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The Desperation of Blu-ray DVD

Blu-ray DVD’s are one of those technological brain farts that the movie industry thinks is going to save them.  Good movies will save them. Blu-ray will follow the Laserdisc and HD DVD into the dustbin of history. With upsampling DVD Players your standard DVD’s are quite sharp.

The latest desperate move to try to get some traction for the format is Warner offers Blu-ray alternative to desperate HD-DVD owners
The offer is limited to 128 titles, costs 4.95 per title, and does not include shipping and handling. This is for the early adopters who got sucked into the HD DVD format war, that was lost, and Warner bet heavy on.

I am tired of buying movies again and again every time the electronics and entertainment industry has a great idea, having made the switch from VCR to DVD, I just want to watch the dam things and not have to upgrade every few years.

Website Terms and Conditions Unenforceable – Blockbuster, Facebook and Beacon Oh My!

Website Terms and Conditions have always been bullshit to me. I have posted about them numerous times, especially Social Network and other Sharing sites in relationship to their intellectual property land grab regarding your copyrights and their requiring you to grant them:

” a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use, copy, publicly perform or display, distribute, modify, translate, and create derivative works of (“use”) any content you post on or in connection with ” [insert your favorite sharing site/ social network here]

The presumption on the part of website owners is that you will take any shit that they choose to shovel at you, agree to whatever they say forms a contract between you and them, retaining the ability to change the Terms and Conditions at any time, that you lose the ability to sue in a court of law, must submit to binding arbitration, on their terms and at the location of their choice, and that your visit is a voluntary, reasoned, and contractual obligation.

This is analogous to entering a store and being forced to make a purchase because you walked into their door. Even casino’s don’t pull this crap, and they are a lot more adept at separating you from your money.

Website Terms and Conditions Unenforceable – Blockbuster, Facebook and Beacon

A recent decision of US District Court for the Northern District of Texas has ruled Blockbuster’s Website Terms and Conditions ‘illusory‘ and therefore unenforceable.
Illusory promises are so named because they merely hold the illusion of contract. This is the Whimpy Burger contract, “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”.  Tuesday never comes….

This case was brought by Cathryn Harris, who was a Blockbuster Online customer, had a Facebook Page and got sucked up in the Beacon Advertising Program. Basically what happened was that her Blockbuster purchases got sucked out of Blockbuster, passed through Beacon and the broadcast on her Facebook Page and ‘shared’ with her Facebook Friends.

The money shot is from the Register UK

“The Court concludes that the Blockbuster arbitration provision is illusory,” said the judge, Barbara Lynn. “There is nothing in the Terms and Conditions that prevents Blockbuster from unilaterally changing any part of the contract other than providing that such changes will not take effect until posted on the website.”
Source: The Register ‘Website terms unenforceable due to unlimited right to amend’
Here is The ruling (6-page pdf)

This is a Victory for everybody with an internet connection.
Doc Searls and the Project VRM folks should be all over this like white on rice. One of the principals of VRM, is that we have the right to manage our relationships with Vendors, by expressly determining what, if any information we share. This is not limited to what information we explicitly provide, but will soon put a stop to website cookie tracking, third party ad network tracking and Behavioral Targeting.

Driving a Stake into ‘binding arbitration’ is just gravy.
My viewing your website does not obligate me to join, purchase, or agree to your terms and conditions at any time for any reason.
This means that every website and social network is going to have to acknowledge that its visitors and  members are the only reason for its existence and change their Terms and Conditions to understand that we are equal partners and not sacks of flesh for you to slice and dice, and sell off to any asshole with a checkbook.

Electronic Health Records and Health Care

Electronic Health Records are being looked at and tested as one of the Holy Grails of medical care and cost containment. The theory is that EHR’s will increase care and reduce cost. This is part of a yet unformed strategy of Universal Health Care which is the democratic ideal, that every special interest is fighting tooth and nail. From Insurance Companies to Drug Companies and Hospital chains, blocking any attempt to derail the current system is at the top of their to do lists.

Two items that demonstrate this disconnect are an article at the Nation by Kate Michelman, “A System From Hell”, where she describes her journey through the health care system, and e-Patient Dave whose website e-Patients.net is reporting on moving his health records to Google Health. It is not a pretty picture.

Road Signs

dog is my co-pilot

dog is my co-pilot

Judith Krug – Rest in Peace

Judith F. Krug, who led the campaign by libraries against efforts to ban books, including helping found Banned Books Week, then fought laws and regulations to limit children’s access to the Internet, died Saturday in Evanston, Ill. She was 69.

Source NYT

She should be missed by everyone who believes in freedom of access to information.

Amazon’s Thought Crime – Delisting Gay and Lesbian Literature

Amazon’s image as the Power Seller of the Internet comes from the ability to move product. Despite the Kindle, with  its whole DRM nonsense, Books remain one of the top selling items. One of the ways this happens is with their Sales Rank System. Basically it is a running count of how many of any particular product is selling in relationship to other products.

Recently some writers of Gay and Lesbian literature, noted that Amazon has reclassified their books as Adult, regardless of sexual content, and they have delisted them.  Delisting removes their Sales Rank.

This is a thought crime of major import. They are basically saying that Gay and Lesbian material is too adult for adults, regardless of sexual content. What is next? A Whites Only Section? A “No Queers Here” Pop Up if you look for gay material?
When asked, Amazon responded with a statement from Ashlyn D of Amazon.com Member Services

“In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude “adult” material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.”

The Bullshit doesn’t get much deeper. If you think this is bullshit, here is an online petition for your signing pleasure. There are 6,975 at this writing.

What is so absurd is that Amazon will spread its legs or bend over the table for anybody with an internet connection and a credit card number. That is why they sell frying pans, electronics, hardware and tools. (I probably shouldn’t say tools on line in case some randy gay guy wants to jump my bones) But I digress.

Amazon like any other business has the right to run themselves into the ground at any time. I have the right to keep my money in my pocket. Which I will exercise until they change this policy.

However if Amazon is going to cordon off that prurient, salacious, and sexual allusive materials, let me help.

Delist the Laurel K. Hamilton Anita Blake Vampire Series.
There is more fucking and sucking in these books than I found in the green cover Rear Window Adult Titles. (She does write better. None of that I’M CUUUMMMMMMMMMMING in her books, no sir.) Once in a while she talks about vampires in between bouts of fluid swapping with single and multiple partners. She does stress condom usage, sometimes…
Delist Nora Roberts complete J.D Robb pseudonym In Death Series as she mentions child rape/incest in every novel, under the guise of therapy. Not to mention the monkey bouts of sex between the heroine and her squeeze.
Better delist Nora Roberts completely cause you never know, the apple never falls far from the tree.

Probably delist the entire Bodice Ripper Romance category as well. Those studs half naked on the cover can’t be ads for suntan lotion.

I have a whole ‘nother list for violence, murder, rape, and assorted mayhem but I am already pissed enough.

There are more links here

Update 1:  Amazon says it’s a glitch!  Yeah Right! how many times have the computer gotten the blame instead of the swine really responsible. Technical my ass. Somebody pushed a key or two.

Update 2: According to Amazon it was a “ham fisted cataloguing error”.  Wired has entertaining details here.

Remodeling in Meatspace

I remodel things. I thought I kicked the habit back in 90. Not so.
Laundry Room Makeover
Start:

Chaos

Chaos

Finish:

Order

Order

Project Details:
Laundry Room Makeover 1Laundry Room Makeover 2

Facebook’s Business Model – Panhandling!

The digerati, internet business ‘experts’ and venture capitalists have been muttering for some time about when Facebook was going to actually make some money and stop being a rathole for cash , getting ready to apply for some of that government bailout cash.

Well they have done it! Electronic Panhandling! You give Facebook a buck you get a hundred ‘credits’ to spend on your friends. I suppose this is a step above (a very small step) giving a buck to some rheumy eyed guy hanging outside the package store, knowing that you will be forgotten with the first swallow of that smooth white port, or the robust flavor of the 40 ouncer.

What a unique monetization strategy! You can gift your friends with credits, and they can spend it at the Company store! They take your money and they take your money! Move Over Bernie Madoff!

Road Sign

tourist

Targeted Advertising is for Morons

Brian Micklethwait brings the rant of the week, and it is a good one.
The Fixed Quantity of Advertising fallacy and the menace of targetted advertising
Adriana Lukas sings the chorus.

Since my last searches involved twist drill bits, shelving units, some weird lamp fixture, and a blogger in peril, how the fuck are you gonna sell me shampoo?

The good news in the short term is all the Targeted Advertising behaviorists will keep their jobs at advertising agencies and not ask us about large fries and super sizing for a while.