Jun 25, 2012

Aaron Sorkin "Reaching for the Stars"

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you the future hottest show on TV: "The Newroom". I just watched the premiere of this a few hours ago, and I am already hooked. I can't wait for my Sunday dose!

The HBO show is a fiction showing the backdrops of news TV shows. In this day and age where the role of the media is central to shaping the future of nations, numerous news organizations around the world are prone to political bias and misinformation campaigns for profit (ahem, Fair and Balanced ;). The Newsroom attempts at an ideal news show where the listener is not considered dumb, and accurate facts are presented without a spin, letting the viewers derive their own conclusions (watch trailer below).

To be fair though I have been looking forward to this for the longest time. Indeed, this show is written by my favorite screenplay writer of all time (he co-created and wrote half of my favorite TV show of all time The West Wing): Aaron Sorkin. He simply is a genius and his dialogues are like music to my ears: a pure joy!

The title of this post is inspired by a recurring theme in Sorkin's work. In a couple of President Bartlet's speeches in the show the West Wing, you can hear the following phrase "This is a time for american heroes. We will do what is great, we will do what is hard. This is a time for american heroes and We Reach For The Stars!!". In the premiere of The Newsroom, again, one of the characters (pretty girl with a British accent), also talked about "Reaching for the stars", when convincing the main character that they could do a worthy news show together, no matter their history (just watch the show!!).

You may not like the politically driven type of shows, but just for the art, give it a try!

Jun 22, 2012

Breaking the Rules for a better Tomorrow

Society: a bunch of entities interconnected and related through geography,physiognomy,  "culture", "beliefs" and/or institutions. The human version of this is quite fascinating: multicultural yet global, chaotic yet organized in its own way.That's where the Rules come in: laws derived from common sense, approved by the commoners and enforced for the common Good! 
These rules are however more tested and contested than not, more bypassed and purposely misinterpreted than not.Just think about the percentage of the world's population in jail, the number of crimes, the number of activists, the amount of law enforcement and military personnel out there. 

Rules are meant to be broken and often are, or to the least misused and abused for personal gain. My argument is simple: breaking the rules is not a nemesis to progress, on the contrary, it induces it. Indeed, because of infractions and through the complaints of activists and revolutionists, laws are repealed, modified and created; i.e. "mistakes themselves are often the best teachers of all".

Lets now look at all this from the computing technology perspective. The Society here is the Internet (diverse, interconnected, global) and other communication channels. Hackers play the roles of rule breakers, eager to test the system in place and show/fix weaknesses. Unfortunately, very few global rules exist, leaving the society at the mercy of wrongdoers.

Anonymous, Cyberwarfare, Viruses, Trojan horses, Malware, Stuxnet, Flame, stolen Linkedin passwords hashes, botnets, cell-phone hijacking, software key generators, illegal music and video download, Web vulnerabilities (SQL Injections, Cross-Site Scripting), privacy policies on websites, etc... These infinite avenues to abuse the system for fun and profit have got governments and cyber-security experts on high alert. What can we do to stop or at least reduce this?

White-hat hackers of the world, this is a calling: Learn how to break the rules, and use that knowledge to the make the Interweb a better place.

Also, check out this interesting conversation between Gary Mc Graw and Bruce Schneier, two big names in cyber-security: click here.

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