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Friday, November 14, 2008

Astro Boy - The Human Side of Technology

Ever wondered what was Japan's inspiration why they went this advanced in technology, even after their devastation on World War II? You got it right! (Assuming you read the title of this post)

Astro Boy first started as a manga series which was first serialized in Japan from 1951 to 1968. It was then followed by two further series on 1975 and 1980 to 81. He is created by Osamu Tezuka, often reputed as the "god of manga." It was later serialized in the United States under the Dark Horse Comics.

Thanks to the ever helpful Wikipedia, I was able to gather important information.

Astro Boy also saw alot of action in motion. It was made into a television series, and dubbed as the first anime ever made. The beginning of the series was produced by Mushi Productions, which premiered on Fuji TV on New Year's Day 1963, but was eventually moved to the NHK network. It was also the first anime to be broadcast outside Japan. It lasted for four seasons, with a total of 193 episodes. At its height it was watched by 40% of the Japanese population that had access to a TV. In 1964, there was a feature-length animated movie called Hero of Space released in Japan. It was an anthology of three episodes; The Robot Spaceship, Last Day on Earth and Earth Defense Squadron. The latter two were a special treat for Japanese fans since the theatrical versions were filmed in color.

There has been a lot of plans for a movie. In 1962, MBS released an hour and 15 minutes of black and white live action film and since there are limitation on what people can do with a film, the success of the film was out of reach. It was on 1999 that Columbia Pictures has announce the making of the Hollywood version of the comic series.

The Astro Boy feature film version is slated for 2009 from Imagi Animation Studios.

The plot of the series is simple. The story focuses mainly on Astro Boy, a robot created by Dr. Tenma, the head of the Ministry of Science in hope that he would be able to replace his son, Tobio, who died on a car accident. After the realization that the robot would never have emotions, he sold it to a cruel circus owner, Hamegg, who later gave him to Professor Ochanomizu, the new head of the Ministry of Science.

Throughout the series, Astro Boy, fights crime, injustice and evil at the same time struggles with the difficulties of his hopes to be a real boy. The series, whether on manga or on TV, explored issues on morality, responsibility, racism, prejudice, true heroism, and acceptance of loss.

While, on the storyline, our hero is built on pure metal, yet he displays great human emotion, even greater that most of the people on the series. While the story focuses on his struggles as a robot and his wants to be human, the loss, the responsibilities and his limitations, Astro Boy remains loyal and and pure, making him the real picture of the perfect technology. A technology with a touch of humanity.

Indeed, Astro Boy is an existing evidence, that in every technology we make, build or create, we always long for it to have a human side.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Internet and Data Security Terms and Meanings

I was browsing the internet today and I found this very valuable resource. Just thinking of sharing it.

Internet Security is always an issue, not only to large corporations but also to individual users. It builds the confidence between business partnerships and and keeps your properties protected. also, Internet Security is a big part to one's overall security strategy and business solutions.

But the problem nowadays is that most of us is not knowledgeable of even the most common terms that internet security gives. I found this great site, Internet and Data Security Guide, which defines most of these terminologies that is very clear and concise. The following are just a few from the site:

Anti-spyware - An Anti Spyware software is similar to an Anti Virus, but it works on programs that don't try to take over your system, but instead pop up ads and unwanted messages.

Anti-virus - Software to deal with programs like computer viruses, worms, trojan horses and spyware. These programs are all characterised as being unwanted software that install themselves on your computer through deception.
In order to prevent damage by viruses and worms, users typically install antivirus software, which runs in the background on the computer, detecting any suspicious software and preventing it from running.

Authentication - The process for verifying that someone or something is who or what it claims to be. In private and public computer networks (including the Internet), authentication is generally done with passwords.

CSIA - The Cyber Security Industry Alliance is an international public policy advocacy group dedicated to ensuring the privacy, reliability and integrity of information systems.

Certificate - An encrypted file containing user or server identification information, which is used to verify identity and to help establish a security-enhanced link.

Cookie - A small data file that is stored on a user's local computer for record-keeping purposes and which contains information about the user that is pertinent to a Web site, such as user preferences.

Cracking - Finding a password by trying many combinations and words.

Cryptography - The practice and study of hiding information.

Decryption - The process of converting encrypted data back into its original form.

Email filter - Software that scans incoming email for spam or other unwanted material and filters it accordingly.

Encryption - The process of converting data into cipher text to prevent it from being understood by an unauthorized party.

Firewall - A firewall blocks any unauthorized ports on your computer, thus restricting unfettered access.

Hacker - Illegally breaking into systems or writing viruses and other malware.

Information security - The art and science of protecting computers and data from misuse.

Internet Security - The prevention of unauthorized access and/or damage to computer systems via internet access.

Malware - Malware can be classified as trojans with a limited payload and are often not detected by most antivirus software. They may require the use of other software designed to detect other classes of malware, including spyware

Password - A password is a secret word or phrase that gives a user access to a particular program or system.

Phishing - Phishing is when you receive an email that looks like it's from your bank, Paypal, or another site you use, and asking you to login to confirm your information.
The way this works is the attacker sets up a web site which mimics the target site, say a fake bank site, and then sends this phishing email to thousands of people, until one bites.
Then when the person tries to login, his login information is gathered by the bad guys and used to steal information or money.
The most basic rule is to never click a link in an email, never download from an untrusted source, and always type in the address of your financial sites to access them.

Spam - Unsolicited e-mail. Also known as junk e-mail.

Spyware - Software that runs on a computer without the explicit permission of its user. It often gathers private information from a user's computer and sends this data over the Internet back to the software manufacturer.

Trojan horses - Programs that conceal their true purpose or include a hidden functionality that a user would not want.

Viruses - Programs that can slow down system performance and cause strange system behavior and in many cases do serious harm to computers, either as deliberate, malicious damage or as unintentional side effects.

Worms - Programs characterised by having the ability to replicate themselves and viruses are similar except that they achieve this by adding their code onto third party software.
Once a virus or worm has infected a computer, it would typically infect other programs (in the case of viruses) and other computers.

I know that I listed a lot, but these terms are just the few that one needs to be informed of. So if you have time, go ahead and check it out. ^_^x

DISCLAIMER: The following definition was given by RuleWorks.co.uk and all credits goes to them. I do not guarantee that the content will be available by the time this post is read.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Art of Wall-E

Once in a while, there are just movies that stand out. So, I decided that once in a while, I should blog about the films I loved. Ofcourse, I will also take into consideration that the films I am going to feature should stay in our theme, which is, the human side of technology.

So, my first review will be about..... drumroll please.... tada!
Disney and Pixar's Wall-E!

To be honest, it is really rare that I would get this feeling on watching a movie, the satisfying and the heart-melting feeling I mean. The last time I felt this good on a movie is with Rules of Engagement (in terms of screenplay) and Spider-Man 2 (with the special effects and the character involvement). This is by far, the best movie of the year for me, the best of all the animated films and one of the best this century. Why? Check it out.

The plot. What if mankind had to leave Earth, and somebody forgot to turn the last robot off? After hundreds of lonely years of doing what he was built for, Wall-E (short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) discovers a new purpose in life (besides collecting knick-knacks) when he meets a sleek search robot named EVE. EVE comes to realize that Wall-E has inadvertently stumbled upon the key to the planet's future, and races back to space to report her findings to the humans (who have been eagerly awaiting word that it is safe to return home). Meanwhile, Wall-E chases EVE across the galaxy and sets an adventure into motion. An adventure that not only would threaten Wall-E's love, but also the existence of the entire humanity.

The plot is very simple, nothing that deep to confuse you, yet is intelligent enough to keep its viewers focus on the movie, and make you think after you got out of the cinema. But what made me this attached to the movie is because of Wall-E's character. Pixar has succeeded in perfecting a movie for a character. You couldn't help but to understand the character, to say why he is lonely, to know what he wanted and to understand why he falls in love. It has been so long, since people, like me for instance, who get so attached with a character, mush less on the character's situation. Wall-e, if real, would be a real example of how human technology could go.

I am not going to give out any details or any spoilers, but I would highly recommend the you guys watch this movie. If you can catch it in the big screen, the better. Trust me, Wall-E is the character you'll love, and you'll never stop loving.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own the image on this post. It is owned and copyrighted by Disney and Pixar.