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Opera > Netscape? March 10, 2007 – 6:09 p.m.
the re(print) at seraphic zephyr.

This is a reprint of an article by Patrick Kennedy, written on March 7, 2007. Patrick was a participant in the (re)print last year, and although his blog Great Expectations is becoming increasingly nomadic (hopefully his Opera home will be its sole residence for now), he always manages to strike up a laugh or get me thinking profundities with his articles. Thus the (re)print ends, almost two weeks late and, seemingly, with little fanfare.

Okay, I’m sure many of you remember the time when I was fanatical over Netscape (version 8.1.2 is out by the way). I’ve changed loyalties over to Opera; at the time it was mostly because Opera had become free and Netscape wouldn’t update their browser.

Now instead of using Opera just as an alternative to IE7 (which is very nice by the way) while Netscape got their act together, I’m a loyal fan of Opera! So much so I’ve got Opera as my desktop!

What prompted my change of heart and why didn’t I just use Firefox? Well, the answer is simple, Mozilla is bleh! I mean ... Because Opera has, built-in, many of the popular Firefox extentions meaning they’re more likely to work together better.

Now granted, this isn’t to put down Firefox. I’m sure Firefox is a very good browser and the ability to code extensions makes it very useful (Opera doesn’t have FoxyTunes for instance, but I’ve got media buttons) and I also know a guy who recoded part of Firefox to suit his own needs and he couldn’t do that in Opera.

So, how is Opera better exactly? Well for one it’s a widget engine! It also has some pretty amazing UI customization abilities. As an example, I put my address and tab bars at the bottom of the screen, which may seem rather odd at first, but it’s actually very nice since all my information is in one area.

Some other things I’ve found to be pretty nice are:

And there are also tons of things other users have figured out which can be found at the Opera Wiki; Opera Help is a great resource too, and will explain pretty much any problem you’ll run into, from getting Java to work to running ActiveX (renders the tab with IE, similar to IETab).

All in all, Opera also has a great community at My Opera (not to mention 300 megabytes of direct linkable space).

Editor’s note This article was edited slightly to cater to Seraphic Zephyr’s audience. Read the original article, with no revisions, at Great Expectations.

The Manipulation of Media February 28, 2007 – 8:11 p.m.
the re(print) at seraphic zephyr.

This is a reprint of an article by Sam Wolken, written on January 22, 2007. Sam’s SlyForum, Seraphic Zephyr’s sister site, occasionally heralds the new arrivals of articles that cater to emphatic people with interests in politics. In this article, he inspects the effects of “viewer corruption” in the media.

Recently, I had the pleasure of watching Jon Stewart’s interview on the late CNN television show Crossfire. He not only made Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala look foolish, but he managed to cause the show’s termination, as well. To me, this is a victory for the voting citizens of the United States. A first battle against television which oversimplifies politics and creates a biased, partisan debate. This disgraceful format often causes an absolute mockery of one party to sway viewers, thus making this system more than corrupt and simply existing as an outlet for a political party rather than news.

I am not attempting to attack either political party in this article, as both make use of this effective, but yet morally incorrect system of corrupting viewers. The worst effect of this approach to capture votes is, to me, the remarkable reaction from viewers. Fox News is currently the most watched cable news network, having recently overtaken CNN. Fox News, a station which is built around spinning news to frame the Republican Party in a complimentary light, is the most commonly used source of news, for cable viewers. This is a disgrace to the true, honest news shows, such as NBC Nightly News. Bill O’Reilly, host of The O’Reilly Factor, is a prime example of this maniacal device. Bill O’Reilly makes a living running news through a conservative staff of writers, calling it a script, and then projecting his nonsensical rhetoric on air; this process has earned him the number one cable television show.

This process has grown so common, it has managed to get its own Comedy Central parody in the Colbert Report. One of the most witty and intelligent shows on air today, Stephen Colbert takes a similar conservative viewpoint on the news and preaches it in a way which is remarkably similar to that of Bill O’Reilly; however, Colbert’s audience laughs. So two hosts, Colbert and O’Reilly take the same news, preach it with the same conservative spin: one gets applause and laughter, one becomes both the highest rated news show and the most watched television show on cable. To me, this is the epitome of average American politics. Our two parties have managed to make their views so different, their takes on news so varied, that one audience treats it as pure fact, while another treats it as comedy.

Getting back to Crossfire, I believe Jon Stewart has done our public a great service in helping it become removed from the air. I feel shows with such an obvious political bias deserve no place in our media, at least not on stations which claim to show fact. CNN and Fox News should share news, not their politics, and fulfill their obligations to the American people to deliver what they ask for: the facts.

Music Ρiracy: Demon from Heaven or Angel from Hell? February 20, 2007 – 4:52 p.m.

I give a damn if any fan recall my legacy, I’m tryin’ to live life in the sight of God’s memory.

BLACK STAR

This is the first printing of an article by Connor Smith, written on February 13, 2007. Connor is one of the most effective writers I’ve met in generating considerable controversy among his readers, and although I usually don’t agree with most of his viewpoints whatsoever, he is certain to fire up some discussion in the comments with this article. This is the second article in the 2007 (re)print. Disclaimer: Contains some language. The views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the site administrator.

The world of music ρiracy has engulfed me, and I must express how much I hate loving it. I wouldn’t really give a damn about ρirating music if it weren’t for the fact that most the music I’ve downloaded in the past few months has been from bands that are fairly unknown. These aren’t the bands that are getting cash just for breathing. Typically, these are the bands that are never going to “make it,” but make music for the love of it. And these are the bands I feel are most deserving of my cash. I would probably encourage people to download music from bands such as My Chemical Romance, or Panic! at the Disco, because these are the bands that are such **** they make me want to find the closest nursery and choke every single baby within it.

No, I’m not actually going to choke a baby just because people throw their money at bands like MCR and Panic!, but these bands don’t deserve the money they’re getting. The bands that deserve my money are the bands I’m downloading. But I love it. Here’s a list of most of the bands I’ve downloaded music from in the past few months:

the re(print) at seraphic zephyr.

Yeah, I’ve downloaded more than that. And every one of those bands puts a smile on my face. Sure, some of them are known and getting cash (i.e. DCFC, The Mars Volta), but how many of you go home and listen to The Microphones, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Black Star Super Rainbow? The thing is: It’s so damn good! And I can’t exactly find a lot of these bands at Borders or Best Buy, but it’s so easy to double-click my SoulSeek icon, type in “Page France,” and select the album I want to get.

Let me give you a quick example of the simplicity and beauty of music ρiracy. The cheapest for which Amazon has Operation: Doomsday by MF Doom is $45. Yet it cost me nothing. That’s the beauty of music piracy. It may take away from what the bands, and the people behind the album, and record companies are earning, but it increases my listening pleasure. It also leads me to new bands, and increases the chances of me purchasing one of these bands’ albums if I see it in a store. It just takes time. More time than it would take to type “Kite Flying Society” into the search file box on SoulSeek.

I don’t think I’ll be stopping downloading music soon, but I’ll probably still speak out against music ρiracy. Hypocritical? Absolutely. Convenient? Most definitely. I love music ρiracy, and I hate it. My love just happens to outweigh that hate. I still purchase music legally; I’ve just found the beauty of sharing lately. So I apologize to those bands that aren’t making the money they should, but I thank you for making music that is good enough for me to do something illegal to get it.

I urge all you ρirates out there to at least check out the bands I’ve listed in this article if you haven’t heard them, and spread the word of these unknown bands to your friends; make these bands get the recognition they deserve, if not the cash.