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TV LIne Your Privacy 0 Cookies 20 and Trackers 4

I watch TV. Probably more than I should. One of the things the internet is good for is finding about TV shows.

One of the sites I use daily is TV Line. They have a lot of official previews of episodes and upcoming shows.

They post video from the major and minor networks. Most of them run fine, until you run ad blocking software.

The theory of previews is to generate interest in shows to display ads to get you to buy shit you can probably do without.

NBC has figured that they need to shove an Ad in your face before you see the preview.
Meet the three M’s Monetizing Marketing Monkeys.

In FireFox you get to the NBC logo and then it just stops.

IN chrome in private browsing mode, you lose 30 seconds of your life you will never get back to see a preview for a show you may or may not watch is really the height of arrogance.

This photo tells that story

TV Line Chrome Private Browser Screen Capture

But Wait There’s More!
as the page is loading you are being probed, data mined and fed cookies to track you across the web.

Here are the most recent cookies that TV Line attempted to set.


Adobe Digital Marketing (Omniture)
Crazy Egg




Google AJAX Search API

NetRatings SiteCensus


ScoreCard Research Beacon
WordPress Stats

But Wait There’s More! Your so called Social Sites are tracking you too.

Google +1
Comscore Beacon
Facebook Connect
Google Analytics

Those cute buttons for facebook twitter google+1. Trackers.

ScoreCard Research Beacon is interesting being called 6 times.

Maybe the webmaster is lazy.

If you wonder why your surfing is so slow you can thank the trackers above. All this crap happens before the page loads.

What the world needs is a browser plugin that accepts cookies, and any other information scripting tries to get, rewrites them to Zeros and ships them back.

Fill enough servers and data miners with no information, they will go home.

Bonus Link:
Dark Google: One Year Since Search Terms Went “Not Provided”

It’s a start.

A Mickey Mouse PR Stunt

The interwebs are reporting that the Walt Disney Company is pulling production of its toys and clothing out of factories in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Hard to move stuff if the factory burns down. Doesn’t help if the workers are killed either.
Over at Deadline.com a site concerned with the movie biz was this gem:

The company said its decision was based on a World Bank report that assesses how countries are governed. Metrics used in the report included accountability, corruption and violence;
Source: Deadline.com

So until the World Bank tells you that some places are incredibly fucked up and no amount of capitalism will overcome greed or worker safety, its okay.

According to a CNN report is this nugget:

“After much thought and discussion we felt this was the most responsible way to manage the challenges associated with our supply chain,” said Bob Chapek, president of Disney Consumer Products.
Source: CNN

Whew! I am so glad that they have their supply chain in hand. Atta boy BOB!! Really! Getting yer funky ass out in front of this supply chain noose. Names like Nike or Adidas ring a bell? Seems like they got dinged for using foreign factories for their supply chains. Years Ago….

So remember folks, the next time you want to pick up some merchandise, be sure to look for the label that says:


Twitter Monetizes

Twitter, the aptly named service celebrating brevity over content has monetized. The VC’s are swooning with crinkled nipples while visions of exit strategies dance in their heads as Twitter moves from phenomena to another web application needing a billing department.

No innovation here, as they will be serving text advertisements between 140 characters of pithy repartee or excremental convulsions of what passes for wit among the attention challenged.

Expect a real drop off in usage as the only light in this sinkhole was the lack of advertising.
Stupid fucks! They should have taken a page from the Steve Jobs manual and charged 99 cents a month.

Judge rules metadata is public record – Ars Technica

Arizona’s Supreme Court has ruled that metadata,(the hidden information that is contained most famously in Microsoft Word created documents) is part of the document and subject to disclosure under public record searches.
Metadata contained in Word documents, tracks and records versions, creation dates, changes, and authorship information. This is one reason that Word docs are so large in relationship to what actually is presented on the screen.

Doom on the poor bastards who do not pay attention to this. For folks with secret agendas,  Word is probably not the tool they should be using.

The article points out some of the more famous and recent ‘gotchas’ with using Word for creating papers and letters.

Link: Lobbyists beware: judge rules metadata is public record – Ars Technica.

A Google search on Word Metadata brings up a whole cottage industry on scrubbing it and viewing it. The former being more important than the latter.
Interesting Times, indeed.

Pacman Merchandising

I used to shop at Wal-Mart. . Having been lured by low prices and even lower quality, I don’t buy much there anymore.  My purchases had come down to movies and dog food. I buy my movies elsewhere because I get better prices and a larger selection. Basically my last contribution to Wal Mart was dog food.


Today  that changed. I used to park in the back, walk in through the garden center, two aisles over, pick up the bag and out to the register and on with my life. Even on busy days, 10 mins. tops.

This morning I discovered that Wal Mart has become what I call the latest Packman Merchandiser.  Target being the first one of these I encountered. Instead of regular clear aisles, they redesigned their stores to resemble a pacman maze. You go down one aisle, and come to a corner where you have to go somewhere else hopefully not getting lost, and maybe finding what you are looking for.

After spending 30 mins. following blind alleys I finally found where the dog food was. In the very back of the store. They hadn’t stocked it yet. That was my last trip into a Wal Mart. Somebody else can play that stupid game.

Marketeers have long dictated store design to attempt to empty your pockets, under the assumption that everybody who enters their stores has no life outside of the spending universe.

Consider your grocery stores. Milk, bread and eggs. Always in the farthest back  corner of the store, hoping that you will feel guilty pushing that large empty shopping cart through the store from the back, and that your arms will spasm and rake product from the shelves into the cart, fufilling their dreams of sales. Or slamming into the ‘end cap’ with whatever overstock product they are trying to move before its freshness date expires. Like you need 37 boxes of tuna flavored rice cakes.

I’m just waiting for the first body to be discovered from one of these stores.

“According to reports, Mrs. Johnson, mother of three was discovered in the corner of the Garden Center, and had starved to death. Her oldest child cried, “We live in a condo and don’t even have a yard”. “She went to the store for milk and notebooks”. Authorities are investigating. BigBox.Co had no comment.”

Maybe they will wake up when they have to hire hunting parties to track down lost shoppers.

Maytag Major Appliances (Don’t Buy Them!) and Extended Warranties.

I don’t think that Maytag produces good appliances or is a very good company anymore. Let me expand on this.

I bought a bunch of Maytag products almost 5 years ago. At the Maytag Store (which are not owned by Maytag, but are independently owned stores that hustle Maytag Products) My ex and I had sold our house, we were both moving and were under the gun to get out of the old house. A 25 cubic foot Refrigerator,(which has had the compressor replaced already, and as I discovered my freezer has the same compressor) a 25 cubic foot freezer, and a ‘Commerical Grade’ washer dryer pair. My ex also bought the same refer (and has had the compressor replaced also) and a Neptune Washer Dryer Pair that turned out to be the Appliances from Hell. We also bought the factory Extended Warranties for these. Dave the salesman made a lot of money that day, but he is also a bottom feeder. (The Neptune was so bad that there was a class action lawsuit filed and Dave the salesman said nothing about it when I asked him point blank if there was any reported problems with the machines we picked out, to which he said No., which is why he is a bottom feeder.)

Normally I don’t buy extended warranties on products, as most stuff that I buy either works or breaks inside of the standard warranty time frame. I bought the warranty because I don’t want to be an appliance repairman above the stuff I already know how to do.

My Maytag Washer SAV2555AWW broke last Sunday. This is a knob operated non electronic washer. Simple operation for a simple guy. I am a beltline washer, above the belt is one load with the towels and sheets, and below the beltline is the other load. I do laundry once a week. Since I live alone, we are not talking about massive laundry action, which is probably more than you wanted about my laundry habits.


So a scratch paper calculation would have me doing 520 loads over almost 5 years. Not what you would call real hard use.

I have an extended warranty for it. I tried calling on Monday from my cell phone, and ended in a voice mail repeating loop where the voice says “Select one of the following options”, pauses and says “Select one of the following options”. . .

Tuesday I called from home and after a significant wait time got someone with lungs, who ‘knew’ me and had my information on the screen based on my phone number. I am thinking this is pretty cool. Having my information at hand so things can move along. I described the problem, “got loud, started puking water on the floor from the bottom”.

To my amazement, I was scheduled for service the very next day. Cool I thought, moving on with my life etc.

Wednesday, the repairman arrived at the outside of the time window, and after describing the problem, he was able to diagnose it in a little less than 30 seconds. Cool I thought, thinking that he would repair it and my life would continue. Not so fast.

The repairman did not have the transmission on the truck with him, nor could he repair it. He had to go back to the shop and and describe the fix and get authorization to order parts, let alone fix it.

Here is the deal on this. Sniffing on the web brings up the triple lip seal problem which is not limited to my model but is also a problem on these models: which are Maytag and Amana units.








SAV4655EWQ; SAV4655EWW; SAV4710AWW; CW9500W; NAV5800AWW; NAV6800AWW;

Source: Maytag bulletin

Which tells us that there are a lot of wrappers and not much innovation. The bulletin (PDF) goes into detail on replacing the bearing assembly including a whole bunch of special tools to get to it. The last page of the bulletin tells the repairman that he needs to buy a new tool to perform the repair described on the proceeding 7 pages.

I called Friday to inquire when my washer was going to be repaired, only to be told that they were waiting for e-mail authorization from Whirlpool, (who bought Maytag about a year or so ago) before they could order parts to repair my washer.

I have some Major Problems with this.

The first problem is that the warranty company is a 3rd party company doing business as Maytag, to administer this. And as I noted above waiting for email authorization is last on the list I want to hear. This is one of those deals that shuffles shit around, like claims payers for health insurance which just adds more layers of crap between a company and a customer.

The second problem from a cost effectiveness standpoint is not having enough information or utilizing it. The warranty company has all of my information on file, phone, address, Model number, etc. What they don’t seem to have is information from Maytag on these machines breakdown history. By this I mean, by model number the various parts and fixes that have happened over time. This used correctly would have sent the repairman out with the parts to fix the machine with one trip. This sucks for the repairman who as you may guess is not a Maytag employee, but is another third party company doing work on contract to Maytag.

Every repair that I or the ex has needed has required at least 2 if not more service calls to fix. Most of them have been caused by not having the parts in stock at the warehouse and needing to order them from the factory if they were not already on back order, because of “popularity”( you know the shit that breaks regularly)

The third problem is this is standard operating procedure for companies. By doing the Tom Peters Downsizing, outsourcing, and third party claims and service, it looks good to the shareholders, since the whole service, warranty and repair problems can be swept under the rug and not show up on the balance sheet.

But the people on the point of the transaction like me the customer, who actually buys this stuff so that they have jobs and who just wants stuff to work, are screwed, the poor bastard from the repair service who must want to cut his throat at night having spending day after day knowing what the problems are how to solve them, but having his hands tied, and gagged, by a system that does what it can to make fufilling their obligations as complex as possible.

I don’t think that Maytag produces good appliances or is a very good company anymore. Now that Whirlpool owns Maytag, I wonder how long before Maytag gets replaced by Whirlpool and they hope that we will not remember getting screwed.

Knowing that my freezer shares the same compressor that failed in my refrigerator 3 years after I bought it does not fill me with optimism nor does it endear me to a company that seems to be all hat and no cattle.

Your choices for major appliances are limited as Amana is just re badged Maytag, Whirlpool is probably gonna use all the cheap Maytag parts, which cuts out a lot of Samsung models as they make the parts for Maytag.

I really just want to do my laundry and not have to bitch slap companies or tell them how to run their operations so that folks will actually buy their products again.

You Can’t Delete Stupid

You Can’t Delete Stupid
The latest lunacy on the interwebs is the kerfluffle over Holocaust Deniers. Those being the folks who believe that the Holocaust never happened.
Rabid calls are going out as the sensitives are acting like Arlo Guthrie’s song Alice’s Restaurant and that this will start a revolution.

Never mind freedom of speech, association or expression. You have a shot of curing ignorance. Legislating it away doesn’t work either. Think War On Drugs. The most startling assumption made with these periodic moral cleansings is that if you don’t agree, you are the enemy, and cannot belong with the good people. Ask any felon who has served their time and according to the State, has paid their debt. There is nothing on the planet or between the chair and keyboard that won’t cause a disagreement sometime. It is amazing how intelligent folks forget that.
You Can’t Delete Stupid

The Desperation of Blu-ray DVD Act 2

In the latest flogging of BluRay comes a single report that BluRay Consumer Awareness and Sales On the Rise.

Consumer Awareness? Try Swine Flu.

According to the release:

“with 6 percent of respondents saying they would be “extremely or very likely” to buy in the next six months, compared with 5 percent who responded similarly in the August report”

Out of an online survey of 6,994 consumers, which would equal 499 folks over 430 from August. Not real inspiring for an expensive proprietary format whose major use is in game consoles. This report comes from the NPD Group who says this at the bottom of this release:

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,700 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions.

You can figure out who paid for this.
As far as sales are concerned, Twilight sold 5.2 million copies it’s first weekend of availability of which BluRay was 5%

You can run out and buy a BluRay player for 250 bucks or you can spend 70-100 on an upsampling DVD player and use the movies you already own.

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.