The Lunacy Of The Entertainment Industry

When Napster was killed by the entertainment industry, i’m sure they thought they had won a decisive victory over us music sharing “thieves”. Before Napster, this same bunch of clowns tried to kill the VCR industry and, that too, went over like a lead balloon. Now it’s the resilient Pirate Bay, whose website has been taken down as the result of yet another raid. Finally, a real victory for the entertainment industry, right?

A recent TorrentFreak article, “How To Learn Absolutely Nothing In Fifteen Years,” By The Copyright Industry, drives a big fat nail in the prehistoric approach of the industry to stop “illegal” file sharing. In its utter failure to adapt, mush less comprehend, the world wide web and how people want to — and will —  use it to share and distribute content, the industry is alienating its customers and driving a stake through its own heart. Even many artists are beginning to realize that there are alternatives to utilizing the services provided by the industry which provide for greater freedom in many ways.

“The copyright industry, having a strong and persistent tradition of trying to obliterate every new technology for the past century, moved to crush Napster. It vanished. DirectConnect, LimeWire, and Kazaa — slightly more decentralized sharing mechanisms – popped up almost immediately, and BitTorrent a year or so later.”

Seriously, how difficult is it to realize and understand that, given computers, software, the internet and human ingenuity, the old business model of trying to suppress innovation and freedom is eventually going to result in doom? Not that i care, for ‘the industry’ really doesn’t have that much that i want. If all the Madonna’s, Lady Gaga’s and Justin Bieber’s all suddenly evaporate because the ‘the industry’ is too dumb to realize the Earth isn’t flat and drives themselves into bankruptcy, so what? Who cares? Does that mean real artists will quit producing art? Does it mean that there are no other ways to monetize?

Regarding the [probably temporary] destruction of The Pirate Bay, TorrentFreak closes their article with this:

“So in a way, this was welcome. We need that innovation. We need to not grow complacent. We all need to stay ahead of the crumbling monopolies – a dying tiger is dangerous, even when it’s obviously insane. But The Pirate Bay’s legacy will never die, just like Napster’s legacy won’t.

In the meantime, the copyright industry is a case study in how to really insist on not learning a damn thing from your own monumental mistakes in fifteen full years.”

Encrypting DNS Traffic (and why you would want to)

DNS – Domain Name System – is the service responsible for converting a domain name (12bytes.org) to an IP address that is understood by computers routing internet traffic. The DNS server(s) that you are currently accessing to convert domains to IP addresses are configured in the properties for your network adapter. Each adapter has its own DNS configuration.

DNS is a weak link in the internet chain because this traffic usually unencrypted, even for encrypted (https) websites. DNS traffic can be hijacked or collected by your ISP so they can see what websites you are visiting or services you are using. Worse, an attacker can ‘spoof’ a DNS server and, using a little social engineering and/or malware, convince you to somehow change your current DNS server to one controlled by the attacker. In such a case, you might visit ‘your-bank.com’ but actually land on a completely different website which may look and act exactly like the real ‘your-bank.com’, thus there would be no cause for alarm while you log on with your user name and password… which are then transmitted directly to the the attacker. I am quite sure this tactic is used by law enforcement as well.

Securing your DNS traffic is very easy however. Following is one method for Windows users:

If you’re not afraid of the command-line and wish to keep the process as efficient as possible, i would suggest reading the article ‘How to Encrypt Your DNS for More Secure Browsing‘ by How-To Geek. However if you prefer a point-and-click approach, along with a nice GUI that enables quick switching of your DNS servers, here’s how to do it:

  1. go to: http://download.dnscrypt.org/dnscrypt-proxy/
  2. download the latest dnscrypt-proxy-win32-full-(version).zip file
  3. extract the archive and you’ll have a ‘dnscrypt-proxy-win32′ folder – to keep things neat, rename it to: DNSCrypt
  4. go to: https://github.com/Noxwizard/dnscrypt-winclient/tree/master/binaries/Release
  5. download: dnscrypt-winclient.exe (this is the GUI front-end for DNSCrypt – for some reason i had to click the ‘view raw’ link to download the exe)
  6. drop the dnscrypt-winclient.exe file in the DNSCrypt folder
  7. copy the DNSCrypt folder to ‘Program Files (x86)’
  8. copy dnscrypt-winclient.exe and paste a shortcut (not a copy of the file) in your start menu or wherever else you wish
  9. fire up dnscrypt-winclient.exe and select a network adapter, then select a DNS server on the next tab (i use OpenDNS) and click the ‘install’ button to install DNSCrypt as a service

If you don’t want install DNSCrypt as a service, then you will have to manually run it every time you boot, or drop a shortcut in the ‘Startup’ folder of your start menu.

To verify that everything is working, check the properties for your network adapter and make sure the DNS server is 127.0.0.1 as in the screen-shot below. If it is not, then something went wrong and you will need to investigate.

Windows 7 Network Connection Dialogs

If you want to flush the Windows DNS cache, open a command prompt and type: ipconfig /flushdns. Lastly, load a web page to ensure DNS is working.

The next time you run the GUI (dnscrypt-winclient.exe), your adapter may not be selected. You can ignore this; as long as the above check is ok, and the dnscrypt-proxy.exe is running (check task manager), you’re good to go.

If you’re wondering about the default Windows ‘DNS Client’ service, leave it running. You can also leave in place any firewall rules for DNS look-ups (port 53).

The Free State Project Logo

101 Reasons: Liberty Lives in New Hampshire

This is a really cool documentary about the New Hampshire Free State Project which is largely about restoring personal liberty and limited government in the New England “live free or die” state. The basic goal of the Free State Project is to convince 20,000 liberty lovers to move to New Hampshire in order to have a greater impact in its government.

From the film description:

“101 Reasons: Liberty Lives in New Hampshire” is a documentary adaptation of the Free State Project’s list of 101 Reasons to Move to New Hampshire, which was written in 2002 by Michele Dumas.

The FSP is an effort to move 20,000 liberty-minded people to a low populated state that has an existing pro-freedom culture. In 2003, participants of the FSP voted for the “Live Free or Die” state, New Hampshire, as its destination.

For over 12 years the 101 Reasons list has helped inspire thousands of activists and entrepreneurs to sign up for the FSP and continue New Hampshire’s reputation as a beacon for liberty.

To view the Statement of Intent of the Free State Project, visit http://www.freestateproject.org/join.

a mix of alternative news, information and windows software