Thursday, September 17, 2009

Course Discussion: Snooping Bosses

This is a blog post concerning the content of this article for my participation of a course in English at Karlstad University.

My first impressions from this article are heavily weighted since I studied Information Security this summer. Since companies are responsible for what their employees say and do, if not in court then still in the eye of the public, especially in such branches as security or medicine, obviously they must keep an eye on what these people do. Monitoring e-mail or web use shouldn’t be a foreign and scary concept; it’s no more unnatural than that your big brother keeps an eye on you to keep you from stealing apples because he knows he’ll get the blame.

We live in a society with constantly increasing access to information. Radio, TV, Internet and cell phones. It would be very naïve to think that we can reach all this information without simultaneously letting it reach us. Connecting to the Internet doesn’t just mean that you can access it, but also that it can access you. Similarly, not only can the employer access the employee’s blog, but the other way around.

The issue here isn’t privacy, I think. Things like mailing sensitive information or uploading stupid drunk pictures clearly associating to the company logo are obviously harmful to the company and should be monitored and punished.

The issue instead might be, ironically, information. Someone not informed of what information is sensitive might very well mail it. Someone not thinking of that millions can access his photobucket album might not consider the harm in publishing the pictures there. But does that make it ok? The Information Security course taught me that the company has a legal responsibility to inform employees of things like these, but it is very vague to what degree. Handing out papers is enough in most cases, and then it’s on the employee if he hasn’t read it. How often do we dismiss bureaucratic papers, like license agreements, because “they’re so boring” or “they all say the same thing”? And how many of those papers could we reasonably be expected to read?

And the issue is even more difficult. Should an employee get to call in sick when he isn’t, once in a while? How often is once in a while? Would you respect a boss who lets it go every time? Or just once? Is it too harsh to never give a warning, but just fire the person? These aren’t exact sciences with exact answers; it’s judgment, morals, respect and responsibility. Should your co-worker tell your spouse that you're cheating? Does it matter if he discovers it by accidentally walking into a room, or accidentally opening your e-mail? The same old things, with new technology.

The one thing I do know is that it scares me to let people see and know my weaknesses, and that’s, to me, what privacy is very much about. The freedom of doing stupid things without anyone pointing and telling you how stupid it was. An instinct to keep secret the things that could harm us. And instincts, are they outdated remnants of an uninformed past, or the very core of being human?

I wonder though... I imagine privacy means different things if you ask an American, a Swede and a Japanese.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Hey, we begin with boring information, feel free to skip ahead:

something's up with my blog, or my internet, or my computer, or a combination of all three, because sometimes when I open the page it decides to take 5 minutes of chewing before it agrees to recognize that I'm pressing a button. (With the funny effect that the first time it happened I clicked the "comments" link a few dozen times because I thought my mouse was out of batteries, so that after those 5 minutes I got thirty-something new firefox windows in a second and a half and firefox crashed along with various other parts of my poor old 'puter. ) Anyway, thus blogging has become somewhat more of a hassle than it was before, and hence the regularity of posts may vary.

Then moving on to what I actually wanted to say:

Culture day in town last saturday, missed most of it because, well, dunno. But I did see some short movies, old ones that they show as a taste for the movie festival (film festival?) in october. Really made me want to see the new ones then. I loved most of them, and liked the rest. Thus I'm linking three of them I found on YouTube, belgian all three I think. (Belgian is such an absurd and fascinating language to anyone knowing/studying any of english, french, danish or german... like a mutant child of all four.) Don't read the comments before you've watched the movies, because spoilers really spoil at least the second and third, imo.

The Bloody Olive

Hard to pick a favorite really :P I am in favor of the last one. What do you guys think?

Edit: I got really uncertain if it's Belgian or the Netherlands or... whatever. I'm not going to change the post anyway. I'll have to live with the humiliation ;)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dissidia - First Impression

Well, this was a promised post, so here it is. I've played Dissidia for approximately 3-4 hours in one sitting (exactly as long as my psp battery lasts me :P) and I have to say I'm impressed. It's not just a fighting game, it has a load of smaller features, and it seems well worth playing again and again.

To begin with: Chaos vs Cosmos, a concept as old as storytelling is probably. Both sides gathered some warriors and the balance was... well, balanced. Then the chaos side did something odd and things went out of shape, and well, I dunno if I'll get a better explanation down the road but Cosmos went poof and now the ten heroes have to save the day. The story is kind of vague, but I realized it could really be seen as if all the final fantasy games were their own world's version of Chaos vs Cosmos and that they all ended exactly simultaneously at the point where Dissidia begins, in a sort of dimension-spanning timeline. Deep shit.

Centerpiece: This is a fanservice game, there is absolutely zero doubt about that. There's dozens and dozens of references to different ff games and characters and items and summons and... yada yada yada. The more ff games you've played, the more you'll like Dissidia, but that's not to say that someone not interested in ff would get nothing from it.

On to the fleshy part: The gameplay is actually very good. There's tons of equipment and bonuses and shit all around, but when it comes down to one-on-one on the battlefield it really feels as if it's you, the player, that makes the biggest differece; your skills and how well you know to use all that crap you've gathered. It also pays a lot to take a step back, think, and be a bit tactical about when to strike, and not just charge straight in. But! and here's the beauty of it, that also varies a bit between characters. Some make better for charging, some should rather stop and think. There is a real difference between how they play. Cloud has some fast, small attacks to keep enemies busy and then a few real close-range nukes to take them down quickly. Cecil is harder to handle and deals less damage but has more ranged attacks and a few tricks up his sleeve. Terra and Ultimecia are spellcasters. There's also several modes and lots of reasons to play stages over again to collect better stuff, but not in the sense of grinding. In story mode the heroes have a story each, and I've played two so far and liked the way they've built individual storylines too.

And of course the most important: Characters. But what do I need to say, it's Square. If it's one thing Square knows how to do, it's to make excellent jrpg characters. They've done an very nice job bringing characters from NES games into modern technology and graphics.

Final points: Music from the ff games, excellent, and the voiceovers are agreeable. Although... Cecil, from ff IV, who I liked in that game, has for some reason earned the voiceactor of ultimate emo that made the emo Prince of Persia... which ruined some. I also discovered that in contrast to the other, older characters (or from older games and more fantasy settings), Cloud's sometimes drawling american accent suddenly seemed very appropriate.

Complaints: mainly towards Cecil so far. Aside from emo-actor no1, there's also the strange fact that because he's an jrpg hero his Dark Knight armor has to be skin-tight and ugly instead of the massive impressice Dark Knight armor his evil brother sports. Strange. Because the hero line-up might have benefited from not being quite that effeminate... especially since they outfitted Bartz like a teenage gay escort. And why the hell did you steal fashion tips from Cloud's Advent Children outfit, Squall? As if broody lonewolf 1 and 2 needed to look like each other too... Anyway, gameplay-wise, not much.

I think that's it...

Yes, and also: I love that chocobo! <3

Friday, September 4, 2009


I just realized the new look makes it kind of look like a fanfiction site...

"He climbed down the cellar stairs and peeked into the darkness. Behind some crates he found the sword, just where his mother's letter had said it would be. It was truly enormous. Impressive, despite the rust and the smell of mold and dust. No normal man would be able to lift it. And these days there was no Mako energy, and the Lifestream had settled back beneath the earth's surface. It all felt like a legend where he stood, the sword so large only half of the blade fit inside the beam of his flashlight.
But if it was a legend, then he was the son of that legend, and with the rising problems he had a legacy to live up to and bring the kind of rescue only legends could produce. Trembling slightly he set the flashlight aside on a crate and gripped the handle of the Buster Sword. This would never work."

Aaanyway. I respect FF7 too much to produce this kind of crap :) I remember I made an attempt long ago, choosing like this to write about their children, because it's damned hard to take someone else's character and try to keep to their personality. But I came to the same conclusion then as I will always adhere to: that FF7 is above all this >.<

So no. This is not a fanfiction site.

I actually take it a step further; I adopt the Lifestream as a model, a representation, of what I actually believe in and present it as my religion. (Yes, I've made FF7 my religion... in a sense.) Thus the Lifestream chronicles is the history of the world, and this blog my perception of it.

This post got a lot longer than I meant... but it was a lot of fun to write :)


I'm studying a distance course this term that will require me to blog thrice about subjects brought up, in english since it's an english course. After a tad of consideration I've decided to not start a new blog only for this purpose, but to post those here, which means I'll also channel my teacher and class this direction, for better and worse. I'll name and tag these posts as "EFT reflections" and other stuff, so it'll be clear which are for school and not. Of course anyone's still welcome to comment on them.