9 Aug

Assembly 2010, and some other updates

Category:Events, Hacking, Privacy

Assembly 2010 is over and done. Thursday through Sunday was spent at Hartwall Arena, the biggest hockey arena in Finland. Assembly is, to my knowledge, the biggest demo-scene party in the world. It’s also basically (and some would say today, more) a LAN party. Imagine 3000 geeks hauling their computers, audio gear and other doohickeys to a single location with near limitless bandwidth and power to make music, socialize, play games and above all else, watch demos and music produced by others; competing in different categories. These are collectively called compos, short for competitions.

*disclaimer* I’m not involved in the demo-scene, even though i greatly admire it. I also did not start computing with Charles Babbage in the late 1800’s, and am not familiar with most of the older hardware. Some terms might be wrong, because i simply don’t understand everything, but i try. *disclaimer*

The wildest part of the event are the compos. It’s a demo scene event, not a LAN party. There’s a separate event called Assembly Winter, which is focused on gaming. But still, i would say most attendees are there to play games. And while i did my fair share of gaming, demos are what i come there for. And my friends.

So what’s so special about demos, and what are they? Well, demos are interactive, or non-interactive multimedia presentations, that have to abide by certain guidelines. Some demos are called intros, and are shorter, and smaller in size than full demos. There are two kinds of intros at assembly, the 4K and the 64K intros. The K refers to Kilobytes, as that is the sizelimit for the compressed intro. Intro are all executable, so whatever you see and hear are created by the program as it is being run. It’s not a drawn animation or a set of ready made frames.

Now imagine 4KB. 4096 characters. Try to include music, moving graphics and text, and if you have any concept of memory, you will be blown away. My Suunto T3 digital watch has multiple times this amount of memory. Heck, your SIM card has more memory to use! Though, it has to be mentioned that libraries and such are not included in the compressed demo. With libraries included, the size is considerably larger, but.. still. They are awesome, and the people making them are total demi-gods at their craft.

The entries in general were good, and surprisingly plentiful. Quality was high in the 4k and 64K intros, while the demo category was a bit of a letdown, compared to the last two years, at least.

I met some great people. you know who you are. Met some current and ex-colleagues, most of whom hard at work organizing the whole thing for the rest of us. Thanks to you guys.




Jacob Appelbaum, whom i mentioned in the HOPE posts, was recently arrested arriving to the US. Interrogated, his laptop confiscated and then returned (because he refused to hand over encryption keys). So i guess, the FBI didn’t really like the stunt he pulled at HOPE. I’m not sure what the current situation is, but i hope he’s alright. He seemed like a nice fellow, who does not deserve to be persecuted.

In other news, the Pentagon has threatened Wikileaks. They are demanding they take down all the material stolen (they mean leaked by their own people), or else. I wonder what the fuck they are going to do about it, huh? Bomb every colocation center in the world? Well it wouldn’t be the first time you just shoot at everything to prove a point. But i double dare them to do anything. Wikileaks isn’t going anywhere, and since the materials are already on the tubes (the internet for the rest of you!), they are never ever coming back to them again. Removing wikileaks, though this will never happen, will change nothing. It will merely fuel the fire, and for every mirror taken down, five new ones will come out. The files are available as Torrents, and already on numerous other sites. “Taking back” or “returning” content does not work like the on the internets, guys. If person A steals a missile, you can demand to have it back. If person B copies files that you inadequately protected, and walks out with them, and posts them on the web, it is a copy, therefore un-returnable, especially when it’s been distributed.

So in conclusion, do not threaten people when you do not have the slightest fucking idea of what you are talking about. Second of all, secure your shit if you don’t want it to get out. Third of all, i hope you burn in hell for the stuff you’ve done all over the world. You do not run the world, even if you have all the bombs.

That is all.

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