Flow Festival sign, photo by Samuli Pentti

14 reasons why Helsinki’s Flow Festival is terrible and must be avoided

Flow Festival sign, photo by Samuli Pentti

Helsinki based Flow Festival has established itself as one of Europe’s most praised music festivals. With ringing endorsements from publications like The Guardian and The Consequence of Sound, you’d think Flow would be one of those experiences you should try and have.

None of the above is true,. Flow Festival 2017 (August 11-13) is terrible and we’ll explain why.
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That’s a MiniDisc: 14 Finnish music videos that will make you feel old

Screenshot from Darude's Sandstorm video

Do you know that sinking feeling of realizing that time flies and you’re older than you think? Yeah, we do too, and honeslty, it’s like a fun roller coaster ride. In light of this universal feeling, we’ve collected a bunch of Finnish pop tunes you might remember from the past two decades (!).

If you’ve grown up in Finland as a millennial, you might have associated these tracks with everything slick and international. See, there was a time when convincing Finnish pop in English was a shiny new thing. Chances are you will remember these tunes like yesterday. But once you look closer at their accompanying videos, they will feel as dated as you secretly know you are yourself.

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Battledragon's Youtube cover of Bomfunk MC's Freestyler 1999 hit. Location: Hakaniemi Metro station.

Finnish Power Metal band recreates Bomfunk MC’s Freestyler music video, including remote control shenanigans

Battledragon's Youtube cover of Bomfunk MC's Freestyler 1999 hit. Location: Hakaniemi Metro station.
 

Here it is: Finland lacks an internationally known music scene compared to, say, Sweden which has produced hit phenomena ever since the days of ABBA.

A specific genre is something of an exception: Finland is estimated to have more metal bands per capita than any other country. Some of these bands are wildly successful within their genre.

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Flow Festival sign. Photo by Jussi Hellsten.

18 reasons why you shouldn’t bother going to Helsinki’s Flow Festival

Flow Festival sign. Photo by Jussi Hellsten.
Often described in the international press as one of Europe’s best music festivals, you’d think Helsinki’s Flow would be a no-brainer to add your bucket list. However, before you rush to get your last minute ticket of the partially sold out event (August 12-14 this year), you should consider these 18 very important reasons to think again. Read more

Video: How Edward Snowden and The Yes Men trolled music fans at Roskilde Festival

Edward Snowden and The Yes Men at Roskilde 2016

The Danish Roskilde music festival recently got into a slight controversy over signs warning festival goers about a new policy: complete surveillance of all phone and internet traffic. But it turns out that the festival, which took place over the course of June 24 to July first this year, actually trolled its visitors, hard. With the help of none other than culture jamming and hoaxing group The Yes Men and whistleblower Edward Snowden.

A feedback booth with a comedian posing as a poorly-informed PR representative of the festival was also present, to counter backlash on social media. But the actual intention of the signs and the faux policy was to lure festival goers to a certain stage at a certain time, with “anger marketing”.

What attendants got to experience was a remotely held speech by whistleblower USA Edward Snowden, an excellent speaker on topics like civil rights, privacy and mass surveillance. The massive Roskilde Festival has now released a summary of the events in a Youtube video, which also includes the confounded faces of festival goers encountering an actor who looks like Snowden.

 

It’s not about Snowden, the person

Regardless of what you think about the optics of Snowden ending up in Russia in the aftermath of his data leak in 2013 and subsequent escape from the USA, we recommend listening to what he has to say. Also worth looking into is the fact that he has no chance of a fair trial in the USA, despite his information having pushed the IT industry towards a path where privacy rights at least are a part of the conversation.

Anyone can figure out that Russian intelligence probably debriefed Snowden upon his arrival in Russia, but the former cybersecurity specialist and NSA contractor’s data leaks have indeed done a lot to raise an unprecedented awareness over information security related topics.

Most of Snowdens revelations are things that have been suspected by information security professionals for years, but were shrugged off as paranoia by the general public and decision makers in business and politics alike.

Most notably, Snowden’s leaks reveal how numerous Western countries, like the United Kingdom and Sweden collaborate with the USA to build a global mass surveillance apparatus that can harvest unfathomable amounts of information from the internet.

Slide from the PRISM presentation leaked by Edward Snowden in 2013.

A slide from a presentation leaked by Edward Snowden, where the NSA brags about infiltrating US tech companies. The likely meaning of the PRISM program is the surveillance agencies being able to eavesdrop of some data inside the networks of tech giants, rather than having gained direct access to every server these enormous companies own. Some companies have taken action to prevent misuse like this.

 

How the Snowden Leaks have helped you

The Snowden leaks included information on how Western intelligence agancies collected information from large companies like Google, by eavesdropping on private fiber optic cables. Companies like Google have since actively starting encrypting more traffic, even within their own networks, making customer data more difficult to misuse. Products like Facebook-owned WhatsApp have recently implemented really good encryption for mobile messenger apps, helping to protect the contents of chat conversations between normal, law abiding citizens.

It is no news that surveillance can used to undermine democracy and processes of social progress, as is made apparent by Snowden’s mention of how of authorities hawkishly followed every move of Dr. Martin Luther King during his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement.




With today’s technology, the internet’s weakness for surveillance grants private corporations and governments alike access to information about us all, to an extent that the Soviet KGB, Romanian Securitate or East-German DDR could only have dreamt about. This is not disinformation or a dishonest spin, but a crucial breach of Rechtsstaat principles that help sustain democracy. Also, mass surveillance does little to stop terrorism.

It’s true that Russia presumably is using Snowden’s exile in propaganda and information warfare to create uncertainty and distrust towards Western governments. Making the West look like hypocrites on human rights is always convenient for the Russian state and many other authoritarian regimes. It makes it easier to defend their own practices of restricting internet use and complete digital surveillance, which occurs without any of the thinning legal buffers we still can enjoy in many Western countries.

That’s a reason in itself to stop Western intelligence agencies from undermining civilization.

 

How you can help

Members of the public can help themselves and less fortunate individuals in oppressive countries to get some online privacy by using and supporting systems like The Tor Project. Albeit being far from perfect, the open source Tor software is, within its limits, the far most efficient tool to remain anonymous online, if used properly.

No commercial vendor of for example, VPN services, can obfuscate the origin of traffic like Tor can. Users need to understand the limitations of what Tor can do for them, including but not limited to sticking to the officially supported Tor Browser, keeping it updated and not revealing information related to their regular identities while using Tor.

How Tor Works

At Ink Tank Media, we have chosen to help by hosting a Tor Relay server that participates in obfuscating the origin of traffic from users of free privacy tools like the Tor Browser.

This is a confusing field to navigate for anyone in media and advertising. The online advertising many online media companies rely on, also collects a massive amount of information! We couldn’t really run this site without ads and trackers, yet, it’s plain as day to us that the world needs to find a balance in how personal data is used.

From time to time, we work with Darknet researcher Antti Järventaus, who focuses on understanding and making some sense of some of the hard questions involved with providing anonymity to anyone who needs it.

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Watch Prince’s insane cover of the guitar solo in The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

prince-while-my-guitar-gently-weeps-guitar-solo

Sadly, Prince, the musical artist, has been confirmed dead today at the age of 57. For a quick look back at the highlights of Prince’s musical career, you could do worse than to check out Pitchfork’s coverage of his death. Here at Ink Tank we like to find weird and interesting things on the web, so in honor of one of the most creative people in showbiz, we’d like to take a different approach.

Namely: check out Prince’s guitar solo in this all-star cover version of The Beatles’ ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, shot at the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions. The song starts a bit ho-hum, of as massive all-star TV jams usually do, with musicians such as Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne and George Harrison’s son Dhani Harrison, all wanting a slice of the show.

Then, at 3 minutes and 25 seconds, everything changes as Prince arrives and drops a stunning, virtuoso guitar solo on top of the already catchy song. The distinctly Harrisonesque tune, from on the fab four’s unnamed ‘White Album’, is known for its crispy guitar, originally played by none other than Eric Clapton on the record.

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Sixth generation VHS copy of a 1991 Roxette music video

Fading Like a Flower: What happens if you copy a VHS tape 23 times?

Sixth generation VHS copy of a 1991 Roxette music video

Does your smartphone have a scratched camera lens or a cracked screen? Has a year or two of constantly forgetting your charger at home ruined it’s battery life? Do you feel like this limits your creativity?

If you think a half-broken smartphone sucks, let’s have a quick glance back at one of the realities of consumer video equipment from way back. Namely VHS cassettes.

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Traveling salesman blues: Led Zeppelin singer makes cameo in UK indie comedy

If you don’t count a constantly evolving musical style, British singer and recording artist Robert Plant doesn’t do a lot of weird stuff in public. But he seems to make exceptions.

The former Led Zeppelin singer is making a cameo appearance in a UK indie movie featuring a Doreen, a character originating from an off-color Youtube spoof on misuse of social security. Played by actress Gill Jordan, Doreen has become something of a cultural phenomenon spawning theater plays around The Black Country, a West Midlands area known for its history of coal mines and heavy industries.

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All you need to know about Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” on Saturday Night Live

In the US, republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has been heating up the primary elections game with his unauthorized use of Neil Young’s 1989 rock anthem “Rockin in the Free World”.

The irony in the Trump staff’s choice of music lies, of course, in the lyrics of Rockin’ In The Free World. The song is obviously an attack on right-wing US policy, both foreign and domestic, during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr.

Instead of just looking up the lyrics, check out this iconic performance of “Rockin’ in the Free World” from Saturday Night Live back in 1989. Young actually worked out just before going on stage to get in the mood. Not known for being a big fan of TV performances, Young wanted to grasp for the emotional state normally reached during a two hour concert. Frantically jumping around, kicking and soloing on his Les Paul guitar, he’s backed by a tight band (Charlie Drayton, Steve Jordan, and longtime collaborator Frank ‘Poncho’ Sampedro).

The anger and sadness of this live cut are so perfectly channeled into Young’s voice and the drum fill in the last verse at “We got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand”. It certainly gives me the chills, every time.

“Rockin’ in the Free World” was originally published on Young’s 1989 album Freedom, which reestablished his career a little bit. The album included two versions of the song, one resembling the intense rocker seen on SNL and an acoustic version as the opening track.

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