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How many friends do you have?


So recently a bunch of bored scientists proved that it is basically impossible for a human to hold more than 150 friends, and that the bulk of people on facebook who think they have over 3000 of them are kidding themselves. This article at first bothered me a little bit. Mainly because I have nearly 400 friends on facey and was somewhat sure I recognized them all as friends, or at least acquaintances.

So I thought wait, these guys are scientists, Doing tests like this THEY are kidding themselves. Just because they don’t have friends they have to make a study saying no one else can! So I thought I’d have a quick run through my friends on FB to see if I could prove this theory wrong. Then the problem got bigger (Story of my life)… I had to put the finger on the definition of an actual friend worthy of my real life friend-ing-ness. So I came to the point of a close friend of mine being someone I would happily perform a favour for, or ask a favour from, in real life without hesitating.

Then brings me to my fake scenario –

I imagined I had an animal. Like a cat. But I hate cats so we will say just an animal. A worthy friend would be someone I could ask to come over to my house and feed my animal if i’m on holidays or not in town. I would then have to reverse the situation and imagine myself doing it for him/her. So back to my friends list. Which comprises of old school/TAFE mates, people I’ve met through mutual friends, work colleagues and an extended community of fellow gamers.

Now taking into account the virtual friends I’ve met that I probably wouldn’t trust in real life. I still had an original estimation that the people in my list I would ring up to feed my animal would be well over half of the 400 or so. So you could say I was pretty self assured I could prove this wrong. After sifting through the list my end count was –

A measly 84

That’s a bit surprising. But what does it mean? Pretty much means I’m not the only one who will realize online friendships lull us into a false sense of popularity, sure we might have met that person once or twice. Sure were not necessarily enemies. Or maybe we just don’t talk as much as we used to. But I think face book friends are incorrectly labelled as ‘friendships’ when to be honest it’s more of a comparison of being in a crowded pub with a crapload of people your are acquainted with to varying degrees. Face it, most of us are far to busy to visit the people we know on a regular basis and even though I was surprised at the difference in numbers from my online friends and close, real-life friends. I don’t believe that social networking is having a huge effect on our ability to make friends in real life. I think a rename of the word ‘friends’ is in order on Facebook. Something that describes the relationships we have online that, although are friendly, does not translate into automatic kinship.

I can’t think of a good name for it. any suggestions?

Strangely enough, i vividly remember the first time i used p2p software. I downloaded "Enter Sandman" by Metallica because my brother had it on tape and wouldn't give it to me. It took me 40 mins to download, but once I fired up the MP3 file in Winamp I was like "woah, this is awesome!"

So unless you haven’t desperately wanted to download that song you heard in the last few days, you would have noticed that the popular file sharing program Limewire was officially shutdown in the wee hours of 27/10/2010.

This was a brave move made from the ever popular RIAA after 13 separate music companies filed a court case against the software giant, claiming the program to be a main copyright infringement and an illegal way to distribute music without any form of currency involved (Even though Limewire was making millions themselves.). This obviously dealt a huge kidney punch to the company. But the CEO attempted to defend the outcome by saying that the company will return with a new service in the near future.

Now we all knew that It wasn’t right to download music for free off the internet, and to be honest the majority of people who download music don’t care how illegal it is. The fact that it is so simple and so popular nearly diminishes the fact that its wrong both morally and legally, Because of the simplicity of Limewire, the name grew bigger and bigger. Eventually became viral and was the number one program always installed on computers I’ve had to fix as a result of viruses. If anything,  actually getting a virus on your computer was more of a fear to people then the laws of piracy knocking on their door and fining them “$500 – $20,000 dollars per offence.” It seemed unbelievable, and children took about as much notice to the warnings as the “1.5 maximum drinks daily” labels on red bull.

Now this court case has been going on since 2006. With plenty of sides to the story. The website got shut down last Wednesday from the day this was written. In the meantime people who actually know 2 things about a computer have made similar programs, which are based on the same network. Everyone I have spoken to about this in the last few days have asked “What can I use now instead of Limewire.” Which means that everyone knows that there is other programs out the that do EXACTLY the same thing. But are listed under a different name.

Not only has there been hundreds of other open source software to back up this act in the mean time. Even 24 hours after the case was closed, The wonderful people of the underground network “4chan” shutdown the RIAA website using a series of DDos attacks (the website was still down when I checked today). Also finding the CEO’s address and phone number, resulting in prank calls, black faxes and even pizza delivered to his address.

So it’s now an established fact that all the RIAA did was piss the people of the internet right off, and left the door open far too long for programmers alike. The days now of torrents and rapid share accounts means a whole new lot of court cases. Maybe not as long as Lime wire’s case as it was the first one of its kind to that scale. Next to Napster of course. But nevertheless having to play catch up while people continue to find other ways to download free music, movies and software.

I think this is a horrible clash with the speed of the internet, and the speed of a court case to this scale, and until some solid laws about music piracy is made in all countries where internet is available. People will always have access to a song that they want to hear. Meanwhile the law firms and court cases try to find loopholes like they are now. Simply creating the internet’s version of a dog chasing its tail. No one really expected the internet’s actions to outrun real life’s consequences. Hell, before the year 2000, the only law in Australia regarding the internet was conviction after gaining restricted access of someone else’s information, That means before the year 2000, anything on the net hosted in Australia, no matter how offensive or corrupt, was technically legal! This country has had the internet since the early 90s, so isn’t that saying something about the lack of laws to control the World Wide Web? Without sounding too much like a communist believer, It is safe to say that laws should have been made for the internet before it was invented. Now it’s just a freight train of information that no one can stop.