16 posts • joined Wednesday 17th December 2008 15:38 GMT
It's a Brave New World - just take your soma and be on your way
It's not in the phone company's (and apparently - at least in the case of my iPhone - in the phone manufacturer's) interest to allow users to block receiving calls from known spammers, never mind block outgoing calls. How hard would it be for the phone's software to block all numbers starting with 0843410 for example (a fair few that I've allocated to my "SPAM" contact start with that). I think you can if you JailBreak - but I don't want to update / slow down my phone by JailBreaking to the latest iOS.
Even the government doesn't seem to want to do anything about unsolicited phone calls. I've unplugged my landline now and on the very rare occasion it's plugged in, I just get spam phone calls. The amount of spam calls I've been personally asked about (including one where I was present) from someone in India, claiming to be from "Windows" is remarkable - and it doesn't seem as though you can do anything about those either.
Some years ago, my girlfriend at the time was on PAYG and every time she added credit it disappeared within ten minutes. It turned out that she'd unknowingly signed up to one of those spam services who, when faced with lack of credit on her phone, waited until there was credit to nab the money.
I seem to remember that when the first premium rate number (0898) first came out, there was uproar from parents who were getting huge phone bills because their kids were dialling numbers from adverts specifically aimed at them. BT actually stopped premium rate numbers altogether for a while. They soon came back - and with a vengeance.
Until one phone manufacturer or mobile operator goes against the trend and allows their customers some level of control (and makes it a selling point), it'll just keep going the way it is unfortunately.
I've demo'd some great apps and then bought the full versions - all but one (£17.99 for LogMeIn) for well under a fiver and I haven't regretted any of my purchases (well, perhaps one!), but I particularly resent those companies that try to trick children into in-app purchases.
Since leaving my television (and licence) behind and going blu-ray and projector, I've developed a very low tolerance (even a hatred) for advertising, advertisers and their blatant lies. Sadly some sales people will do anything to get their commission and apparently have no morals at all, but I can't see that segment of society being curtailed, never mind eradicated in my lifetime. There's too much protection of "big" business at the expense of us "little" consumers. It's no wonder many of us don't trust the government to represent our interests.
Sorry - what was the question again?
I heard (from someone that used to work as a projectionist) that cinema's make very little, if anything from the ticket prices, which is why the food and drink costs so much.
My home setup is far better than the last Odeon I visited. I complained and got free tickets (although I haven't been back since to use them) because the room was uncomfortably cold (the air con was broken), the bass speakers had blown (distorted sound), you could see the shadow of the fixings holding the screen up through the screen, there was banging going on during the film (they were fixing the air con) and there was the standard problem of bleed through of the bass from the screen next door. Couple that with the usual games of chance: will there be idiots on mobile phones or other disrespectful people spoiling it for others and along with the cost, hassle to get there and back and the fact that the blu-ray release isn't far behind these days means I haven't been to the cinema for years. I wait for the blu-ray and buy that instead. I considered The Hobbit to check out the new technology (I'll only consider IMAX these days, as the higher price usually means a better experience and less idiots in the audience) but at this rate I'll probably end up waiting for the blu-ray of that too. The only film that I feel may have been worthy of the full cinema experience that I waited (and waited) for the home release of was Prometheus.
From what I've seen, the sort of people that are content with a cam copy would definitely not have paid to see it at the cinema. It's hard to believe that people still accept that level of quality. I'd blame the (lossy) MP3 generation, but (from what I've seen at least) it's often their parents, especially those who are poorer and less technically savvy that find this method of delivery acceptable. Then they claim the movie is rubbish because (unsurprisingly) the fuzzy copy they saw didn't show off the $100,000,000 special effects. On the other hand, perhaps that makes for a levelling of the playing field, requiring a decent story (something quite rare in Hollywood, where proven revenue streams and sequels are king).
Perhaps Kickstarter for movies is the future - I'm looking forward to Elite: Dangerous in 2014. That's where a fair chunk of my cinema money has gone (and on blu-rays, once the price is acceptable - early adopters are burned for double dips and extortionate over pricing e.g. the Alien box set, The LoTR theatrical set - I've learned my lesson and will wait from now on). Have I deprived Hollywood of a sale?!
I don't get NAS boxes...
...unless it *really* needs to be that small - but when you need more bays, you have to go out and buy another one.
Very little room for expandability - I've got 12x (mostly 2TB and all Samsung) HD, 1x optical and 1x OCZ SSD in my tower case. Three are in a hot swap bay that takes up two of the three optical drive bays. There are big, slow, quiet fans in front of all the quiet, low heat, low power hard drives.
Why not build a Win 7 / Win 8 PC with shared libraries, running full Windows software for downloading / web sharing / managing your files, that's upgradable by something much more flexible than firmware and that won't leave you unsupported in a year or two, requiring you to buy the new version? That's what I did:
I've updated it since then though, it's about 20TB now and I'm about to put in a Core i3, more RAM and Win 8. I'm lucky enough to be in a position to upgrade cheaply and often, due to buying / selling / repairing PCs in my spare time (I manage a 1500 user, 500 PC, 200 laptop network for my main job).
I'm still waiting for 3TB drives to come down to £70 and 4TB to £100. Then I might wait until 4TB are £70 - I've got plenty of space for now.
I had a play on the free Bubble game from the Win 8 store the other night. I thought it was a bit poor for a modern game. Unfortunately I thought the same 4 hours later, when I was still playing it. It must be in the playability (something I'm very familiar with, as I had (still have) a Sinclair ZX Spectrum) I've completed the free bits, but the next bit wants me to pay. I already detest Microsoft Points on the XBox - it seems a bit cynical that you can only buy them in chunks incompatible with the cost of things, leaving you with "loose change" that you have to spend on things that you shouldn't have to pay for in the first place, like screensavers. That and the fact that the more points you buy, the cheaper it *doesn't* get.
My 3G (not even S) is finally starting to fall apart (a cracked back, dead pixels measuring a third of the screen width by a few rows / the rubber seal coming out / most recently the silent switch broke, so I can't go silent), so I was hoping for another revolution like the original iPhone (well, the 3G one anyway) not this evolution.
So it's a case of:
1: Stick with my iPhone 3G until it actually does literally fall apart (or until something else impresses me). I have dropped it (a lot) and the o/s is so slow it's not even funny any more - unless I want to use the basic phone functions, which are also pretty slow. If I didn't have the iPad 2 I'd probably have updated it by now.
2: iPhone 5 (or an older / cheaper model)
3: Windows Phone 8
4: Android / Samsung
TV in my youth was a nightmare - waiting what seemed like forever for pretty much the only watchable TV programme on a Saturday, which wasn't even that great (The Pink Panther cartoon) which was surrounded by news and sports programs (hours upon hours of teletyped results). I don't even like sports.
I haven't had a TV or TV licence for years, since I bought a projector, which I replaced with a full 1080P 3D one nearly a year ago. I appreciate I'm in the minority (most people probably like to have the curtains open during the day).
I don't have to suffer adverts any more - if I'm at someone else's house, the blatant lies oozed at the viewers just serve to annoy, and the 10 minutes of film followed by 10 minutes of ads is just a joke. I even find the news distasteful (see Charlie Brooker's excellent Newswipe to see how all the news channels and newspapers do exactly what the psychologists and experts say not to do, if they want to avoid sensationalising the news and nurturing copycats).
I download movies and music and if I like them, I buy them on blu ray / CD - although sometimes I have to wait to do that, because of artificial delays to maximise the publisher's profit. I'd be happy to pay for TV shows on blu, but not £37 for 12 episodes - even of the excellent Dexter. On blu - perhaps £1 per episode while it's current, 50p if it's already been on TV but it's just come out on blu, or less when it's older than that. Most of the TV shows I watch are US (Dexter / Castle / Chuck / House / Greys and lots of others) and if I discover a new show (recommended by a friend or a random download of a s01e01) then I get to watch them in bulk, which is great when the show's really good and has been running for a number of seasons. Waiting for it to make it over the pond and watching the ads is not the way it should happen. Unfortunately, rights holders are (naturally?) tight with their IP, so would rather lose sales to downloaders than make it available everywhere at once.
It's a shame that the downloaders get a better experience than the legitimate purchasers (no ads, no piracy warnings, works on any kit, watch it when you like, watch it again years later, transfer to any device).
I don't believe that downloaded content in its current form has much value in itself - probably because there are ways to get it for free (sorry). If there is value added to the downloaded content (for example a 24bit studio master that is better than the CD) then I'm happy to pay for a download, but not for a poor quality MP3, which (unfortunately) a lot of people are happy with (I expect due to the poor quality hardware they're playing it on).
I have over 90 blu-rays, loads of DVDs and even laserdiscs, as well as 300 CDs (most of the music bought in the last century - not due to piracy but due to only about one CD a year that's worth buying) so at least I've made some sort of contribution.
Like I said in a forum years ago, charge me one monthly price (I think I said £30 at the time, maybe £50 now) for me to consume what I like ("stream" any music, any film, any newspaper, any magazine, any book, any game, any image, from any era), when I like, and split the money to pass to the relevant parties according to how much I used each item - and I'll buy into that scheme. Sadly, because so many companies own the rights to all this stuff, that'll never happen. Apart from that, it seems that you'd be lucky to get even all that Sky offers for £50 a month, never mind the other stuff.
I paid for a month of LoveFilm and for a month of Netflix, but because the alternative (downloading) offers so much more choice, it all seemed a bit limited. Even the shows they did have didn't have all the seasons. Logging on to either service in the US offered much more choice, which I'm afraid is a situation I won't pay to prolong.
I appreciate that if everyone did what I did, they wouldn't produce the content any more, as there wouldn't be any profit in it, unless you care to multiply all the stuff I've actually bought by all the people that buy even less than I do...
"You wouldn't steal a car" - no, but I'd drive it through a device that makes a perfect copy of it, that has no detrimental effect on the original.
"The rest? There's dark matter and dark energy, but exactly what those dark enigmas are ... well, as Geoffrey Rush's Philip Henslowe was wont to say in Shakespeare in Love, "It's a mystery.""
Did he say that in "Shakespeare in Love"? He certainly said it in "Shine" (1996).
2JB or not 2JB?
If it wasn't for AppLocker (and Locktopus before that), I probably wouldn't have bothered. I'd already paid for my most expensive app (LogMeIn Ignition) and most other stuff is 69p. If an app's only going to cost you as much as half a can of Red Bull (and last longer) then it's hardly fair to pirate it.
If Apple sort out individual app locking, or a facility to switch between "home" and "work" profiles, I'll happily "un-JailBreak" my iPad.
Pay again - as long as there's value added?
The film industry gets consumers to "double dip" by adding material to a new release or even by releasing it in a new *better quality* format like blu-ray. Unfortunately they'll also hold back "full" versions of films to try to force the double dipping, like with LOTR.
The home cinema market appears to be of a different generation to the majority of music purchasers. Unfortunately, many of the music buying public, most of which are probably younger than me, seem happy with a (relatively) poor quality MP3, often played at full volume through poor quality mobile phone speakers, further distorting the sound. It's a shame really, when you consider that at that age, your ears are so much better than at mine.
I only buy a handful of albums a year these days, Britpop was my era and this generation seems to be about RnB, which isn't generally to my taste, although there have been a few with high production values and funky 8bit computer samples in the last few years that I didn't mind so much. The stuff I hear on the radio that I actually like is played often enough that I don't feel the need to buy it.
I mostly listen to my old losslessly ripped original CD's on my nice hifi at home, losslessly on my old iPhone with decent headphones on the move and new music on the radio at work. I won't pay for anything that's less than CD quality lossless, so when I was looking to buy the Gotye album, I was pleased to find it on their official site (hopefully cutting out as many middle men as is possible these days) in a 24bit digital master copy with JPG / PDF album art, which I bought (my first non-physical paid-for album download and my first at higher than CD quality).
Perhaps that's one way of adding value to a purchase, particularly for those that appreciate quality - on my setup the difference really is noticeable and more important than printed album art (perhaps the best of both worlds would be to release 24bit albums on a physical medium like blu-ray with album art).
They're quick enough to stop someone using a mobile phone to record the film, but if anyone's messing with their phone (talking loudly, texting with big bright screens, not even watching the film, spoiling it for others) there's not an official to be seen.
My projector screen's 100" (2.5m) and I watch it from just under 4m away. I don't need a TV, just a PC and pj - I can watch all the (mostly US) TV shows I like on that.
I saw a post somewhere that had a BluRay 720p image blown up to 1080p dimensions, vs an actual 1080p native image from a BluRay and I could barely tell the difference, and although my eyesight's not great, this was from close up.
Perhaps I'd be able to tell the difference on an actual BluRay disc if my pj was 1080P (it's an Infocus 7210 which has the DarkChip 3 technology, which was pretty good a few years ago when I bought it and is still going strong).
let it be
I don't fancy paying to receive calls, it was bad enough that my boss cost me my last £5 on my pay as you go mobile on my last visit to Australia, simply by phoning me for a few minutes. Goodness knows how much the call cost him from Blighty. I ended up buying a SIM for while I was over there - much better value - plus the boss didn't know the new number ;o)
Some people hate the fact that I no longer use a landline (and I've recently had to cancel the "free" caller ID because they decided to charge me £7.50 a month for it, because my bills aren't big enough) and are "forced" to call my mobile, but they usually want something (IT support probably!) so if it's that important... Anyway, my iPhone's on the £45 a month contract (although a mate got it me for < £31 a month) and I get 20 hours to any phone / mobile / network / any time within that monthly cost. I don't use anywhere near that much, so I've let (some) people know that if they let it ring once or twice I'll phone them back, so it doesn't cost them a bean.
I'd rather they petition to force companies to provide an alternative to 0870 etc. I don't see why companies should profit from a phone call unless it's a competition or whatever. http://www.saynoto0870.com goes some way towards alleviating that. Either that or charge me double - but out of my free minutes.
Half way between Adelaide and Melbourne, with no man made lights to be seen anywhere in the flat, hugely expansive vista*, I saw the most beautiful night sky I'd ever seen. I had to stop and look. It was the highlight of my (altogether fantastic) holiday.
If anyone knows anywhere in England that allows such a clear view of the stars, I'd love to know.
The "lights out" time to contemplate the sky would be great, except the scum types would all come out to mug you during the dark times.
Dark times indeed.
*not the MS kind
How about getting the rest of the country up to speed before increasing the speed of the lucky few?
"The Virgin Media cable network covers about 12.6 million premises and no expansion is planned. Be Broadband's coverage is limited only by which BT exchanges it installs equipment inside. According to Samknows it currently covers about 17.6m premises. ®"
... and you can bet that 12.6 million of Be's premises are the ones already covered by Virgin. It's frustrating to see more numerous, better and faster services introduced in the next town (a mile away), leaving my locality increasingly in the technological dark ages. How about ADDING 17.6 million Be exchanges to the 12.6 million Virgin Media ones, thus giving 30.2 million premises access to faster internet, rather than doubling up? Competition should be welcomed, but not until national coverage is sorted.