Saturday, June 8, 2013

Random notes

This was originally a post bashing the ever-living hell out of Savages and Jimmy Eat world, but I'd rather let brevity be the soul of wit, and just say that they both suck, and I want the time I spent listening to their latest releases back. One more sentence on them, then on to better things: Who thought it was a good idea to have a Butch Siouxsie (Savages) and a Femme Tom Petty (Jimmy Eat World) ?
I'm still not on Twitter, exactly, and my facebook profile is still mainly a place for me to "dj" cool youtube music videos, but I feel like I'm finally coming into the 21st century with my little Roku box. I am mastering Plex and finding that I prefer the interface of Hulu plus and Netflix to my regular TV remote.
I'm not a huge T shirt guy, but if you want my picks for the best T shirts- it's Jon Wye  ( he also does great belts and cuffs) Tina Seamonster ( who also is my greeting card source) Shirtkiller and Nikholmes
I don't own them yet, but here are my three picks for the prettiest guitars out there, right now: The Talman ( shown as a righty, but available as a lefty. I'm a lefty) The Douglas and the Eastwood . Yes, I do like guitars. If somebody gave me 500 bucks out of the blue, I'd buy a guitar, but I'm certainly not expecting that.
Anyway, I'm going back to listening to Baroness, Coliseum, and Roomrunner for now ( Again, Baroness is a must-see live, I don't care if you're not into their CDs, Coliseum is a great band, full stop, and Roomrunner is some of the best new music I've heard. They're like The Jesus Lizard runs into Nirvana { yes, I know they hate the comparison, and it's not exactly true, but I don't feel right about saying what I was going to say first- the Pixies, because Roomrunner have a much heavier touch than the Pixies})

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Get the Picture?

I read articles like This one and this one and I am convinced that the "experts" are completely oblivious. I am willing to bet that 99% of all cord-cutters, be they people who've cut Cable TV, Land line Telephones, or Internet have done so for the same reason- and it doesn't have anything to do with socio-demographics- it all comes down to redundancy. Why pay for two things that do the same thing? Why pay for Cable TV, when I can stream off the internet? Why pay for a home phone when I've got a Cell phone? Why pay for Internet when I can access Facebook, Email, and You Tube on my phone? Get the idea? In a way, the telecommunication industry theorists kinda piss me off- all of the theories are predicated on the notion that people are stupid in some fashion. Like- we won't notice that we're paying three seperate bills to watch Game of Thrones ( basic Cable Fees, HBO and our Electric bill) when we could just as easy stream it illegally, and just pay for electricity 'cause we're using somebody else's wi-fi. Don't get me wrong- I'm not advocating piracy, just admitting its reality. It's all part of the same mechanism. People feel that they are being overcharged if there is another way that is as convenient and cheaper. So, if I can get the new Backstreet Boys CD by filesharing, why do I want to pay Itunes 10 bucks or Best Buy 15? If I can watch Mad Men for 8 bucks a month, by streaming it off of Amazon, why pay 50 to have a cable subscription? If I can call my Aunt Mabel with my Samsung Galaxy 13 on a 50 dollar a month plan, while I'm at the Dress Barn buying shifts, why pay 70 bucks to be chained to a home phone?
So, if the industry theorists can't see that, they're stupid, not the people getting better deals for the same service. But, I don't think they're stupid, either. I think "crazy" is a better term.  I think they know the reality, they just cannot face it, and continue as they have been.
I think the Telecommunications industry, as a whole should be much more tightly regulated in terms of business practice, and far less regulated in terms of content, and entry. I think I should be able to broadcast whatever content I want, so long as I can afford the equipment to do so. But I think I should be regulated from being able to privately own the frequency I broadcast on. Likewise, I shouldn't be able to own all the frequencies, whether I plan on broadcasting or not. Yes, I'm simplifying, but the point is this- several years back, in the 1990's under President Clinton,  it was made possible that one company could own all the methods of telecommunication, while simultaneously, the barriers to entering into the telecommunications industry went up, enormously. If that strikes you as Un-American, and perhaps a bit Oligarchic, then, welcome to the Telecommunications act of 1996. I really believe it set us up for the situation we're in, now, where the only place where we're free is the Internet- and that's not enough. But people will take whatever tool they have and make the most of it, hence the massive upsurge in piracy, cable Cord cutting, even (paradoxically) cutting out internet service- the last freedom is the freedom to say "No". If I live in a rural part of America ( I'm semi-rural, right now) my choices are incredibly piss poor internet connection at home, or regular connectivity through the phone. So, shutting off the Internet at home might very well be my best choice for using the Internet. I'm not going to cut out Cable TV, because I never got Cable TV. I only use Satellite. It's not that I'm benefiting from the monopoly, you jackasses. It's that I'm making the only choices I can make. I certainly am not suffering from a surfeit of freedom.
I know it, you know it, and I bet even the authors of these "think pieces" know it. So, what's the solution? Well, the free market solution is lowering the bar to enter the market- more competition. The socialist solution is to make the airwaves ( at all frequencies, including those used for Wifi) a public trust. Neither is going to happen, soon. I think what's going to happen is the same thing that's been happening, ever-increasing defiance of the law, on both sides, until battle occurs. That's why, while again, I really don't advocate Piracy, I recognize it for what it is- a reaction to a situation that is not realistic. I happen to be a reasonably ethical, relatively smart, and fortunately lucky individual- so I haven't had to resort to piracy to get what I want. But in other circumstances, I bet I would. Even then, I must admit, I have been sorely tempted. Here's an example- I don't get HBO. Not anymore. But I really like Boardwalk Empire. As it stands, I can afford to pay 30-40 bucks to Amazon for the next season. However, I could, if I wanted, work out a deal with a friend who gets HBO. I could give the money, or flash some charm at them, and get their log in information to use HBO Go. An elegant, cheap and easy solution, yeah? A positive identity theft. Right? I mean, it's no different than what people have been doing for generations- I can remember when I was a kid, and they started busing- I was a white kid in a Latino neighbourhood. So, the advice my parents got was to lie about their address- use somebody else's address, so I'd be sent to a better ( read "whiter") school. Lots of people were doing that. Deeper still, how many people have names that have been butchered so's they'll appear like someone they're not? Isn't that right, "Roger" from Customer Service? Are you with me,  Chef Boy R Di? But I'm not going to do that- and my only reason is that I'm self-aware enough to know that I'm wealthy, and lucky enough that I don't need to break the law. I'll save my law breaking for when it counts more. The easier solution is in HBO's court- jailbreak HBO Go. Make the content available without a Subscription to a Cable service- or better still, without a subscription to HBO- have multiple tiered service- you can access HBO Go for free if you've got Cable TV,  15 bucks a month for an HBO Go, only subscription,  or a la carte purchases of single shows at a buck per episode ( thus undercutting Netflix, Vudu, and Amazon) . Now, I know why they haven't done that , yet- it makes their system a little less traditional, a little less appealing to Cox, Comcast, et al who make large dollars by bundling HBO into package deals- "Hey, we know our monthly service prices are higher than Lindsay Lohan on a location shoot in Columbia, but you're getting HBO for free"- meanwhile, 30% of your over-priced package is going into a sweetheart deal with HBO. What it is going to take is a massive number of cord cutters and Pirates. So, HBO won't take my money, unless it gets laundered through Comcast, first. But Amazon will. So, even though I could pirate more easily than be honest with Amazon, I like Amazon more than HBO- because they're a bit more 'above ground" about how they're ripping me off. Get the Picture?