Three is a prime number…

Before I forget, here are three things I want to talk about:

1) The clarification of Windows Live Messenger, or equivalent, status-es (not sure what the plural of status is)
2) The basic principles of multi-tasking
3) The tenets of piracy

Lol. Sounds so bombastic. But here are three issues I remember from a long day today.

Wait. Didn’t I have my SATs today? But who wants to know that? I’m sure you all rather hear about more useful stuff…

So let me start with the first. Upon flipping to Windows Live Messenger now, I see 5 modes. Well in reality 4, but I’ll explain the last one. The first 4 are ‘Online’, ‘Busy’, ‘Away’, the bemusing ‘Out to Lunch’ at 12.40am and the fifth one is ‘Appear offline’, which you can’t see but its existence is acknowledged. It’s kind of like the flaw when people argue about whether God really exists. They claim that you cant prove what you cannot see. Well you can prove that appear offline is being used eventhough you cant see it.

Anyways, here’s what they really mean in my dictionary of messenger slang.

‘Online’ – Hi. I’m supposedly on right now and you can just message me. But if I dont reply, that means I’m not really on, just that I left my messenger on and in fact I’m really away, so ignore the ‘online’ status.
BOTTOMLINE: Dubious status. More information needed.

‘Busy’ – Hi. I’m busy right now. So I shouldnt actually be saying hi because i dont have the time to talk. Anyhow, dont expect a reply. If you do get one, that means I’m currently on selective chat mode, in which I pick the convos i want to reply to or initiate the convos I’m interested in. But at the very least, I have informed you of the fact that I’m busy – or I’ll be if i start talking to you, which is why you’re not going to get that urgent reply you need.
BOTTOMLINE: I use this all the time. And it works. And the nudges dont vibrate your desktop or make loud noises.
DISCLAIMER : I understand that this status is shown by default when certain programs are running.

‘Away’ – This is an interesting one. It’s probably quite similar to online. Possible differences could include use of a screensaver. Enlighten me if there are further activities that might automatically trigger the away mode. But here’s what it says most of the time.
Hi, I’m away as you can see. So obviously dont expect any replies, unless I’m telepathic. Which I possibly am because there’s a slight chance that I’ll be away and reply to you. In other words, like Mr. Busy, I am possibly on ‘selective chat mode’. But instead of being too busy to talk to you, I’m just too distant. As in you’re standing together with me, but we might as well be standing on opposite sides of the universe.
BOTTOMLINE: The ‘aways’ are usually away. However, there are stray occasions where the away people are online. And the online people are usually away. So maybe a change of status is needed?
DISCLAIMER: Again, absence from the computer enables this mode by default. Also, some people leave their computers on all day and cant be fussed to change their mode.

‘Out to Lunch’ – I love this one. It’s got to be the funniest one ever.
Hi. I’m out to lunch as you can see. I’m really jetlagged, which is why I’m eating lunch at 1am in the morning, or 7pm at night. Although I’m actually going to have breakfast/dinner now, I’m just going to put ‘out to lunch’.
BOTTOMLINE: Should refrain from using this and petition messenger to put in ‘eating’ instead.
DISCLAIMER: Well, I do understand that some people like to dwell over lunch…

So after all that rambling, what was the point of all that ranting? Well there’s really no point to having status-es. Because regardless of whether you are busy, away, online, or out to lunch, you’re really something else. I like to call it ‘confused’. Or there’s always the alternative – ‘appear offline’. This has got to be the best thing ever. Hate all those messenger convos that pop up? Just too popular? Well, with ‘appear offline’, you can now surf the web in peace without ever getting disturbed by those dumb friends of yours who have too much time to ping you.

Pointless rambling no.1 completed. hehe. Sorry if I wasted your precious time. But on to lucky number two.

Multi-tasking. Apparently a female-only ability. But i seem to possess it. This however does not equate with me being female. It’s just that i have a different brain structure. (Although I did take this brain gender test on BBC once and it told me that i had a partial female brain)

Anyways here’s how multi tasking works. At the most primitive level, in the virtual brain, we have sections A and B. Multi tasking works like hyper threading on a computer. You simply run two programs simultaneously in sections A and B. However, this poses a very interesting dilemma. What happens if something is occupying sector A, but sector B is free. What happens here, at least to me, is what I describe as a ‘random walk’. Basically B decides to roam around, and if it so happens to intrude on A, then too bad A. Of course, you dont want B to shatter A’s concentration. Therefore, you must engage B in something else. This is of course why I often doodle, or do something funny with my hands.

When it comes to further math though, A and B are both needed to tackle the problem at hand. Ahh….the limitations of processing power.

Third issue. Piracy.

Is piracy ever justified? They should ask this on the SAT paper, although the essay question was still pretty good. I cannot reveal it however, as I’m not meant to, or I might get disqualified.

Let me lay out a very basic right vs wrong case. Piracy is against the law, period. There’s no right.

OK. So it’s just a wrong case. Same with lies. Lies are definitely wrong. But then there’s always that irksome word – ‘justified’. Dont people in my history class just hate these phrases? How justified? How far? To what extent? Anyways I digress as usual.

Personally I like to take a long term view of piracy. In this case, I am specifically referring to the download of intellectual property, e.g. songs and videos. If it’s good, and when I’m working with money to spend, I will indeed buy originals. But in my current status, I am unable to afford it.
Well actually I can, but this brings us to the economic concept of ‘opportunity cost’ – or the next best alternative forgone. By buying music, I am no longer able to buy other stuff, like food. So weighing the pros and cons, I have to decide that spending my money on food is more worthwhile than on music. But with p2p sharing software, we now have free goods. So in essence, there is no longer opportunity cost on music, which gives me the incentive to download as much as I want, cos I’ll never tire of the amount I have.

So here’s the question: Should I spend my money on the more important things and deprive myself of music? Or should I just spend my money on the important things and get free exposure to music?

In my perspective, I benefit. But how about the artists and all?

Well, some people claim that piracy is a ‘marketing virus’. In other words, artists ‘accidentally’ release their music on public servers, and let people listen to them, which then encourages people to buy their music. So in fact, the good artists may see a boost in sales due to advertising of their music. But what’s all this fuss about artists losing money? Well, I’m not too sure whether they profit or lose out overall but I think the artists losing money are the ones who just cant make the grade.

Piracy in fact possible reduces the distortions of what economists call ‘asymmetric information’. In other words, because there’s a lack of information, people are unsure of what to buy, as they are unsure of the value of certain goods. So people really lose out if they waste their money on lousy music. But with the advent of piracy, we can now listen to songs. And differentiate the good albums from the bad ones.

Whether we love the artists a lot to support them by buying their albums however was the core of the discussion.

Essentially, it is ethically and legally wrong. Period. Full stop. Finito.

But why cant the music industry like spare us asians the stupidity of the exchange rate and charge us music at the same price, but just change the little currency sign?

Well, this is due to possible price leaks. Take drugs. Pharmaceutical companies spend millions researching and developing drugs because there’s a lucrative and wealthy market to tap into, such as in the US. But they wouldnt mind lowering the prices for let’s say a poor taxi driver in India. Cos they could still stand to make a profit. However, what happens when someone goes to India, buys a whole load of cheap medicine, and smuggles it back into the US, then selling it at a slightly lower price which allows them to profit but loses the pharmaceutical companies a lot of money? Well. These are the culprits who are responsible for expensive drugs – cos they force ‘pharms’ to charge high standard rates.

Anyways, relating this back to intellectual property such as music, people could just buy cheap music here and bring it back to the US. So we should really point at these culprits who ruin a perfectly good idea. Of course, the music industry could in fact be greedy moguls who want to suck us dry.

So what’s the solution to this ethical dilemma? Note that this dilemma only applies to those who feel guilt aboult illegal downloading of music and would want to buy the originals: We want to buy original music, but it’s just out of our price range for several different reasons, and we download music to allow us to enjoy the music as well as to help us differentiate between good and bad albums and artists, and therefore make more beneficial choices should we come into some cash and decide to purchase an original CD; however, in the first place it is legally wrong for us to violate copyright laws through our file sharing, and brings us back to square one where we want to buy the originals but cant ‘afford’ it, and are at an ethical conundrum as to whether to violate the law or not.

Whoa long conclusion there. But there’s the dilemma. Help me solve it.


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