Monday, January 31, 2011

Sad news: Composer John Barry died

One of my all time favorite composers, John Barry, died today. He won Academy Awards en masse, and - more importantly - his music was really good. I know this depends on taste, but his compositions always stroke a chord in my heart. Although best known for the "James Bond Theme", I want to bid him farewell with one of my most beloved tunes, which also seems fitting to this occasion, the main theme of "The Black Hole":
May he find whatever he desires on the other side.

Internet Revolution in the Industrial World

Now, let's say you planned to organize protests in the US, Europe, Russia, Japan or other modern countries. You sure have to be careful, because if you don't ask the government to allow your protest, they will come and arrest you. And they are surely not waiting for you to show up, with some unknown number of followers. They will come to you and have a little talk with you to stop your shenanigans. The internet is easy to monitor, especially when you try to reach a lot of  publicity. If everyone can hear you, the government can, too. And they have means to track you down. AND they don't care if you're only a 12 year old boy that wants to protest the closure of a youth centre (read the articles in the guardian or the mirror, if you like).
Yes, anti-terror police is monitoring closely, not only the events in Egypt, but also Facebook and Twitter, for hints of anything similar being planned in their countries. And it's easy. They don't have to go out and talk to people, gain their trust, collect information, tap phones of suspects, intercept mail etc. - nowadays, they can just google.
So be careful, hide behind 7 proxies, or even better, make use of internet cafes (remember wearing a hat in case there are surveillance cameras inside, doesn't necessarily have to be a tin foil hat). But as I wrote in my previous post, all you really need is a cause, and people that want something to happen. If they are not there, or not in large enough numbers, nothing will happen. If they are there, things will happen even without the respective Facebook group.

P.S.: The uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt were allegedly started (or "fueled", ha) by people that set themselves on fire. Hint, hint!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Freegypt! or How the Internet Overthrows Dictators

Well, it doesn't.
Isn't it short and simple and therefore has to be a universal truth? "No! You lie! The internet is a mighty weapon", the geeks shout with tears in their eyes, and they may have a point here and there. The internet can indeed be quite useful, but recently I've seen so much sickening news articles about how a revolution is started by Facebook, Twitter and the's comment section, I'm fed up with it. "OMG OMG Egypt stopped the internets, the protesters need internet, help them please!!!!!!1" is one of the pathetic battle cries you could read ... well, almost anywhere. Websites posted instructions on how the Egyptians can bypass the blockade, not aware of the irony, reminiscent of written ads "You can't read? Start learning it today, call 1-800 DSYLEXJA".
So, what exactly did happen after Egypt blocked the internet access? The protests got even bigger. How can that be? Following the internet communities logic, the protesters, left with no means of communication, should have just stayed home, scared and confused. But they didn't, they did what most of those internet fanboys rarely do: they went outside. They found a new subversive way of communication: They talked to each other. In person! Weird, isn't it? How did they do that? Maybe some website can explain how to communicate outside of message board posts or Facebook status updates, we could use that in a future revolution as well.
So maybe - just maybe - some people will sit down, shut the fuck up and think about revolutions that took place long before Al Gore invented the internet. Yes, they did! Look it up on Wikipedia, I'm not shitting you! Wanna hear some really crazy stuff? People actually started revolutions not only before the internet, but before mobile phones as well! It gets even crazier, they started revolutions before ANY phones were invented, even before morse code or, fuck, even printing. Remember printing? That was with ink on paper and ... oh, forget it.
For me, this is just another sign on how dependent we are on modern technology. And I'm talking dependent in a strictly mental sense. Is it just me, an old guy who grew up without the internet, to be able to think outside the box which is the monitor? Do all the young ones think that back in 1789, there was a Facebook group "Let's storm the bastille lol" that many people joined and "liked"? That Robespierre had thousands of followers on Twitter when he tweeted stuff like "#guillotine@Louis XVI"? Or just jump to a more recent event, the uprising in Eastern Germany in 1989. No internet, but a revolution similar to the events in Egypt nonetheless.
The internet makes it easier to communicate and to coordinate, sure. But to consider it the backbone of a revolution is just ridiculous. A revolution is fueled by the spirit of the people, people that actually go outside, that take their fire to the streets. Look at all the masses in Cairo. Watch them on CNN or Al-Jazeera. What do you see? Right, they are NOT in front of a computer. Imagine they were: Empty streets. No fires. No chants.  No revolution.
Those that cry for internet access are mainly the bloggers that would just report what they see from their window (provided they don't live in a basement, you know the clich├ęs). Those would not be the people to actually do something. You want change? Turn off your computer, go outside and take action.
But be warned: It won't be safe. You can't hide behind a proxy. You may have to endure hardships that go beyond a slow connection, you have to put in way more effort than it takes to press some buttons on a keyboard. You have to go outside and face other people, people that want to suppress you, and you have to look them in the eye and make your stand. People who are willing to do that are all it takes to start a revolution.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Kruger's Rant

Named after the famous South African gold coin, this blog will contain editorials for free use under Creative Commons licenses. Details and license may vary, especially for commercial publishers, so if you intend to use some or all of this material for commercial purposes, please contact me beforehand. I do this for a living in Germany, but this blog is supposed to be a fun project for me, so don't expect real gold or even regular updates here. Nonetheless, international job offers will be considered, especially if they include a relocation of my humble self to a sunnier location.
But now, enough with the words! Let us see some deeds! (Which, in fact, will be more words, but anyway ...)