World Conflicts Are Not That Simple!

In this day and age, 21st Century to be exact, conflicts around the world are never going to be simple.  Heck, even in the ancient time, the conflicts then were not so simple.  Now, we have so many countries that are doing overlapping business, because there is so called a chain of supply this and that.  For an example, United States imports from China most, China relies on neighbors and far West for technology and raw materials to produce stuffs for United States, and countries such as Australia love to sell energy products to China to support the supply chains in China.  Obviously, the example I mentioned is to be simplistic, because China is not only exporting goods to United States, but China is exporting to the whole world at large.  United States is obviously not only importing from China, but United States is importing from the whole world at large.  Still, the whole world is importing from China most!  The last sentence does implicit a weakness of globalization.  It begs the question what if China’s supply chains are in trouble, what will the implications be for the world’s economics at large.  It’s not so simple to just say that my country will become self sufficient immediately.  Any country can’t just magically wave a wand in the air, and then the technology and infrastructure and various vocations of expertise — that take decades to build — suddenly and magically materialize for whatever production purposes.  The complexity of the world nowadays begs the question that even small conflict can put any country which depends on the world’s economics in a very uncomfortable position, especially in economics sense.

I think one thing people fail to realize is that nuclear factor is even more important as a war deterrent for world peace than ever before.  Although some of us probably have wished that humankind should have never been able to figure out the nuclear technology, thus nuclear would never have existed.  Nonetheless, such wish is rather foolish since nuclear age has been here for a while already.  This is why nuclear weapons have been employed by various countries for deterrent purposes.  Nuclear weapons are not a figment of the imagination for a long time already!!!  Countries that have nuclear weapons know this, thus these countries use nuclear weapons as war deterrent strategic maneuver.  It’s a very effective war deterrent strategy indeed!  With this knowledge, we can see that United States, China, India, Pakistan, Russia, UK, France, Israel, and North Korea cannot be invaded outright.  The big three countries that for sure cannot be invaded outright are United States, China, and Russia.  Why these three countries have the power to fully destabilize the world or prolong the world peace?  Simply put, their military, economic, and world influence mights ensure their power to dictate world order!  Smaller countries, with nuclear technology or not, cannot compete or go head to head with United States, China, and Russia.  Of course, there is always something that is not on people’s mind and yet will be the exception of whatever rigid order.  In today’s world balance, for United States, China, and Russia to go to war against one another, the exceptional culprit behind this global catastrophe would be a psychopath with powerful positions that can manipulate a country’s foreign policy.

Although the big three in the world will not wage war against one another outright, but they can definitely use their smaller allies to wage proxy wars.  This is why we, people with brain, know that small conflicts around the world might not be so simple.  I can safely assume that all conflicts nowadays are a sort of game for the big three to push and pull against one another, and so in the end of the day the winners will always be the big three!  In short term though, the players who gain something in whatever conflict that the big three are manipulating can also be said that they’re the winners, too.  Nonetheless, in the end of the day, they might not be the ultimate winners!  This is why, I think we, the people of the world, should be more informed, open minded, and less judgmental, and only in this way we can see the events that break out around the world with clearer sense.

In conclusion, United States, China, and Russia know they will not benefit in an all out war, but they’re more profitable in term of controlling the events of the world.  This is why I think the ongoing chaos in East and South China seas, Ukraine, and the Middle East are small events that will dictate the world influence of the big three!  In these events, the big three cannot claim their innocent!  Nonetheless, the big three are acting in their own interest, because the big three after all have to lookout for their own people.  It’s just unfortunate that the smaller players in the world stage have to be manipulated by the big three!  Of course, nobody knows how the world map will look like in the future, thus we can never say that the big three we have now will be the big three of 300 years later.  Remember Roman Empire?  Remember how big they were in ancient time?  If I’m not wrong, they’re no longer here since AD 476.  That’s a long time ago.  Let just say that, the big three are not invulnerable, but at the moment and years to come, these are the players that make the world spins.  At the moment, Ukraine crisis is just another event that the big three are positioning themselves for their own future!  Unfortunately, the West and Ukraine itself will have to be manipulated by the big three!  Russia is looking to gain the most in Ukraine crisis, and Russia does have the popular vote as Crimea’s people are voting for Russia.  China is not yet making a hard stand for Ukraine crisis since it’s playing a waiting game.  Meanwhile, United States is anxiously preventing Russia from annexing Crimea.  Who’s right?  Who’s wrong?  It’s hard to tell, because the big three are never innocent!  Nonetheless, I hope after Ukraine crisis, the world will be more peaceful, however Ukraine crisis will turn out to be!  Let’s not see someone is so stupid enough to push for World War III, OK?  As Albert Einstein had said something along this line, he knew we will have to use nuclear weapons in World War III, but he suggested that we might fight with sticks and stones in World War IV.  It’s a long conclusion, I know!

How Paranoid Should You Be For Backing Up Your Data?

Backup Backup Backup - And Test Restores

Backup Backup Backup – And Test Restores (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you ask me what is the best way to backup your data, I will probably direct your concern to more than one way.  I like to think of not placing all of your eggs in one basket kind of scenario.  What’s the point of backing up data in the first place?  It’s to hope that when things go crazy such as a computer’s data corruption might occur, you can then access your most valuable backup data.  If you only rely on one preferable backup method, then what if in a critical moment that even the backup data isn’t accessible through your preferable only backup method, what will you do then?  Even a perfect storm is a possible scenario for spreading eggs in more than one basket, therefore I think being paranoid about safekeeping your data with more than one preferable backup method is the best way to go about doing the backups for your valuable data.

For us normal folks, the regular Joe(s), who have data that we want to safeguard, it’s a must for us to spread our data in more than one basket.  It must not be that you have to be a company to take this approach.  Furthermore, nowadays regular Joe(s) do have plenty of ways to go about doing backups for their data.  Let me list few of them:

  • Google Drive
  • Pogoplug
  • Dropbox
  • Amazon Simple Storage Service
  • CrashPlan
  • External hard drives
  • Network attach storage solution such as QNAP NAS servers
  • Do it yourself FreeNAS server solution
  • rsync to a renting server with affordable monthly fee

And the list can go on a lot longer as third party cloud services are now in amble supply.  I think the problem isn’t about finding a backup solution or solutions for the regular Joe(s), but it’s about the affordability, speed, security, and conveniency aspects.  Let say, if a regular Joe wants to spread his backup data in more than one basket, how affordable can this be?  So on and so on…

I think affordability should not be as big of an issue as before the time when there were no third party cloud service and competitive (affordable) computer hardware pricing.  If you don’t intend to harbor 100 of Gigabytes worth of data for streaming purpose or whatever extreme configuration, backing up few Gigabytes worth of data should not cost you much at all.  Perhaps, you can do it at no cost too.  One example, I think Google Drive gives you around 10 Gigabytes worth of free data space or a little bit more than this, and just with this service alone you know you don’t have to spend a dime to backup your data as long you are not going over the free space limitation that Google Drive allows.  Don’t like third party cloud services for whatever reasons?  Computer hardware such as external hard drives nowadays are no longer pricing at outrageous prices, therefore it’s easier for regular Joe(s) to go this route for doing their data backups.  How about coupling Linux with a spare, dusty computer to form a local backup storage server at zero cost in term of money, but you have to spend time on putting things together such as installing Linux and deploying Linux’s network attached storage services to have a more complete backup server solution.

I can see that the many third party cloud services as good solutions for doing backups.  How come?  Let say you’re paranoid about the safety of your data to a point that you consider the scenario where local backup data can all be corrupted at the same time for whatever reasons such as a virus/hack attack (or by even a more nefarious scenario), therefore you think third party cloud services are the additional safety reservoirs for your backup data.  If you are this paranoid, I think you’re doing it right.  Although third party cloud services are good measures against local data corruption, there are problems with this whole approach in general.  Let me list a few:

  • Broadband’s upload speed (Internet connection) isn’t fast enough to do a major backup (i.e., backing up huge amount of data in Gigabytes worth)
  • Security issue… how do we know our data can be securely safeguarded and stored on the remote servers?
  • Trust issue… such as how do we know our data privacy and our privacy won’t be breached on the remote servers?

I sneakily snuck in the speed and security concerns about backing up data remotely through third party cloud services, but we should not take the security issue lightly since many people may not want their privately backup data to be made known to the whole world.  Security done right in term of backing up data locally and remotely, this will also address the privacy issue/concern too.  I think employing good network and computer security measures locally will enhance the security protection level for the backup data.  Such measures should be about employing hardware and software firewall, antivirus, and so on.  Don’t forget to update the software and firmware, because through updating these things that you can be assured of weeding out security bugs.  You can never be too sure about the security of your data when you’re backing up your data remotely, therefore you should employing encryption for your backup data before you upload your backup data to the remote servers.  One good encryption measure I know of is TrueCrypt software which can be downloaded and used freely.

I don’t think we should sacrifice our data security for conveniency, because data security is definitely more important than otherwise.  Still, conveniency should be considered in the calculation of our data backup challenge too.  It’s just that we have to make sure we don’t have to sacrifice data security for conveniency.  Let say, you want to backup your data to a third party cloud service, but you don’t like the idea of doing a local encryption for your data first… this means you are sacrificing your data security for conveniency and this is truly bad for you as the owner of the backup data (i.e., privacy concern).

In summary, I think if you’re paranoid enough about the health of your data, then you should devise many backup plans for your data.  You should try to backup your data both locally and remotely, but you should employ encryption for your data when you do backup your data remotely.  Backing up huge amount of data remotely can be very inconvenient at this point in time since so many regular Joe(s) do not have access to fast upload broadband speed.  Let hope this will change soon, and I know things will be moving in this direction since data streaming and data sharing and data backup are in much more demand than ever before.  One example would be Google fiber Internet service.  Google is driving the Internet Service Provider competition forward as Google deploys its Gigabit Internet connection service for many households in various lucky cities and towns.  With Google pushing for more competition in the area of broadband speed, I think the future — having great Internet connection for uploading our backups — is definitely bright.  As time is moving on, the costs of computer backup hardware and backup services can be even more competitive, we can expect the cost of deploying backup measures for our data can only get cheaper and easier.  I like the idea of having a NAS locally, and using one or two third party cloud services for my data backups.

(How paranoid should you be for backing up your data?  In my opinion, the answer should be, the more the merrier.)

Very Awesome “How To Play Piano” Video Tutorials From Andrew Furmanczyk

Bechstein Firmenschriftzug

Bechstein Firmenschriftzug (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Caught a music bug like mine?  Why not try to pick up some basic piano lessons for free from Andrew Furmanczyk by watching his “How to play piano” video tutorials.  For your convenience, I created a playlist for all of his “How to play piano” video tutorials, and you can watch them all right after the break.  Enjoy!!!

HitBliss Is So Familiar But Yet So Strange, Because You Can Watch Ads To Earn Cash To Pay For Digital Contents

Digital contents are cheap, because everywhere you look there are some more.  This is why some people are cutting their traditional TV cord and opting for Netflix, Hulu Plus, and the likes.  Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that everyone can afford any digital content whenever.  Let say, subscribing to too many cheap services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, or other similar type of services can push up the monthly spending by a lot.  Perhaps, this is why HitBliss is here to alleviate some of us from spending too much on digital contents.

What?  According to Forbes “Watch Ads, Get Paid: Is This The Future Of Ad-Supported Content?” article, you and I can easily watch a new movie — that is available for online rental — for free if you and I are willing to watch few ads here and there.  Perhaps, you insist that this is nothing new, because you can just do the same thing on Hulu.  Nonetheless, I think HitBliss is onto something new.  Basically, if I’m not wrong you can earn HitBliss cash by watching video ads, and the cash you earned can be accrued to pay for digital contents.  I’m not sure if this is HitBliss virtual currency or real cash.  Nonetheless, since HitBliss allows you to earn cash to pay for digital contents, it’s different from Hulu in many ways.  Let see, if I’m not wrong, with HitBliss cash you might be able to pay for digital contents other than just movies.

How would HitBliss operate?  A guess work on my part, I think HitBliss shakes hand with digital content partners to license those hot digital contents, streams or distributes digital contents to end users, collects the digital content costs from advertisers who got their commercials aired to the end users, and eventually separates the digital content license fees from profits to make sure there would be money to pay up to digital content partners.  In a way, it feels like HitBliss just modernizes the traditional TV/ads model and more.  And more in a sense that HitBliss allows the end users to pay for whatever digital contents with the money they earn from HitBliss.  And more in a sense that advertisers now will know that they will always have the right audiences for their advertisements.  How?  According to Forbes, HitBliss will annoy end users with frequent interruptions to make sure that the end users are actually watching the advertisements and not just turning on the display and walk away.  Furthermore, HitBliss might personalize the advertisements to tailor the advertisements that fit the taste of each end user.  How might HitBliss going about to do that?  I guess HitBliss can collect end user data such as digital content purchasing behavior, digital surveys, and so on.  If HitBliss is able to tailor such ads for different groups, I can see that the advertisers will love to see how their ads perform specifically for specific audiences to maximize their advertising effectiveness and minimize the advertising budget (i.e., save costs).

Will HitBliss business model work?  I think it’s a guess work since nobody has yet seen how this business model performs ever before.  Nonetheless, I’ve a feeling that HitBliss is onto something quite interesting.  Let say, if HitBliss is able to license enough digital contents to distribute to end users and executing superbly in delivering core services, I can see that HitBliss might be making it big.  Then there is also a question about will today, online end users want to expose themselves to online ads so they can get free digital contents such as free movies?  So far, Hulu Plus is doing OK with forcefully showing ads even though end users are already paid up for the service.  Maybe, HitBliss will find its business model will be OK too.  Anyhow, I think HitBliss might be something big and people like us will have another choice to go to for consuming awesome digital contents, affordably.  So let see folks, because time will tell.

Sources:

Traditional Advertising Over The Traditional Airwaves Is Broken! The Internet Broke It!

Advertising

Advertising (Photo credit: Wrote)

Writing in a haste, because I got place to go.  Nonetheless, hopefully this post won’t end up as a mess of incoherency and full of grammar errors.  Anyhow, I like to think that the traditional, on air advertising model is broken.  Traditional, on air advertising model?  You know, those advertisements that you’re being bombarded with while listening to car radio or watching TV at home and so on.  So, why is it broken?  It is broken because of only one word, and this word is Internet.

Yep, the Internet has been gradually training people to be impatient and inclined toward on demand.  People’s attention span have gotten shorter than before for the culture of the Internet is all about getting to the information fast even though the information might be inaccurate or unpleasant or expensive or all of the above.  So, it’s not hard for me to see that people rather have a more benign, concise, and quiet form of advertising nowadays.  The ads on the right or left hand side of a webpage, if done with moderation, are certainly more benign and quiet than the typical in your face or ear, loud commercials that you often hear or see on the airwaves of radio and TV.  This is why I think as time goes on, the Internet dictates advertising to be creative and less intrusive, and people will continue to have none of the traditional form of advertising model.  If the traditional form of advertising model cannot be changed, people will not have any of it.  Furthermore, people are willing to cut the cord for more of on demand type of experience.  Just this sort of behavior alone can foretell that people do not appreciate to be force feeding with those loud and in your ear or face type of commercials.

What I had written above is my personal opinion on how modern people, the information age generation kind of people, might react to the traditional advertising model.  This traditional advertising model is the model that is still being used on TV and radio of today.  For an example, after watching few minutes of a show or news, commercials then be aired forcefully and loudly.  Even some Internet video services are still deploying this traditional advertising model, but with more clever methods (e.g., allowing people to skip the commercials randomly, keeping commercials short and exciting, etc…).  Obviously, there are enough people who might like to watch good commercials, but as the traditional advertising messages being traditional, these messages won’t have the options of staying benign, concise, and quiet… people might rather have the more boring but benign, concise, and quiet advertising messages that proliferate across the Web.  In a sense, this is what I feel toward today advertising form factors, but I can be wrong about this since I have zero experience in advertising business.  Still, I think my personal opinion has merit since I’m too a consumer who is being bombarded with traditional advertising messages over car radio and home TV.  What do you think?  (Not having time to proofread this, but I’m going to publish this anyway.  Will revisit this post in a day or two to proofread it.)

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